« AnteriorContinuar »
into the accounts of her condition and parentage, CHAP.III. which are so variously given, (some making her a year after Bithynian, others a Briton, (but these last mar stles their own story by relating her to be a king's daughter; whereas all about that time speak of her as one of a mean quality, she being in scorn called Stabularia,) some taking her for a wife, others for a concubine, others for an absolute harlotf to Constantius, and those that call her a wife, must consequently grant that he had two at a time, or else that Helena was divorced when he married Theodora) I found it was needless to inquire any further, when I saw that Eusebius, a witness unquestionable in this matter, says, that · her son Constan* tine first brought her to be a godly woman [or • Christian], which she was not before.' In her old age all agree that she proved a very zealous Christian. And it does something excuse her former way of living, that it was before her Christianity.
III. And as for Constantius the son of Constantine, what has been said of Constantine's late baptism does without more ado satisfy us of the reason why his son Constantius was not baptized in infancy. Constantine probably was not resolved what ?17. religion to be of, but certainly was not baptized when Constantius was born, nor a long time after.
And concerning Fausta, the mother of this Constantius, the daughter of Maximianus Herculius, (the bloodiest enemy the Christians ever had,) whom Constantine was forced to marry for reason of state; there is no probability that she was a Christian when
e Orosius, lib. vii. c. 25. Nicephorus Hist. Eccles. lib. vii. c.18.
& Lib. iii. de Vita Const. c. 47.
CHAP.III. this son was born, and very little that she was ever Year after
so at all; for Constantine put her to death not long after. On the contrary, some histories speak of her endeavours to alienate her husband's mind from that religion?.
So Constantius not having been baptized into the Christian religion in infancy, (as it was impossible he should,) but coming afterward to the knowledge of it, and approving it, yet he did as his father had
done before, i. e. he deferred his baptism to the end 261. of his life; for it was but just before his death that
he was baptized by Euzoius, the Arian bishop of Antioch.
About five or six years before, Lucifer, bishop of Calaris, had wrote his mind very plainly and bluntly to him in defence of Athanasius, whom he grievously persecuted; and told him, that instead of abusing Athanasius, he hadb great need to • desire that holy priest of God to pray to God • for him for the forgiveness of his impieties, as • Job's friends desired Job; and to procure himself 'to be baptized by him, or some of his fellow bi
shops.' And St. Hilary had complained i that he, credendi formam ecclesiis nondum regeneratus imponeret : 'should pretend to prescribe a form of • faith to the churches, when he was not yet regene' rated [i. e. baptized) himself.'
f Mich. Glycas, Annal. lib. iv. (p. 248. edit. Paris, 1661.]
h Lucifer pro Athanasio, lib. i. [$. 46. apud Biblioth. Patrum, tom. ii. edit. Colon. 1618.]
i Hilarius de Synodis, prope finem. [$. 78. p. 1184. edit. Benedict.]
Indeed both he and his father Constantine were CHAP.III. guilty of such wickedness even after their declaring var stier Ar the Christian religion, (Constantine in murdering the apo so many of his kindred; and he in doing the like, 15+sd also in persekuting the catholie Christians) that it is no wonder if a guilty conscience kept them from baptism, till ther could find in their heart to rpent of such barbarities. And when the papists object to us our reformation begun under such a ting as Henry VIII. they may reflect, that Constartine, by whose means the allowed profession of Cristianity itself was brought into the world, has B2 much better character. And that it does not please God always to choose good men, but sometires to make wicked kings instruments of bringing
parties to pass But yet there is I think, no Christian writer that Press so hand upon the credit of Constantine in is matter, as Baronius, and they of the church of Rare that follow him. They strike in with that sardalous story which the heathen writers of that tine did dress up on a purpose of spite and slander to the Christian religion, and to Constantine for ea bracing of it: which was that he, after the under of his son Crispus, and his wife Fausta, and Es ster's son Licinius &c., was terrified in conScience, and sought among the heathen priests for suebody that would expiate him, and give him Lopes of pardon, But that these told him, that they Esd rites of expiation for rery great sins, and for ontinary muriers; but none for such parricide as swis: and so left him in despair. And that then
was that he was informed, what large offers of pandon the Christian religion made to all comers
CHAP.111. that would be baptized ; and embraced that, not o: Year after of any liking to its doctrines, but because no oth
would receive him. stles.
It is questionless no discredit to any religion (bu the excellency of it) to have such sacraments, t. which is annexed the promise of forgiveness of th greatest sins; provided it does lay severe injunc tions against practising the same for the future Yet since this story is set on foot by Zosimusk and other heathens, out of spite to Constantine and the Christian religion ; and is false ; and is shewed to be so by Sozomen', and other Christian historians, (for Constantine favoured Christianity, and made laws in favour of it, before this time,) it discovers an ill bias in Baronius, who to make the fable of his baptism at Rome more probable) embraces it. But the men of that court make no scruple to advance the repute and pride of it, by treading not only on the necks of present emperors, but also on the credit of the most ancient ones. For, according to this character, what difference is there between Constantine and Julian ; save that the one did actually go over to heathenism, and was willingly received by the pagan priests; the other would have done the same, but was not admitted by them.
Sect. 3. Of Gratian and Valentinian the Second. There is no proof that their father, Valentinian
the First, was a baptized Christian when they were born.
I. The import of some sayings of the authors which I shall have occasion to produce in the case
k Zosimi Histor. lib. i. (cap. 29. p. 150. edit. Reitemier, 80. 1784. where consult Heyne's note upon the passage, at p. 549.]
1 Hist. Eccl. lib. i. cap. 5.
of these two emperors will not be so well under-CHAP.IN. sood by the ordinary reader, unless I first give a year after short history of their father and them, as far as sches concerns this matter.
Valentinian the First came from a mean original to the imperial dignity". Hle gained his preferment bs degrees in the army. He is not taken notice of br tte historians, till such time as being an officer in the guards, when Julian came to the crown, he 261. list bis place for his religion. For Julian being reQred to set up the old religion again, gave order that none should serve, (especially in those places Die his penon.) but such as would go to the beschen sacrifices, and partake of them.
There were a great many in the army, hy this time, well instructed in the Christian religion, who niher than go to this sort of mass, would leave téeir places. Among the rest, this Valentinian and Valens his brother threw away their sword-belts 26+ Three years after, both these brothers came to be emperors. For Valentinian being chosen by the arny, chose his brother his partner; and leaving him to gorern the East, went himself to govern Rome and the western parts.
A reader that is not well acquainted with the eesten, that persons converted in those times bad, of delaying their baptism, would think by the zeal por Christianity that they shewed under Julian, that ther both had been at that time baptized. But it is certain they were not both; for we find Valens
269 baptized afterward. His baptism is mentioned by tte historians because of an unusual and wicked
1 Scerat. Hist. Eccl. lib. iv. cap. 1.
* Ibid. lib. i. cap. 13