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A History Of The Church In Seven Books by Socrates

BEFORE we commence the fifth book of our history, we must beg those who may peruse this work, not to censure us too hastily for intermingling with ecclesiastical matters, such an account of the wars coeval with the period under consideration, as could be duly authenticated. For this plan of ours has been deliberately pursued for several reasons: first, in order to lay before our readers an exact statement of facts; secondly, to relieve their minds from a wearisome repetition of the contentious disputes of bishops, and their insidious designs against one another; but more especially that it might be made apparent, that whenever the affairs of the State were disturbed, those of the Church, as if by some vital sympathy, became disordered also. Indeed whoever shall attentively examine the subject will find, that the mischiefs of the state, and the troubles of the church have been inseparably connected; for he will perceive that they have either arisen together, or immediately succeeded one another. Sometimes the calamities of the church take precedence; then commotions in the state follow: so that I cannot believe this invariable interchange is merely fortuitous, but am persuaded that it proceeds from our iniquities, of which these reciprocal convulsions are the merited chastisements. The apostle truly says, “Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.” Hence it is that we have interwoven many affairs of the state with our ecclesiastical history. Of the wars carried on during the reign of Constantine we have made no mention, having found no account of them that could be depended upon because of their antiquity: but we have given a cursory sketch of subsequent events, in the order of their occurrence, from the narration of living witnesses. We have never failed to include the emperors in these historical details; because from the time they began to profess the Christian religion, they have exercised a powerful influence over the affairs of the church, to such an extent indeed, that the greatest Synods have been, and still are convened by their appointment. Finally, we have particularly noticed the Arian heresy, from its having so greatly disquieted the churches. Having made these prefatory remarks, we shall now proceed with our history.








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