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the genius of paganism, which had been fondly raised and cherished by the acts of Julian, sunk irrecoverably in the dust. In many cities, the temples were shut or deserted; the philosophers who had abused the transient favour, thought it prudent to shave their beards, and disguise their profession; and the Christians rejoiced, that they were now in a condition to forgive or to revenge the injuries which they had suffered under the preceding reign."* Jovian, nevertheless, issued a wise and graci- . ous edict, in which he explicitly declares, that though he should severely punish the sacrilegious rites of magic, his subjects might exercise with freedom and safety, the ceremonies of the ancient worship. “I hate contention," says he," and love those only that study peace;” declaring that, “ he would trouble none on account of their faith, whatever it was; and that such only should obtain his favour and esteem, as should stand forward, in restoring the peace of the church.” The senate of Constantinople deputed an orator, of the name of Themistius, to express their loyal devotion to the new emperor. His oration is preserved, and merits particular attention, for the discovery which it inadvertently makes of the state of the established Catholic church at that period. “ In the recent changes,” says he, “ both religions have been alternately disgraced, by the seeming acquisition of worthless proselytes, of those votaries of the reigning purple, who could pass, without a reason and without a blush, from the church to the temple, and from the altars of Jupiter to the sacred table of the Christians." + Could a volume give us a more striking picture of the wretched state to which the Christian profession was reduced in so short a time as half a century after its establishment?
Gibbon, vol. iv. ch. Ixxxv.
+ Quoted by Gibbon, ubi supra.
Jovian reigned only one year. He appears to have been addicted to intemperance; for, after indulging himself in the pleasures of the table at supper, he retired to rest, and the next morning was found dead in his bed. The throne of the emperor now remained ten days vacant; but it was at length filled by two brothers, Valentinian and Valens, the former a distinguished officer in the army, who, thirty days after his own elevation, voluntarily associated his brother with him in the government of the empire, A. D. 361. Of both these princes, Mr. Gibbon says, that “they invariably retained in the purple, the chaste and temperate simplicity which had adorned their private life; and under their reign, the pleasures of a court never cost the people a blush or a sigh.” Though in a great measure illiterate themselves, they were great promoters of learning among their subjects. They planned a course of instruction for every city in the empire; and the academies of Rome and Constantinople, but more especially the latter, were considerably extensive.
The two emperors were of very different tempers, and took different courses in regard to religion. The former was of the orthodox party ; but though he especially favoured those of his own sentiments, he gave no disturbance to the Arians. Valens, on the contrary, was less liberal in his views, and persecuted all who differed from him. In the beginning of their reign, a synod was convened in Illyricum, which again decreed the consubstantiality of Father, Son, and Spirit. The emperors issued a circular letter, declaring their assent to this, and ordering that this doctrine should be preached—though they published laws for the toleration of all religious denominations, and even of paganism. In the year 375, Valentinian died suddenly in a transport of rage, and Valens being sole emperor, was soon prevailed on !, the artifice of Eudoxius, bishop of Constantinople, VOL. I.
take a decided part with the Arians, and to abandon his moderation, by cruelly persecuting the Orthodox. The first thing that fired his resentment was the conduct of these latter, who had solicited and obtained his permission to hold a synod at Lampsacus, for the amendment and settlement of the faith; when, after two month's consultation, they decreed the doctrine of the Son's being like the Father as to his essence, to be the true orthodox faith, and deposed all the bishops of the Arian party. This highly exasperated Valens, who without delay, convened a council of the Arian bishops, and in his turn, commanded the bishops who composed the synod of Lampsacus to embrace the sentiments of Eudoxius the Arian: and upon their refusal, sent them into exile transferring their churches to their opponents. After this, he pursued measures still more violent against them; some were commanded to be whipped, others disgraced, not a few imprisoned, and many fined.
