Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. IV:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Apology to the Emperor. (Apologia Ad Constantium.): Section 1
p. 238 Defence Before Constantius.
1. Knowing that you have been a Christian for many years 1282 , most religious Augustus, and that you are godly by descent, I cheerfully undertake to answer for myself at this time;—for I will use the language of the blessed Paul, and make him my advocate before you, considering that he was a preacher of the truth, and that you are an attentive hearer of his words.
With respect to those ecclesiastical matters, which have been made the ground of a conspiracy against me, it is sufficient to refer your Piety to the testimony of the many Bishops who have written in my behalf 1283 ; enough too is the recantation of Ursacius and Valens 1284 to prove to all men, that none of the charges which they set up against me had any truth in them. For what evidence can others produce so strong, as what they declared in writing? We lied, we invented these things; all the accusations against Athanasius are full of falsehood. To this clear proof may be added, if you will vouchsafe to hear it, this circumstance that the accusers brought no evidence against Macarius the presbyter while we were present; but in our absence 1285 , when they were by themselves, they managed the matter as they pleased. Now, the Divine Law first of all, and next our own Laws 1286 , have expressly declared, that such proceedings are of no force whatsoever. From these things your piety, as a lover of God and of the truth, will, I am sure, perceive that we are free from all suspicion, and will pronounce our opponents to be false accusers.
[cf. Acts xxvi. 2.] Constantius, though here called a Christian, was not baptized till his last illness, a.d. 361, and then by the Arian Bishop of Antioch, Euzoius. At this time he was 39 years of age. Theodoret represents him making a speech to his whole army on one occasion, exhorting them to Baptism previous to going to war; and recommending all to go thence who could not make up their mind to the Sacrament. H. E. iii. 1. Constantius, his grandfather, had rejected idolatry and acknowledged the One God, according to Eusebius, V. Const. i. 14, though it does not appear that he had embraced Christianity.238:1283
Supr. Apol. Ar. 1.238:1284
Apol. Ar. 1, 58.238:1285
ib. 13, 27, &c.238:1286
Cf. Apol. Ar. ii. 51.
Next: The first charge, of setting Constans against Constantius.
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