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A History Of The Church In Seven Books by Socrates

RUFINUS who wrote an Ecclesiastical History in Latin, has committed many chronological errors. For he supposes that what was done against Athanasius occurred after the death of the emperor Constantine: he was also ignorant of his exile to the Gallias, and of various other circumstances. We originally wrote the first two books of our History from the testimony of this author; but from the third to the seventh, some facts have been collected from Rufinus, others from different authors, and the rest from the narration of individuals still surviving. When however we had perused the writings of Athanasius, wherein he depicts his own sufferings and exile through the calumnies of the Eusebian faction, we judged that more credit was due to him who had suffered, and to those who were witnesses of the things they describe, than to such as have been dependant on conjecture, and were therefore liable to err. Moreover having obtained several letters of persons eminent at that period, we have availed ourselves of their assistance also in tracing out the truth. On this account it became necessary to revise the first and second book of this History, without however discarding the testimony of Rufinus where it is evident that he could not be mistaken. It should also be observed, that in our former edition, neither the sentence of deposition which was passed upon Arius, nor the emperor’s letters were inserted; having restricted myself to a simple narration of facts, to avoid wearying the reader with tedious matters of detail. But in the present edition, such alterations and additions have been made for your sake, O sacred man of God, Theodore, as might serve to make you fully acquainted with the emperors’ proceedings by their letters, as well as the decisions of the bishops in their various Synods, wherein they continually altered the confession of faith. Having adopted this course in the first book, we shall endeavour to do the same in the consecutive portion of our History on which we are about to enter.








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