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The Life Of The Blessed Emperor Constantine -Eusebius Pamphilus

WHEREFORE, if it is the duty of any one, it certainly is mine, to make an ample proclamation of his virtues to all in whom the example of noble actions is capable of inspiring the love of God. For some, who have written the lives of worthless characters, and the history of actions but little tending to the improvement of morals, from private motives either of gratitude or enmity, and possibly in some cases with no better object than the display of their own learning, have given an undue importance to their description of actions intrinsically base, by a refinement and elegance of diction. And thus they have communicated to others, who by the Divine favour had been kept apart from evil, the knowledge of conduct not only vile in itself, but deserving rather to be silenced in darkness and oblivion. But the course of my narrative, however unequal to the greatness of the deeds it has to describe, will yet derive lustre even from the bare relation of noble actions. And surely the record of conduct that has been pleasing to God will afford a far from unprofitable, indeed a most instructive occupation, to persons of well-ordered minds.

It is my intention, however, to pass over very many of the royal deeds of this thrice blessed prince; as, for example, his conflicts and engagements in the field, his personal valour, his victories and successes against the enemy, and the many triumphs he obtained: likewise his provisions for the interests of individuals, his legislative enactments for the social advantage of his subjects, and a multitude of other imperial labours which are fresh in the memory of all.

The design of my present undertaking leads me to speak and write of those circumstances only which have reference to his religious character: and, since these are themselves of almost infinite variety, I shall select from the facts which have come to my knowledge such as are most suitable, and worthy of lasting record, and endeavour to narrate them as briefly as possible. Henceforward indeed there is a full and free opportunity for celebrating in every way the praises of this most blessed prince, which hitherto we have been unable to do, on the ground that we are forbidden to judge any one blessed before his death, because of the uncertain vicissitudes of life. Let me implore then the help of God, and may the inspiring aid of the heavenly Word be with me, while I commence my history from the very earliest period of his life.



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





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