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Chapter XVIII.—The Arians and Melitians confer Celebrity on Athanasius; concerning Eusebius, and his Request of Athanasius to admit Arius to Communion; concerning the Term “Consubstantial”; Eusebius Pamphilus and Eustathius, Bishop of Antioch, create Tumults above all the rest.

The reputation of Athanasius was, however, especially increased by the Arians and Melitians;11711171    Source here is Soc. i. 23, but abridged. although always plotting, they never appeared rightly to catch and make him a prisoner. In the first place, Eusebius wrote to urge him to receive the Arians into communion, and threatened, without writing it, to ill-treat him should he refuse to do so. But as Athanasius would not yield to his representation, but maintained that those who had devised a heresy in innovating upon the truth, and who had been condemned by the council of Nice, ought not to be received into the Church, Eusebius contrived to interest the emperor in favor of Arius, and so procured his return. I shall state a little further on how all these events came to pass.11721172    See chap. 22.

At this period, the bishops had another tumultuous dispute among themselves, concerning the precise meaning of the term “consubstantial.”11731173    Soc. again the source, but abridged; the matter is entirely the fruit of his own research, as Soc. states in this chapter (chap. i. 23). Cf. Eus. V. C. iii. 23. Some thought that this term could not be admitted without blasphemy; that it implied the non-existence of the Son of God; and that it involved the error of Montanus and Sabellius. Those, on the other hand, who defended the term, regarded their opponents as Greeks (or pagans), and considered that their sentiments led to polytheism. Eusebius, surnamed Pamphilus, and Eustathius, bishop of Antioch, took the lead in this dispute. They both confessed the Son of God to exist hypostatically, and yet they contended together as if they had misunderstood each other. Eustathius accused Eusebius of altering the doctrines ratified by the council of Nicæa, while the latter declared that he approved of all the Nicæan doctrines, and reproached Eustathius for cleaving to the heresy of Sabellius.


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