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supposed that he would have passed them over in a work made on purpose to celebrate Constantine and Helena? Was it an indifferent thing, and of no consequence, in the fourth century, whether mention should be made of the manner in which Helena found the true cross, and distinguished it from those of the thieves? No one will say it, or entertain so poor an opinion of the rhetoric of Eusebius, as to imagine that he could omit such an affair, if he knew it. His silence, therefore, will always be a stronger motive to reject what later authors have said upon this subject, than any argument that can be offered to the contrary, from an allusion which might so easily have been inserted by a forger into the Commentary of Eusebius on the Psalms, to support, by his authority, a fable invented afterwards. Le Clerc, Bibl. A. et M. iv.
AMONGST the Fathers who assisted at the Nicene Council, was Paphnutius, a venerable confessor and prelate. He was reported, says Socrates, to have wrought miracles; and indeed one would sooner believe it of him than of most of his contemporaries, since he was eminent both in prudence and in goodness. This historian hath transmitted to us a remarkable account of his antifanatical wisdom, by which he put a stop to a very absurd decree, which else might have passed in that general council.
Paphnutius cujusdam urbis in superiori Thebaide fuit episcopus; vir adeo pius Deoque carus, ut admiranda ab eo signa ederentur. Huic persecutionis tempore oculus fuerat effossus. Imperator vero hominem magnopere observabat, et frequenter in palatium accersebat, effossumque ejus oculum deosculabatur. Visum erat episcopis novam legem inducere, ut quicumque in sacrum ordinem allecti essent, id est, episcopi, presbyteri, et diaconi, ab uxorum quas cum laici essent, matrimonii jure sibi sociaverant, concubitu abstinerent. Cumque hac re in medium proposita, singulorum sententiæ rogarentur, surgens in medio episcoporum concessu Paphnutius, vehementer vociferatus est, non esse imponendum clericis et sacerdotibus grave hoc jugum : honorabiles nuptias et torum immaculatum esse
dicens; ne ex nimia severitate damnum potius inferrent : ecclesiæ. Neque enim omnes ferre posse tam districtæ
continentiæ disciplinam; ac forsitan inde eventurum esse, ut cujusque uxoris castitas minime custodiretur. Castitatem autem vocabat congressum viri cum uxore legitima. Satis esse ut qui in clerum fuissent adscripti, juxta veterem ecclesiæ traditionem jam non amplius uxores ducerent: non tamen quemquam sejungendum esse ab ea quam antehac, tunc cum esset laicus, legitime duxisset. Atque hæc dixit, ipse non modo conjugii, sed muliebris congressus penitus expers ; quippe qui a puero in monasterio educatus fuisset, et ob singularem castimoniam ab omnibus celebra
Cæterum universus sacerdotum cætus Paphnutii sermonibus assensus est. Proinde omissa ejus rei disceptatione, singulorum arbitrio permiserunt, ut ab uxorum consuetudine abstinerent, si vellent. Socr. i. 11.
Baronius and Valesius would willingly set the account aside, for obvious reasons.
Du Pin and Tillemont are more fair and candid. See Lowth on Socrates, and Tillemont, H. E. vi. p. 677.
This decree concerning the marriages of the clergy, even as it was modified by the wise Paphnutius, will seem overrigid to many; and for these, and several other reasons besides these, it is matter of some wonder how the church was supplied with a sufficient number of ecclesiastics. Who that loved peace and quiet, and could earn a morsel of bread any other way, would have chosen to travel year after year from Jerusalem to Jericho, from council to council, to live in perpetual disputes, jars, broils, and quarrels, censuring and censured, anathematizing and anathema. tized, and, if he happened to be on the wrong side of the question, sure to be banished and transported, at least to some remote island, if nothing worse ensued? Who would
Quod te per genium dextramque deosque penates
The Council of Illiberis is supposed by some to have been held in the time of Constantine, by others much earlier, and by Tillemont about A. D. 300.
This council excommunicated those who lent money upon interest, though the laws of the empire permitted it : but almost all the Fathers had wrong notions about interest, or usury, as also about self-defense, and bearing arms.
Instead of dissuading vows of virginity, it excommuni. cated those women who, after having made such rash and silly vows, entered into a state of matrimony. It also excommunicated those who should eat with a Jew. Tillemont, H. E. vii. 302.
