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A History Of The Church In Nine Books by Sozomen

SUCH subjects as the above, however, are best left to the examination and decision of individual judgment.

The Sarmatians having invaded the Western Provinces of the Empire, Valentinian levied an army to oppose them. As soon, however, as they heard of the number and strength of the troops raised against them, they sent an embassy to solicit peace. When the ambassadors were ushered into the presence of Valentinian, he asked them whether all the Sarmatians were similar to them. On their replying that the principal men of the nation had been selected to form the embassy, the Emperor exclaimed, in great fury, that he regarded it as an especial misfortune that the territories under his sway should be exposed to the incursions of a barbarous nation like the Sarmatians, who had even presumed to take up arms against the Romans! He spoke in this strain for some time in a very high pitch of voice; and his rage was so violent, and so unbounded, that at length he burst simultaneously a blood-vessel and an artery. He lost, in consequence, a great quantity of blood, and expired soon after in a fortress of Gaul. He was about fifty-four years of age, and had during thirteen years guided the reins of Government with great wisdom and skill. Six days after his death, his youngest son, who bore the same name as himself, was proclaimed emperor by the soldiers; and soon afterwards Valens and Gratian formally assented to this election, although they were at first irritated at the soldiers having adopted such a measure without their sanction.

During this period, Valens had fixed his residence at Antioch in Syria, and carried on a most cruel and unmerciful persecution against all who differed from him in opinion concerning the Divine nature. The philosopher Themistius pronounced an oration in his presence, in which he took occasion to show that the diversity of opinion existing concerning ecclesiastical doctrines ought not to be regarded with surprise, inasmuch as still greater diversity of opinion, leading to perpetual disputes and contentions, was prevalent among the Pagans; and he further insisted that God might be well pleased to permit this diversity of opinion concerning his own nature, because the inscrutability of this subject, and the deficiency of all accurate knowledge concerning it, tend to afford exalted ideas of the Divine nature.








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