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

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Chapter XVI.—The Coming of Christ was predicted by the Prophets; and was ordained to be the Overthrow of Idols and Idolatrous Cities.

Long since had his passion, as well as his advent in the flesh, been predicted by the prophets. The time, too, of his incarnation had been foretold, and the manner in which the fruits of iniquity and profligacy, so ruinous to the works and ways of righteousness, should be destroyed, and the whole world partake of the virtues of wisdom and sound discretion, through the almost universal prevalence of those principles of conduct which the Saviour should promulgate, over the minds of men; whereby the worship of God should be confirmed, and the rites of superstition utterly abolished. By these not the slaughter of animals alone, but the sacrifice of human victims, and the pollutions of an accursed worship, had been devised: as, for example, by the laws of Assyria and Egypt, the lives of innocent men were offered up in images of brass or earth. Therefore have these nations received a recompense worthy so foul a worship. Memphis and Babylon [it was declared] 3446 shall be wasted, and left desolate with their fathers’ gods. Now these things I speak not from the report of others, but having myself been present, and actually seen the most wretched of these cities, the unfortunate Memphis. 3447 Moses desolated, at the Divine command, the land of the once mighty Pharaoh, whose arrogance was his destruction, 3448 and destroyed his army (which had proved victorious over numerous and mighty nations, an army strong in defenses and in arms), not by the flight of arrows or the hurling of hostile weapons, but by holy prayer alone, and quiet supplication.



Not in text. This parenthesis is the least obnoxious of various proposed paraphrases.


Probably refers to its destruction by Diocletian, whom Constantine accompanied. See Prolegomena, Life, Early Years.


The text of this passage is most dubious. Bag., following Valesius, translates: “And an actual witness of the wretched fate which has befallen these cities. Memphis lies desolate; that city which was the pride of the once mighty Pharaoh whose power Moses crushed at the Divine command.” This has been changed to accord with the text and punctuation of Heinichen. The change makes Constantine declare himself an eye-witness of the fate of Memphis alone, which is thought to accord with the facts; for while he was in fact in Egypt with Diocletian there is no evidence that he ever saw Babylon. And yet it is possible he did.

Next: Chapter XVII

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