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do it well. The very peculiarities of his character which led him to sustain a part in active life which it is not easy to justify or excuse, tended perhaps to render him a more satisfactory historian. The impartiality which some have affected, and others have despised, was natural to Eusebius. He seems to have been one of those who can never make up their minds strongly enough op any subject to be partial. He was too amiable to be willing to compromise himself with either of the two great parties of his time. Though his connexions, and perhaps his inclinations, drew him towards the Arians, he appears to have been quite as reluctant to join them in their excesses when they were in power, as he was to persecute them when they were in adversity. And the modern controversies * respecting his opinions seem only to have determined that he did not altogether belong to the heretics, or to the orthodox.
Eusebiust undertook the work of recording the early fortunes of the church, just at the time when it could no longer be delayed in safety. The conversion of Constantine at once placed Christianity in a new position; and, in a surprisingly short space of time, almost everything relating to it was conformed to new views and feelings. The new state of things led at once to such a development of the spirit of speculation, that the church could no longer transmit or teach the truth in the way she had done. It had now to be defended, and illustrated, and explained. It became matter of system and theory, and was discoursed of by men who, for genius, and eloquence, and learning, would well bear comparison with the greatest ornaments of classical antiquity. No one bred up under these new circumstances g of Christianity could have been a fit historian of the early church. But Eusebius had grown up under a different discipline. By birth and education he belonged to the third century. He had studied when there was nothing to study but what led him to antiquity. Accordingly, his learning was of an antiquarian rather than a doctrinal
quâve perseverantia, passionis suæ obtinuerint palmam, de ipsis archivis sublata, ipsi Eusebio, Regio jussu dirigerent. Unde factum est, ut idoneus relator existens, et ecclesiasticam bistoriam texeret, et omnium penè martyrum provinciarum omnium Romanarum trophæa diligens historiographus declararet. (s. Hieron. Epis. ad Chromatium et Heliodorum.)
Walchii Bibliotheca Patristica, edit. Danz. p. 48. + The earlier editions of Eusebius (Fabr. Bibl. Gr. vi. 60, seq.) have been completely superseded by that of Valesius, which was first printed at Paris, 1659. This valuable edition, which has been often reprinted, contains, in three volumes, folio, the Ecclesiastical History and Life of Constantine; with Sozomen, Socrates, Theodoret, Evagrius, and the fragments of Philostorgius, and Theodorus Lector. The Cambridge reprint (Reading's) is the most convenient and most elegant. Heinichen's edition of Eusebius alone (Lips. 1827-30,) is in four volumes, octavo.
The question respecting the sources of the history of Eusebius is one of great interest. It is partially answered by Nicephorus-εκ των Φίλωνός τε και Ιωσήπου, Κλήμεντός τε τον στρωματέως και Ηγησίππου, Ιππολύτου το και Παπία, και των καθεξής ιερών διδασ. kádwv, tyv ioropiav épanouperos. (Lib. i. c. i. p. 35 A.) But this tells us only what appears on be face of the work. There much in his work which he did not get from any of these writers.
It may be added, too, that many of the documents consulted by Eusebius very soon perished. They would naturally soon disappear when no interest was felt about them.
character, -it was historical, not theoretical or dogmatical. His acquirements, therefore, fitted him for the work he happily undertook, as much as his impartiality. And the way in which he executed it * has entitled him to the everlasting gratitude of the church.
The object of Eusebius seems not so much to have been to paint the condition of the ancient church, as to record the most important facts with which he had become acquainted on the subject of Christian antiquity. His work is just the sort of history which was wanted. We may complain of a want of copiousness, of a want of arrangement, of a want of critical sagacity; but we cannot complain of his not having had a right conception of what he had to do. Never was a work of the kind more abundant, in proportion to its size, in extracts and documents. And if we sometimes regret that he did not extract more, we should remember that he had no reason to expect his own work would survive the venerable remains which he introduced to his readers.
But it is not my business to criticize the writers whom I have undertaken to enumerate. I will merely add respecting Eusebius, that his “ Ecclesiastical History” ends in 324 ; and that his “ Life of Constantine," though it contains several important documents and much valuable information, must be regarded rather as a laboured panegyrict than as a sober record of historical facts.
