The church laws of the Christian emperors from Constantine to Justinian, collected in the Codex Theodosianus of the year 438 (edited, with a learned commentary, by Jac. Gothofredus, Lyons, 1668, in six vols. fol.; afterwards by J. D. Ritter, Lips. 1736, in seven vols.; and more recently, with newly discovered books and fragments, by G. Haenel, Bonn, 1842), and in the Codex Justinianeus of 534 (in the numerous editions of the Corpus juris civilis Romani). Also Eusebius: Vita Constant., and H. Eccl. l. x. On the other hand, the lamentations of the church fathers, especially Gregory Naz., Chrysostom, and Augustine (in their sermons), over the secularized Christianity of their time.




C. G. de Rhoer: Dissertationes de effectu religionis Christianae in jurisprudentiam Romanam. Groning. 1776. Martini: Die Einführung der christl. Religion als Staatsreligion im röm. Reiche durch Constantin. Münch. 1813. H. O. de Meysenburg: De Christ. religionis vi et effectu in jus civile. Gött. 1828. C. Riffel (R.C.): Gesch. Darstellung des Verhältnisses zwischen Kirche u. Staat. Mainz. 1838, vol. i. Troplong: De l’influence du Christianisme sur le droit civil des Romains. Par. 1843. P. E. Lind: Christendommens inflydelse paa den sociale forfatning. Kjobenh. 1852. B. C. Cooper: The Free Church of Ancient Christendom and its Subjugation by Constantine. Lond. 1851(?)

Comp. also Gibbon, chap. xx. Schröckh, several sections from vol. v. onward. Neander, iii. 273–303. Milman, Anc. Christ. Book iv. ch. 1.


 § 13. The New Position of the Church in the Empire.


The previous chapter has shown us how Christianity gradually supplanted the Graeco-Roman heathenism and became the established religion in the empire of the Caesars. Since that time the church and the state, though frequently jarring, have remained united in Europe, either on the hierarchical basis, with the temporal power under the tutelage of the spiritual, or on the caesaro-papal, with the spiritual power merged in the temporal; while in the United States of America, since the end of the eighteenth century, the two powers have stood peacefully but independently side by side. The church could now act upon the state; but so could the state act upon the church; and this mutual influence became a source of both profit and loss, blessing and curse, on either side.

The martyrs and confessors of the first three centuries, in their expectation of the impending end of the world and their desire for the speedy return of the Lord, had never once thought of such a thing as the great and sudden change, which meets us at the beginning of this period in the relation of the Roman state to the Christian church. Tertullian had even held the Christian profession to be irreconcilable with the office of a Roman emperor.129  Nevertheless, clergy and people very soon and very easily accommodated themselves to the new order of things, and recognized in it a reproduction of the theocratic constitution of the people of God under the ancient covenant. Save that the dissenting sects, who derived no benefit from this union, but were rather subject to persecution from the state and from the established Catholicism, the Donatists for an especial instance, protested against the intermeddling of the temporal power with religious concerns.130  The heathen, who now came over in a mass, had all along been accustomed to a union of politics with religion, of the imperial with the sacerdotal dignity. They could not imagine a state without some cultus, whatever might be its name. And as heathenism had outlived itself in the empire, and Judaism with its national exclusiveness and its stationary character was totally disqualified, Christianity must take the throne.

The change was as natural and inevitable as it was great. When Constantine planted the standard of the cross upon the forsaken temples of the gods, he but followed the irresistible current of history itself. Christianity had already, without a stroke of sword or of intrigue, achieved over the false religion the internal victory of spirit over matter, of truth over falsehood, of faith over superstition, of the worship of God over idolatry, of morality over corruption. Under a three hundred years’ oppression, it had preserved its irrepressible moral vigor, and abundantly earned its new social position. It could not possibly continue a despised sect, a homeless child of the wilderness, but, like its divine founder on the third day after his crucifixion, it must rise again, take the reins of the world into its hands, and, as an all-transforming principle, take state, science, and art to itself, to breathe into them a higher life and consecrate them to the service of God. The church, of course, continues to the end a servant, as Christ himself came not to be ministered unto, but to minister; and she must at all times suffer persecution, outwardly or inwardly, from the ungodly world. Yet is she also the bride of the Son of God, therefore of royal blood; and she is to make her purifying and sanctifying influence felt upon all orders of natural life and all forms of human society. And from this influence the state, of course, is not excepted. Union with the state is no more necessarily a profanation of holy things than union with science and art, which, in fact, themselves proceed from God, and must subserve his glory.

On the other hand, the state, as a necessary and divine institution for the protection of person and property, for the administration of law and justice, and for the promotion of earthly weal, could not possibly persist forever in her hostility to Christianity, but must at least allow it a legal existence and free play; and if she would attain a higher development and better answer her moral ends than she could in union with idolatry, she must surrender herself to its influence. The kingdom of the Father, to which the state belongs, is not essentially incompatible with the church, the kingdom of the Son; rather does "the Father draw to the Son," and the Son leads back to the Father, till God become "all in all."  Henceforth should kings again be nursing fathers, and queens nursing mothers to the church,131 and the prophecy begin to be fulfilled: "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever."132

The American reparation of church and state, even if regarded as the best settlement of the true relation of the two, is not in the least inconsistent with this view. It is not a return to the pre-Constantinian basis, with its spirit of persecution, but rests upon the mutual reverential recognition and support of the two powers, and must be regarded as the continued result of that mighty revolution of the fourth century.

But the elevation of Christianity as the religion of the state presents also an opposite aspect to our contemplation. It involved great risk of degeneracy to the church. The Roman state, with its laws, institutions, and usages, was still deeply rooted in heathenism, and could not be transformed by a magical stroke. The christianizing of the state amounted therefore in great measure to a paganizing and secularizing of the church. The world overcame the church, as much as the church overcame the world, and the temporal gain of Christianity was in many respects cancelled by spiritual loss. The mass of the Roman empire was baptized only with water, not with the Spirit and fire of the gospel, and it smuggled heathen manners and practices into the sanctuary under a new name. The very combination of the cross with the military ensign by Constantine was a most doubtful omen, portending an unhappy mixture of the temporal and the spiritual powers, the kingdom which is of the earth, and that which is from heaven. The settlement of the boundary between the two powers, which, with all their unity, remain as essentially distinct as body and soul, law and gospel, was itself a prolific source of errors and vehement strifes about jurisdiction, which stretch through all the middle age, and still repeat themselves in these latest times, save where the amicable American separation has thus far forestalled collision.

Amidst all the bad consequences of the union of church and state, however, we must not forget that the deeper spirit of the gospel has ever reacted against the evils and abuses of it, whether under an imperial pope or a papal emperor, and has preserved its divine power for the salvation of men under every form of constitution. Though standing and working in the world, and in many ways linked with it, yet is Christianity not of the world, but stands above it.

Nor must we think the degeneracy of the church began with her union with the state.133 Corruption and apostasy cannot attach to any one fact or personage, be he Constantine or Gregory I. or Gregory VII. They are rooted in the natural heart of man. They revealed themselves, at least in the germ, even in the apostolic age, and are by no means avoided, as the condition of America proves, by the separation of the two powers. We have among ourselves almost all the errors and abuses of the old world, not collected indeed in any one communion, but distributed among our various denominations and sects. The history of the church presents from the beginning a twofold development of good and of evil, an incessant antagonism of light and darkness, truth and falsehood, the mystery of godliness and the mystery of iniquity, Christianity and Antichrist. According to the Lord’s parables of the net and of the tares among the wheat, we cannot expect a complete separation before the final judgment, though in a relative sense the history of the church is a progressive judgment of the church, as the history of the world is a judgment of the world.


 § 14. Rights and Privileges of the Church. Secular Advantages.


The conversion of Constantine and the gradual establishment of Christianity as the religion of the state had first of all the important effect of giving the church not only the usual rights of a legal corporation, which she possesses also in America, and here without distinction of confessions, but at the same time the peculiar privileges, which the heathen worship and priesthood had heretofore enjoyed. These rights and privileges she gradually secured either by tacit concession or through special laws of the Christian emperors as laid down in the collections of the Theodosian and Justinian Codes.134  These were limited, however, as we must here at the outset observe, exclusively to the catholic or orthodox church.135  The heretical and schismatic sects without distinction, excepting the Arians during their brief ascendency under Arian emperors, were now worse off than they had been before, and were forbidden the free exercise of their worship even under Constantine upon pain of fines and confiscation, and from the time of Theodosius and Justinian upon pain of death. Equal patronage of all Christian parties was totally foreign to the despotic uniformity system of the Byzantine emperors and the ecclesiastical exclusiveness and absolutism of the popes. Nor can it be at all consistently carried out upon the state-church basis; for every concession to dissenters loosens the bond between the church and the state.

The immunities and privileges, which were conferred upon the catholic church in the Roman empire from the time of Constantine by imperial legislation, may be specified as follows:

1. The exemption of the clergy from most public burdens.

Among these were obligatory public services,136 such as military duty, low manual labor, the bearing of costly dignities, and in a measure taxes for the real estate of the church. The exemption,137 which had been enjoyed, indeed, not by the heathen priests alone, but at least partially by physicians also and rhetoricians, and the Jewish rulers of synagogues, was first granted by Constantine in the year 313 to the catholic clergy in Africa, and afterwards, in 319, extended throughout the empire. But this led many to press into the clerical office without inward call, to the prejudice of the state; and in 320 the emperor made a law prohibiting the wealthy138 from entering the ministry, and limiting the increase of the clergy, on the singular ground, that "the rich should bear the burdens of the world, the poor be supported by the property of the church."  Valentinian I. issued a similar law in 364. Under Valentinian II. and Theodosius I. the rich were admitted to the spiritual office on condition of assigning their property to others, who should fulfill the demands of the state in their stead. But these arbitrary laws were certainly not strictly observed.

Constantine also exempted the church from the land tax, but afterwards revoked this immunity; and his successors likewise were not uniform in this matter. Ambrose, though one of the strongest advocates of the rights of the church, accedes to the fact and the justice of the assessment of church lands;139 but the hierarchy afterwards claimed for the church a divine right of exemption from all taxation.

2. The enrichment and endowment of the church.

Here again Constantine led the way. He not only restored (in 313) the buildings and estates, which had been confiscated in the Diocletian persecution, but granted the church also the right to receive legacies (321), and himself made liberal contributions in money and grain to the support of the clergy and the building of churches in Africa,140 in the Holy Land, in Nicomedia, Antioch, and Constantinople. Though this, be it remembered, can be no great merit in an absolute monarch, who is lord of the public treasury as he is of his private purse, and can afford to be generous at the expense of his subjects. He and his successors likewise gave to the church the heathen temples and their estates and the public property of heretics; but these more frequently were confiscated to the civil treasury or squandered on favorites. Wealthy subjects, some from pure piety, others from motives of interest, conveyed their property to the church, often to the prejudice of the just claims of their kindred. Bishops and monks not rarely used unworthy influences with widows and dying persons; though Augustine positively rejected every legacy, which deprived a son of his rights. Valentinian I. found it necessary to oppose the legacy-hunting of the clergy, particularly in Rome, with a law of the year 370,141 and Jerome acknowledges there was good reason for it.142  The wealth of the church was converted mostly into real estate, or at least secured by it. And the church soon came to own the tenth part of all the landed property. This land, to be sure, had long been worthless or neglected, but under favorable conditions rose in value with uncommon rapidity. At the time of Chrysostom, towards the close of the fourth century, the church of Antioch was strong enough to maintain entirely or in part three thousand widows and consecrated virgins besides many poor, sick, and strangers.143  The metropolitan churches of Rome and Alexandria were the most wealthy. The various churches of Rome in the sixth century, besides enormous treasures in money and gold and silver vases, owned many houses and lands not only in Italy and Sicily, but even in Syria, Asia Minor, and Egypt.144  And when John, who bears the honorable distinction of the Almsgiver for his unlimited liberality to the poor, became patriarch of Alexandria (606), he found in the church treasury eight thousand pounds of gold, and himself received ten thousand, though be retained hardly an ordinary blanket for himself, and is said on one occasion to have fed seven thousand five hundred poor at once.145

The control of the ecclesiastical revenues vested in the bishops. The bishops distributed the funds according, to the prevailing custom into three or four parts: for themselves, for their clergy, for the current expenses of worship, and for the poor. They frequently exposed themselves to the suspicion of avarice and nepotism. The best of them, like Chrysostom and Augustine, were averse to this concernment with earthly property, since it often conflicted with their higher duties; and they preferred the poverty of earlier times, because the present abundant revenues diminished private beneficence.

And most certainly this opulence had two sides. It was a source both of profit and of loss to the church. According to the spirit of its proprietors and its controllers, it might be used for the furtherance of the kingdom of God, the building of churches, the support of the needy, and the founding of charitable institutions for the poor, the sick, for widows and orphans, for destitute strangers and aged persons,146 or perverted to the fostering of indolence and luxury, and thus promote moral corruption and decay. This was felt by serious minds even in the palmy days of the external power of the hierarchy. Dante, believing Constantine to be the author of the pope’s temporal sovereignty, on the ground of the fictitious donation to Sylvester, bitterly exclaimed:


"Your gods ye make of silver and of gold;

And wherein differ from idolaters,

Save that their god is one—yours hundred fold?


Ah, Constantine! what evils caused to flow,

Not thy conversion, but that plenteous dower

Thou on the first rich Father didst bestow!"147


 § 15. Support of the Clergy.


