I COME not forward prepared with a fictitious narrative, nor with elegance of language to captivate the ear, desiring to charm my hearers as it were, with a siren's voice; nor shall I present the draught of pleasure in cups of gold decorated with lorry flowers (I mean the graces of style) to those who are pleased with such things. Rather would I follow the precepts of the wise, and admonish all to avoid and turn aside from the beaten road, and keep themselves from 2 contact with the vulgar crowd. I come, then, prepared to celebrate our emperor's praises in a newer strain; and, though the number be infinite of those who desire to be my companions in my present task, I am resolved to shun the common track of men, (2) and to pursue that untrodden path which it is unlawful to enter on with unwashed feet. Let those who admire a vulgar style, abounding in puerile subtleties, and who court a pleasing and popular muse, essay, since pleasure is the object they have in view, to charm the earn of men by a narrative of merely human merits. Those, however who are initiated into the universal science, (3) and have attained to Divine as well as human knowledge, and account the choice of the latter as the real excellence, will prefer those virtues of the emperor which Heaven itself approves, and his pious actions, to his merely human accomplishments; and will leave to inferior encomiasts the task of celebrating his lesser merits. For since our emperor is gifted as 3 well with that sacred wisdom which has immediate reference to God, as with the knowledge which concerns the interests of men; let those who are competent to such a task describe his secular acquirements, great and transcendent as they are, and fraught with advantage to mankind (for all that characterizes the emperor is great and noble), yet still inferior to his diviner qualifies, to those who stand without the sacred precincts. Let those, however, who 4 are within the sanctuary, and have access to its inmost and untrodden recesses, close the doors against every profane ear, and unfold, as it were, the secret mysteries of our emperors character to the initiated alone. And let those who have purified their ears in the streams of piety, and raised their thoughts on the soaring wing of the mind itself, join the company which surrounds the Sovereign Lord of all, and learn in silence the divine mysteries. Mean- 5 while let the sacred oracles, given, not by the spirit of divination (or rather let me say of madness and folly), but by the inspiration of Divine truth, (4) be our instructors in these mysteries; speaking to us of sovereignty, generally: the heavenly array which surrounds the Lord of all; of that exemplar of imperial power which is before us, and that counterfeit coin: and, lastly, of the consequences which result from both. With these oracles, then, to initiate us in the knowledge of the sacred rites, let us essay, as follows, the commencement of our divine mysteries.


The Oration.

1 TO-DAY iS the festival of our great emperor: and we his children rejoice therein, feeling the inspiration of our sacred theme. He who presides over our solemnity is the Great Sovereign himself; he, I mean, who is truly great; of whom I affirm (nor will the sovereign who hears me be offended, but will rather ap-repels the gaze of every eye from his Divine majesty. His ministers are the heavenly hosts; his armies the supernal powers, angels, the companies of archangels, the chorus of holy spirits, draw from and reflect his radiance as from the fountains of everlasting light. Yea every light, and specially those divine and incorporeal intelligences whose place is beyond the heavenly sphere, celebrate this august Sovereign with lofty and sacred strains of praise. The vast expanse of heaven, like an azure veil is interposed between those without, and those who inhabit his royal mansions: while round this expanse the sun and moon, with the rest of the heavenly luminaries (like torch-bearers around the entrance of the imperial palace), perform, in honor of their sovereign, their appointed courses; holding forth, at the word of his command, an ever-burning light to those whose lot is cast in the darker regions with- 3 out the pale of heaven. And surely when I remember that our own victorious emperor renders praises to this Mighty Sovereign, I do well to follow him, knowing as I do that to him alone we owe that imperial power under which we live. The pious Caesars, instructed by their father's wisdom, acknowledge him as the source of every blessing: the soldiery, the entire body of the people, both in the country and in the cities of the empire, with the governors of the several provinces, assembling together in accordance with the precept of their great Saviour and Teacher,, worship him. In short, the whole family of mankind, of every nation, tribe, and tongue, both collectively and severally, however diverse their opinions on other subjects, are unanimous in this one confession; and, in obedience to the reason implanted in them, and the spontaneous and uninstructed impulse of their own minds, unite in calling on the One and only God. (2) Nay, does not the 4 universal frame of earth acknowledge him her Lord, and declare, by the vegetable and animal life which she produces her subjection to the will of a superior Power? The rivers, flowing with abundant stream, and the perennial fountains, springing from hidden and exhaust-less depths, ascribe to him the cause of their marvellous source. The mighty waters of the sea, enclosed in chambers of unfathomable ing currents of the winds, and the airy courses of the clouds, all reveal his presence to those to whom his Person is invisible. The 5 all-radiant sun, who holds his constant career through the lapse of ages, owns him Lord alone, and obedient to his will, dares not depart from his appointed path. The inferior splendor of the moon, alternatively diminished and increased at stated periods, is subject to his Divine command. The beauteous mechanism of the heavens, glittering with the hosts of stars, moving in harmonious order, and preserving the measure of each several orbit, proclaims him the giver of all light: yea, all the heavenly luminaries maintaining at his will and word a grand and perfect unity of motion, pursue the track of their ethereal career, and complete in the lapse of revolving ages their distant course. The alternate recurrence of day and night, the changing seasons, the order and proportion of the universe, all declare the manifold wisdom of [his boundless power]. To him the unseen agencies which hold their course throughout the expanse of space, render the due tribute of praise. To him this terrestrial globe itself, to him the heavens above, and the choirs beyond the vault of heaven, give honor as to their mighty Sovereign: the angelic hosts greet him with ineffable songs of Praise; and the spirits which draw their being from incorporeal light, adore him as their Creator. The everlasting ages which were before this heaven and earth, with other periods beside them, infinite, and antecedent to all visible creation acknowledge him the sole and supreme 6 Sovereign and Lord. Lastly, he who is in all, before, and after all, [3] his only begotten, pre-existent Word, the great High Priest of the mighty God, elder than all time and every age, devoted to his Father's glory, first and alone makes intercession with him for the salvation of mankind. [4] Supreme and pre-eminent Ruler of the universe, he shares the glory of his Father's kingdom: for he is that Light, which, transcendent above the universe, encircles the Father's Person, interposing and dividing between the eternal and uncreated Essence and all derived existence: that Light which, streaming from on high, proceeds from that Deity who knows not origin or end, and illumines the super-celestial regions, and all that heaven itself contains, with the radiance of wisdom bright beyond the splendor of the sun. This is he who holds a supreme dominion over this whole world, [5] who is over and in all things, and pervades all things [6] visible and invisible; the Word of God. From whom and by whom our divinely favored emperor, receiving, as it were a transcript of the Divine sovereignty, directs, in imitation of God himself, the administration of this world's affairs.


