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Chapter XV.—How Constantine entertained the Bishops on the Occasion of His Vicennalia.

About this time he completed the twentieth year of his reign.32513251    Compare Prolegomena, Life. On this occasion public festivals were celebrated by the people of the provinces generally, but the emperor himself invited and feasted with those ministers of God 524whom he had reconciled, and thus offered as it were through them a suitable sacrifice to God. Not one of the bishops was wanting at the imperial banquet,32523252    At the risk of seeming trivial in sober and professedly condensed annotation, one cannot help noting that the human nature of ancient and modern councils is the same,—much controversy and more or less absenteeism, but all present at dinner. the circumstances of which were splendid beyond description. Detachments of the body-guard and other troops surrounded the entrance of the palace with drawn swords, and through the midst of these the men of God proceeded without fear into the innermost of the imperial apartments, in which some were the emperor’s own companions at table, while others reclined on couches arranged on either side.32533253    For notice of these couches, see Smith, Dict. Gr. and Rom. Ant., article Lectica. One might have thought that a picture of Christ’s kingdom was thus shadowed forth, and a dream rather than reality.

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