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Passion Sunday

The Fifth Sunday in Lent, commonly called

Passion Sunday

Homily of Augustine on Psalm XLIII
Passion Sunday Home
WE beseech thee, Almighty God, mercifully to look upon thy people; that by thy great goodness they may be governed and preserved evermore, both in body and soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Source: Sacramentary of Gregory, Bishop of Rome [600 AD]. The "people" in this translation is familia in Latin. "Passion" had its roots in Medieval times

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all those who are penitent; Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
O send out thy light and thy truth, that they may lead me, and bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy dwelling
Lent 5 -
Passion Sunday, and we are two weeks away from the feast of the resurrection.  The title Passion relates to the mini liturgical season of Passiontide, which begins this Sunday and runs until the Resurrection. The Western Church in places changed the liturgical color from violet to red. In the days to come we shall read of Christ's passion, especially on Good Friday. 
This week we turn to Psalm 43, and with it the 58th chapter of Isaiah on fasting. Both the prophet and the  psalmist  call for the light of God to guide them. It is clear from reading the opening of Augustine's homily, that he preached his sermon on this psalm on a day of  fasting. The true fast is one of justice-righteousness, to which the material fast is but a sign. If we then seek that fast, Isaiah says
Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy reward
and David says
O send out thy light and thy truth, that they may lead me, and bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy dwelling
Let us turn to Augustine and hear his exhortation concerning this verse:
Pray thou for what thou hearest; pray for it when thou hearest it; let these words be the voice of us all: "O send out Thy Light and Thy Truth. They have led me, and brought me on unto Thy holy hill, and into Thy Tabernacles" (ver. 3). For that very "Light" and "Truth" are indeed two in name; the reality expressed is but One. For what else is the "Light" of God, except the "Truth" of God? Or what else is the "Truth" of God, except the "Light" of God? And the one Person of Christ is both of these. "I am the Light of the world: he that believeth on Me, shall not walk in darkness." "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." He is Himself "the Light:" He is Himself "the Truth." Let Him come then and rescue us, and "separate at once our cause from the ungodly nation; let Him deliver us from the deceitful and unjust man," let him separate the wheat from the tares, for at the time of harvest He will Himself send His Angels, that they may "gather out of His kingdom all things that offend,"  and cast them into flaming fire, while they gather together the corn into the garner. He will send out His "Light," and His "Truth;" for that they have already "brought us and led us to His holy hill, and into His Tabernacles." We possess the "earnest;"we hope for the prize. "His holy Hill" is His holy Church. It is that mountain which, according to Daniel's vision, grew from a very small "stone," till it crushed the kingdoms of the earth; and grew to such a size, that it "filled the face of the earth." This is the "hill," from which he tells us that his prayer was heard, who says, "I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and He heard me out of His holy hill." Let no one of those that are without that mountain, hope to be heard unto eternal life. For many are heard in their prayers for many things. Let them not congratulate themselves on being heard; the devils were heard in their prayer, that they might be sent into the swine. Let us desire to be heard unto eternal life, by reason of our longing, through which we say, "Send out Thy Light and Thy Truth."  That is a "Light" which requires the eye of the heart. For "Blessed" (He saith) "are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."  We are now on His Hill, that is, in His Church, and in His Tabernacle. The "tabernacle" is for persons sojourning; the house, for those dwelling in one community.  The tabernacle is also for those who are both from home, and also in a state of warfare. When thou hearest of a tabernacle, form a notion of a war; guard against an enemy. But what shall the house be? "Blessed are they that dwell in Thine house: they will be alway praising Thee."
This is indeed a theologically-packed paragraph. Augustine touches on many truths here. I am reminded of the 1st Chapter of the Gospel of John as I read Augustine's examination of this verse, and his association of God's Light with Jesus. John wrote that Jesus was
"the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world."
God loved the world so much that he fulfilled the  prayer of the psalmist and the vision of the prophet. God sent his Son as the Light and Truth of the world, so that they that believe on him shall not die, but have life everlasting. They who do not know Jesus are in darkness, and have not the light of Christ in them. They who are of the elect have that light, and they know right from wrong. They love Jesus. They follow his light and truth. They have died to the bondage of sin, and their wills are bound to the Love of Christ.
That light departed from the world for a space of three days at the end of the crucifixion when Jesus gave up the Ghost, but with the glorious Resurrection the Light came again into the world, and with the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Light shines in the churches corporately [Revelation 1-3] and in each Christian individually [Acts 2].
Warning - God's light through Christ is contingent upon faith. We see from Revelation that no church in and of itself is righteous, but that each is subject to have a mixture: the wheat and the tares; and each must be vigilant and militant, struggling to overcome, to persevere. Read the lessons of Revelation and especially the Church of Thyatira [Rev 2:18ff] God hates the sin of those who pretend to know him, but are of the Synagogue of Satan [Rev 3:9]. He hates the  sin of the unrepentant who refuse to acknowledge their misdeeds and will not try to turn [Rev. 2:20ff]. They do not have the light; they are blind. Jesus knows the heart and mind of every man. They who are of Satan and shun the light shall have their due. They who know Christ and persevere have that Light and have life everlasting. He who overcomes and perseveres shall be led to that Holy Hill, the true Church, Mother Jerusalem, where our Lord does dwell - the true light.