The writer who first continued the labours of Eusebius was RUFFixus of Aquileia, so well known as the intimate friend and the bitter adversary of St. Jerome. Having made a Latin version of the
The opinions given by Du Pin, Le Clerc, and Schroeckh, who represent three very different schools, will shew the estimation in which he has been held by modern crities :-" Sans l'Histoire d'Eusebe, nous n'aurions presque aucune connoissance, non seulement de l'histoire des premiers siècles de l'église, mais même des auteurs qui ont écrit en ce tems-là, ni de leurs ouvrages, n'y aiant aucun autre auteur que lui qui en ait écrit ...... Il faut toutefois avouer que l'Histoire d'Eusebe n'a pas toute la perfection qu'on pourroit souhaiter, qu'elle n'est pas écrite agréablement, qu'elle n'est pas toujours exacte, que souvent l'auteur s'étend trop sur des choses qu'il devroit passer legèrement; et, au contraire, qu'il dit fort succinctement des choses qu'il devroit raconter plus amplement : mais ces défauts n'empêchent point qu'elle ne soit un ouvrage tres estimable."-(Nouvelle Bibl. tom. ii. pp. 3, 4.) " On lui doit pardonner ces défauts, parcequ'il est le premier qui ait fait quelque chose de complet touchant l'histoire Chrétienne ; qu'il nous a conservé un grand nombre de fragments d'anciens auteurs que nous avons perdus, et qu'il a rapporté leurs sentiments avec assez de fidelité. C'est lui encore principalement qui nous peut fournir quelques lumières touchant le canon des livres du Nouveau Testament.”—(Bibliotheque Universelle de l'Année 1688, p. 487.) “ Es giebt zwar noch Lücken genug in seiner Erzählung; allein es ist billig, dass mann dasjenige mit Dank annehme, was er geleistet hat. Man kann auch noch bey seiner Geschichte erinnern, dass verschiedene nachrichten derselben einer schärfern Prüfung benöthigt sind, und mancbes Lob zu reichlich ausgeschüttet zu seyn scheinet. Aber im Ganzen betrachtet, verdient er doch ein unpartheyischer und gemässigter Geschichtschreiber zu heissen : er unterlässt auch nicht, die zweifelhaften Sagen von den gemissern Erzählungen oft zu unterscheiden." (Kirchengeschichte, Erster Theil. s. 145. 1772.)
+ Baronius happily compared it to the Cyropædia. (Constantini vita,) quam scripsit imitatus in multis in eâ potius Xenophontem ; qui ut de eo testatur Cicero vitam Cyri non tam ad historiæ fidem conscripsit, quàm ad effigiem justi principis exhibendam. (Annal. ad. an. 324, n. 5.)
work of Eusebius, he continued the history of the church* to the death of the elder Theodosius (392.) Both his translation and his original work are still extant. The former, through which Eusebius was, for many ages, known to the west, like his other translations, is only remarkable for the liberties he has taken with the original. And the latter & possesses so very little historical value, that it has been completely superseded by the labours of succeeding writers.
Such, however, was the general desire for historical information, that the work of Ruffinus seems no sooner to have appeared than it was translated into Greek. The translator was GELASIUS,|| bishop of Cæsarea, and nephew of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, who was, we are told, a worthy man, and an eloquent writer, and probably regarded the work as peculiarly suitable for a successor of Eusebius. It does not appear, however, to have attained much reputation ; for we only become acquainted with its having existed by its being cited by Gelasius of Cyzicus, the historian of the Council of Nice, and from its having been read by Photius.**
These works were executed after his long residence of twenty-five years in Palestine, during Alaric's first invasion of Italy (400—403.)
+ Walch (Bibl. Theolog. iii. 116,) mentions two editions of the translation-viz., Basil. 1523 and 1539; and three of the History-viz., Romæ, 1470; Lugduni, 1470; Parisiis, 1480.
# He has reduced it into nine books; and the omissions and interpolations are
Cave says_“In historia isthâc concinnandâ, temporisque ratione digerendà credulum admodum fuisse Rufinum constat, in fabulas et incertos plebeculæ rumores nimis propensum, quos è trivio et tonstrinâ petitos literis mandare temerè solebat. Unde Socrates cùm ad ejus fidem primum et secundum Historiæ Eccles. libros formâsset ; meliores postea nactus auctores, libros istos ex integro ordiri necesse habuit, quemadmodum ipse (Præfat. ad l. 2,) nos docet.” (Hist. Lit.) Fabricius gives a similar opinion. (Bibl. Græc. vi. 59.) The title of this work is, “ Historia Ecclesiasticæ Libri II. ad Chromatium Aquileiensem Episcopum.”
