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A History Of The Church In Five Books by Theodoret

UPON the death of Julian, the governors of the provinces, and the military commanders, assembled together to determine who was capable of wielding the imperial power, of extricating the army from the enemy’s country, and of raising the affairs of the Romans from the critical state to which they had been reduced by the rashness of the late emperor. In the mean time the soldiers likewise assembled, and demanded Jovian for their emperor. He was neither a, general nor a tribune, but was an exemplary man, and distinguished by many natural endowments. He was of very tall stature, and his mind was of a high order. He had always manifested great valour in battle, and also in conflicts far more perilous than those of war; for he had frequently spoken with boldness against impiety, without fearing the power of the tyrant, and had exhibited as much courage as was displayed by the martyrs of our Saviour. The generals considered the unanimity of the soldiers’ decision as an indication of the Divine will; they therefore conducted Jovian into the midst of them all, and placed him upon a temporary throne which they had hastily erected. When he was saluted by all as Emperor, and called Augustus and Cæsar, this admirable man, with his usual frankness, and without fearing the power of the chiefs, or the inconstancy of the soldiery, spoke as follows:—“Being a Christian myself, I cannot assume authority over such men as you are: I cannot govern the troops of Julian, for they have imbibed pernicious doctrines; and persons of such principles, being unsupported by Divine grace, fall an easy prey to their enemies, and are ridiculed by them.” On hearing this the soldiers replied with one voice:—“Do not hesitate, O emperor, or shrink from accepting authority over us, as if we held impious sentiments; you will reign over Christians: over those who were brought up in the true religion. The most aged among us have been instructed in doctrine by Constantine, and the others by Constantius; and the reign of the late emperor was too short to efface the remembrance of the principles which we had imbibed.”








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