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that the Romans had towards the Palladium, that celebrated relic, which had formerly been the safeguard of the ancient city of Troy, and transferred to Rome, where it was preserved with religious care by the vestal virgins, the order of Pagan nuns instituted in honour of the goddess Vesta. What Eusebius describes as The Symbol of the Saviour's passion," set up by Constantine as the Palladium " of his empire, was in all probability the Crucifix, or the image of Christ nailed to the cross; and thus we have the origin of this idolatrous object in the Romish church in the political establishment of Christianity at Constantinople.

Many allowances must be made for Constantine at that remarkable turn of his life from Pagan worship to the public profession of the Christian religion. It must be remembered that he was bred in the camp, and not educated in the college or the church ; and that he gained the empire by his sword, and kept it by the same weapon in union with the bishop's crozier. He addressed a company of bishops—" You are bishops whose jurisdiction is within the church. I also am a bishop ordained by God to overlook whatever is external to the church." *

In another place we have alluded to the union between religion and war in the heathen armies, and Constantine preserved that union under the standard of the cross. We dare not judge the hearts of men, and, taking solemn professions as the utterances of truth, we must believe that that extraordinary man was sincere in his acts of devotion. The headings of some of the chapters of Eusebius' life of him show what passed in his mind, and what he performed in

* Eusebius's “Life of the Blessed Emperor Constantine,” b. iv. c. xxiy.

the field. “ Constantine gives glory to God, confesses the efficacy of the standard of the cross, and prays for the churches and people."* “He prays that all may be Christians, but compels none." 6 Defeat and conquest of the Scythians, through the standard of the cross.” + “He orders the sign of the cross to be engraven on his soldiers' shields." I And he publishes a form of prayer to be said by his soldiers on every Dies Solis, or Sunday. The army mustered every Sunday on an open plain near the city; and at a given signal the soldiers with one accord offered up the following prayer :-“ We acknowledge Thee the only God. We own Thee as our king, and implore thy succour. By thy favour we have gotten the victory : through Thee are we mightier than our enemies. We render thanks for thy past benefits, and trust Thee for future blessings. Together we pray to Thee, and beseech Thee long to preserve to us, safe and triumphant, our Emperor Constantine and his pious sons." S The hum of the muttered prayers of the rough soldiers of the Roman legions as they were drawn

up

under the standard of the cross must have been very impressive. That standard was reared instead of the old idols under which the army marched to battle, for Constantine “ commanded that his embattled forces should be preceded in their march, not by golden images, as heretofore, but only by the standard of the cross." || The bishops had to accompany the army on military expeditions, as the Pagan priests used to do. “The emperor disclosed his plan of marching against the Persians, and desired the

presence * Eusebius's “Life of the Blessed Emperor Constantine,” b. ii. c. lv. lvi. + Ibid., b. iv. c. v.

I Ibid., b. iv. c. xxi. § Ibid., b. iv. c. xx.

|| Ibid., b. iv. c. xxi.

of his bishops in the campaign:" and he caused“ a tent of great splendour, representing in shape the figure of a church, to be prepared for his own use in the approaching war. In this he intended to unite with the bishops in offering prayers to the God from whom all victory proceeds." *

Having now described the celebrated Standard of the Cross as substituted by Constantine for the Roman Labarum, and having shown that the figure on the old standard was the crescent, that mysterious symbol of physical safety, we have made good our proposition of tracing the connection between the three ensigns of war which have been so long unfurled to the terror of the nations of the earth. We consider it of importance to fix the time and the place of the first display of the cross

a banner of war, as from that date commenced a new era in religion and war.

as

* Eusebius's “Life of the Blessed Emperor Constantine," b. iv. c. lvi.

CHAPTER VI.

The alleged Vision of the Cross, and the real Standard formed

from it, further examined. The evidence of history as given by Gibbon, adduced.—The effect of the Standard of the Cross on the Roman army, considered objectively on men

and proves that the numbers of the Christians must have been great, contrary to the reasoning of Gibbon.—This.consequence is in accordance with the practice of great Captains, in rearing Standards which will rouse the enthusiasm of their followers. -Remarkable effect on Constantine himself,

GIBBON says:

“ The Protestant and philosophic readers of the present age will incline to believe, that, in the account of his own conversion, Constantine attested a wilful falsehood by a solemn and deliberate perjury.'

"* And, as if he had gone too far in his sweeping condemnation, he afterwards qualifies it by adding, “ In an age of religious fervour, the most artful statesmen are observed to feel some part of the enthusiasm which they inspire ; and the most orthodox saints assume the dangerous privilege of defending the cause of truth by the arms of deceit and falsehood.” The sceptical opinions and prejudices of Gibbon are well known, and he lets no opportunity escape to contemn the Christian faith, and to sneer at its professors. For how long before his open profession the mind of Constantine was agitated between the truths of Christianity and the errors of Paganism, no human being can say ; but we have no right to pronounce

* “ Decline and Fall," chap. xx.

him false and perjured in giving his account of the remarkable sign seen in the sky, and of his change of opinion and views caused thereby, even although we may not believe that he actually saw the figure of the cross with the inscription. It is very probable that he was himself deceived, and that his heated imagination at a most critical turn in his life painted on the heavens the salutary sign. Deliberate trick and deception were quite foreign to the character of Constantine. His mind was too strong and enlightened, and his temperament too impetuous for planned hypocrisy. Taking the worst view of his conduct in the matter of the sign of the cross previous to the great battle of Saxa Rubra, it could only be called a pious fraud to aid him in grasping the sceptre of the Roman empire as the reward of victory; and it must be told of him that he won the prize as fairly and gallantly as ever conqueror did before or since. His opponent Maxentius

in every respect inferior, being pusillanimous, indolent, sunk in pleasure, cruel and despotic. The army of Constantine was much less numerous than that of Maxentius, and it was only by superior conduct and greater enthusiasm that it broke through the formidable Prætorian Guards, who to the last kept their ranks, and left their dead bodies along the line of battle where they had stood. The sight of the standard of the cross must have animated the courage and roused the enthusiasm of Constantine and his troops as they marched against and charged their enemies; and we will endeavour to show from the circumstance of the sacredness attached to that ensign by the Roman armies, and the consequent enthusiasm excited by it, that the Christians were much more numerous in the fourth century than Gibbon is disposed to admit. His aim is to depreciate the in

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