FREDERIC W. FARRAR

GATHERING CLOUDS
A TALE OF THE DAYS OF ST. CHRYSOSTOM

Cover Image

FILIIS CARISSIMIS
R.A.F. E.M.F. F.P.F. I.G.F.
HANC CORRUPTÆ QUIDEM ECCLESIÆ
FIDEI TAMEN INCOLUMIS ADUMBRATIONEM
D.D.
PATER AMANTISSIMUS

First published by Longmans, Green & Co., London, 1895,


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Preface

BOOK 1. Antioch BOOK 2. Days Of Storm BOOK 3. A Chaos Of Hatreds
The Gathering Storm Two Archbishops The World, The Flesh, And The Devil
The Riot Another Archbishop Fresh Troubles
The Agony, And The Consoler The Capture Of Chrysostom Bad Ecclesiastics And Base Plots
Two Visitors By Night Tales By The Way A Visit From Vigilantius
The Hermit And The Boy Constantinople A Farewell
The Demoniac The Emperor And Empress The Misdoings Of Severian
The Judgment On The City Guests At An Imperial Banquet  
The Thunderbolt Averted First Impressions  
Philip Is Baptised Anxieties And Troubles, Friends And Foes  
Passing Years Manifold Struggles  
Goths At Antioch Face To Face With Shams  
The Presbyter The Consulship Of Eutropius  
  The Goths  
  The Fall Of Eutropius  
  In Sanctuary  
  Inevitable Nemesis  
  Eutyches Is Indignant  
  The Goths At Constantinople  
  The Doomed Three  
  Three Youths Save Constantinople  
  The Massacre  
  Ga Nas Meets His Doom  
  Walamir And Eutyches  
  His Murdered Father's Head  

BOOK 4. Death-Grapples BOOK 5. Defeat And Victory BOOK 6. Death And Life
'Ecce Iterum Crispinus!' Eudoxia's Statue Philip And The Emperor
Epiphanius Intervenes The Forged Sermon Philip Visits St. Nilus
Episcopal Conspirators Intrigue Triumphant Philip And St. Jerome
The Earthquake Prolonged Agony Philip And The Desposyni
  Driven Forth Two Happy Bridals
  Conflagration Philip At Antioch
  Dragged On His Way The Exile At Cucusus
  A Reign Of Terror The Martyrdom
  A Burning, Fiery Furnace A Last Visit To Arcadius
  Eutyches And Philip In Profundis Affairs In The West
  Gleams Of Returning Dawn Happy Children And Prosperous Days
  The Return Of Kallias The Great Reparation
  Walamir And St. Telemachus L'Envoi. The Good Count Of The East
  The Vengeance Of Heaven  


PREFACE

In Darkness And Dawn I endeavoured to illustrate in the form of a story an epoch of surpassing historical and moral interest—the struggle in the first century between a nascent Christianity armed only with the irresistible might of weakness, and a decadent Paganism supported by the wit, the genius, the religion, the philosophy, the imperial power, and all the armies of the world. I showed that the victory of Christianity was won by virtue of the purity and integrity which it inspired; and that nothing was able to resist a faith which placed the attainment of the ideal of holiness within the reach of the humblest of mankind. I tried to show some glimpse—so far as it was possible—of the frightful spiritual debasement for which a heathendom which had become more than half atheistical was responsible; and of the noble characters which Christianity developed into a beauty till then not only unattained, but unimagined, alike in the high and in the low. So far as the historic outline was concerned the picture was not an imaginative landscape, but an absolute photograph. Every circumstance, every particular, even of costume and custom, was derived directly from the history, poetry, satires, and romances of classic writers, or from the literature and remains of the early days of Christianity. If I had not followed this method I should not have been faithful to the main object which I set before me.

I acknowledge with gratitude the kind reception which was accorded to Darkness and Dawn by a large number of readers; and, from many communications which have reached me, I trust that I did not wholly fail in making my aim understood and appreciated. I did not appeal to the ordinary novel-reader. I wished to create an interest far deeper and higher than that of passing amusement.

I dwell on this because my plan in the following pages is closely analogous to that which I endeavoured to follow in Darkness and Dawn, though the truths which I desire to illustrate and the characteristics of the age with which I have to deal are altogether different.

I there showed the influences which enabled the Church to triumph over the world: it is now my far sadder task to show how the world reinvaded, and partly even triumphed over, the nominal Church. I there showed how the Darkness had been scattered by the Dawn: I have here to picture how the Sun of Righteousness, which had risen with healing in his wings, was overshadowed by 'many ominous and lurid clouds. 'Of the Byzantine Empire,' says Mr. Lecky, the universal verdict of history is that it constitutes, without a single exception, the most thoroughly base and despicable form that civilisation has yet assumed.... The Byzantine Empire was pre-eminently the age of treachery.... The Asiatic Churches had already perished. The Christian faith, planted in the dissolute cities of Asia Minor, had produced many fanatical ascetics, and a few illustrious theologians, but it had no renovating effect upon the people at large. It introduced among them a principle of interminable and implacable dissensions, but it scarcely tempered in any appreciable degree their luxury or their sensuality.'

The apparent triumph of Christianity was in some sense, and for a time, its real defeat, the corruption of its simplicity, the defacement of its purest and loftiest beauty.

Yet, however much the Divine ideal might be obscured, it was never wholly lost. The sun was often clouded; but behind that veil of earthly mists, on the days which seemed most dark, it was there always, flaming in the zenith, and it could make the darkest clouds palpitate with light. No age since Christ died was so utterly corrupt as not to produce some prophets and saints of God. These saints, these prophets, in age after age, were persecuted, were sawn asunder, were slain with the sword by kings and priests; but the next generation, which built their sepulchres, had, in part at least, profited by their lessons.

'The Church,' said St. Chrysostom, 'cannot be shaken. The more the world takes counsel against it, the more it increases; the waves are dissipated, the rock remains immovable.'

In reading this story, then, the reader will be presented with an historic picture in which fiction has been allowed free play as regards matters which do not affect the important facts, but of which every circumstance bearing on my main design is rigidly accurate, or, at any rate, is derived from the authentic testimony of contemporary Pagans, and of the Saints and Fathers of the Church of God.

F. W. Farrar.


BOOK I. ANTIOCH

I. — THE GATHERING STORM

Phoebeæ lauri domus, Antiochia
Turbida...et amentis populi male sana tumultu.

—Ausonius, Ord. Nob. Urbium.

February 26, A.D. 387, was a memorable day in the fortunes of Antioch, the loveliest and one of the most famous capitals of the Eastern Empire.

On that morning a herald had proclaimed to the people that, owing to the necessities of the imperial exchequer, the great Emperor Theodosius had decided to levy a subsidy on the most opulent cities of his dominion; and that Antioch, renowned all over the world for her luxurious prosperity, would be required loyally to pay her share.

The 'ignorant impatience of taxation' is inherent in human nature, and there is no monopoly of it either in modern times or in the British nation. If it was necessary that cities should be taxed in proportion to their wealth, the contribution of Antioch would form a large quota of the sum which had to be raised. She had Phœnicia to the south, and Asia Minor to the north. The rich beauty of the vegetation which clothed her plain testified to the unwonted fertility of her soil. Nowhere were more blooming vineyards than those which clothed the slopes of her Mount Silpius. The deep and rapid waters of her river—the legendary Orontes—not only clothed the banks with flowering masses of pink oleander and delicately scented jasmine, but also refreshed her groves of laurel and myrtle and irrigated her gardens full of every delicious fruit. Caravans from Mesopotamia and Arabia brought to her all the riches of the East through the passes of Lebanon. Her fresh lake and her rushing rivulets supplied her with fish and ample stores of food. Ships from every port of the Mediterranean poured the abundance of many lands into her harbour of Seleuceia. Wealthy proprietors—Greeks, Romans, Jews, Syrians—had thronged to her suburbs, to fix their voluptuous homes in scenes where they could enjoy the soft western winds which, even in winter, tempered her climate. There, in courts and villas lustrous with marble and enriched with the finest works of ancient art, they would loll on soft couches beside fountains which cooled the summer heat. No wonder that Antioch on the Orontes was one of the favourite residences of all who loved the delights of effeminate indolence, diversified by wild dissipations of thrilling excitement. And was not the delightful grove of Daphne only five miles distant—enchanting Daphne, with its rose-gardens and perennial fountains and abounding shades? Who could be dull if he went there to watch the Pagan pilgrimages which at one time had made it 'a perpetual festival of vice'? The self-restraint of Christianity had, indeed, controlled the 'Daphnic morals' which had once filled the sanctuary of Apollo with gayest revelries.

Constantine's statue to his mother, St. Helena, had usurped the reverence once given to the marble colossus of the god of song. But the road to Daphne still passed through gardens and palaces, and in the ten-mile circuit of the old Paradise of Heathendom the possibilities of pleasure and amusement were not yet utterly extinct.

But if the delightfulness of Antioch had made it the chosen home of so many hereditary millionaires, successful merchants, and 'gorgeous criminals,' what was more reasonable than the demand that the city should contribute its fair share to the urgent needs of the Empire? Theodosius was compelled to gratify his hungry soldiery by some sort of donative, and that was impossible without fresh taxation. It was not a question of choice, or of display and luxury, but of dire necessity, if the army, on which depended the defence of the whole Empire, was to be kept in allegiance and good humour.

The soft Antiochenes did not see the matter in this light. The proclamation of the imperial requisition had been received in the most indignant spirit by the multitude assembled in the great Forum. Usually, all public business was accompanied by shouts, acclamations, and intense excitement, and not infrequently by the jests and witticisms for which the quick and volatile multitude of Antioch was celebrated. But on the present occasion there had been neither applause, nor shouts, nor jokes. The grim silence struck chill into men's hearts, like the hush before the outburst of a storm.

The governor of the city, who rejoiced in the sounding title of 'Count of the East,' had been accompanied to the scene by all his high officials, and by his side sat the most celebrated literary man of the day, the Pagan sophist Libanius, the chief instructor of all the intellectual youths who aimed at oratorical distinction. Libanius was a native of Antioch, and, struck by the ominous stillness, the Count turned to him with uplifted eyebrows, as though to ask for an explanation of the strange phenomenon.

'This is something quite new to me,' said Libanius. 'When a multitude is too sullen even to roar or hiss there is room for anxiety. "I fear lest from this silence calamity should burst forth."'

'Tush!' said the angry Governor. 'It is only another phase of the foolery of this mongrel population of Syrians, Greeks, and Jews. I beg pardon of your patriotism, Libanius, but you are too cosmopolitan not to recognise that the ordinary Antiochene is an amalgam of frivolity and prejudice.'

'This subsidy will heavily tax their resources,' said the orator.

'Nonsense!' said the Governor. 'A little hæmorrhage will do all the good in the world to their plethora. Do the fools think they can have all the privileges of government for nothing? To what do they owe their wealth, if not to the decade of peace and economy which the great Theodosius has secured for them? And yet they murmur at this very modest proposal. They treated your friend, the Emperor Julian, in just the same way. He asked for necessary funds, and they yelled at him in the Circus, "Plenty of everything; everything dear!"

What would happen to the Empire but for our strong Emperor? It would break into fragments, like the vertebræ of a serpent which an eagle has dropped out of its talons, and each vertebra would turn into a new serpent to sting all the rest. Here are the Goths and the Isaurians and the Vandals, and I know not how many nameless barbarians, hanging on all our frontiers and threatening to merge us in floods of ignorance and rapine. After the defeat of Adrianople there seemed to be nothing between us and destruction. Theodosius has given us peace, unity, fiscal reform, and wise administration. But for him Antioch would have been more surely laid in ruin long ago than by the worst of her earthquakes.'

'He might economise,' said Libanius.

'Nay,' said the Count, 'you are not fair to him, Libanius. You are a Pagan, and he has done more to suppress the worship of the old gods than anyone since Constantine. This requisition is in reality a signal proof of his economy. This is the ninth year of his reign, and, nominally, the fifth year of the boy Arcadius. You know that on such anniversaries every soldier in the army expects to receive five gold pieces. The sum required would drag a Crœsus into the mire. It cost the young Valentinian sixteen hundred pounds of gold. It was to avoid the necessity for two ruinous donatives that Theodosius determined to antedate by a year his own decennalia, and unite them with the quinquennalia of his son. The poor are already overtaxed. What could he do but turn to the rich?'

'Let us get back to the Prætorium,' said Libanius hurriedly. 'I don't like the look of the mob and their sinister silence.'

'Oh! it is nothing,' said the Governor. 'Half an hour hence they will be roaring for the Green or the Blue factions of charioteers in the Circus, or crowding round a sword-juggler in the street of Tiberius.'

'Nevertheless, let us hurry back,' said Libanius. 'There have been riots in Alexandria, and it required strong measures to put them down.'

The party of officials, surrounded by their small but glittering escort, made its way to the Prætorium, which was at no great distance. Libanius was in bad spirits.

'Look,' he said, 'at yonder grim, gigantic head on the slope of Mount Silpius.' He pointed to the Charonium which stood out in the sunshine, but cast a dark shadow on the mountain behind. 'The huge features seem to frown terribly on this lovely city.'

'Sheer imagination!' said the Governor; 'but—what is that?'

'One of the imperial archers, who had been posted at the omphalos in the centre of the Colonnade of Antiochus Epiphanes, came running up to the Governor's escort at full speed and in obvious alarm.

'What means this rudeness, you white-faced coward?' said the captain of the escort to him in a stern voice. 'Where are your manners? Do you want to know the feel of the rhinoceros-hide round your shoulders?'

'No more coward than you, sir captain,' said the archer; 'but this is no time to bandy words.'

'What is the matter?' asked the Governor, who had overheard the brief altercation. 'Bring the archer here.'

'The city is in an uproar, my lord,' said the man, stepping forward. 'Listen!'

They listened, and there came to their ears a dull roar like the sound of many waters. It was the angry hum of voices, broken every now and then by cries for vengeance. The Count of the East looked uneasy; the fine features of Libanius had settled into the deepest pallor.

'Is the crowd dangerous?' asked the Governor.

'Most dangerous,' answered the soldier. 'This is no mere faction fight of the amphitheatre. I was standing by the statue of Apollo, in the Tetrapylon, when fierce groups came surging from Singon Street in one direction and Herod's Colonnade in another, in mad rage. I never heard so many hot curses in my life, and I have heard a good many. A yelling mob was gathered round the statue of the "Fortune of Antioch," calling down the vengeance of the gods with uplifted hands. Only one man tried to allay the excitement. It was John the Preacher; and though all the Christians love him, and even the Jews and Pagans respect him, his words were of no avail. If some of the Church-people had not forced him away he would have been half torn to pieces by the mob. Hark, my lord! I see them in the distance, I hear the trampling of their feet. In ten minutes more they will be upon you. Take refuge in the palace.'

'Is it the riff-raff of the Forum?'

'No, your Excellency,' said the archer. 'I saw some of the chief men of the city among them, even senators and old officers of the army. The whole city is in wild fury.'

'Make your way home with all speed by back streets,' said the Count to Libanius. 'Captain, take a dozen of my escort, ride under the wall to the Golden Gate, and make your way to Daphne. To the palace, soldiers!'

He drew the sword with which he was girded in sign of his office, and the escort rode at a gallop, across the bridge which spanned the Orontes, into the gorgeous palace of the old Seleucid kings, which was used as the residence of the governor. They were not a moment too soon.


II. — THE RIOT

Continuoque animos vulgi et trepidantia bello
Corda licet longe præsciscere.

Verg. Georg. iv. 69.

The gates were closed, and some twenty resolute soldiers stood on guard outside. With spears and drawn swords they kept the threatening mob at bay. The foreign athletes and adventurers who formed the mass of the crowd, though bent on mischief, were worthless cowards, and did not like the look of bare steel.

'Let us away to the Baths of Caligula,' shouted one of the rioters; and the multitude, with an answering shout, rushed off towards the valley of the torrent Parthenius, near which the Baths were built. Rushing in tumultuously, they swept the attendants before them, smashed the benches, broke the taps, daubed the frescoes with mud, tore down the candelabra, broke off the heads and noses of the statues, hacked at the trees in the grounds with axes, and in ten minutes committed ravages which it took years to repair.

When they had wrecked the Baths the furious mob streamed back to the palace. The little band of soldiers still stood before the gates. The captain kept a brave mien, though he saw that it would be hopeless for his handful of comrades to hold out against the rush of thousands.

'What do you want?' he called in stentorian tones to the foremost rebels.

'The Governor! the Governor!' they shouted.

'He is no longer here,' said the captain, And this was true, for, as he had no troops at hand, the Governor had availed himself of the brief respite to escape by a back way, and ride off to summon a detachment of guards, who were encamped near the grove of Daphne to prevent the disorders which frequently arose from the contending jealousies of Christians and Pagans.

