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

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter V.—That Christ, the Son of God, created All Things, and has appointed to Every Thing the Term of its Existence.

But why do I defile my tongue with unhallowed words, when my object is to sound the praises of the true God? Rather let me cleanse myself, as it were, from this bitter draught by the pure stream which flows from the everlasting fountain of the virtue 3385 of that God who is the object of my praise. Be it my special province to glorify Christ, as well by the actions of my life, as by that thanksgiving which is due to him for the manifold and signal blessings which he has bestowed. I affirm, therefore, that he 3386 has laid the foundations of this universe; and conceived the race of men, ordaining these things by his word. And immediately he transferred our newly created parents (ignorant at first, according to his will, of good and evil) to a happy region, abounding in flowers and fruits of every kind. 3387 At length, however, he appointed them a seat on earth befitting creatures endued with reason; and then unfolded to their faculties, as intelligent beings, the knowledge of good and evil. Then, too, he bade the race increase; and each healthy region of the world, as far as the bounds of the circumambient ocean, became the dwelling-place of men; while with this increase of numbers the invention of the useful arts went hand in p. 564 hand. Meantime the various species of inferior 3388 animals increased in due proportion, each kind discovering some characteristic quality, the special gift of nature: the tame distinguished by gentleness and obedience to man; the wild by strength and swiftness, and an instinctive foresight which warned them to escape from peril. The gentler animals he placed entirely beneath man’s protecting care, but entailed on him the necessity of strife with those of fiercer nature. He next created the feathered race, manifold in number, diverse in character and habits; brilliant with every variety of color, and endued with native powers of melody. Finally, having arranged with wise discrimination whatever else the compass of this world contains, and having assigned to every creature the stated term of its existence, he thus completed the beautiful order of the perfect whole.



Or “perfections.”


“To be referred not to the preceding ‘Christ’ but…the supreme God.”—Hein. (?).


[Constantine seems to have supposed the Paradise of our first parents to be somewhere apart from this earth. In this fanciful idea, which is obviously indefensible from Scripture he is countenanced by the opinions of Tertullian, Tatian, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Valentinian, and Jerome, some of whom placed it in or above the third heaven, others in the fourth, others again in a world superior to the present, &c. See the note of Valesius, who quotes from some of these Fathers. In reference to what follows, we may ask, Was Constantine acquainted with, or does he avoid noticing, the circumstances of the fall?—Bag.] Ans. Constantine like many another to our own day seems to regard the “fall” as a fall upwards—that complacent optimism which ignores Scripture and Schopenhauer alike.


Without the λόγος, i.e. inarticulate or (as here) irrational.

Next: Chapter VI