3. The better support of the clergy was another advantage connected with the new position of Christianity in the empire.

Hitherto the clergy had been entirely dependent on the voluntary contributions of the Christians, and the Christians were for the most part poor. Now they received a fixed income from the church funds and from imperial and municipal treasuries. To this was added the contribution of first-fruits and tithes, which, though not as yet legally enforced, arose as a voluntary custom at a very early period, and probably in churches of Jewish origin existed from the first, after the example of the Jewish law.148  Where these means of support were not sufficient, the clergy turned to agriculture or some other occupation; and so late as the fifth century many synods recommended this means of subsistence, although the Apostolical Canons prohibited the engagement of the clergy in secular callings under penalty of deposition.149

This improvement, also, in the external condition of the clergy was often attended with a proportional degeneracy in their moral character. It raised them above oppressive and distracting cares for livelihood, made them independent, and permitted them to devote their whole strength to the duties of their office; but it also favored ease and luxury, allured a host of unworthy persons into the service of the church, and checked the exercise of free giving among the people. The better bishops, like Athanasius, the two Gregories, Basil, Chrysosotom, Theodoret, Ambrose, Augustine, lived in ascetic simplicity, and used their revenues for the public good; while others indulged their vanity, their love of magnificence, and their voluptuousness. The heathen historian Ammianus gives the country clergy in general the credit of simplicity, temperance, and virtue, while he represents the Roman hierarchy, greatly enriched by the gifts of matrons, as extreme in the luxury of their dress and their more than royal banquets;150 and St. Jerome agrees with him.151  The distinguished heathen prefect, Praetextatus, said to Pope Damasus, that for the price of the bishopric of Rome he himself might become a Christian at once. The bishops of Constantinople, according to the account of Gregory Nazianzen,152 who himself held that see for a short time, were not behind their Roman colleagues in this extravagance, and vied with the most honorable functionaries of the state in pomp and sumptuous diet. The cathedrals of Constantinople and Carthage had hundreds of priests, deacons, deaconesses, subdeacons, prelectors, singers, and janitors.153

It is worthy of notice, that, as we have already intimated, the two greatest church fathers gave the preference in principle to the voluntary system in the support of the church and the ministry, which prevailed before the Nicene era, and which has been restored in modern times in the United States of America. Chrysostom no doubt perceived that under existing circumstances the wants of the church could not well be otherwise supplied, but he was decidedly averse to the accumulation of treasure by the church, and said to his hearers in Antioch: "The treasure of the church should be with you all, and it is only your hardness of heart that requires her to hold earthly property and to deal in houses and lands. Ye are unfruitful in good works, and so the ministers of God must meddle in a thousand matters foreign to their office. In the days of the apostles people might likewise have given them houses and lands; why did they prefer to sell the houses and lands and give the proceeds?  Because this was without doubt the better way. Your fathers would have preferred that you should give alms of your incomes, but they feared that your avarice might leave the poor to hunger; hence the present order of things."154  Augustine desired that his people in Hippo should take back the church property and support the clergy and the poor by free gifts.155


 § 16. Episcopal Jurisdiction and Intercession.


4. We proceed to the legal validity, of the episcopal jurisdiction, which likewise dates from the time of Constantine.

After the manner of the Jewish synagogues, and according to the exhortation of St. Paul,156 the Christians were accustomed from the beginning to settle their controversies before the church, rather than carry them before heathen tribunals; but down to the time of Constantine the validity, of the bishop’s decision depended on the voluntary, submission of both parties. Now this decision was invested with the force of law, and in spiritual matters no appeal could be taken from it to the civil court. Constantine himself, so early as 314, rejected such an appeal in the Donatist controversy with the significant declaration: "The judgment of the priests must be regarded as the judgment of Christ himself."157 Even a sentence of excommunication was final; and Justinian allowed appeal only to the metropolitan, not to the civil tribunal. Several councils, that of Chalcedon, for example, in 451, went so far as to threaten clergy, who should avoid the episcopal tribunal or appeal from it to the civil, with deposition. Sometimes the bishops called in the help of the state, where the offender contemned the censure of the church. Justinian I. extended the episcopal jurisdiction also to the monasteries. Heraclius subsequently (628) referred even criminal causes among the clergy to the bishops, thus dismissing the clergy thenceforth entirely from the secular courts; though of course holding them liable for the physical penalty, when convicted of capital crime,158 as the ecclesiastical jurisdiction ended with deposition and excommunication. Another privilege, granted by Theodosius to the clergy, was, that they should not be compelled by torture to bear testimony before the civil tribunal.

This elevation of the power and influence of the bishops was a salutary check upon the jurisdiction of the state, and on the whole conduced to the interests of justice and humanity; though it also nourished hierarchical arrogance and entangled the bishops, to the prejudice of their higher functions, in all manner of secular suits, in which they were frequently called into consultation. Chrysostom complains that "the arbitrator undergoes incalculable vexations, much labor, and more difficulties than the public judge. It is hard to discover the right, but harder not to violate it when discovered. Not labor and difficulty alone are connected with office, but also no little danger."159  Augustine, too, who could make better use of his time, felt this part of his official duty a burden, which nevertheless he bore for love to the church.160  Others handed over these matters to a subordinate ecclesiastic, or even, like Silvanus, bishop of Troas, to a layman.161

5. Another advantage resulting from the alliance of the church with the empire was the episcopal right of intercession.

The privilege of interceding with the secular power for criminals, prisoners, and unfortunates of every kind had belonged to the heathen priests, and especially to the vestals, and now passed to the Christian ministry, above all to the bishops, and thenceforth became an essential function of their office. A church in Gaul about the year 460 opposed the ordination of a monk to the bishopric, because, being unaccustomed to intercourse with secular magistrates, though he might intercede with the Heavenly Judge for their souls, he could not with the earthly for their bodies. The bishops were regarded particularly as the guardians of widows and orphans, and the control of their property was intrusted to them. Justinian in 529 assigned to them also a supervision of the prisons, which they were to visit on Wednesdays and Fridays, the days of Christ’s passion.

The exercise of this right of intercession, one may well suppose, often obstructed the course of justice; but it also, in innumerable cases, especially in times of cruel, arbitrary despotism, protected the interests of innocence, humanity, and mercy. Sometimes, by the powerful pleadings of bishops with governors and emperors, whole provinces were rescued from oppressive taxation and from the revenge of conquerors. Thus Flavian of Antioch in 387 averted the wrath of Theodosius on occasion of a rebellion, journeying under the double burden of age and sickness even to Constantinople to the emperor himself, and with complete success, as an ambassador of their common Lord, reminding him of the words: "If ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you."162

6. With the right of intercession was closely connected the right of asylum in churches.

In former times many of the heathen temples and altars, with some exceptions, were held inviolable as places of refuge; and the Christian churches now inherited also this prerogative. The usage, with some precautions against abuse, was made law by Theodosius II. in 431, and the ill treatment of an unarmed fugitive in any part of the church edifice, or even upon the consecrated ground, was threatened with the penalty of death.163

Thus slaves found sure refuge from the rage of their masters, debtors from the persecution of inexorable creditors, women and virgins from the approaches of profligates, the conquered from the sword of their enemies, in the holy places, until the bishop by his powerful mediation could procure justice or mercy. The beneficence of this law, which had its root not in superstition alone, but in the nobler sympathies of the people, comes most impressively to view amidst the ragings of the great migration and of the frequent intestine wars.164


 § 17. Legal Sanction of Sunday.


7. The civil sanction of the observance of Sunday and other festivals of the church.

The state, indeed, should not and cannot enforce this observance upon any one, but may undoubtedly and should prohibit the public disturbance and profanation of the Christian Sabbath, and protect the Christians in their right and duty of its proper observance. Constantine in 321 forbade the sitting of courts and all secular labor in towns on "the venerable day of the sun," as he expresses himself, perhaps with reference at once to the sun-god, Apollo, and to Christ, the true Sun of righteousness; to his pagan and his Christian subjects. But he distinctly permitted the culture of farms and vineyards in the country, because frequently this could be attended to on no other day so well;165 though one would suppose that the hard-working peasantry were the very ones who most needed the day of rest. Soon afterward, in June, 321, he allowed the manumission of slaves on Sunday;166 as this, being an act of benevolence, was different from ordinary business, and might be altogether appropriate to the day of resurrection and redemption. According to Eusebius, Constantine also prohibited all military exercises on Sunday, and at the same time enjoined the observance of Friday in memory of the death of Christ.167

Nay, he went so far, in well-meaning but mistaken zeal, as to require of his soldiers, even the pagan ones, the positive observance of Sunday, by pronouncing at a signal the following prayer, which they mechanically learned: "Thee alone we acknowledge as God; thee we confess as king; to thee we call as our helper; from thee we have received victories; through thee we have conquered enemies. Thee we thank for good received; from thee we hope for good to come. Thee we all most humbly beseech to keep our Constantine and his God-fearing sons through long life healthy and victorious."168  Though this formula was held in a deistical generalness, yet the legal injunction of it lay clearly beyond the province of the civil power, trespassed on the rights of conscience, and unavoidably encouraged hypocrisy and empty formalism.

Later emperors declared the profanation of Sunday to be sacrilege, and prohibited also the collecting of taxes and private debts (368 and 386), and even theatrical and circus performances, on Sunday and the high festivals (386 and 425).169  But this interdiction of public amusements, on which a council of Carthage (399 or 401) with reason insisted, was probably never rigidly enforced, and was repeatedly supplanted by the opposite practice, which gradually prevailed all over Europe.170


 § 18. Influence of Christianity on Civil Legislation. The Justinian Code.


Comp. on this subject particularly the works cited at § 13, sub ii, by Rhoer, Meysenburg, and Troplong; also Gibbon, chap. xliv (an admirable summary of the Roman law), Milman: Lat. Christianity, vol. I. B. iii. chap. 5, and in part the works of Schmidt and Chastel on the influence of Christianity upon society in the Roman empire, quoted in vol. i. § 86.


While in this way the state secured to the church the well-deserved rights of a legal corporation, the church exerted in turn a most beneficent influence on the state, liberating it by degrees from the power of heathen laws and customs, from the spirit of egotism, revenge, and retaliation, and extending its care beyond mere material prosperity to the higher moral interests of society. In the previous period we observed the contrast between Christian morality and heathen corruption in the Roman empire.171  We are now to see how the principles of Christian morality gained public recognition, and began at least in some degree to rule the civil and political life.

As early as the second century, under the better heathen emperors, and evidently under the indirect, struggling, yet irresistible influence of the Christian spirit, legislation took a reformatory, humane turn, which was carried by the Christian emperors as far as it could be carried on the basis of the ancient Graeco-Roman civilization. Now, above all, the principle of justice and equity, humanity and love, began to assert itself in the state. For Christianity, with its doctrines of man’s likeness to God, of the infinite value of personality, of the original unity of the human race, and of the common redemption through Christ, first brought the universal rights of man to bear in opposition to the exclusive national spirit, the heartless selfishness, and the political absolutism of the old world, which harshly separated nations and classes, and respected man only as a citizen, while at the same time it denied the right of citizenship to the great mass of slaves, foreigners, and barbarians.172

Christ himself began his reformation with the lowest orders of the people, with fishermen and taxgatherers, with the poor, the lame, the blind, with demoniacs and sufferers of every kind, and raised them first to the sense of their dignity and their high destiny. So now the church wrought in the state and through the state for the elevation of the oppressed and the needy, and of those classes which under the reign of heathenism were not reckoned at all in the body politic, but were heartlessly trodden under foot. The reformatory motion was thwarted, it is true, to a considerable extent, by popular custom, which is stronger than law, and by the structure of society in the Roman empire, which was still essentially heathen and doomed to dissolution. But reform was at last set in motion, and could not be turned back even by the overthrow of the empire; it propagated itself among the German tribes. And although even in Christian states the old social maladies are ever breaking forth from corrupt human nature, sometimes with the violence of revolution, Christianity is ever coming in to restrain, to purify, to heal, and to console, curbing the wild passions of tyrants and of populace, vindicating the persecuted, mitigating the horrors of war, and repressing incalculable vice in public and in private life among Christian people. The most cursory comparison of Christendom with the most civilized heathen and Mohammedan countries affords ample testimony of this.

Here again the reign of Constantine is a turning point. Though an oriental despot, and but imperfectly possessed with the earnestness of Christian morality, he nevertheless enacted many laws, which distinctly breathe the spirit of Christian justice and humanity: the abolition of the punishment of crucifixion, the prohibition of gladiatorial games and cruel rites, the discouragement of infanticide, and the encouragement of the emancipation of slaves. Eusebius says he improved most of the old laws or replaced them by new ones.173 Henceforward we feel beneath the toga of the Roman lawgiver the warmth of a Christian heart. We perceive the influence of the evangelical preaching and exhortations of the father of monasticism out of the Egyptian desert to the rulers of the world, Constantine and his sons: that they should show justice and mercy to the poor, and remember the judgment to come.