'Then look out for yourselves,' yelled the mob, 'for we mean to burst in!'

'Open the doors, men!' said the captain. 'I will enter last. When we are in, close them, and escape.'

'The soldiers with swift discipline executed the manœuvre; and no sooner had the captain stepped inside than the sound was heard of the heavy bolts and bars being shot into their places.

But the mob was not so to be baffled. They rained blows upon the gates with axes and hammers, and at last improvised a battering-ram from the top of a marble bench, until the oaken valves were shattered and fell inwards with a crash. Through the courtyard the people rushed into the great Hall of Judgment. It was empty, but the awe of the place, where they had heard so many sentences of death passed upon offenders, fell for a few moments on their minds. Round the chair of state at the back of the apse, in which the Count of the East often sat with his assessors, rose the bronze and marble statues of the imperial family. Highest of all, with the diadem round his brow, the arm outstretched as though to give command, clad in the cuirass with the Gorgon head at its centre, towered the figure of Theodosius. Beside the statue of the Emperor stood that of Flaccilla, the beloved consort whom he had so recently lost, whose gentle nature had always exercised a beneficent sway over his tempestuous impulses. On either side of them were the smaller statues of their two sons—Arcadius, a boy of nine, and Honorius, a child of five.[1] A little on one side was the statue of Count Theodosius, the brave father of the Emperor. After saving the East from imminent peril, he had fallen a victim to the jealous ingratitude of the Emperor Valens, and deserved the remorseful homage of every loyal subject, whether in the East or West.

1. Considerable uncertainty hangs over the exact dates of the births of Arcadius and Honorius.

The 'divinity which doth hedge a king' surrounded with tenfold protection the majesty of a Roman emperor. He was the one bulwark between civilisation and chaos. It is true that 11 since the days of Constantine, as before them, the reigns of these Cæsars and Augusti had been brief, and their fate for the most part terrible. In the three centuries which had elapsed between Julius Cæsar and Constantine there had been sixty-two emperors, so that their average reigns had scarcely exceeded five years. Of these sixty- two, no less than forty-seven had died violent deaths. Forty-two had been murdered, three had committed suicide, one had perished in a rebellion, two had abdicated, one had been drowned, one had mysteriously disappeared. Eleven only of the entire number had died in the ordinary course of nature. Nor had the state of things been much better in the eighty-seven years which had elapsed since the death of the first Christian emperor. Their superhuman exaltation continued to be nothing but a dizzy precipice. A glance at their fates reveals a perfect Iliad of disasters. Constantine, indeed, had died in his bed, but not until he had imbrued his hands in the blood of his eldest son, Crispus. Of Constantine's three sons, Constantius inaugurated his reign by a massacre of the seed-royal; Constantine II. perished in attempting to invade the realm of his brother Constans; Constans was murdered by his own soldiers; Gallus was beheaded by Constantius; Constantius died while hurrying to suppress the revolt of Julian; Julian, at thirty-seven, fell, perhaps by the arrow of one of his own soldiers; Jovian, at thirtytwo, was suffocated by the fumes of a brasier in a half-finished house; Valentinian I. died in a burst of fury at an imaginary insult; his brother Valens was burnt to death in the terrific rout at Adrianople; both his sons were murdered—Gratian at twenty-four, Valentinian II. at twenty. Of his successors, two only in the entire century had died by natural and untroubled deaths; and of their widows and families, not a few perished by poison, despair, or broken hearts. As the prophet Hoshea says in describing a similar epoch, 'blood touched blood' on the crimson footsteps of the throne.

Such had been 'the sad stories of the deaths of kings'; yet the awful sacro-sanctitude of the imperial person was ideally unimpaired, and the spirit of the old Lex Majestatis still haunted the minds of men. Was not the emperor the lord of the universe?

What would have happened next no one can tell. Perhaps the mere emblems of imperial power might have been sufficient to restore the people to their senses, and to convince them of the futility of a riot for which it was as certain as destiny itself that they would be called to give a heavy account. But now an incident occurred which swept to the winds all remorse and all moderation; for suddenly a stone flew over the heads of the mob, and, with a sharp ring, struck the cheek of the statue of Theodosius.

A boy had flung it in mere gaiety of heart. To the boys of Antioch the riot had only been a wild and more than usually exciting holiday. They had not the smallest sense of the seriousness of that day's proceedings. Were not their fathers, and even their schoolmasters—yes, and even some of the senators, amid the throng? Surely they must know what they were about, and it was not for the boys to spoil the fun. They could shy stones if they could do nothing else; and was not that lordly bronze statue a quite irresistible cockshot?

A shout of laughter followed the ring of the bronze when the stone so effectually struck its mark; but it was drowned by savage cries of 'Down with the Spaniard! Down with the tyrant! Down with the usurer!' as the mob now swarmed on to the judgment seat, and began to strike the imperial statues with every implement which they could improvise. The effigies of the two young princes being the smallest, were naturally the first to be dashed off their pedestals, and were soon battered into shapeless masses.

'I have got the nose of His Majesty Arcadius,' boasted one man. 'And I have got a curl of his Supreme Babydom Honorius,' said another. 'I beat you both,' said a third, 'for I have got one of the Spaniard's hands entire, and shall keep it as a relic. I warrant you no crown gold shall be put in it for his favourite Goths.'

The statue of Flaccilla was the next to fall, and neither the piety, the purity, nor the unassuming good temper of the dead Empress, nor the keen recent sorrow of the Emperor for his bereavement, were sufficient to protect her image from the brutal insults of the mob. But the worst indignities were reserved for the statue of the Emperor himself. They tore off the bronze diadem, and smashed it to pieces. They beat off the arms. They drove the eyes in with the sharp end of hammers: The equestrian statue of the Count his father was treated with equal contumely. They pelted, and battered, and tore it down, amid shouts of 'Defend thyself, great cavalier!' After they had trampled and tripudiated on all five statues to their hearts' content, they tied ropes round the shattered hulks, and dragged them in triumph along the red granite flags of the main street and the white slabs of Herod's Colonnade, finally flinging them in undistinguishable fragments at the base of the statue of the tutelary genius of their city.

Encouraged by impunity, the fiercest spirits of the multitude meditated still more irreparable misdeeds. It was a common thing in Alexandria to add terror to a sedition by a fire. Why should they not try the same at Antioch?

'How shall we answer for it to the Emperor?' asked a timid voice.

'May all the gods and goddesses confound him!' shouted a Pagan rioter in the crowd named Hermas.

'Why cannot we revolt to Maximus, as Berytus has threatened to do?' called a voice.

'The burgher Aretas has counselled submission, the coward! Let us burn his house!' shouted Hermas, who was in a state of wild excitement.

The counsel was adopted. Lighted torches began to appear, as though by magic, in many hands, and some began to fling them into the windows of the public buildings, and to do their best to kindle a conflagration in which the glorious city might have been irretrievably damaged. But, happily, at this moment a cry arose of 'The archers! the archers!' and the steady march of armed men was heard approaching from the Golden Gate. The Governor had galloped full speed to the camp at Daphne, and was returning at the head of an entire company. The news spread like lightning, and the crowd slank off in every direction. Most of them did not offer the faintest show of resistance, but fled the moment they caught sight of the glittering uniforms and the bent bows. A few only of the more resolute, who had seized swords or clubs, held their ground in the Tetrapylon, half sheltered by the pillars of the intersecting colonnades and by the pedestals of the numerous statues. Headed by Hermas, they made a sudden rush on the troop, and struck a dozen men bleeding to the ground. But the indignant archers let fly a shower of arrows among them, and when the crowd saw some fifty rioters fall to the earth, pierced through and through, they raised a yell of terror, and fled with wild precipitation. In the course of half an hour not a man of them was visible anywhere. They had taken refuge in their houses and barred the doors and lattices. The archers paraded the empty streets. The riot had only lasted three hours. By noon all was over, and Antioch lay like a city of the dead.


III. — THE AGONY, AND THE CONSOLER

Is this your joyous city, whose antiquity is of ancient days?—Isaiah xxiii. 7.

It is difficult to describe the agony of terror which fell on the wretched inhabitants of the gayest city of the East when they awoke to a sense of the folly into which they had been driven. These soft Syrians had no real leaders and no settled purpose of rebellion. They had simply yielded to a childish impulse of vexation. They had rebelled against an increase of taxation which might be burdensome, but was by no means intolerable. Indeed, multitudes now pressed forward, anxious to pay the tax at once. How infinitely wiser would it have been for the people of Antioch to submit to the inevitable! In the dark hours of the night, and the dreary silence of a city reduced to torpor by paralysing fear, they cursed their insane folly, and gnawed their tongues for very anguish.

For now, what had they to expect? They had exposed themselves, a defenceless prey, to the fury of him whom they might contemptuously call 'the Spaniard,' but who was a just and lenient emperor, to whom the whole of the East and the West owed the deepest debt of gratitude. Theodosius was the sole barrier between them and the flood of barbarians which was already beating with the first restless waves of an overwhelming tide against the confines of the Empire. Nay, not only against its confines; for the mingled pusillanimity and infatuation of Valens had admitted a multitude of Goths across the Danube, and the result of the infamous manner in which they had been starved and oppressed was that massacre of Adrianople, which was a more overwhelming catastrophe to the Empire than the old disaster of Cannæ. The Emperor might be but a mortal, and the purple was no protection against the dagger-thrust; but the power of the Empire, which for the time being he represented, was invincible, and what was to prevent him from obliterating Antioch from the face of the earth, and sowing with salt the furrows which would be driven over her mounds of ruin?

There was something awful in the contrast between the city in its normal condition and under the black cloud of depression which now settled on her inhabitants. Usually, the busy hum of life did not cease till the scent of the lilies and jasmines breathed through the starry twilight. Through the colonnades bright with innumerable lamps the lighthearted crowd of many nationalities, and in bright costumes, used to roam about, far on into the night, laughing, chatting, love-making, buying, selling, and feasting their eyes on the splendour of the bazaars. But now the streets were deserted, and, if any were seen abroad, they hurried along with timid and stealthy tread, like ghosts, casting furtive glances to the right or left. And if in some byway one or two chanced to meet, they only stopped for a moment to ask if there were any news, or to speculate on the nature of the punishment which awaited the city, and might bring on many an individual some frightful death at the hands of the executioner. Even these hurried communications were rare; for many were implicated in the common guilt, and no one knew how to trust a neighbour, who might turn out to be an informer. Wild stories of portent were passed from lip to lip. Men had seen a spectral woman, tall and horrible, passing through all the streets with a whip, which she cracked in the air with terrific noise. Surely they must have been the victims of a demoniacal possession?

And on the third day after the riot the spell of terror began to be broken by the anguish of retribution. The Count of the East, knowing that he would be held responsible for the deadly insult which had been inflicted on the Emperor, determined to show his indignation by ruthless vengeance. Men told each other in terrified whispers that either there had been spies of the Government among the rioters, or that some were turning informers to save their own lives. Decurions of archers, each with his little band of ten, were not only patrolling the streets, but were seen to stop every now and then at different houses, and to lead away with them some prisoner in chains. Even boys were arrested and dragged to the Justice Hall, and the street would be startled by the wild shriek of a mother who saw her bright lad led away to a trial which was nearly certain to end in death. Next day the trials began. No advocates appeared. The evidence was quickly taken down; the sentences were summary and frightful. The commonest doom was decapitation, but some, and even boys among them, were sentenced to still more appalling forms of death. The very first to be condemned was Hermas, who had been one of the most passionate and determined leaders of the entire riot. After a trial of less than five minutes he was sentenced to be flung to tigers in the amphitheatre.

Except the Count and his assessors, scarcely anyone dared to be even a listener in the vast Prætorium, where the battered fragments of statues and the signs of violent damage bore silent but eloquent testimony to the ferocity of the insurgents. Only outside the door stood groups of women, like spectres, clad in the garments of woe. Their cheeks hollow and bathed in tears, and their long, dishevelled tresses defiled with dust, might have melted the iciest heart.

The agony of two women was long remembered. Their sons were boys of fourteen, and some abject sycophant had sworn that he saw them pelting the sacred statues with showers of stones. They, on the other hand, swore that they were going to the class of their teacher when the rush of the crowd swept them away before it, and that they simply stood in the hall watching the scene, and had not flung a single stone at the statues; though, being Christians, they had for fun tried to hit the Gorgon head on a statue of Athene in a recess behind the judge's chair. But the Governor had not recovered from the wrath he felt at having been driven to escape out of the back door of his own palace, and he condemned both boys to death.

One of them was led out first, and his mother cried eagerly to the archer who held his fettered hands: 'He is innocent; has he been set free?'

'He will be, soon enough,' said the archer brutally; for the men had been rendered callous by the fate of some of their comrades who during the riot had been beaten or stoned to 18 death by the mob.

'How is he to die?' she faintly asked.

'By wild beasts in the amphitheatre,' said the archer. 'There will be a fine sight for some of you, and it will teach you a lesson.'

With a shriek the mother sprang forward and flung her arms round the boy's neck; but she was repulsed by the archers, and during the little struggle which ensued the second boy was led out.

'Is he to die, too?' asked his mother, with a face pale as ashes.

'Yes.'

'By the lions?'

'No, he is to be burnt in the amphitheatre. Antioch will not be in such a hurry to revolt again,' said the archer.

But the poor woman did not hear the taunt. The shock of horror had killed her. She had fallen dead into the arms of her friends.

Those frightful sentences were carried out, and many more. Even the innocent were burnt with torches and beaten with leaded whips to make them give evidence. Few witnessed the horrid scenes except the executioner. The chill had struck so deep into the hearts of the Antiochenes that they were too dejected to haunt the Circus or the Amphitheatre, which ordinarily were their chief resorts. Yet, if they looked out from their houses by night they saw the gruesome spectacle of prisoners, often among the wealthy and noble, led away by torchlight between two lines of soldiers, loaded with chains, and scarcely able to drag themselves along from the effects of torture. They were sometimes followed by wives or daughters, who wrung their hands in speechless agony. All who were able fled from the city. The brigands who infested the neighbourhood took advantage of this, and the Orontes daily swept along its waters the corpses of men who had fled from uncertain dangers to certain death.

Six days after the riot it was announced that John, the great Christian preacher, who in later years was to be known by posterity as St. Chrysostom [2], or the Golden-mouthed, intended to address the people in the Church of St. Babylas; and knowing that they would be safe from immediate molestation in that sanctuary, and longing for courage and consolation in the sick agony of their fear, the people thronged there in thousands.

2. We find the name 'Chrysostom,' or 'Golden-mouth,' first given him by St. Isidore of Hispala before A.D. 636; but Theodosius II. is said to have applied the term to him before the middle of the fifth century.

It was a church built in the shape of an octagon and roofed with wood from the grove of Daphne. The audience stood, and the building was crowded to the doors. Many were unable to enter, and there was not a vacant square foot in the church, except within the rails of the presbytery. After a brief and mournful Litany, John came forward, and a deep hush fell over the congregation.

He was short of stature, and therefore did not address them from the pulpit, but from the ambo; yet the impression left by his appearance was one of great dignity. Let us look at him, as he pauses for a moment and glances round on the upturned faces of the multitude, whose hearts he was about to bend and sway as the breeze bends and sways the river reeds, or makes the yellow corn ripple before its breath into waves of light and shadow.

He was at this time about forty years old, and his voice was yet fresh, for he had only been ordained presbyter the year before. For six years he had been deacon; but the duties of a deacon were not to preach, but to attend to the affairs of the Church, and look after the poor. On the other hand, he was already well known as a man of distinction by his writings, and as a man of sanctity by his ascetic life.

He began in a low and unimpassioned tone, but from the first his voice, clear and resonant, and reaching to the farthest corner of the building, arrested eager attention. It was an eminently sympathetic voice, of which the accents were thrilled through and through with the emotions of the speaker. He never shrank from a quaint phrase or a humorous illustration if it came into his mind; nor were smiles, and even laughter, deemed derogatory in those days to the sacredness of the House of God, provided only that they were not caused by vulgar buffoonery or triviality. But if he could, as often as he chose, make the faces of a thousand listeners flash with smiles, he could within a few moments make them white again with tears. At one moment his sarcastic banter would make them blush for their own hypocrisy; now some winged arrow of conviction would pierce their hearts, and now he would break into plain thunderings and lightnings, and the boldest would cower before his fulminant denunciations. Two things instantly struck those who heard him: one was the utter fearlessness of the man, the other his absolute sincerity.

