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A History Of The Church In Seven Books by Socrates

IN the meanwhile Valens, making his residence at Antioch, was wholly undisturbed by foreign wars; for the barbarians on every side restrained themselves within their own boundaries. Nevertheless he himself waged a most cruel war against those who maintained the Homoousian doctrine, inflicting on them more grievous punishments every day; until his severity was a little moderated by an oration addressed to him by the philosopher Themistius. In this speech he tells the emperor, “That he ought not to be surprised at the difference of judgment on religious questions existing among Christians; inasmuch as that discrepancy was trifling when compared with the multitude of conflicting opinions current among the heathen, amounting to above three hundred. That dissension indeed was an inevitable consequence of this disagreement; but that God would be the more glorified by a diversity of sentiment, and the greatness of his majesty be more venerated, from its being thus made manifest how difficult it is to know him.” This discourse softened the rigour of the emperor’s persecution, but did not effect an abolition of it; for although he ceased to put ecclesiastics to death, he continued to send them into exile, until this fury of his was repressed by other causes.








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