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A History Of The Church In Nine Books by Sozomen

THE emperors had, from the beginning, adopted the same religious ceremonies as had been held by their father; for they both followed the Nicene form of belief. Constans maintained these opinions till his death; Constantius, however, renounced his former sentiments when he discovered that the term “consubstantial” was a subject of debate and attack. Yet he always confessed that the Son is of like substance with the Father. Eusebius, and other holy and learned bishops of the East, made a distinction between the term “consubstantial” (homousian), and the expression “of like substance,” which latter they designated by the term “homœousian.” They say that the term “consubstantial” (homousian) properly belongs to corporeal beings, such as men and other animals, trees and plants, which are of the same substance as things like unto themselves whereby they are generated. And that the term “homœousian” appertains exclusively to incorporeal beings, such as God and the angels, of each one of whom a conception is formed according to his own peculiar substance. The Emperor Constantius was deceived by this distinction; and although I am certain that he retained the same doctrines as those held by his father and brother, yet he adopted a change of phraseology, and, instead of using the term “homousian,” made use of the term “homœousian.” The teachers to whom we have alluded maintained that it was necessary to be thus precise in the use of terms, and that otherwise we should be in danger of conceiving that to be a body which is incorporeal. Many, however, regard this distinction as an absurdity, “for,” say they, “the things which are conceived by the mind can be designated only by names derived from things which are seen; and there is no danger in the use of words, provided only that the meaning be clearly understood.”








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