Released by Primus Pilus
Legio Christi-Ecclesia Militans
"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another" [St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans 14:19]



Homily of Augustine on Psalm CXLIII
Home for Lent IV

GRANT, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that we, who for our evil deeds do worthily deserve to be punished, by the comfort of thy grace may mercifully be relieved; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Source: Sacramentary of Gregory, Bishop of Rome [600 AD]. This Sunday was sometimes known as "Refreshment Sunday" for "be relieved" from the Latin resperimus and the Gospel where Jesus relieved the multitude of their hunger. Sometimes known as "Mothering Sunday" as Paul says in the Gospel, "the Jerusalem above is the mother of us all"

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all those who are penitent; Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

2 Sam xv. 30 Psalm 142, 143 119:105–144 Galatians iv. 21. St. John vi. 1.
Homily of Augustine on Psalm CXLIII

And enter not into judgment with thy servant; for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.

Lent 4 commentary

Today we will examine Psalm 143. It is the last of the penitential psalms. It is of significance in this season of general penitence. I suggest 2 Sam xv. 30 as the OT lesson to accompany this psalm.

David wrote

Enter not into judgment with thy servant; for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.

This verse is a key Old Testament confession of the state of man and his need for God's gracious mercy. Consider this verse in relation the collect of Gregory that we feature for this week. This message has been constant throughout the ages, and has been spoken by the great prophets and fathers of the church to include Augustine who wrote of this verse:

"And enter not into judgment with Thy servant" (ver. 2). Who are willing to enter into judgment with Him, save they who, "being ignorant of the righteousness of God, go about to establish their own?" "Wherefore have we fasted, and Thou hast not seen; wherefore have we afflicted our souls, and Thou takest no knowledge?" As though they would say, "We have done what Thou hast commanded, wherefore dost Thou not render to us what Thou hast promised?" God answereth thee: I will give to thee to receive what I have promised: I have given thee that thou shouldest do that whereby thou mayest receive. Finally, to such proud ones the Prophet speaketh; "Wherefore will ye plead with Me? ye have all transgressed against Me, saith the Lord." Why will ye enter into judgment with Me, and recount your own righteousnesses?..."For before Thee every one living shall not be justified." "Every one living;" living, that is, here, living in the flesh, living in expectation of death; born a man; deriving his life of man; sprung from Adam, a living Adam; every one thus living may perhaps be justified before himself, but not before Thee. How before himself? By pleasing himself, displeasing Thee. Enter not then into judgment with me, O Lord my God. How straight soever I seem to myself, Thou bringest forth a standard from Thy store-house, Thou fittest me to it, and I am found crooked. Well is it said, "with Thy servant." It is unworthy of Thee to enter into judgment with Thy servant, or even with Thy friend. ...What of the Apostles themselves?...That ye may perceive it at once, they learnt to pray what we pray: to them was given the pattern of prayer by the heavenly Counsellor. "After this manner," saith He, "pray ye." And having set down certain things first, He laid down this too to be said by the leaders of the sheep, the chief members of the Shepherd and Gatherer of the one flock; even they learnt to say, "Forgive us our debts." They said not, "Thanks be to Thee, who hast forgiven us our debts, as we too forgive our debtors," but, "Forgive, as we forgive." But surely the faithful prayed then, surely the Apostles prayed then, for this Lord's Prayer was given rather to the faithful. If those debts only were meant which are forgiven by Baptism, it would befit catechumens rather to say, "Forgive us our debts." Let the Apostles then say, yea let them say, "Forgive us our debts." And when it is said to them, "Wherefore say ye this? what are your debts?" let them answer, "for in Thy sight every one living shall not be justified."

