Support Site Improvements

A History Of The Church In Five Books by Theodoret

“To my lord Paulinus, Eusebius sendeth greeting in the Lord.

“The zeal of my lord Paulinus, and likewise his silence concerning the truth, have not failed to reach our ears. If, on the one hand, we have rejoiced on account of the zeal of my lord; on the other we have grieved, because the silence of such a man appears like the condemnation of our cause. Hence, as it behoves not a wise man to be of a different opinion from others, and yet to be silent concerning the truth, I exhort you to stir up within yourself the spirit of wisdom, that you may be able to write what may be profitable to yourself and to others; which will certainly be the case, if you will examine the Holy Scriptures, and follow them in your writings. We have never heard that there are two unbegotten beings, nor that one has been divided into two. We have neither been taught, my lord, nor do we believe that the Divinity has ever undergone any change of a corporeal nature; but we affirm that there is one who is unbegotten, and that there also exists another who did in truth proceed from him, yet who was not made out of his substance, and who does not at all participate in the nature or substance of him who is unbegotten. We believe him to be entirely distinct in nature and in power, and yet to be a perfect likeness, in character and in power, of him from whom he originated. We believe that the mode of his beginning cannot be expressed by any words; and that it is incomprehensible not only to man, but also to orders of beings superior to man. These opinions we advance, not as having derived them from our own imagination, but as having deduced them from Scripture, whence we learn that the Son was created, established, and begotten in the same substance and in the same immutable and inexpressible nature as the Maker; and so the Lord says, ‘God created me in the beginning of his way; I was set up from everlasting; before the hills was I brought forth’ (Prov. 8:22–26). If he had proceeded from him or of him, as a portion of him, or by an efflux of his substance, it could not be said that he was created or established; and of this you, my lord, are certainly not ignorant. For that which proceeds from Him who is unbegotten cannot be said to have been created or founded, either by him or by another, since he has been begotten from the beginning. But if any one should hold that he was born of the substance and nature of the Father, because he said that he was begotten, we would reply that it is not of him alone that the Scriptures have spoken as begotten, but that they also thus speak of those who are entirely dissimilar to him by nature. For of men it is said, ‘I have begotten and brought up sons, and they have rebelled against me’ (Isa. 1:2); and in another place, ‘Thou hast forsaken God who begat thee;’ and again it is said, ‘Who begat the drops of dew?’ (Job 38:28). This expression does not imply that the dew partakes of the nature of God, but simply that all things were formed according to his will. There is, indeed, nothing which partakes of his substance, yet every thing which exists has been called into being by his will, for he verily is God. All things were made in his likeness, and in the future likeness of his Son, being created according to his will. All things were made by the Son and through God. All things are of God.

“When you have received my letter, and have revised it according to the knowledge and grace given you by God, I beg you will write as soon as possible to my lord Alexander. I feel confident that if you will write to him, you will succeed in bringing him over to your opinion. Salute all the brethren in the Lord. May you, my lord, be preserved by the grace of God, and be led to pray for us.”

It is thus that they write to each other, in order to furnish one another with weapons against the truth. When blasphemous doctrines became disseminated in the churches of Egypt and of the East, disputes and contentions arose in every city, and in every village, concerning theological dogmas. The common people were witnesses of these controversies, and judges of what was said on either side, and some applauded one party, and some the other. These were, indeed, melancholy scenes, over which tears might have been shed. For it was not, as in bygone ages, when the church was attacked by strangers and by enemies. During this period, those who were, natives of the same country, who had dwelt under one roof, and had sat down at one table, fought against each other with their tongues, instead of with spears. And, moreover, they who thus took up arms against one another, were members of each other, and belonged to one body.

Copyright ©1999-2023 Wildfire Fellowship, Inc all rights reserved