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A History Of The Church In Six Books by Evagrius

ANASTASIUS was a man most accomplished in divine learning, and so strict in his manners and mode of life, as to insist upon very minute matters, and on no occasion to deviate from a staid and settled frame, much less in things of moment and having relation to the Deity himself. So well tempered was his character, that neither, by being accessible and affable, was he exposed to the intrusion of things unsuitable; nor by being austere and unindulgent, did he become difficult of approach for proper purposes. Accordingly, in serious concerns he was ready in ear and fluent in tongue, promptly resolving the questions proposed to him; but in trifling matters, his ears were altogether closed, and a bridle restrained his tongue, so that speech was enthralled by thought, and silence resulted, more valuable than speech. Justinian assaults him, like some impregnable tower, with every kind of device, considering that if he could only succeed in shaking this bulwark, all difficulty would be removed in capturing the city, enslaving the right doctrine, and taking captive the sheep of Christ. In such a manner was Anastasius raised above the assailing force by heavenly greatness of mind, for he stood upon the immoveable rock of faith, that he unreservedly contradicted Justinian by a formal declaration, in which he showed very clearly and forcibly that the body of the Lord was corruptible in respect of the natural and blameless passions, and that the divine apostles and the inspired fathers both held and delivered this opinion. In the same terms he replied to a question of the monastic body of Syria Prima and Secunda, confirming the minds of all, preparing them for the struggle, and daily reading in the Church those words of the “chosen vessel:” “If any one is preaching to you a gospel different from that which ye have received, even though it be an angel from heaven, let him be accursed.” To this all, with few exceptions, paid a steady regard and zealous adherence. He also addressed to the Antiochenes a valedictory discourse, on hearing that Justinian intended to banish him; a discourse deserving admiration for its elegance, its flow of thought, the abundance of sacred texts, and the appropriateness of its historical matters.








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