1 THIS only begotten Word of God reigns, from ages which had no beginning, to infinite and endless ages, the partner of his Father's kingdom. And [our emperor] ever beloved by him, who derives the source of imperial authority from above, and is strong in the power of his sacred title, [1] has controlled the empire of the world for a long period of years. Again, that Preserver of the universe orders these heavens and earth, and the celestial kingdom, consistently with his Father's will. Even so our emperor whom he loves, by bringing those whom he rules on earth to the only begotten Word and Saviour renders them fit subjects of his 3 kingdom. And as he who is the common Saviour of mankind, by his invisible and Divine power as the good shepherd, drives far away from his flock, like savage beasts, those apostate spirits which once flew through the airy tracts above this earth, and fastened on the souls of men; [2] so this his friend, graced by his heavenly favor with victory over all his foes, subdues and chastens the open adversaries of the truth in accordance with the usages of war. He who is the pre-existent Word, the 4 Preserver of all things, imparts to his disciples the seeds of true wisdom and salvation, and at once enlightens and gives them understanding in the knowledge of his Father's kingdom. Our emperor, his friend, acting as interpreter to the Word of God, aims at recalling the whole human race to the knowledge of God; proclaiming clearly in the ears of all, and declaring with powerful voice the laws of truth and godliness to all who dwell on the earth. Once more, the universal Saviour opens the heavenly gates of his Father's kingdom to those whose course is thitherward from this world. Our emperor, emulous of his Divine example, having purged his earthly dominion from every stain of impious error, invites each holy and pious worshiper within his imperial mansions, earnestly desiring to save with all its crew that mighty vessel of which he is the appointed pilot. And he alone of all who have wielded the imperial power of Rome, being honored by the Supreme Sovereign with a reign of three decennial periods, now celebrates this festival, not, his ancestors might have done, in honor of infernal demons, or the apparitions of seducing spirits, or of the fraud and deceitful arts of impious men; but as an act of thanksgiving to him by whom he has thus been honored, and in acknowledgment of the blessings he has received at his hands. He does not, in imitation of ancient usage, defile his imperial mansions with blood and gore, nor propitiate the infernal deities with fire and smoke, and sacrificial offerings; but dedicates to the universal Sovereign a pleasant and acceptable sacrifice, even his own imperial soul, and a mind truly fitted for the service of God. For this sacrifice alone is grateful to him: and this sacrifice our emperor has learned, with purified mind and thoughts, to present as an offering without the intervention of fire and blood, while his own piety, strengthened by the truthful doctrines with which his soul is stored, he sets forth in magnificent language the praises of God, and imitates his Divine philanthropy by his own imperial acts. Wholly devoted to him, he dedicates himself as a noble offering, a first-fruit of that world, the government of which is intrusted to his charge. This first and greatest sacrifice our emperor first dedicates to God; and then, as a faithful shepherd, he offers, not "famous hecatombs of firstling lambs," but the souls of that flock which is the object of his care, those rational beings whom he leads to the knowledge and pious worship of God.


1 AND gladly does he accept and welcome this sacrifice, and commend the presenter of so august and noble an offering, by protracting his reign to a lengthened period of years, giving larger proofs of his beneficence in proportion to the emperor's holy services to himself. Accordingly he permits him to celebrate each successive festival during great and general prosperity throughout the empire, advancing one of his sons, at the recurrence of each decennial period, to a share of his own imperial 2 power. [1] The eldest, who bears his father's name, he received as his partner in the empire about the close of the first decade of his reign: the second, next in point of age, at the second; and the third in like manner at the third decennial period, the occasion of this our present festival. And now that the fourth period has commenced, and the time of his reign is still further prolonged, he desires to extend his imperial authority by calling still more of his kindred to partake his power; and, by the appointment of the Caesars, [2] fulfills the predictions of the holy prophets, according to what they uttered ages before: "And the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom." [3] And thus the Almighty Sovereign himself accords an increase both of years and of children to our most pious emperor, and renders his sway over the nations of the world still fresh and flourishing, as though it were even now springing up in its earliest vigor. He it is who appoints him this present festival, in that he has made him victorious over every enemy that disturbed his peace: he it is who displays him as an example of 4 true godliness to the human race. And thus our emperor, like the radiant sun, illuminates the most distant subjects of his empire through the presence of the Caesars, as with the far piercing rays of his own brightness. To us who occupy the eastern regions he has given a son worthy of himself; [4] a second and a third respectively to other departments of his empire, to be, as it were, brilliant reflectors of the light which proceeds from himself. Once more, having harnessed, as it were, under the self-same yoke the four most noble Caesars [5] as horses in the imperial chariot, he sits on high and directs their course by the reins of holy harmony and concord; and, himself every where present, and observant of every event, thus traverses every region of the world. Lastly, invested as he 5 is with a semblance of heavenly sovereignty, he directs his gaze above, and frames his earthly government according to the pattern of that Divine original, feeling strength in its conformity to the monarchy of God. And this conformity is granted by the universal Sovereign to man alone of the creatures of this earth: for he only is the author of sovereign power, who decrees that all should be subject to the rule of one. And surely monarchy far transcends every 6 other constitution and form of government: for that democratic equality of power, which is its opposite, may rather be described as anarchy and disorder. Hence there is one God, and not two, or three, or more: for to assert a plurality of gods is plainly to deny the being of God at all. There is one Sovereign; and his Word and royal Law is one: a Law not expressed in syllables and words, not written or engraved on tablets, and therefore subject to the ravages of time; but the living and self-subsisting Word, who himself is God, and who administers his Father's kingdom on behalf of all who are after him and subject to his power. His attendants are 7 the heavenly hosts; the myriads of God's angelic ministers; the super-terrestrial armies, of unnumbered multitude; and those unseen spirits within heaven itself, whose agency is employed in regulating the order of this world. Ruler and chief of all these is the royal Word, acting as Regent of the Supreme Sovereign. To him the names of Captain, and great High Priest, Prophet of the Father, Angel of mighty counsel, Brightness of the Father's light, Only begotten Son, with a thousand other titles, are ascribed in the oracles of the sacred writers. And the Father, having constituted him the living Word, and Law and Wisdom the fullness of all blessing, has presented this best and greatest gift to all who are the subjects of his sovereignty. And he himself, who pervades 8 all things, and is every where present, unfolding his Father's bounties to all with unsparing hand, has accorded a specimen of his sovereign power even to his rational creatures of this earth, in that he has provided the mind of man, who is formed after his own image, with Divine faculties, whence it is capable of other virtues also, which flow from the same heavenly source. For he only is wise, who is the only God: he only is essentially good: he only is of mighty power, the Parent of justice, the Father of reason and wisdom, the Fountain of light and life, the Dispenser of truth and virtue: in a word, the Author of empire itself, and of all dominion and power.


1 BUT whence has man this knowledge, and who has ministered these truths to mortal ears? Or whence has a tongue of flesh the power to speak of things so utterly distinct from fleshly or material substance? Who has gazed on the invisible King, and beheld these perfections in him? The bodily sense may comprehend elements and their combinations, of a nature kindred to its own: but no one yet has boasted to have scanned with corporeal eye that unseen kingdom which governs all things nor has mortal nature yet discerned the beauty of perfect wisdom. Who has beheld the face of righteousness through the medium of flesh? And whence came the idea of legitimate sovereignty and imperial power to man? Whence the thought of absolute dominion to a being composed of flesh and blood? Who declared those ideas which are invisible and undefined, and that incorporeal essence which has no external form, to the mortals of this earth?

2 Surely there was but one interpreter of these things; the all-pervading Word of God. [1] For he is the author of that rational and intelligent being which exists in man; and, being himself one with his Father's Divine nature, he sheds upon his offspring the out-flowings of his Father's bounty. Hence the natural and untaught powers of thought, which all men, Greeks or Barbarians, alike possess: hence the perception of reason and wisdom, the seeds of integrity and righteousness, the understanding of the arts of life, the knowledge of virtue, the precious name of wisdom, and the noble love of philosophic learning. Hence the knowledge of all that is great and good: hence apprehension of God himself, and a life worthy of his worship: hence the royal authority of man, and his invincible lordship over the creatures of this world. And when that Word, who is the Parent of rational beings, had impressed a character on the mind of man according to the image and likeness of God, [2] and had made him a royal creature, in that he gave him alone of all earthly creatures capacity to rule and to obey (as well as forethought and foreknowledge even here, concerning the promised hope of his heavenly kingdom, because of which he himself came, and, as the Parent of his children, disdained not to hold converse with mortal men); he continued to cherish the seeds which himself had sown, and renewed his gracious favors from above; holding forth to all the promise of sharing his heavenly kingdom. Accordingly he called men, and exhorted them to be ready for their heavenward journey, and to provide themselves with the garment which became their calling. And by an indescribable power he filled the world in every part with his doctrine, expressing by the similitude of an earthly kingdom that heavenly one to which he earnestly invites all mankind, and presents it to them as a worthy object of their hope.