Even Julian, with all his hatred of the Christians, could not entirely renounce the influence of his education and of the reigning spirit of the age, but had to borrow from the church many of his measures for the reformation of heathenism. He recognized especially the duty of benevolence toward all men, charity to the poor, and clemency to prisoners; though this was contrary to the heathen sentiment, and though he proved himself anything but benevolent toward the Christians. But then the total failure of his philanthropic plans and measures shows that the true love for man can thrive only in Christian soil. And it is remarkable, that, with all this involuntary concession to Christianity, Julian himself passed not a single law in line with the progress of natural rights and equity.174

His successors trod in the footsteps of Constantine, and to the end of the West Roman empire kept the civil legislation under the influence of the Christian spirit, though thus often occasioning conflicts with the still lingering heathen element, and sometimes temporary apostasy and reaction. We observe also, in remarkable contradiction, that while the laws were milder in some respects, they were in others even more severe and bloody than ever before: a paradox to be explained no doubt in part by the despotic character of the Byzantine government, and in part by the disorders of the time.175

It now became necessary to collect the imperial ordinances176 in a codex or corpus juris. Of the first two attempts of this kind, made in the middle of the fourth century, only some fragments remain.177  But we have the Codex Theodosianus, which Theodosius II. caused to be made by several jurists between the years 429 and 438. It contains the laws of the Christian emperors from Constantine down, adulterated with many heathen elements; and it was sanctioned by Valentinian III. for the western empire. A hundred years later, in the flourishing period of the Byzantine state-church despotism, Justinian I., who, by the way, cannot be acquitted of the reproach of capricious and fickle law-making, committed to a number of lawyers, under the direction of the renowned Tribonianus,178 the great task of making a complete revised and digested collection of the Roman law from the time of Hadrian to his own reign; and thus arose, in the short period of seven years (527–534), through the combination of the best talent and the best facilities, the celebrated Codex Justinianeus, which thenceforth became the universal law of the Roman empire, the sole text book in the academies at Rome, Constantinople, and Berytus, and the basis of the legal relations of the greater part of Christian Europe to this day.179

This body of Roman law180 is an important source of our knowledge of the Christian life in its relations to the state and its influence upon it. It is, to be sure, in great part the legacy of pagan Rome, which was constitutionally endowed with legislative and administrative genius, and thereby as it were predestined to universal empire. But it received essential modification through the orientalizing change in the character of the empire from the time of Constantine, through the infusion of various Germanic elements, through the influence of the law of Moses, and, in its best points, through the spirit of Christianity. The church it fully recognizes as a legitimate institution and of divine authority, and several of its laws were enacted at the direct instance of bishops. So the "Common Law," the unwritten traditional law of England and America, though descending from the Anglo-Saxon times, therefore from heathen Germandom, has ripened under the influence of Christianity and the church, and betrays this influence even far more plainly than the Roman code, especially in all that regards the individual and personal rights and liberties of man.


 § 19. Elevation of Woman and the Family.


The benign effect of Christianity on legislation in the Graeco-Roman empire is especially noticeable in the following points:

1. In the treatment of women. From the beginning, Christianity labored, primarily in the silent way of fact, for the elevation of the female sex from the degraded, slavish position, which it occupied in the heathen world;181 and even in this period it produced such illustrious models of female virtue as Nonna, Anthusa, and Monica, who commanded the highest respect of the heathens themselves. The Christian emperors pursued this work, though the Roman legislation stops considerably short of the later Germanic in regard to the rights of woman. Constantine in 321 granted women the same right as men to control their property, except in the sale of their landed estates. At the same time, from regard to their modesty, he prohibited the summoning them in person before the public tribunal. Theodosius I. in 390 was the first to allow the mother a certain right of guardianship, which had formerly been intrusted exclusively to men. Theodosius II. in 439 interdicted, but unfortunately with little success, the scandalous trade of the lenones, who lived by the prostitution of women, and paid a considerable license tax to the state.182  Woman received protection in various ways against the beastly passion of man. The rape of consecrated virgins and widows was punishable, from the time of Constantine, with death.183

2. In the marriage laws, Constantine gave marriage its due freedom by abolishing the old Roman penalties against celibacy and childlessness.184  On the other hand, marriage now came to be restricted under heavy penalties by the introduction of the Old Testament prohibitions of marriage within certain degrees of consanguinity, which subsequently were arbitrarily extended even to the relation of cousin down to the third remove.185  Justinian forbade also marriage between godparent and godchild, on the ground of spiritual kinship. But better than all, the dignity and sanctity of marriage were now protected by restrictions upon the boundless liberty of divorce which had obtained from the time of Augustus, and had vastly hastened the decay of public morals. Still, the strict view of the fathers, who, following the word of Christ, recognized adultery alone as a sufficient ground of divorce, could not be carried out in the state.186  The legislation of the emperors in this matter wavered between the licentiousness of Rome and the doctrine of the church. So late as the fifth century we hear a Christian author complain that men exchange wives as they would garments, and that the bridal chamber is exposed to sale like a shoe on the market!  Justinian attempted to bring the public laws up to the wish of the church, but found himself compelled to relax them; and his successor allowed divorce even on the ground of mutual consent.187

Concubinage was forbidden from the time of Constantine, and adultery punished as one of the grossest crimes.188  Yet here also pagan habit ever and anon reacted in practice, and even the law seems to have long tolerated the wild marriage which rested only on mutual agreement, and was entered into without convenant, dowry, or ecclesiastical sanction.189  Solemnization by the church was not required by the state as the condition of a legitimate marriage till the eighth century. Second marriage, also, and mixed marriages with heretics and heathens, continued to be allowed, notwithstanding the disapproval of the stricter church teachers; only marriage with Jews was prohibited, on account of their fanatical hatred of the Christians.190

3. The power of fathers over their children, which according to the old Roman law extended even to their freedom and life, had been restricted by Alexander Severus under the influence of the monarchical spirit, which is unfavorable to private jurisdiction, and was still further limited under Constantine. This emperor declared the killing of a child by its father, which the Pompeian law left unpunished, to be one of the greatest crimes.191  But the cruel and unnatural practice of exposing children and selling them into slavery continued for a long time, especially among the laboring and agricultural classes. Even the indirect measures of Valentinian and Theodosius I. could not eradicate the evil. Theodosius in 391 commanded that children which had been sold as slaves by their father from poverty, should be free, and that without indemnity to the purchasers; and Justinian in 529 gave all exposed children without exception their freedom.192


 § 20. Social Reforms. The Institution of Slavery.


4. The institution of slavery193 remained throughout the empire, and is recognized in the laws of Justinian as altogether legitimate.194  The Justinian code rests on the broad distinction of the human race into freemen and slaves. It declares, indeed, the natural equality of men, and so far rises above the theory of Aristotle, who regards certain races and classes of men as irrevocably doomed, by their physical and intellectual inferiority, to perpetual servitude; but it destroys the practical value of this concession by insisting as sternly as ever on the inferior legal and social condition of the slave, by degrading his marriage to the disgrace of concubinage, by refusing him all legal remedy in case of adultery, by depriving him of all power over his children, by making him an article of merchandise like irrational beasts of burden, whose transfer from vender to buyer was a legal transaction as valid and frequent as the sale of any other property. The purchase and sale of slaves for from ten to seventy pieces of gold, according to their age, strength, and training, was a daily occurrence.195  The number was not limited; many a master owning even two or three thousand slaves.

The barbarian codes do not essentially differ in this respect from the Roman. They, too, recognize slavery as an ordinary condition of mankind and the slave as a marketable commodity. All captives in war became slaves, and thousands of human lives were thus saved from indiscriminate massacre and extermination. The victory of Stilicho over Rhadagaisus threw 200,000 Goths and other Germans into the market, and lowered the price of a slave from twenty-five pieces of gold to one. The capture and sale of men was part of the piratical system along all the shores of Europe. Anglo-Saxons were freely sold in Rome at the time of Gregory the Great. The barbarian codes prohibited as severely as the Justinian code the debasing alliance of the freeman with the slave, but they seem to excel the latter in acknowledging the legality and religious sanctity of marriages between slaves; that of the Lombards on the authority of the Scripture sentence: "Whom God has joined together, let no man put asunder."

The legal wall of partition, which separated the slaves from free citizens and excluded them from the universal rights of man, was indeed undermined, but by no means broken down, by the ancient church, who taught only the moral and religious equality of men. We find slaveholders even among the bishops and the higher clergy of the empire. Slaves belonged to the papal household at Rome, as we learn incidentally from the acts of a Roman synod held in 501 in consequence of the disputed election of Symmachus, where his opponents insisted upon his slaves being called in as witnesses, while his adherents protested against this extraordinary request, since the civil law excluded the slaves from the right of giving testimony before a court of justice.196  Among the barbarians, likewise, we read of slaveholding churches, and of special provisions to protect their slaves.197  Constantine issued rigid laws against intermarriage with slaves, all the offspring of which must be slaves; and against fugitive slaves (a.d. 319 and 326), who at that time in great multitudes plundered deserted provinces or joined with hostile barbarians against the empire. But on the other hand he facilitated manumission, permitted it even on Sunday, and gave the clergy the right to emancipate their slaves simply by their own word, without the witnesses and ceremonies required in other cases.198  By Theodosius and Justinian the liberation of slaves was still further encouraged. The latter emperor abolished the penalty of condemnation to servitude, and by giving to freed persons the rank and rights of citizens, he removed the stain which had formerly attached to that class.199  The spirit of his laws favored the gradual abolition of domestic slavery. In the Byzantine empire in general the differences of rank in society were more equalized, though not so much on Christian principle as in the interest of despotic monarchy. Despotism and extreme democracy meet in predilection for universal equality and uniformity. Neither can suffer any overshadowing greatness, save the majesty of the prince or the will of the people. The one system knows none but slaves; the other, none but masters.

Nor was an entire abolition of slavery at that time at all demanded or desired even by the church. As in the previous period, she still thought it sufficient to insist on the kind Christian treatment of slaves, enjoining upon them obedience for the sake of the Lord, comforting them in their low condition with the thought of their higher moral freedom and equality, and by the religious education of the slaves making an inward preparation for the abolition of the institution. All hasty and violent measures met with decided disapproval. The council of Gangra threatens with the ban every one, who under pretext of religion seduces slaves into contempt of their masters; and the council of Chalcedon, in its fourth canon, on pain of excommunication forbids monasteries to harbor slaves without permission of the masters, lest Christianity be guilty of encouraging insubordination. The church fathers, so far as they enter this subject at all, seem to look upon slavery as at once a necessary evil and a divine instrument of discipline; tracing it to the curse on Ham and Canaan.200  It is true, they favor emancipation in individual cases, as an act of Christian love on the part of the master, but not as a right on the part of the slave; and the well-known passage: "If then mayest be made free, use it rather," they understand not as a challenge to slaves to take the first opportunity to gain their freedom, but, on the contrary, as a challenge to remain in their servitude, since they are at all events inwardly free in Christ, and their outward condition is of no account.201

Even St. Chrysostom, though of all the church fathers the nearest to the emancipation theory and the most attentive to the question of slavery in general, does not rise materially above this view.202  According to him mankind were originally created perfectly free and equal, without the addition of a slave. But by the fall man lost the power of self-government, and fell into a threefold bondage: the bondage of woman under man, of slave under master, of subject under ruler. These three relations he considers divine punishments and divine means of discipline. Thus slavery, as a divine arrangement occasioned by the fall, is at once relatively justified and in principle condemned. Now since Christ has delivered us from evil and its consequences, slavery, according to Chrysostom, is in principle abolished in the church, yet only in the sense in which sin and death are abolished. Regenerate Christians are not slaves, but perfectly free men in Christ and brethren among themselves. The exclusive authority of the one and subjection of the other give place to mutual service in love. Consistently carried out, this view leads of course to emancipation. Chrysostom, it is true, does not carry it to that point, but he decidedly condemns all luxurious slaveholding, and thinks one or two servants enough for necessary help, while many patricians had hundreds and thousands. He advises the liberation of superfluous slaves, and the education of all, that in case they should be liberated, they may know how to take care of themselves. He is of opinion that the first Christian community at Jerusalem, in connection with community of goods, emancipated all their slaves;203 and thus he gives his hearers a hint to follow that example. But of an appeal to slaves to break their bonds, this father shows of course no trace; he rather, after apostolic precedent, exhorts them to conscientious and cheerful obedience for Christ’s sake, as earnestly as he inculcates upon masters humanity and love. The same is true of Ambrose, Augustine, and Peter Chrysologus of Ravenna († 458).

St. Augustine, the noblest representative of the Latin church, in his profound work on the "City of God," excludes slavery from the original idea of man and the final condition of society, and views it as an evil consequent upon sin, yet under divine direction and control. For God, he says, created man reasonable and lord only over the unreasonable, not over man. The burden of servitude was justly laid upon the sinner. Therefore the term servant is not found in the Scriptures till Noah used it as a curse upon his offending son. Thus it was guilt and not nature that deserved that name. The Latin word servus is supposed to be derived from servare [servire rather], or the preservation of the prisoners of war from death, which itself implies the desert of sin. For even in a just war there is sin on one side, and every victory humbles the conquered by divine judgment, either reforming their sins or punishing them. Daniel saw in the sins of the people the real cause of their captivity. Sin, therefore, is the mother of servitude and first cause of man’s subjection to man; yet this does not come to pass except by the judgment of God, with whom there is no injustice, and who knows how to adjust the various punishments to the merits of the offenders .... The apostle exhorts the servants to obey their masters and to serve them ex animo, with good will; to the end that, if they cannot be made free from their masters, they may make their servitude a freedom to themselves by serving them not in deceitful fear, but in faithful love, until iniquity be overpassed, and all man’s principality and power be annulled, and God be all in all.204

As might be expected, after the conversion of the emperors, and of rich and noble families, who owned most slaves, cases of emancipation became more frequent.205  The biographer of St. Samson Xenodochos, a contemporary of Justinian, says of him: "His troop of slaves he would not keep, still less exercise over his fellow servants a lordly authority; he preferred magnanimously to let them go free, and gave them enough for the necessaries of life."206  Salvianus, a Gallic presbyter of the fifth century, says that slaves were emancipated daily.207  On the other hand, very much was done in the church to prevent the increase of slavery; especially in the way of redeeming prisoners, to which sometimes the gold and silver vessels of churches were applied. But we have no reliable statistics for comparing even approximately the proportion of the slaves to the free population at the close of the sixth century with the proportion in the former period.

We infer then, that the Christianity of the Nicene and post-Nicene age, though naturally conservative and decidedly opposed to social revolution and violent measures of reform, yet in its inmost instincts and ultimate tendencies favored the universal freedom of man, and, by elevating the slave to spiritual equality with the master, and uniformly treating him as capable of the same virtues, blessings, and rewards, has placed the hateful institution of human bondage in the way of gradual amelioration and final extinction. This result, however, was not reached in Europe till many centuries after our period, nor by the influence of the church alone, but with the help of various economical and political causes, the unprofitableness of slavery, especially in more northern latitudes, the new relations introduced by the barbarian conquests, the habits of the Teutonic tribes settled within the Roman empire, the attachment of the rural slave to the soil, and the change of the slave into the serf, who was as immovable as the soil, and thus, in some degree independent on the caprice and despotism of his master.

