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A History Of The Church In Five Books by Theodoret

THE emperor possessed another means of progressing in piety; his wife was well acquainted with the divine laws, and she constantly recalled them to his memory. Far from being puffed up by the extent of her power, it only led her to desire still more ardently the things of God. The greatness of the blessings which she had received served only to increase her love towards the Lord. She watched with the greatest solicitude over all those whose bodies were mutilated, and who had lost any of their limbs; she visited them at their own dwellings, waited upon them herself, and supplied all their wants. She repaired with the same zeal to the public hospitals of the church, where she tended the sick, made ready their culinary utensils, tasted their broth, carried the dish to them, broke their bread, divided the meat, washed their cups, and performed all the other offices for them which usually devolve upon servants. When any one endeavoured to dissuade her from this custom she always replied, “It is right for emperors to distribute gold. I offer this service to God because it is He who has invested me with the imperial dignity.” She used very frequently to say to her husband, “You ought always, O man, to reflect on what you were, and on what you now are. If you were often to dwell on this thought you could not be ungrateful to your heavenly Benefactor, but you would govern with justice the empire which He has committed to you, and you would thus be rendering service to the Giver.” By these counsels, so frequently reiterated, she cherished and watered the seeds of virtue which were in the breast of the emperor. She died before him; and some time after her decease an incident occurred which disclosed the affection which the emperor had borne towards her.








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