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A History Of The Church In Five Books by Theodoret

JUSTINA, the wife of the elder Valentinian, and the mother of the younger, made known to her son, about this time, the principles of Arianism which she had embraced long previously. Perceiving the fervour of her husband’s zeal for the faith, she concealed her sentiments during his life. But, after his death, she boldly presented these erroneous doctrines to the young and flexible mind of her son. He readily listened to the representations of his mother, and was seduced by the allurements of maternal affection, without discerning the deadly nature of the bait. He repeated the arguments which had been brought before him to Ambrose, expecting that if he could convince this bishop, all other persons would by his means be readily led to receive the same sentiments. But Ambrose reminded him of the piety of his father, and besought him to preserve it inviolate as a rich inheritance which was his by right of birth. He explained to him the difference between orthodoxy and heterodoxy; proving that the one was conformable to the doctrines preached by the Lord and by his apostles, while the other was contrary to them, and opposed to the spiritual law. The prince, who was very young, and who had besides been deceived by his mother, not only refused to assent to the words of Ambrose, but took great offence at them, and commanded the church to be surrounded by a band of heavy and of light-armed infantry. But all that he could do was insufficient to shake the firmness of this great man, who regarded the proceedings of the prince with as much indifference as he would have looked upon frightful figures brought upon the stage to terrify children. This greatly exasperated the young prince, and he sent to desire Ambrose to leave the church. “I will not leave it,” replied the bishop, “I will not abandon the sheepfold to wolves, neither will I give up the church of God to blasphemers. If you wish to kill me, you have only to strike me with a sword or a spear; I am willing to suffer such a death.”








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