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occasion to act as arbitrators. Constantine recognized this function in them, and provided by law that parties agreeing to submit their case to a bishop should abide by his decision.

The successors of Constantine were not inclined to claim a less share in the management of the Church than was arrogated by him. Not content merely to follow up the action of the bishops, and to raise their decisions on doctrine and discipline to the character of imperial laws, they often, in addition to this, asserted their own will in ecclesiastical matters. Constantius, even more freely than his father, exercised a lordship over episcopal thrones, driving out one incumbent, setting up another, and bringing cogent means to bear for the overawing of bishops assembled in council. Others who followed claimed an equal license. Some even went so far as to issue authoritative decrees, in their own name, upon questions of dogma. This was notably the case, in the present period, with Basiliscus, Zeno, and Justinian. In this assumption, however, these lay popes were none too successful. The current of thought and feeling in the Church had too much force and momentum to be easily diverted by any individual, with whatever official majesty he might be armed. More than one emperor found himself powerless to carry through a favorite scheme in relation to ecclesiastical affairs.

Evidently these new relations involved serious dangers. But they embraced, also, grand opportunities. The danger was that the Church should become per

1 Sozomen, Hist. Eccl., i. 9. 3 Evagrius, Hist. Eccl., iii. 4, iii. 14, iv. 39.

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vaded with too much of a secular and political spirit, and also suffer, at the hands of its ally, an abridgment of its liberty. The opportunity was the chance to sanctify worldly dominion, the open door through which the Church was invited to carry the influence of the gospel into all the departments of the State and of society. The radical isolation from the State, which Christianity had been compelled to assume in the previous centuries, was an unnatural position. Perilous as are riches and power, its office is not so much to renounce, as to sanctify them. Christianity was only coming to its rightful position when it came where it could lay its hand upon the throne, the sceptre, and the resources of empire. Church and State are never in proper relations, save as an intimate moral alliance subsists between them; that is, an attitude of mutual respect, sympathy, and wellwishing as respects the prosperity of each in its own sphere, an alliance which promotes the good of both without unduly sacrificing the independence of either. If, then, the new relations were detrimental to the Church, it was because the alliance was not a normal one, and because the Church failed in the task of sanctifying its added resources. As a matter of fact, both good and evil resulted, inasmuch as the alliance was in part abnormal, and inasmuch as the Church in part fulfilled, and in part failed to fulfil, its appointed task of sanctifying the worldly estate upon which it entered. Among the chief results to the Church, the following may be enumerated :

1. A mass of half-converted heathen.

The mere force of imperial example was enough to draw multitudes into the Church. The prospect of imperial favor and worldly promotion caused many more to assume the Christian name. Even Eusebius testifies to the broad scope which Constantine's administration allowed to the operation of this corrupt motive, and denounces “the scandalous hypocrisy of those who crept into the Church, and assumed the name and character of Christians."1 Augustine testifies to the force which similar considerations had in his day. “How many,” he says, “ seek Jesus for no other object but that he may bestow on them a temporal benefit! One has a business on hand: he seeks the intercession of the clergy. Another is oppressed by a more powerful than himself: he flies to the Church. Another desires intervention in his behalf with one with whom he has little influence. One in this way, one in that, the Church is daily filled with such people. Jesus is scarcely sought after for Jesus' sake.”? Chrysostom uses this strong language: “The Lord commanded not to give that which is holy to the dogs, or to cast pearls before swine. We, however, moved by senseless vanity and ambition, have violated this command, in that we have admitted to a participation of the sacraments corrupt and unbelieving men, who are full of evil, before they have given us a definite proof of their disposition.”3 As the extracts may serve to intimate, the nobler and more earnest bishops sought to make the best possible use of the influx, and spared no pains to lead applicants for church-membership into a true under


1 Vita Cons., iv. 54.

2 Tract. in Joan., xxv. 10. 8 Quoted by Neander from the treatise (mepi Karavusews) addressed to Demetrius.

standing and inner acceptance of Christianity. But those of more worldly temper were content to swell numbers irrespective of moral consequences. The inevitable result of such a policy was a mass of unassimilated material. Men came into the Church without any previous discipline in Christian morals, or training in the monotheistic faith. A lowered tone of Christian life, and an acceleration of tendencies toward polytheism, followed, as natural consequences. Those who had been accustomed to a long list of gods could easily be inclined to an idolatrous veneration of the Virgin and the saints.

2. Encroachments of worldliness. The transformation of the imperial court from the headquarters of heathen opposition into a principal asylum and defence of Christianity was a fact that gave by itself quite a new aspect to secular glory. Earthly splendor was made by this change to appear less foreign, less exclusively an attribute of the wicked Babylon. The personal customs of the early Christian emperors tended to re-enforce the impression thus initiated. Constantine did not hesitate to adopt the usual standard of Oriental magnificence, and he was quite outstripped in this respect by some of his successors. Arcadius, one of the sons of the great Theodosius, and his successor in the East, cultivated a pomp scarcely exceeded by any representative of heathen dominion. 66 When, on rare occasions," writes Milman, “Arcadius condescended to reveal to the public the majesty of the sovereign, he was preceded by a vast multitude of attendants, dukes, tribunes, civil and military officers, their horses glittering with golden ornaments, with shields of gold set with precious stones, and golden lances. They proclaimed the coming of the Emperor, and commanded the ignoble crowd to clear the streets before him. The Emperor stood or reclined in a gorgeous chariot, surrounded by his immediate attendants, distinguished by shields with golden bosses, set round with golden eyes, and drawn by white mules with gilded trappings. The chariot was set with precious stones; and golden fans vibrated with the movement, and cooled the air. The multitude contemplated at a distance the snow-white cushions, the silken carpets with dragons inwoven upon them in rich colors. Those who were fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of the Emperor beheld his ears loaded with golden rings, his arms with golden chains, his diadem set with gems of all hues, his purple robes in all their sutures embroidered with precious stones. The wondering people, on their return to their homes, could talk of nothing but the splendor of the spectacle, - the robes, the mules, the carpets, the size and splendor of the jewels." 1

But it speedily became unnecessary to turn the eyes toward the imperial court to see a spectacle of wealth and magnificence within the bounds of a professed Christianity. The Church itself became possessed of great riches. The increasing of its revenues by gifts and legacies was regarded as a decided indication of religious zeal. Many also thought to purchase special grace to their souls by such means. So far was legacyhunting and legacy-giving carried, in behalf of church purposes, that Valentinian I. thought it necessary to

1 Hist. of Christianity, Book IV., chap. i.


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