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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol I:
The Life of Constantine with Orations of Constantine and Eusebius.: Chapter LIV

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter LIV.—Of those who abused His Extreme Benevolence for Avarice and Hypocrisy.

In like manner his mental 3353 qualities reached the highest point of human perfection. Indeed he was distinguished by every excellence of character, but especially by benevolence; a virtue, however, which subjected him to censure from many, in consequence of the baseness of wicked men, who ascribed their own crimes to the emperor’s forbearance. In truth I can myself bear testimony to the grievous evils which prevailed during these times; I mean the violence of rapacious and unprincipled men, who preyed on all classes of society alike, and the scandalous hypocrisy of those who crept into the Church, and assumed the name and character of Christians. His own benevolence and goodness of heart, the genuineness of his own faith, and his truthfulness of character, induced the emperor to credit the profession of these reputed Christians, who craftily preserved the semblance of sincere affection for his person. The confidence he reposed in such men sometimes forced him into conduct unworthy of himself, of which envy took advantage to cloud in this respect the luster of his character. 3354



“Psychical qualities”—including more than intellectual.


Compare Prolegomena, Character. There is a striking touch of naturalness in this passage which tells for the historical trustworthiness of the biographer, and though exposing the fault of the emperor yet gives a rather pleasing glimpse of his character.

Next: Chapter LV

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