Early Church Fathers
11 Though Sabellius was the originator of one of the earliest and most plausible attempts at explanation of the mystery of the Trinity (for which see life of Sabellius in Smith and Wace, Dict. of Christian Biog., and Hodge, System. Theol. Vol. I. p. 452, 459), nothing is known of him, not even why he is called a Libyan here (also by other ancient writers, e.g. Philastrius, de Haeres. 26, and Asterius, quoted by Phot. Biblioth. Cod. 27). Some say that he was a native and resident of Libya, others that he was an ecclesiastic appointed to some position there; nor is it known whether the Libya meant is the Libyan Pentapolis or the Pentapolitan Ptolemais.
12 npostasi/. Through the Arian controversy this word is used in its metaphysical sense of `real nature of a thing as underlying and supporting its outward form and properties0'; hence it is equivalent to the Latin substantia, Eng. essence and Greek onsia. Cf. below III. 7. Later it was applied to the `special or characteristic nature of a thing,0' and so became the very opposite of onsia (the general nature); hence equivalent to person.
13 Eph. iv. 3.
14 1 Cor. xii. 26.
15 ec onk ontwn gegonen, lit. `came into existence from nothing.0'
16 2 Cor. vi. 14.
17 John i. 1-3, John i. 18..
18 Ps. xliv. 1, according to the LXX.
19 7 9Ewsforon, the morning-star; taken from Ps. cix. 3. Cf. the LXX, quoted from Ps. lxxii.
20 Col. i. 15.
21 Heb. i. 3.
22 John xiv. 10.
23 John x. 30.
24 Mal. iii. 6.
25 Heb. xiii. 8.
26 Heb. ii. 10.
27 John x. 15.
28 Prov. xviii. 3, according to the LXX.
29 2 Tim. ii. 17, 2 Tim. ii. 18.
30 Matt. xxiv. 4.
31 Luke xxi. 8.
32 Tim. iv. 1; Tit. i. 14.
33 2 John 10, 11.
34 Valesius makes the assertion that Socrates is mistaken here, that the Melitians joined themselves to the Arians after the council of Nicaea, and were induced by Eusebius, bishop of Nicomedia, to cast slanderous aspersion upon Athanasius, as he himself testifies in his second apology against the Arians. It appears unlikely that the Fathers of the Nicene Council would have treated the Melitians as leniently as they did had they sided with Arius before the council.
35 Euseb. Life of Const. II. 64-72.
36 sunodoj; lit., `coming together.0'
37 koinwniaj sunqhma = sumbolon thj pistewj. Cf. Eus. Life of Const II 10.
38 For the textual variation at this place, see Valesius, note.
39 sunodou koinwnian.
40 airesewj sunesij: lit. `understanding of heresy.0' On the various uses of the word airesij, see Sophocles, Greek Lex. of the Rom. and Byz. Periods. Here it evidently means the common creed of the whole Church looked at as a sect.
41 nomoj, used in analogy to the law of the Old Testament. The law here is the ethical system of Christianity.
42 timion, `honor.0'
43 tou kreittonoj: for this use of the word, see Eus. Life of Const. II. 24 et al.; Greg. Naz. III. 1101 B; Jul. 398 A; Clem. Hom. V. 5.
44 Socrates' lack of theological training can be inferred from his admiration for this rather superficial letter of Constantine's; so also the rudimentary character of Constantine's views of Gospel truth and his want of appreciation for the vital nature of the question in the Arian controversy. It may be noted, however, that the statesmanship shown in the tone and recommendations of the letter is just as farsighted as the theology of it is superficial. Constantine had sought to unite the empire through the church, and now that very church threatened to disrupt the empire; and this, at the very time, when by his final victory over Licinius and the foundation of his new capital, he seemed to have realized the ideal of a reunited empire.
45 Cf. the parallel account in Sozom. I. 17.
46 In a single sentence this controversy was as to whether the Easter should be observed on a fixed day in every year or on the 14th of the lunar month Nisan of the Jews, on whatever day of the week that might happen to fall. For a fuller discussion of the controversy, see Smith's Dict. of the Bible, and the literature there referred to.
47 oikoumenikhn: hence this is called the first Ecumenical Council.
48 Euseb. Life of Const. III. 7-9.
49 Hosius mentioned before in chap. 7.
50 According to Valesius, who follows Musculus, the prelate here meant was the bishop of Rome. The reason alleged is that at the time of the meeting of the council, Constantinople had not yet been made the `imperial city.0' But considering the general indifference of Socrates to the affairs of the Western Church, and the fact that when he wrote, the imperial city was actually Constantinople, it is very probable that it is the bishop of that city he means to name here, and not the bishop of Rome.
51 Acts ii. 5-11.
52 The exact number is variously given as 250 by Eusebius (Life of Const. III. 8); 270 by Eustathius; 318 by Evagrius (H. E. III. 31); Athanasius (Ep. to the African bishops); Hilarius (Contra Constantium); Jerome (Chronicon), and Rufinus.
53 Young priests; lit. `followers,0' from akolouqoj.
54 tw mesw tropw: besides the meaning given to these words here they may be taken (1) as describing the temperate and genial character of the men so characterized, on the assumption that mesoj = metrioj as often elsewhere, or (2) as applicable to those who occupied the middle ground in the controversy; of these, (2) is not admissible, as nothing has been said in the immediate context about the controversy, and as age is the main basis of classification in the passage (1) also is less probable than the rendering given above.
56 eij twn omologhtwn: the term omologhthj was applied to those who during the persecutions had refused to sacrifice to idols, persisting in his profession of Christianity in spite of suffering. Cf. Clem. Strom. IV. 12; Petr. Alex. Epist. Can. 14.
57 Euseb. Life of Const. III. 13.
58 The Passover, or Easter.
59 Macedonian = follower of Macedonius, not a native resident of Macedonia. Sabinus was the author of a collection of the acts of the Synod used by Socrates quite freely (cf. I. 9; II. 15, 17 et al.). Socrates, however, criticises for prejudice against the orthodox. Sabinus was bishop of the church of the Macedonians in Heraclea, a city in Thrace.
60 This is according to the reading of Valesius Hussey, and Bright. The reading, `our Lord,0' &c., of the English translations in Bagster and Bohn's series is probably a typographical error, though strangely perpetuated down to the reprint of 1888.
61 omoousion, `of the same essence0'; the word has become a historic landmark in theological debate, and one of the stock words of theological terminology.
62 This creed is found twelve times in eleven ancient sources, two versions being given in the Acts of the Council of Chalcedon. The second version of the Council of Chalcedon contains certain additions from the creed of Constantinople; all the rest substantially agree. Cf. Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, Vol. I. p. 24, and Vol. II. p. 50, 91; Walch, Antiquitates Symbolicae (1772), p. 87 seq.; Hahn, Bibliothek der Symbole, p. 40-107, and other literature referred to in Schaff's Creeds, &c.
63 kathxhsei; the word is used of the steps preliminary to baptism, chief among which was instruction in the truth. Cf. VII. 17, and Smith's Dict. of the Bible.
64 prwtotokon pashj ktisewj, taken from Col. i, 15. For the uses of prwtoj instead of proteroj, see John i. 15.
65 maqhteusate, from Matt. xxviii. 19.
66 to maqhma: lit. `lesson.0'