As to his courage, it was impossible to hear him long without the conviction that 'he feared man so little because he feared God so much.' It was evident that here was no silken Pharisee absorbed in ceremonial functions, no self-seeking opportunist euphuistically 'steering through the channel of no-meaning between the Scylla and Charybdis of Yes and No.' If he thought it right and needful to say a thing, no ulterior consideration would ever prevent him from saying it. He left intrigue, and soft manipulations of the truth, and sounding utterances which said nothing, to multitudes of sleek arid popularitymongering priests, who were always ready to answer men according to their idols. The one thing—the only thing which John cared for—was truth. The one thing which he despised was compromise; the one thing which he dreaded was to go before the God of the Amen, the God of eternal and essential verities, with the unclean sacrifice of a lie in his right hand; the one thing which he desired was to see the things that are, and to see them as they are. A firm believer in the great truths of Christianity, to which he had been converted either from heathendom or from indifferentism, he yet held that theology was valueless unless it were made the stepping-stone to godly living. That which most overwhelmed him with its inherent majesty was the grandeur of the moral law, and he regarded dogmas and observances as altogether lighter than vanity itself, unless they produced the fruits of a holy life.

The sense of his sincerity was deepened in the minds of his hearers by his entire disdain for the allurements of the world. He did not shrink from the world's power, for he was indifferent to its smile. What could the world give him? Did not every man in Antioch know that he was of noble birth on both sides, and that when he had begun a public career he had dazzled all by his wit and eloquence to such an extent that Libanius said he would have named him his successor if the Christians had not stolen him? But though he then had the world at his feet, he had yielded to the impulse of a soul to which earth had become as nothing because God had become all in all, and had adopted the life of a recluse. The influence of his mother, Anthusa, who, though left a widow at an early age, had devoted the whole remainder of her life to his service, had barely prevented him from at once becoming a hermit. She had taken him by the hand, and led him into the room in which he first saw the light, and by her tears and entreaties had persuaded him to live at home with her, though he practised at home all the austerities of the severest anchorite. His modesty, and his tremendous sense of the dignity of the priesthood, led him to avoid the perilous honours of the episcopate when they were thrust upon him. This showed his superiority to the temptations of earthly honour; and when Anthusa, unwilling any longer to resist the bent of his desires, had withdrawn her opposition, he had gone to the mountains, and there, with no other home than a cave, had devoted himself to such severe studies and such stern discipline as to have subdued and annihilated the desires of the flesh. He had, indeed, brought on such perilous indisposition that he was compelled to return to the city, lest he should become guilty of throwing his life away. The saintly Bishop Meletius—'the honey-named and honey- natured,' as his friend Gregory of Nazianzus called him, who was so beloved that his portrait was still in every house—had ordained him a reader in 381; and a year before the riot he had been admitted to the priesthood by Bishop Flavian, who had succeeded Meletius in the disputed patriarchate.

Such was the man who now stood up in the ambo to reprove, to exhort, and to console the miserable people. It was useless to speak to them on other subjects till he had calmed the tumult of their minds; but from the first sentence he uttered he had cast his spell upon them, and as his voice now swelled into hurricane, and now sank to a whisper, no other sound was audible, except an occasional storm of sobs from the listening multitude. It was customary to applaud in the churches, but on this and subsequent occasions the attention of the audience was riveted, and they would not run the chance of missing a word. In his later homilies during this crisis there were a few timid outbursts of acclamation; but they were instantly discountenanced by the preacher. They paid him that spellbound attention which speaks a thousandfold more for the power of the orator than the superficial signs of outward popularity.

'What shall I speak?' he said. 'It is a time for tears, not for talk; for wailings, not for words; for supplications, not for harangues, such is the greatness of the daring crimes which have been committed, so incurable the sore, so deep the wound. It is too great for earthly medicament; it needs assistance from above. We should sit on our dunghill like Job, and other cities should come to us to lament our calamity. Then the devil danced over all the substance of the saint, now he has rioted over our whole community. I have waited, but I must speak at last. How terrible is our case! Even were the Emperor not to punish us, how should we bear the infamy of our misdeeds? I can scarcely speak for grief. Once nothing was more blessed than our city; now nothing is less delightsome. Once we filled the Forum as bees buzz round their honeycombs; now it is desolate. As the leaves droop and drop in an unwatered garden, so it is with us. We must say, as the prophet said of Jerusalem, "Our city has become like a terebinth which has shed its leaves, and as a garden that has no water." Our citizens are fleeing from the land they loved as from a home wrapped in conflagration.

Yet it is not for these things that I blush and am confounded. Last year our houses were shaken with earthquake; now it is the very souls of their inhabitants which shake and tremble. Must we not cry, " Send for the wailing women, and let them come"? Ay, weep, and let your eyelids stream with tears. We have wronged him who has no equal among men; we can only fly for protection to the King of Heaven. Unless we gain His mercy there is no consolation left for our recent misdoing.

'Oh, let us awake, then, to a sense of our sins. Repress and punish the oaths and blasphemies, which are so common among you. You would not listen to my exhortations before; act upon them now. Nay, applaud me not. I care not for such praise. The only glory I desire is to see you following my counsels. I would rather see the eyes of one among you wet with the tears of penitence than that this church should reverberate with the hollow echoes of fugitive popularity.'

And then, with perfect faithfulness and fearlessness, he seized his opportunity, and urged upon them the duty of making this an occasion for signal penitence. He warned them of the vanity and uncertainty of riches, and urged them to the duty of almsgiving. He set before them that their great calamity might be turned into a precious boon of Heaven if it wrought in them a deeper sincerity and holier aims. He pointed them to God as their hope and strength, a very present help in trouble; and so he ended his first great discourse, 'On the Statues,' with wishing to them all the blessing of the Eternal Peace.

With bowed heads and faces bathed in tears the people left the great basilica, too much moved to join in the frivolous discussion of this and that phrase in the sermon, or this and that peculiarity of the orator, which formed the staple of their Sunday chatter at other times. They still whispered to each other of their fears, though the manly courage of the orator had tinged their dark prospects with a gleam of hope. But there was hardly one among them who did not rejoice that when the hearts of all other citizens had become as water there was at least one man whose high dauntlessness could look calamity—yes, and even death—boldly in the face, and who, fearing to do wrong, feared nothing else.


IV. — TWO VISITORS BY NIGHT

Accipiam hospitio, si nox advenis.
—Plaut. Rudent, ii. 4.

John would have been more than mortal if he had not felt some of the gratification which the orator derives from the sense of his own power. Nor could he be otherwise than conscious that among the hungers, fevers, appetites, and malignities around him he was wielding the power of a true man. But he resisted all tendency to pride; and mere vanity could have no place in a soul so noble as his.

He lived in Singon Street, in which, as he delighted to narrate, Paul and Barnabas had also lived when they first began to preach to the Gentiles, and had won so many converts that the brethren were first called 'Christians' at Antioch. Those who had fixed on that hybrid nickname, half Greek and half Latin in form, and expressive of a Jewish conception, had little dreamed that a title which was then synonymous with stupid fanatic and semi-malefactor was to become the most glorious in the world.

As the great preacher walked home in the gathering dusk his eyes sought the ground, his lips moved in silent prayer. For though he had spoken in terms of lofty encouragement, he had not concealed from his hearers the awfulness of the crisis, and his hope was placed far less in man than in the living God.

He was somewhat weary after his effort, and looked forward to one of those evenings of quiet study which he dearly loved. His mother, Anthusa, met him on the threshold, and strained him to her heart. She had prepared for him one of those frugal meals of fruit and vegetables which alone he would take, and she had placed the lamp on the table of his little room. The house was furnished with extreme simplicity, but the taste and the beauty of many of the objects in the court and hall and tablinum showed that it had belonged to a person of distinction. For John's father, Secundus, was an officer who had risen to the high rank of an illustris, and had bequeathed an ample provision to his widow. If the undisputed control of this patrimony had been in the hands of Chrysostom, very little would have been left undevoted to works of beneficence. He had reduced his own wants to the simplest necessities of life.

He had scarcely ended his slight supper when he was surprised by a low summons at the door. Phlegon, the slave, who opened it—a slave in name only, but treated like a brother beloved—hesitated to interrupt his master's studies, and told the stately stranger that unless it was a case of sickness or spiritual urgency John did not see visitors at so late an hour.

'He will see me,' was the answer. 'Tell him that Libanius desires an interview.'

John arose immediately on hearing the name, and hastened to salute his former teacher. 'What brings the world-famous orator and worshipper of the gods to the house of the Christian presbyter?' he asked.

'I come, John,' he said, 'to talk to you about the truly deplorable state of the city. Can nothing be done for this miserable people?'

'If anyone can do anything for them it should be Libanius,' answered Chrysostom. 'You are not like us poor Christians. You are known to all the noble and the mighty. The Count of the East is your personal friend. Further, men know that you sympathise with the miserable, for they have read the admirable letter, which does you so much credit, on behalf of a poor man oppressed by a cruel governor. Why not go to Constantinople, and plead the cause of Antioch before the Emperor?'

'I?' answered Libanius. 'It is eight hundred miles off. The mountains of Taurus lie deep in snow. My life has not suited me for such sacrifices. And the effort would be useless. Theodosius is a rough Spanish soldier with no literary culture. My polished periods would be wasted on him. Besides, he is a Christian, and detests us who do not believe in the Nazarene.'

'It is idolatry and Pagan sins that have brought down his retribution on our city,' said Chrysostom.

Libanius waved his hand with a gesture of deprecation. 'We will not enter into that discussion now,' he said. 'If Zeus hurled his lightnings every time men sinned, he would soon be weaponless. But have you nothing to suggest?'

'I have,' said Chrysostom. 'There are a hundred thousand Pagans in Antioch, and none of them will help. Even their advocates will not plead for the accused in these cruel days. There are thousands of Jews in Antioch, but neither they nor their Archon will lift a finger; for though Herod beautified the city, they still see the great Cherubim of their Temple where the hated Titus fixed them over our city gate. But Flavian, our bishop, will plead for us all. He is old. The journey is long and painful. The weather is wintry. His sister is dying, and Lent, with all its extra burdens, is close at hand. But the brave old Bishop will face every toil and every peril, and will leave his dying sister, and has yielded to the entreaty which I and others have urged upon him. He has already started. I hope much from his intercession.'

'I rejoice to hear it,' said Libanius. 'It will immensely promote the cause of you Christians. And, though I believe not in your creed, this I will say for you, that you have hearts of pity. Julian himself, my great and friendly Emperor, the last defender of the gods, reproached us with our indifference to the sufferings of our fellow-men. And, heavens! what women you Christians have! What beautiful Pagan widow of twenty would have remained a widow all her days, as your mother, Anthusa, has done, to serve her only son? You can never persuade me to accept your worship of the Crucified, but when I see your good works I feel within a little of being a Christian.'

'So King Agrippa said to our Paul long ago,' answered Chrysostom; 'and Paul, whose name is the true glory of Antioch—not your grove of Daphne, nor your crowned Charonium—Paul answered, uplifting his fettered hands, "Would to God that not thou only, but all these who hear me, were altogether such as I am, except these bonds." Yours, Libanius, is, as our Tertullian said, "The testimony of a mind naturally Christian."'

Libanius shook his hand. 'It is your compassion which I admire,' he said, 'not your creed; your good deeds, not your Christianity.'

'Our good deeds are our Christianity,' answered Chrysostom; 'that is, they are its test, its issue. They are the golden fruits which grow on the Tree of Life. Love is the fulfilling of our law, and we hold that he who doeth righteousness is born of God.'

'Your words sound to me like the echo of far-off dreams,' said the sophist; 'but I wish I could share your good hopes of the clemency of Theodosius. I know him. He is frightfully choleric. You remember how philosophical your great Constantine was when the mob inflicted that atrocious insult at Edessa? They took down his brazen statue, and actually whipped it, exactly as boys are whipped in schools, to show that he was more fit to be a schoolboy than an emperor! Yet he showed no rage, sought no revenge, and did not punish the city at all. But Theodosius is not like that. He might forgive the insult to himself, for he is not without magnanimity; but he will not forgive the insults to his beloved Flaccilla, to his two boys, to his honoured father. Already all the rich are flying from this doomed city, and carrying their treasures with them. I feel half inclined to follow them. Many a city would welcome me.'

'Despise such selfishness,' said Chrysostom; 'choose the nobler part. Stay here, and throw the shield of your eloquence and your influence over the trembling populace.'

Libanius mused for a few moments with bowed head. 'I will,' he said; 'I will. After all, what matters it? Man, as Pindar sang, is but the dream of a shadow. Farewell, John. You are a braver man than I, my old pupil; but we will work together.'

As Libanius stepped into the deserted street, and muffled his face in his flowing robe, he muttered to himself: 'A noble fellow is John, in spite of his creed! His heart is better than his head. Yet he is a deeper thinker and a greater orator than I. It is strange!'

And Chrysostom thought to himself: 'He is a man of good impulses, but they are poisoned by timidity and self-interest. The god of this world has blinded his heart.'

He composed himself once more to his studies, but he was not destined to be undisturbed that evening. He had not read for many moments when he again heard at the outer door a low but peculiarly wild and agitated knocking.

He lifted his head to listen, and when Phlegon opened the door he heard a boy's voice crying, 'I must see John the Presbyter! I must see John the Presbyter!'

'Who are you?' asked the old porter, with a roughness unusual to him. 'It is not for every street-boy of Antioch to come rushing here at all hours, disturbing the studies of the Presbyter.'

'Oh, let me see him! let me see him!' pleaded the boy.

'It is dark, and late, and most of the household have gone to bed. You must come tomorrow.'

'Oh! I must, I must see him!' said the boy; and brushing past the astonished slave, he sprang to the partly opened door of Chrysostom's study, through which there was a gleam of lamplight. Pushing the curtain aside, he stood dazed for a moment by the sudden glow after the darkness of the street, and, shading his eyes, caught sight of the Presbyter seated with a manuscript before him. Chrysostom saw at once from his style of dress that he was a young boy, probably the son of one of the wealthier traders of Antioch, while the golden bulla which hung down over his tunic showed that his father was a Pagan. He saw, too, that he did not belong to the lower class of the Antiochene gamins, the noisy and mischievous hangers-on of the dregs of the Forum. His neat dress, the bright eyes, the ingenuous features on which there was none of the furtive look of vice, the dark curls which it was evident had known a mother's tendance, won for him a kindly feeling before he spoke.

But Chrysostom had barely time to glance at him when the boy flung himself down on the floor, and, grasping the hem of the Presbyter's toga, kissed it, and began to implore his pity and protection.

'What is it?' said John kindly. 'You are a Pagan. Why do you not go to one of your own temples?'

The boy was sobbing so wildly that it was some time before he could find voice to speak; but Chrysostom laid a kind hand upon his head, and bade him take courage, for he would help him in any way he could.

'Oh, sir!' he cried, 'it is true that I am not a Christian. My father used to sell the little silver shrines of Apollo which the visitors to Antioch buy; but oh, sir! I have no father now. His name was Hermas, and he was one of the leaders in the riot. They flung him yesterday to the beasts in the amphitheatre—'

Again he stopped, and sobbed as if his heart would break.

—'He hated the Christian emperor, who has ruined his trade. And I know that my mother will die of fear and anguish, for the archers are on my track too.'

'On yours, my poor lad? Why, what can you have done?'

The boy turned pale as death, and glanced round the room with terror.

'There is no one to hear you,' said John; 'speak to me without fear.'

'Oh, sir!' said the boy, 'you will not betray me?'

Chrysostom could scarcely forbear a smile. 'Betray you?' he said. 'Ah! I see you have never lived among Christians. No, you are quite safe, my son; and we Christians are taught to do good unto all men.'

'Sir,' said the boy in a low voice, and trembling in every limb, 'it was I who threw that first stone which hit the statue of the Emperor in the Prætorium.'

Chrysostom looked very grave. What frightful consequences had issued from that thoughtless act! The boy caught the expression of the Presbyter's face, and cried, 'Oh, father, forgive me! I meant nothing. I was not thinking of the Emperor, or of the taxes. I was only amused and excited by the doings of the crowd.'

'Did anyone see you?'

'Yes, the two boys who were with me saw me. And, oh, sir!——' Here he broke into such a paroxysm of weeping that he could not proceed. Chrysostom suffered his anguish 30 to find its natural relief, and then asked:

'Have they informed against you?'

'No, sir,' sobbed the boy. 'Alas! alas! they are dead. When I had thrown the stone they began to throw stones, too, at the other pictures and statues, but not at the Emperor's. And some spy saw them, and the archers dragged them from their homes, and yesterday——'

Again it was long before he could speak.

'Yesterday,' he said, after a deep shudder, 'they cast Achillas to the lions, and—oh, horrible! horrible!—they burned Eros, who was my dearest friend, in the amphitheatre. I crept there. I hid myself behind a statue of the Quoit-thrower. The shriek of Eros when the flames reached him will ring in my ears until I die. For the first time in my life I fainted away, and——'

'But the two boys did not tell of you?'

