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so that you may support those who require your assistance, that you may heal the brethren who are afflicted with spiritual maladies, that you may reunite the members of the one body, that you may rectify the disorders of the church while time permits; and that you may restore concord to those provinces which, alas! were thrown into confusion by the arrogance of a few men. I believe every one would admit that you could not perform anything so pleasing in the sight of God, so conformable to all my desires, as well as to your own, or so conducive to your own honour, as to restore peace. Do not delay, but endeavour with redoubled alacrity to terminate these discussions, with all that sincerity and fidelity which, according to the command of our Saviour, ought to pervade all our actions. Nothing shall be omitted on my part to further the interests of our religion. I have done all that you recommended in your letters. I have written to those bishops whom you specified, directing them to repair to the council for the purpose of deliberating with you upon ecclesiastical matters. I have also sent Dionysius, one of the consuls, to remind those who are to sit in council with you, of their duty to be zealous in the maintenance of good order in everything that is transacted. If any one should dare to disobey our command, and refuse to come to the council, which, however, I do not think possible, we must send him into immediate banishment, that he may learn not to oppose the decrees enacted by the emperor for the support of truth. All that now devolves upon your holiness is to judge without partiality or prejudice, to obey the ecclesiastical and apostolical canons, and to devise suitable remedies for the evil which has resulted from error; in order that the church may be freed from all reproach, that my anxiety may be diminished, that peace may be restored, and that your renown may be increased. May your God preserve you, beloved brethren."
The bishops accordingly repaired to the council of Tyre. Amongst them were those who were suspected of holding heterodox doctrines; Asclepas, bishop of Gaza, was one of the accused; the admirable Athanasius also attended. I shall first dwell on the accusation alleged against him, and shall then relate the proceedings of this famous court of justice.
CHAP. XXX.-COUNCIL OF TYRE.
ARSENIUS was the bishop of the Melitian faction. His partisans put him in a place of concealment, and requested him to remain there. They then cut off the right hand of a corpse, embalmed it, placed it in a wooden coffin, and carried it about everywhere, declaring that it was the hand of Arsenius, who had been murdered by Athanasius. But the omniscient God did not permit Arsenius to remain long in concealment. It was first rumoured that he had gone to reside in Egypt; then, that he was at Thebes; afterwards he was led by Divine Providence to Tyre, where the hand represented as his had been brought before the council. The friends of Athanasius arrested him, and detained him for a time at an inn. Early one morning, as soon as the great Athanasius appeared in the council, a woman of loose principles was ushered in: she deposed in a loud and impudent manner that she had vowed perpetual virginity, but that Athanasius, who had lodged in her house, had violated her chastity. The judges of Athanasius commanded him to reply to the deposition against him; but he was silent, as if he had not been Athanasius. Timotheus, however, a presbyter, who had entered the council with the accuser, addressed her in the following terms: "Have I, O woman, ever conversed with you, or have I ever entered your house?" She replied with the utmost effrontery, railed at Timotheus, and, pointing at him with her finger, she exclaimed, "It was by you that the act of violence was committed upon me;" and she added other indelicate expressions which are used by women destitute of all modesty. Those who had devised this calumny, and the judges who were cognizant of it, were covered with confusion, and the woman was dismissed. Athanasius said, that instead of sending her away they ought to ascertain from her the names of those by whom she had been employed; but his accusers replied, that he had perpetrated other flagrant crimes, of which it was utterly impossible that he could by any art be exonerated; and that eyes, even without ears, were sufficient to demonstrate his culpability. Having said this, they exhibited the celebrated coffin, and exposed the embalmed hand to view. At this sight, all the spectators uttered a loud cry. 1 Καταγωγή.
