Imagens das páginas

the app

CHAPJI. eireumstance of it. He was by his wife, wbo was an year after Arian, persuaded to be baptized by Eudoxius the

Arian bishop of Constantinople: and they togetber prerailed on him to swear at bis bapti-m”, that be would always continue to be on the Arians' side, and expel tbe catbolies out of the churches. An impious practice! Instead of baptizing into the Christian religion, as Christian, to baptize into a sect.

But Valentinian's baptism is not mentioned at all by the bistorians: peitber should we be sure wbether he was erer baptized, were it not for a passage in a letter of St. Ambrise, which I shall

have occasion to cite by and bs. He was born in 21;- Pannonia, a country where Christianity bad at that

time but little footing; and probably of beatben parents. Wbo, or what ther were, we lear no more than that his father's naine had been Gratian, that he was nieknamned Funarius, and that he had been

an officer in Britain, in tbe time of Constantine. 2999. II. Now as to his sons : Gratian was born to 367. bim before he was emperor”, and on the fourth

vear of his reign was taken bs him into partner

ship. But Valentinian, his younger son, was born z'he. to him the third year of his reign; so that he was 277. nine years old when his father died. Ammianus

Marcellinus sars he was but four. But it must be a mistake, both because Socrates games the consuls of the year in which he was born, which were

Gratian and Dagalaipbus, for the rear of Christ zák. 366; and also because the third year after, 369. this young Valentinian was consul himself, (aceondTheodoret. Hist lib. iv. cap. 12, 13. Socrat. lib. is. cap. 15.

= Liteit. cap. Sy

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ing to the custom of those times,) which was CHAP.III. before the year on which Ammianus makes him to year after be born.

scles. When Valentinian the elder died, the army proclaimed this young Valentinian emperor, together with his brother. So they ruled the West, and their unele Valens the East. And when Valens died, Gratian quickly after chose Theodosius to 79 gorern the East,

Four years after, the usurper Maximus set up in 182. Britain for emperor. And when Gratian marched against him, his army deserting, he was overcome br Maximus, and slain, Valentinian kept Italy and 283. some other countries for a few years; during which time, being ruled by his mother Justina, a bitter Arian, he favoured the Arians, and persecuted the catholies particularly St. Ambrose bishop of Milan.

Among other indignities, he summoned St. Ambrose to come and dispute before him, concerning the faith, with Auxentius the Arian; and he with his courtiers would judge between them. To which summons St. Ambrose answers in a letter to him; which has this passage in it to our purpose :

• When did you hear, most gracious emperor, that laymen have passed judgment on a bishop in a matter of faith? Do we then by a sort of fawning * so debase ourselves as to forget what is the privilege of the sacerdotal office? And that I should commit tbat into the hands of another, which God • has intrusted with me myself? If a bishop must

be taught by a layman, what will follow? Then • let a layman preach, and the bishop give attention; · let a bishop learn of a layman.

Ambrosii Epist. 32. [ep. 21. edit. Benedict. tom. ii. p. 860.]

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CHAP.III. • This is unquestionable, that if we search either Year after into the tenor of the holy scriptures, or into the

• account of past times, there is none can deny that, * in matters of faith, I say, in matters of faith,

bishops are wont to judge of emperors that are • Christians, and not emperors of bishops.

• You will, by the grace of God, arrive to a better ripeness of age; and then you yourself will pass an estimate, what sort of man for a bishop he 'must be, that will put the sacerdotal right under • the judgment of laymen.

• Your father, a man, by God's mercy, of a more • advanced age, said, “ It does not belong to me to * judge between bishops.” Does your grace now • say, “ It does belong to me to judge ?” And he,

though at that time baptized in Christ, yet thought • himself unable to bear the weight of so great a * judgment. Does your grace, for whom the sacra* ment of baptism is yet reserred to be obtained by jou, take upon you the determination of matters • of faith, when as yet you are not partaker of the • sacrament of faith?

This scuffle between the court on one side standing for the Arians, and the major part of the people on the other for their religion, their church and their bishop, increased so far, (the emperor demanding the church for the Arians, the people continuing day and night in it; the court giving out that bishop Ambrose meant to set up for an usurper, St. Ambrose declaring, that as he abhorred the thoughts of resistance', or of stirring up the people,

y Ambrosii Epist. 33. [ep. 20. edit. Benedict.]

2 Idem, Oratione in Auxentium. [Op. tom. ii. p. 863. edit. Benedict.]

so he could not, on the other side, run away from his CHAP.III. church and flock in that danger of their souls, but year after was ready to suffer death quietly,) that Maximus the apo. the usurper, who had already, since the defeat and death of Gratian, settled himself in Britain and France, and gaped for an opportunity of invading Italy, took his advantage of these discontents; and he published a DECLARATION in behalf of the true religion, and threatening war to Valentinian", if he did not forbear to persecute the catholics.

The court, for all their anger against St. Ambrose, yet could not find a fitter man to avert this storm than be, because of the influence which they thought he might have upon Maximus. They sent him therefore on an embassy of peace.

Which he performed with all that fidelity that became a good Christian, who would shew himself loyal to his prince, that had despitefully used him and his religion.

But as to his errand, he could do no good (for usurpers, when they find their advantage, do not use to be kept back by reasons of conscience). On the contrary, when Maximus saw that St. Ambrose would not communicate with him, nor with the bishops that communicated with him, he commanded him to be gone. And St. Ambrose sent an account of his embassy to Valentinian”, advising him to look to his safety, Adrersus hominem pacis inrolucro bellum tegentem, ' against a man, that under pretence * of peace, (or doing good offices,] covered his design ofwar (or invasion].'

And so it proved: Maximus invaded Italy; and Valentinian had nothing to do but to fly.

a Theodoret. Hist. lib. v. cap. 14.

Ambros. Epist. 27. [24, in edit. Benedict.] WALL, VOL. II.


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CHAP.III. But Theodosius, who had, ever since he heard of Year after the death of Gratian, resolved to revenge it, having stles.

now his army ready, came from the East; and though the usurper had strengthened himself by

humouring all parties of Christians, Jews, and 288. Pagans; yet he overcame him, slew him, and

resettled Valentinian, and brought him off from his fondness to the Arians, (his foolish mother being now dead,) and reconciled him to St. Ambrose, whom he ever after honoured as a father.

This quietness had lasted but three years, when 291. a new usurper Eugenius started up; with whom

Argobastes, one of the greatest men at court, traitorously joined. Valentinian, being then in France,

was seized by Argobastes, and after a while mur292. dered by him. This was in the year 392; so that he was, when he died, twenty-six years old.

III. He had, a little before this treason broke out, resolved to be baptized before he went for Italy. He had a particular desire to receive it from the hands of St. Ambrose, and had lately sent to Milan to him, to desire him to come and give it him. St. Ambrose was on his way to France when he heard the fatal news, which rendered his journey now too late.

One shall hardly read a more compassionate lamentation than St. Ambrose makes on this account in his funeral sermon for Valentinian. What with the object that was present, and what with the occasion it gave to remember Gratian, he says all that could be said by a man that had lost his own children by a like fate. He persuades himself, that if he could have arrived before the murderous blow was given, he might have prevailed with the tyrants

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