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A History Of The Church In Five Books by Theodoret

THUS did the emperor write to those who were absent. Those who attended the council were three hundred and eighteen in number; and to these he manifested great kindness, addressing them with much gentleness, and presenting them with gifts. He ordered numerous seats to be prepared for the accommodation of them all during the repast to which he invited them. Those who were most worthy, he received at his own table, and provided other seats for the rest. Observing that some among them had had the right eye torn out, and learning that this suffering had been undergone for the sake of religion, he placed his lips upon the wounds, believing that blessing would thence result. After the conclusion of the feast, he again presented other gifts to them. He then wrote to the governors of the provinces, directing that money should be given in every city to orphans and widows, and to those who were consecrated to the divine service; and he fixed the amount of their annual allowance more according to the impulse of his own generosity, than to the exigencies of their condition. The third part of the sum is distributed to this day. Julian impiously withheld the whole; his successor conferred the sum which is now dispensed, the famine which then prevailed compelling him to do but little. If the pensions were formerly triple in amount to what they are at present, the magnanimity of the emperor can by this fact be easily conceived.

I do not account it right to pass over the following circumstance in silence. Some quarrelsome individuals wrote accusations against certain bishops, and presented this catalogue of crime to the emperor. This occurring before the restoration of concord, he received the lists, formed them into a packet to which he affixed his seal, and put them aside. After a reconciliation had been effected, he brought out these writings, and burnt them in their presence, at the same time declaring upon oath that he had not even read them. He said that the crimes of priests ought not to be made known to the multitude, lest they should become an occasion of offence or of sin. He also said that if he had detected a bishop in the very act of committing adultery, he would have thrown his imperial robe over the unlawful deed, lest any should witness the scene, and be thereby injured. Thus did he admonish all the priests, as well as confer honours upon them; he then exhorted them to return to their churches.

I shall here insert the letter respecting the faith, written to Eusebius, bishop of Cæsarea, as it describes the effrontery of the Arians, who have not only despised our fathers, but have rejected their own; and as it also contains a convincing proof of their violence. They certainly honoured Eusebius, because he had adopted their sentiments; but yet they opposed and maligned his writings. He wrote this epistle to some of the Arians, who had accused him, it seems, of treachery. The preceding narrative will be more readily comprehended, and will be rendered clearer by means of this letter.








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