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

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XXVI.—The Emperor ascribes his Personal Piety to God; and shows that we are bound to seek Success from God, and attribute it to him; but to consider Mistakes as the Result of our own Negligence.

When men commend my services, which owe their origin to the inspiration of Heaven, do they not clearly establish the truth that God is the cause of the exploits I have performed? Assuredly they do: for it belongs to God to do whatever is best, and to man, to perform the commands of God. I believe, indeed, the best and noblest course of action is, when, before an attempt is made, we provide as far as possible for a secure result: and surely all men know that the holy service in which these hands have been employed has originated in pure and genuine faith towards God; that whatever has been done for the common welfare has been effected by active exertion combined with supplication and prayer; the consequence of which has been as great an amount of individual and public benefit as each could venture to hope for himself and those he holds most dear. They have witnessed battles, and have been spectators of a war in which the providence of God has granted victory to this people: 3492 they have seen how he has favored and seconded our prayers. For righteous prayer is a thing invincible; and no one fails to attain his object who addresses holy supplication to God: nor is a refusal possible, except in the case of wavering faith; 3493 for God is ever favorable, ever ready to approve of human virtue. While, therefore, it is natural for man occasionally to err, yet God is not the cause of human error. Hence it becomes all pious persons to render thanks to the Saviour of all, first for our own individual security, and then for the happy posture of public affairs: at the same time intreating the favor of Christ with holy prayers and constant supplications, that he would continue to us our present blessings. For he is the invincible ally and protector of the righteous: he is the supreme judge of all things, the prince of immorality, the Giver of everlasting life.



i.e. the Roman. So Val. and Hein., but Val. thinks it may perhaps rather be “to my army.”


Better, literally, “slackening faith.” There is somewhat of loss from the primitive and real conception of faith in the fixing of the word “wavering” as the conventional expression for weak. Faith is the steadfast current of personality towards an object, and poverty of faith is more often the abatement or slackening of that steady, insistent activity than the wavering of doubt. There is more unbelief than disbelief.

Next: The Oration of Eusebius.