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A History Of The Church In Nine Books by Sozomen

SUCH subjects as the above, however, are best left to the decision of individual judgment.

The emperor, about this period, condemned Eunomius to banishment. This heretic had fixed his residence in the suburbs of Constantinople, and held frequent assemblies in private houses, where he read his own writings. He induced many to embrace his sentiments, so that the sectarians who were named after him, became very numerous. He died not long after his banishment, and was interred at Dacora, his birth-place, a village of Cappadocia, situated near mount Argeus, in the territory of Cæsarea. Theophronius, who was also a native of Cappadocia, and who had been his disciple, continued to promulgate his doctrines. Having given some attention to the writings of Aristotle, he composed an appendix to them, which he entitled “Exercises for the Mind.” But he afterwards engaged, I have understood, in many unprofitable disputations, and soon ceased to confine himself to the doctrines of his master. Under the assumption of being deeply versed in the terms of Scripture, he attempted to prove, that though God is acquainted with the present, the past, and the future, His knowledge on these subjects is not the same in degree, and is subject to some kind of mutation. As this hypothesis appeared positively absurd to the Eunomians, they excommunicated him from their church; and he constituted himself the leader of a new sect, called, after his own name, Theophronians. Not long after, Eutychus, one of the Eunomians, originated another sect at Constantinople, to which his own name was given. For the question having been proposed, as to whether the Son of God is or is not acquainted with the day and hour of the last judgment, the words of the Evangelist were quoted, in which it is stated, that the day and hour are known only to the Father. Eutychus, however, contended that this knowledge belongs also to the Son, inasmuch as he has received all things from the Father. The Eunomian bishops, having condemned this opinion, he seceded from communion with them, and went to join Eunomius, in his place of banishment. A deacon and some other individuals who had been despatched from Constantinople to accuse Eutychus, and, if necessary to oppose him, arrived first at the place of destination. When Eunomius was made acquainted with the object of their journey, he expressed himself in favour of the sentiments propounded by Eutychus; and on his arrival, prayed with him, although it was not customary to pray with any one who travels unprovided with letters written in secret characters, attesting his being in communion. Eunomius died soon after this contention; and the Eunomian bishop, at Constantinople, refused to receive Eutychus into communion, from envy and jealousy at the part he had enacted in the late controversy; more especially as he held no rank among the clergy. Eutychus, therefore, formed those who had espoused his sentiments into a separate sect. Many assert that he and Theophronius were the first who propounded the peculiar views entertained by the Eunomians concerning the rite of baptism. The above is a brief account of such details, as I have been able to ascertain, concerning the disputes of the Eunomians. I should be prolix were I to enter into further particulars; and, indeed, the subject would be by no means an easy one to me.

The following question was, in the mean time, agitated among the Arians of Constantinople:—Prior to the existence of the Son (whom they regard as having proceeded out of nothing), is God to be termed the Father? Dorotheus, who had been summoned from Antioch to rule over them in the place of Marinus, was of opinion that God could not have been called the Father prior to the existence of the Son, because the name of Father has a necessary connection with that of Son. Marinus, on the other hand, maintained that the Father was the Father even when the Son existed not; and he advanced this opinion either from conviction, or else from the desire of contention, and from jealousy at the preference that had been shown to Dorotheus. The Arians were thus divided into two parties; Dorotheus and his followers retained possession of the houses of prayer, while Marinus and those who seceded with him erected new edifices in which to hold their assemblies. The names of Psathyrians and of Goths were given to the partizans of Marinus; Psathyrians, because Theoctistes, a certain vendor of cakes (ψαθυροπώλης) was a zealous advocate of their opinions; and Goths, because their sentiments were approved by Selinus, bishop of that nation. All these barbarians followed the instructions of Selinus, who had formerly been the secretary of Ulphilas, and had succeeded him as bishop. He was capable of preaching, not only in the vernacular, but also in the Greek language.

Soon after, a contest for precedency arose between Marinus and Agasius, whom Marinus himself had ordained over the Arians at Ephesus; and, in the quarrel which ensued, the Goths took the part of Agasius. It is said, that many of the Arian clergy of that city were so much irritated at the ambition displayed by these two bishops, that they seceded from them, and joined the Catholic Church. Such was the origin of the division of the Arians into two factions—a division which still subsists; so that, in every city, they have separate places of meeting. The Arians of Constantinople, however, after a separation of thirty-five years, were reconciled to each other by Plinthas, formerly a consul, general of the cavalry and infantry; a man possessed of great influence at court. To prevent the revival of the former dissension among them, the question which had been the cause of the division was forbidden to be mooted.








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