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THE AUTHOR AND HIS WRITINGS.
THE very few particulars which are known respecting the author of the following history, are gathered from the history itself.
Evagrius was a native of Epiphania on the Orontes, and his birth may be fixed about A. D. 536. He was by profession a Scholasticus, or advocate, and by this title he is commonly distinguished from other persons of the same name. The earliest circumstance which the historian mentions respecting himself, is his visit when a child, in company with his parents, to Apamea, to witness the solemn display of the wood of the cross, amidst the consternation caused by the sack of Antioch by Chosroes. (Book IV. chap. xxvi.) The history, in many places, shows a minute familiarity with the localities of Antioch and the prominent interest which the writer variously manifests in that city and its fortunes, can only be accounted for by supposing that it was his ordinary residence, and the principal scene of his professional practice. In his description of the great pestilence which continued its ravages throughout the empire for more that fifty years, he mentions that he himself was attacked by the disease in his childhood, and that subsequently he lost by it his first wife, besides several relatives and members of his household, and among them in ticular a daughter with her child. (Book IV. chap. xxix.)
Evagrius accompanied Gregory, patriarch of Antioch, as his professional adviser, when he appeared before a synod at Constantinople to clear himself from a charge of incest. (Book VI. chap. vii.) On his return to Antioch after the acquittal of the patriarch, he married a young wife and a proof of the mportant position which he occupied, is incidentally afforded
by the circumstance that his nuptials were made an occasion for a public festival. (Book VI. chap. viii.) Some of his memorials, drawn up in the service of the patriarch, obtained for him from the emperor Tiberius the honorary rank of Exquæstor; and a composition on occasion of the birth of an heir to the emperor Maurice was rewarded with the higher dignity of Expræfect. (Book VI. chap. xxiv.) With the mention of these last circumstances the history closes.
The only extant work of Evagrius is the "Ecclesiastical History," commencing with the rise of the Nestorian controversy, and ending with the twelfth year of the reign of Maurice. He professes, at the outset, an intention of including in his narrative matters other than ecclesiastical; and this he has done so far as to give a secular appearance to some parts of it. As might be expected from an author of that period, his style is frequently affected and redundant. The modern reader will, however, be principally struck by his earnest and hearty adherence to the side of orthodoxy, and his frequent mention of prodigies and miracles. But on this latter point it must be remembered, that the bent of the age was strongly in favour of the marvellous and to take the lowest ground, we may observe that considering the frame of the public mind in the age of Evagrius, this feature of the historian's character ought in no way to affect his reputation for honesty, or his claim to general credence. It is only a proof that he was not one of the few whose intellectual course is independent of the habits of their age. Upon the whole, the preservation of his work must be a matter of satisfaction to the studious in history, whether ecclesiastical or civil. It was used by Nicephorus Callisti in the composition of his own History, and has received a favourable notice in the Myriobiblion of the patriarch Photius.
Evagrius also published a collection of his memorials and miscellaneous compositions, which may now be regarded as lost. (Book VI. chap. xxiv.) He also intimates an intention (Book V. chap. xx.) of composing a distinct work, embracing an account of the operations of Maurice against the Persians: but there is no reason for supposing that this design was ever executed.
PREFACE.-DESIGN OF THE WORK.
EUSEBIUS PAMPHILI-an especially able writer, to the extent, in particular, of inducing his readers to embrace our religion, though failing to perfect them in the faith-and Sozomen, Theodoret, and Socrates have produced a most excellent record of the advent of our compassionate God, and His ascension into heaven, and of all that has been achieved in the endurance of the divine apostles, as well as of the other martyrs; and, further, of whatever events have occurred among us, whether more or less worthy of mention, down to a certain period of the reign of Theodosius. But since events subsequent, and scarcely inferior to these, have not hitherto been made the subject of a continuous narrative, I have resolved, though but ill-qualified for such a task, to undertake the labour which the subject demands, and to embody them in a history: surely trusting in Him who enlightened fishermen, and endued a brute tongue with articulate utterance, for ability to raise up transactions already entombed in oblivion, to reanimate them by language, and immortalize them by memory: my object being that my readers may learn the nature of each of these events, up to our time; the period, place, and manner
This was the sentiment of many persons concerning Eusebius Pamphilus. For further information on this question, see Life prefixed to Euseb. Eccl. Hist. pp. xxv.-xxvii. (Bohn's edition).
of its occurrence, as well as those who were its objects and authors; and that no circumstance worthy of recollection may be lost under the veil of listless indifference, or its neighbour forgetfulness. I shall then begin, led onwards by the Divine impulse, from the point where the above-mentioned writers closed their history.