5. The poor and unfortunate in general, above all the widows and orphans, prisoners and sick, who were so terribly neglected in heathen times, now drew the attention of the imperial legislators. Constantine in 315 prohibited the branding of criminals on the forehead, "that the human countenance," as he said, "formed after the image of heavenly beauty, should not be defaced."208  He provided against the inhuman maltreatment of prisoners before their trial.209  To deprive poor parents of all pretext for selling or exposing their children, he had them furnished with food and clothing, partly at his own expense and partly at that of the state.210  He likewise endeavored, particularly by a law of the year 331, to protect the poor against the venality and extortion of judges, advocates, and tax collectors, who drained the people by their exactions.211  In the year 334 he ordered that widows, orphans, the sick, and the poor should not be compelled to appear be. fore a tribunal outside their own province. Valentinian, in 365, exempted widows and orphans from the ignoble poll tax.212  In 364 he intrusted the bishops with the supervision of the poor. Honorius did the same in 409. Justinian, in 529, as we have before remarked, gave the bishops the oversight of the state prisons, which they were to visit on Wednesdays and Fridays, to bring home to the unfortunates the earnestness and comfort of religion. The same emperor issued laws against usury and inhuman severity in creditors, and secured benevolent and religious foundations by strict laws against alienation of their revenues from the original design of the founders. Several emperors and empresses took the church institutions for the poor and sick, for strangers, widows, and orphans, under their special patronage, exempted them from the usual taxes, and enriched or enlarged them from their private funds.213  Yet in those days, as still in ours, the private beneficence of Christian love took the lead, and the state followed at a distance, rather with ratification and patronage than with independent and original activity.214


 § 21. Abolition of Gladiatorial Shows.


6. And finally, one of the greatest and most beautiful victories of Christian humanity over heathen barbarism and cruelty was the abolition of gladiatorial contests, against which the apologists in the second century had already raised the most earnest protest.215

These bloody shows, in which human beings, mostly criminals, prisoners of war, and barbarians, by hundreds and thousands killed one another or were killed in fight with wild beasts for the amusement of the spectators, were still in full favor at the beginning of the period before us. The pagan civilization here proves itself impotent. In its eyes the life of a barbarian is of no other use than to serve the cruel amusement of the Roman people, who wish quietly to behold with their own eyes and enjoy at home the martial bloodshedding of their frontiers. Even the humane Symmachus gave an exhibition of this kind during his consulate (391), and was enraged that twenty-nine Saxon prisoners of war escaped this public shame by suicide.216  While the Vestal virgins existed, it was their special prerogative to cheer on the combatants in the amphitheatre to the bloody work, and to give the signal for the deadly stroke.217

The contagion of the thirst for blood, which these spectacles generated, is presented to us in a striking example by Augustine in his Confessions.218  His friend Alypius, afterward bishop of Tagaste, was induced by some friends in 385 to visit the amphitheatre at Rome, and went resolved to lock himself up against all impressions. "When they reached the spot," says Augustine, "and took their places on the hired seats, everything already foamed with bloodthirsty delight. But Alypius, with closed eyes, forbade his soul to yield to this sin. O had he but stopped also his ears!  For when, on the fall of a gladiator in the contest, the wild shout of the whole multitude fell upon him, overcome by curiosity he opened his eyes, though prepared to despise and resist the sight. But he was smitten with a more grievous wound in the soul than the combatant in the body, and fell more lamentably .... For when he saw the blood, he imbibed at once the love of it, turned not away, fastened his eyes upon it, caught the spirit of rage and vengeance before he knew it, and, fascinated with the murderous game, became drunk with bloodthirsty joy .... He looked, shouted applause, burned, and carried with him thence the frenzy, by which he was drawn to go back, not only with those who had taken him there, but before them, and taking others with him."

Christianity finally succeeded in closing the amphitheatre. Constantine, who in his earlier reign himself did homage to the popular custom in this matter, and exposed a great multitude of conquered barbarians to death in the amphitheatre at Treves, for which he was highly commended by a heathen orator,219 issued in 325, the year of the great council of the church at Nice, the first prohibition of the bloody spectacles, "because they cannot be pleasing in a time of public peace."220  But this edict, which is directed to the prefects of Phoenicia, had no permanent effect even in the East, except at Constantinople, which was never stained with the blood of gladiators. In Syria and especially in the West, above all in Rome, the deeply rooted institution continued into the fifth century. Honorius (395–423), who at first considered it indestructible, abolished the gladiatorial shows about 404, and did so at the instance of the heroic self-denial of an eastern monk by the name of Telemachus, who journeyed to Rome expressly to protest against this inhuman barbarity, threw himself into the arena, separated the combatants, and then was torn to pieces by the populace, a martyr to humanity.221  Yet this put a stop only to the bloody combats of men. Unbloody spectacles of every kind, even on the high festivals of the church and amidst the invasions of the barbarians, as we see by the grievous complaints of a Chrysostom, an Augustine, and a Salvian, were as largely and as passionately attended as ever; and even fights with wild animals, in which human life was generally more or less sacrificed, continued,222 and, to the scandal of the Christian name, are tolerated in Spain and South America to this day.


 § 22. Evils of the Union of Church and State. Secularization of the Church.


We turn now to the dark side of the union of the church with the state; to the consideration of the disadvantages which grew out of their altered relation after the time of Constantine, and which continue to show themselves in the condition of the church in Europe to our own time.

These evil results may be summed up under the general designation of the secularization of the church. By taking in the whole population of the Roman empire the church became, indeed, a church of the masses, a church of the people, but at the same time more or less a church of the world. Christianity became a matter of fashion. The number of hypocrites and formal professors rapidly increased;223 strict discipline, zeal, self-sacrifice, and brotherly love proportionally ebbed away; and many heathen customs and usages, under altered names, crept into the worship of God and the life of the Christian people. The Roman state had grown up under the influence of idolatry, and was not to be magically transformed at a stroke. With the secularizing process, therefore, a paganizing tendency went hand in hand.

Yet the pure spirit of Christianity could by no means be polluted by this. On the contrary it retained even in the darkest days its faithful and steadfast confessors, conquered new provinces from time to time, constantly reacted, both within the established church and outside of it, in the form of monasticism, against the secular and the pagan influences, and, in its very struggle with the prevailing corruption, produced such church fathers as Athanasius, Chrysostom, and Augustine, such exemplary Christian mothers as Nonna, Anthusa, and Monica, and such extraordinary saints of the desert as Anthony, Pachomius, and Benedict. New enemies and dangers called forth new duties and virtues, which could now unfold themselves on a larger stage, and therefore also on a grander scale. Besides, it must not be forgotten, that the tendency to secularization is by no means to be ascribed only to Constantine and the influence of the state, but to the deeper source of the corrupt heart of man, and did reveal itself, in fact, though within a much narrower compass, long before, under the heathen emperors, especially in the intervals of repose, when the earnestness and zeal of Christian life slumbered and gave scope to a worldly spirit.

The difference between the age after Constantine and the age before consists, therefore, not at all in the cessation of true Christianity and the entrance of false, but in the preponderance of the one over the other. The field of the church was now much larger, but with much good soil it included far more that was stony, barren, and overgrown with weeds. The line between church and world, between regenerate and unregenerate, between those who were Christians in name and those who were Christians in heart, was more or less obliterated, and in place of the former hostility between the two parties there came a fusion of them in the same outward communion of baptism and confession. This brought the conflict between light and darkness, truth and falsehood, Christ and antichrist, into the bosom of Christendom itself.


 §23. Worldliness and Extravagance.


The secularization of the church appeared most strikingly in the prevalence of mammon worship and luxury compared with the poverty and simplicity of the primitive Christians. The aristocracy of the later empire had a morbid passion for outward display and the sensual enjoyments of wealth, without the taste, the politeness, or the culture of true civilization. The gentlemen measured their fortune by the number of their marble palaces, baths, slaves, and gilded carriages; the ladies indulged in raiment of silk and gold ornamented with secular or religious figures, and in heavy golden necklaces, bracelets, and rings, and went to church in the same flaunting dress as to the theatre.224 Chrysostom addresses a patrician of Antioch: "You count so and so many acres of land, ten or twenty palaces, as many baths, a thousand or two thousand slaves, carriages plated with silver and gold."225 Gregory Nazianzen, who presided for a time in the second ecumenical council of Constantinople in 381, gives us the following picture, evidently rhetorically colored, yet drawn from life, of the luxury of the degenerate civilization of that period: "We repose in splendor on high and sumptuous cushions, upon the most exquisite covers, which one is almost afraid to touch, and are vexed if we but hear the voice of a moaning pauper; our chamber must breathe the odor of flowers, even rare flowers; our table must flow with the most fragrant and costly ointment, so that we become perfectly effeminate. Slaves must stand ready, richly adorned and in order, with waving, maidenlike hair, and faces shorn perfectly smooth, more adorned throughout than is good for lascivious eyes; some, to hold cups both delicately and firmly with the tips of their fingers, others, to fan fresh air upon the head. Our table must bend under the load of dishes, while all the kingdoms of nature, air, water and earth, furnish copious contributions, and there must be almost no room for the artificial products of cook and baker .... The poor man is content with water; but we fill our goblets with wine to drunkenness, nay, immeasurably beyond it. We refuse one wine, another we pronounce excellent when well flavored, over a third we institute philosophical discussions; nay, we count it a pity, if he does not, as a king, add to the domestic wine a foreign also."226  Still more unfavorable are the pictures which, a half century later, the Gallic presbyter, Salvianus, draws of the general moral condition of the Christians in the Roman empire.227

It is true, these earnest protests against degeneracy themselves, as well as the honor in which monasticism and ascetic contempt of the world were universally held, attest the existence of a better spirit. But the uncontrollable progress of avarice, prodigality, voluptuousness, theatre going, intemperance, lewdness, in short, of all the heathen vices, which Christianity had come to eradicate, still carried the Roman empire and people with rapid strides toward dissolution, and gave it at last into the hands of the rude, but simple and morally vigorous barbarians. When the Christians were awakened by the crashings of the falling empire, and anxiously asked why God permitted it, Salvian, the Jeremiah of his time, answered: "Think of your vileness and your crimes, and see whether you are worthy of the divine protection."228  Nothing but the divine judgment of destruction upon this nominally Christian, but essentially heathen world, could open the way for the moral regeneration of society. There must be new, fresh nations, if the Christian civilization prepared in the old Roman empire was to take firm root and bear ripe fruit.


 § 24. Byzantine Court Christianity.


The unnatural confusion of Christianity with the world culminated in the imperial court of Constantinople, which, it is true, never violated moral decency so grossly as the court of a Nero or a Domitian, but in vain pomp and prodigality far outdid the courts of the better heathen emperors, and degenerated into complete oriental despotism. The household of Constantius, according to the description of Libanius,229 embraced no less than a thousand barbers, a thousand cup bearers, a thousand cooks, and so many eunuchs, that they could be compared only to the insects of a summer day. This boundless luxury was for a time suppressed by the pagan Julian, who delighted in stoical and cynical severity, and was fond of displaying it; but under his Christian successors the same prodigality returned; especially under Theodosius and his sons. These emperors, who prohibited idolatry upon pain of death, called their laws, edicts, and palaces "divine," bore themselves as gods upon earth, and, on the rare occasions when they showed themselves to the people, unfurled an incredible magnificence and empty splendor.

"When Arcadius," to borrow a graphic description from a modern historian, "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 on 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, which, with the diadem, were reserved for the emperor, 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. On his return to the palace, the emperor walked on gold; ships were employed with the express purpose of bringing gold dust from remote provinces, which was strewn by the officious care of a host of attendants, so that the emperor rarely set his foot on the bare pavement."230

The Christianity of the Byzantine court lived in the atmosphere of intrigue, dissimulation, and flattery. Even the court divines and bishops could hardly escape the contamination, though their high office, with its sacred functions, was certainly a protecting wall around them. One of these bishops congratulated Constantine, at the celebration of the third decennium of his reign (the tricennalia), that he had been appointed by God ruler over all in this world, and would reign with the Son of God in the other!  This blasphemous flattery was too much even for the vain emperor, and he exhorted the bishop rather to pray God that he might be worthy to be one of his servants in this world and the next.231  Even the church historian and bishop Eusebius, who elsewhere knew well enough how to value the higher blessings, and lamented the indescribable hypocrisy of the sham Christianity around the emperor,232 suffered himself to be so far blinded by the splendor of the imperial favor, as to see in a banquet, which Constantine gave in his palace to the bishops at the close of the council of Nice, in honor of his twenty years’ reign (the vicennalia), an emblem of the glorious reign of Christ upon the earth!233

And these were bishops, of whom many still bore in their body the marks of the Diocletian persecution. So rapidly had changed the spirit of the age. While, on the other hand, the well-known firmness of Ambrose with Theodosius, and the life of Chrysostom, afford delightful proof that there were not wanting, even in this age, bishops of Christian earnestness and courage to rebuke the sins of crowned heads.


 § 25. Intrusion of Politics into Religion.