AND in this hope our divinely-favored 1 emperor partakes even in this present life, gifted as he is by God with native virtues, and having received into his soul the out-flowings of his favor. His reason he derives from the great Source of all reason: he is wise, and good, and just, as having fellowship with perfect Wisdom, Goodness, and Righteousness: virtuous, as following the pattern of perfect virtue: valiant, as partaking of heavenly strength. And 2 truly may he deserve the imperial title, who has formed his soul to royal virtues, according to the standard of that celestial kingdom. But he who is a stranger to these blessings, who denies the Sovereign of the universe, and owns no allegiance to the heavenly Father of spirits; who invests not himself with the virtues which become , an emperor, but overlays his soul with moral deformity and baseness; who for royal clemency substitutes the fury of a savage beast; for a generous temper, the incurable venom of malicious wickedness; for prudence, folly; for reason and wisdom, that recklessness which is the most odious of all vices, for from it, as from a spring of bitterness, proceed the most pernicious fruits; such as inveterate profligacy of life, covetousness, murder, impiety and defiance of God; surely one abandoned to; such vices as these, however he may be deemed powerful through despotic violence, has no true title to the name of Emperor. For how should he whose soul 3 is impressed with a thousand absurd images of false deities, [1] be able to exhibit a counterpart of the true and heavenly sovereignty? Or how can he be absolute lord of others, who has subjected himself to the dominion of a thousand cruel masters? a slave of low delights and un-governed lust, a slave of wrongfully-extorted wealth, of rage and passion, as well as of cowardice and terror; a slave of ruthless demons, and soul-destroying spirits? Let then, our emperor, on the testimony of truth itself, be declared alone worthy of the title; who is dear to the Supreme Sovereign himself; who alone is free, nay, who is truly lord: above the thirst of wealth, superior to sexual desire; victorious even over natural pleasures; controlling, not controlled by, anger and passion. [2] He is indeed an emperor, and bears a title corresponding to his deeds; a VICTOR in truth, who has gained the victory over those passions which overmaster the rest of men: whose character is formed after the Divine original a of the Supreme Sovereign, and whose mind reflects, as in a mirror, the radiance of his virtues. Hence is our emperor perfect in discretion, in goodness, in justice, in courage, in piety, in devotion to God: he truly and only is a philosopher, since he knows himself, and is fully aware that supplies of every blessing are showered on him from a source quite external to himself, even from heaven itself. Declaring the august title of supreme authority by the splendor of his vesture, he alone worthily wears that imperial purple which so well becomes 5 him. He is indeed an emperor, who calls on and implores in prayer the favor of his heavenly Father night and day, and whose ardent desires are fixed on his celestial kingdom. For he knows that present things, subject as they are to decay and death, flowing on and disappearing like a river's stream, are not worthy to be compared with him who is sovereign of all; therefore it is that he longs for the incorruptible and incorporeal kingdom of God. And this kingdom he trusts he shall obtain, elevating his mind as he does in sublimity of thought above the vault of heaven, and filled with inexpressible longing for the glories which shine there, in comparison with which he deems the precious things of this present world but darkness. For he sees earthly sovereignty to be but a petty and fleeting dominion over a mortal and temporary life, and rates it not much higher than the goatherd's, or shepherd's, or herdsman's power: nay, as more burdensome than theirs, and exercised over more stubborn subjects. The acclamations of the people, and the voice of flattery, he reckons rather troublesome than pleasing, because of the steady constancy of his character, and genuine discipline of his mind. Again, when he beholds the mili- 6 tary service of his subjects, the vast array of his armies, the multitudes of horse and foot, entirely devoted to his command, he feels no astonishment, no pride at the possession of such mighty power; but turns his thoughts inward on himself, and recognizes the same common nature there. He smiles at his vesture, embroidered with gold and flowers, and at the imperial purple and diadem itself, when he sees the multitude gaze in wonder, like children at a bugbear, on the splendid spectacle. [4] Himself superior to such feelings, he clothes his soul with the knowledge of God, that vesture, the broidery of which is temperance, righteousness, piety, and all other virtues; a vesture such as truly becomes a sovereign. The 7 wealth which others so much desire, as gold, silver, or precious gems, he regards to be, as they really are, in themselves mere stones and worthless matter, of no avail to preserve or defend from evil. For what power have these things to free from disease, or repel the approach of death? And knowing as he does this truth by personal experience in the use of these things, he regards the splendid attire of his subjects with calm indifference, and smiles at the childishness of those to whom they prove attractive. Lastly, he abstains from all excess in food and wine, and leaves superfluous dainties to gluttons, judging that such indulgences, I however suitable to others, are not so to him, and deeply convinced of their pernicious tendency, and their effect in darkening the intellectual powers of the soul. For all these reasons, 8 our divinely taught and noble-minded emperor, aspiring to higher objects than this life affords, calls upon his heavenly Father as one who longs for his kingdom; exhibits a pious spirit in each action of his life; and finally, as a wise and good instructor, imparts to his subjects the knowledge of him who is the Sovereign Lord of all.


