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A History Of The Church In Seven Books by Socrates

WHEN Eusebius durst not go to Alexandria, to the see of which he had been appointed by the Synod at Antioch, Gregory was designated bishop of that church. This being done, they alter the creed; not as condemning any thing in that which was set forth at Nice, but in fact with a determination to subvert the doctrine of consubstantiality by means of frequent councils, and the publication of various expositions of the faith, so as gradually to establish the Arian views. The course of our history will unfold the measures to which they resorted for the accomplishment of their purpose; but the epistle then circulated respecting the faith was as follows:—

“We have neither become followers of Arius, for it would be absurd to suppose that we who are bishops should be guided by a presbyter; nor have we embraced any other faith than that which was set forth from the beginning. But being constituted examiners and judges of his sentiments, we admit their soundness, rather than adopt them from him: this you will readily perceive from what we are about to state. We have learned from the beginning to believe in one God of the Universe, the Creator and Preserver of all things both intelligent and sensible: and in one only-begotten Son of God, subsisting before all ages, and co-existing with the Father who begat him, by whom also all things visible and invisible were made; who in the last days according to the Father’s good pleasure, descended, and assumed flesh from the holy virgin, and having fully accomplished his Father’s will, suffered, was raised, ascended into the heavens, and sits at the right hand of the Father; and is coming to judge the living and the dead, continuing King and God for ever. We believe also in the Holy Spirit. And if it is necessary to add this, we believe in the resurrection of the flesh, and the life everlasting.”

Having thus written in their first epistle, they sent it to the bishops of every city. But after remaining some time at Antioch, they published another letter in these words, as if to condemn the former.

ANOTHER EXPOSITION OF THE FAITH

“In conformity with evangelic and apostolic tradition, we believe in one God the Father Almighty, the Creator and Framer of the universe. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, his Son, God the only-begotten, by whom all things were made: begotten of the Father before all ages, God of God, Whole of Whole, Only of Only, Perfect of Perfect, King of King, Lord of Lord; the living Word, the Wisdom, the Life, the True Light, the Way of Truth, the Resurrection, the Shepherd, the Gate; immutable and inconvertible; the unalterable image of the Divinity, Substance, Power, Counsel and Glory of the Father; born before all creation; who was in the beginning with God, God the Word, according as it is declared in the gospel (John 1:1), and the Word was God, by whom all things were made, and in whom all things have subsisted: who in the last days came down from above, and was born of the virgin according to the Scriptures; and was made man, the Mediator between God and men, the Apostle of our Faith, and the Prince of Life, as he says (John 6:38), ‘I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.’ Who suffered on our behalf, rose again for us on the third day, ascended into the heavens, and is seated at the right hand of the Father; and will come again with glory and power to judge the living and the dead. We believe also in the Holy Spirit, who is given to believers for their consolation, sanctification, and perfection; even as our Lord Jesus Christ commanded his disciples, saying (Mat. 28:19), ‘Go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit;’ that is to say of the Father who is truly the Father, of the Son who is truly the Son, and of the Holy Spirit who is truly the Holy Spirit, these epithets not being simply or insignificantly applied, but accurately expressing the proper person, glory and order of each of these who are named: so that there are three in person, but one in concordance. Holding therefore this faith in the presence of God and of Christ, we anathematize all heretical and false doctrine. And if any one shall teach contrary to the sound and right faith of the Scriptures, affirming that there is or was a period or an age before the Son of God existed, let him be accursed. And if any one shall say that the Son is a creature as one of the creatures, or that he is a branch, as one of the branches, and shall not hold each of the aforesaid doctrines as the Divine Scriptures have delivered them to us: or if any one shall teach or preach any other doctrine contrary to that which we have received, let him be accursed. For we truly believe and follow all things handed down to us from the sacred Scriptures by the prophets and apostles.”

Such was the exposition of the faith published by those then assembled at Antioch, to which Gregory subscribed as bishop of Alexandria, although he had not yet entered that city. The Synod having done these things, and framed some other canons, was dissolved. At the same time also it happened that public affairs were disturbed, both by the incursion of the nation called Franks into the Roman territories in Gaul, as well as by most violent earthquakes in the East, but especially at Antioch, which continued to suffer concussions during a whole year.








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