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A History Of The Church In Nine Books by Sozomen

IMMEDIATELY after the above transactions, the adherents of Acacius repaired to the emperor; but the other bishops returned to their respective homes. The ten bishops who had been unanimously chosen as deputies to the emperor met, on their arrival at the court, the ten deputies of the council of Ariminum, and likewise the partizans of Acacius. These latter had gained over to their cause the chief men attached to the palace, and, through their influence, had secured the favour of the emperor. It was reported that some of these proselytes had espoused the sentiments of Acacius at some previous period; that some were bribed by means of the wealth belonging to the churches; and that others were seduced by the subtilty of the arguments presented to them, and yielded to the power which the Acacians had obtained over their minds. Acacius was, in fact, no common character: by nature he was gifted with great powers of intellect and eloquence, and he exhibited no want of skill or of address in the accomplishment of his schemes. He was the bishop of a great and illustrious church, and could boast of having been the disciple, as well as the successor of Eusebius Pamphilus, in whose literary fame he participated. Endowed with all these advantages, he succeeded with ease in whatever he undertook.

As there were, at this period, ten deputies from each council at Constantinople, besides many other bishops, who, from various motives, had repaired to the city, Honoratus, whom the emperor, before his departure from the East, had constituted chief governor of Constantinople, received directions to examine, in conjunction with some senators, the reports circulated concerning Aetius and his heresy; Constantius, with some of the rulers, eventually undertook the investigation of this case; and as it was proved that Aetius had introduced dogmas essentially opposed to the faith, the indignation of the emperor and of the other judges was strongly excited. It is said that the partizans of Acacius at first feigned ignorance of this heresy, for the purpose of inducing the emperor and those around him to take cognizance of it; for they imagined that the eloquence of Aetius would be irresistible; that he would infallibly succeed in convincing his auditory; and that his heresy would be triumphant. When, however, the result proved the futility of their expectations, they demanded that the formulary of faith accepted by the Council of Ariminum should receive the sanction of the deputies from the Council of Seleucia, As these latter protested that they would never renounce the use of the term “substance,” the Acacians declared to them, upon oath, that they did not hold the Son to be, in substance, dissimilar from the Father; but that, on the contrary, they were ready to denounce this opinion as heresy. They added, that they esteemed the formulary compiled by the Western bishops at Ariminum the more highly, because the word “substance” had been unexpectedly expunged from it; because, they said, if this formulary were to be received, there would be no further mention, either of the word “substance,” or of the term “consubstantial,” to which many of the Western priests were, from their reverence for the Nicæan Council, peculiarly attached.

It was for these reasons that the emperor approved of the formulary; and when he recalled to mind the great number of bishops who had been convened at Ariminum, and reflected that there is no error in saying either that “the Son is like unto the Father,” or “of the same substance as the Father;” and when he further considered that no difference in signification would ensue, if, for terms which do not occur in Scripture, other equivalent and uncontrovertible expressions were to be substituted (such, for instance, as the word “similar”), he determined upon giving his sanction to the formulary. Such being his own sentiments, he commanded the bishops to accept the formulary. The next day preparations were made for the pompous ceremony of proclaiming him consul, which, according to the Roman custom, took place in the beginning of the month of January, and the whole of that day and part of the ensuing night the emperor spent with the bishops, and at length succeeded in persuading the deputies of the Council of Seleucia to receive the formulary of the Council of Ariminum.








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