CHAP. I.-ARTIFICE BY WHICH THE DEVIL ATTEMPTS TO SUBVERT THE PURITY OF THE FAITH.
SCARCE had the impiety of Julian been flooded over by the blood of the martyrs, and the frenzy of Arius been bound fast in the fetters forged at Nicæa; and, moreover, Eunomius and Macedonius, by the agency of the Holy Spirit, had been swept as by a blast to the Bosphorus, and wrecked against the sacred city of Constantine; scarce had the holy church cast off her recent defilement, and was being restored to her ancient beauty, robed "in a vesture of gold, wrought about with divers colours," and becoming meet for the Bridegroom, when the demon enemy of good, unable to endure it, commences against us a new mode of warfare, disdaining idolatry, now laid in the dust, nor deigning to employ the servile madness of Arius. He fears to assault the faith in open war, embattled by so many holy fathers, and he had been already shorn of nearly all his power in battling against it but he pursues his purpose with a robber's stealth, by raising certain questions and answers; his new device being to turn the course of error towards Judaism, little foreseeing the overthrow that hence would befall the miserable designer. For the faith 2 which formerly was alone arrayed against him, this he now affects: and, no longer exulting in the thought of forcing us to abandon the whole, but of succeeding in corrupting a single term, while he wound himself with many a malignant wile, he devised the change of merely a letter,
1 Psa. xlv. 9, Septuagint version.
2 He means the term Homovusios (Consubstantial); see Socrates, Eccl. Hist. b. i. ch. 8, 9; for the devil made his chief resistance against this word, since it was the besom, as it were, of all heresies, and the firmest fortress of the true faith. By the "one letter" is meant the change of the word ouoovolos into oμolovσlog, "similis substantia." See Socrates, book i. chap. 8.
tending indeed to the same sense, but still with the intention of severing the thought and the tongue, that both might no longer with one accord offer the same confession and glorification to God. The manner and result of these transactions I will set forth, each at its proper juncture; giving at the same time a place in my narrative to other matters that may occur to me, which, though not belonging to my immediate subject, are worthy of mention, laying up the record of them wherever it shall please our compassionate God.1
CHAP. II.-HERESY OF NESTORIUS DISCOVERED AND CONDEMNED.
SINCE, then, Nestorius, that God-assaulting tongue, that second conclave of Caiaphas, that workshop of blasphemy, in whose case Christ is again made a subject of bargain and sale, by having his natures divided and torn asunder-He of whom not a single bone was broken even on the cross, according to Scripture, and whose seamless vest suffered no rending at the hands of God-slaying men-since, then, he thrust aside and rejected the term, Mother of God,2 which had been already wrought by the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of many chosen fathers, and substituted a spurious one of his own coining-Mother of Christ;3 and further filled the church with innumerable wars, deluging it with kindred blood, I think that I shall not be at a loss for a well-judged arrangement of my history, nor miss its end, if, with the aid of Christ, who is God over all, I preface it with the impious blasphemy of Nestorius. The war of the churches took its A certain presbyter
rise from the following circumstances. named Anastasius, a man of corrupt opinions, and a warm admirer of Nestorius and his Jewish sentiments, who also accompanied him when setting out from his country to take possession of his bishopric; at which time Nestorius, having met with Theodore at Mopsuestia, was perverted by his teach
1 Valesius renders this passage, and "shall put forth my history, when it shall please the gracious God." In this sense the word ȧroтiléσ0αi occurs below, b. i. ch. 7.
2 OεOTÓKOC. See Socr. Eccl. Hist. b. vii. ch. 32, and note in loco. 3 Χριστοτόκος.