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The Life Of The Blessed Emperor Constantine -Eusebius Pamphilus

THE Translator desires to present the following pages to the English reader, as, in many respects, an interesting memorial of that eventful period in the world’s history to which they mainly refer.

At the same time he would earnestly disclaim any intention of hereby sanctioning the thought, too commonly entertained, that the general external profession of Christianity by the nations of the Roman empire at this period is to be regarded as a distinct blessing from the hand of God.

If it be contended that the vision of the Cross (which stands forth as the emperor’s warrant for the authoritative promulgation of Christianity as the religion of the world) is to be received as a true miracle, because no evidence can be adduced to prove the contrary, we need not fear to concede the point. We must, however, be permitted seriously to question whether this miracle, the ostensible object of which was the compulsory establishment, by the sword of war wherever necessary, of the religion of the Prince of Peace, can be received as of heavenly origin; though doubtless permitted by Him who is able to cause the worst manifestations of human or Satanic evil to subserve the purposes of His own all-wise and sovereign will.

Regard for historic truth will surely rather lead us to revert to the public assumption by Constantine of the title of a Christian emperor, as the point of time from which the comparatively dormant principles of worldly greatness, pride, and superstition, which afterwards pervaded and corrupted Gentile Christianity, started as it were into life, and attained a fearfully rapid maturity.

Viewed as a sketch of the circumstances which conspired to usher in this most momentous era in the history of visible Christianity, the “Life of Constantine” stands invested with a peculiar and a solemn interest:—from any more delusive estimate of those circumstances, it is hoped that the instructed and humble Christian will mercifully be preserved.

Of the two orations subjoined to the work, that of Constantine, replete as it is with arguments tending to the exaltation of Christianity and the overthrow of idol worship, yet betrays the credulity of the imperial champion, or that of his age, in the prophetic inspiration therein ascribed to the fictitious Sibylline acrostic, and the verses of a heathen poet.

The elaborate oration of Eusebius, in praise of Constantine, will not be without its value, as a fair and favourable specimen of the learned Author’s style and eloquence.



Image or Constantine is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic license. Attribution: I, Jean-Christophe Benoist





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