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

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XLV.—His Forbearance with Unreasonable Men.

Moreover he endured with patience some who were exasperated against himself, directing them in mild and gentle terms to control themselves, and not be turbulent. And some of these respected his admonitions, and desisted; but as to those who proved incapable of sound judgment, he left them entirely at the disposal of God, and never himself desired harsh measures against any one. Hence it naturally happened that the disaffected in Africa reached such a pitch of violence as even to venture on overt acts of audacity; 3144 some evil spirit, as it seems probable, being jealous of the present great prosperity, and impelling these men to atrocious deeds, that he might excite the emperor’s anger against them. He gained nothing, however, by this malicious conduct; for the emperor laughed at these proceedings, and declared their origin to be from the evil one; inasmuch as these were not the actions of sober persons, but of lunatics or demoniacs; who should be pitied rather than punished; since to punish madmen is as great folly as to sympathize with their condition is supreme philanthropy. 3145



Compare Prolegomena, under Life and Works.


[This passage in the text is defective or corrupt.—Bag.] What is given is substantially the conventional translation of Valesius, Heinichen, Molzberger, and with some variation, 1709 and Bag. It is founded, however, on a conjectural reading, and reluctating against this, a suggestion may be hazarded—“an excessive philanthropy for the folly of the insane, even to the point of sympathy for them.”

Next: Chapter XLVI