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A History Of The Church In Seven Books by Socrates

“VICTOR Constantine Maximus Augustus, to the bishops convened at Tyre.

“I am indeed ignorant of the decisions which have been made by your Council with so much turbulence and commotion: but the truth seems to have been perverted by some tumultuous and disorderly proceedings; while, in your mutual love of contention, which you seem desirous of perpetuating, you disregard the consideration of those things which are acceptable to God. It will however, I trust, be the work of Divine Providence to utterly dissipate the mischiefs resulting from this spirit of jealous rivalry, as soon as they shall have been clearly detected; and to make it apparent to us, how much regard ye who have been convened have had to truth, and whether your decisions on the subjects which have been submitted to your judgment have been made apart from partiality or prejudice. Wherefore it is indispensable that you should all without delay attend upon my Piety, that you may yourselves give a strict account of your transactions. The reasons which have induced me to write thus, and to summon you before me, you will learn from what follows. As I was making my entry on horseback into the city which bears our name, in this our most flourishing country, suddenly the Bishop Athanasius, with certain ecclesiastics whom he had around him, presented himself so unexpectedly in our path, as to produce a degree of consternation. For the Omniscient Being is my witness that at first sight I did not recognise him until some of my attendants, in answer to my enquiry, informed me very properly both who he was, and what injustice he had suffered. At that time indeed I neither conversed, nor held any communication with him: but when he entreated an audience, and I had not only refused it, but even ordered that he should be removed from my presence, he said with greater boldness, that he petitioned for nothing more than that you might be summoned hither, in order that in our presence, he, driven by necessity to such a course, might have a fair opportunity afforded him of deprecating his wrongs. This request seemed so reasonable, and so consistent with the equity of my government, that I willingly gave instructions for writing these things to you. My command therefore is, that all, as many as composed the Synod convened at Tyre, should forthwith hasten to the Court of our Piety, in order that from the facts themselves the purity and integrity of your decision may be made apparent in my presence, whom you cannot but own to be a true servant of God. It is in consequence of the acts of my religious service towards the Deity that peace is everywhere reigning; and that the name of God is devoutly had in reverence even among the barbarians themselves, who until now were ignorant of the Gospel. Now it is evident that he who knows not the truth, cannot possibly acknowledge God: yet, as I before said, even the barbarians on my account, who am a faithful servant of God, have acknowledged and learned to worship him, by whose provident care they perceive that I am everywhere protected. So that from dread of us chiefly, they have been thus brought to the knowledge of the true God whom they now worship. Nevertheless we who pretend to have a religious veneration for (I will not say who guard) the holy mysteries of his church, we, I say, do little else than what tends to discord and animosity, and to speak plainly, to the destruction of the human race. Come therefore all of you to us as speedily as possible: and be assured that I shall endeavour with all my power to cause that what is contained in the Divine Law may be preserved inviolate, on which neither stigma nor reproach shall be able to be affixed. This however can only be effected by dispersing, crushing to pieces, and utterly destroying its enemies, who under covert of the sacred profession introduce numerous and diversified blasphemies.”








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