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The Life Of The Blessed Emperor Constantine -Eusebius Pamphilus

IN this manner that Spirit who is the hater of good, actuated by envy at the blessing enjoyed by the Church, continued to raise against her the stormy troubles of intestine discord, in the midst of a period of peace and joy. Meanwhile, however, the divinely-favoured emperor engaged in no careless spirit in the duties which became his station, but exhibited in his whole conduct a direct contrast to those atrocities of which the cruel tyrants had been lately guilty, and thus triumphed over every enemy that opposed him. For in the first place, the tyrants, being themselves alienated from the true God, had enforced by every compulsion the worship of false deities: Constantine convinced mankind by actions as well as words, that these had but an imaginary existence, and exhorted them to acknowledge the only true God. They had derided His Christ with words of blasphemy: he assumed that as his safeguard against which they launched their impious invectives, and gloried in the symbol of the Saviour’s passion. They had persecuted and driven into houseless exile, the servants of Christ: he recalled them every one, and restored them to their native homes. They had covered them with dishonour: he made their condition honourable and enviable in the eyes of all. The tyrants had shamefully plundered and sold the goods of godly men: Constantine not only replaced this loss, but still further enriched them with abundant presents. They had circulated injurious calumnies, through their written ordinances, against the prelates of the Church: he, on the contrary, conferred dignity on these individuals by personal marks of honour, and by his edicts and statutes raised them to higher distinction than before. They had utterly demolished and razed to the ground the houses of prayer: he commanded that those which still existed should be enlarged, and that new ones should be raised on a magnificent scale at the expense of the imperial treasury. They had ordered the inspired records to be burnt and destroyed: he decreed that copies of them should be multiplied, and magnificently adorned at the charge of the imperial treasury. They had strictly forbidden the prelates, any where or on any occasion, to convene synods; whereas he gathered them to his court from every province, invited them to his palace, gave them constant access to his person, and admitted them to a share of his imperial hospitality. The tyrants had honoured the demons with offerings: Constantine exposed their frauds, and continually distributed the now useless materials for sacrifice, to those who would apply them to a better use. They had ordered the pagan temples to be sumptuously adorned: he razed to their foundations those of them which had been the chief objects of superstitious reverence. They had subjected God’s servants to the most ignominious punishments: he took vengeance on the persecutors, and inflicted on them just chastisement in the name of God, while he held the memory of His holy martyrs in constant veneration. They had driven God’s worshippers from the imperial palaces: he placed full confidence in them at all times, and esteemed them more zealous and faithful than any beside. They, the victims of avarice, voluntarily subjected themselves as it were to the pangs of Tantalus: he with royal magnificence unlocked all his treasures, and distributed his gifts with rich and high-souled liberality. The tyrants had been stained with the guilt of countless murders, that they might plunder or confiscate the wealth of their victims; while throughout the reign of Constantine the sword of justice hung idle every where, and both people and municipal magistrates in every province, were rather constrained by a paternal authority than governed by the stringent power of the laws. Surely it must seem to all who duly regard these facts, that a new and fresh era of existence had begun to appear, and a light heretofore unknown suddenly to dawn from the midst of darkness on the human race: and all must confess that these things were entirely the work of God, who raised up this pious emperor to withstand the multitude of the ungodly.



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





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