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SECTION 1.— The State of Paganism under the Reign of Constantine the Great
Constantius, and Constans
tinian, and Valens SECTION V.—The State of Pagan Religion under the Reigns of Gratian, Theodo
sius the Great, and his Successors
The Life of Eusebius, Bishop of Cæsarea in Palestine
The Life of Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria.
145 SECTION II.--His Acts from Arius's first Condemnation till the Council of Nice - 156 SECTION III.—The Acts and Proceedings of the Council of Nice
- 171 SECTION IV.—The Acts of Athanasius from the Nicene Council till the Synod at Tyre
190 SECTION V.-The Acts and Proceedings of the Synod at Tyre, with other consequent Affairs
202 SECTION VI.-Athanasius's Acts from his return from Exile till the Synod at Sardica
225 SECTION VII.—The Acts of the Synod at Sardica
245 SECTION VIII.-His Acts from the Time of the Sardican Council till the Death of Pope Julius
- 257 SECTION IX.-His Acts from the Death of Pope Julius till the Banishment of Liberius
· 274 SECTION X.-The cruel Proceedings against Athanasius and the Catholics at Alexandria
284 SECTION XI.-The State of the Athanasian Cause from the Council at Sirmium till the Synod at Seleucia
- 299 SECTION XII.—The Acts of the Synods of Seleucia and Constantinople - 319 SECTION XIII.—His Acts during the Reign of Julian
333 SECTION XIV.-His Acts from the Death of Julian till that of Jovian
344 SECTION XV.-His Acts from the Death of Jovian, with his own Death and Character
The Life of St. Hilary, Bishop of Poictiers
THE STATE OF PAGANISM
UNDER THE FIRST CHRISTIAN EMPERORS.
THE STATE OF PAGANISM UNDER THE REIGN OF CONSTANTINE THE
The design of this account. Constantine succeeds in the empire. His eminent preserva
tion and escape. He assumes the title of Augustus. His march against Maxentius, and secret care and thoughtfulness about religion. The vision of the cross appearing to him, with the form of it. Hereupon instructed in, and converted to Christianity. His victory over Maxentius, and the honours done him at Rome. His first edicts in favour of Cbristians. The Gentiles vexed at his kindness to Christians, and his neglecting the ludi sæculares. The favourable edict, and miserable end of Maximinus. Licinius raises a grievous persecution in the East: is encountered by Constantine, overthrown and put to death. The imperial monarchy resting in Constantine. His laws against soothsayers and the practisers of magic charms. His care about the Lord's day, and form of prayer prescribed to his heathen soldiers to be used upon
that day. The Gentiles forbidden to compel Christians to be present at their solemn rites. Laws made in behalf of Christians. The emperor's letters to the prov cial governors, persuading the Gentiles to come over to Christianity. The seat of the empire removed from Rome to Constantinople, and why. The great privileges conferred upon that city. Constantine’s care to rout and expose all monuments of Pagan impiety there. The successful propagation of Christianity in several countries without the bounds of the Roman empire. Severer proceedings against Pagan superstitions. Commissions despatched into several countries for the routing all monuments of idolatry. Temples shut up, and many of them demolished. Greater connivance herein at Rome and Alexandria than in other places. Constantine's death ; his piety; and the happy state of his reign above that of preceding emperors.
By what means and methods the Christian religion made its own way into the world, and, unassisted by any secular power or
interest, triumphed over all the opposition that was made against it, has been considered in another place. The subject of this discourse will be to observe by what degrees Paganism, that part of it especially that was the public and standing religion of the Roman empire, a religion that for so many ages had influenced the minds of men, and seemed firmly rooted by custom, laws, and an inveterate prescription, was driven into corners, and in effect banished out of the world. The main of the story lies within the compass of the age we write of; and being a subject both pleasant in itself, and that which will reflect no mean light upon several passages in the following Lives, it will not, I conceive, be unuseful here to lay it all together: the account whereof we shall briefly deduce from the time that the empire became Christian.
II. Constantine the Great was born in Britain, as all impartial writers, not biassed either by envy at ours, or by a concernment for the honour of their own country, are willing to allow: a thing owned by some, not contradicted by any writer of that age, asserted by the very oratora in the congratulatory oration that he made to him. His father Constantius, a wise, merciful, and virtuous prince, died at York, on the 25th of July, Ann. Chr. 306. His son Constantine had for some years resided in the court of Diocletian, and after in that of Galerius Maximian in the East, where he was kept as an honorable pledge, and as a check and restraint upon his father. Galerius hated the father, and was jealous of the son, whom he would have taken off by a violent death, had he not feared the army, to whom he knew Constantine was very dear. He sought therefore, under pretence of sports and martial exercises, to have despatched him out of the way; but the divine providence still brought him off. His father had often sent for him, and had as oft been delayed. And now again, in his sickness, had renewed his importunity, till Galerius, ashamed any longer to deny so reasonable a request, gave him a warrant under seal to be gone, intending nothing less, but that by some device he would stop his journey, and therefore willed him to come to him again the next morning to receive his final instructions and commands. But no sooner was the emperor gone to bed, but Constantine immediately took horse, and at every stage where he came, besides those few he
a Paneg. Maxim. et Constant. dict. p. 3. inter Panegyricos. Þ Lactant. de mortib. persecut. c. 24. Vid. Zosim. l. ii. c. 8. Aur. Victor, de Cæsar. c. 40.