'No; they loved me too dearly, as I loved them. But I had been seen with them, and as my father was a ringleader in the riot—— Alas! alas!—oh, that shriek! those flames!'

The boy hid his pale face in Chrysostom's robe, and gave way to unrestrained grief, during which John could only stroke his dark curls in pity.

'But,' he asked, 'why have you come here? What can I do for you, my son?'

'Oh! hide me, father. Hide me for the sake of the immortal gods. Oh! I forgot—yet hide me from the avengers, for the love of Heaven. Let me not be flung to the lions or burnt as Eros was!'

'Hide you?' said John; 'how can I hide you in this small house, which many visit? Who bade you come here?'

'My mother, sir,' he said. 'She is ill—I fear she is dying; but friends will tend her, and she bade me fly in the darkness to your house, for she said the Christians are kinder and braver than our people. But, sir, if you cannot hide me I will return. The archers are certain to come for me to-morrow. I can but die. But oh, my mother! my mother!'

He rose from the floor and prepared to go out; but Chrysostom bade him stay while he considered what to do, and at the same moment Anthusa entered.

'John,' she said, 'who is this boy? I heard sobs and cries, and I have come to see if I can be of any use.'

The boy hid his face with his hands, through which the tears streamed, while Chrysostom briefly told her the story.

'And you would have suffered him to go, John?' she asked in surprise. 'That would have been utterly unlike you. My boy, we will save you.'

He seized her hand with transport, and kneeled and kissed it.

'Nay, mother,' said Chrysostom, 'I never dreamed of leaving him unhelped. I was only perplexed what to do.'

'Let my woman's wit help you,' said Anthusa with a smile. 'He shall sleep here to-night; early in the dawn a few touches—even a veil over his eyes and a pallium—will suffice to disguise him as though he were one of my girls, and I will go with him up the ravine to the cavern of the hermit Macedonius. Christian women and others sometimes go to consult him, so that even if we are seen on that lonely track it will excite no surprise; but at early dawn, and in the present deserted state of the streets, it is unlikely that we shall meet a single human being.'

'Macedonius the barley-eater!' said Chrysostom with a smile. 'Imagine this bright Pagan lad, accustomed to the streets of Antioch, and the Circus, and the Amphitheatre, and the games, and all the gladness of life in youth, shut up in the damp, dark cavern with the old man who eats nothing but barley, who spends his life in scourgings and fastings and vigils! Why, mother, before a week was over he would almost wish to come back and face the archers. Remember, mother, I have tried the life, and know what it is.'

'Macedonius is very wise, as well as very good,' answered the lady. 'I did not mean to leave the lad—— What is your name, my boy?'

'Philip, lady; but they named me after the great Macedonian, not after your apostle.'

'Well, I did not mean to leave you with Macedonius in the cave of Mount Silpius, Philip, but only to ask his advice about you.'

'I have heard of him, lady, and would fain see him. The horrors of these few days, and the death of my friends, have entered deep into my heart. In my agony I found no Pagan 32

who would help me. I would know more of the religion which makes men brave and kind.'

'God bless you, my poor Philip,' said Chrysostom. 'I leave you in my mother's hands. With her you will be more than safe.'

Anthusa with her own hands prepared a little cubicle for Philip that night. Not one of the slaves was admitted into the secret, except her nurse Damaris and old Phlegon. The lad slept the deep sleep of sorrow and weariness, and by dawn Anthusa, accompanied by her two trusted servants, was on her way with him to the cave of Macedonius.

They met no one; but near the track which climbed to the cave one of the vilest beggars of Antioch, half-beggar, half-brigand, saw them, and recognised Philip, whom he had often noticed in the streets as one of the brightest boys in Antioch, as he passed down Herod's Colonnade on his way to school. The boy, from habit, had put on his golden bulla—an ornament unusual in his rank of life, but his father had seen better days—and the mendicant, seeing it gleam through the front of the pallium, had looked at him more attentively, and had penetrated his too slight disguise.


V. — THE HERMIT AND THE BOY

And heard an answer, Wake,
Thou deedless dreamer, lazying out a life
Of self-suppression, not of selfless love!

—Tennyson, St. Telemachus.

Macedonius the hermit, the barley-eater, was seated at the entrance of his cavern, and enjoying—so far as he thought it not sinful to enjoy—the cool air of the dawn and the glorious pageant of sunrise. He allowed himself but little sleep at any time, and long before the dawn he had been watching the stars, which hung like the cressets of angels in the purple night, and shed on the world their almost spiritual lustre. The unintelligible mystery of the universe, which often lay so heavily on his soul, seemed to be lightened as he felt himself alone with God, amid the strength of the hills, under those vast and silent constellations. Then, across the dark and silent valley he saw the first beam of morning smite into vivid crimson the topmost summit of the range of Taurus, and the mountainsides began to shine as though the angels were pouring river after river of pure gold over their snowy cliffs. Then the Orontes, far beneath his feet, began to gleam out here and there in streaks of silver under the rich foliage of its banks, and he saw the grove of Daphne, with its lightning-scathed shrine of the dethroned sun god, and in the far distance Mount Casius flung its huge dark shadow over the glimmering sea.

Accustomed to long hours of unbroken solitude, he was surprised to see three figures approaching him so early up the steep mountain track. It was evident that they were seeking his cavern home, for the rocky and scarcely distinguishable path led to no other spot, and had, in fact, been mainly worn by his own feet as he descended the cliff to fill his maple dish with water, or to find his winter fuel and supply his daily needs. As the figures approached him he recognised Anthusa, whom he had sometimes seen after she had waived her opposition to her son's wish to lead the solitary life, and who visited John once or twice in the year when he, too, lived with the hermit Syrus in a mountain cave.

She knelt for his priestly blessing, for Flavian had constrained him to accept the priesthood. He addressed her in few words. To be talking to a woman was to the hermit, as to the Pharisees of old, a perilous condescension, and he involuntarily drew back his robe of skin as she bowed before him. Anthusa knew the prejudices of his Order, though her son did not share them, and she briefly told him that she had come to confide to his protection a boy from Antioch who was in danger of his life.

The hermit was startled by her request. He shrank from the invasion of his solitude. His one luxury was to feel himself far away from the world, and alone with God. How could he provide for a boy from the gay, guilty city whose temples and palaces gleamed far below? He felt inclined to refuse the responsibility, and Anthusa read his hesitation in his eyes.

'Is the boy a Pagan?' he asked.

'He is.'

'How can I be responsible for one of those servants of the demons?'

'If God can bear with them, and love them,' she said, 'cannot Macedonius? Had not Christ compassion on the ignorant and on those that are out of the way?'

But Macedonius was still troubled. 'How can he live on barley, as I do,' he asked, 'and endure life in this oppressive silence, where no sound is heard but the roar of the mountain cataracts, or the fall of crags which the earthquake has set loose?'

'Father,' she said, rising from her knees, 'I know that you dare not refuse the charge. It is God who says to thee, "Take this boy; and save him for Me." He will tell you all. Farewell, or I shall be missed at home. Philip, may God be with thee! We shall meet again.'

She turned to go, and Damaris followed her. She had already taken off from Philip the veil and pallium, and the boy stood before the solitary in his everyday dress. He modestly 35 awaited what the old man would say, but fixed his frank and fearless eyes on the gaunt face and emaciated form.

Macedonius was but fifty-seven years old; but age is not told by years only. His eyes had grown dim with many tears, his cheeks were sunken, his hair was thin and grey. He sat down on a ledge of rock and leaned his trembling hands on a staff, for at that moment he was faint with continued abstinence. The long years seemed to separate him from this lad like wastes of the 'salt, unplumbed, estranging sea.' Yet as he looked at him he recalled his own happy, unforgotten youth. He, too, had once been as bright, as active, as well-knit as the boy who stood before him. Youth, which 'dances like a bubble, nimble and gay, and shines like a dove's neck or the colours of the rainbow,' had once been his. He, too, had heard the siren songs singing enchantment to him across the smiling summer waves. To him, too, Circe, the daughter of the sun, had offered her charmed cup. He had plunged into the follies and dissipations and delirious dreams of youth, and known the fatal glamour of Satan's bewitchment. Then God had broken in succession all his idols. He had gambled away his patrimony; he had been abandoned by his love, and by his friends; he had been smitten with terrible illness. And as he sat like the Prodigal, friendless, forsaken, penniless, in rags, and amid the swine, a star had looked through the midnight. For Meletius, the good bishop, had visited him in his illness, and through his gentle, gracious ministrations the snare of the fowler had been broken and he had been delivered.

But when he rose from the bed of sickness, utterly changed in heart, he felt driven to fly from the world. Even the Church could not satisfy him, for it was tainted with worldliness and rent with partisanship. As a youth he had been accustomed to the trimming attitude of mind which made the old Bishop Leontius mumble the Gloria in such a way that no party could claim him for its own shibboleth; and he had heard the old man say, as he touched his white hairs, 'When this snow melts there will be plenty of mud.' Plenty of mud there was! Not even the blameless life, 'the sweet, calm look, the radiant smile, the kind hand seconding the kind voice'[3] of the much-loved Meletius, could exorcise the intruding world from the schism-troubled Church. Macedonius not only saw the sad spectacle of at least three Christian bishops of Antioch—an Arian and two orthodox bishops—but he saw the heated votaries of two such good men as Paulinus and Meletius railing at each other in the assemblies, and even assaulting each other in the streets.

[3] Gregory of Nyssa.

In vain had Meletius said to his rival, 'We hold the same doctrines; let us be friends. If the episcopal chair be a source of rivalry between us, let us place the Holy Gospel upon it, the symbol of Christ Himself, and let us sit on either side of it till one of us dies, and then the other shall become sole bishop.' But ecclesiasticism, theological pettiness, sacerdotal arrogance, and the fatal force and fascination of opinionated orthodoxy, were too strong for Divine charity; and the thoughts of Macedonius were not of these things. He cared but little for nice dogmatic definitions and curiously articulated formulæ; what he longed to do was to save his soul and keep himself unspotted from the world. He loathed the petty baseness of partisan wranglings, with their accompaniment of subterranean intrigues and bitter personalities. As though amid the spiteful flash of petty runnels turbid with shallow mud, he heard the far-off voices of the great sea of eternity. He determined to retire from the world. The ideal of contemplative cœnobitic communities living apart from the world under strictest discipline had dazzled the age in which he lived. False and unscriptural as the ideal was, entirely alien as it was from the example of Christ and His Apostles, yet in these seething and troubled times the life of 'the sainted eremite' exercised a maddening fascination over countless men of high faculties, until this 'unsocial passion' leavened a great part of the Christian community, filling many a household with anxious forebodings and needless suffering. When hermits were looked upon as representing the perfection of Divine philosophy, it was hardly strange that the ambition to reach these imagined altitudes haunted many a youthful mind.

So Macedonius had joined a little community of monks near Antioch, of which the famous Diodorus of Tarsus was the abbot. He sought always the most menial offices. But he soon found that the world could intrude even into a monastery. He could not escape from disputes about the episcopal claims of Meletius and Paulinus, and about the nice questions respecting the hypostatic union. Macedonius found no comfort in such matters. What he was aiming at in the great warfare which has no discharge was to subdue the flesh to the spirit, to secure a tranquil empire over himself. He left the cœnobium, and began to live as a hermit on the hills.

But any empire over himself which he had gained was infinitely far from tranquil. As he had found that the monastic life did not involve any exception from trials, but only a substitution of meaner and smaller ones for those which had of old assailed him, so it was his bitter experience that by flying to the mountain cave he had not escaped either from the devil or the flesh. He carried himself with him as all men do, and it was contrary to the law of life that he should find any condition which temptation left unassailed.

The conquest was granted to his sincerity, but the same reward would have been given to him, with less frightful struggles and more complete blessedness, if he had lived as Christ lived, among his kind, and not done violence to the laws of Nature and the ordinances of God. How constantly had he to wrestle with the instigations of spiritual pride! How often did the secret devil of his loneliness whisper into his soul high flatteries of his spiritual supremacy, telling him that his name and fame had spread through all Syria and Asia—yes, and even to the great western and southern realms of Italy and Spain and Africa! Thus did Satan strive to puff him up with vain self- exaltation in that inner world of the soul which remains untouched by outward ordinances. How often, in spite of his austerities—nay, not only in spite of, but (had he only known it) because of them—did evil and carnal thoughts come over him like a flood! The enfeebled body was too weakened to fight against the rebellious soul. His bones, as he sank back and writhed on the rocky floor of his cave, clashed like those of a skeleton, yet all the while his imagination was still rioting, in spite of himself, amid the sinful scenes of his youth in Antioch.

As these thoughts passed through his mind, writing all his past history as on flashes of lightning, the hermit kept a long and embarrassed silence; but rousing himself at last, he said:

'Boy, the mother of John the Presbyter told me that you would explain why she has brought thee hither.'

'My name, sir,' he said, 'is Philip, and the Lady Anthusa led me here in disguise because I am in imminent peril of death for having flung a stone at the statue of the Emperor.'

'You should not have done it, Philip,' said the hermit. '"The powers that be are ordained of God."' But when he saw that Philip hung his head, he added gently; 'Tell me the whole story, lad.'

Then, often interrupted by the barley-eater's eager interrogations, Philip told him of the imperial proclamation, of the outbreak of the populace, of the wrecking of the Baths, of the bursting into the Judgment Hall, of the destruction of the statues, of the fear and silence which had afterwards fallen on the city, of his father's execution, of the cruel deaths of his young companions—of one of which he had been the horrified spectator.

Macedonius listened with an interest all the more intense because news from the world rarely reached his cave. As he heard the story he seemed himself to be passing through the whole scene, and, catching the contagion of the boy's anguish, he was carried away by a storm of pity and indignation. Philip was amazed to see how his whole form seemed to dilate and his eye to flash with its old fire as he strode up and down the cavern when the tale was ended. Then, raising his hands to heaven, he said, 'Antioch shall not be destroyed, shall not be decimated! Theodosius shall listen to God's voice through me. Useless, I fear, and evil has been my life, but its sacrifices shall not have been all in vain. They have given me a right to speak. I will gather all the hermits of the hills around me. We will go down to Antioch. We will in the name of God forbid all earthly vengeance. Yes, I will at least render this one service to my country before I die!'

He spoke more to himself than to his solitary listener, but again realising the lad's presence, and glancing up at the sun, which was now high in heaven, he said, 'Forgive me, boy; you must be hungry, and I have nothing for you but my sole food, which is barley; and I drink only the pure diamond of God which sparkles in yonder rill.'

'Hunger is the best sauce, father,' said Philip smiling.

'Yes, but I cannot bid thee share my privations. Not far away is another hermit, whose fare is not so meagre. I will go and ask him for something for thee. Canst thou kindle a fire? Canst thou bake a barley-cake in the embers? Yes? Then, by the time it is ready I will be back.'

Philip deftly kindled a fire, and kneaded the barley-meal into two cakes, and the hermit soon returned. He had brought with him some dates and dry grapes and figs, and the boy enjoyed them with a very healthy appetite, while the hermit watched him with large eyes. When the meal was over Macedonius said:

'Boy, it is impossible for thee to stay in this my wretched abode; but four miles distant is the monastery of Diodore, and at this moment the great Bishop is in his old house. There are a few young novices there of thine own age, and if he will receive thee, thou wilt there find work, and safety, and holy companionship. I will go and intercede with him.'

He took his staff and set forth over the steep mountain tracks. When he reached the monastery he was warmly welcomed by Diodore and the brethren, who promised to shelter Philip till the peril was over. His soul had been much troubled all the day; it was troubled still more by an incident of his return.


VI. — THE DEMONIAC

Opfer fällen hier
Weder Lamm noch Stier,
Aber Menschenopfer unerhört.

—Goethe.

The mountain-range of Amanus was full of fissures and ravines, and as he crossed one of the deepest and darkest of these a strange and almost naked figure, as of one of the demoniacs of Gadara, sprang out before his path.

'Away! away, Macedonius!' it cried, with wild gesticulations. 'I know thee, Crithophagus. Hast thou come to torment me? Am I not wretched enough, lost enough? Away, away!'

