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cation, is still extant, being appended to his “Life of Constan
The emperor, during the delivery of the oration, “ seemed like one transported with joy." So says Eusebius, who takes care to inform us that this was the second time he had made a speech in presence of the emperor in his own palace, having formerly delivered a harangue or panegyric on the holy sepulchre, to which Constantine insisted on listening in a standing posture; for “ though we entreated him," says he, “ to rest himself upon his imperial throne which was hard by, he would by no means be persuaded to sit,” nor would he allow the speech to be discontinued, when it had run out to a great length, though “we were desirous to break off," but < entreated us to go on till we had ended our discourse.” *
Eusebius, it seems, was often at court, and whether there voluntarily or in consequence of a summons from the
emperor, appears always to have succeeded in retaining his good graces. On occasion of delivering the tricennial oration above alluded
presence with that of some other bishops, had been required to reply to the charges preferred against them by Athanasius, who had suddenly disappeared from the Council of Tyre, to make his appeal to Constantine in person. The appeal was unsuccessful. · Athanasius was banished, and Eusebius returned loaded with imperial caresses.
He appears, indeed, to have been a constant favorite with the emperor, who esteemed him, to use his own expression, for his a learning and modesty," often wrote to him, encouraged and facilitated his researches, and confided in his fidelity and prudence. When he wanted fifty copies of the Scriptures transcribed with the utmost accuracy, for the use of his new churches at Constantinople, he applied to Eusebius as the fittest man in the empire to superintend the execution. He seems to have uniformly treated him with very marked respect, and his letters to him, and others in which he is named, and which Eusebius, from a vanity quite pardonable, if from no better motive, has preserved, certainly contain expressions of attachment apparently warm and sincere.
It is much to the credit of Eusebius, that enjoying, as he constantly did, the friendship and favor of Constantine, he does not appear to have used them for the
purpose dizement. Though he loved commendation, and was not
of selfish aggran
* Life of Constantine, Lib. iv. c. 33, 45, 46.
insensible to the voice of flattery, he does not seem to have been in other respects ambitious or coveting. We, see no reason for believing that power or wealth had any peculiar charms for him. From all we can gather respecting him, we should infer that the praise of moderation, which Constantine bestowed on him, was, in this respect, at least, not ill deserved. He was evidently of studious, or, at least, of reading habits; and the numerous hours he passed in retirement among his books, we can readily conceive to have been among the happiest of his life.
After the events just referred to as transacted at Constantinople, tradition has preserved no remaining incident in the life of Eusebius. Socrates alludes to his death, without, however, specifying the time of it.* Constantine died A. D. 337, and Eusebius survived him long enough to pay a warm and grateful tribute to his memory, in what is termed a “Life,” but which, as it has been observed, is more properly a panegyric, and died as early as the year 340, probably before.
We shall not undertake to give a complete catalogue, much less an analysis of the writings of Eusebius, several of which are lost. We will simply enumerate the principal, of which the number, magnitude, titles, and subjects, will give our readers some conception of his industry and maltifarious reading.
Passing over his edition of Origen's Hexapla, in which he had the assistance of his beloved Pamphilus, while in prison, we may place among his earlier works, The Chronicle, containing brief notices of the history and antiquities of all nations and times, and a second part, called “Chronological Canons,
, a sort of epitome of the former. Of this work, the original Greek text is lost, with the exception of some fragments preserved in quotations; we have the second part, however, in the Latin version of Jerome. The work is generally spoken of as one of prodigious erudition and labor, but Scaliger, while he does justice to the author's great learning, pronounces it full of errors, and says, moreover, that what is most valuable in it is taken from Julius Africanus.t.
The “Evangelical Preparation,” designed to expose the follies of Paganism, and show that Christians had good reason for abandoning it in favor of the Gospel, still extant in fifteen books, gives evidence of much reading, and an extensive
* Hist. Lib. ii. c. 4.
| Thesaurus Temp. - Proleg.
knowledge of antiquity. This was followed by the “ Evangelical Demonstration," in twenty books, of which the first ten only are preserved. The Demonstration treats chiefly of the Jewish prophecies, which the author, conformably to the prevailing taste, generally interprets allegorically and mystically. The ten books of “ Ecclesiastical History," commencing with the Founder of our faith, and terminating with the year 327, just before the assembling of the Council of Nice, may have followed. Appended to the eighth book of the History we have the “Martyrs of Palestine.” The “ Life of Constantine," the Letter to his people, preserved by Socrates and Theodoret, and the “Tricennial Oration," have been already mentioned as extant; to which we may add the work on “ Hebrew Places,” being a sort of historical and geographical dictionary of Palestine ; Two Books against Marcellus; and one in reply to Hierocles, who had published an attack on Christianity, comparing Jesus Christ with Apollonius Tyanæus. He wrote, too, commentaries on several parts of the Scriptures, some of which are preserved.
Among his lost works, or works of which only parts, or fragments, or barely the titles are preserved, we may enumerate the “ Life of Pamphilus,” in three books; the “ Apology for Origen," in six, of which the first only remains in the Latin translation of Jerome ; Thirty Books against Porphyry, the loss of which is exceedingly to be regretted; the “ Difference between the Gospels,” designed probably to reconcile the discrepancies between the evangelical narratives, and Five Books on the Coming of Christ, both mentioned by Jerome; Commentaries on the Psalms, of which we have only a few fragments, pronounced by Jerome “most learned ”; a Description of the Church, already referred to, at Jerusalem, with its ornaments, and the presents sent by the Emperor, dedicated to Constantine, and originally annexed to the "Life"; a “Treatise on Easter"; and several others, some of them of considerable magnitude, which it is unnecessary to enumerate.