Some believed the accusation to be true; the others suspected the falsehood, and thought that Arsenius was lurking somewhere or other in concealment. When at length, after some difficulty, silence was obtained, the accused asked his judges whether any of them knew Arsenius. Several of them replying that they had been intimately acquainted with him, Athanasius gave orders that he should be brought before them. Then he again asked them, whether that was the same Arsenius whom he was accused of having assassinated, and of having afterwards insulted, by cutting off his right hand. When they had confessed that it was the same individual, Athanasius raised both the sides of his cloak, so as to display his two hands, and said, “No man has received more than two hands from the Creator." The calumniators and the judges who were privy to the crime, instead of hiding themselves, or praying that the earth might open and ingulf them, raised an uproar and commotion in the assembly, and declared that Athanasius was a sorcerer, and that he had by his magical incantations bewitched the eyes of men. They strove to tear him in pieces, and to kill him, although only a short time previously they had condemned him on a charge of murder. But those whom the emperor had intrusted with the preservation of order, saved the life of Athanasius by dragging him away from them, and hurrying him on board a ship. When he was presented to the emperor, he described all the stratagems which had been employed against him. The calumniators sent bishops attached to their faction into Mareota. Theognis, bishop of Nice, Theodore, bishop of Perinthus, Maris, bishop of Chalcedonia, Narcissus, bishop of Cilicia, with others of the same sentiments, were selected for this purpose. Mareota is situated near Alexandria, and derives its name from the lake Mareotis. Here they invented other falsehoods, renewed their former artifices, and framed groundless accusations, which they caused to be laid before the emperor.
CHAP. XXXI.-CONSECRATION OF THE CHURCH OF JERUSALEM.-BANISHMENT OF ST. ATHANASIUS.
ALL the bishops who were present at the council of Tyre were commanded by the emperor to proceed to Jerusalem, to
consecrate the church which he had there erected. The piety and faithfulness of the excellent ruler became conspicuous by his liberality in granting abundant supplies of provisions, not only to the bishops and their followers, but to the vast multitudes who flocked from all parts to Jerusalem. Around the holy altar was a curtain belonging to the emperor, richly adorned with gems and gold. When the dazzling festival was concluded, each bishop returned to his own diocese. The emperor was highly gratified when informed of the splendour and magnificence displayed on the occasion, and blessed the Author of all good for having granted his petition. Athanasius went to him to complain of his unjust condemnation, and at his request the culpable bishops were commanded to repair to the court. Upon their arrival, they desisted from urging any of their former calumnies, because they knew how clearly they could be refuted; but they made it appear that Athanasius had threatened to prevent the exportation of corn. emperor believed what they said, and banished him to a city of Gaul called Treves. This occurred in the thirtieth year of the emperor's reign.
CHAP. XXXII.-WILL OF THE BLESSED EMPEROR
A YEAR and a few months subsequently, (A. D. 337,) the emperor was taken ill at Nicomedia, a city of Bithynia. Being thus led to reflect on the uncertainty of human life, he received the holy rite of baptism, which he had intended to have deferred until he could be baptized in the river Jordan. He settled the succession to the imperial throne upon his three children, Constantine, Constantius, and Constans. He enacted that the great Athanasius should return to Alexandria, and expressed this decision in the presence of Eusebius, who used every argument to dissuade him.
CHAP. XXXIII.-APOLOGY FOR CONSTANTINE.
Ir ought not to excite astonishment that Constantine was so far deceived as to send so many great men into exile; for he believed the assertions of bishops, who skilfully concealed their malice under the appearance of illustrious qualities.
Those who are acquainted with the Sacred Scriptures know that the holy David, although he was a prophet, was deceived; and that too not by a priest, but by one who was a menial, a bondsman, and a profligate: for Ziba, I say, deluded the king by falsehoods against Mephibosheth, and thus obtained his land. It is not to condemn the prophet that I thus speak; I only propose to defend the emperor, to show the weakness of human nature, and to teach that implicit belief should not be given to those who advance accusations, even though they may appear to deserve it; but that the other party ought also to be heard, and that attention ought to be given to the statements of the accused. However, the emperor was translated from his earthly dominions to a better kingdom.
CHAP. XXXIV.-THE END OF THE HOLY EMPEROR
THE body of the emperor was enclosed in a golden coffin, and was carried to Constantinople by the governors of the provinces, the military commanders, and the other officers of state, preceded and followed by the armies, all bitterly deploring their loss; for Constantine had been as an affectionate father to them all. The body of the emperor was allowed to remain in the palace until the arrival of his sons; the honours then rendered to him require no description here, as a full account has been given by other writers. From their works, which are easy of access, may be learnt how greatly the Ruler of all honours his faithful servants. If any one should be tempted to unbelief, let him look at what occurs near the tomb and the statue of Constantine,' and then he must admit the truth of what God have said in the Scriptures, "I will honour those who have honoured me, and those who have despised me shall be despised."
This procession took place annually, (says the author of the Chronicon Alexandrinum,) on the 11th of May, the great festival which commemorated the foundation of the city.