Eunomius

, an Arian heretic of the fourth century, was born at Dacora, a town of Cappadocia and was the son of a peasant but not relishing a country life, he went to Constantinople, and afterwards to Alexandria, where he became the disciple and secretary of Ætius, but was abundantly more subtle than his master, as well as more bold in propagating the doctrines of his sect, who have since been called Eunomians. He then returned to Antioch, where he was ordained a deacon by Eudoxius, bishop of that place; but being sent to defend Eudoxius against Basil of Ancyra, before the emperor Constantius, he was seized upon the road by the partisans of Basil, and banished to Mida, a town, of Phrygia. He returned to Constantinople, and in the year 360 was made bishop of Cyzicum, by his protector Eudoxius, who advised him to conceal his doctrines: but Eunomius was incapable of following this | advice, and gave so much disturbance to the church by the intemperance of his zeal, that Eudoxius himself, by the order of Constantius, was obliged to depose him from his bishopric, and he was that year banished again. He retired to a house "which he had in Chalcedonia, where he concealed the tyrant Procopius in the year 365, and being accused by the emperor Valens of having afforded shelter to his enemy, was by him banished a third time to Mauritania. Valens, bishop of Mursa, got him recalled; and he was next banished to the isle of Naxos, for disturbing the peace of the church. He again returned to Chalcedonia; but Theodosius the elder obliged him to quit that place, and sent him first to Halmyris, a desert of Mossia, near the Danube, and afterwards to Caesarea of Cappadocia; where, however, the inhabitants would not suffer him to continue, because he had formerly written against Basil, their bishop. Tired, at length, with being thus tossed about, he petitioned to retreat to the place of his birth; where he died very old, about the year 394, after having experienced great variety of sufferings.

Eunomius wrote many works; and his writings were so highly esteemed by his followers, that they thought their authority preferable to that of the gospels. The greatest part of them are lost: there is, however, besides two or three small pieces, “a confession of his faith” still remaining, which Cave took from a ms. in archbp. Tenison’s library, and inserted into his “Historia Literaria,” and Whiston afterwards published it in his “Primitive Christianity revived.” The substance of his opinions is, “There is one. God, uncreate and without beginning; who has nothing existing before him for nothing can exist before what is uncreate nor with him, for what is uncreate must be one; nor in him, for God is a simple and uncompounded being. This one, simple and eternal being, is God the creator and ordainer of all things: first indeed, and principally of his only begotten Son, and then through him of all other things. For God begot, created, -and made the Son only, by his own direct operation and power, before all things and every other creature; not producing however any other being like himself, nor imparting any of his own proper substance to the Son: for God is immortal, uniform, indivisible, and therefore cannot communicate any part of his own proper substance to another. He alone is unbegotten; and it is impossible that any other being | should be formed of an unbegotten substance. He did not use his own substance in begetting the Son, but his will only; nor did he beget him in the likeness of his substance, but according to his own good pleasure. He then created the Holy Spirit, the first and greatest of all spirits by his own power indeed and operation mediately, yet by the immediate power and operation of the Son. After the Holy Spirit, he created all other things in heaven and in earth, visible and invisible, corporeal and incorporeal, mediately by himself, by the power and operation of the Son, &c. &c.1

1

Cave, vol. I.—Lardner’s Works.—Moreri.—Saxii Onomast.