Augustine, more than any other doctor of the Early Church, was the champion in preaching God's grace. His insight and understanding guided the Church of the West and still does. It was a theology emphasized by the Reformers-especially Luther. It remains a pillar of the catholic faith. There is no one who is not in need of God's grace from birth [Ps 51:5]. No one may count his personal work as meriting justification before God [Eccl 7:20 & Is 64:6] God's elect are not capable of keeping the law perfectly, and those who claim they have no sin are deceived [1 Jn 1:8] The good that we would do, we do not [Rom 7:23] for all our works are tainted [Is. 64:6]
Perhaps Augustine's great motivation in developing this understanding was to fight against the challenge of the monk and presbyter Pelagius who taught in Rome that there was no Original Sin. He also taught that all men were capable of keeping the law perfectly, and able to be justified before God by their own work-hence Christ's salvific work wasn't required for all men. The Church effectively codified Augustine's arguments and those of others against a resurgence of this heresy in the canons of the Council of Orange.
Is this struggle for the truth important today? Most certainly - especially given the drift of many in the church. Pelagianism, and its daughter semi-Pelagianism are alive and well.
In this penitential season of Lent may we be mindful of our nature, our inability to perfectly satisfy the law, our need for God's forgiveness and mercy, and our ultimate destiny in Christ.

Anselm... You have not as yet estimated the great burden of sin.

Released by Primus Pilus
Legio Christi-Ecclesia Militans
"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another" [St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans 14:19]



Third Sunday in Lent


Homily of Augustine on Psalm LXXXVI
Home of Third Sunday in Lent

WE beseech thee, Almighty God, look upon the hearty desires of thy humble servants, and stretch forth the right hand of thy Majesty, to be our defence against all our enemies; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Source: Saramentary of Gregory, Bishop of Rome [600 AD] In the Gospel today Jesus heals a man possessed, stretching forth his hand

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all those who are penitent; Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

[Collect of Ash Wednesday said daily until Palm Sunday]

Jer 20:11   Psalm 56, 86 | 119:73–104 ,   Ephesians v. 1. St. Luke xi. 14.

Homily of Augustine on Psalm LXXXVI

O God, the proud are risen against me; and the congregations of violent men have sought after my soul.

Lent 3 commentary

This Sunday we continue with the Psalms and Augustine's homily on Psalm 86.  This is a prayer of David when attacked by the enemy.

Our collect for this Sunday from Gregory is also one for protection from enemies, and the Old Testament lesson is an affirmation that God will  protect the faithful from their adversaries [Jer xx. 11]

I have selected the verse quoted above for a reason. This week I read of a Bill introduced in the State of Connecticut targeting the financial control of Roman churches. The article at the link suggested the suspected proponents of this bill that arose out of a certain comittee were sponsors of same-sex marriage legislation which the Church has rightly argued against. Minutes after reading of this situation, Prafectus Castrorum sent me an email alerting me of  the same subject. The Roman Catholic bishops raised a cry over the injustice of this bill, rallied with the folk, and the Bill was pulled - for now at least.

It is an important event as it is a clear sign of how a sector of America would like to take over finances and the voice of the church. These folk are proud adversaries, for they refuse to humble themselves before the sovereign LORD, and their god is their belly. Less obvious, but perhaps even more insidious, is the maneuvering of forces within the church to overturn our faith and morals. They violate the sanctity of God's chosen people with their political maneuverings both in civil and ecclesiastical realms. They are finding success in so many places.

O God, the proud are risen against us, and the congregation of the violent men see after our souls.