1 AND God himself, as an earnest of future reward, assigns to him now as it were tricennial crowns [1] composed of prosperous periods of time; and now, after the revolution of three circles of ten years, he grants permission to all mankind to celebrate this general, nay rather, this universal festival. And while those on earth thus rejoice, crowned as it were with the flowers of divine knowledge, surely, we may not unduly suppose that the heavenly choirs, attracted by a natural sympathy, unite their joy with the joy of those on earth: nay, that the Supreme Sovereign himself, as a gracious father, delights in the worship of duteous children, and for this reason is pleased to honor the author and cause of their obedience through a lengthened period of time; and, far from limiting his reign to three decennial circles of years, he extends it to the remotest period, even to far distant eternity. Now eternity [2] in its whole extent is beyond the power of decline or death: its beginning and extent alike incapable of being scanned by mortal thoughts. Nor will it suffer its central point to be perceived, nor that which is termed its present duration to be grasped by the inquiring mind. Far less, then, the future, or the past: for the one is not, but is already gone; while the future has not yet arrived, and therefore is not. As regards what is termed the present time, it vanishes even as we think or speak, more swiftly than the word itself is uttered. Nor is it possible in any sense to apprehend this time as present; for we must either expect the future, or contemplate the past; the present slips from us, and is gone, even in the act of thought. Eternity, then, in its whole extent, resists and refuses subjection to mortal rea- 4 son. But it does not refuse to acknowledge its own Sovereign and Lord, [3] and bears him as it were mounted on itself, rejoicing in the fair trappings which he bestows. [4] And he himself, not binding it, as the poet imagined, with a golden chain, [5] but as it were controlling its movements by the reins of ineffable wisdom, has adjusted its months and seasons, its times and years, and the alterations of day and night, with perfect harmony, and has thus attached to it limits and measures of various kinds. For eternity, being in its nature direct, and stretching onward into infinity, and receiving its name, eternity, as having an everlasting existence, [6] and being similar in all its parts, or rather having no division or distance, progresses only in a line of direct extension. But God, who has distributed it by intermediate sections, and has divided it, like a far extended line, in many points, has included in it a vast number of portions; and though it is in its nature one, and resembles unity itself, he has attached to it a multiplicity of numbers, and has given it, though formless in itself, an endless variety of forms. For first of all he framed in it formless matter 5, as a substance capable of receiving all forms. He next, by the power of the number two, imparted quality to matter, and gave beauty to that which before was void of all grace. Again, by means of the number three, he framed a body compounded of matter and form, and presenting the three dimensions of breadth, and length, and depth. Then, from the doubling of the number two, he devised the quaternion of the elements, earth, water, air, and fire, and ordained them to be everlasting sources for the supply of this universe. Again, the number four produces the number ten. For the aggregate of one, and two, and three, and four, is ten. [7] And three multiplied with ten discovers the period of a month: and twelve successive months complete the course of the sun. Hence the revolutions of years, and changes of the seasons, which give grace, like variety of color in painting, to that eternity which before was formless and devoid of beauty, for the refreshment and delight of those whose lot it is to traverse therein the course of life. For as the ground 6 is defined by stated distances for those who run in hope of obtaining the prize; and as the road of those who travel on a distant journey is marked by resting-places and measured intervals, that the traveler's courage may not fail at the interminable prospect; even so the Sovereign of the universe, controlling eternity itself within the restraining power of his own wisdom, directs and turns its course as he judges best. The same God, I say, who thus clothes the once undefined eternity as with fair colors and blooming flowers, gladdens the day with the solar rays; and, while he overspreads the night with a covering of darkness, yet causes the glittering stars, as golden spangles, to shine therein. It is he who lights up the brilliancy of the morning stab the changing splendor of the moon, and the glorious companies of the starry host, and has arrayed the expanse of heaven, like some vast mantle, in colors of varied beauty. Again, having created the lofty and profound expanse of air, and caused the world in its length and breadth to feel its cooling influence, he decreed that the air itself should be graced with birds of every kind, and left open this vast ocean of space to be traversed by every creature, visible or invisible, whose course is through the tracts of heaven. In the midst of this atmosphere he poised the earth, as it were its center, and encompassed it with the ocean as with a beautiful 7 azure vesture. Having ordained this earth to be at once the home, the nurse, and the mother of all the creatures it contains, and watered it both with rain and water-springs, he caused it to abound in plants and flowers of every species, for the enjoyment of life. And when he had formed man in his own likeness, the noblest of earthly creatures, and dearest to himself, a creature gifted with intellect and knowledge, the child of reason and wisdom, he gave him dominion over all other animals which move and live upon the earth. For man was in truth of all earthly creatures the dearest to God: man, I say, to whom, as an indulgent Father, he has subjected the brute creation; for whom he has made the ocean navigable, and crowned the earth with a profusion of plants of every kind; to whom he has granted reasoning faculties for acquiring all science; under whose control he has placed even the creatures of the deep, and the winged inhabitants of the air; to whom he has permitted the contemplation of celestial objects, and revealed the course and changes of the sun and moon, and the periods of the planets and fixed stars. In short, to man alone of earthly beings has he given commandment to acknowledge him as his heavenly Father, and to celebrate his praises as the Supreme 8 Sovereign of eternity itself. But the unchangeable course of eternity the Creator has limited by the four seasons of the year, terminating the winter by the approach of spring, and regulating as with an equal balance that season which commences the annual period. Having thus graced the eternal course of time with the varied productions of spring, he added the summer's heat; and then granted as it were a relief of toil by the interval of autumn: and lastly, refreshing and cleansing the season by the showers of winter, he brings it, rendered sleek land glossy, like a noble steed, by these abundant rains, once more to the gates of spring. As soon, then, as the Supreme Sovereign 9 had thus connected his own eternity by these cords of wisdom with the annual circle, he committed it to the guidance of a mighty Governor, even his only begotten Word, to whom, as the Preserver of all creation, he yielded the reins of universal power. And he, receiving this inheritance as from a beneficent Father, and uniting all things both above and beneath the circumference of heaven in one harmonious whole, directs their uniform course; providing with perfect justice whatever is expedient for his rational creatures on the earth, appointing its allotted limits to human life, and granting to all alike permission to anticipate even here the commencement of a future existence. For he has taught them that beyond this present world there is a divine and blessed state of being, reserved for those who have been supported here by the hope of heavenly blessings; and that those who have lived a virtuous and godly life will remove hence to a far better habitation; while he adjudges to those who have been guilty and wicked here a place of punishment according to their crimes. Again, as in the 10 distribution of prizes at the public games, he proclaims various crowns to the victors, and invests each with the rewards of different virtues: but for our good emperor, who is clothed in the very robe of piety, he declares that a higher recompense of his toils is prepared; and, as a prelude to this recompense, permits us now to assemble at this festival, which is composed_ of perfect numbers, of decades thrice, and triads ten times repeated. The first of 11 these, the triad, is the offspring of the unit, while the unit is the mother of number itself, and presides over all months, and seasons, and years, and every period of time. It may, indeed, be justly termed the origin, foundation, and principle of all number, and derives its name from its abiding character. [8] For, while every other number is diminished or increased according to the subtraction or addition of others, the unit alone continues fixed and steadfast, abstracted from all multitude and the numbers which are formed from it, and resembling that indivisible essence which is distinct from all things beside, but by virtue of participation in which the nature of all things else subsists. For the unit is 12 the originator of every number, since all multitude is made up by the composition and addition of units; nor is it possible without the unit to conceive the existence of number at all. But the unit itself is independent of multitude, apart from and superior to all number; forming, indeed, and making all, but receiving 13 no increase from any. Kindred to this is the triad; equally indivisible and perfect, the first of those sums which are formed of even and uneven numbers. For the perfect number two, receiving the addition of the unit, forms the triad, the first perfect compound number. And the triad, by explaining what equality is, first taught men justice, having itself an equal beginning, and middle, and end. And it is also an image of the mysterious, most holy, and royal Trinity, which, though itself without beginning or origin, yet contains the germs, the reasons, and causes of the existence of all created 14 things. Thus the power of the triad may justly be regarded as the first cause of all things. Again, the number ten, which contains the end of all numbers, and terminates them in itself, may truly be called a full and perfect number, as comprehending every species and every measure of numbers, proportions, concords, and harmonies. For example, the units by addition form and are terminated by the number ten; and, having this number as their parent, and as it were the limit of their course they round this as the goal of their career.

15 Then they perform a second circuit, and again a third, and a fourth, until the tenth and thus by ten decades they complete the hundredth number. Returning thence to the first starting point, they again proceed to the number ten, and having ten times completed the hundredth number, again they recede, and perform round the same barriers their protracted course, proceeding from themselves back to themselves again, with revolving motion. For the unit is the tenth of ten, and ten units make up a decade, which is itself the limit, the settled goal and boundary of units: it is that which terminates the infinity of number; the term and end of units. Again, the triad combined with the decade, and performing a threefold circuit of tens, produces that most natural number, thirty. For as the triad is in respect to units, so is the number thirty in 17 respect to tens. It is also the constant limit to the course of that luminary which is second to the sun in brightness. For the course of the moon from one conjunction with the sun to the next, completes the period of a month; after which, receiving as it were a second birth, it recommences a new light, and other days, being adorned and honored with thirty 18 units, three decades, and ten triads. In the same manner is the universal reign of our victorious emperor distinguished by the giver of all good, and now enters on a new sphere of blessing, accomplishing, at present, this tricennalian festival, but reaching forward beyond this to far more distant intervals of time, and cherishing the hope of future blessings in the celestial kingdom; where, not a single sun, but infinite hosts of light surround the Almighty Sovereign, each surpassing the splendor of the sun, glorious and resplendent with rays derived from the everlasting source of light. There the soul enjoys its existence, surrounded by fair and unfading blessings; there is a life beyond the reach of sorrow; there the enjoyment of pure and holy pleasures, and a time of un-measured and endless duration, extending into illimitable space; not defined by intervals of days and months, the revolutions of years, or the recurrence of times and seasons, but commensurate with a life which knows no end. And this life needs not the light of the sun, nor the lustre of the moon or the starry host, since it has the great Luminary himself, even God the Word, the only begotten Son of the Almighty Sovereign. Hence it is that the mystic and sacred oracles reveal him to be the Sun of righteousness, and the Light which far transcends all light. We believe that he illumines also the thrice-blessed powers of heaven with the rays of righteousness, and the brightness of wisdom, and that he receives truly pious souls, not within the sphere of heaven alone, but into his own bosom, and confirms indeed the assurances which he himself has given. No mortal eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor can the mind in its vesture of flesh understand what things are prepared for those who have been here adorned with the graces of godliness; blessings which await thee too, most pious emperor, to whom alone since the world began has the Almighty Sovereign of the universe granted power to purify the course of human life: to whom also he has revealed his own symbol of salvation, whereby he overcame the power of death, and triumphed over every enemy. And this victorious trophy, the scourge of evil spirits, thou hast arrayed against the errors of idol worship, and hast obtained the victory not only over all thy impious and savage foes, but over equally barbarous adversaries, the evil spirits themselves.


