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A History Of The Church In Seven Books by Socrates

THE emperor’s diligence induces me to mention another circumstance expressive of his mind, and serving to show how much he desired peace: for aiming at ecclesiastical harmony, he summoned to the council Acesius also, a bishop of the Novatian sect. When therefore the Synod had written out and subscribed a declaration of faith, the emperor asked Acesius whether he would also assent to this creed and acquiesce in the settlement of the day on which Easter should be observed. He replied, “The Synod has determined nothing new, my prince: for thus heretofore, even from the commencement and times of the apostles, I traditionally received the definition of the faith, and the time of the celebration of Easter.” When therefore the emperor further asked him, “For what reason then do you separate yourself from communion with the rest of the church?” he related what had taken place during the persecution under Decius; and referred to the rigidness of that austere canon which declares, that it is right to account unworthy of participation in the divine mysteries persons who after baptism have committed a sin, which the sacred Scriptures denominate “a sin unto death” (1 John 5:16): that they should indeed be exhorted to repentance, but were not to expect remission from the priests, but from God, who is alone able and has authority to forgive sins. When Acesius had thus spoken, the emperor said to him, “Place a ladder, Acesius, and climb alone into heaven.” Neither Eusebius Pamphilus nor any other has ever mentioned these things: but I heard them from a man who was by no means prone to falsehood, and who simply stated what had taken place in the council in his presence. From which I conjecture that those who have passed by this occurrence in silence, were actuated by motives which have influenced many other historians: for they frequently suppress important facts, either from prejudice against some, or partiality towards others.








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