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A History Of The Church In Seven Books by Socrates

WHILE the emperor was thus occupied on his military expedition, the Arians excited a great tumult at Constantinople by such devices as these. Men are fond of fabricating statements respecting matters about which they are kept in ignorance; and the tendency to do this is greatly stimulated, when in addition to the general love of change, circumstances render them peculiarly desirous of promoting it, as they are then tempted to spread reports favourable to their own wishes. This was strongly exemplified at Constantinople on the present occasion: for each invented news concerning the war which was carrying on at a distance, according to his own caprice, always presuming upon the most disastrous results; and before the contest had yet commenced, they spoke of transactions in reference to it, of which they knew nothing, with as much assurance as if they had been spectators on the very scene of action. Thus it was confidently affirmed that the tyrant had defeated the emperor’s army, even the number of men slain on both sides being specified; and that the emperor himself had nearly fallen into the tyrant’s hands. Then the Arians, who had been excessively exasperated by those being put in possession of the churches within the city who had previously been the objects of their persecution, began to augment these rumours by additions of their own. The currency of such stories with increasing exaggeration, in time imposed upon even the framers themselves; until they were induced to believe that they were not really fictions of their own imagination, but literal and positive facts. For those who had circulated them from hearsay, affirmed to the authors of these falsehoods, that the accounts they had received from them had been fully corroborated elsewhere. Thus deluded, the Arians were emboldened to commit acts of violence, and among other outrages, to set fire to the house of Nectarius the bishop. This was done in the second consulate of Theodosius Augustus, which he bore with Cynegius.








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