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A History Of The Church In Seven Books by Socrates

ABOUT the same time another event happened at Milan well worthy of being recorded. On the death of Auxentius who had been ordained bishop of that church by the Arians, the people again became tumultuous respecting the election of a successor; for as some proposed one person, and others favoured another, the city was full of contention and uproar. In this state of things, Ambrose the governor of the province, who was also of consular dignity, dreading some catastrophe from the popular excitement, ran into the church in order to quell the disturbance. When his presence had checked the confusion that prevailed, and the irrational fury of the multitude was repressed by a long and appropriate hortatory address, all present suddenly came to an unanimous agreement, crying out that Ambrose was worthy of the bishopric, and demanding his ordination: for by that means only, it was alleged, would the peace of the church be secured, and all be reunited in the same faith and judgment. The bishops then present, believing that such unanimity among the people proceeded from some divine appointment, immediately laid hands on Ambrose; and having baptized him, he being then but a catechumen, they were about to invest him with the episcopal office. But although Ambrose willingly received baptism, he with great earnestness refused to be ordained: upon which the bishops referred the matter to the emperor Valentinian. This prince regarding the universal consent of the people as the work of God, authorized the bishops to ordain him; declaring that he was manifestly chosen of God to preside over the church, rather than elected by the people. Ambrose was therefore ordained; and thus the Milanese who were before divided among themselves, were once more restored to unity.








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