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A History Of The Church In Seven Books by Socrates

THE bishop of Constantinople being informed of this circumstance, constitutes Eunomius bishop of Cyzicum, inasmuch as he was a person able by his eloquence to win over the minds of the multitude to his own way of thinking. On his arrival at Cyzicum an imperial edict was published in which it was ordered that Eleusius should be ejected, and Eunomius installed in his place. This being carried into effect, those who attached themselves to Eleusius, after erecting a sacred edifice without the city, assembled there with him. But enough has been said of Eleusius: let us now give some account of Eunomius. He had been secretary to Aëtius, surnamed Atheus, of whom we have before spoken, and had learnt from conversing with him, to imitate his sophistical mode of reasoning; being little aware that while exercising himself in framing fallacious arguments, and in the use of certain insignificant terms, he was really deceiving himself. This habit however inflated him with pride, and falling into blasphemous heresies, he became an advocate of the dogmas of Arius, and in various ways an adversary to the doctrines of truth. He had but a very slender knowledge of the letter of Scripture, and was wholly unable to enter into the spirit of it. Yet he abounded in words, and was accustomed to repeat the same thoughts in different terms, without ever arriving at a clear explanation of what he had proposed to himself. Of this his seven books on the Apostle’s Epistle to the Romans, on which he bestowed a quantity of vain labour, is a remarkable proof: for although he has employed an immense number of words in the attempt to expound it, he has by no means succeeded in apprehending the scope and object of that epistle. All other works of his extant are of a similar character, in which he that would take the trouble to examine them, would find a great scarcity of sense, amidst a profusion of verbiage. Such was the man promoted by Eudoxius to the see of Cyzicum; who being come thither, astonished his auditors by the extraordinary display of his dialectic art, and produced a great sensation: until at length the people unable to endure any longer the empty parade of his language, and the empty assumption of his menaces, drove him out of their city. He therefore withdrew to Constantinople, and taking up his abode with Eudoxius, was regarded as a vacant bishop. But lest we should seem to have said these things for the sake of detraction, let us hear what Eunomius himself has the hardihood to utter in his sophistical discourses concerning the Deity himself. “God,” says he, “knows no more of his own substance, than we do; nor is this more known to him, and less to us: but whatever we know about the Divine substance, that precisely is known to God; and on the other hand, whatever he knows, the same also you will find without any difference in us.” This is a fair specimen of the tedious and absurd fallacies which Eunomius, in utter insensibility to his own folly, delighted in stringing together. On what account he afterwards separated from the Arians, we shall state in its proper place.








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