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(HAPJIT. $. 2. Of Constantine and Constantius his son ; Year after
that they were not born of baptized parents.
I. That Constantine was not baptized in infancy, stles.
but, on the contrary, in his old age, is a plain case. Eusebius, who was familiar with bim, tells us? when and how it was, viz. that when he thought himself near death, he went to Vicomedia, and having assembled the bishops in the suburbs of that
city,' he spoke thus to them; 237 • This is the time which I have long expected,
* with earnest desire and prayers, to obtain the sal• vation of God. It is time that I also should enjoy 'the badge of immortality; time that I should be * made partaker of the seal of salvation. I purposed
once to receive it in the waters of the river Jordan, in which our Saviour is recorded to bave been • baptized for our example. But God, who knows • what is fittest for me, is pleased to grant it me ‘now in this place. Therefore let me not be de• layed: for if he that is Lord both of life and · death, be pleased to continue my life in this world, . and if he have determined that I shall any longer • hold assemblies with the people of God, and shall • once in the church communicate in the prayers * together with the congregation ; I will hencefor' ward keep myself to such courses of life as become ó a servant of God.'
* This he spake. And they performing the cere·monies, put in execution the Divine ordinance, and ' made him partaker of the unspeakable gift, re
quiring of him the professions that are usual. And •so Constantine, the only man of all the emperors " that ever were, being regenerated by Christ's ordi
• De Vita Constantini, lib. iv. c. 62.
'nance, was initiated ; and being made partaker of CHAP. III. • the Divine seal, he rejoiced in spirit, and was year after ‘rnewed and filled with the Divine light,' &c.
stles It is not material to mention the story which Vieephorus', a thousand years after, sets on foot; that he was baptized at Rome, by pope Sylvester, near the beginning of his reign: because it is all one to our purpose. Baroniusgreedily embraces this latter account; I suppose, because it makes for the credit of the church of Rome, and helps to dress up the fable of the donation. But Perron, Petavius, and others forake him in this, as being too improbable, since it was so lately invented.
11. But since both by the one and the other of these accounts he was not baptized in infancy; we must inquire of the religion of his parents; and fint of his father Constantius Chlorus.
To think that Constantine, whose name all people, both learned and unlearned, remember by the token that he was the first Christian emperor, (at least of his race,) should have a Christian emperor to his father, does appear so great and so palpable a blunder; that any one would pass a severe censure on it, were it not that the learned Camden las let drop an expression sounding that way. He haring occasion, in bis account of the city of York, to speak of Constantius, the father of Constantine, calls him an excellent emperor, endowed with all * moral and Christian virtues--after his death • deified, as appears by the old coins ".'
s Hist. Eccl. lib. vii. c. 33.
t Ad annum 324. Camden's Britannia, by Gibson, p. SSo, edit. 1722.-l'ol. 7. p. 99. edit. 1772.-Compare Gough's edition, fol. 1789, vol. m. p. 10.)
The latter part of this sentence does not suffer Year after one to think that Camden did in the former part
of it mean that Constantius was really a Christian, (but only that he favoured the Christians, and bad himself virtues something like those of a good Christian ;) for Christian emperors were not often deified by the heathens. And accordingly, when Fuller* had, in his · Church History,' at the year 305, reflected on this saying of Camden, as going • too far; since Constantius was no otherwise a Christian than by that rule, · He that is not against ‘us, is on our side:' Heyliny in his · Animadver*sions' on that book, though he rebuked Fuller, as being too tart upon so great a man as Camden, yet grants the thing, viz. that Constantius was not a thoroughpaced Christian.
What Camden spoke, he spoke only by the by. But some antipædobaptists do go about seriously to justify this, and make an argument of it for their tenet. And if only Danvers liad done so, I should not have taken any notice of it: for he is used to such arguments.
But Mr. Stennet also has not shewn the candour to throw away such a false prop to their cause: but reckons Constantine among those whose not submitting to this ordinance till they • were adult, though born of Christian parents,
* ('The Church History of Britain,' fol. Lond. 1655. Book i. p. 20.]
y (See · Examen Historicum, or a discovery and examination of the mistakes, falsities, and defects in some modern histo
ries.' (by P. Heylin) 8vo. London, 1659. part i. p. 20.-See likewise Fuller's reply to this remark of Heylin, in his • Appeal of injured Innocence-in a controversy between Dr. P. Heylyn, and J. Fuller.' fol. 1659. part i. p.71.]
*shews, he says, that infant-baptism was not uni-CHAP.III. •versally received.' Answer to Russen, p. 47. Of year after the rest that he there reckons up, I must speak in the apa the following sections; but Constantine they ought of their own accord to have left out ; for it does but hurt their cause to build on a supposal, which almost every one knows to be a mistake in matter of fact.
Yet something Mr. Danvers has to say for this too, tbat Constantius was a Christian. He takes out of the Magdeburgenses' a piece of a sentence of Eusebius, where speaking of Constantine, he, says be, was bonus a bono; pius a pio;' ' a good man, "son of a good man; a pious man, son of a pious * man. It is not worth the while to look whether this be truly quoted or not?. It is certain that Eusebius, out of his desire to honour Constantine, and all that belonged to him, did stretch his expressions to further reaches than this: as where he says, Constantine · became a follower of his father's * piety (or pious favour, or respect) toward our reli
gion?' And at another place, · He considered unto • what God he should address, &c., and so he resolved 'to reverenee his father's God only..?
These places being picked out by themselves, would make one think that Constantius had professed Christianity. But whoever reads the whole account will (whether he be prejudiced for one or the other side of this controversy) agree, that all that is meant by these compliments amounts but to
2 The words occur in the Centur. Magdeburg. Cent. iv. cap- 3. sect. De tranquillitate Ecclesiæ sub Constantino,' tom.ü. 61. edit. Basil. 1560.)
Hist. lb vin. e. 13.
CHAP.IIL this; that at the time when his fellow emperors did Year after bitterly persecute the Christians, be on the other
side favoured them, and screened them as much as stles.
he could, and on all occasions shewed a good opinion of them and their religion. And so it is in the places themselves explained; not that he ever made it his own religion. He died a heathen; and that he was by the heathens deified after bis death, appears not only by the coins, but also by Eusebius' words.
And besides, Eusebius himself determines this matter clearly and fully (as far as concerns our purpose) in the place before recitedc; when having related Constantine's baptism, he adds, • That he * was the first of all the emperors that ever were, • that being regenerated,' &c. And again, “That · he only, of all that had been, did profess the Gos· pel of Jesus Christ with great liberty of speechd, i. e. did make open profession of it.
So little do some scraps of sentences picked here and there out of authors for one's purpose signify, to give an account of their true meaning.
Beside that, if Constantius had embraced the 204. Christian religion when he was emperor; yet there
is no appearance that he had any inclination to it 174. when his son Constantine was born, which was thirty years before.
As for Helena, Constantine's mother, though the inquiry concerning her religion be not very material; because not many, especially great men, suffer their wives to choose what religion their sons shall be entered into; yet I made some inquiry. And after I had, in order to discover her religion, searched
e De Vita Const. lib. iv. c. 62.
d Ibid. cap. 75.