But the most detestable part of his conduct was his treacherous and cruel behaviour towards eighty of them, whom, under the pretence of sending them into banishment-a thing to which they had consented, rather than subscribe what they did not believe-he put on board a ship, and caused the vessel to be set on fire as it sailed out of the harbour, through which they all perished either by fire or water. These kinds of cruelty continued to to the end of his reign, and there is no room to doubt that he was greatly stimulated to them by the bishops of the Arian party. It is a melancholy reflection, that the pity which such merciless treatment as this could not have failed to excite in every feeling mind, the orthodox should have deprived themselves of, by their own imprudence, in commencing the first assault upon the Arians. They ought to have remembered that divine maxim, “whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so unto them;" for on most of those occasions it was only “the measure they meted that was measured to them again.”
But the conduct of Valens was not regulated by the strict rules of equity; for in this persecution he included the Novatians, whose churches he commanded to be shut up, and their pastors banished; although, so far as I can perceive, they took no part whatever in the squabbles that existed between the contending factions. Agelius, the pastor of the church in Constantinople, a man of admirable sanctity and virtue, and remarkable for his perfect contempt of money, was exiled. Yet he was restored not long after, and recovered the churches of his communion. Socrates, the historian, who seems to have been intimately acquainted with the affairs of the Novatians, says, that the toleration which this class of Christians at length obtained, they owed under providence to one Marcian, a presbyter of their church in Constantinople, a man of learning and piety, who tutored two daughters of the emperor. This historian particularly mentions the liberality and kindness which the Novatians exercised towards such of the orthodox party as were the subjects of persecution, while they themselves were tolerated, a trait in their history which even Milner is obliged to admit “reflects an amiable lustre on the character of these Dissenters”*—and for shewing which benevolence, they actually incurred the displeasure of the reigning party. Agelius presided over that church forty years, and died in the sixth year of the reign of Theodosius. Before his death, some difference of opinion arose in the church relative to a successor, Agelius gave the preference to Sisinnius, t a person of
• History of the Church, vol. ii. p. 157. + Socrates, the historian, has given us some interesting part Sisimins, which, as I do not recollect to have seen them qat
great learning and talents, and consequently ordained him. The church had a great partiality for Marcian, who had been eminently instrumental in enabling them to weather the storm of persecution under Valens.
modern writer, I shall here extract. “He was,” says he, “ an eloquent person and an excellent philosopher-had diligently cultivated the art of Logic, and was incomparably well versed in the sacred scriptures." He wore a white garment, and regularly bathed himself twice a day in the public baths. He seems to bave been remarkable for the readiness of his wit, on all occasions; in illustration of which, Socrates has recorded several anecdotes. Being interrogated by one of his acquaintance, why he, who was a bishop, chose to bathe twice a day, Sisinnius promptly replied, “ Because I cannot bathe thrice!” His good sense led him to treat with levity the practice of clothing the clergy in black. Calling one day to pay a friendly visit at the house of Arsacius, who had suc. ceeded Chrysostom in the see of Constantinople, he was asked, why he dressed in a manner so unsuitable to his character as a bishop. “Tell me,” said he," where it is written that a bishop should wear a black garment?” Yon, said he, can never shew that a priest ought to wear black--but I will give you my authority for wearing white. Hath not Solomon expressly said, Let thy garments be always white? Eccles. ix. 8. He then referred them to Luke ix. 29, on which occasion both the Lord Jesus, and Moses, and Elias, appeared to the apostles clothed in white. In the province of Galatia, Leontius, the bishop of Ancyra, commenced a prosecution against the church of the Novatians, in that city, and took from them their place of worship. Happening soon afterwards to come to Constantinople, Sisinnius waited upon him, for the purpose of entreating him to restore to his friends their chapel. Leontius few into a passion, and said, “You Novatianists ought not to have churches, for you discard all repentance, and exclude the loving kindness of God," &c. Sisinnius listened patiently to this philippic, and then calmly replied, “But no man can repent more than I do!” How, said Leontius, do you repent? “I repent,” replied Sisinnius, “ that I have seen you !” Chrysostom, who was at the head of the Catholic party, and who was a man of excessive arrogance, on one occasion addressed him with great heat, saying, “ You are a heretic, and I will make you leave off preaching.” “I'll give you a reward,” said Sisinnius, “if you will free me from the labour of it.” “Oh! if the office is laborious," rejoined Chrysostom, “ you may go on with it.”
Socrates closes his account of Sisindius with the following sketch. " He was very eminent for his learning, on which account all the bishops