Monthly Archives: June 2016

Wiles of the Devil

“Like brilliant lights the churches were now illuminating the world, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ was flourishing everywhere when the Devil, who hates what is good, true, and saving, turned all his weapons against the church. Previously he had attacked her from the outside through persecutions, but now that he was prevented, he resorted to internal tactics [i.e. heresy], using wicked impostors as corrupt agents of destruction [e.g. the Gnostics], assuming the name of our religion to destroy every believer they could ensnare while deflecting unbelievers from the path that leads to salvation” (Eusebius, The Church History, Translated by Paul L. Maier, 139).


“Nero sent Festus as [Felix’s] successor, and Paul was tried before him and brought as prisoner to Rome. Aristarchus went with him, whom he called his fellow prisoner in his epistles [Col. 4:10]. And at this point Luke, who wrote the Acts of the Apostles, finished his story with the statement that Paul spent two whole years in Rome in free custody, preaching without hindrance. After defending himself [successfully], the apostle is said to have set out again on the ministry of preaching and, coming a second time to the same city, found fulfillment in martyrdom. During this imprisonment he composed the second epistle to Timothy, mentioning both his earlier defense as well as his impending fulfillment” (Eusebius, The Church History, Translated by Paul L. Maier, 80).

The Un-Chaining of the Children of Light

“Thus the saving word started to brighten the whole world like rays of the sun. In every city and village, churches mushroomed, crowded with myriads of members. Those chained by superstition and idolatry found release through the power of Christ as well as the teaching and wonderful deeds of his followers. Rejecting demonic polytheism, they confessed the one God and Creator of the universe whom they honored with the rational worship implanted by our Savior” (Eusebius, The Church History, Translated by Paul L. Maier, 61).

Meditate on the Abundance of Creation

“Meanwhile let us not be ashamed to take pious delight in the works of God open and manifest in this most beautiful theater. For, as I have elsewhere said, although it is not the chief evidence for faith, yet it is the first evidence in the order of nature, to be mindful that wherever we cast our eyes, all things they meet are works of God, and at the same time to ponder with pious meditation to what end God created them. Therefore, that we may apprehend with true faith what it profits us to know of God, it is important for us to grasp first the history of the creation of the universe, as it has been set forth briefly by Moses [Gen., chs. 1 and 2], and then has been more fully illustrated by saintly men, especially by Basil and Ambrose. From this history we shall learn that God by the power of his Word and Spirit created heaven and earth out of nothing; that thereupon he brought forth living beings and inanimate things of every kind, that in a wonderful series he distinguished an innumerable variety of things, that he endowed each kind with its own nature, assigned functions, appointed places and stations; and that, although all were subject to corruption, he nevertheless provided for the preservation of each species until the Last Day. We shall likewise learn that he nourishes some in secret ways, and, as it were, from time to time instills new vigor into them; on others he has conferred the power of propagating, lest by their death the entire species perish; that he has so wonderfully adorned heaven and earth with as unlimited abundance, variety, and beauty of all things as could possibly be, quite like a spacious and splendid house, provided and filled with the most exquisite and at the same time the most abundant furnishings. Finally, we shall learn that in forming man and in adorning him with such goodly beauty, and with such great and numerous gifts, he put him forth as the most excellent example of his works. But since it is not my purpose to recount the creation of the universe, let it be enough for me to have touched upon these few matters again in passing. For it is better, as I have already warned my readers, to seek a fuller understanding of this passage from Moses and from others who have faithfully and diligently recorded the narrative of Creation [Gen., chs. 1 adn 2]” (John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Translated by Ford Lewis Battles, 179-180).

Simon Magus

“Philip, however, one of those who had been ordained with Stephen to the diaconate, was among those dispersed. He went to Samaria and, filled with divine power, was the first to preach the word there. So great was the divine grace at work with him that even Simon Magus and many others were captivated by his words. Simon had gained such fame by the wizardry with which he controlled his victims that he was believed to be the Great Power of God. But even he was so overwhelmed by the wonders Philip performed through divine power that he insinuated himself [into the faith], hypocritically feigning belief in Christ even to the point of baptism. (This is still done by those who continue his foul heresy to the present day [e.g., “Simony”]: following the practice of their progenitor, they fasten on to the church like a noxious and scabby disease, destroying all whom they succeed in smearing with the dreadful, deadly poison hidden in them. But most of these have been expelled by now, just as Simon himself paid the proper punishment once his real nature was exposed by Peter.)” (Eusebius, The Church History, Translated by Paul L. Maier, 59)

Know Thy Enemy and Stand Your Ground

“We have been forewarned that an enemy relentlessly threatens us [cf. Ephesians 6:12-13], an enemy who is the very embodiment of rash boldness, of military prowess, of crafty wiles, of untiring zeal and haste, of every conceivable weapon and of skill in the science of warfare. We must, then, bend our every effort to this goal: that we should not let ourselves be overwhelmed by carelessness or faintheartedness, but on the contrary, with courage rekindled stand our ground in combat. Since this military service ends only at death, let us urge ourselves to perseverance” (John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Translated by Ford Lewis Battles, 173).

The Father of Church History

“. . . I am attempting to traverse as it were a lonely and untrodden path. I pray that I may have God as my guide and the power of the Lord as my aid, since I am unable to find even the bare footsteps of those who have traveled the way before me, except in brief fragments, in which some in one way, others in another, have transmitted to us particular accounts of the times in which they lived” (Eusebius, The Church History, Translated by Arthur McGiffert, I.I.4.).

“This work seems to me of especial importance because I know of no ecclesiastical writer who has devoted himself to this subject; and I hope that it will appear most useful to those who are fond of historical research” (I.I.6.)

Salvation: By Christ Alone

“Moreover, since Christ is said to be ‘the way, the truth, and the life’ (John 14.6), and that categorically, so that whatever is not Christ is not the way, but error, not truth, but untruth, not life, but death, it follows of necessity that ‘free-will’, inasmuch as it neither is Christ, nor is in Christ, is fast bound in error, and untruth, and death” (Martin Luther, The Bondage of the Will, 305).