Macedonius at once recognised him, though in his dark hour he was but rarely seen by human eyes. It was the miserable Stagirius, before whom the pillar of life had once moved in golden fire, with its dark side undreamed of. The favourite son of a father of wealth and noble birth, everything seemed to smile upon his early years. His parents were Christians. He might have served God honourably in Church and State. But a vein of pride in his disposition, urging him to something exceptional, combined with an extraordinary veneration for the life of the desert solitaries, had led him to defy the wishes of his father, and to leave his rich home at Antioch for the grim life of the hills. A very short experience made it intolerable to him. He hated the nightly vigils, he grew utterly weary of the long studies and meditations. He felt no better, but rather, and in all senses, worse than he had done in the daily life of the city. His miserable soul was torn by struggling self-conceit and self-disgust, but false pride kept him from acknowledging what he felt to have been a fatal error. Thinking that other employment might help him, his brother-monks set him to tend a garden and an orchard; and, feeling the uselessness of his misdirected life, he would sometimes ask them in fierce petulance whether his noble hands were thus meant to load dung-carts and dig at roots. Then, perhaps, the penances and discipline would subdue him for a time to humblest self-prostration. The severity of the inward tempest was too much for an illbalanced temperament and a frame delicately nurtured. He had become liable to convulsions and fits of epilepsy, which all men mistook, and which the wretched youth himself mistook, for demoniac possession. In vain he travelled to the most esteemed saints and the most celebrated martyries. He had his lucid intervals, but he never got over the effects of his disordered body and haunted imagination. In vain Chrysostom, whose own health had been for ever shattered by the unnatural privations of his hermitage, had written to warn him against this satiety of penitence, this wantonness of despairing misery. Stagirius continued to be the frequent victim of fits of frenzy and fierce impulses to blasphemy and suicide.

At this moment Stagirius was in one of his wildest paroxysms. How he lived no one knew. He had not even the garment of skin-and-hair over a linen tunic which most of the solitaries wore. He only had a coarse cincture of goatskin round his loins. His eyes glared with the light of madness through the dirty and matted locks which streamed over his shoulders. The sun smote him by day and the moon by night, and the dews dropped on his nakedness. Like Nebuchadnezzar, he ate grass, his hair grew like birds' feathers, and his nails like wild beasts' claws, and he tore up roots for his sustenance. He looked scarcely human, and the terrified hermits sometimes heard his screams reverberated by the mountain rocks, as he fancied himself to be wrestling with troops of demons. His nights were haunted by frightful visions, and many a time he had attempted self-destruction. And this was the gay Stagirius, once the favourite of fortune, the envy of the youths of Antioch for his beauty and his wealth!

Macedonius paused irresolutely, for he was unnerved by privations, and he had a horror of the madness which he attributed to the presence of malignant devils. As Stagirius approached him with yells and threatening gestures, he drew back, made the sign of the cross, and muttered the formulæ of exorcism. They produced no effect. Stagirius seized him by the arm, and cried, 'I know thee! Away! away! lest the demon who has possession of me tear thee limb from limb!'

'Lord Jesus, save me!' cried Macedonius. At the name a convulsive spasm passed through the frame of the unhappy maniac; his face became purple, his eyes were distorted, he foamed at the mouth, and fell writhing on the stones of the ravine, where he lay as dead.

Macedonius was lost in pity and horror. He knelt by the unconscious sufferer, sprinkled water over him, and supported his head upon his breast. After a short time Stagirius opened his eyes. Macedonius gently spoke to him by his name, and pressed him to eat some of the barley-cake which he had carried with him. Then the hermit prayed for the trembling maniac, and left him sane and comforted, though terribly shaken. He offered to take Stagirius back to his own cavern, though he was loth that Philip should see so deplorable a spectacle. But Stagirius refused. 'Leave me to my misery,' he feebly moaned. 'The sun has set. Tomorrow I will go to Diodore. After a short time I will make my way to Egypt, and see the saintly Nilus. It may be that he will be able to drive out these demons that have seized the temple of my soul.'

Weeping and deeply troubled, Macedonius blessed him. It was night before he reached his own cave, inexpressibly wearied with the exertions and emotions of the day.

As he entered, the flickering embers of the wood-fire showed him that Philip had gathered himself a bed of dry leaves, and lay there in the peaceful slumbers of his youth.

Moving very gently, he took his little earthenware lamp, and, lighting it at the feeble flames, shaded the light with his hand as he gazed at the sleeping boy. There he lay carelessly outstretched on the leaves, his head with its dark curls resting on his arm, while his breast rose and fell with the regular breathing of deep and placid slumber. He was the picture of ruddy health and strength and life, and the hermit involuntarily made the sign of blessing over him. Usually he scourged himself before his nightly orisons, but he world not do so now lest the whistling cords should waken the sleeping boy. But his prayer that night was full of doubt and agony. Had he, after all, done right in the adoption of a life so far removed from the ordinary conditions of humanity? Was there this unbridged abyss between the secular and the religious? Was selfishness the less selfish by being expanded to infinitude? Had not God, who placed us in the world, intended us to work in it, and, being in it without being of it, to use it without abusing it? Why should not the boy who lay so sweetly slumbering there grow up to be a useful, happy, Christian man, with all the innocent joy of home about him, meeting the heavy trials which would come to him as they come to all, but not increasing them by self-invented tortures?

Then the wild vision of Stagirius came before his mind. What a deplorable shipwreck of high hopes! What a triumph of the impure demons was there! And he himself—Macedonius—what had he really gained by his will- worship and voluntary humility? Had his severity to the body been of any real value against the indulgence of the flesh? It seemed to him too late to alter his career. This, however, he determined to do—to make his life more useful to others. That vow he offered to God in his long prayers that night.

Next morning he went with Philip over the mountains, and entrusted him to the care of the abbot who had succeeded Diodore. There the boy was happy. They employed him in rustic occupations, and gave him all such innocent gladness as was in their power. For the teachings of Diodore had made them a large-hearted community, and the young novices were under gentle and loving training. Mingling with these youths, seeing their quiet dutifulness, sharing in their lessons, Philip gradually learnt something of the essential truths of Christianity. Almost without knowing it, the grace of God took gradual hold of his heart.

But he became in nowise enamoured of the monastic, and still less of the eremitic, ideal; and this was chiefly due to the dislike, almost the repulsion, forced upon his mind by one of the youngest of the novices. His name was Simeon, and he afterwards grew up to be the celebrated pillar-saint. Simeon was a short, strong, good-looking boy, entirely uneducated, who had spent most of his life as a shepherd tending the flocks of his parents. His head was full of fantastic perversions as to the nature of duty, largely mingled with the signs of degeneracy, which in these days would be called egomania and megalomania. He had been in a monastery in which the Abbot Heliodorus had lived from earliest childhood, and Simeon thought it was an almost miraculous merit that the Abbot 'had never once in his life seen either a pig or a cock!' Philip did not feel at all edified by the merit, and made Simeon positively morose with the way in which he ridiculed his vain anecdotes about himself. Simeon told the novices how he once wanted to buy some fish, and when the fish-girl said falsely that she had none, the fish leapt out and began to jump about Simeon's feet, till he quieted them by a word! The story caused an involuntary burst of laughter—the first laugh which Philip enjoyed since his recent troubles. Simeon's pride was severely hurt by this way of receiving his supernatural narratives. He was still more displeased when Philip expostulated with him about the dirtiness of his person, asking him what religion there could be in that, and reminding him of a verse which he had heard one of the monks read: ' Having our minds sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.' As for the visions which this strange shepherd-boy constantly narrated, Philip called them mere indigestion. He disliked Simeon's way of wearing a cord tied round his naked waist till it grew into his flesh, and his habit of keeping himself awake by leaning on a round piece of wood, which slipped under him if he gave way to drowsiness. When the Abbot heard of these extravagances he forbade them. He warned Simeon that such meaningless austerities might only be a sign of overweening pride. Simeon was so much offended that he ran away and hid himself. After long search and anxiety he was found in an empty cistern full of all sorts of objectionable reptiles. The Abbot could do nothing with the stubborn, opinionated, maniacally excited boy, and dismissed him to the career of verminiferous glory which he afterwards attained as the first of the Stylites. But the effect he produced on the mind of Philip was that of disgust: he determined that no morbid impulses should ever make him join the half-demented band, in which many who had been mere mendicants and criminals surrounded themselves with the same halo of sham sanctity which is to this day enjoyed in the East by many a semi-idiotic yogi or repulsive fakir.

He never met Simeon again, but in after-years he heard, with a somewhat disdainful smile, of the Stylite's performances in the barely human life which he spent in numberless genuflexions on the filthy summit of his pillar. 'I once watched him,' said an admiring observer long afterwards, 'and during his prayer he prostrated himself one thousand two hundred and forty-four times; and after that I left off counting.'

Philip was a Christian in those days, and his only reply was, 'I find nothing in the Scriptures as to the advantage of bowing the head like a bulrush, or wasting inhuman lives in an atmosphere of dirt.'

The notion of living on the top of a pillar had not occurred to Simeon spontaneously. He had borrowed it from an Eastern hermit named Nicander. The practice was so revolting to the good sense of the West, that when a certain Wulfil did attempt in the sixth century to introduce it at Trèves, the bishop demolished his pillar; but even in the East, Nicander had been indignantly reproved by the good sense of St. Nilus, who, besides accusing him of levity, warns him that his extravagance was due to pride, and that he who exalted himself should be abased.[4]

4. St. Nilus, Epp. 114, 115.


VII. — THE JUDGMENT ON THE CITY

Sæva Necessitas,
Clavos trabales et cuneos manu
Gestans ahena.

—Horace.

Twenty-two days had now passed since the riot, and such a Lent had never been kept in Antioch. In ordinary times it was an unholy city. Even the Emperor Julian, Pagan as he was, had taunted its inhabitants with their vices, their violence, drunkenness, incontinence, impiety, avarice, and rashness. But this Lent, when the people felt that the sword of Damocles hung over their necks by a single hair, the amphitheatre was empty, and whenever it was known that Chrysostom would preach, which he did frequently, the church was densely crowded. Usually even the Christians paid but little attention to sermons. Many only came to church on feast days, if then; and, when they came, many stayed at the back of the church among the heathen and the unbaptised, while the men busied themselves with secular gossip, and the women almost drowned the voice of the preacher with their chatter about their children, their woolwork, and their domestic concerns. John's splendid oratory did, indeed, command their attention, and they listened to him so intently that the pickpockets and cutpurses were able to ply their busy trade among them undisturbed. But what they cared for was the rhetoric, not the spiritual truths; the grand sentences, not their practical application. When the sermon was over they broke into a cackle of conceited criticism, systematically turned their backs on the Holy Communion, and those that remained, then as now, were but as planks and broken pieces from the shipwreck of the congregation. But now all was different. The orator played on their emotions as on the strings of a harp, now elevating them to fortitude and resignation, now awakening the heavenly aspirations in which alone their souls could find repose.

But on the twenty-second day arrived the two Imperial Commissioners, Hellebichus and Cæsarius. They entered the city at the head of their troops. The selection of such men was a hopeful sign, for they were Christians, and were known to be men of kindly temperament. Their lofty rank showed the importance which the Emperor attached to their mission, for Hellebichus was Master of the Forces, and Cæsarius was Count of the Offices. But they bore sealed despatches, and no one knew what doom might hang over the rebellious city. On their way the Commissioners had met Bishop Flavian, hastening to intercede with Theodosius; but not even to him had they been allowed to intimate the judgment which the Emperor had pronounced. It was morning when they made their entrance into Antioch, and the dejected populace lined their route in thousands. Ordinarily they would have ridden through festal and rejoicing ranks, they would have been welcomed with laughter, applause, gay interpellations, and garlands strewn in their path. Now they were received in silence by a multitude robed in garments of woe, who held out to them their appealing hands. They were glad when the dismal ride ended at the Forum. There they ascended the rostra, and read out to the breathless audience the sentence of the Emperor.

It declared:

First, that Antioch was to be stripped of its rank as the capital of Syria, and that the distinction was to be transferred to the rival city of Laodicea.

Secondly, that until further notice all the baths, circuses, theatres, amphitheatres, and places of amusement in the city were to be closed.

Thirdly—and this came on them as the crushing climax of misery—the trials which had been already held by the Count of the East were to be revived, and all who were proved guilty of complicity in the riot were to be severely punished.

Fourthly, the Imperial dole of bread to the poor, which was distributed at Antioch, as at Rome and Constantinople, was henceforth to be stopped.


Such was the decree, and no one could deny that it was just and moderate; but if it removed the agony of dread, it substituted for it the reality of depression. To the proud patriotism of the Antiochenes it seemed an insufferable humiliation that the paltry Laodicea should be crowned with the privileges of which they were deprived. The closing of the places of amusement, and, above all, of the public baths, not only eclipsed their gaiety, but involved a loss of health and comfort. Worst of all, a terrible trial for life or death, torture or confiscation, hung over numbers of the citizens, and especially those who stood highest in rank and wealth.

They listened in mute despair, and then the Commissioners adjourned to the Hall of Justice. There a long list of names was read out of those who had been accused, and among them was the name of the boy Philip. Archers were despatched on all sides for their arrest, and the mean wretch who had seen Philip on his way to the cave of Macedonius gave eager information where he might probably be found. That night he was seized at the monastery of Diodore. The brothers would doubtless have claimed for him the rights of sanctuary; but the archers caught him in the orchard outside, and took him with them to Antioch, with a cord drawn round his wrists so tightly as to cause him great pain. That night he was thrown with masses of the humbler offenders into the common prison. All that the brethren could do was to send to Macedonius and tell him the fate of his young charge. It made his soul burn with still hotter indignation, and he spent the next twenty-four hours in summoning the hermits of the hills from every side to meet him on the following morning at the point where the road down the ravine of Parthenius led to the city. Chrysostom also was informed of the boy's fate, and that very night, regardless of danger, he visited him, comforted him, soothed his terrors, and promised to use every effort in his power to procure his acquittal from the capital sentence. He could not promise that he could save him from the horrible scourge, which in the case of a boy often caused death, and seemed almost worse than death. It was the suspense, the uncertainty, which gnawed so deeply into Philip's heart, and it was amid this anguish that, encouraged and comforted by Chrysostom, he offered his first timid prayer to the Son of God. That prayer was heard.

The Commissioners, who numbered many friends among the society of Antioch, felt profoundly saddened by the task which they were ordered to fulfil. 'What a difference this city presents to its aspect the last time I visited it,' said Cæsarius as he sat at supper that evening. 'Then the waves of life flashed like the Orontes in the sunshine. Now there is nothing around us but lamentations and mourning and woe.'

'Yes,' answered Hellebichus, 'but if it was a joyous city, it was also a tumultuous city, and full of stirs. It has set to the Empire the worst possible example, and justice demands punishment, though I wish the infliction of it had fallen to other hands than ours. At least we can do our best to temper justice with mercy.'

Next morning they made their reluctant way to the Court of Justice, in which many of the accused, and Philip among them, were already ranged in fetters under the guard of the archers. In the city reigned a silence as of death. Many of the inhabitants had fled as far even as the barren heights of Mount Casius. Only two or three men were seen creeping here and there about the Forum like living corpses. Some Christian priests, indeed, clung to the robes of the envoys as they entered the hall, and, embracing their feet and knees, implored them to promise compassion. In the hall itself, not one Pagan advocate had the courage to come forward. Chrysostom was there, indeed, for he had to watch the case of Philip and others whom he knew, and though, as being a Christian presbyter, he could no longer plead at the bar, he was ready to come forward and give evidence. Outside the door stood groups of agitated mourners. They reminded him of watchers upon the shore who see ships tossing in the storm, for whose imperilled mariners they can only pray. The spectacle inside was still more heartrending, for there were many soldiers armed with swords and clubs, coercing all present into deep stillness. Even outside the doors the women—mothers and wives and sisters—were compelled to keep at a distance, lest their wailing should disturb the proceedings within. The saddest sight of all was to see them lying prostrate in the dust, with veiled faces, in squalid robes, their long hair sprinkled with ashes, without friend, or neighbour, or even handmaiden to solace or protect them, while with lacerated hearts they listened to the sounds of blows within, and heard the cries of those who were suffering under the rods. What could these poor women do but look heavenwards, and entreat God to give fortitude to the sufferers?

So there were tortures within the hall and tortures outside of it, and the hearts even of the judges were almost paralysed with woe. Chrysostom never forgot that dreary and miserable day. It made him think of that great assize when each soul must stand alone, with neither father, nor son, nor friend to help, before the judgment-seat of Christ.

Things grew worse and worse as the dreary hours went on; for some were doomed to death, and others were laden with heavy chains and led away to prison, and the wives and children of others, whose goods were confiscated, were turned loose into the streets, penniless after all their wealth.