With the union of the church and the state begins the long and tedious history of their collisions and their mutual struggles for the mastery: the state seeking to subject the church to the empire, the church to subject the state to the hierarchy, and both very often transgressing the limits prescribed to their power in that word of the Lord: "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s."  From the time of Constantine, therefore, the history of the church and that of the world in Europe are so closely interwoven, that neither can be understood without the other. On the one hand, the political rulers, as the highest members and the patrons of the church, claimed a right to a share in her government, and interfered in various ways in her external and internal affairs, either to her profit or to her prejudice. On the other hand, the bishops and patriarchs, as the highest dignitaries and officers of the state religion, became involved in all sorts of secular matters and in the intrigues of the Byzantine court. This mutual intermixture, on the whole, was of more injury than benefit to the church and to religion, and fettered her free and natural development.

Of a separation of religion and politics, of the spiritual power from the temporal, heathen antiquity knew nothing, because it regarded religion itself only from a natural point of view, and subjected it to the purposes of the all-ruling state, the highest known form of human society. The Egyptian kings, as Plutarch tells us, were at the same time priests, or were received into the priesthood at their election. In Greece the civil magistrate had supervision of the priests and sanctuaries.234  In Rome, after the time of Numa, this supervision was intrusted to a senator, and afterward united with the imperial office. All the pagan emperors, from Augustus235 to Julian the Apostate, were at the same time supreme pontiffs (Pontifices Maximi), the heads of the state religion, emperor-popes. As such they could not only perform all priestly functions, even to offering sacrifices, when superstition or policy prompted them to do so, but they also stood at the head of the highest sacerdotal college (of fifteen or more Pontifices), which in turn regulated and superintended the three lower classes of priests (the Epulones, Quindecemviri, and Augures), the temples and altars, the sacrifices, divinations, feasts, and ceremonies, the exposition of the Sibylline books, the calendar, in short, all public worship, and in part even the affairs of marriage and inheritance.

Now it may easily be supposed that the Christian emperors, who, down to Gratian (about 380), even retained the name and the insignia of the Pontifex Maximus, claimed the same oversight of the Christian religion established in the empire, which their predecessors had had of the heathen; only with this material difference, that they found here a stricter separation between the religious element and the political, the ecclesiastical and the secular, and were obliged to bind themselves to the already existing doctrines, usages, and traditions of the church which claimed divine institution and authority.


 § 26. The Emperor-Papacy and the Hierarchy.


And this, in point of fact, took place first under Constantine, and developed under his successors, particularly under Justinian, into the system of the Byzantine imperial papacy,236 or of the supremacy of the state over the church.

Constantine once said to the bishops at a banquet, that he also, as a Christian emperor, was a divinely appointed bishop, a bishop over the external affairs of the church, while the internal affairs belonged to the bishops proper.237  In this pregnant word he expressed the new posture of the civil sovereign toward the church in a characteristic though indefinite and equivocal way. He made there a distinction between two divinely authorized episcopates; one secular or imperial, corresponding with the old office of Pontifex Maximus, and extending over the whole Roman empire, therefore ecumenical or universal; the other spiritual or sacerdotal, divided among the different diocesan bishops, and appearing properly in its unity and totality only in a general council.

Accordingly, though not yet even baptized, he acted as the patron and universal temporal bishop of the church;238 summoned the first ecumenical council for the settlement of the controversy respecting the divinity of Christ; instituted and deposed bishops; and occasionally even delivered sermons to the people; but on the other hand, with genuine tact (though this was in his earlier period, a.d. 314), kept aloof from the Donatist controversy, and referred to the episcopal tribunal as the highest and last resort in purely spiritual matters. In the exercise of his imperial right of supervision he did not follow any clear insight and definite theory so much as an instinctive impulse of control, a sense of politico-religious duty, and the requirements of the time. His word only raised, did not solve, the question of the relation between the imperial and the sacerdotal episcopacy and the extent of their respective jurisdictions in a Christian state.

This question became thenceforth the problem and the strife of history both sacred and secular, ran through the whole mediaeval conflict between emperor and pope, between imperial and hierarchical episcopacy, and recurs in modified form in every Protestant established church.

In general, from this time forth the prevailing view was, that God has divided all power between the priesthood and the kingdom (sacerdotium et imperium), giving internal or spiritual affairs, especially doctrine and worship, to the former, and external or temporal affairs, such as government and discipline, to the latter.239  But internal and external here vitally interpenetrate and depend on each other, as soul and body, and frequent reciprocal encroachments and collisions are inevitable upon state-church ground. This becomes manifest in the period before us in many ways, especially in the East, where the Byzantine despotism had freer play, than in the distant West.

The emperors after Constantine (as the popes after them) summoned the general councils, bore the necessary expenses, presided in the councils through commissions, gave to the decisions in doctrine and discipline the force of law for the whole Roman empire, and maintained them by their authority. The emperors nominated or confirmed the most influential metropolitans and patriarchs. They took part in all theological disputes, and thereby inflamed the passion of parties. They protected orthodoxy and punished heresy with the arm of power. Often, however, they took the heretical side, and banished orthodox bishops from their sees. Thus Arianism, Nestorianism, Eutychianism, and Monophysitism successively found favor and protection at court. Even empresses meddled in the internal and external concerns of the church. Justina endeavored with all her might to introduce Arianism in Milan, but met a successful opponent in bishop Ambrose. Eudoxia procured the deposition and banishment of the noble Chrysostom. Theodora, raised from the stage to the throne, ruled the emperor Justinian, and sought by every kind of intrigue to promote the victory of the Monophysite heresy. It is true, the doctrinal decisions proceeded properly from the councils, and could not have maintained themselves long without that sanction. But Basiliscus, Zeno, Justinian I., Heraclius, Constans II., and other emperors issued many purely ecclesiastical edicts and rescripts without consulting the councils, or through the councils by their own influence upon them. Justinian opens his celebrated codex with the imperial creed on the trinity and the imperial anathema against Nestorius, Eutyches, Apollinaris, on the basis certainly of the apostolic church and of the four ecumenical councils, but in the consciousness of absolute legislative and executive authority even over the faith and conscience of all his subjects.

The voice of the catholic church in this period conceded to the Christian emperors in general, with the duty of protecting and supporting the church, the right of supervision over its external affairs, but claimed for the clergy, particularly for the bishops, the right to govern her within, to fix her doctrine, to direct her worship. The new state of things was regarded as a restoration of the Mosaic and Davidic theocracy on Christian soil, and judged accordingly. But in respect to the extent and application of the emperor’s power in the church, opinion was generally determined, consciously or unconsciously, by some special religious interest. Hence we find that catholics and heretics, Athanasians and Arians, justified or condemned the interference of the emperor in the development of doctrine, the appointment and deposition of bishops, and the patronage and persecution of parties, according as they themselves were affected by them. The same Donatists who first appealed to the imperial protection, when the decision went against them denounced all intermeddling of the state with the church. There were bishops who justified even the most arbitrary excesses of the Byzantine despotism in religion by reference to Melchizedek and the pious kings of Israel, and yielded them selves willing tools of the court. But there were never wanting also fearless defenders of the rights of the church against the civil power. Maximus the Confessor declared before his judges in Constantinople, that Melchizedek was a type of Christ alone, not of the emperor.

In general the hierarchy formed a powerful and wholesome check on the imperial papacy, and preserved the freedom and independence of the church toward the temporal power. That age had only the alternative of imperial or episcopal despotism; and of these the latter was the less hurtful and the more profitable, because it represented the higher intellectual and moral interests. Without the hierarchy, the church in the Roman empire and among the barbarians would have been the football of civil and military despots. It was, therefore, of the utmost importance, that the church, at the time of her marriage with the state, had already grown so large and strong as to withstand all material alteration by imperial caprice, and all effort to degrade her into a tool. The Apostolic Constitutions place the bishops even above all kings and magistrates.240  Chrysostom says that the first ministers of the state enjoyed no such honor as the ministers of the church. And in general the ministers of the church deserved their honor. Though there were prelates enough who abused their power to sordid ends, still there were men like Athanasius, Basil, Ambrose, Chrysostom, Augustine, Leo, the purest and most venerable characters, which meet us in the fourth and fifth centuries, far surpassing the contemporary emperors. It was the universal opinion that the doctrines and institutions of the church, resting on divine revelation, are above all human power and will. The people looked, in blind faith and superstition, to the clergy as their guides in all matters of conscience, and even the emperors had to pay the bishops, as the fathers of the churches, the greatest reverence, kiss their hands, beg their blessing, and submit to their admonition and discipline. In most cases the emperors were mere tools of parties in the church. Arbitrary laws which were imposed upon the church from without rarely survived their makers, and were condemned by history. For there is a divine authority above all thrones, and kings, and bishops, and a power of truth above all the machinations of falsehood and intrigue.

The Western church, as a whole, preserved her independence far more than the Eastern; partly through the great firmness of the Roman character, partly through the favor of political circumstances, and of remoteness from the influence and the intrigues of the Byzantine court. Here the hierarchical principle developed itself from the time of Leo the Great even to the absolute papacy, which, however, after it fulfilled its mission for the world among the barbarian nations of the middle ages, degenerated into an insufferable tyranny over conscience, and thus exposed itself to destruction. In the Catholic system the freedom and independence of the church involve the supremacy of an exclusive priesthood and papacy; in the Protestant, they can be realized only on the broader basis of the universal priesthood, in the self-government of the Christian people; though this is, as yet, in all Protestant established churches more or less restricted by the power of the state.


 § 27. Restriction of Religious Freedom, and Beginnings of Persecution of Heretics.


Sam. Eliot: History of Liberty. Boston, 1858, 4 vols. Early Christians, vols. i. and ii. The most important facts are scattered through the sections of the larger church histories on the heresies, the doctrinal controversies, and church discipline.


An inevitable consequence of the union of church and state was restriction of religious freedom in faith and worship, and the civil punishment of departure from the doctrine and discipline of the established church.

The church, dominant and recognized by the state, gained indeed external freedom and authority, but in a measure at the expense of inward liberty and self-control. She came, as we have seen in the previous section, under the patronage and supervision of the head of the Christian state, especially in the Byzantine empire. In the first three centuries, the church, with all her external lowliness and oppression, enjoyed the greater liberty within, in the development of her doctrines and institutions, by reason of her entire separation from the state.

But the freedom of error and division was now still more restricted. In the ante-Nicene age, heresy and schism were as much hated and abhorred indeed, as afterward, yet were met only in a moral way, by word and writing, and were punished with excommunication from the rights of the church. Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and even Lactantius were the first advocates of the principle of freedom of conscience, and maintained, against the heathen, that religion was essentially a matter of free will, and could be promoted only by instruction and persuasion not by outward force.241  All they say against the persecution of Christians by the heathen applies in full to the persecution of heretics by the church. After the Nicene age all departures from the reigning state-church faith were not only abhorred and excommunicated as religious errors, but were treated also as crimes against the Christian state, and hence were punished with civil penalties; at first with deposition, banishment, confiscation, and, after Theodosius, even with death.

This persecution of heretics was a natural consequence of the union of religious and civil duties and rights, the confusion of the civil and the ecclesiastical, the judicial and the moral, which came to pass since Constantine. It proceeded from the state and from the emperors, who in this respect showed themselves the successors of the Pontifices Maximi, with their relation to the church reversed. The church, indeed, steadfastly adhered to the principle that, as such, she should employ only spiritual penalties, excommunication in extreme cases; as in fact Christ and the apostles expressly spurned and prohibited all carnal weapons, and would rather suffer and die than use violence. But, involved in the idea of Jewish theocracy and of a state church, she practically confounded in various ways the position of the law and that of the gospel, and in theory approved the application of forcible measures to heretics, and not rarely encouraged and urged the state to it; thus making herself at least indirectly responsible for the persecution. This is especially, true of the Roman church in the times of her greatest power, in the middle age and down to the end of the sixteenth century; and by this course that church has made herself almost more offensive in the eyes of the world and of modern civilization than by her peculiar doctrines and usages. The Protestant reformation dispelled the dream that Christianity was identical with an outward organization, or the papacy, and gave a mighty shock thereby to the principle of ecclesiastical exclusiveness. Yet, properly speaking, it was not till the eighteenth century that a radical revolution of views was accomplished in regard to religious toleration; and the progress of toleration and free worship has gone hand in hand with the gradual loosening of the state-church basis and with the clearer separation of civil and religious rights and of the temporal and spiritual power.

In the, beginning of his reign, Constantine proclaimed full freedom of religion (312), and in the main continued tolerably true to it; at all events he used no violent measures, as his successors did. This toleration, however, was not a matter of fixed principle with him, but merely of temporary policy; a necessary consequence of the incipient separation of the Roman throne from idolatry, and the natural transition from the sole supremacy of the heathen religion to the same supremacy of the Christian. Intolerance directed itself first against heathenism; but as the false religion gradually died out of itself, and at any rate had no moral energy for martyrdom, there resulted no such bloody persecutions of idolatry under the Christian emperors, as there had been of Christianity under their heathen predecessors. Instead of Christianity, the intolerance of the civil power now took up Christian heretics, whom it recognized as such. Constantine even in his day limited the freedom and the privileges which he conferred, to the catholic, that is, the prevailing orthodox hierarchical church, and soon after the Council of Nice, by an edict of the year 326, expressly excluded heretics and schismatics from these privileges.242  Accordingly he banished the leaders of Arianism and ordered their writings to be burned, but afterward, wavering in his views of orthodoxy and heterodoxy, and persuaded over by some bishops and his sister, he recalled Arius and banished Athanasius. He himself was baptized shortly before his death by an Arian bishop. His son Constantius was a fanatical persecutor both of idolatry and the Nicene orthodoxy, and endeavored with all his might to establish Arianism alone in the empire. Hence the earnest protest of the orthodox bishops, Hosius, Athanasius, and Hilary, against this despotism and in favor of toleration;243 which came, however, we have to remember, from parties who were themselves the sufferers under intolerance, and who did not regard the banishment of the Arians as unjust.

