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A History Of The Church In Six Books by Evagrius

“I HAVE been expecting, O Romans—Romans both in name and deeds—that your visit to me would have been made long ago, for the purpose of communicating to me your present circumstances, and of receiving that friendly counsel of which you have an assurance in my kindliness towards you, so unequivocally evinced by past occurrences, at the time when I relieved, by a supply of necessaries, your tempest-struck and wavetost plight. Since, however, this course has not hitherto been taken—it may be that Providence has not permitted it, in order that the Persians, having been utterly defeated by men without a leader, might be thereby thoroughly taught the prowess of the Romans, and that your pure loyalty might be completely proved, in having been tested by the juncture and testified by your deeds; for you shewed that, notwithstanding your quarrel with your officers, you do not regard any thing as more important than the good of the commonwealth—let us accordingly now deliberate what ought to be your conduct. Your sovereign invites you with a promise of an amnesty of all past transactions, receiving the display of your loyalty to the commonwealth and your prowess in the field as emblems of supplication. While bestowing upon you these most certain pledges of pardon the emperor thus speaks: ‘Since God has given victory to their loyalty, and, on the abandonment of their errors, a signal display has been granted to their prowess as a clear intimation of forgiveness, how can I do otherwise than follow the judgment of heaven? A king’s heart is in the hand of God, and He sways it whithersoever He will.’ Yield, therefore, to me at once, O Romans. Let us not wilfully forfeit the present opportunity, nor allow it to elude our grasp: for opportunity, when it has once slipped from us, is most unwilling to be seized, and, as if it were indignant at having been neglected, is ever after intolerant of capture. Shew yourselves the heirs of the obedience of your fathers, as ye are of their courage; in order that ye may appear altogether Romans, and no taunt may touch you or point at you as degenerate. Your fathers, under the command of consuls and emperors, by obedience and courage became masters of the whole world. Manlius Torquatus, though he crowned, yet also put to death his son, who had played a valiant part but in disobedience of orders. For by skill on the part of the leaders, combined with obedience in those whom they lead, great successes are ordinarily achieved; but either, when bereaved of the other, is lame and unsteady, and is utterly overthrown by the separation of the excellent pair. Be not, therefore, tardy, but at once obey my call, while the priestly office mediates between the emperor and the army; and shew that your proceedings were not the establishment of a rival sovereign, but a transient display of just indignation against commanders who had wronged you: for unless you immediately embrace the offer, I shall at once consider myself as quit of the service laid upon me in this matter by my duty to the commonwealth and my regard for you. Consider too yourselves, what has been the fate of pretenders to the sovereignty. What too will be the termination of your present position? To continue concentrated is impossible; for whence will you derive your provision of ordinary fruits, or those supplies which the sea furnishes to the land, except by war between Christians, and the mutual infliction of the most disgraceful treatment? What too will be the final result? You will live in dispersion, and haunted by Justice, who will henceforward disdain to bestow forgiveness. Let us therefore give pledges of amity, and consider what course will be for the benefit of ourselves and the state, at a time too when we shall have the days of the saving Passion and of the most holy Resurrection conspiring with the deed.”








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