What does Augustine say?

"O God, the transgressors of the law have arisen up against me" (ver. 14). Whom calleth he transgressors of the law? Not the Pagans, who have not received the law: for no one transgresseth that which he hath not received; the Apostle saith clearly, "For where there is no law, there is no prevarication."  Transgressors of the law he calls "prevaricators." Whom then do we understand, brethren? "

Whom indeed brothers? 
Augustine sees in this verse the prevaricators (liars-evaders of the truth) to be the religious proud of the Jewish church who stood against Christ. I see today the apostate clerics and lay scribes who would steal away not only church government and structures, but the very faith of his Church, in order to serve gods of lust, evil, and lies.
There is in our postmodern world a heresy that I will call Gospel of Accommodation. It is one of the greatest lies being preached today. It is found in the false teaching of an Inclusion Theology, with the accommodation of sins which the Bible calls an "abomination". Accommodating our faith to the trends of society is a slippery slope that will lead to one's downfall. It is spawned by the Father of Lies (we hear these clerks and scribes, like Satan in the Garden, deny what God has clearly spoken..."surly God did not say....") This false gospel teaches Jesus as accepting and accommodating of these behaviors, and denies the truth of the Gospel of our Lord as the Righteous and Militant Lord, struggling against sin, yet showing  mercy to the sinner who acknowledges his condition and his need for salvation. They preach peace, but this is an illusion. There will be no peace with sin; this is a struggle that shall find its final victory in the end times when our Lord returns  [Rev 19].
They accuse the traditional and faithful of being intolerant, and they have that right-for we are: intolerant of calling evil good-and good evil; intolerant of civil law that clearly is against all that is grounded in Natural Law; intolerant of lies, slanders, and hypocrisy; intolerant of unfaithful clerks and their chancellors who abuse power, ignore church polity, and persecute the faithful; intolerant of stripping our Lord of his unique role in the salvation of the whole world.. intolerant indeed-thanks be to God!
May God stretch forth his right hand and protect all the members of our band of brothers from every adversary.


Released by Primus Pilus
Legio Christi-Ecclesia Militans
"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another" [St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans 14:19]



The Second Sunday in Lent


Augustine on Psalm XXXVIII
Second Sunday in Lent Home

ALMIGHTY God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves; Keep us both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls; that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Source: Sacrementary of Gregory - Bishop of Rome. [600 AD] The petition is not only for assaults from without, but also from within.

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all those who are penitent; Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

[Archbishop Cranmer 1549 - Collect of Ash Wednesday said daily until Palm Sunday]

Gen x. 44. 37 Psalm 6, 38 | 119:33–72   1 Thessalonians iv. 1. & St. Matthew xv. 21


They also that render evil for good are mine adversaries;
because I follow the thing that good is.
Lent 2 commentary
This week we examine Augustine's treatment of Psalm 38. It is a petition of King David. He suffers from some sort of spiritual and physical malady. David confesses he has sinned.
This is an appropriate psalm for the Lenten season. It is one of the seven penitential psalms used by the Christian Church (psalms 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130). It has 22 verses that correspond to the Hebrew alphabet. Today we look in detail at verse 20.
They also that reward evil for good are against me;
because I follow the thing that good is.
Augustine wrote of this verse:
"They also that render evil for good, were speaking evil of me, because I have pursued the thing that is just". Therefore was it that I was requited evil for good. What is meant by "pursued after the thing that is just"? Not forsaken it. That you might not always understand persecutio in a bad sense, He means by persecutus pursued after, thoroughly followed. "Because I have followed the thing that is just." Hear also our Head crying with a lamentable voice in His Passion: "And they cast Me forth, Thy Darling, even as a dead man in abomination."  Was it not enough that He was "dead"? wherefore "in abomination" also? Because He was crucified. For this death of the Cross was a great abomination in their eyes, as they did not perceive that it was spoken in prophecy, "Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree."  For He did not Himself bring death; but He found it here, propagated from the curse of the first man; and this same death of ours, which had originated in sin, He had taken upon Himself, and hung on the Tree. Lest therefore some persons should think (as some of the Heretics think), that our Lord Jesus Christ had only a false body of flesh; and that the death by which He made satisfaction on the Cross was not a real death, the Prophet notices this, and says, "Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree." He shows then that the Son of God died a true death, the death which was due to mortal flesh: lest if He were not "accursed," you should think that He had not truly died. But since that death was not an illusion, but had descended from that original stock, which had been derived from the curse, when He said, "Ye shall surely die:" and since a true death assuredly extended even to Him, that a true life might extend itself to us, the curse of death also did extend to Him, that the blessing of life might extend even unto us. "And they cast Me forth, Thy Darling, even as a dead man in abomination."