# He is briefly noticed by Jerome :~" Gelasius Cæsareæ Palæstinæ, post Euzoium, episcopus, accurati limatique sermonis, fertur quædam scribere, sed celare." (De Script. Eccles., c. 130.) Theodoret mentions him among the fathers of the Council of Constantinople :-Γελάσιος ο Καισαρείας της Παλαιστίνης, λόγω και βίω κοσμούμενος. (Eccles. Hist., lib. v. c. 8, tom. iii. p. 1026, ed. Schulze.) He became Bishop of Cæsarea, by the influence of his uncle, in 380. (Vide Cave, Hist. Lit.)
So ye uin Povdivos, ñ gour reddoros. (Hist. Concil. Nicæni. lib. i. c. 7; ap. Concil. Labbe, tom. ii. col. 124, D.) Photius (Bibl. cod. lxxxix. col. 209,) tells us, that Gelasius represented himself as having been induced to undertake the work by his uncle Cyril. But this may have been intended to apply only to the introductory part of the work, the part which was really his own. There certainly was such an introduction, for Photius gives this title-Προοίμιον επισκόπου Καισαρείας Παλαιστίνης εις τα μετά την εκκλησιαστικής ιστορίαν Ευσεβίου του Παμφίλου. Cyril may have urged his nephew to undertake an ecclesiastical history; but unless Ruffinus communicated the early part of his work to his friends in Palestine long before he gave it to the public, he could never have seen the labours of the Latin author. Cyril died in 386, and Ruffinus certainly did not publish his Eccles. Hist. till the beginning of the next century. The story, which Photius tells us he had met with in other writers, that Cyril was associated with Gelasius in translating Ruffinus, probably originated in Cyril's having incited his nephew to bis historical labours.
* A passage from the Eccles. Hist. of Ruffinus was read in Greek at the second Council of Nice, (Concil., tom. viii. col. 80,) but the name of the translator is not mentioned.
There are two Latin writers occurring at the beginning of the fifth century, who must not be omitted in a notice like the present, though their works are of no great note in the series of ecclesiastical historians. The “Sacred History” of SEVERUS SULPICIUS* is only important for the account it gives of the Priscillianists. And the work + of Paulus OROSIUS, which was written with a controversial object against the pagans, partakes more of the character of civil, than of ecclesiastical, history.
The most extensive historical work produced by any ancient Chris-
Severus Sulpicius is well known as the friend and biographer of St. Martin of Tours. He flourished about 401. The editions of the Sacra Historia (which is a history of the Bible, continued to the year 400, written in elegant Latinity,) are very
I refer for an account of them to Fabr. Bibl. Lat., lib. iv. c. 3; Schættgenius's Continuation of Fabr. Bibl. Med. et Infim. Latin. vol. vi. p. 461; and Walch. Bibl. Theol., tom. ii. p. 46.
† Historiarum adversùs Paganos, Libri vii, ; written about the year 416, at the suggestion of St. Austin, to disprove the objection of the pagans, that the troubles of the empire, particularly the taking of Rome by Alaric in 410, were to be ascribed to the introduction of Christianity. "Orosius Presbyter, Hispanus genere, vir eloquens et historiarum cognitor, scripsit adversum querulos et infamatores Christiani nominis, qui dicunt defectum Romanæ Reipublicæ Christi doctrinâ invectum, libros septem; in quibus penè totius mundi temporis calamitates et miserias, ac bellorum inquietudines replicans, ostendit magis Christianæ observationis esse, quòd contrà meritum suum res Romana adhuc duraret, et pace culturæ Dei pacatum retineret imperium." (Gennadius Massil. de Script. Eccles. c. 39.) The numerous editions of Paulus Orosius are named by Fabricius, Bibl. Med. et Infim. Latin. vol. v. p. 515.
Ζηλώσας τον Ασιανόν των λόγων χαρακτήρα, πολλά συνέγραφε. (Ηist. Eccles., lib. vii. e. 27.
Hist. Eccles., lib, vii.c. 26. Η Χριστιανικής ιστορίαν συνέθηκεν, ήν εν τριάκοντα εξ βιβλίοις διείλεν. έκαστον δε βιβλίον είχε τόμους πολλούς, ως τους πάντας εγγύς είναι χιλίους. υπόθεσις δε εκάστου τόμου ισάζει το τόμω. την μεν ουν πραγματείαν ταύτην, ουκ Εκκλησιαστικής ιστορίαν, αλλά Χριστιανικήν έπέγραψεν. πολλάς δε συνεισφέρει ύλας εις αυτήν, δεικνύναι βουλόμενος μη απείρως έχειν εαυτόν των φιλοσόφων παιδευμάτων. διό και συνεχώς Γεωμετρικών τε και Αστρονομικών και Αριθμητικών και Μουσικών θε ερημάτων ποιείται μνήμην, εκφράσειν τε λέγων νήσων, και ορέων, και δένδρων, και άλλων τινών είτε λαν, δι ών και χαύνειν την πραγματείαν ειργάσατο ..
