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A History Of The Church In Five Books by Theodoret

CONSTANTIUS.—“We have judged it right, as you are a Christian and the bishop of our city, to send for you in order to admonish you to adjure all connexion with the folly and wickedness of Athanasius. For it was in this light that his conduct was viewed by the whole world, when he was separated from the communion of the church by the synod.”

LIBERIUS.—“O Emperor, ecclesiastical sentences ought to be enacted with justice: therefore, if it be pleasing to your piety, order the judges to assemble; and if it be seen that Athanasius deserves condemnation, then let sentence be passed upon him according to ecclesiastical forms. No man ought to be condemned without being examined.”

CONSTANTIUS.—“The whole universe has condemned him; but he, as he has done from the very first, does but trifle away time.”

LIBERIUS.—“Those who signed the condemnation were not eye-witnesses of any thing that occurred; but were actuated by the desire of glory, and by the fear of ignominy.”

THE EMPEROR.—“What glory did they desire? What ignominy did they fear?”

LIBERIUS.—“Those who love not the glory of God, but who attach greater value to your gifts than to his glory, have condemned a man whom they have neither seen nor judged; this is very contrary to the principles of Christians.”

THE EMPEROR.—“Athanasius was present at the council of Tyre, when he was judged and condemned by all the bishops of the world.”

LIBERIUS.—“No judgment on his conduct has ever been passed while he was present. Those who were there assembled condemned him without cause after he had retired.”

EUSEBIUS THE EUNUCH.—“It was demonstrated at the council of Nice, that he held opinions entirely at variance with the catholic faith.”

LIBERIUS.—“Of all those who sailed with Ischerus to Maraeotis, and who were sent with memorials against the accused, five only delivered the accusation against him. Of the five who were thus sent, two are now dead, namely, Theognis and Theodore. The three others, Maris, Valens, and Ursacius, are still living. Sentence was passed at Sardica against all those who were sent for this purpose to Maraeotis. They presented a petition to the council soliciting pardon for having drawn up at Maraeotis memorials consisting of false accusations and depositions of only one party. Their petition is still in our hands. Whose cause are we to espouse, O Emperor? With whom are we to hold communion? With those who first condemned Athanasius, and then solicited pardon for having condemned him, or with those who have condemned these latter?”

EPICTETUS THE BISHOP.—“O Emperor, it is not on behalf of the faith, nor in defence of the ecclesiastical judgments that Liberius is pleading; but merely in order that he may boast before the Roman senators of having, by his arguments, turned the emperor from his purpose.”

THE EMPEROR (addressing Liberius).—“What portion do you constitute of the universe, that you desire to destroy the peace of the whole world in order to defend one solitary wicked individual?”

LIBERIUS.—“If I were standing alone, the cause of truth would not be less important. There was once a period when only three persons could be found sufficiently courageous to resist the royal mandate.”

EUSEBIUS THE EUNUCH.—“You compare our emperor to Nebuchadnezzar.”

LIBERIUS.—“By no means. But you rashly condemn a man without any previous examination. what I desire is, in the first place, that a confession of faith be signed, confirming that drawn up at the council of Nice. And secondly, that all our brethren be recalled from exile, and reinstated in their own bishoprics. If, when all this has been carried into execution, it can be shown that the doctrines of those who now fill the churches with trouble are conformable to the apostolic faith, then we will all assemble at Alexandria to meet the accusers, the accused, and their defenders, and after having examined the cause, we will pass judgment upon it.”

EPICTETUS THE BISHOP.—“There are not sufficient public vehicles to convey so many bishops.”

LIBERIUS.—“Ecclesiastical affairs can be transacted without public vehicles. No churches are unable to provide means for the conveyance of their respective bishops by sea.”

THE EMPEROR.—“The sentence which has once been passed ought not to be revoked. The decision of the greater number of bishops ought to prevail. You alone retain friendship towards that impious man.”

LIBERIUS.—“O Emperor, it is a thing hitherto unheard of, that a judge should accuse the absent of impiety, as if he were his personal enemy.”

THE EMPEROR.—“All without exception have been injured by him, but none so deeply as I have been. Not content with occasioning the death of my eldest brother, he endeavoured to excite Constans, of blessed memory, to enmity against me; and, had not his aims been frustrated by my moderation, he would have caused a violent contest between us. None of the victories which I have gained, not even excepting those obtained over Magnentius and Silvanus, appear so satisfactory to me as the ejection of this despicable man from the government of the church.”

LIBERIUS.—“Do not gratify your own hatred and revenge, O Emperor, by the instrumentality of bishops; for their hands ought only to be raised for purposes of blessing and of sanctification. If it be consonant with your will, command the bishops to return to their own residences; and if it appear that they can become of one mind with him who to this day maintains the true doctrines of the confession of faith signed at Nice, then peace will ensue throughout the world, and an innocent man will not serve as a mark for reproach.”

THE EMPEROR.—“One question only requires to be made. If you will enter into communion with the churches, I will send you back to Rome. Consent therefore to peace, and sign your assent, and then you shall return to Rome.”

LIBERIUS.—“I have already taken leave of the brethren who are in that city. The decrees of the church are of greater importance than a residence in Rome.”

THE EMPEROR.—“I will give you three days to consider whether you will sign the document and return to Rome; if not, you must choose the place of your banishment.”

LIBERIUS.—“Neither three days nor three months can change my sentiments. Send me wherever you please.”

After the lapse of two days, the emperor sent for Liberius, and finding his opinions unchanged, he commanded him to be banished to Berea, a city of Thrace. Upon the departure of Liberius, the emperor sent him five hundred pieces of gold to defray his expences. Liberius said to the messenger who brought them, “Go, and give them back to the emperor, he has need of them to pay his troops.” The empress also sent him a sum of the same amount; he said, “Take it to the emperor, for he may want it to pay his troops; but if not, let it be given to Auxentius and Epictetus, for they stand in need of it.” Eusebius the eunuch brought him other sums of money, and he thus addressed him: “After having converted all the churches of the world into deserts, do you bring alms to me, as to a criminal? Go, and become first a Christian.” He was sent into exile three days afterwards, without having accepted anything that was offered him.








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