As Chrysostom expected, the case of Philip came on that day. He had been seen in the midst of the rioters with the two poor boys, his friends Achillas and Eros, who had already expiated their boyish thoughtlessness by cruel deaths. Moreover, he was the son of Hermas, who had been executed as a ringleader in the riot. But the only voices which could have testified that he had flung the first stone were hushed in death. That secret, which would have inevitably doomed him to the same fate, was buried in the breast of Chrysostom. Straining prerogative to the utmost, and with no small danger to himself, the Presbyter with passionate eloquence had pleaded Philip's youth, the absence of proof against him, the absence of any proof of malicious forethought, the sacred claims of compassion to one so young. It was all in vain, and he was dreading to hear the terrible fiat of death pronounced, when a slight interruption diverted for a moment the attention of the Commissioners. It was by this time late in the evening, and Libanius had at last summoned up sufficient courage to creep timidly and almost surreptitiously into the Court. But the quick eye of Cæsarius caught sight of him, and recognising his face and his position as the intimate friend of the late Emperor Julian he beckoned him to come and sit by his side on the tribunal. Libanius was so cowed and dejected that Cæsarius even ventured to whisper into his ear that they were earnestly desirous to exercise their summary jurisdiction as leniently as the stringent orders of the Emperor rendered possible.

'Do, by the immortal gods!' murmured Libanius. 'Nay, I forgot that you were Christians. Then be merciful for the sake of Him who you say was merciful. And if you will spare the trembling city, I will immortalise you in one of my orations, the finest I can write. It shall be a stream of gold, it shall be like the girdle of Hera, woven of gems and purple.'

While this whispered conversation was going on, Hellebichus had been looking at Philip, and was deeply touched by his innocent face and helpless boyhood. 'It is clear,' he said to Cæsarius, 'that this boy was at least as guilty as some who have already been put to death, but do you not think that it would be enough to order him a scourging, and postpone till to-morrow the question of further evidence?'

So the doom was passed. Chrysostom stood by the boy's side, pressed his hand, bade him be brave, and said he would entreat God to enable him to bear his pain. Then the sentence was carried out. Though even the executioner, moved with pity, mitigated his ferocity, and would not strike with his full force, yet at the first blow of the rods the boy grew pale as death; the second wrung from him a deep moan; at the third he uttered a heartrending cry and fainted. After that he felt no more, and a few minutes later he was carried back to the prison, bleeding and half-dead.

It was called a prison, but the number of accused and suspects was so great that they were really shut up in a great circle of walls, exposed to the open air, in masses of hopeless and helpless wretchedness. And in that circle of misery Chrysostom also spent the night, doing all that he could do by consolation and tenderness for many of the sufferers, and sitting for hours by a heap of straw on which Philip lay, holding him by the hand, and gently attending to all his needs.


VIII. — THE THUNDERBOLT AVERTED

Thou art a king, a sovereign o'er frail men;
I am a Druid, servant of the gods;
Such service is above such sovereignty.

—Mason, Caractacus.

Next morning the Commissioners, with sad hearts, mounted the horses which stood for them at the palace gate in splendid caparisons, and rode towards the Court in solemn state, accompanied by their bodyguard with drawn swords. Again they rode through a mourning and praying populace, but at one part of the main street they were struck with an unwonted spectacle.

For there a group of men who looked hardly human had taken their stand. Some of them were clad in leather, some in rough skins, some with little more than rags, the remains of robes which had long nearly fallen to pieces. Over their shoulders streamed their unkempt locks. Many of them had not washed far years. Their features were gaunt and grim, their gestures uncouth, repellent, yet commanding. Their faces were for the most part entirely unknown, and many of them had not trodden for many a long year the streets of Antioch or any other city. Yet in the bearing of these wild-looking men there was no timidity or reverence. They did not bow, or kneel, or weep, or supplicate, but stood upright in an attitude almost of menace. They were the hermits whom Macedonius had assembled from all the clefts and dens and booths of Mount Silpius and Mount Amanus and Mount Casius to come to intercede for the guilty city. Among them even Stagirius had come, no longer, indeed, in paroxysms of violence, but with the light of madness still gleaming in his restless eyes.

While the Commissioners were wondering at this strange assemblage Macedonius strode out, and Cæsarius, to his amazement, saw his bridle and his robe seized by a gaunt 54 old man whose goatskin was grimy and tattered, but who, speaking in Syriac—the only language he knew—imperiously ordered both Commissioners to dismount.

'Who is this madman?' he exclaimed indignantly, turning to his guard, and raising his hand to strike him away with the flat of his sword.

'It is Macedonius the barley-eater,' exclaimed several voices in awestruck tones.

The name filled both the Commissioners with an almost overpowering sense of dread. This, then, was the saint with whose fame the world rang. Here was a man who had given up all for Christ—the Elijah of his age. Surely his mandates must be messages from God? Without a moment's delay the two great nobles sprang from their horses and knelt on the ground before him, while Cæsarius entreated his pardon for his rude exclamation and intended blow. Of all this Macedonius took no notice.

He was neither impressed nor terrified by the long array of steeds and armed soldiers, and 'grooms besmeared with gold,' nor with the supreme jurisdiction of the legates. While all the nobles and rulers of Antioch trembled with the trembling population, he felt his soul dilated with the flame of inspiration.

'Go, my friends,' he said, 'and say to the Emperor "Thou, too, art but a man, ruling over men. Darest thou destroy the image of God? Statues are easily replaced, as thine have already been, but canst thou restore to life the image of God which once thou hast defaced? Canst thou make one hair grow again of the men whom thou hast doomed?"'

'Yea,' said the other hermits, 'and we are all ready to lay down our lives for this city. We will die for those whom you condemn. Some of us will go on an embassy to the Emperor in the name of all the rest, nor will we leave this city till it is pardoned.'

The Commissioners felt that they were powerless to disregard what they accepted as a supernatural intervention. They knew the reverence with which the pious Emperor regarded men whom the current opinion enshrined on the summit of human holiness. They rode on to the gates of the Prætorium to consult together. There all the bishops who were in the city met them, and said that unless they would promise to be merciful they should only pass into the hall over their bodies. They promised, and then the bishops kissed their hands. A poor mother had been holding the bridle of Hellebichus all the way, as the two judges passed through the crowd. Seeing her son among the fettered prisoners, she flew to him, flung her arms round him, covered him with her long, dishevelled locks, and, drawing the youth to Hellebichus, bathed the feet of the Commissioner with her tears, imploring him with cries and sobs not to rob her of the support of her old age, but rather to kill her there and then. The hearts of the two judges were overwhelmed. They could not proceed with their business.

After consultation they decided to check any crude and ill-advised embassy of the hermits to the Emperor, and to postpone all further action until Cæsarius had returned to Constantinople for the further commands of Theodosius, while Hellebichus remained at his post. The decision was announced to the people, and though the accused were left in chains, and the families of those whose property had been confiscated were homeless, yet the respite caused such joy and hope that they broke into acclamations and benedictions. Cæsarius started by night with only two servants. The hermits wished to accompany him, but he declined. 'The journey,' he said, 'is long and difficult; the fatigues will exhaust your age; and its expenses would be beyond your power. But I will gladly be the bearer of your written intercession.'

Few of the hermits could write; most of them could only speak Syriac. But Macedonius drew up a brief epistle, boldly reminding the Emperor of his last day, and of the judgment of God which awaited him, and to this the hermits who could write appended their names and the others their marks. Then Cæsarius set forth. He travelled night and day. He did not once descend from his chariot, either to take food, or to rest, or to change his clothes; and thus he traversed in six days the three hundred leagues which separated Antioch from Constantinople. He reached the palace gate of Theodosius at noon on the Tuesday in the fourth week of Lent. But he found that his task was already accomplished. Eight days before Bishop Flavian had moved the heart of the Emperor to pity, and Antioch had been forgiven.

When the aged Patriarch of Antioch was admitted into the Emperor's presence he was overwhelmed by the sense of his position. Theodosius did not affect the superficial splendours of Byzantinism, but stood on a dais at the end of the hall, a strong, handsome Spaniard, surrounded by the noble-looking Gothic guard in whom he delighted—white-skinned, majestic Amali and Balts, wearing their golden collars, and with their long fair hair streaming over their shoulders. The shadow of the Empire clung about him in a certain magnificent stateliness of demeanour, showing him to be conscious that 'the rule of all things' was in his hands. Weary with age and with hasty travel, and burdened with the responsibilities which he had left behind him and the thought of the dear dying sister who had so long been the companion of his loneliness, and whose eyes he feared would now be closed by a stranger's hands, Flavian was far more overwhelmed by the thought that he represented in his own person a city which had been guilty of crimes against the imperial majesty such as might well be deemed unpardonable. He could not approach, but stood far off at the end of the hall, his look fixed on the ground, his white head bent, his aged eyes bathed in tears. He could not speak. The heart of Theodosius had been fiercely exacerbated, but he could not brook that spectacle. He descended from his throne, came forward, and taking the old man by the hand, gently pleaded with him, as though he himself were on his defence.

'Did I,' he asked, 'deserve such treatment at the hands of Antioch? Had I not always been generous to the city, and was it not my intention to visit it in person? Or, if they had any cause of offence against me, why did they insult my noble father, the defender of the Empire? Why did they insult my young and harmless boys? Above all, why did they heap their outrages on the sweet Empress whom I loved so tenderly, and have so recently lost? Was she not gentleness and goodness itself? Were not the poor and the sick her peculiar charge? Did she not go, Empress as she was, alone and unattended to the sick and the poor? Was not her voice raised to me day by day in favour of all that was gentle and kind? It is too 57

much, father, it is too much! How can I forgive the brutal multitude who would hack to pieces the image of my Flaccilla, and drag it with foul insults through the streets?'

'We have sinned, we have sinned,' said the weeping bishop when at last he found words to speak. 'We acknowledge all your generosity; we owe you nothing but love; we do not deserve your compassion or your forgiveness. It was a fraud and malice of the devil which led the multitude astray. But oh! forgive, forgive them! Thus can you best frustrate the malignity of those evil demons. When the devil had robbed man of Paradise, did not God open heaven to the ruined race? Oh! be thou like God. The eyes of all, Jews and Pagans, Greeks and barbarians, in Antioch are on you. If they see mercy prevailing over judgment, and forgiveness dispelling wrath, will they not exclaim with one voice, "Heavens! how great is the power of Christianity!" And oh, Emperor! bethink thee of the magnanimity of the wise Constantine when his statues were pelted, and he only smiled, and, raising his hand to his cheek, said that he felt no hurt. Bethink thee too of thine own gentleness, and thine exclamation in setting the captives free in the great pardon: "Would that I could also recall the dead!" Worse to us than our earthquakes, worse than our conflagrations, has been our crime and thy anger. Oh! bethink thee of the day when thou too shall stand before the bar of Him who said, " If ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive you your trespasses." Forgive the insults inflicted on thee, as Eternal God daily forgives the insults which men heap on Him, and, in spite of them, still causes His sun to shine on the evil and on the good, and His rain to fall on the just and on the unjust. Thou art kind and gentle: prove thyself nobler than our illdeserts. Otherwise, I myself will never return to my native city, but will hide my shame in some far place of exile.'

Theodosius was so deeply moved by these words that, like Joseph before his brethren, he could scarcely refrain from giving way in the presence of his courtiers, and he had to 58 turn aside to hide his tears. He had been struck most of all by the plea that he stood to men in the place of God, and must forgive even as God forgives.

'Oh!' he exclaimed, 'was not Christ crucified by the very men whom He came to save? Yet He forgave them! And must not I forgive my fellow-men?' When once his wrath was calmed he gave free scope to his emotion. 'Return,' he said to Flavian; 'return with all speed. Say that I forgive. I rescind the decrees which I sent by Cæsarius and Hellebichus. Antioch shall not be degraded; the accused shall be amnestied.'

On hearing the words the revulsion of unlooked-for joy in the heart of Flavian was so strong that he sank back fainting into the arms of the attendants. When he recovered he hid his face in his hands, and could only murmur in broken words his gratitude to God and to the Emperor. As a last favour he begged that he might take back with him the boy-Emperor Arcadius, as a pledge of mercy and love to the rejoicing city.

'Nay,' said Theodosius, 'I cannot send him, but offer up all your prayers for me, that my war with Maximus may be successful, and after that I will visit Antioch in person. Speed! speed! and deliver the people from the agony of their suspense.'

But the weariness and infirmities of age prevented Flavian from travelling back without rest as he had come, and a swift courier was despatched with the entrancing news. Nay, more, Theodosius even sent with him an autograph letter, brief, but full of kindness and dignity, in which, less in the tone of a wrathful emperor, or even of an offended father, than of a friend who wishes to be reconciled, he gently reproached them only for having forgotten what they owed and what the world owed to his beloved Flaccilla.

Meanwhile, before this news could reach Antioch, Chrysostom had not been idle. He continued to pour forth his impassioned harangues in the Cathedral. Might he not justifiably glory in the fact that the only gleam of hope, the only intervention on behalf of pity, had come to Antioch from Christians? No Pagan magnate or orator had gone to intercede, but Flavian, ready like a good shepherd to lay down his life for the sheep. It was not the longbearded, large- cloaked, self-exalting Pagan cynics who had bestirred themselves for the city.

They had hurried away, anxious only to save their goods and to save themselves; but the monks, descending like angels from their mountain solitudes, had overawed the majesty of the sword and sceptre with the glory of holiness. 'And now, why,' he asked, 'are you so ungrateful and so womanish as to plunge into pusillanimous murmurs about your punishment, though it is so far less severe than what you dreaded? Ought you not rather to burst with praises, and to sing, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, Who hath visited and redeemed His people"? Like children you are crying, 'Oh, unhappy Antioch! how art thou dishonoured?" Dishonoured! What dishonours a city? Its vice, its squalor, its greed, its cruelty, its drunkenness, not the forfeiture of a nominal prerogative. "But Antioch has lost her glory!" Children that you are! What is her glory? Not her palaces, not her statues and marble streets and bright colonnades, not her Grove of Daphne, nor her fountains, and cypresses, and soft air, and multitudinous population; nay, but such virtues as Christianity has brought forth in her, and the glory which not even Rome can equal, that here the disciples were first called Christians.'

Nor did John's labours end with his sermon. The words rang in his ears, 'I was in prison, and ye visited me,' and he made his way to the crowded city jail to console the captives, and above all to tend the hapless boy over whom his heart yearned in pity. He was conducted into the place where Philip lay. It was crowded with other victims, chiefly of the poorest rank. The air was poisonously foul; the misery and anguish were intense; there was a total lack of all decency, or tendance, or wholesome food. Here in a corner the poor lad lay like an image moulded in wax, faint and sore, scarcely able to speak, and seemingly almost at the point to die. The soul of Chrysostom was moved by mingled pity and indignation as he witnessed his condition.

Murmuring in his ear a few words of prayer and comfort, he went straight to Hellebichus, and, promising to become surety for Philip, entreated the Commissioner to allow the boy 60 to be removed. The heart of Hellebichus had been greatly softened by all that he had witnessed, and he wrote the requisite order. The sick lad was gently placed in a soft litter and carried to the house of Chrysostom. There Anthusa tended him with womanly solicitude as lovingly as if he had been her own son; and under her gentle nursing the young life began to take colour and fragrance again, like a flower which has been beaten by storm, and revives in the dew and sunlight.

During the fifth week of Lent the express courier from Constantinople arrived. He was wreathed with olive and myrtle, and carried a branch of olive in his hand, and the people knew that he must be the bearer of good news. When Hellebichus without delay announced the free forgiveness of the Emperor, not even the rules of Lent could check the outburst of general joy. Tables were spread in the public ways, and all feasted at the lectisternia. Hellebichus himself, with a garland on his brow, promenaded the principal streets, amid the acclamations of the multitude. Libanius was by his side, pausing now and then to deliver some florid euphuistic passage from one or other of his orations, written to move or to thank Theodosius, or in praise of Hellebichus and Cæsarius. Antioch, with a great rebound, felt that she was herself again. The people even begged Hellebichus to stop and partake in their festivity. They made him sit down, and were delighted to see him graciously eat a little fish at one of their tables.

On Easter eve Flavian himself arrived. He was followed, he was borne along by great floods of the populace, who broke into shouts of gratitude and welcome. The public baths were opened. Banquets were spread in the open air, and every house was gay with garlands and festoons. That night the streets of the city were bright as day with universal illumination; and the tender heart of the old bishop was further gladdened because he found his sister still alive.

Never did Easter morn rise more brightly over Antioch. It seemed to many of the people as though that day they too had risen with Christ from the dead. The church was wholly unable to accommodate the thousands who thronged to it. The sun shone in on a mass of garlands and myrtle boughs. It was on this occasion that Chrysostom delivered the famous harangue in which he described the mission of Flavian. In speaking of the demonstrations of joy—the Forum hung with wreaths, the many lamps, the couches strewn in the streets for banquet—he bade them join with these another and a purer festival—to crown themselves with the roses of virtue, to kindle in pure souls the lamps of wisdom and holiness. Then Flavian himself stood before the holy table, and stepped forth with the consecrated elements in his hands. The choir broke out into thunders of glad psalmody; sons flung their arms round the necks of fathers whose lives were saved, and happy mothers clasped their laughing children to their breasts.