..... άλλ' έκαστος μεν περί των βιβλίων ότι έχει γνώμης κρινέτω. εγώ δε εκείνο φημι, ότι τους χρόνους της ιστορίας συγχέει. (Socr. Ηist. Eccies., lib. vii. c. 27, p. 376.) Nicephorus Callisti (Eccles. Hist., lib. xiv. c. 29; tom. ii. p. 501,) so evidently writes from this passage of Socrates, that he cannot be considered an independent testimony.
little favour with his contemporaries, or with posterity. Socrates ill conceals his disapprobation; and Photius, in whose times it seems to have already become imperfect, speaks of the style and matter with great severity. It would seem, therefore, that we have no great reason to regret that it has long since perished.
The Arian, or rather Eunomian, PHILOSTORGIUS, who wrote about 426,+ appears to have been the first who made a work on ecclesiastical history the medium of a regular and systematic attack on the doctrines of the church. He begins with the rise of the Arian controversy in the commencement of the fourth century, and terminates with the year 425. His work no longer exists entire. But the very copious extracts made by Photius from all the twelve books of which it consisted, amply confirm the truth of his remark, that it is less a history than an encomium upon the heretics, and a mere accusation and vituperation of the orthodox." Great, however, as were the prejudices of Philostorgius, the remains of his work are of no incon. siderable value for illustrating the history of the fourth century.
The fifth century was rich in ecclesiastical historians. The triumph of the Nicene faith under the reign of the great Theodosius afforded the church the tranquillity so propitious to literature. The Arian controversy had been completely exhausted. The influence of the errors of Apollinarius had been well nigh confined to the provinces bordering on Syria, the country in which they originated. During the period of fifty years in which no new heresy appeared to exercise the doctors of the church in controversial warfare, exegesis was the favourite pursuit of Christian students. Chrysostom exhibited its importance in the pulpits of Antioch and Constantinople; while Diodorus and Theodore,|| disciples of the same school, conducted it in a way that led to the greatest blow the church has ever experienced. But in a literary period, history was not neglected. Contemporary with Philip of Side and Philostorgius, were Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret.
SOCRATES was a native of Constantinople, by profession an advo
"Έστι δε πολύχους ταϊς λέξεσιν, ουκ αστείος δε, ουδε επίχαρις αλλά και προσκορές, μάλλον δε και αηδής και επιδεικτικός μάλλον, ή ωφέλιμος και παρεντιθείς ως πλείστα μηδέν προς την ιστορίαν συντείνοντα. ώς ουδέν μάλλον ιστορίας είναι, πραγμάτων ετέρων την πραγματείαν διάληψιν ούτως áreipokei Aws ékkékuta. (Bibl. Cod., xxxv. col. 21.) The only remaining fragment is given after Dodwell, in Gallandii, Bibl. PP. tom. ix.
+ As Philostorgius was born in 368, (Fabr. Bibl. Græc. vol. vi. p. 115,) it is not likely that his work was written long after 425, when it concluded.
1 Ιστορεί δε ταναντία σχεδόν άπασι τοις Εκκλησιαστικούς ιστορικούς. εξαίρει τους 'Αρειανίζοντας άπαντας, λοιδορίαις πλύνει τους ορθοδόξους. ώς είναι την ιστορίας αυτού, μη ιστορίαν μάλλον, αλλ' εγκώμιον μεν των αιρετικών ψόγον δε γυμνόν και κατηγορίαν των ορθοδόξων. (Bibl. Cod. xl. col. 25.)
♡ The remains of Philostorgius were first edited by the celebrated jurist, Gotofredus, Genevæ, 1642. But they are given in a much more satisfactory state in the last volume of Valesius.
| The naturalizing spirit of these great oriental doctors produced Nestorianism ; and Nestorianism stimulated into heresy (Eutychianism) the mystical and fanatical spirit which ever lurked in the Alexandrine school.
q Fabr. Bibl. Græc. vol. vi. p. 117, et seq.