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A. D.

97 Revealed by the Apostle St. John * -

The Ebionites and Docetes * &

Mysterious Nature of the Trinity -

Zeal of the Christians - * -

Authority of the Church •- - -

Faćtions .

317

319

320

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326

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HE unfortunate Licinius was the last rival who opposed the greatness, and the last captive who adorned the triumph, of Constantine. After a tranquil and prosperous reign, the Conqueror bequeathed to his family the inheritance of the Roman empire ; a new capital, a new policy, and a new religion; and the innovations which he established have been embraced and consecrated by succeeding generations.

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pital. A.D. 324.

riety, unless he diligently separates from each other the scenes which are connected only by the order of time. He will describe the political institutions that gave strength and stability to the

empire, before he proceeds to relate the wars and revolutions which hastened its decline. He will adopt the division unknown to the ancients, of civil and ecclesiastical affairs; the vićtory of the Christians, and their intestine discord, will supply copious and distinct materials both for edifi

cation and for scandal.

After the defeat and abdication of Licinius, his vićtorious rival proceeded to lay the foundations of a city, destined to reign, in future times, the mistress of the East, and to survive the empire and religion of Constantine. The motives, whether of pride or of policy, which first induced T)iocletian to withdraw himself from the ancient seat of government, had acquired additional weight by the example of his successors, and the habits of forty years. Rome was insensibly confounded with the dependent kingdoms which had once acknowledged her supremacy; and the country of the Caesars was viewed with cold indifference by a martial prince, born in the neighbourhood of the Danube, educated in the courts and armies of Afia, and invested with the purple by the legions of Britain. The Italians, who had received Constantine as their deliverer, submis. sively obeyed the edićts which he sometimes condescended to address to the senate and people of Rome; but they were seldom honoured with the presence of their new sovereign. During the vigour

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gour of his age, Constantine, according to the va- c H A P.
rious exigencies of peace and war, moved with XVII.
flow dignity, or with active diligence, along the Q-y-e'
frontiers of his extensive dominions; and was al-
ways prepared to take the field either against a
foreign or a domestic enemy. But as he gradu-
ally reached the summit of prosperity and the de-
cline of life, he began to meditate the design of
fixing in a more permanent station the strength as
well as majesty of the throne. In the choice of
an advantageous situation, he preferred the con-
fines of Europe and Afia; to curb, with a power-
ful arm, the barbarians who dwelt between the
Danube and the Tanais; to watch with an eye of
jealousy the condućt of the Persian monarch, who
indignantly supported the yoke of an ignominious
treaty, With these views, Diocletian had selected
and embellished the residence of Nicomedia: but
the memory of Diocletian was justly abhorred by
the protector of the church; and Constantine was
not insensible to the ambition of founding a city
which might perpetuate the glory of his own
name. During the late operations of the war
against Licinius, he had sufficient opportunity to situation
contemplate, both as a soldier and as a statesman, on-
the incomparable position of Byzantium; and to
observe how strongly it was guarded by nature
against an hostile attack, whilst it was acces-
fible on every fide to the benefits of commercial
intercourse. Many ages before Constantine,
one of the most judicious historians of anti-

B 2 - quity

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