« ZurückWeiter »
tribution of public offices, he had the advantage of strengthening his government, by the choice of ministers or generals, in whose fidelity he could repose a just and unreserved confidence. By the influence of these dignified missionaries, the proselytes of the new faith must have multiplied in the court and army; the Barbarians of Germany, who filled the ranks of the legions, were of a careless temper, which acquiesced without refistance in the religion of their commander; and when they passed the Alps, it may fairly be presumed, that a great number of the soldiers had already consecrated their swords to the service of Christ and of Constantine”. The habits of mankind, and the interest of religion, gradually abated the horror of war and bloodshed, which had so long prevailed among the Christians; and in the councils which were assembled under the gracious protection of Constantine, the authority of the bishops was seasonably employed to ratify the obligation of the military oath, and to inflict the penalty of excommunication on those soldiers who threw away their arms during the peace of the church”. While Constantine, in his own dominions, increased the number and zeal of his faithful adherents, he could depend on the support of a
* This careless temper of the Germans appears almost uniformly in the history of the conversion of each of the tribes. The legions of Constantine were recruited with Germans (Zosimus, l. ii. p. 86.); and the court even of his father had been filled with Christians. See the first book of the life of Constantine, by Eusebius.
*. De his qui arma projiciunt in pace, placuit eos abstinere a communione. Concil. Arelat. Canon iii. The best critics apply these words to the peace of the church.
. The Laba
rum, or standard of the cross.
*9 Nomen ipsum crucis abst non modo a corpore civium Romanorum, fed etiam a cogitatione, oculis, auribus. Cicero pro Raberio, c. 5. The Christián writers Justin, Minucius Faelix, Tertullian, Jerom, and Maximus of Turin, have investigated with tolerable success the figure or likeness of a cross in almost every objećt of nature or art; in the interse&tion of the ineridian and equator, the human face, a bird flying, a man swimming, a mast and yard, a plough, a standard, &c. &c. &c. See Lipsius de Cruce, l. i. c. 9.
so See Aurelius ViStor, who considers this law as one of the examples of Constantine's piety. An edist so honourable to Christianity deserved a place in the Theodosian Code, instead of the indireét mention of it, which seems to result from the comparison of the vih and
xviiith titles of the ixth back.
3" Eusebius, in Vit. Constantin. l. i. c. 40. The statue, or at least the cross and inscription, may be ascribed with more probability to the second, or even the third, vifit of Constantine to Rome. Immediately after the defeat of Maxentius, the minds of the senate and people were scarcely ripe for this public monument. 3* Agnoscas regina libens mea signa necesse est; In quibus effigies crucis aut gemmata refulget Aut longis solido ex auro praefertur in hastis. Hoc signo invičius, transmissis Alpibus Ultor - Servitium solvit miserabile Constantinus * * # # # # & # Christus purpureum gem manti textus in auro Signabat Labarum, clypeorum insignia Christus Scripferat; ardebat summis crux addita critis. Prudent. in Symmachum, I. ii. 464, 486. s3 The derivation and meaning of the word Labarum, or Laborum, which is employed by Gregory Nazianzen, Ambrose, Prudentius, &c. still remain totally unknown ; in spite of the efforts of the critics, who have ineffectually tortured the Latin, Greek, Spanish, Celtic, Teutonic, Illyric, Armenian, &c. in search of an etymology. See Ducange, in Gloss. Med. & infim. Latiniat, sub voce Labarum, and Godefroy, ad Cod. Theodos. tom. ii. p. 143.
- Vol. III, S celebrated
c H A P. celebrated name, which has been vainly derived
from almost all the languages of the world. It is
versal beam. The filken veil which hung down' from the beam, was curiously enwrought with the images of the reigning monarch and his children. The summit of the pike supported a crown of gold which enclosed the mysterious monogram, at once expressive of the figure of the cross, and the initial letters of the name of Christ ". The safety of the labarum was entrusted to fifty guards, of approved valour and fidelity; their station was marked by honours and emoluments; and some fortunate accidents soon introduced an opinion, that as long as the guards of the labarum were engaged in the execution of their office, they were secure and invulnerable amidst the darts of the enemy. In the second civil war Licinius felt and dreaded the power of this consecrated banner, the fight of which, in the distress of battle, animated the soldiers of Constantine with an invincible enthusiasm, and scattered terror and dismay through the ranks of the adverse legions". The Christian emperors,
* Euseb. in Vit. Constantin. l. i. c. 30, 31. Baronius (Annal. Eccles. A.D. 312, No 26.) has engraved a representation of the
Labarum. - ** Transversa X literá, summo capite circumflexo, Christum in scutis notat. Caecilius de M. P. c. 44. Cuper (ad M.P. in edit. Laëtant. tom. ii. p. 5oo.) and Baronius (A.D. 312. No. 25.) have engraved from ancient monuments several specimens (as thus '). these monograms, which became extremely fashi
-P...? onable in the Christian world.
3° Euseb, in Vit. Constantim. l. ii. c. 7, 8, 9. He introduces the Kabarum before the Italian expedition; but his narrative seems to indicate