FOR whereas we are composed of two distinct natures, I mean of body and spirit, of which the one is visible to all, the other i invisible, against both these natures two kinds of barbarous and savage enemies, the one invisibly, the other openly, are constantly arrayed. The one oppose our bodies with bodily force the other with incorporeal assaults besiege the naked soul itself. Again, the visible barbarians, like the wild nomad tribes, no better than savage beasts, assail the nations of civilized men, ravage their country, and enslave their cities, rushing on those who inhabit them like ruthless wolves of the desert, and destroying all who fall under their power. But those unseen foes, more cruel far than barbarians, I mean the soul-destroying demons whose course is through the regions of the air, had succeeded, through the snares of vile polytheism, in enslaving the entire human race, insomuch that they no longer recognized the true God, but wandered in the mazes of atheistic error. For they procured, I know not whence, gods who never anywhere existed, and set him aside who is the only and the true God, as though he were not. Accordingly the generation of bodies was esteemed by them a deity, and so the opposite principle to this, their dissolution and destruction, was also deified. The first, as the author of generative power, was honored with rites under the name of Venus: [1] the second, as rich, and mighty in dominion over the human race, received the names of Pluto, and Death. For men in those ages, knowing no other than naturally generated life, declared the cause and origin of that life to be divine: and again, believing in no existence after death, they proclaimed Death himself a universal conqueror and a mighty god. Hence, unconscious of responsibility, as destined to be annihilated by death, they lived a life unworthy of the name, in the practice of actions deserving a thousand deaths. No thought of God could enter their minds, no expectation of Divine judgment, no recollection of, no reflection on, their spiritual existence: acknowledging one dread superior, Death, and persuaded that the dissolution of their bodies by his power was final annihilation, they bestowed on Death the title of a mighty, a wealthy god, and hence the name of Pluto. [2] Thus, then, Death became to them a god; nor only so, but whatever else they accounted precious in comparison with death, whatever contributed to 4 the luxuries of life. Hence animal pleasure became to them a god; nutrition, and its production, a god; the fruit of trees, a god; drunken riot, a god; carnal desire and pleasure, a god. Hence the mysteries of Ceres and Proserpine, the rape of the latter, and her subsequent restoration, by Pluto: hence the orgies of Bacchus, and Hercules overcome by drunkenness as by a mightier god: hence the adulterous rites of Cupid and of Venus: hence Jupiter himself infatuated with the love of women, and of Ganymede: [8] hence the licentious legends of deities abandoned to effeminacy and pleasure. Such were the weapons of superstition 5 whereby these cruel barbarians and enemies of the Supreme God afflicted, and indeed entirely subdued, the human race; erecting everywhere the monuments of impiety, and rearing in every corner the shrines and temples of their false religion. Nay, so far were the 6 ruling powers of those times enslaved by the force of error, as to appease their gods with the blood of their own countrymen and kindred; to whet their swords against those who stood forward to defend the truth; to maintain a ruthless war and raise unholy hands, not against foreign or barbarian foes, but against men l bound to them by the ties of family and affection, against brethren, and kinsmen, and dearest friends, who had resolved, in the practice of virtue and true piety, to honor and worship God. Such was the spirit of madness with 7 which these princes sacrificed to their demon deities men consecrated to the service of the King of kings. On the other hand their victims, as noble martyrs in the cause of true godliness, resolved to welcome a glorious death in preference to life itself, and utterly despised these cruelties. Strengthened, as soldiers of God, with patient fortitude, they mocked at death in all its forms; at fire, and sword, and the torment of crucifixion; at exposure to savage beasts, and drowning in the depths of the sea; at the cutting off and searing of limbs, the digging out of eyes, the mutilation of the whole body; lastly, at famine, the labor of the mines, and captivity: nay, all these sufferings they counted better than any earthly good or pleasure, for the love they bore their heavenly King. In like manner women also evinced a spirit of constancy and courage not inferior to that of men. Some endured the same conflicts 8 with them, and obtained a like reward of their virtue: others, forcibly carried off to be the victims of violence and pollution, welcomed death rather than dishonor; while many, very many more, endured not even to hear the same threats wherewith they were assailed by the provincial governors, but boldly sustained every variety of torture, and sentence of death in every form? Thus did these valiant soldiers of the Almighty Sovereign maintain the conflict with steadfast fortitude of soul against the hostile forces of polytheism: and thus did these enemies of God and adversaries of man's salvation, more cruel far than the ferocious savage, delight in libations of human blood: thus did their ministers drain as it were the cup of un-righteous slaughter in honor of the demons whom they served, and prepare for them this dread and impious banquet, to the ruin of 9 the human race. In these sad circumstances, what course should the God and King of these afflicted ones pursue? Could he be careless of the safety of his dearest friends or abandon his servants in this great extremity? Surely none could deem him a wary pilot, who, without an effort to save his fellow-mariners should suffer his vessel to sink with all her crew: surely no general could be found so reckless as to yield his own allies, without resistance, to the mercy of the foe: nor can a faithful shepherd regard with unconcern the straying of a single sheep from his flock, but will rather leave the rest in safety, and dare all things for the wanderer's sake, even, if need be, to contend 10 with savage beasts. The zeal, however, of the great Sovereign of all was for no unconscious [5] sheep: his care was exercised for his own faithful host, for those who sustained the battle for his sake: whose conflicts in the cause of godliness he himself approved, and honored those who had returned to his presence with the prize of victory which he only can bestow, uniting them to the angelic choirs. Others he still preserved on earth, to communicate the living seeds of piety to future generations; to be at once eye-witnesses of his vengeance on the ungodly, and narrators 11 of the events. After this he outstretched his arm in judgment on the adversaries, and utterly destroyed them with the stroke of Divine wrath, compelling them, how reluctant soever to confess with their own lips and recant their wickedness, but raising from the ground and exalting gloriously those who had long been 12 oppressed and disclaimed by all. Such were the dealings of the Supreme Sovereign, who ordained an invincible champion to be the minister of his heaven-sent vengeance (for our emperor's surpassing piety delights in the title of Servant of God), and him he has, proved victorious over all that opposed him, having raised him up, an individual against many foes. For they were indeed numberless, being the friends of many evil spirits (though in reality they were nothing, and hence are now no more); but our emperor is one, appointed by, and the representative of, the one Almighty Sovereign. And they, in the very spirit of impiety, destroyed the righteous with cruel slaughter: but he, in imitation of his Saviour, and knowing only how to save men's lives, has spared and instructed in godliness the impious 13 themselves. And so, as truly worthy the name of VICTOR, he has subdued the twofold race of barbarians; soothing the savage tribes of men by prudent embassies, compelling them to know and acknowledge their superiors, and reclaiming them from a lawless and brutal life to the governance of reason and humanity; at the same time that he proved by the facts themselves that the fierce and ruthless race of unseen spirits had long ago been vanquished by a higher power. For he who is the preserver of the universe had punished these invisible spirits by an invisible judgment: and our emperor, as the delegate of the Supreme Sovereign, has followed up the victory, bearing away the spoils of those who have long since died and mouldered into dust, and distributing the plunder with lavish hand among the soldiers of his victorious Lord. [6]