• The council of Illiberis made two decrees against the Jews of Spain. In that country they had much commerce with the Christians: they ate together, and lived familiarly. The council forbad this intercourse under pain of excommunication for any one who should eat with a Jew. The punishment was violent, and inflicted mal-d-propos, since repasts are actions purely civil, and excommunication ought to be inflicted only for ecclesiastical offences. By another decree this council forbids the possessors of lands to permit the Jews to bless the fruits of the earth, because their benediction would render that of the Christians useless, and it threatens to drive out entirely from the church those who should disobey. The Jews in that country seem to have been tenants to the Christians. They carried the first fruits to the synagogue, or rather they had public prayers for the divine blessing on their grounds. The Spanish Jews have still in their ritual, a benediction which they pronounce for almonds, apricots, cider, and acorns. They request of God that he would send rain and dew upon the earth, and bless the fruits, seeds, &c. These are the blessings which the council of Illiberis hath condemned. It forbad the landlords to suffer them to be used by the tenants, fearing that the Jewish would cause the Christian benediction to be ineffectual. As if prayers addressed to the same God could prejudice each other, and those of the Jew could have a noxious influence on the petitions of the faithful! Basnage Hist. des Juifs, vi. 14. § 8.
UNDER CONSTANTINE flourished Eusebius, the most learned bishop of that age, and the Father of Ecclesiastical
History, whom it were ingratitude to pass over slightly in a work of this kind.
Like the illustrious Origen, of whom he was very fond, he hath had warm friends and inveterate enemies, and the world hath ever been divided in judging of his theological sentiments :
Τυδείδην δ' ουκ αν γνοίης, ποτέροισι μετείη,
The Arians and Unitarians have always laid claim to him, and of their opposers many have given him. up, others have defended him; and in truth any party might be glad to have him on their side.
In the manuscripts of Eusebius, we find him perpetually censured and reviled in marginal notes by Greek scholiasts, and called Arian, Heretic, Blasphemer, Detestable Wretch, &c.
He was one of those bishops who judged that Arius had hard measure, and who wrote a letter in his behalf to Alexander of Alexandria. But he was a bad intercessor upon that occasion, and probably had very little interest with Alexander.
He was certainly no admirer of Athanasius, yet not an active and a violent adversary. He had the favour and friendship of Constantine, which he seems never to have used in depressing or hurting others, or in getting any thing for himself; and he refused to change his bishopric for a better.
He scrupled at first to admit the word ouoouolos, because it was unscriptural; but afterwards, for the sake of peace and quiet, he complied with it in a sense which he gave to it, and which hath been mentioned above k. The use of unscriptural terms,' saith he, has been the cause of almost all the confusion and disturbance that hath happened in the church-αγράφοις χρήσασθαι φωναίς διο σχεδον ή πάσα γέγονε σύγχυσίς τε και ακαταστασία των εκκλησιών. Αpud Socr. i. 8. p. 26.
He seems to have been neither an Arian nor an Athana
sian, but one who endeavoured to steer a middle cours, yet inclining more to the Arians than to the Athanasians. When he died, Acacius succeeded him in the see of Cæsarea, a learned man, who had been his disciple, and his intimate friend, and who was of the Semiarian party. See a Life of Eusebius by Valesius, and another by Le Clerc, and Le Clerc's Ars Crit. vol. üi. and Bibl. A. et M. iv, 18. Fabricius B. G. v. 30. Du Pin B. E. i. 1. Beausobre Hist. de Man. i. 545. Fleury H. E. xii. Tillemont, Cave, Montfaucon, and S. Basnage Ann. ii. 753. who, in his account of the Arian controversy, shows himself more favourable to the Consubstantialists than becomes an impartial historian.
Eusebius was very laborious and industrious, and must have spent much time and pains in reading, collecting, and digesting : but he seems to have bestowed little in forming a style, and in imitating the colour, manner, and diction of polite writers ; his language is neither elegant nor perspicuous, and, where it aims at eloquence and sublimity, is usually turgid and perplexed.
Treating of the doctrine of the Trinity, he makes this remark: Our Saviour hath taught us what we ought to think concerning him, in order to obtain salvation :--God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him may have life eternal. He says not, he who knoweth his nature, but he who be. lieveth in him.' Contr. Marc. i. 12. p. 72.
In the “ Testimonia pro Eusebio,' collected by Valesius, we find the following censure:
Meminimus in quodam libello Eusebii quondam egregii in reliquis viri legisse, quia nec Spiritus Sanctus sciat mysterium nativitatis Domini nostri Jesu Christi, et admiror tantæ doctrinæ virum hanc maculam Spiritui Sancto inflixisse.' Ex Libro Quæst. &c.
The writer of these Questions might not perhaps mean Eusebius of Cæsarea, but some other Eusebius. See Tillemont H. E. vii. 529. ; and perhaps he mistook his author, whosoever that author was, who might say that the evil spirit, the devil, was ignorant of this mystery, as Ignatius affirms in one of his Epistles.
Eusebius compares the three sons of Constantine to the