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The Life Of The Blessed Emperor Constantine -Eusebius Pamphilus

THE emperor’s next care was to kindle, as it were, a brilliant torch, by the light of which he directed his imperial gaze around, to see if any hidden vestiges of error might still exist. And as the keen-sighted eagle in its heaven-ward flight, is able to descry from its lofty height the most distant objects on the earth, so did he, while residing in the imperial palace of his own fair city, discover as from a watch-tower a hidden and fatal snare of souls in the province of Phœnicia. This was a grove and temple, not situated in the midst of any city, nor in any public place (as mostly is the case with a view to splendour of effect), but apart from the beaten and frequented road, at Aphaca, on part of the summit of Mount Libanus, and dedicated to the foul demon known by the name of Venus. It was a school of wickedness for all the abandoned votaries of sensuality and impurity. Here men undeserving of the name forgot the dignity of their sex, and propitiated the demon by their effeminate conduct; here too unlawful commerce of women and adulterous intercourse, with other horrible and infamous practices, were perpetrated in this temple as in a place beyond the scope and restraint of law. Meantime these evils remained unchecked by the presence of any observer, since no one of fair character ventured to visit such scenes. These proceedings, however, could not escape the vigilance of our august emperor, who, having himself inspected them with characteristic forethought, and judging that such a temple was unfit for the light of heaven, gave orders that the building with its offerings should be utterly destroyed. Accordingly, in obedience to the imperial command, these engines of an abandoned superstition were immediately abolished, and the hand of military force was made instrumental in purging the impurities of the place. And now those who had heretofore lived without restraint found an inducement to modesty in the emperor’s threat of punishment, as did also those superstitious Gentiles who had boasted in their fancied wisdom, but now obtained experimental proof of their own vanity and folly.



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





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