FOR as soon as he understood that the 1 ignorant multitudes were inspired with a vain and childish dread of these bugbears of error, wrought in gold and silver, he judged it right to remove these also, like stumbling-stones thrown in the path of men walking m the dark, and henceforward to open a royal road, plain and unobstructed, to all. Having 2 formed this resolution, he considered that no soldiers or military force of any sort was needed for the repression of the evil: a few of his own friends sufficed for this service, and these he sent by a simple expression of his will to visit each several province. Accordingly 3, sustained by confidence in the emperor's piety and their own personal devotion to God, they passed through the midst of numberless tribes and nations, abolishing this ancient system of error in every city and country. They ordered the priests themselves, in the midst of general laughter and scorn, to bring their gods from their dark recesses to the light of day. They then stripped them of their ornaments, and exhibited to the gaze of all the unsightly reality which had been hidden beneath a painted exterior: and lastly, whatever part of the material appeared to be of value they scraped off and melted in the fire to prove its worth, after which they secured and set apart whatever they judged needful for their purposes, leaving to the superstitious worshipers what was altogether useless, as a memorial of their shame. Meanwhile our admirable prince 4 was himself engaged in a work similar to that we have described. For at the same time that these costly images of the dead were stripped, as we have said, of their precious materials, he also attacked those composed of brass; causing those to be dragged from their places with ropes, and, as it were, carried away captive, whom the dotage of mythology had esteemed as gods. The next care of our august emperor was to kindle, as it were, a brilliant torch, by the light of which he directed his imperial gaze around, to see if any hidden 5 vestiges of error might yet exist. And as the keen-sighted eagle in its heavenward flight is able to descry from its lofty height the most distant objects on the earth: so did he whilst residing in the imperial palace of his own fair city, discover, as from a watch-tower, a hidden and fatal snare of souls in the province of Phoenicia. This was a grove and temple, not situated in the midst of any city, or in any public place, as for splendor of effect is generally 6 the case, but apart from the beaten and frequented road, on part of the summit of Mount Lebanon, and dedicated to the foul demon known by the name of Venus. It was a school of wickedness for all the abandoned rotaries of impurity and such as destroyed their bodies with effeminacy. Here men undeserving the name forgot the dignity of their sex, and propitiated the demon by their effeminate conduct: here too unlawful commerce of women, and adulterous intercourse, with other horrible and infamous practices, were perpetrated in this temple as in a place beyond the scope and restraint of law.

Meantime these evils remained unchecked by the presence of any observer, since no one of fair character ventured to visit such scenes.

7 These proceedings, however, could not escape the vigilance of our august emperor, who, having himself inspected them with characteristic forethought, and judging that such a temple was unfit for the light of heaven, gave orders that the building with its offerings should be utterly destroyed. Accordingly, in obedience to the imperial edict, these engines of an impure superstition were immediately abolished, and the hand of military force was made instrumental in purging the place. And now those who had heretofore lived without restraint, learned, through the imperial threat of punishment, 8 to practice self-control. Thus did our emperor tear the mask from this system of delusive wickedness, and expose it to the public gaze, at the same time proclaiming openly his Saviour's name to all. No advocate appeared; neither god nor demon, prophet nor diviner, could lend his aid to the detected authors of the imposture. For the souls of men were no longer enveloped in thick darkness: but enlightened by the rays of true godliness, they deplored the ignorance and pitied the blindness of their forefathers, rejoicing at the same time in their own deliverance from such fatal error. [1] Thus speedily, according to the counsel 9 of the mighty God, and through our emperor's agency, was every enemy, whether visible or unseen, utterly removed: and henceforward peace, the happy nurse of youth, extended her reign throughout the world. Wars were no more, for the gods were not: no more did warfare in country or town, no more did the effusion of human blood, distress mankind, as heretofore, when demon-worship and the madness of idolatry prevailed.


AND now we may well compare the present 1 with former things, and review these happy changes in contrast with the evils that are past, and mark the elaborate care with which in ancient times porches and sacred precincts, groves and temples, were prepared in every city for these false deities, and how their shrines were enriched with abundant offerings. The 2 sovereign rulers of those days had indeed a high regard for the worship of the gods. The nations also and people subject to their power honored them with images both in the country and in every city, nay, even in their houses and secret chambers, according to the religious practice of their fathers. The fruit, however, of this devotion, far different from the peaceful concord which now meets our view, appeared in war, in battles, and seditions, which harassed them throughout their lives, and deluged their countries with blood and civil slaughter. Again, the objects of their worship could 8 hold out to these sovereigns with artful flattery the promise of prophecies, and oracles, and the knowledge of futurity: yet could they not predict their own destruction, nor forewarn themselves of the coming ruin: and surely this was the greatest and most convincing proof of their imposture. Not one of those whose 4 words once were heard with awe and wonder, had announced the glorious advent of the Saviour of mankind, [1] or that new revelation of divine knowledge which he came to give. Not Pythius himself, nor any of those mighty gods, could apprehend the prospect of their approaching desolation; nor could their oracles point at him who was to be their conqueror and destroyer. What prophet or diviner could 15 foretell that their rites would vanish at the presence of a new Deity in the world, and that the knowledge and worship of the Almighty Sovereign should be freely given to all mankind? Which of them foreknew the august and pious reign of our victorious emperor, or his triumphant conquests everywhere over the false demons, or the overthrow of their high places?

6 Which of the heroes has announced the melting down and conversion of the lifeless statues from their useless forms to the necessary uses of men? Which of the gods have yet had power to speak of their own images thus melted and contemptuously reduced to fragments?

7 Where were the protecting powers, that they should not interpose to save their sacred memorials, thus destroyed by man? Where, I ask, are those who once maintained the strife of war, yet now behold their conquerors abiding securely in the profoundest peace? And where are they who upheld themselves in a blind and foolish confidence, and trusted in these vanities as gods; but who, in the very height of their superstitious error, and while maintaining an implacable war with the champions of the truth, perished by a fate proportioned to their 8 crimes? Where is the giant race whose arms were turned against heaven itself; the hissings of those serpents whose tongues were pointed with impious words against the Almighty King? These adversaries of the Lord of all, confident in the aid of a multitude of gods, advanced to the attack with a powerful array of military force, preceded by certain images of the dead, and lifeless statues, as their defense. On the other, side our emperor, secure in the armor of godliness, opposed to the numbers of the enemy the salutary and life-giving Sign, as at the same time a terror to the foe, and a protection against every harm; and returned victorious at once over the enemy and the demons whom they served? And then, with thanksgiving and praise, the tokens of a grateful spirit, to the Author of his victory, he proclaimed this triumphant Sign, by monuments as well as words, to all mankind, erecting it as a mighty trophy against every enemy in the midst of the imperial city, and expressly enjoining on all to acknowledge this imperishable symbol of salvation as the safeguard of the power of Rome and of the 9 empire of the world. Such were the instructions which he gave to his subjects generally; but especially to his soldiers, whom he admonished to repose their confidence, not in their weapons, or armor, or bodily strength, but to acknowledge the Supreme God as the giver of every good, and of victory itself.

10 Thus did the emperor himself, strange and incredible as the fact may seem, become the instructor of his army in their religious exercises, and teach them to offer pious prayers in accordance with the divine ordinances, uplifting their hands towards heaven, and raising their mental vision higher still to the King of heaven, on whom they should call as the Author of victory, their preserver, guardian, and helper. He commanded too, that one day should be regarded as a special occasion for religious worship; I mean that which is truly the first and chief of all, the day of our Lord and Saviour; that day the name of which is connected with light, and life, and immortality, and every good. Prescribing the same pious conduct to himself, he honored his Saviour in the chambers of his palace, performing his devotions according to the Divine commands, and storing his mind with instruction through the hearing of the sacred word. The entire care of his household was intrusted to ministers devoted to the service of God, and distinguished by gravity of life and every other virtue; while his trusty body-guards, strong in affection and fidelity to his person, found in their emperor an instructor in the practice of a godly life. Again, the honor with which he regards the victorious Sign is founded on his actual experience of its divine efficacy. Before this the hosts of his enemies have disappeared: by this the powers of the unseen spirits have been turned to flight: through this the proud boastings of God's adversaries have come to nought, and the tongues of the profane and blasphemous been put to silence. By this Sign the Barbarian tribes were vanquished: through his the rites of superstitious fraud received a just rebuke: by this our emperor, discharging as it were a sacred debt, has performed the crowning good of all, by erecting triumphant memorials of its value in all parts of the world, raising temples and churches on a scale of royal costliness, and commanding all to unite in constructing the sacred houses of prayer. Accordingly these signal proofs of our emperor's 13 magnificence forthwith appeared in the provinces and cities of the empire, and soon shone conspicuously in every country; convincing memorials of the rebuke and overthrow of those impious tyrants who but a little while before had madly dared to fight against God, and, raging like savage dogs, had vented on unconscious buildings that fury which they were unable to level against him; had thrown to the ground and Upturned the very foundations of the houses of prayer, causing them to present the appearance of a city captured and abandoned to the enemy. Such was the exhibition of that wicked spirit whereby they sought as it were to assail God himself, but soon experienced the result of their own madness and folly. But a little time elapsed, when a single blast of the storm of Heaven's displeasure swept them utterly away, leaving neither kindred, nor offspring, nor memorial of their existence among men: for all, numerous as they were, disappeared as in a moment beneath the stroke 14 of Divine vengeance. Such, then, was the fate which awaited these furious adversaries of God: but he who, armed with the salutary Trophy, had alone opposed them (nay rather, not alone, but aided by the presence and the power of him who is the only Sovereign), has replaced the ruined edifices on a greater scale, and made the second far superior to the first. For example, besides erecting various churches to the honor of God in the city which bears his name, and adorning the Bithynian capital with another on the greatest and most splendid scale, he has distinguished the principal cities of the other provinces by structures of a similar 15 kind. Above all, he has selected two places in the eastern division of the empire, the one in Palestine (since from thence the life-giving stream has flowed as from a fountain for the blessing of all nations), the other in that metropolis of the East which derives its name from that of Antiochus; in which, as the head of that portion of the empire, he has consecrated to the service of God a church of unparalleled size and beauty. The entire building is encompassed by an enclosure of great extent, within which the church itself rises to a vast elevation, of an octagonal form, surrounded by many chambers and courts on every side, and decorated with ornaments of the richest kind. [3]

