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A History Of The Church In Seven Books by Socrates

SUCH being John’s disposition and manners, he was led to conduct himself toward his clergy, after his promotion to the episcopate, with a measure of austerity beyond what they could bear: but his intention was in this way to discountenance any laxness of moral discipline among them. Having thus chafed the temper of the ecclesiastics under him, and incurred their displeasure, many of them stood aloof from him as a passionate man, and others became his bitter enemies. Serapion whom he had ordained deacon, incited him to alienate their minds still more from him; and once in presence of the whole assembled clergy he cried out with a loud voice to the bishop—“You will never be able to govern these men, my lord, unless you visit them all with a rod.” This speech of his excited a general feeling of animosity against the bishop, who not long after expelled many of them from the church, some for one cause, and some for another. Those who were thus dealt with, as it usually happens when governors adopt such violent measures, formed a combination, and inveighed against him to the people. What contributed greatly to gain credence for these complaints was the bishop’s always eating alone, and never accepting an invitation to a feast. His reasons for thus acting no one knew with any certainty, but some persons in justification of his conduct state that he had a very delicate stomach, and weak digestion, which obliged him to be careful in his diet; while others impute his refusal to eat in company with any one, to his rigid and habitual abstinence. Whatever the real motive may have been, the circumstance itself was made a serious ground of accusation by his calumniators. The people nevertheless continued to regard him with love and veneration, on account of his valuable discourses in the church, and therefore those who sought to traduce him, only brought themselves into contempt. How eloquent, convincing, and persuasive his sermons were, both those which were published by himself, and such as were noted down by short-hand writers as he delivered them, we need not stay to declare; but those who desire to form an adequate idea of them, must read for themselves, and will thereby derive both pleasure and profit.








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