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ourt. In consequence of this invitation, thereforer out-fòr Egypt, and commg to Antioch by the was very bonourably entertained by Constantius, biin letters to the several governors of the reovinces through which he was to pass, consands to them to conduct him sately to his

his arrival at Alexandria he was welcomed

sonstrations of joy by persons of all ranks, ayes, each one striving to outdo the other, in

their thankfulness to heaven for his safe reo him again. For sometime the church of Alexania enjoyed a profound peace. But on the death of the emperor Constans, who was treacherously slain by Mezentius the tyrant, it quickly appeared, that all the courtesy which had been shewn by Constantius'tó Athanasius was feigned only, for soon after the death of the above prince, he joined again with his Arian associates in seeking his destruction, first ordering hiin to be deposed from his bishopric, and then that he should be put to death wherever he should be found ; and that he might effectually put his designs in execution, he sent to Alexandria a commander of the army; named Syrianus, for that very purpose. This man, at his first coming to that place, béhaved himself very peaceably; but being informed that the people were met together one evening, with Athanasius ainong them, in order to perform their devotions, he ordered a party of his soldiers to compass the church, while himself with the rest, broke in among the congregation. A dreadful slaughter ensued, but the Divine Providence interposed for the preservation of the bishop, who was, by some of his clergy, forced out of the assenbly, and carried in the tumult quite through the guards. Having thus escaped this snare, he retired into the wilderness, where he secreted himself among a society of devout ascetics during all the rest of Constantius's reign. While he continued here, he spent his time in the exercise of piety and devotion; and though he was very eagerly sought after by his enemies, and sometimes in imininent danger of being discovered, yet it pleased God to render the search fruitless, and to keep him in safety till they gave over their pursuit.

Immediately after his retirement the Arians, under the conduct of George, their new bishop, let loose their fury on the catholics in a most dreadful manner, scourging, imprisoning, and murdering outubers of those whose mis. of the court, they raised fresh tumults, and insinitiated to the emperor, that, notwithstanding he had been synodically deposed, he had taken upon him to return to the exercise of his office, without a sentence of absolution, which he ought first to have obtained: they charged bim moreover with having been the cause of much slaughter and bloodshed, and, having convened another synod of their confederates at Antioch, they deposed him once mure, and appointed one Gregory, an Arian, to supply liis place. Athanasius being made acquainted with their proceedings; departed from Alexandria, and went to Rome, where Julius, who was then bishop of that city, assembled a council, in order to examine his case. The members of this asseinbly pronounced bin innocent of te crimnes laid against him, and ordered him to be again restored to his charge. But, notwithstanding this, thie Arians having the civil power on their side at Alexandria, He was obliged to continue at Rome for some years, and, daring the time of his absence, the Arian faction at the place beforementioned exercised their cruelty on their opposers in a most dreadful manner, killing, wounding, whipping, and imprisoning, all who came in their way, without any respect either to sex or age; and this for no other reason, but because they would not join with them in their impious communion.

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Tnings being in this confusion, the emperor Constans was prevailed upon by Athanasius to call a general council, which accordingly met at Sardica, a city of Illyricum, in the

year 347. This synod entered on a very careful ex- , àinination of the affairs of Athanasius, whom they pronounced intirely innocentof all the pretended crimes which had been alledged against him, and appointed him, once more, to the possession of his bishopric, of which they declared him unjustly deprived; and Constans warmly espousing his cause, he informed his brother Constantins, that unless he would permít him, and such other bishops as the Arian's had deposed, to return to their respective sees, he would einploy the whole force of his government in order to put them in possession of what they had been so injuriously deprived of. Constantius being intimidated with this threatening, he sent three several letters to Athanasius, in cach of which he kindly invited him to return to Alexandr'a, and granted him, at the same time, the use of the public carriages, in order to his inore speedy conveyance to "Antioch, where that emperor then kept

his court. In consequence of this invitation, therefore he set out for Egypt, and coming to Antioch by the way, he was very honourably entertained by Constantius, who gave

hiin letters to the several goveruors of the respective provinces through which he was to pass, containing commands to them to conduct him saiely to his diocese. On bis arrival at Alexandria he was welcomed. with great demonstrations of joy by persons of all ranks, sexes, and ages, each one striving to outdo the other, in expressing their thankfulness to heaven for his sate return to him again. For sometime the church of Alexandria enjoyed a profound peace. But on the death of the emperor Constans, who was treacherously slain by Mezentius the tyrant, it quickly appeared, that all the courtesy which had been shewn by Constantius'to Athanasius. was feigned only, for soon after the death of the above prince, he joined again with his Arian associates in seeking his destruction, first ordering him to be deposed from his bishopric, and then that he should be put to death wherever he should be found, and that he might effectually put his designs in execution, he sent to Alexandria a coinmander of the army, named Syrianus, for that very purpose. This man, at his first coming to that place, behaved himself very peaceably; but being informed that the people were met together one evening, with Athanasius ainong them, in order to perform their devotions, he ordered a party of his soldiers to compass the church, while himself with the rest, broke in among

