Anf-03 v.iv.v.xlv Pg 11
It is important, here, to observe the heretical origin of a sinful superstition which becomes conspicuous in the history of Constantine. If the church tolerated it in his case, it was doubtless in view of this extraordinary instance of one, who was a heathen still, at heart, becoming a guardian and protector of the persecuted Faithful. It is probable that he was regarded as a Cyrus or a Nebuchadnezzar whom God had raised up to protect and to deliver His people; who was to be honoured and obeyed as “God’s minister” (Rom. xiii. 4.) in so far, and for this purpose. The church was scrupulous and he was superstitious; it would have been difficult to discipline him and worse not to discipline him. Tacitly, therefore, he was treated as a catechumen, but was not formally admitted even to that class. He permitted Heathenism, and while he did so, how could he be received as a Christian? The Christian church never became responsible for his life and character, but strove to reform him and to prepare him for a true confession of Christ at some “convenient season.” In this, there seems to have been a great fault somewhere, chargeable perhaps to Eusebius or to some other Christian counsellor; but, when could any one say—“the emperor is sincere and humble and penitent and ought now to be received into the church.” It was a political conversion, and as such was accepted, and Constantine was a heathen till near his death. As to his final penitence and acceptance—“Forbear to judge.” 2 Kings x. 29–31. Concerning his baptism, see Eusebius, de Vita Const. iv. 61, see also, Mosheim’s elaborate and candid views of the whole subject: First Three Centuries, Vol. II. 460–471.
Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge, Chapter 10
VERSE (29) -
2Ki 13:2,11; 14:24; 15:9,18,24,28; 17:22 1Ki 12:28-30; 13:33,34; 14:16