Under Julian the Apostate religious liberty was again proclaimed, but only as the beginning of return to the exclusive establishment of heathenism; the counterpart, therefore, of Constantine’s toleration. After his early death Arianism again prevailed, at least in the East, and showed itself more, intolerant and violent than the catholic orthodoxy.

At last Theodosius the Great, the first emperor who was baptized in the Nicene faith, put an end to the Arian interregnum, proclaimed the exclusive authority of the Nicene creed, and at the same time enacted the first rigid penalties not only against the pagan idolatry, the practice of which was thenceforth a capital crime in the empire, but also against all Christian heresies and sects. The ruling principle of his public life was the unity of the empire and of the orthodox church. Soon after his baptism, in 380, he issued, in connection with his weak coëmperors, Gratian and Valentinian II., to the inhabitants of Constantinople, then the chief seat of Arianism, the following edict: "We, the three emperors, will, that all our subjects steadfastly adhere to the religion which was taught by St. Peter to the Romans, which has been faithfully preserved by tradition, and which is now professed by the pontiff Damasus, of Rome, and Peter, bishop of Alexandria, a man of apostolic holiness. According to the institution of the apostles and the doctrine of the gospel, let us believe in the one Godhead of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, of equal majesty in the holy Trinity. We order that the adherents of this faith be called Catholic Christians; we brand all the senseless followers of other religions with the infamous name of heretics, and forbid their conventicles assuming the name of churches. Besides the condemnation of divine justice, they must expect the heavy penalties which our authority, guided by heavenly wisdom, shall think proper to inflict."244  In the course of fifteen years this emperor issued at least fifteen penal laws against heretics,245 by which he gradually deprived them of all right to the exercise of their religion, excluded them from all civil offices, and threatened them with fines, confiscation, banishment, and in some cases, as the Manichaeans, the Audians, and even the Quartodecimanians, with death.

From Theodosius therefore dates the state-church theory of the persecution of heretics, and the embodiment of it in legislation. His primary design, it is true, was rather to terrify and convert, than to punish, the refractory subjects.246

From the theory, however, to the practice was a single step; and this step his rival and colleague, Maximus, took, when, at the instigation of the unworthy bishop Ithacius, he caused the Spanish bishop, Priscillian, with six respectable adherents of his Manichaean-like sect (two presbyters, two deacons, the poet Latronian, and Euchrocia, a noble matron of Bordeaux), to be tortured and beheaded with the sword at Treves in 385. This was the first shedding of the blood of heretics by a Christian prince for religious opinions. The bishops assembled at Treves, with the exception of Theognistus, approved this act.

But the better feeling of the Christian church shrank from it with horror. The bishops Ambrose of Milan,247 and Martin of Tours,248 raised a memorable protest against it, and broke off all communion with Ithacius and the other bishops who had approved the execution. Yet it should not be forgotten that these bishops, at least Ambrose, were committed against the death penalty in general, and in other respects had no indulgence for heathens and heretics.249  The whole thing, too, was irregularly done; on the one hand the bishops appeared as accusers in a criminal cause, and on the other a temporal judge admitted an appeal from the episcopal jurisdiction, and pronounced an opinion in a matter of faith. Subsequently the functions of the temporal and spiritual courts in the trial of heretics were more accurately distinguished.

The execution of the Priscillianists is the only instance of the bloody punishment of heretics in this period, as it is the first in the history of Christianity. But the propriety of violent measures against heresy was thenceforth vindicated even by the best fathers of the church. Chrysostom recommends, indeed, Christian love toward heretics and heathens, and declares against their execution, but approved the prohibition of their assemblies and the confiscation of their churches; and he acted accordingly against the Novatians and the Quartodecimanians, so that many considered his own subsequent misfortunes as condign punishment.250  Jerome, appealing to Deut. xiii. 6–10, seems to justify even the penalty of death against religious errorists.251

Augustine, who himself belonged nine years to the Manichaean sect, and was wonderfully converted by the grace of God to the Catholic church, without the slightest pressure from without, held at first the truly evangelical view, that heretics and schismatics should not be violently dealt with, but won by instruction and conviction; but after the year 400 he turned and retracted this view, in consequence of his experience with the Donatists, whom he endeavored in vain to convert by disputation and writing, while many submitted to the imperial laws.252  Thenceforth he was led to advocate the persecution of heretics, partly by his doctrine of the Christian state, partly by the seditious excesses of the fanatical Circumcelliones, partly by the hope of a wholesome effect of temporal punishments, and partly by a false interpretation of the Cogite intrare, in the parable of the great supper, Luke xiv. 23.253  "It is, indeed, better," says he, "that men should be brought to serve God by instruction than by fear of punishment or by pain. But because the former means are better, the latter must not therefore be neglected .... Many must often be brought back to their Lord, like wicked servants, by the rod of temporal suffering, before they attain the highest grade of religious development .... The Lord himself orders that the guests be first invited, then compelled, to his great supper."254  This father thinks that, if the state be denied the right to punish religious error, neither should she punish any other crime, like murder or adultery, since Paul, in Gal. v. 19, attributes divisions and sects to the same source in the flesh.255  He charges his Donatist opponents with inconsistency in seeming to approve the emperors’ prohibitions of idolatry, but condemning their persecution of Christian heretics. It is to the honor of Augustine’s heart, indeed, that in actual cases he earnestly urged upon the magistrates clemency and humanity, and thus in practice remained true to his noble maxim: "Nothing conquers but truth, the victory of truth is love."256  But his theory, as Neander justly observes, "contains the germ of the whole system of spiritual despotism, intolerance, and persecution, even to the court of the Inquisition."257  The great authority of his name was often afterward made to justify cruelties from which he himself would have shrunk with horror. Soon after him, Leo the Great, the first representative of consistent, exclusive, universal papacy, advocated even the penalty of death for heresy.258

Henceforth none but the persecuted parties, from time to time, protested against religious persecution; being made, by their sufferings, if not from principle, at least from policy and self-interest, the advocates of toleration. Thus the Donatist bishop Petilian, in Africa, against whom Augustine wrote, rebukes his Catholic opponents, as formerly his countryman Tertullian had condemned the heathen persecutors of the Christians, for using outward force in matters of conscience; appealing to Christ and the apostles, who never persecuted, but rather suffered and died. "Think you," says he, "to serve God by killing us with your own hand?  Ye err, ye err, if ye, poor mortals, think this; God has not hangmen for priests. Christ teaches us to bear wrong, not to revenge it."  The Donatist bishop Gaudentius says: "God appointed prophets and fishermen, not princes and soldiers, to spread the faith."  Still we cannot forget, that the Donatists were the first who appealed to the imperial tribunal in an ecclesiastical matter, and did not, till after that tribunal had decided against them, turn against the state-church system.



* Schaff, Philip, History of the Christian Church, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1997. This material has been carefully compared, corrected¸ and emended (according to the 1910 edition of Charles Scribner's Sons) by The Electronic Bible Society, Dallas, TX, 1998.

129  Apologeticus, c. 21 "Sed et Caesares credidissent, si aut Caesares non essent saeculo necessarii, aut si et Christiani potuissent esse Caesares."

130  Thus the bishop Donatus of Carthage in 347 rejected the imperial commissioners, Paulus and Macarius, with the exclamation: "Quid est imperatori cum ecclesia?" See Optatus Milev.: De schismate Donat. l. iii. c. 3. The Donatists, however, were the first to invoke the imperial intervention in their controversies, and would doubtless have spoken very differently, had the decision turned in their favor.

131  Is. xlix. 23.

132  Rev. xi. 15.

133  This view is now very prevalent in America. It was not formerly so. Jonathan Edwards, in his "History of Redemption," a practical and edifying survey of church history as an unfolding of the plan of redemption, even saw in the accession of Constantine a type of the future appearing of Christ in the clouds for the redemption of his people, and attributed to it the most beneficent results; to wit: "(1) The Christian church was thereby wholly delivered from persecution .... (2) God now appeared to execute terrible judgments on their enemies .... (3) Heathenism now was in a great measure abolished throughout the Roman empire .... (4) The Christian church was brought into a state of great peace and prosperity." ... "This revolution," he further says, p. 312, "was the greatest that had occurred since the flood. Satan, the prince of darkness, that king and god of the heathen world, was cast out. The roaring lion was conquered by the Lamb of God in the strongest dominion he ever had. This was a remarkable accomplishment of Jerem. x. 11: ’The gods that have not made the heaven and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth and from the heavens.’ " This work, still much read in America and England, was written, to be sure, Iong before the separation of church and state in New England, viz., in 1739 (first printed in Edinburgh in 1774, twenty-six years after the author’s death). But the great difference of the judgment of this renowned Puritan divine from the prevailing American opinion of the present day is an interesting proof that our view of history is very much determined by the ecclesiastical circumstances in which we live, and at the same time that the whole question of church and state is not at all essential in Christian theology and ethics. In America all confessions, even the Roman Catholics, are satisfied with the separation, while in Europe with few exceptions it is the reverse.

134  Comp. § 18.

135  So early as 326 Constantine promulgated the law (Cod. Theodos. lib. xvi. tit. 5, l. 1): "Privilegia, quae contemplatione religionis indulta sunt, catholicae tantum legis observatoribus prodesse oportet. Haereticos autem atque schismaticos non tantum ab his privilegiis alienos esse volumus, sed etiam diversis muneribus constringi et subjici." Yet he was lenient towards the Novatians, adding in the same year respecting them (C. Theodos. xvi. 5, 2): "Novatianos non adeo comperimus praedamnatos, ut iis quae petiverunt, crederemus minime largienda. Itaque ecclesiae suae domos, et loca sepulcris apta sine inquietudine eos firmiter possidere praecipimus." Comp. the 8th canon of the Council of Nice, which likewise deals with them indulgently.

136  The munera publica, or leitourgivai, attaching in part to the person as a subject of the empire, in part to the possession of property (munera patrimoniorum).

137  Immunitas, ajleitourghsiva.

138  The decuriones and curiales.

139  "Si tributum petit Imperator," says he in the Orat. de basilicas non tradendis haereticis, "non negamus; agri ecclesiae solvunt tributum, solvimus quae sunt Caesaris Caesari, et qum sunt Dei Deo; tributum Caesaris est; non negatur." Baronius (ad ann. 387) endeavors to prove that this tribute was meant by Ambrose merely as an act of love, not of duty!

140  So early as 314 he caused to be paid to the bishop Caecilian of Carthage 3,000 folles (triscilivou" fovlei" £18,000) from the public treasury of the province for the catholic churches in Africa, Numidia, and Mauritania, promising further gifts for similar purposes. Euseb: H. E. x. 6, and Vit. Const. iv. 28.

141  In an edict to Damasus, bishop of Rome. Cod. Theod. xvi. 2, 20: "Ecclesiastici ... viduaram ac pupillarum domos non adeant," etc.

142  Epist. 34 (al. 2) ad Nepotianum, where he says of this law: "Nec de lege conqueror, sed doleo, cur meruerimus hanc legem;" and of the clergy of his time: "Ignominia omnium sacerdotum est, propriis studere divitiis," etc.

143  Chrys. Hom. 66 in Matt. (vii. p. 658).

144  Comp. the Epistles of Gregory the Great at the end of our period.

145  See the Vita S. Joannis Eleemosynarii (the next to the last catholic patriarch of Alexandria) in the Acta Sanct. Bolland. ad 23 Jan.

146  The ptwcotrofei'a, nosokomei'a, ojrfanotrofei'a, ghrokomei'aandxenw'ne"orxenodocei'a, as they were called; which all sprang from the church. Especially favored was the Basilias for sick and strangers in Caesarea, named after its founder, the bishop Basil the Great. Basil. Ep. 94. Gregor. Naz. Orat. 27 and 30.

147  Inferno, canto xix. vs. 112-118, as translated by Wright (with two slight alterations). Milton, in his prose works, has translated this passage as well as that of Ariosto, where he humorously places the donation of Constantine in the moon among the things lost or abused on earth:

"Ah, Constantine! of how much ill was cause,

 Not thy conversion, but those rich domains

 That the first wealthy pope received of thee."

148  Lev. xxvii. 30-33; Nu. xviii. 20-24; Deut. xiv. 22 sqq. 2 Chron. xxxi. 4 sqq.

149  . Constit. Apost. lib. viii. cap. 47, can. 6 (p. 239, ed. Ueltzen): jEpivskopo" h] presbuvtero" h] diavkono" kosmika;" frontivda" mh; ajnalambanevto: eij de; mh;, kaqaireivsqw.

150  Lib. xxvii. c. 3.

151  Hieron. Ep. 34 (al. 2) et passim.

152  Orat. 32.

153  The cathedral of Constantinople fell under censure for the excessive number of its clergy and subordinate officers, so that Justinian reduced it to five hundred and twenty-five, of which probably more than half were useless. Comp. Iust. Novell. ciii.

154  Homil. 85 in Matt. (vii. 808 sq.). Hom. 21 in 1 Cor. 7 (x. 190). Comp. also De sacerdot. l. iii. c. 16.

155  Possidius, in Vita Aug. c. 23: "Alloquebatur plebem Dei, malle se ex collationibus plebes Dei vivere quam illarum possessionum curam vel gubernationem pati, et paratum se esse illis cedere, ut eo modo omnes Dei servi et ministri viverent."

156  1 Cor. vi. 1-6.

157  "Sacerdotum judicium ita debet haberi, ut si ipse Dominus residens judicet. Optatus Milev.: De schism. Donat. f. 184.

158  Even Constantine, however, before the council of Nice, had declared, that should he himself detect a bishop in the act of adultery, he would rather throw over him his imperial mantle than bring scandal on the church by punishing a clergyman.

159  De sacerd. l. iii. c. 18, at the beginning.

160  In Psalm. xxv. (vol. iv. 115) and Epist. 213, where he complains that before and after noon he was beset and distracted by the members of his church with temporal concerns, though they had promised to leave him undisturbed five days in the week, to finish some theological labors. Comp. Neander, iii. 291 sq. (ed. Torrey, ii. 139 sq.).

