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A History Of The Church In Six Books by Evagrius

ZENO, on becoming, by the death of his son, sole emperor, as if entertaining an idea that his power was incomplete without an unrestrained pursuit of every pleasure that presented itself, so far abandoned himself from the first to the solicitations of desire, as to hesitate at nothing of all that is unseemly and illicit; but so thorough was his habitude in such things, that he esteemed it grovelling to practise them in concealment and privacy; but to do it openly, and as it were, in a conspicuous spot, truly royal and suited to none but an emperor: a notion base and servile; for the emperor is known, not by the circumstances of ordinary sway over others, but by those wherein he rules and sways himself, in guarding against the admission in his own person of whatever is indecorous; and being thus unconquered by loose indulgence, so as to be a living image of virtue for imitation and the instruction of his subjects. But he who lays himself open to the pleasures of sense, is unwittingly becoming a base slave, an unransomed captive, continually passing, like worthless slaves, from the hands of one master to another; inasmuch as pleasures are an unnumbered train of mistresses, linked in endless succession; while the present enjoyment, so far from being lasting, is only the kindler and prelude to another, until a man either banishes the rabble rule of pleasures, becoming thus a sovereign instead of a victim of tyranny; or, continuing a slave to the last, receives the portion of the infernal world.








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