This verse is so appropriate for the Centurion. We remember our motto: Fear God and do what is Right (that is what is just and good). Augustine points out that his version emphasized a pursuit of Good and Just. That is to continually run after or in the way of Good. It is an interesting interpretation, and  one that I think that our Lord would endorse. 
 Jesus called for justice in all that one does. Even as we pursue Good, we not only may, but will err and stray on occasion. Sometimes like David who remembered his sin as he wrote this psalm. Other times like Peter who denied Christ thrice. Life's road is full of landmines and snares. The lures of the modern world are subtle. It is all too easy for one to stray a bit here, and a bit there, without really realizing it. We are by our nature imperfect. So we remain faithful sinners in a state of repentance. We are reminded very much of that during the season of Lent. We cannot maneuver through this pilgrimage with perfect decisions-righteous works. So we pursue justice, but can never master it; we chase the good, and often find it, but not always. We pledge as Christ's soldiers to "endeavor" to do what is right - for that is all to which we may honestly ply our troth.
Augustine speaks also of the heresy in his day of denying Christ's suffering on the Cross. We are not likely to find that today, but the Church has its own 21st Century heretics. In Augustine's day men denied Jesus' human nature; in this day heretics deny his divine nature.  The good that they have received through the teaching of the Church, they return with slanders. They persecute the faithful.  I tell you, they have their reward. [Matt vi.5]


Released by Primus Pilus
Legio Christi-Ecclesia Militans
"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another" [St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans 14:19]



Ember Days and Eusebius


Ember Days
Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at the Four Seasons

O ALMIGHTY God, who hast committed to the hands of men the ministry of reconciliation; We humbly beseech thee, by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, to put it into the hearts of many to offer themselves for this ministry; that thereby mankind may be drawn to thy blessed kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

In Advent, Lent, and Whitsuntide this collect is followed with the seasonal collect

Isaiah lxi. 1, Acts xiii. 44   &   St. Luke iv. 16
Daily Readings for the Four Seasons
Collects, Litany & Hymns
History & Meaning

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me


Ember Days
Eusebius Pamphilius of Caesarea


Eusebius of Casearea (often called Eusebius Pamphili, "Eusebius [the friend of] Pamphilus "; see PAMPHILUS), bishop of Caesarea in Palestine, the father of church history, was born about 275 or 280, place unknown; d. at Caesarea (?), at the latest 340, most probably May 30, 339.

I. Life

Little is known of his youth. He be came acquainted with the presbyter Dorotheus in Antioch and probably received exegetical instruction from him. In 296 he was in Palestine and saw Constantine who visited the country with Diocletian. He was in Caesarea when Agapius was bishop and made the acquaintance of Pamphilus, who became his intimate friend. With him he pursued studies which seem to have related chiefly to the preparation of a correct text of the Bible, with the aid of Origen's Hexapla, and commentaries collected by Pamphilus. In 307 Pamphilus was thrown into prison, but Eusebius continued his intercourse and studies. The fruit of their common labors was an apology for Origen in which Pamphilus and Eusebius collaborated, which was finished by Eusebius after the death of Pamphilus and sent to the martyrs in the mines of Phaeno in Egypt. (see below, IL, ? 5). After the death of Pamphilus, Eusebius seems to have gone to Tyre and later to Egypt, where apparently he first suffered persecution. The charge that he purchased his liberty by sacrificing to the gods is unfounded.

