Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol I:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Life of Constantine with Orations of Constantine and Eusebius.: Chapter LXIII
Chapter LXIII.—How after his Baptism he rendered Thanks to God.
He then lifted his voice and poured forth a strain of thanksgiving to God; after which he added these words. “Now I know that I am truly blessed: now I feel assured that I am accounted worthy of immortality, and am made a partaker of Divine light.” He further expressed his compassion for the unhappy condition of those who were strangers to such blessings as he enjoyed: and when the tribunes and generals of his army appeared in his presence with lamentations and tears at the prospect of their bereavement, and with prayers that his days might yet be prolonged, he assured them in reply that he was now in possession of true life; that none but himself could know the value of the blessings he had received; so that he was anxious rather to hasten than to defer his departure to God. He then proceeded to complete the needful arrangement of his affairs, bequeathing an annual donation to the Roman inhabitants of his imperial city; apportioning the inheritance of the empire, like a patrimonial estate, among his own children; in short, making every disposition according to his own pleasure. 3361
The idea of ownership in empire which seems so strange in these days of republics, and is disallowed even by theoretical monarchists, seems to have been a most matter-of-course one in the mind of Constantine, and Eusebius was a true imperialist regarding “tyranies” and “republics” as in the same category. Whether it was by “divine right” or “natural right” they were quite sure it was a “right,” and one to be freely exercised.
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