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A History Of The Church In Seven Books by Socrates

ABOUT the same period God brought into observation another faithful person, that by his testimony also the truth might be established: this was Didymus, a most admirable and eloquent man, instructed in all the learning of the age in which he lived. At a very early age, when he had scarcely acquired the first elements of literature, he was attacked by disease in the eyes which deprived him of sight. But God compensated to him the loss of corporeal vision, by bestowing increased intellectual acumen, enabling him to attain by means of his hearing, what he could not learn by seeing; so that being from his childhood endowed with excellent abilities, he soon far surpassed his youthful companions who possessed the keenest sight. He made himself master of the principles of grammar and rhetoric with astonishing facility; and proceeding thence to the study of philosophy, logic, arithmetic, music, and the various other departments of knowledge to which his attention was directed, he so treasured up in his mind these branches of science, that he was prepared with the utmost readiness to enter into a discussion of these subjects with those who had become conversant therewith by the aid of books. His acquaintance with the Divine oracles contained in the Old and New Testament was so perfect, that he composed several treatises in exposition of them, besides three books on the Trinity. He published also commentaries on Origen’s book “Of Principles,” in which he shows the excellence of these writings, and the insignificance of those who calumniate their author, and speak slightingly of his works; proving that his objectors were destitute of sufficient penetration to comprehend the profound wisdom of that extraordinary man. Those who may desire to form a just idea of the extensive erudition of Didymus, and the intense ardour of his mind, must peruse with attention his diversified and elaborate works. It is said that after Antony had conversed for some time with Didymus, long before the reign of Valens, when he came from the desert to Alexandria on account of the Arians, perceiving the learning and intelligence of the man, he said to him, “Didymus, let not the loss of your bodily eyes distress you: for although you are deprived of such organs as confer a faculty of perception common to gnats and flies, you should rather rejoice that you have eyes such as angels see with, by which the Deity himself is discerned, and his light comprehended.” This address of the pious Antony to Didymus was made long before the times we are describing: in fact Didymus was then regarded as the great bulwark of the true faith, and the most powerful antagonist of the Arians, whose sophistic cavillings he fully exposed, triumphantly refuting all their vain subtilties and deceptive reasonings.








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