And when Chrysostom returned and broke the glad news to Philip a wan smile for the first time flickered over the boy's pale features. He grasped the hand of the Presbyter in a pressure of speechless gratitude when he was told that the peril was passed for ever, and that henceforth the house of Chrysostom and Anthusa should be his home.


IX. — PHILIP IS BAPTISED

In every church a fountain springs,
O'er which the Holy Dove
Hovers with softest wings.

—Keble.

The exertions of Chrysostom during this memorable Lent produced their natural reaction. His bodily frame, weakened by years of asceticism, was incapable of sustaining the tremendous tension of soul and spirit necessitated by the events of the last two months, and he fell ill. It was not strange, for while he lived the life of a solitary for two whole years, and devoted himself to the study of the New Testament, he never lay down to sleep. The consequences had been a permanent weakness, and after his severe labours he completely broke down. Extreme languor confined him to his chamber and his bed.

And now he reaped the fruits of his kindness to Philip. The boy had completely recovered the effects of his cruel flagellation, and the amnesty accorded to the city had secured his safety; but meanwhile he had been left an orphan by the death of his mother, who died of a broken heart during the troubles which followed the execution of her husband. She had, indeed, left him a small patrimony, but he had no home. Chrysostom and Anthusa therefore decided to make Philip an inmate of their household, and, while he was nominally an attendant, Chrysostom really regarded him as an adopted son. His father, Hermas, had given the boy a good training, and he had meant him to follow the profession of a rhetorician. He had even aspired some day to make him a pupil of the much-admired Libanius. It was the ruin of all his prospects, and the consequent blighting of his ambition for the son of whom he was so proud, which had kindled the fierce wrath of Hermas against the Emperor. This bitterness of heart had driven him headlong into the riot, which had caused the forfeit of his life.

Philip felt a passionate love for his protector, and Anthusa supplied to him the place of his lost mother. While Chrysostom lay weak and ill Philip was tenderly assiduous in every ministration. He would read or talk to him, or when the Presbyter was too weary for even this he would sit silently by his bedside, anticipating every want. He was still ostensibly a Pagan; but he read the Gospels and the Acts to his protector, asked him eager questions, and shared in the simple devotions of the family. Of course his life was very different from what it had been in the old days, when he might have been seen singing with his schoolfellows in the colonnades, or shouting in the circus, or looking on with laughter at the shows in the streets. But a life of gay excitement was no longer needful to him. The terrible loss of his father, the sad death of his mother, his own imminent peril, his talk with Macedonius amid the strength and silence of the hills, his re-arrest, the frightful experiences of the flagellation and prison, had exercised a sobering influence over the natural brightness of his temperament. Meanwhile he had caught something of the most attractive side of the new faith. The chaste dignity of its continence, and its serene gaiety, so free from all dissoluteness, allured him to grasp, as it were, the holy hands extended to him. One thing only held him back—the memory of his father's love. He did not see in the home of Chrysostom the unspeakable weariness which so often overshadowed the lives of the Pagans. Disenchanted of the old, won by the happy freshness of the new, he was drawn to Christianity day after day, by almost insensible gradations, like the happy catechumens with whom he had spent too brief a time in the monastery of Diodore. Chrysostom would not force the workings of the grace of God in the lad's heart. He waited for some new sign from Heaven.

The sign came quite naturally, yet in a way which they regarded as a Divine interposition. Philip had been reading the story how the young Christ had been found among the doctors in the Temple; and at night he dreamed that the boy Christ had appeared to him, bright and smiling as the Christians love to imagine Him in the days of the catacombs, and said to him, 'Hail, beloved one!' And he, wondering, but not recognising Him, said, 'Who art thou? for I know thee not.' 'How is it that thou knowest me not?' said the Vision, 'since I sit so often by thy side, and go with thee wherever thou art? Look in my face, and see what is written there.' And Philip looked, and saw written there, 'Jesus of Nazareth.' 'This is my name,' said the Vision; 'write it on thy forehead, and it shall be thy safeguard.'[5]

5. Some readers will recall a story of the boyhood of St. Edmund of Canterbury.

He felt too shy to tell that dream to Chrysostom, lest it should seem presumptuous; but it left his heart full of sweetness. A few nights later he had been reading in the Gospel of St. John those last discourses of Christ, 'so rarely mixed of sadness and joy, and studded with mysteries as with emeralds.' The words, 'Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip?' haunted his memory, because he bore the same name as the Apostle of Galilee. That night he dreamed again that Jesus Christ appeared to him in the dignity and gentleness of His manhood, and said to him the words, 'Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip?' And, won by the ineffable tenderness of His voice and look, Philip had answered in his dream, 'Lord, if Thou wilt take me, I am Thine, and will be Thine henceforth for ever.'

This dream he told to Chrysostom with great modesty, and offered himself as a catechumen. Chrysostom embraced him in a transport of thankfulness, and his recovery was hastened by joy at the youth's conversion. From that day Philip was carefully instructed, and in due time he descended in white robes into the baptismal font in the Church of St. Babylas, while Anthusa and Chrysostom stood beside him; and even Macedonius came down from his mountain cave, and wept for gladness as he stood sponsor for the young fugitive to whom he had hardly been persuaded to give refuge. Many besides Philip had been won to the faith by the love and self-sacrifice recently shown by its adherents.


X. — PASSING YEARS

Labitur et labetur in omne volubilis ævum.
—Hor.

Happy years of fruitful and blessed work flowed over Chrysostom after the memorable events of 387. They were the most peaceful and untroubled years of his life. He used them in the highest duties of his sacred office as a writer and a preacher. Two hundred homilies are still extant as a proof of his industry. As a preacher he did not merely thrill his audience with witching oratory, but built them up in Christ, fearlessly exposing every form of fashionable vice. He made some enemies by the plainness of his speaking and the uncompromising loftiness of his denunciations. He would have been utterly ashamed of himself had he not done so. He knew that friendship with the world was enmity with God, and the tumultuous applause which accompanied his grander outbursts troubled more than it pleased him. It made him fear that the moral lesson would be lost in the intellectual excitement, and that his arrows of lightnings had but played before the imagination instead of blazing in the conscience. But if he made some bitter foes, there were many who loved him, both in the Church and in the world, and, happy in the comparative obscurity of his rank, he was less obnoxious to the hatred of the bad.

His one intense desire was to change nominal Christians into real Christians. To the heathen he was gentle and generous, understanding their difficulties, and trying to win them by the force of his arguments and the beauty of his ideal. He did his utmost to turn Christians from the Pagan corruptions which had begun to invade the Church on every side. Hence his energetic warnings against the drunkenness and luxury of wedding and funeral feasts, the superstitious use of amulets, and the orgies of immorality which strangely disgraced the nightly celebration of saints' days and festivals.

Nor was his preaching only moral. Antioch was full of error and heresies, and he endeav oured to refute them, not by virulence and venom, not by misrepresentations and anathemas, but by fair, honourable, and kindly reasoning.

During these years, too, he added to his already vast stores of Biblical knowledge, and enriched Christian literature with commentaries which, like those of his friend Theodore of Mopsuestia, were framed on principles of true criticism, and, if less learned than those of St. Jerome, were saner and more beneficial than any which were written for a thousand years.

Of course the happy years were chequered with the natural sorrows of life which happen to us all. His heaviest loss was the death of his mother, Anthusa, whose unbroken love and care he repaid with the deepest filial affection. Her death, though in many respects an irreparable calamity, yet did not alter his domestic circumstances. She left him surrounded by faithful and attached servants, and Philip, now a fine youth, full of vigour, shrewd sense, and practical capacity, attended his steps, lightened his burdens, relieved him of all worrying details, acted as his amanuensis, and amused his leisure hours with the flow of his natural gaiety. Philip would not allow himself to be ordained a reader. Chrysostom represented to him the best ideal of manhood he ever hoped to see, and the youth knew that in helping him and brightening his life he was rendering higher services to the world than any which could come from his independent action. Old friends of Chrysostom died as the years flowed on. His Christian teacher, Diodore of Tarsus, died in 394, and his Pagan teacher, Libanius, in 395; but Philip's companionship saved him from being lonely, and Philip's younger friends, who all looked up to and loved the great Presbyter, surrounded him with a garland of their young enthusiasm.

Meanwhile Chrysostom was ever watching with the deepest interest, and often with profoundest apprehension, the menacing horizon of the future, both in the Church and in the world.. The year after the riot he had rejoiced in the victory of Theodosius over the usurper Maximus. That bad adventurer had been an accomplice in the murder of the young Emperor Gratian; and at the instigation of Spanish bishops, but to the disgust of St. Ambrose and St. Martin of Tours, he was the first who allowed Christians to be murdered by their fellow-Christians because of their opinions. Theodosius defeated the usurper in two great battles, and drove him to Aquileia. There Maximus was seized by his own soldiers, the purple robe was torn off his back, the purple sandals from his feet, the purple and jewelled diadem from his brow, and, bound hand and foot, he was dragged into the presence of Theodosius. It was August 25, 388, five years almost to a day since the murdered Gratian had suffered the same fate. Theodosius looked at the defeated usurper with a mixture of pity and contempt, and after a few disdainful questions dismissed him without deciding his fate. His captors took the law into their own hands, and struck off his head outside the imperial tent. Andragathius, the admiral of Maximus, and the actual murderer of Gratian, hearing of his master's defeat, drowned himself in the Adriatic; and Ambrose, of whose deeds Chrysostom always heard with the profoundest admiration, secured the mercy of Theodosius for the common herd of the vanquished.

But heart-shaking news came fast and thick. The year 390 was marked by terrible events. The people of Thessalonica were passionately devoted to chariot-races. They rose in fury against Botheric, their governor, because, on the complaint of his cupbearer, he had righteously punished a charioteer, who was their favourite, for one of those enormities which were the plague-spot of Pagan antiquity. Refusing to release the man from prison, Botheric fell a victim to the rage of the mob, who murdered him and many of his chief officials, and dragged their bodies with insults through the streets. There was every circumstance in this heinous crime to awaken the uttermost indignation of Theodosius. He loved Thessalonica. There he had long resided; there he had been baptised; and he had been to the city a conspicuous benefactor. And now the lewd factions of the multitude had brutally murdered his personal friend and his responsible officials. The news transported him into one of those paroxysms of fury to which his Spanish temperament was liable.

At last, mad with rage, Theodosius committed the one crime which most deeply stained his life. There was to be another great race in the circus at Thessalonica, and he knew that the people would assemble in thousands to witness it. He issued an edict worthy of a Caligula or a Nero, that when the multitude was assembled the doors of the circus should be closed, and the soldiers should enter and massacre indiscriminately the innocent and the guilty. The moment that his insane wrath had thus found expression he repented, and, like the Athenians after their atrocious mandate to massacre the people of Mitylene, he sent messengers of mercy to overtake the avengers of blood.

But our words and deeds are often made retributively irrevocable that they may transform themselves into their own avenging furies. The repentance came too late to prevent the consequences of the crime. The frightful command arrived before the news that it was already rescinded. There was no Flavian, no Chrysostom at Thessalonica; and if there were any hermits to interpose, the horrid deed was not known till it had been accomplished.

The scene which ensued was one of the most horrible recorded in history. With drawn swords the soldiers entered the crowded circus, and slew and slew, alike the innocent and the guilty, alike strangers and citizens, alike young and old, till their swords were blunt, and their hearts sick, and their arms weary, and their eyes dim with the mist of blood, and themselves intoxicated with its sickening fumes. They struck to the ground, they stabbed, they murdered even children on the bosoms of their mothers, till they left only bleeding and ghastly heaps, where the living writhed among the wounded and the slain, and a horrid silence buried the wild shrieks of agony and fear. For three hours of inconceivable and brutalising horror the work of hell went on. One historian says that 15,000 fell; but even if we accept the lowest computation, and place the number of victims at 7,000, such guilt must have made the remorseful heart of the Christian Emperor exclaim with the midnight murderer:


Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood
Clean from my hand? No! this my hand will rather
The multitudinous seas incarnadine,
Making the green one red!


The dreadful news reached the Antiochenes. That fate they too might have suffered if the voice of the Church had not mollified the swelling anger of the Emperor. But Chrysostom heard with proud thankfulness how the dauntless Ambrose, overwhelmed as he was with shame and anguish, had maintained the violated rights of humanity; how he had towered above the repentant Emperor like his embodied moral sense; how he had written for his private eye a letter full, indeed, of manly tact, yet stern and uncompromising as that of a Hebrew prophet; how he had refused to him the Holy Communion; how he had declined to admit him into the Church without a public penance; how he had repulsed from the door of the Basilica of Milan the foremost man in all the world.

The conscience of the Emperor sided with the rebukes of the great bishop. The hands which were red with innocent blood were impotent to strike his judge. Theodosius could be transported out of himself by the evil genius of his anger, but he could not act like a deliberate tyrant. He accepted the penance imposed on him. After long exclusion from the Church Ambrose required him to renew the admirable law of Gratian, which enacted that a period of thirty days must always intervene between judgment and punishment. Then the Emperor laid aside all the insignia of royalty, and, prostrate on the ground, bewept the sin into which he had been misled, and cried, 'My soul cleaveth to the dust; quicken Thou me according to Thy word.'

Fortunately, Ambrose had to deal with an emperor who was emphatically a man—a man of ability, and not deaf to the dictates of conscience. Such a person as his minister, Rufinus, would have cared nothing for ecclesiastical penalties. One day, when he found the Emperor bathed in tears, he could hardly conceal the disdainful smile which passed over his features. 'You smile,' said Theodosius, because you do not feel my misery. The Church of God is opened to slaves and beggars: to me it is closed, and with it the gates of heaven.'

The year 392 was darkened by the murder of the youthful emperor, Valentinian II., who had been found dead—probably murdered by Arbogast the Frank. Chrysostom mourned his sad fate. An emperor since his childhood, that magnificent inheritance had brought him nothing but misery. He had suffered terror, flight, exile, and manifold perils, only to become the puppet of an insolent barbarian. He was devoted to Ambrose, whom he longed to see once more, and he had struggled out of every fault and error of his boyhood. As he was strolling in his garden on the banks of the Rhone at Vienne, Arbogast had strangled this pure and innocent boy, and had hung his body on the branch of a tree with his own handkerchief, to make it supposed that he had committed suicide. When the assassin seized him, he had called on the name of Ambrose, and cried, 'Alas! what will become of my unhappy sisters?' Arbogast, being a barbarian, dared not make himself emperor, but he chose the tenth-rate rhetorician, Eugenius, as a suitable block on which to hang the imperial purple. Utterly condemned by the Church, Arbogast and his puppet- emperor could only stand for a moment by posing as the champions of Arianism and Paganism. In 394 Theodosius advanced into Italy, with young Alaric—among others—as one of his allied chieftains, and defeated the rebel army in the memorable battle of the Frigidus. Eugenius was put to death, and Arbogast, flying to the mountains, fell on his own sword.

Then Chrysostom heard the alarming news that on January 16, 395, the great Theodosius had breathed his last in the arms of Ambrose, leaving his life 'like a ruined sea-wall amidst the fierce barbarian tide, beyond which were ravaged lands.' There could not but be vast changes for the worse in the reigns of his two orphan sons—the stupidly dull Arcadius, who was now eighteen, and the malignantly dull Honorius, who was six or seven years younger. The Empire was divided between them, never again to be reunited. The successors of the brave and upright Spanish soldier were two vapid and lymphatic boys, the one sullen and stupid, the other impotent and half imbecile: neither of them capable of being aroused, unless it were to some transport of murderous jealousy against the men who overshadowed their insignificance. And both of them were left under the tutelage of rival aliens, who, it was clear, would wield all the real power. The governor of Arcadius was the Gaul Rufinus; of Honorius, the Vandal Stilico. The main object of each was to undermine and overthrow the other.

But amid all these tragic and solemn events Chrysostom was still pursuing his daily duties. He had made more than one effort to win over to Christianity his old tutor, Libanius; but the sophist, though he was an honourable and open- minded man, could not be convinced. Chrysostom powerfully met all his other arguments and objections, but there was one on which Libanius dwelt with cogent force, and to which the Presbyter could give no reply which satisfied either Libanius or himself. It was the evil lives of so many nominal Christians; the fact that genuine, untainted goodness seemed to have become entirely etiolated; the usurping claims and worldly lives of so many priests; the haughty and tyrannous ambition of so many prelates; the furies of mutual antagonism which rent Christians into fierce dissensions respecting incomprehensible minutiæ of theological definition; the violence and fury of hordes of intolerant monks; the revolting self-maceration of multitudes of half-idiotic hermits. As Libanius dwelt on these evils, and quoted in proof of his allegation, not only Pagans like Eunapius, Zosimus, and Ammianus Marcellinus, but even the writings of St. Basil, of the Gregories, of Ambrose, and of Jerome, Chrysostom bitterly felt that such facts must be a terrible stumbling- block in the path of Pagan inquirers, as the chief argument against Christianity. Yet were we not forewarned of this? 'When the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?'