His defences of Christianity partake of the defects of all his works, want of judgment and method. What Le Clerc has said of some of the ancient apologists, that they have “better refuted Paganism than demonstrated the truth of Christianity, and have mingled with good and solid reasons, proofs which appear of no weight when examined,” is true of him. He has well refuted Paganism, but, like the old writers generally, he
N. S. VOL. XIII. NO. I.
relies in support of the truth of Christianity too much on fanciful expositions of the Old Testament.
He wrote, it will be perceived, upon some of the topics controverted among Christians, and particularly the Sabellian question, as in his books against Marcellus, in which he seems not to have preserved throughout his usual candor and moderation. Upon the great controversy of the day, however, he. appears to have been intentionally silent, nor was the result such as to afford him any pleasure in the retrospect. He was too favorably disposed towards the Arians to take any pleasure in the circumstance of their defeat. Whether or not he was himself an Arian, is a point which has been contested in ancient and modern times. It is one, however, the thorough examination of which would require more space than we can allow to a topic, on which our readers generally can be supposed to take no deep interest. We will therefore dismiss it with two or three remarks.
That Eusebius was not Orthodox, that is, a consubstantialist, in the sense in which Athanasius understood the term, especially in his later years, is absolutely certain. The word, as we have seen, was not of his choice, nor to his taste, for it might imply what he did not believe concerning the nature of the Son. As the Platonists had used it, however, and as it might be understood to mean, not a numerical
, but only a specific sameness, that is, resemblance, in which sense the fathers of the council, who seem to have been not a little perplexed in their attempts to define it, allowed him to take it, he consented, as before said, to adopt it. But, in this sense, it by no means excluded inequality and subordination between the Father and the Son. In these he firmly believed ; and, if such belief constituted Arianism, all antiquity, as it has been truly said, was Arian. But it does not; for it leaves undetermined the origin of the Son, who, as Arius contended, was called into being from nothing, while his opponents, the consubstantialists, insisted on saying that he was ineffably begotten. Thus a person might believe that the Son was, from the time when he was begotten before the ages, a distinct being from the Father, and inferior to him, without adopting the distinguishing dogma of the Arians. This might have been the case with Eusebius. At all events he was willing to promise, that he would not in future say with Arius that the Son was made out of nothing, but would conform to the popular phraseology, and say with the
homoousians, that he was ineffably begotten. This we suppose was the amount of his orthodoxy. He certainly never dreamed, any more than Origen, of whom he is known to have been a great admirer, of admitting the equality of the Father and Son in any legitimate sense of the term, and he seems to have placed the Spirit among the things made by the Son.
We believe Dr. Jortin to be nearly right, when he says, that Eusebius 6 seems to have been neither an Arian nor an Athanasian, but one who endeavoured to steer a middle course, yet inclining more to the Arians than to the Athanasians.”* Athanasius, among the ancients, pronounces him an Arian; Jerome, “ the prince of Arians ;” and Nicephorus,“ an Arian, and worse than an Arian.' Others expressed themselves in similar, though not all in equally strong terms. Among the moderns, Cave, in his Latin and English Lives, and especially in the Dissertation subjoined to the former, attempts unsuccessfully to defend his orthodoxy against Le Clerc, who expresses his surprise that there should be people who pretend to deny that Eusebius was an Arian, if they have read his works, especially in the original.t Petavius has a formal argument to prove his Arianism. Du Pin, though he pronounces it great injustice to stigmatize him as an Arian, yet thinks it impossible to defend his orthodoxy, and confesses that it has been vainly attempted by Socrates, Sozomen, and some modern writers. This we suppose is the prevailing sentiment on the subject.I
Of Eusebius's general character as a man and a Christian, little needs be added to the incidental notices contained in the above sketch of his life. Those who have disapproved his opinions have united in ascribing to him all good qualities of
* Remarks on Ecclesiastical History, Vol. II. pp. 229, 230.
| Biblioth. Anc. et Mod., T. I. p. 270. “ Mr. Cave,” says Le Clerc, “ étoit un homme accoûtumé non seulement à dissimuler, mais à dire le contraire de ce qu'il pensoit, par une mauvaise politique ; ce qui a fait passer ses Histoires Écclésiastiques pour des Légendes mitigées.” Bibl. Anc. et Mod., T. I. c. iv. p. 19.
| Those who wish to see more on the subject may consult among other works, Jortin's Remarks, Vol. II. pp. 229-242; Le Clerc's Second Epistle, contained in the 3d volume of his Ars Critica ; Cave's Lives Latin and English, with the Dissertation ; Le Clerc, Biblioth. A. et M., T. I. p. 170; IV. 18; XVI. 80; XXVIII. 240; and Biblioth. Univ. et Hist., X. 479; Du Pin, Nouvelle Biblioth. art. Eusebius ; and Petavius, Theol. Dogm., T. II. Lib. i. c. 11, 12. See also, “ Veterum Testimonia pro Euseb. et contra Euseb.,” which follow Valesius's Account of his Life and Writings, Reading's ed.