Early Church Fathers
33 [That is, private sacrifices: for it appears that the idolatrous temples were allowed to be open for public worship.-Bag.]
34 [Licinius, thus designated for the subtlety of his character.-Bag.] More probably for his wickedness, and perhaps with thought of the "dragon" of the Book of Revelation. The word is drakwn, not ofij. It is the latter which is used in the LXX, where the English version speaks of the serpent as the "subtlest." For historical and symbolical use of the words, compare Fergusson, Tree and Serpent Worship (Lond., 1874), and Conway,Demonoloy and Devil Lore (N.Y., 1879, 2 v.).
35 Or "fixed," "appointed."
36 By a conjectural reading Stroth makes this "fools," instead of "useless," and renders, "For fools would not otherwise recognize the charm of virtue."
37 [The remark of Valesius in reference to the difficulty of this chapter appears probable; viz. that it is partly to be attributed to Constantine's own want of clearness, and partly to his translator, who has rendered obscure Latin into still more obscure Greek.-Bag.]
38 The word means "having no share with," and sometimes "disinherited." It may perhaps mean, "I have been accustomed to think of the former emperors as having been deprived of their possessions on account," &c.
39 [The persecution of the Christians, with its attendant horrors, being the act, not of foreign enemies, but of their countrymen and fellow-citizens.-Bag.]
40 This is translated by Molzberger, "Therefore the priests let their hair hang down," &c.
42 Compare, on all this, the Church History and notes, and also the Prolegomena to this work.
43 Or "groves."
44 [Onper katafusin dedwkaj. The clause is thus rendered by Valesius: "Nos splendidissimam domum veritatis tuae, quam nas-centibus nobis donasti, retinemus." This seems almost as unintelligible as the original. The translation above attempted yields, perhaps, a sense not inconsistent with the general scope of the passage.-Bag.] 1709 renders "according to nature." Molzberger has "through no merit on our part." Stroth renders "characteristically" or "as our own natural possession" (i.e. eigenthumlich), and is confirmed by Heinichen, while Christophorson has "natura" and Portesius "a natura." The last is the best translation "by nature." As a matter of interpretation Bagster is probably wrong and Stroth substantially right. Whether Constantine had the Epistle to the Romans in mind or not, he had the same thought as Paul that men "by nature" have the "truth of God," but exchange this for a lie (Rom. i. 25;; Rom ii. 14; cf. Rom. xi. 21 and Rom. xi. 24). This suggests, however, another possible meaning, that the truth is known "through the things that are made" (Rom. i. 20). For various philosophical usages of fusij, compare interesting note in Grant, Ethics of Aristotle, 1 (Lond. 1885), 483, 484.
45 Probably meaning rains.
46 [Constantine seems here to allude to the Gentile deities as powers of evil, capable, if unrestrained by a superior power, of working universal ruin.-Bag.]
47 The editorial "we" used by Bag. throughout these edicts has been retained, although the first person singular is employed throughout in the original.
48 For literature relating to Arianism, compare Literature at the end of article by Schaff, in Smith and Wace, Dict. 1 (1877), 159, and in the Schaff-Herzog Encyclopaedia, 1, p. 137.
49 "Demoniacal." 1709 renders "diabolical."
50 It was at Alexandria that the controversy with Arius arose.He was called to account by Alexander of Alexandria who summoned one council and then another, at which Arius and his followers were excommunicated.
51 [The Melitians, or Meletians, an obscure Egyptian sect, of whom little satisfactory is recorded.-Bag.] Compare Blunt, Dict. of Sects, Heresies, &c. (1874), 305-308.
52 [Hosius, bishop of Cordova.-Bag.] Hosius had already been for some time a trusted adviser, having acted for Constantine also in the Donatist matters. Compare on Hosius the full article of Morse in Smith and Wace.
53 By "acting as umpire."
54 [Licinius, whose prohibition of synods is referred to in Bk. 1, ch. 51. The disputes here mentioned are those between the Catholic Christians and the Donatists, a very violent sect which sprung up in Africa after the persecution by Diocletian.-Bag.]