16 Such was his work here. Again, in the province of Palestine, in that city which was once the seat of Hebrew sovereignty, on the very site of the Lord's sepulchre, he has raised a church of noble dimensions, and adorned a temple sacred to the salutary Cross with rich and lavish magnificence, honoring that everlasting monument, and the trophies of the Saviour's victory over the power of death, with a splendor which no language can describe.

17 In the same country he discovered three places venerable as the localities of three sacred caves: and these also he adorned with costly structures, paying a fitting tribute of reverence to the scene of the first manifestation of the Saviour's presence; while at the second cavern he hallowed the remembrance of his final ascension from the mountain top; and celebrated his mighty conflict, and the victory which crowned it, at the third. [4] All these places our emperor thus adorned in the hope of proclaiming the symbol of redemption to all mankind; that Cross which has in- 18 deed repaid his pious zeal; through which his house and throne alike have prospered, his reign has been confirmed for a lengthened series of years, and the rewards of virtue bestowed on his noble sons, his kindred, and their descendants. And surely it is a mighty evidence of the power of that God whom he serves, that he has held the balances of justice with an equal hand, and has apportioned to each party their due reward. With regard to the destroyers of the houses of prayer, the penalty of their impious conduct followed hard upon them: forthwith were they swept away, and left neither race, nor house, nor family behind. On the other hand, he whose pious devotion to his Lord is conspicuous in his every act, who raises royal temples to his honor, and proclaims his name to his subjects by sacred offerings throughout the world, he, I say, has deservedly experienced him to be the preserver and defender of his imperial house and race. Thus clearly have the dealings of God been manifested, and this through the sacred efficacy of the salutary Sign.


MUCH might indeed be said of this salutary 1 Sign, by those who are skilled in the mysteries of our Divine religion. For it is in very truth the symbol of salvation, wondrous to speak of, more wondrous still to conceive; the appearance of which on earth has thrown the fictions of all false religion from the beginning into the deepest shade, has buried superstitious error in darkness and oblivion, and has revealed to all that spiritual light which enlightens the souls of men, even the knowledge of the only true God. Hence the universal change 2 for the better, which leads men to spurn their lifeless idols, to trample under foot the lawless rites of their demon deities, and laugh to scorn the time-honored follies of their fathers. Hence, too, the establishment in every place of those schools of sacred learning, wherein men are taught the precepts of saving truth, and dread no more those objects of creation which are seen by the natural eye, nor direct a gaze of wonder at the sun, the moon, or stars; but acknowledge him who is above all these, that invisible Being who is the Creator of them all, and learn to worship him alone. Such 3 are the blessings resulting to mankind from this great and wondrous Sign, by virtue of which the evils which once existed are now no more, and virtues heretofore unknown shine everywhere resplendent with the light of true godliness. Discourses, and precepts, and 4 exhortations to a virtuous and holy life, are proclaimed in the ears of all nations. Nay, the emperor himself proclaims them: and it is indeed a marvel that this mighty prince, raising his voice in the hearing of all the world, like an interpreter of the Almighty Sovereign's will, invites his subjects in every country to the 5 knowledge of the true God. No more, as in former times, is the babbling of impious men heard in the imperial palace; but priests and pious worshipers of God together celebrate his majesty with royal hymns of praise. The name of the one Supreme Ruler of the universe is proclaimed to all: the gospel of glad tidings connects the human race with its Almighty King, declaring the grace and love of the heavenly Father to his children on the earth. His praise is everywhere sung in triumphant strains: the voice of mortal man is blended with the harmony 6 of the angelic choirs in heaven; and the reasoning soul employs the body which invests it as an instrument for sounding forth a fitting tribute of praise and adoration to his name. The nations of the East and the West are instructed at the same moment in his precepts: the people of the Northern and Southern regions unite with one accord, under the influence of the same principles and laws, in the pursuit of a godly life, in praising the one Supreme God, in acknowledging his only begotten Son their Saviour as the source of every blessing, and our emperor as the one ruler on the earth, together with his pious sons. He himself, as a skillful pilot, sits on high at the helm of state, and directs the vessel with unerring course, conducting his people as it were with favoring breeze to a secure and tranquil haven. Meanwhile God himself, the great Sovereign, extends the right hand of his power from above for his protection, giving him victory over every foe, and establishing his empire by a lengthened period of years: and he will bestow on him yet higher blessings, and confirm in every deed the truth of his own promises. But on these we may not at present dwell; but must await the change to a better world: for it is not given to mortal eyes or ears of flesh, fully to apprehend the things of God. [1]