161  Socrat. l. vii. c. 37.

162  Matt. vi. 14.

163  Cod. Theodos. ix. 45, 1-4. Comp. Socrat. vii. 33.

164  "The rash violence of despotism," says even Gibbon, "was suspended by the mild interposition of the church; and the lives or fortunes of the most eminent subjects might be protected by the mediation of the bishop."

165  This exception is entirely unnoticed by many church histories, but stands in the same law of 321 in the Cod. Justin. lib. iii. tit. 12, de feriis, l. 3: "Omnes judices, urbanaeque plebes, et cunctarum artium officia venerabili die Solis quiescant. Ruri tamen positi agrorum culturae libere licenterque inserviant: quoniam frequenter evenit, ut non aptius alio die frumenta sulcis, aut vineae scrobibus mandentur, ne occasione momenti pereat commoditas coelesti provisione concessa." Such work was formerly permitted, too, on the pagan feast days. Comp. Virgil. Georg. i. v. 268 sqq. Cato, De re rust. c. 2.

166  Cod. Theodos. lib. ii. tit. 8. l. 1: "Emancipandi et manumittendi die festo cuncti licentiam habeant, et super his rebus actus non prohibeantur."

167  Eus. Vit. Const. iv. 18-20. Comp. Sozom. i. 8. In our times military parades and theatrical exhibitions in Paris, Vienna, Berlin, and other European cities are so frequent on no other day as on the Lord’s day! In France, political elections are usually held on the Sabbath!

168  Eus. Vit. Const. l. iv. c. 20. The formulary was prescribed in the Latin language, as Eusebius says in c. 19. He is speaking of the whole army (comp. c. 18), and it may presumed that many of the soldiers were heathen.

169  The second law against opening theatres on Sundays and festivals (a.d. 425) in the Cod. Theodos. l. xv. tit. 7, I. 5, says expressly: "Omni theatrorum atque circensium voluptate per universas urbes ... denegata, totae Christianorum ac fidelium mentes Dei cultibus occupentur."

170  As Chrysostom, at the end of the fourth century and the beginning of the fifth, often complains that the theatre is better attended than the church; so down to this day the same is true in almost all the large cities on the continent of Europe. Only in England and the United States, under the influence of Calvinism and Puritanism, are the theatres closed on Sunday.

171  Vol. i §§ 86-93.

172  Comp. Lactantius: Inst. divin. l. v. c. 15.

173  Vit. Const. l. iv. c. 26, where the most important laws of Constantine are recapitulated. Even the heathen Libanius (Basil. ii. p. 146) records that under Constantine and his sons legislation was much more favorable to the lower classes: though he accounts for this only by the personal clemency of the emperors.

174  Troplong, p. 127. C. Schmidt, 378.

175  Comp. de Rhoer, p. 59 sqq. The origin of this increased severity of penal laws is, at all events, not to be sought in the church; for in the fourth and fifth centuries she was still rather averse to the death penalty. Comp. Ambros. Ep. 25 and 26 (al. 51 and 52), and Augustine, Ep. 153 ad Macedonium.

176  Constitutiones or Leges. If answers to questions, they were called Rescripta; if spontaneous decrees, Edicta.

177  The Codex Gregorianus and Codex Hermogenianus; so called from the compilers, two private lawyers. They contained the rescripts and edicts of the heathen emperors from Hadrian to Constantine, and would facilitate a comparison of the heathen legislation with the Christian.

178  Tribonianus, a native of Side in Paphlagonia, was an advocate and a poet, and rose by his talents, and the favor of Justinian, to be quaestor, consul, and at last magister officiorum. Gibbon compares him, both for his comprehensive learning and administrative ability and for his enormous avarice and venality, with Lord Bacon. But in one point these statesmen were very different: while Bacon was a decided Christian in his convictions, Tribonianus was accused of pagan proclivities and of atheism. In a popular tumult in Constantinople the emperor was obliged to dismiss him, but found him indispensable and soon restored him.

179  The complete Codex Justinianeus, which has long outlasted the conquests of that emperor (as Napoleon’s Code has outlasted his), comprises properly three separate works: (1) The Institutiones, an elementary text book of jurisprudence, of the year 533. (2) The Digesta or Pandectae (pavndektai, complete repository), an abstract of the spirit of the whole Roman jurisprudence, according to the decisions of the most distinguished jurists of the earlier times, composed in 530-533. (3) The Codex, first prepared in 528 and 529, but in 534 reconstructed, enlarged, and improved, and hence called Codex repetitae praelectionis; containing 4,648 ordinances in 765 titles, in chronological order. To these is added (4) a later Appendix: Novellae constitutiones(vearai; diatavxei"), or simply Novellae (a barbarism); that is, 168 decrees of Justinian, subsequently collected from the 1st January, 535, to his death in 565, mostly in Greek, or in both Greek and Latin. Excepting some of the novels of Justinian, the codex was composed in the Latin language, which Justinian and Tribonianus understood; but afterward, as this tongue died out in the East, it was translated into Greek, and sanctioned in this form by the emperor Phocas in 600. The emperor Basil the Macedonian in 876 caused a Greek abstract (provceiron tw'n novmwn) to be prepared, which, under the name of the Basilicae, gradually supplanted the book of Justinian in the Byzantine empire. The Pandects have narrowly escaped destruction. Most of the editions and manuscripts of the west (not all, as Gibbon says) are taken from the Codex Florentinus, which was transcribed in the beginning of the seventh century at Constantinople, and afterward carried by the vissitudes of war and trade to Amalfi, to Pisa, and in 1411 to Florence.

180  Called Corpus juris Romani or C. juris civilis, in distinction from Corpus juris canonici, the Roman Catholic church law, which is based chiefly on the canons of the ancient councils, as the civil law is upon the rescripts and edicts of the emperors.

181  On this subject, and on the heathen family life, comp. vol. i. § 91.

182  Cod. Theod. lib. xv. tit. 8: de lenonibus.

183  C. Theod. ix. 24: de raptu virginum et viduarum (probably nuns and deaconesses).

184  C. Theod. viii. 16, 1. Comp. Euseb. Vit. Const. iv. 26.

185  C. Theod. iii. 12: de incestis nuptiis.

186  C. Theod. iii. 16: de repudiis. Hence Jerome says in view of this, Ep. 30 (al. 84) ad Oceanum: "Aliae sunt leges Caesarum, aliae Christi; aliud Papinianus [the most celebrated Roman jurist, died a.d. 212], aliud Paulus noster praecipit."

187  Gibbon: "The dignity of marriage was restored by the Christians .... The Christian princes were the first who specified the just causes of a private divorce; their institutions, from Constantine to Justinian, appear to fluctuate between the custom of the empire and the wishes of the church, and the author of the Novels too frequently reforms the jurisprudence of the Code and the Pandects .... The successor of Justinian yielded to the prayers of his unhappy subjects, and restored the liberty of divorce by mutual consent."

188  In a law of 326 it is called "facinus atrocissimum, scelus immane." Cod. Theod. l. ix. tit. 7, 1. 1 sq. And the definition of adultery, too, was now made broader. According to the old Roman law, the idea of adultery on the part of the man was limited to illicit intercourse with the married lady of a free citizen, and was thought punishable not so much for its own sake, as for its encroachment on the rights of another husband. Hence Jerome says, l.c., of the heathen: "Apud illos viris impudicitiae frena laxantur, et solo stupro et adulterio condemnato passim per lupanaria et ancillulas libido permittitur; quasi culpam dignitas faciat, non voluntas. Apud nos quod non licet feminis, aeque non licet viris, et eadem servitus pari conditione censetur." Yet the law, even under the emperors, still excepted carnal intercourse with a female slave from adultery. Thus the state here also stopped short of the church, and does to this day in countries where the institution of slavery exists.

189  Even a council at Toledo in 398 conceded so far on this point as to decree, can. 17: "Si quis habens uxorem fidelis concubinam habeat, non communicet. Ceterum is, qui non habet uxorem et pro uxore concubinam habeat, a communione non repellatur, tantum ut unius mulieris aut uxoris aut concubinae, ut ei placuerit, sit conjunctione contentus. Alias vero vivens abjiciatur donec desinat et per poenitentiam, revertatur."

190  Cod. Theod. iii. 7, 2; C. Justin. i. 9, 6. A proposal of marriage to a nun was even punished with death (ix. 25, 2).

191 a.d. 318; Valentinian did the same in 374. Cod. Theod. ix. tit. 14 and 15. Comp. the Pandects, lib. xlviii. tit. 8, l ix.

192  Cod. Theod. iii. 3, 1; Cod. Just. iv. 43, 1; viii. 52, 3. Gibbon says: "The Roman empire was stained with the blood of infants, till such murders were included, by Valentinian and his colleagues, in the letter and spirit of the Cornelian law. The lessons of jurisprudence and Christianity had been inefficient to eradicate this inhuman practice, till their gentle influence was fortified by the terrors of capital punishment."

193  Comp. vol. i. § 89, and the author’s "Hist. of the Apost. Church," § 113.

194  Instit. lib. i. tit. 5-8; Digest. l. i. tit. 5 and 6, etc.

195  The legal price, which, however, was generally under the market price, was thus established under Justinian (Cod. l. vi. tit. xliii. l. 3): Ten pieces of gold for an ordinary male or female slave under ten years; twenty, for slaves over ten; thirty, for such as understood a trade; fifty, for notaries and scribes; sixty, for physicians, and midwives. Eunuchs ranged to seventy pieces.

196  Comp. Hefele: "Conciliengeschichte," ii. p. 620; and Milman: "Latin Christianity," vol. i. p. 419 (Am. ed.), who infers from this fact, "that slaves formed the household of the Pope, and that, by law, they were yet liable to torture. This seems clear from the words of Ennodius."

197  Comp. Milman, l.c. i. 531.

198  In two laws of 316 and 321; Corp. Jur. l. i. tit. 13, l. 1 and 2.

199  Cod. Just. vii. 5, 6; Nov. 22, c. 8 (a.d. 536), and Nov. 78, praef. 1, 2 (a.d. 539).

200  Gen. ix. 25: "Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren." But Christ appeared to remove every curse of sin, and every kind of slavery. The service of God is perfect freedom.

201  1 Cor. vii. 21. The Greek fathers supply, with ma'llon crh'sai, the word douleiva/ (Chrysostom: ma'llon douvleue); whereas nearly all modem interpreters (except De Wette, Meyer, Ewald, and Alford) follow Calvin and Grotius in supplying ejleuqeriva/. Chrysostom, however, mentions this construction, and in another place (Serm. iv. in Genes. tom. v. p. 666) seems himself to favor it. The verb use connects itself more naturally with freedom, which is a boon and a blessing, than with bondage, which is a state of privation. Milman, however, goes too far when he asserts (Lat. Christianity, vol. i. 492): "The abrogation of slavery was not contemplated even as a remote possibility. A general enfranchisement seems never to have dawned on the wisest and best of the Christian writers, notwithstanding the greater facility for manumission, and the sanctity, as it were, assigned to the act by Constantine, by placing it under the special superintendence of the clergy." Compare against this statement the views of Chrysostom and Augustine, in the text.

202  The views of Chrysostom on slavery are presented in his Homilies on Genesis and on the Epistles of Paul, and are collected by Möhler in his beautiful article on the Abolition of Slavery (Vermischte Schriften, ii. p. 89 sqq.). Möhler says that since the times of the apostle Paul no one has done a more valuable service to slaves then St. Chrysostom. But he overrates his merit.

203  Homil. xi. in Acta Apost. (Opera omn., tom. ix. p. 93): Oujde; ga;r tovte tou'to h|n, ajll j ejleuqevrou" i[sw" ejpevtrepon givnesqai. The monk Nilus, a pupil of Chrysostom, went so far as to declare slaveholding inconsistent with true love to Christ, Ep. lib. i. ep. 142 (quoted by Neander in his chapter on monasticism): Ouj ga;r oi|mai oijkevthn e[cein to;n filovcriston, eijdovta th;n cavrin th;n pavnta" ejleuqerwvsasan.

204  De Civit. Dei, lib. xix. cap. 15.

205  For earlier cases, at the close of the previous period, see vol. i. § 89, at the end.

206  Acta Sanct. Boll. Jun. tom. v. p. 267. According to Palladius, Hist. c. 119, St. Melania had, in concert with her husband Pinius, manumitted as many as eight thousand slaves. Yet it is only the ancient Latin translation that has this almost incredible number.

207  Ad Eccles. cath. l. iii. § 7 (Galland. tom. x. p. 71): "In usu quidem quotidiano est, ut servi, etsi non optimae, certe non infirmae servitudinis, Romana a dominis libertate donentur; in qua scilicet et proprietatem peculii capiunt et jus testamentarium consequuntur: ita ut et viventes, cui volunt, res suas tradant, et morientes donatione transcribAnt. Nec solum hoc, sed et illa, quae in servitute positi conquisierant, ex dominorum domo tollere non vetantur." From this passage it appears that many masters, with a view to set their slaves free, allowed them to earn something; which was not allowed by the Roman law.

208  Cod. Theod. ix. 40, 1 and 2.

209  C. Theod. ix. tit. 3, de custodia reorum. Comp. later similar laws of the year 409 in l. 7, and of 529 in the Cod. Justin. i. 4, 22.

210  Comp. the two laws De alimentis quae inopes parentes de publico petere debent, in the Cod. Theod. xi. 27, 1 and 2.

211  Cod. Theod. I. tit. 7, l. 1: Cessent jam nunc rapaces officialium manus, cessent inquam! nam si moniti non cessaverint, gladiis praecidentur.