the congrégation. A dreadful slaughter ensued, but the Divine Providence interposed for the preservation of the bishop, who was, by some of his clergy, forced out of the assenbly, and carried in the tumult quite through the guards. Having thus escaped this snare, he retired into the wil. derness, where he secreted himself among a society of devout ascetics during all the rest of Constantius's reiga. While he continued here, he spent his time in the exercise of piety and devotion ; and though he was very eagerly sought after by his enemies, and sometimes in im. minent danger of being discovered, yet it pleased God to render the search fruitless, and to keep him in safety till they gave over their pursuit.

Immediately after his retirement the Arians, under the conduct of George, their new bishop, let loose their fury on the catholics in a most dreadful manner, scourging, imprisoning, and murdering numbers of those whose misfortune it was to fall into their hands. Having seized upon a subdeaon, named Eutychus, a man of an excellent character, ebey whipped him till he was quite sepseless, and then attempted to carry him to the mines, but death interposed and put an end to his misery; and some persons adventuring to intercede in his behalt, they were ordered to be first scourged, and afterwards cast into prison for so doing. Many had their houses broke open and rifled, while others, to avoid the diabolical fury of these treretical monsters, left their all, and either fled into the desart, or else committed themselves to the nerey of the sea.

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In the year 361, Constantius departed this life, and was succeeded by Julian, whereupon Athanasius returned 10 Alexandria again, where he met with a most joyful reception, the streets were crouded with people froin all the neighbouring parts, who were divided in classes, in the same manner as was usually practised at a time of a publie triumph, and such was the magnificence with which the solemnity was conducted, that it became a proverb in atter times: “ The great Athanasius was not brought into Alexandria with more splendour." • Athanasius being thus restored again to his people, he beyani;immediately to rectify the irregularities wbieb, during his long absence, had crept in among them; and this was performed with so much prudence and gentleness, that even his very enemies could not but applaud bis conduct. He was congratulated on his return by letters from the most eminent persons in the Christian world, several of whom came to visit him in person ; but after be bad continued at home a short time, a fresh conspiracy was formed against him, in which both the Ariaus and breathens joined together. During the time of his abude at Alexandria he had converted a number of Gentiles to the Christian faith, and among the rest several honourable : Greek ladies. At this so much umbrage was taken, that a complaint was exhibited against him to Julian :the

who was informed, moreover, at the same time, that if he was suffered to proceed in the manner in which he went on, there would not be a Pagan left in all his diocese. Julian being highly exasperated at the intelligence, wrote to Ecdicius, the governor of Alexandria, to the following effect : “ Although you wrote: pothing else, you ought to have informed us concerning Athanasius, the enemy of the gods; with respect to whom, I call the great Serapis to witness, that it he is not banished from Egypt before the first of December, next, the reginents under your command shall be fined an hundred pounds of gold. It is no small trouble.to me, that, by his means all the gods should be set at nought. Of all your services none would be more acceptable to me, than to hear that he is driven out of all Egypt.”.. Athanasius, finding the storm arising, prepared for his departure; telling his friends, however, in a kind of prophetic manner," that ihis was but a little cloud, which would soon blow over.” Having taken a boat, he sailed down the Nile towards Thebais. Which he had had no sooner done, than an officer came to Alexandria, in order to apprehend him; but hearing that he was gone, he departed in pursuit of him with all the expedie tion imaginable. This, Athanasius and his friends being informed of, he was persuaded by them to go on shore, and retire to the desart ; but instead of so doing, he commanded the steersman to turn the boat, and sail back again towards Alexandria, saying, " Let us rather

spect

go and meet this executioner, that he may kuow that the God who is for us, is greater than he who is against us." This proved the means of his safety : for the officer and his company meeting the boat, and not thinking that he would attempt to sail that way, he only inquired: “ Whether they had seen Athanasius?" and being an. swered : “ that he was not far off,” they continued their pursuit; while he, in the mean time, returned safely to Alexandria, where he continued private all the rest of Julian's reign.

On the death of Julian, who was slain in the battle with the Persians, a person, named Jovian, was advanced to the empire. This gentleman was tribune of the sol. diers, and in the foregoing reign had been, in intention at least, a kind of sufferer for the Christian cause : for the emperor having published an edict, importing, that all those who would not renounce Christianity and embrace Paganism, should be divested of their military employments, he immediately threw down his belt as a token of resigning his commission ; but the situation of af. fairs not permitting Julian to part with him at that junctyrę, be was continued in his employment. At bis entrance on the government, he publicly declared himself a Christian; and immediately commanded that the exiled

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