1. Becomes Prominent in the Arian Controversy

Eusebius is next heard of as bishop of Caesarea. He succeeded Agapius, whose time of office is not known, but Eusebius must have become bishop soon after 313. Nothing is known about the first years of his official activity, but with the beginning of the Arian controversies he becomes prominent. Arius appealed to him as his protector, and from a letter of Eusebius to Alexander it is evident that he aided the exiled presbyter (see ARIUS). When the Council of Nicaea met in 325, Eusebius was prominent in its transactions. He was not naturally a leader or a deep thinker, but as a very learned man and well trained in history, at the same time a famous author who enjoyed the special favor of the emperor, he came to the front among the 300 members of the council. The confession which he proposed became the basis of the Nicene formula (see Nicaea, COUNCIL OF). Eusebius was variously implicated in the further development of the Arian controversies, as, for instance, in the dispute with Eustathius of Antioch (q.v.). Eustathius combated the continually growing influence of Origen and his allegorizing exegesis, seeing in his theology the roots of Arianism. Eusebius, on the other hand, was an admirer of Origen, and employed the same principles in his exegesis. Eustathius reproached Eusebius for deviating from the Nicene faith, and was charged in turn with Sabellianism. Eustathius was accused, condemned and deposed at a synod in Antioch. The people of Antioch, always prone to disturbances, rebelled against this action, while the anti-Eustathians proposed Eusebius as the new bishop, but he declined.

After Eustathius had been removed, the Eusebians proceeded against Athanasius, a much more dangerous opponent. In 334 he was summoned before a synod in Caesarea; he did not attend, however, distrusting his opponents. In the following year he was again summoned before a synod in Tyre at which Eusebius presided. Athanasius, divining the result, went to Constantinople to bring his cause before the emperor. The emperor called the bishops to his court, among them Eusebius. Athanasius was condemned and exiled at the end of 335. At the same synod, another opponent was successfully attacked. Marcellus of Ancyra (q.v.) had long opposed the Eusebians, and had only lately protested against the reinstitution of Arius. He was accused of Sabellianism and deposed in the beginning of 336. Constantine died the next year and Eusebius did not long survive him.

II. Works

Of the extensive literary activity of Eusebius, a relatively large portion has been preserved. Although posterity suspected him of Arianism, Eusebius had made himself indispensable by his method of authorship; his comprehensive and careful excerpts from original sources saved his successors the painstaking labor of research. Hence much has been preserved which otherwise would have been destroyed. The literary productions of Eusebius reflect on the whole the course of his life. At first he occupied himself with works on Biblical criticism, under the influence of Pamphilus and probably of Dorotheus of the School of Antioch. Afterward the persecutions under Diocletian and Galerius directed his attention to the martyrs of his own time and the past. And this led him to the history of the whole Church and finally to the history of the world, which to him was only a preparation for ecclesiastical history. Then followed the time of the Arian controversies, and dogmatic questions came into the foreground. Christianity at last found recognition by the State; and this brought new problems-- apologies of a different sort had to be prepared. Lastly, Eusebius, the court theologian, wrote eulogies in praise of the first "Christian" emperor. To all this activity must be added numerous writings of a miscellaneous nature, addresses, letters, and the like, and exegetical works which include both commentaries and treatises on Biblical archeology and extend over the whole of his life.

1. Works on Biblical Text Criticism

Pamphilus and Eusebius occupied themselves with the text criticism of the Old Testament (Septuagint) and especially of the New Testament. An edition of the Septuagint seems to have been already prepared by Origen, which, according to Jerome, was revised and circulated by Eusebius and Pamphilus. For an easier survey of the material of the four Evangelists, Eusebius divided his edition of the New Testament into paragraphs and provided it with a synoptical table so that it might be easier to find the pericopes which belong together (see BIBLE TEXT, II., ? 4).

