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A History Of The Church In Five Books by Theodoret

EUSEBIUS, that excellent bishop whom I have already mentioned, to whom the written decree of election had been confided, returned to his own city when he perceived that the compact was about to be broken. The Arians, fearing that, as the document contained their signatures, it might serve as a proof of their guilt, persuaded the emperor to send to Eusebius for it. The emperor accordingly despatched a messenger upon one of the public horses, as was the custom when a speedy answer was desired. When he had arrived and delivered the message of the emperor, the admirable Eusebius made the following reply: “I cannot consent to restore the public deposit, except at the command of the whole assembly of bishops by whom it was committed to my care.” When this reply was conveyed to the emperor he was deeply incensed, and he wrote again to Eusebius commanding him to deliver up the decree, and threatening him with the amputation of his right hand unless he would comply with the injunction. This, however, he only wrote for the purpose of intimidating him; for he forbade the bearer of the letter from executing the threat. After Eusebius had read the letter, and had learnt what punishment was threatened by the emperor, he stretched out his hands and said, “I am willing to suffer the loss of both my hands, rather than to resign a document which contains so manifest a demonstration of the impiety of the Arians.” Constantius, on being informed of his fortitude, highly applauded him, and ever after held him in high admiration. Even the enemies of virtue are compelled by its greatness to admire it.

About this period, Constantius heard that Julian, whom he had appointed Cæsar in Europe, had entered upon many ambitious projects, and had even raised troops against his benefactor. Constantius, accordingly, set off for Syria; but he died in Cilicia. He did not enjoy that assistance which his father had bequeathed him, because he had not preserved inviolate the birthright of his father’s piety; so that when he drew near his end he bitterly lamented having corrupted the faith.








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