212  The capitatio plebeja. Cod. Theod. xiii. 10, 1 and 4. Other laws in behalf of widows, Cod. Just. iii. 14; ix. 24.

213  Cod. Theod. xi. 16, xiii. 1; Cod. Just. i. 3; Nov. 131. Comp. here in general Chastel: The Charity of the Primitive Churches (transl. by Mathe), pp. 281-293.

214  Comp. Chastel, l.c., p. 293: "It appears, then, as to charitable institutions, the part of the Christian emperors was much less to found themselves, than to recognize, to regulate, to guarantee, sometimes also to enrich with their private gifts, that which the church had founded. Everywhere the initiative had been taken by religious charity. Public charity only followed in the distance, and when it attempted to go ahead originally and alone, it soon found that it had strayed aside, and was constrained to withdraw."

215  Comp. vol. i. § 88.

216  Symm. l. ii. Ep. 46. Comp. vii. 4.

217  Prudentius Adv. Symmach. ii. 1095:

 Virgo—consurgit ad ictus,

 Et quotiens victor ferrum jugulo inserit, illa

 Delicias ait esse suas, pectusque jacentis

 Virgo modesta jubet, converso pollice, rumpi;

 Ni lateat pars ulla animae vitalibus imis,

 Altius impresso dum palpitat ense secutor.

218  Lib. vi. c. 8.

219  Eumenii Panegyr. c. 12.

220  Cod. Theod. xv. tit. 12, l. 1, de gladiatoribus: "Cruenta spectacula in otio civili et domestica quiete non placent; quapropter omnino gladiatores esse prohibemus." Comp. Euseb. Vita Const. iv. 25.

221  So relates Theodoret: Hist. eccl. l. v. c. 26. For there is no law of Honorius extant on the subject. Yet after this time there is no mention of a gladiatorial contest between man and man.

222  In a law of Leo, of the year 469 (in the Cod. Justin. iii. tit. 12, l. 11), besides the scena theatralis and the circense theatrum, also ferarum lacrymosa spectacula are mentioned as existing. Salvian likewise, in the fifth century (De gubern. Dei, l. vi. p. 51), censures the delight of his contemporaries in such bloody combats of man with wild beasts. So late as the end of the seventh century a prohibition from the Trullan council was called for in the East, In the West, Theodoric appears to have exchanged the beast fights for military displays, whence proceeded the later tournaments. Yet these shows have never become entirely extinct, but remain in the bull fights of Southern Europe, especially in Spain.

223  Thus Augustine, for example, Tract. in JoAnn. xxv. c. 10, laments that the church filled itself daily with those who sought Jesus not for Jesus, but for earthly profit. Comp. the similar complaint of Eusebius, Vita Const. l. iv. c. 54.

224  Ammianus Marcellinus gives the most graphic account of the extravagant and tasteless luxury of the Roman aristocracy in the fourth century; which Gibbon has admirably translated and explained in his 31st chapter.

225  Homil. in Matt. 63, § 4 (tom. vii. p. 533), comp. Hom. in 1 Cor. 21, § 6, and many other places in his sermons. Comp. Neander’s Chrysostomus, i. p. 10 sqq. and Is. Taylor’s Anc. Christianity, vol. ii., supplement, p. xxx. sqq.

226  Orat. xiv. Comp. Ullmann’s monograph on Gregory, p. 6.

227  Adv. avarit. and De gubern. Dei, passim. Comp. § 12, at the close.

228  De gubern. Dei, l. iv. c. 12, p. 82.

229  Lib., Epitaph. Julian.

230  Milman: Hist. of Ancient Christianity, p. 440 (Am. ed.). Comp. the sketch of the court of Arcadius, which Montfaucon, in a treatise in the last volume of his Opera Chrys., and Müller: De genio, moribus, et luxu aevi Theodosiani, Copenh. 1798, have drawn, chiefly from the works of Chrysostom.

231  Euseb. Vit. Const. iv. 48.

232  V. Const. iv. 54.

233  V. Const. iii. 15, where Eusebius, at the close of this imperio-episcopal banquet, "which transcended all description," says: Cristou' basileiva" e[doxen a[n ti" fantasiou'sqai eijkovna, o[nar t j ei'nai ajll j oujc u{per to; ginovmenon.

234  This overseer was called basileuv" of the iJerei'" and iJerav.

235  Augustus took the dignity of Pontifex Maximus after the death of Lepidus, a.u. 742, and thenceforth that office remained inherent in the imperial, though it was usually conferred by a decree of the senate. Formerly the pontifex maximus was elected by the people for life, could take no civil office, must never leave Italy, touch a corpse, or contract a second marriage; and he dwelt in the old king’s house, the regia. Augustus himself exercised the office despotically enough, though with great prudence. He nominated and increased at pleasure the members of the sacerdotal college, chose the vestal virgins, determined the authority of the vaticinia, purged the Sibylline books of apocryphal interpolations, continued the reform of the calendar begun by Caesar, and changed the month Sextius into Augustus in his own honor, as Quintius, the birth-month of Julius Caesar, had before been rebaptized Julius. Comp. Charles Merivale: Hist. of the Romans under the Empire, vol. iii. (Lond. 1851), p, 478 sqq. (This work, which stops where Gibbon begins, has been republished in 7 vols. in New York, 1863.)

236  In England and Scotland the term Erastianism is used for this; but is less general, and not properly applicable at all to the Greek church. For the man who furnished the word, Thomas Erastus, a learned and able physician and professor of medicine in Heidelberg (died at Basle in Switzerland, 1583), was an opponent not only of the independence of the church toward the state, but also of the church ban and of the presbyterial constitution and discipline, as advocated by Frederick III., of the Palatinate, and the authors of the Heidelberg Catechism, especially Olevianus, a pupil of Calvin. He was at last excommunicated for his views by the church council in Heidelberg.

237  His words, which are to be taken neither in jest and pun (as Neander supposes), nor as mere compliment to the bishops, but in earnest, run thus, in Eusebius: Vita Const. l. iv. c. 24: JUmei'" (the ejpivskopoi addressed) mevn tw'n ei[sw th'" ejkklhsiva", ejgw; de; tw'n ejkto;" uJpo; qeou' kaqestamevno" ejpivskopo" a{n ei[hn. All depends here on the intrepretation of the antithesis tw'm ei[sw andtw'n ejkto;" th'" ejkklhsiva". (a) The explanation of Stroth and others takes the genitive as masculine, oiJ ei[sw denoting Christians, and oiJ ejktov"heathens; so that Constantine ascribed to himself only a sort of episcopate in partibus infidelium. But this contradicts the connection; for Eusebius says immediately after, that he took a certain religious oversight over all his subjects (tou;" ajrcomevnou" a{panta" ejpeskovpei, etc.), and calls him also elsewhere a universal bishop " (i. 44). (b) Gieseler’s interpretation is not much better (I. 2. § 92, not. 20, Amer. ed. vol. i. p. 371): that oiJ ejktov" denotes all his subjects, Christian as well as non-Christian, but only in their civil relations, so far as they are outside the church. This entirely blunts the antithesis with oiJ ei[sw, and puts into the emperor’s mouth a mere commonplace instead of a new idea; for no one doubted his political sovereignty. (c) The genitive is rather to be taken as neuter in both cases, and pragmavtwn to be supplied. This agrees with usage (we find it in Polybius), and gives a sense which agrees with the view of Eusebius and with the whole practice of Constantine. There is, however, of course, another question: What is the proper distinction betweenta; ei[sw and ta; ejktov" the interna and externa of the church, or, what is much the same, between the sacerdotal jus in sacra and the imperial jus circa sacra. This Constantine and his age certainly could not themselves exactly define, since the whole relation was at that time as yet new and undeveloped.

238  Eusebius in fact calls him a divinely appointed universal bishop, oiJ|av ti" koino;" ejpivskopo" ejk qeou' dakestamevno" , sunovdou" tw'n tou' qeou' leitourgw'n sunekrovtei. Vit. Const. i. 44. His son Constantius was fond of being called " bishop of bishops."

239  Justinian states the Byzantine theory thus, in the preface to the 6th Novel: "Maxima quidem in hominibus sunt dona Dei a superna collata clementia Sacerdotium et Imperium, et illud quidem divinis ministrans, hoc autem humanis praesidens ac diligentiam exhibens, ex uno eodemque principio utraque procedentia, humanam exornant vitam." But he then ascribes to the Imperium the supervision of the Sacerdotium, and "maximam sollicitudinem circa vera Dei dogmata et circa Sacerdotum honestatem." Later Greek emperors, on the ground of their anointing, even claimed a priestly character. Leo the Isaurian, for example, wrote to Pope Gregory II. in 730: basileu;" kai; iJereuv" eijmi (Mansi xii. 976). This, however, was contested even in the East, and the monk Maximus in 655 answered negatively the question put to him: "Ergo non est omnis Christianus imperator etiam sacerdos?" At first the emperor’s throne stood side by side with the bishop’s in the choir; but Ambrose gave the emperor a seat next to the choir. Yet, after the ancient custom, which the Concilium Quinisext., a.d. 692, in its 69th canon, expressly confirmed, the emperors might enter the choir of the church, and lay their oblations in person upon the altar—a privilege which was denied to all the laity, and which implied at least a half-priestly character in the emperor. Gibbon’s statement needs correction accordingly (ch. xx.): "The monarch, whose spiritual rank is less honorable than that of the meanest deacon, was seated below the rails of the sanctuary, and confounded with the rest of the faithful multitude."

240  Lib. ii. c. 11, where the bishop is reminded of his exalted position, wJ" qeoi; tuvpon e[cwn ejn ajnqrwvpoi" tw'/ pavntwn a[rcein ajnqrwvpwn, iJerevwn, basilevwn, ajrcovntwn, etc. Comp. c. 33 and 34.

241  Just. Mart. Apol. i. 2, 4, 12; Tertull. Apolog. c. 24, 28; Ad Scapul.c. 2; Lactant. Instit. v. 19, 20; Epit. c. 54. Comp. vol. i. § 51.

242  Cod. Theod. xvi. 5, 1: Privilegia, quae contemplatione religionis indulta sunt, catholicae tantum legis observatoribus prodesse opportet. Haereticos autem atque schismaticos non tantum ab his privilegiis alienos esse volumus, sed etiam diversis muneribus constringi et subjici.

243  Comp. § 8, above.

244  Cod. Theod. xvi, 1, 2. Baronius (Ann.), and even Godefroy call this edict which in this case, to be sure, favored the true doctrine, but involves the absolute despotism of the emperor over faith, an "edictum aureum, pium et salutare."

245  Comp. Cod. Theod. xvi. tit. v. leg. 6-33, and Godefroy’s Commentary.

246  So Sozomen asserts, l. vii. c. 12.

247  Epist. xxiv. ad Valentin. (tom. ii. p. 891). He would have nothing to do with bishops, "qui aliquos, devios licet a fide, ad necem petebant."

248  In Sulpic. Sever., Hist. Sacra, ii. 50: "Namque tum Martinus apud Treveros constitutus, non desinebat increpare Ithacium, ut ab accusatione desisteret, Maximum orare, ut sanguine infelicium abstineret: satis superque sufficere, ut episcopali sententia haeretici judicati ecclesiis pellerentur: novum esse et inauditum nefas, ut causam ecclesiae judex saeculi judicaret." Comp. Sulp. Sev., Dial. iii. c. 11-13, and his Vit. Mart. c. 20.

249  Hence Gibbon, ch. xxvii., charges them, not quite groundlessly, with inconsistency: "It is with pleasure that we can observe the human inconsistency of the most illustrious saints and bishops, Ambrose of Milan, and Martin of Tours, who, on this occasion, asserted the cause of toleration. They pitied the unhappy men who had been executed at Treves; they refused to hold communion with their episcopal murderers; and if Martin deviated from that generous resolution, his motives were laudable, and his repentance was exemplary. The bishops of Tours and Milan pronounced, without hesitation, the eternal damnation of heretics; but they were surprised and shocked by the bloody image of their temporal death, and the honest feelings of nature resisted the artificial prejudices of theology."

250  Hom. xxix. and xlvi. in Matt. Comp. Socrat. H. E. vi. 19. Elsewhere his principle was (in Phocam mart. et c. haer. tom. ii. p. 705): jEmoi; e[qo" ejsti; diwvkesqai kai; mh; diwvkein; that is, he himself would rather suffer injury than inflict injury.

251  Epist. xxxvii. (al. liii.) ad Riparium Adv. Vigilantium.

252  Epist. 93, ad Vincent. § 17: "Mea primitus sententia non erat, nisi neminem ad unitatem Christi esse cogendum, verbo esse agendum, disputatione pugnandum, ratione vincendum, ne fictos catholicos haberemus, quos apertos haereticos noveramus. Sed—he continues § haec opinio mea non contradicentium verbis, sed demonstrantium superabatur exemplis." Then he adduces his experience with the Donatists. Comp. Retract. ii. 5.

253  The direction: "Compel them to come in," which has often since been abused in defence of coercive measures against heretics, must, of course, be interpreted in harmony with the whole spirit of the gospel, and is only a strong descriptive term in the parable, to signify the fervent zeal in the conversion of the heathen, such as St. Paul manifested without ever resorting to physical coercion.

254  Epist. 185, ad Bonifacium, § 21, § 24.

255  C. Gaudent. Donat. i. § 20. C. Epist. Parmen. i. § 16.

256  "Non vincit nisi veritas, victoria veritatis est caritas."

257  Kirchengesch. iii. p. 427; Torrey’s ed. ii. p. 217.

258  Epist. xv. ad Turribium, where Leo mentions the execution of the Priscillianists with evident approbation: "Etiam mundi principes ita hanc sacrilegam amentiam detestati sunt, ut auctorem ejus cum plerisque discipulis legum publicarum ense prosternerent."