1 AND now, victorious and mighty Constantine, in this discourse, whose noble argument is the glory of the Almighty King, let me lay before thee some of the mysteries of his sacred truth: not as presuming to instruct thee, who art thyself taught of God; nor to disclose to thee those secret wonders which he himself, not through the agency of man, but through our common Saviour, and the frequent light of his Divine presence has long since revealed and unfolded to thy view: but in the hope of leading the unlearned to the light, and displaying before those who know them not the causes and motives of thy pious deeds. True it is that thy noble efforts for the daily worship and honor of the Supreme God throughout the habitable world, are the theme of universal praise. But those records of gratitude to thy Saviour and Preserver which thou hast dedicated in our own province of Palestine, and in that city from which as from a fountain-head the Saviour Word [1] has issued forth to all mankind; and again, the hallowed edifices and consecrated temples which thou hast raised as trophies of his victory over death; and those lofty and noble structures, imperial monuments of an imperial spirit, which thou hast erected in honor of the everlasting memory of the Saviour's tomb the cause, I say, of these things is not equally obvious to all. Those, indeed, who are enlightened in heavenly knowledge by the power of the Divine Spirit, well understand the cause, and justly admire and bless thee for that counsel and resolution which Heaven itself inspired. On the other hand the ignorant and spiritually blind regard these designs with open mockery and scorn, and deem it a strange and unworthy thing indeed that so mighty a prince should waste his zeal on the graves and monuments of the dead. "Were it not 4 better," such a one might say, "to cherish those rites which are hallowed by ancient usage to seek the favor of those gods and heroes whose worship is observed in every province; instead of rejecting and disclaiming them, because subject to the calamities incident to man? Surely they may claim equal honors with him who himself has suffered: or, if they are to be rejected, as not exempt from the sorrows of humanity, the same award would justly be pronounced respecting him." Thus, with important and contracted brow, might he give utterance in pompous language to his self-imagined wisdom. Filled with compassion for this ignorance, the gracious Word of our most beneficent Father freely invites, not such a one alone, but all who are in the path of error, to receive instruction in Divine knowledge; and has ordained the means of such instruction throughout the world, in every country and village, in cultivated and desert lands alike, and in every city: and, as a gracious Saviour and Physician of the soul, calls on the Greek and the Barbarian, the wise and the unlearned, the rich and the poor, the servant and his master, the subject and his lord, the ungodly, the profane, the ignorant, the evil-doer, the blasphemer, alike to draw near, and hasten to receive his heavenly cure. And thus in time past had he clearly announced to all the pardon of former transgressions, saying, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." [2] And again, "I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance." [3] And he adds the reason, saying, "For they that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick." [4] And again, "I desire not the death of a sinner, but rather that he 6 should repent." [5] Hence it is only for those who are themselves instructed in Divine things and understand the motives of that zeal of which these works are the result, to appreciate the more than human impulse by which our emperor was guided, to admire his piety toward God, and to believe his care for the memorial of our Saviour's resurrection to be a desire imparted from above, and truly inspired by that Sovereign, to be whose faithful servant and minister for good is his proudest boast. In full persuasion, then, of thy approval, most mighty emperor, I desire at this present time to proclaim to all the reasons and motives of thy pious works. I desire to stand as the interpreter of thy designs, to explain the counsels of a soul devoted to the love of God. I propose to teach all men, what all should know who care to understand the principles on which our Saviour God employs his power, the reasons for which he who was the pre-existent Controller of all things at length descended to us from heaven: the reasons for which he assumed our nature, and submitted even to the power of death. I shall declare the causes of that immortal life which followed, and of his resurrection from the dead. Once more, I shall adduce convincing proofs and arguments, for the sake of those who yet need such 8 testimony: and now let me commence my appointed task. Those who transfer the worship due to that God who formed and rules the world to the works of his hand; who hold the sun and moon, or other parts of this material system, nay, the elements themselves, earth, water, air, and fire, in equal honor with the Creator of them all; who give the name of gods to things which never would have had existence, or even name, except as obedient to that Word of God who made the world: such persons in my judgment resemble those who overlook the master hand which gives its magnificence to a royal palace; and, while lost in wonder at its roofs and walls, the paintings of varied beauty and coloring which adorn them, and its gilded ceilings and sculptures, ascribe to them the praise of that skill which belongs to the artist whose work they are: whereas they should assign the cause of their wonder, not to these visible objects, but to the architect himself, and confess that the proofs of skill are indeed manifest, but that he alone is the possessor of that skill who has made them what they are. Again, well might we liken those to children, who should admire the seven-stringed lyre, and disregard him who invented or has power to use it: or those who forget the valiant warrior, and adorn his spear and shield with the chaplet of victory: or, lastly, those who hold the squares and streets, the public buildings, temples, and gymnasia of a great and royal city in equal honor with its founder; forgetting that their admiration is due, not to lifeless stones, but to him whose wisdom planned and executed these mighty works. Not less absurd is it for 10 those who regard this universe with the natural eye to ascribe its origin to the sun, or moon, or any other heavenly body. Rather let them confess that these are themselves the works of a higher wisdom, remember the Maker and Framer of them all, and render to him the praise and honor above all created objects. Nay rather, inspired by the sight of these very objects, let them address themselves with full purpose of heart to glorify and worship him who is now invisible to mortal eye, but perceived by the clear and unclouded vision of the soul, the supremely sovereign Word of God. To take the instance of the human body: no one has yet conferred the attribute of wisdom on the eyes, or head, the hands, or feet, or other members, far less on the outward clothing, of a wise and learned man: no one terms the philosopher's household furniture and utensils, wise: but every rational person admires that invisible and secret power, the mind of the man himself. How much more, then, is our admiration 11 due, not to the visible mechanism of the universe, material as it is, and formed of the selfsame elements; but to that invisible Word who has moulded and arranged it all, who is the only-begotten Son of God, and whom the Maker of all things, who far transcends all being, has begotten of himself, and appointed Lord and Governor of this universe? For since it was impossible that perishable bodies, or the rational spirits which he had created, should approach the Supreme God, by reason of their immeasurable distance from his perfections, for he is unbegotten, above and beyond all creation, ineffable, inaccessible, unapproachable, dwelling, as his holy word assures us, [6] in the light which none can enter; but they were created from nothing, and are infinitely far removed from his unbegotten Essence; well has the all-gracious and Almighty God interposed as it were an intermediate Power [7] between himself and them, even the Divine omnipotence of his only-begotten Word. And this Power, which is in perfect nearness and intimacy of union, with the Father which abides in him, and shares his secret counsels, has yet condescended, in fullness of grace, as it were to conform itself to those who are so far removed from the supreme majesty of God. How else, consistently with his own holiness could he who is far above and beyond all things unite himself to corruptible and corporeal matter? Accordingly the Divine Word, thus connecting himself with this universe, and receiving into his hands the reins, as it were, of the world, turns and directs it as a skillful charioteer ac- 13 cording to his own will and pleasure, The proof of these assertions is evident. For supposing that those component parts of the world which we call elements, as earth, water, air, and fire, the nature of which is manifestly without intelligence, are self-existent; and if they have one common essence, which they who are skilled in natural science call the great receptacle, mother, and nurse of all things; and if this itself be utterly devoid of shape and figure, of soul and reason; whence shall we say it has obtained its present form and beauty? To what shall we ascribe the distinction of the elements, or the union of things contrary in their very nature? Who has commanded the liquid water to sustain the heavy element of earth? Who has turned back the waters from their downward course, and carried them aloft in clouds? Who has bound the force of fire, and caused it to lie latent in wood, and to combine with substances most contrary to itself? Who has mingled the cold air with heat, and thus reconciled the enmity of opposing principles? Who has devised the continuous succession of the human race, and given it as it were an endless term of duration? Who has moulded the male and female form, adapted their mutual relations with perfect harmony, and given one common principle of production to every living creature? Who changes the character of the fluid and corruptible seed, which in itself is void of reason, and gives it its prolific power? Who is at this moment working these and ten thousand effects more wonderful than these, nay, surpassing all wonder, and with invisible influence is daily and hourly perpetuating the production of them all? Surely 14 the wonder-working and truly omnipotent Word of God may well be deemed the efficient cause of all these things: that Word who, diffusing himself through all creation, pervading height and depth with incorporeal energy, and embracing the length and breadth of the universe within his mighty grasp, has compacted and reduced to order this entire system, from whose unreasoned and formless matter he has framed for himself an instrument of perfect harmony, the nicely balanced chords and notes of which he touches with all-wise and unerring skill. He it is who governs the sun, and moon, and the other luminaries of heaven by inexplicable laws, and directs their motions for the service of the universal whole. It 15 is this Word of God who has stooped to the earth on which we live, and created the manifold species of animals, and the fair varieties of the vegetable world. It is this same Word who has penetrated the recesses of the deep, has given their being to the finny race, and produced the countless forms of life which there exist. It is he who fashions the burden of the womb, and informs it in nature's laboratory with the principle of life. By him the fluid and heavy moisture is raised on high, and then, sweetened by a purifying change, descends in measured quantities to the earth, and at stated seasons in more profuse supply. Like a skillful husbandman, he fully irrigates the land, tempers the moist and dry in just proportion, diversifying the whole with brilliant flowers, with aspects of varied beauty, with pleasant fragrance, with alternating varieties of fruits, and countless gratifications for the taste of men. But why do I dare essay a hopeless task, to recount the mighty works of the Word of God, and describe an energy which surpasses mortal thought? By some, indeed, he has been termed the Nature of the universe, by others, the World-Soul, by others, Fate. Others again have declared him to be the most High God himself, strangely confounding things most widely different; bringing down to this earth, uniting to a corruptible and material body, and assigning to that supreme and unbegotten Power who is Lord of all an intermediate place between irrational animals and rational mortals on the one hand, and immortal beings on the other. [8]

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