2. The "Chronicle"

The two greatest historical works of Eusebius are his "Chronicle" and his "Church History." The former (Gk. Pantodape historia, "Universal History ") is divided into two parts. The first part (Gk. Chronographia, "Annals") purports to give an epitome of universal history from the sources, arranged according to nations. The second part (Gk. Chronikoi kanones, "Chronological Canons") attempts to furnish a synchronism of the historical material in parallel columns. The work as a whole has been lost in the original, but it may be reconstructed from later chronographists of the Byzantine school who made excerpts from the work with untiring diligence, especially Georgius Syncellus. The tables of the second part have been completely preserved in a Latin translation by Jerome, and both parts are still extant in an Armenian translation, but these translations do not possess great value on account of numerous interpolations. The "Chronicle" as preserved extends to the year 325. It was written before the " Church History." 3. The "Church History" In his "Church History," Eusebius attempted according to his own declaration (I., i. 1) to present the history of the Church from the apostles to his own time, with special regard to the following points: (1) the successions of bishops in the principal sees; (2) the history of Christian teachers; (3) the history of heresies; (4) the history of the Jews; (5) the relations to the heathen; (6) the martyrdoms (L, i. 1-3). He grouped his material according to the reigns of the emperors, presenting it as he found it in his sources. The contents are as follows: After a detailed introduction, which treats of Jesus Christ (book i.), comes the history of the apostolic time to the capture of Jerusalem (book ii.); then the following time to Trajan (book iii.); books iv. and v. treat of the second century; book vi. of the time from Severus to Decius; book vii. extends to the outbreak of the persecution under Diocletian; book viii. treats of this persecution; book ix. brings the history to the victory over Maxentius in the West and over Maximinus in the East; book x. relates the reestablishment of the churches and the rebellion and conquest of Licinius. In its present form the work was brought to a conclusion before the death of Crispus (July, 326), and, since book x. is dedicated to Paulinus of Tyre who died before 325, at the end of 323 or in 324. This work required the most comprehensive preparatory studies, and it must have occupied him for years. His collection of martyrdoms of the older period (see below, ? 4) may have been one of these preparatory studies. The authenticity of Eusebius's "Church History" is beyond dispute. Every new discovery shows anew the conscientious, careful and intelligent use of the libraries of Caesarea and Jerusalem.

4. Minor Historical Works

Before he compiled his church history, Eusebius edited a collection of martyrdoms of the earlier period and a biography of Pamphilus. The martyrology has not survived as a whole, but it has been preserved almost completely in parts. It contained (1) an epistle of the congregation of Smyrna concerning the martyrdom of Polycarp; (2) the martyrdom of Pionius; (3) the martyrdoms of Carpus, Papylus, and Agathonike; (4) the martyrdoms in the congregations of Vienne and Lyons; (5) the martyrdom of Apollonius. Of the life of Pamphilus only a fragment survives. A work on the martyrs of Palestine in the time of Diocletian was composed after 311; numerous fragments are scattered in legendaries which still have to be collected. The life of Constantine was compiled after the death of the emperor and the election of his sons at Augusti (337). It is more a rhetorical eulogy on the emperor than a history, but is of great value on account of numerous documents incorporated in it.

5. Apologetic and Dogmatic Works

To the class of apologetic and dogmatic works belong: (1) the "Apology for Origen," the first five books of which, according to the definite statement of Photius, were written by Pamphilus in prison, with the assistance of Eusebius. Eusebius added the sixth book after the death of Pamphilus. We possess only a translation of the first book, made by Rufinus; (2) a treatise against Hierocles (a Roman governor and Neoplatonic philosopher), in which Eusebius combated the former's glorification of Apollonius of Tyana in a work entitled "A Truth-loving Discourse " (Gk. Philalethes logos); (3) and (4) the two prominent and closely connected works commonly known by the Latin titles Praeparatio evangelica and Demonstratio evangelica, the first attempts to prove the excellence of Christianity over every pagan religion and philosophy. The Praeparatio consists of fifteen books which have been completely preserved. Eusebius considered it an introduction to Christianity for heathen. The Demonstratio comprised originally twenty books of which ten have been completely preserved and a fragment of the fifteenth. Here Eusebius treats of the person of Jesus Christ. The work was probably finished before 311; (5) another work which originated in the time of the persecution, entitled "Prophetic Extracts" (Eklogai prophetikai). It discusses in four books the Messianic texts of Holy Scripture; (6) the treatise "On Divine Manifestation" (Peri theophaneias), dating from a much later time. It treats of the incarnation of the Divine Logos, and its contents are in many cases identical with the Demonstratio evangelica. Only fragments are preserved; (7) the polemical treatise "Against Marcellus," dating from about 337; (8) a supplement to the last-named work, entitled "On the Theology of the Church," in which he defended the Nicene doctrine of the Logos against the party of Athanasius. A number of writings, belonging in this category, have been entirely lost.

