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A History Of The Church In Five Books by Theodoret

THE soldiers, on hearing of the death of the emperor, deplored their loss as if he had been their lather. They proclaimed Valentinian emperor, who had been banished to a fortress, a short time previously, for having struck a priest. He was not only possessed of courage, but was also prudent, temperate and just, and was besides adorned with many personal attractions. He had so much greatness of mind, that when the soldiers proposed to associate a colleague with him in the government, he made the following memorable reply. “When there was no emperor it depended upon you to place in my hands the reins of empire. But now that I have received them, it is my office and not yours to direct public affairs.” The soldiers admired this answer, and acted ever after in subjection to his authority. He sent for his brother from Pannonia, and gave him a share in the government. This was by no means a prudent measure, although his brother had not at that period imbibed corrupt doctrines. He gave him the government of Asia and of Egypt, reserving that of Europe for himself. He then went to the west and established the observance of justice, and the preaching of religion. Auxentius, bishop of Milan, who had been excommunicated by several councils, on account of having embraced the errors of Arianism, died about this time. The emperor, in consequence of this event, sent for the bishops, and addressed them in the following words, “You who have so deeply studied the doctrines of the Holy Scriptures, must be well acquainted with what qualities are required in those who are raised to the office of the priesthood. You also know that it is necessary that they should instruct the people, not by precept only, but by example, and by living in the practice of every virtue, and that they should attest the truth of their doctrines by their life and conversation. Place, therefore, in the bishopric of this city a man to whose authority we who are at the head of the empire may sincerely submit, and whose reprimands we may be able to receive as salutary medicine; for we are men and are liable to fall.”








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