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The Life Of The Blessed Emperor Constantine -Eusebius Pamphilus

GOD, who is ever above all existence, and the good which all things desire, has no origin, and therefore no beginning, being Himself the originator of all things which receive existence. But He who proceeds from Him is again united to Him; and this separation from and union with Him is not local, but intellectual in its character. For this generation was accompanied by no diminution of the Father’s substance (as existence is derived according to the ordinary course of nature), but was consequent upon that disposition of Divine Providence which manifested the Saviour to be the director of this visible world, and all the works contained therein. From hence, then, is the source of existence and life to all things which are within the compass of this world; hence proceed the soul, and every sense; hence those faculties through which the actions prompted by the senses are perfectly performed. What, then, is the object of this argument? To prove that there is One director of all things that exist, and that all things, whether in heaven or on earth, both natural and organized bodies, are subject to His single sovereignty. For if the dominion of these things, numberless as they are, were in the hands, not of one but of many, there must be a partition and distribution of the elements, and the old fables would be true; jealousy, too, and ambition, striving for superior power, would shake the harmonious concord of the whole, while each of the many masters would regulate in a manner different from the rest the portion subject to his control. The fact, however, that this universal order is ever one and the same, is the proof that it is under the care of a superior Power, and that its origin cannot be ascribed to chance. Else how could the author of universal nature ever be known? To whom first, or last, could prayers and supplications be addressed? Whom could I choose as the object of my worship, without being guilty of impiety towards the rest? Again, if haply I desired to obtain some temporal blessing, should I not, while expressing my gratitude to the Power who favoured my request, convey a reproach to him who opposed it? Or to whom should I pray, when desiring to know the cause of my calamity, and to obtain deliverance? Or let us suppose that the answer is given by oracles and prophecies, but that the case is not within the scope of their authority, being the province of some other deity. Where then is mercy? where is the provident care of God for the human race? Unless, indeed, some more benevolent Power, assuming a hostile attitude against another who has no such feeling, be disposed to accord me his protection. Hence anger, division, mutual censure, and finally universal confusion, would ensue, while each departed from his proper sphere of action, dissatisfied, through ambitious love of power, with his allotted portion. What then would be the result of these things? Surely this discord among the heavenly powers would prove destructive to the interests of earth: the orderly alternation of times and seasons would disappear; the successive productions of the earth would be enjoyed no more; the day itself, and the repose of night which follows it, would cease to be. But enough on this subject: let us once more resume that species of reasoning which admits of no reply.



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





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