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Chapter XLI.

Accordingly, the emperor orders a Synod to assemble at Ariminum, a city of Italy, and instructs Taurus the prefect, not to let them separate, after they were once assembled, until they should agree as to one faith, at the same time promising him the consulship, if he carried the affair to a successful termination. Imperial376376    “magistris officialibus”: Halm reads “magistri.” officers, therefore, being sent through Illyria, Italy, Africa, and the two Gauls, four hundred and rather more Western bishops were summoned or compelled to assemble at Ariminum; and for all of these the emperor had ordered provisions377377    “annonas et cellaria.” and lodgings to be provided. But that appeared unseemly to the men of our part of the world, that is, to the Aquitanians, the Gauls, and Britons, so that refusing the public supplies, they preferred to live at their own expense. Three only of those from Britain, through want of means of their own, made use of the public bounty, after having refused contributions offered by the rest; for they thought it more dutiful to burden the public treasury than individuals. I have heard that Gavidius, our bishop, was accustomed to refer to this conduct in a censuring sort of way, but I would be inclined to judge far otherwise; and I hold it matter of admiration that the bishops had nothing of their own, while they did not accept assistance from others rather than from the public treasury, so that they burdened nobody. In both points, they thus furnished us with noble example. Nothing worthy of mention is recorded of the others; but I return to the subject in hand. After all the bishops had been collected together, as we have said, a separation of parties took place. Our friends378378    Of course, the Catholics, or orthodox. take possession of the church, while the Arians select, as a place for prayer, a temple which was then intentionally standing empty. But these did not amount to more than eighty persons: the rest belonged to our party. Well, after frequent meetings had been held, nothing was really 117accomplished, our friends continuing in the faith, and the others not abandoning their unfaithfulness. At length it was resolved to send ten deputies to the emperor, that he might learn what was the faith or opinion of the parties, and might know that there could be no peace with heretics. The Arians do the same thing, and send a like number of deputies, who should contend with our friends in the presence of the emperor. But on the part of our people, young men of but little learning and little prudence had been selected; while, on the side of the Arians, old men were sent, skillful and abounding in talent, thoroughly imbued, too, with their old unfaithful doctrines; and these easily got the upper hand with the prince. But our friends had been specially charged not to enter into any kind of communion with the Arians, and to reserve every point, in its entirety, for discussion in a Synod.


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