6. Exegetical and Miscellaneous Works.

Of the exegetical works of Eusebius nothing has been preserved in its original form. The so-called commentaries are based upon late manuscripts copied from fragments of catenae. A more comprehensive work of an exegetical nature, preserved only in fragments, is entitled "On the Differences of the Gospels" and was written for the purpose of harmonizing the contradictions in the reports of the different Evangelists. It was also for exegetical purposes that Eusebius wrote his treatises on Biblical archeology, viz.: (1) a work on the Greek equivalents of Hebrew Gentilic nouns; (2) a description of old Judea with an account of the lots of the ten tribes; (3) a plan of Jerusalem and the temple of Solomon. These three treatises have been lost. A work entitled " On the Names of Places in the Holy Scriptures," an alphabetical list of place names, is still in existence. Further mention is to be made of addresses and sermons some of which have been preserved, e.g., a sermon on the consecration of the church in Tyre, and an address on the thirtieth anniversary of the reign of Constantine (336). Of the letters of Eusebius only a few fragments are extant.

III. Estimate of Eusebius

1. His Doctrine.

From a dogmatic point of view, Eusebius stands entirely upon the shoulders of Origen. Like Origen, he started from the fundamental thought of the absolute sovereignty (monarchia) of God. God is the cause of all beings. But he is not merely a cause; in him everything good is included, from him all life originates, and he is the source of all virtue. He is the highest God to whom Christ is subject as the second God. God sent Christ into the world that it may partake of the blessings included in the essence of God. Christ is the only really good creature, he possesses the image of God and is a ray of the eternal light; but the figure of the ray is so limited by Eusebius that he expressly emphasizes the self-existence of Jesus. Eusebius was intent upon emphasizing the difference of the persona of the Trinity and maintaining the subordination of Jesus to God (he never calls him theos) because in all contrary attempts he suspected polytheism or Sabellianism. Jesus is a creature of God whose generation, it is true, took place before time. Jesus is in his activity the organ of God, the creator of life, the principle of every revelation of God, who in his absoluteness is enthroned above all the world. This divine Logos assumed a human body without being altered thereby in any way in his being. The relation of the Holy Spirit within the Trinity Eusebius explained similarly to that of the Son to the Father. No point of this doctrine is original with Eusebius, all is traceable to his teacher Origen. The lack of originality in his thinking shows itself in the fact that he never presented his thoughts in a system. He lacked a leading idea.

2. His Excellencies and Limitations

The limitations of Eusebius are closely connected with his gifts. His time justly considered him its most learned man. A list of the sources he used for his church history would show what an amount of work had to be done to elaborate and sift the mass of material. But the learning of Eusebius can not be measured with that of Origen. Origen was a productive spirit, Eusebius a compiler. Eusebius, however, distinguished himself by his carefulness. A man like Eusebius was not without weight in the time when barbarian nations began to invade the Church in large masses. In the time which followed nobody excelled him in learning. Church historians were able to copy him, but they could not supply his place. As a writer he can not be highly estimated. His style is without grace and brilliancy, his phraseology often monotonous, and his rhetoric cumbrous.



 Prayer of Eusebius

"May I be no man's enemy, and may I be the friend of that which is eternal and abides. May I never quarrel with those nearest me; and if I do, may I be reconciled quickly. May I wish for all people's happiness and envy none. May I never rejoice in the ill-fortune of one who has wronged me. When I have done or said what is wrong, may I never wait for the rebuke of others, but always rebuke myself until I make amends. May I win no victory that harms either me or my opponent. May I reconcile friends who are angry with one another. May I, to the extent of my power, give all needful help to my friends and to all who are in want. May I never fail a friend in danger. When visiting those in grief may I be able by gentle and healing words to soften their pain. May I accustom myself to be gentle, and never be angry with people because of  circumstances. Amen."

Released by Primus Pilus
Legio Christi-Ecclesia Militans
"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another" [St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans 14:19]