Philip had been present during the discussion between the Presbyter and Libanius; and Chrysostom, deeply attached to the boy, and ever anxious for his welfare, exclaimed, 'O Philip, my son! Libanius has not shaken your faith, I trust?'

'Nay,' said the boy smiling. 'Many things which Libanius said were sad—and yet seemed true. But the Argonauts could not listen to the Sirens while Orpheus sang to them, and he who has heard Christ's voice cannot listen to any other.'

'May He be with thee, my son, now and evermore!' said Chrysostom; and he laid his right hand gently on the boy's dark hair.


XI. — GOTHS AT ANTIOCH

Oh! thou goddess,
Thou divine nature, how thyself thou blazon'st
In these two princely boys!
—Shakespeare, Cymbeline, iv. 2.

One day in the year 395, as Chrysostom and Philip were walking down the grand main street of Antioch, under the colonnades which sheltered them from the almost blinding sunlight, they saw an unwonted sight. No less a person than the all-powerful Rufinus had come to Antioch. Nominally sent on a mission by Arcadius, he had really come to avenge a terrific private grudge against Lucian, the Count of the East. Lucian had been a favourite of Rufinus, and had purchased his promotion by bribes; but he had used his power well, and had refused to commit an injustice to benefit Eucherius, the Emperor's uncle. Eucherius complained to the Emperor, and as his anger endangered Rufinus's plan for marrying Arcadius to his daughter, he was filled with fury against Lucian for his honest independence.

As his mission was aimed against so powerful an official—for Antioch ranked with Constantinople, Rome, and Alexandria, among the four first cities of the Empire—the Emperor had attached to the escort of Rufinus some of those Gothic guards whose fine presence his father, Theodosius, had regarded as the most splendid ornament of his palace. They marched around the chariot of the Minister in the splendour of their armour—their necks encircled with collars of gold, the tawny wolfskins belted over their breasts, the quivers on their backs, the huge bow carried in the left hand, and their fair locks, the admiration of all the East, flowing under their helmets adorned with pheasant's plumes.

They had brought with them some of their youths to witness the glories of the Eastern city, and on the morning after Rufinus had made his secret midnight entrance into the city 74 and taken possession of the palace of the Seleucids, these Goths, laying aside their accoutrements, stalked out over the island- bridge into the streets. Barbarians of this stature and distinction were almost unknown in Antioch, and wherever they went the slim, dark Syrians and the inquisitive Greeks thronged to stare at them, much to their indignation. Their knowledge of Greek was highly imperfect, and of Syriac they knew nothing. They did not like to condescend to ask their way, for if they did the impudent boys in the crowd laughed at their pronunciation and their blunders, and had more than once hopelessly misdirected them. They had managed to get to the Forum, but with little notion where they were; and there a crowd of the loungers who infested Antioch gathered in knots about them. Treating the starers with as much indifference as they could, one of the Gothic youths had ventured to ask, in bad Greek, 'What that building was?' pointing to the Hall of Justice. The gamin appealed to gave some ridiculous answer, which made the crowd roar with laughter; and another tried his wit by giving the Goths the nickname of 'cranes,' in reference to their slow and stately gait. This amused the Antiochenes still more, and the strangers were saluted with general cries of 'Cranes! Cranes!' till one of the younger Goths, more quick- tempered and less disdainful than his brothers, gave a buffet to one of these illmannered tonguesters which laid him sprawling and howling in the dust. The rest of the crowd shrank back to a more respectful distance; but, jealous of the superior size and beauty of the Goths, and not liking to see their comrade so lightly felled by a mere barbarian, the boys began to pelt them with stones. Then the Goths indiscriminately seized some of their tormentors, and so soundly boxed their ears, or beat them with the flat of their swords, that the amusement of the crowd began to be mingled with a little salutary dread.

At this moment Chrysostom entered the Forum with Philip, and the youth's quick glance at once took in the scene.

'My father,' he said—for so Chrysostom had told him to address him—'I think you are seriously wanted here,' and in a few words he rapidly told him what was going on.

Chrysostom woke from one of the reveries in which he was often lost, and, advancing to the crowd, who all knew him, and by all of whom he was deeply reverenced, he said to them very sternly:

'Mischievous idlers, what is this? Do you not know that these Goths have come here with Rufinus, and belong to the very Bodyguard of the Emperor? Can you be so senseless? Do you want another affair of the statues, or do you wish to undergo the fate of Thessalonica? Back to your business, if you have any, before I summon the archers.'

The crowd slank away, filled with alarm; and Philip picked up the sobbing gamin , much more frightened than hurt, whom the young Goth had knocked down. He told him to apologise, which the street-arab was only too glad to do. Meanwhile Chrysostom, speaking slowly and distinctly in the simplest Greek, expressed his regret to the Goths that they should have been thoughtlessly annoyed, and courteously offered to be their guide through the city:

The Presbyter was only of middle height, and the tall Ostrogoths looked like giants by his side; but they recognised a man when they saw him. They instantly recovered the good temper which had only been ruffled for a moment.

'I did not know that your streets at Antioch buzzed with so many insects,' said their chief; 'but I would not willingly hurt them.'

'The people are more accustomed to you in Constantinople,' answered Chrysostom. 'They have never seen men like you before, and are, perhaps, a little envious.'

The Goths smiled with gratified vanity at a perfectly sincere compliment, and, recognising from something indefinable in his manner that Chrysostom must be an ecclesiastic—though in those days the clergy wore the ordinary costume of the laity—he asked, 'Are you not John, the famous presbyter?'

'Not famous,' said Chrysostom; 'but I am John.'

'Ah!' said the Amal, 'you have spoken kindly to me, and let me tell you a story. I once went to visit the Frank Arbogast, and asked him if he knew the Bishop Ambrose, at Milan. "Yes," said Arbogast, "and have often sat at his table." "Ah, chief!" answered one of his guests, "that is why you are so victorious, because you are a friend of the man who can make the sun stand still."'

'I cannot compare my insignificance to the greatness of Ambrose,' said Chrysostom.

'I don't know,' said the Goth, 'but you, more than any man, saved Antioch from the fate of Thessalonica, and our Fravitta and our Gaïnas, whose sons these two boys are, have heard of you and honour you.'

'Would that you, noble Goths, were not Arians,' said Chrysostom, whom no consideration could ever prevent from saying what he thought was right.

'Oh!' said the Goth, laughing, 'it is not possible for us Northern soldiers to enter into your theological niceties, about which Constantinople idly chatters, and lives like Gomorrah all the same. We follow the doctrine of our great bishop and teacher—Wulfila, "the little wolf," so we called him out of love for him. He translated our Bible for us, and never meant to be otherwise than orthodox.'

Chrysostom saw that it would be useless to pursue the subject, but he did his utmost to interest the Amals and their boys. He showed them the flowering banks of the Orontes; he pointed out to them the best statues; he walked with them to the huge Charonium, which amazed them above everything; he gave them a glimpse of the ravine of Parthenius, and took them to the Golden Gate to show them the colossal Cherubim, the spoils of the Temple of Jerusalem, which Titus had placed over its arch. Philip, meanwhile, with Greek grace and versatility, had made himself perfectly at home with the younger Goths, and Chrysostom gave them a little banquet at his own house.

'Tell me your name, Greek,' said one of the young brothers to Philip. 'We like you. You have been courteous to us.'

'My name is Philip. And yours?'

'I am Thorismund, the son of Gaïnas.'

'And I,' said the younger, 'am Walamir, the son of Gaïnas. We are both Amalings—that is, of noblest birth—and I hope we shall meet you again, Philip.'

'It is not likely,' said Philip, 'for I shall never leave the Presbyter, and Constantinople is far away. But if you ever return to Antioch, come and see us, and I hope that the street riff-raff will behave better.'

'Oh! never mind them,' said Thorismund; 'and if the young scamp who went down under my buffet was hurt, give him this,' and he put a broad silver piece in Philip's hand.

'I will give it to him,' said Philip, 'but you must not think, Thorismund, that we shall all of us fall down at the mere wind of a blow.'

'Would you like to try a friendly wrestling bout?'

'I am quite willing,' said Philip, laughing, 'if the Presbyter doesn't object. We might wrestle here on this grass-plat in the garden, and your chief and the Presbyter shall be umpires.'

Chrysostom was a little scandalised by the suggestion, but he goodhumouredly acquiesced, if the trial of strength was to be quite friendly and for fun.

The two youths rose, and smilingly locked each other in a firm grasp. They were of about the same age, and fine specimens of Greek and Teutonic beauty. It soon appeared that Thorismund was the stronger, and Philip the more skilful, having long been trained in the boyish games of the palæstra. In the first trial Thorismund had some trouble to hold his own, but at last by sheer strength lifted Philip and threw him; but at the second trial Philip with his heel struck the hollow of Thorismund's knee, and down he fell, with Philip uppermost. They were about to try a third bout, when both Chrysostom and the chief Amal interfered.

'Enough,' they said; 'you have both done well. So part and be friends.'

'That we shall be,' said Thorismund, 'and in sign of it I will ask Philip to accept this.' He took from the purse at his girdle a silver fibula, and said, 'This will do to fasten your toga.'

'Well, but,' said Philip, 'we must be like the Homeric heroes, and if I take your gift you must take mine.' He fetched from his room an armlet of his father's workmanship, and Thorismund welcomed the gift.

'Do you know what those runes on your fibula mean, Philip?' asked Walamir.

'No.'

'They are the two words, "Chaste, Faithful," and you may remember our names by them; for of our ancestors young Thorismund was called "the Chaste," and Walamir "the Faithful."'

So they said farewell to each other with mutual friendship and esteem.

Philip gazed after them as they strode down Singon Street. 'What noble fellows!' he exclaimed. 'How they tower over the sly, slim, swarthy Antiochenes! Those two youths with the sunlight turning their short curls into gold might be young Apollos. If the Lystrenians saw them they would say, "The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men."'

'Yes,' said Chrysostom. 'They seem to belong to a nobler, stronger, purer race than ours. We cannot stand against them. Surely the future must belong to them! We have to go to them alike for our soldiers and our generals. Oh that they were not Arians!'


XII. — THE PRESBYTER

Salt is good; but if the salt have lost its savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?
—Luke xiv. 34.

The next morning, however, threw a lurid light on the visit of Rufinus to Antioch. He had glutted to the full his private enmity. Lucian, Count of the East, Governor of Antioch, had been arrested by his order in his own palace, and, after the merest mockery of a trial, beaten to death, on the neck, with the frightful whips laden with knobs of lead known to the ancients by the name of plumbatæ. The unhappy Count had been thrust into a litter in a dying condition and carried back to the palace. The horrid deed could not be hid, and nothing but terror prevented the Antiochenes from avenging his death by another insurrection. Rufinus further purchased their complicity by ordering the completion of an Imperial Hall of Pillars, which long continued to be the most stately building in a city of palaces.

How little did the Minister dream that a deed of vengeance which illustrated at once his ferocity and his all but absolute power was the chief moment in his own headlong downfall! His ultimate aim all along, though he was only an adventurer and the son of an Aquitanian cobbler, was nothing less than the Empire. He had cherished this mad ambition ever since the day when Theodosius, angry at the complaints of favours heaped on the intriguing and aspiring Gaul, had pettishly exclaimed, 'What is there to prevent me from making him emperor?' As a step to the fulfilment of this gorgeous dream Rufinus wished to marry Arcadius to his daughter. But when the sweet gratification of personal revenge had taken him to Antioch, his rival, the supple eunuch Eutropius, outwitted and undermined him. He slipped under the dark eyes of the young Emperor, as if by accident, a picture of the beautiful Eudoxia, daughter of the Frank general Bauto, who came from a house which hated Rufinus. This palace intrigue was buried in profoundest secrecy. On April 25, 395, a public rejoicing was ordered. Eutropius was seen to be busy in taking from the imperial wardrobe some of the splendid robes and jewels of former empresses. They were ostentatiously handed to attendants, and attracted a crowd before the palace gate. Everyone thought that they were a marriage gift to the daughter of Rufinus, and indulged in jeers against that hated official. But no! the procession, solemnly escorted by soldiers and preceded by Eutropius, suddenly turned into another street, and stopped at the home of Promotus, where Eudoxia lived. The multitudes then broke into shouts of joy. Rufinus found that he had been out-manœuvred by the astuteness of the eunuch, and learnt for the first time the name of his future empress.

Chrysostom heard all these events with no other thoughts than those of a citizen, a patriot, a Christian. How little did he dream that Eudoxia, Eutropius, and the Goth Gaïnas, the murderer of Rufinus, would be so closely mingled with his future destinies, and that their names would go down to history in such immediate connexion with his own! We live in blindness of all that may await us in the unknown future years, and often those things happen of which we have dreamed the least.

The presbyter could not but feel solicitude for the future of the Empire, yet were there many seasons of depression in which he felt deeper anxiety about the future of the Church. The Church had conquered the world, and now the world had re-invaded and was re-conquering the Church. In former days golden priests had used chalices of wood; now wooden priests used chalices of gold. In earlier days life had been full of simplicity, love, and sweetness. Now Christianity had become largely nominal, as it had become all but universal. He saw much that was weak and bad in Antioch, much that he knew to be false in doctrine and unprimitive and unscriptural in practice. The corruption of the best is worst. There is no stench (so said St. Francis de Sales) so intolerable as that of rotten lilies. In reality there was little to choose between the better theoretical Paganism, as it exhibited itself in honest men like Libanius, Symmachus, or even the late Emperor Julian, and such Christianity as that of the loose livers and ambitious Pharisaic priests who on every side were trying to lord it over 81

God's heritage, while they set the worst possible example to the flock. He was to become familiar hereafter with worse types than he ever yet had seen. 'Salt like this, which had utterly lost its savour, was in a certain sense worse than anything which had been seen on the dunghill of pagan Rome, and was fit for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot of man.'

This was the sad thought which most painfully haunted the heart of Chrysostom; and it was the one passion of his life so to live, so to write, so to preach as to stem the shallow, muddy, yet drowning and ever-advancing tide of a merely functional, ecclesiastical, and nominal Christianity. If he had one conviction stronger than all others, it was that 'what the Supreme and Sacred Majesty requires of us is innocence alone'; that Christ came not to elaborate recondite shibboleths, but to create holy characters; not to elevate priests into an usurping autocracy, but to give unimpeded access to God to the humblest and guiltiest soul, and to fling wide open to all who love righteousness the gates of everlasting life. The indignation of Chrysostom burned hot against all who named the name of Christ, yet did not even attempt to depart from the forms of iniquity which Christ most hated; and most of all against the priests, who combined the privileges of angels with the temper of executioners, and carried into the sanctuaries of the Church the most hateful of the vices of the world.

But such beliefs meant immediate failure; and such aims, in the ordinary condition of Churches, involved certain martyrdom.

The day of martyrdom had not yet come, and the hour for that ultimate triumph—which, because truth is immortal, had all the inevitableness of a law—was yet far off.


BOOK II. DAYS OF STORM

The time is out of joint:—O cursèd spite,
That ever I was born to set it right!

Shakespeare, Hamlet, i. 5.

XIII. — TWO ARCHBISHOPS

O Simon Mago, O miseri seguaci,
Che le cose di Dio, che di bontate
Deono essere spose, voi rapaci
Per oro et per argento adulterate.

Dante, Inferno, xix. 1-4.

On September 27, 397, Nectarius, Patriarch of Constantinople, lay dead in his stately palace.

On the Good Friday of that year (April 4) had died a very different prelate, the great St. Ambrose. He had died immediately after receiving the Sacrament, after lying many hours with his arms outstretched in the form of a cross. His friends, the chief citizens of Milan, who adored him, had entreated him to pray that for the sake of the Church his days might be prolonged, for he was but fifty-seven years old. But he answered, 'I have not so lived among you that I am ashamed to live; and yet—for the Lord is merciful—I do not fear to die.' 'It is a death-blow for all Italy,' exclaimed the brave Vandal, Stilico, when he heard it. And he was right.

No human being would have dreamed of making any such remark about Nectarius. He was commonplace of the commonplace; he was of the world, worldly; he was a luxurious worldling, profoundly ignorant of theology. When appointed archbishop he was a layman; he had never even been baptised.

He was, indeed, a strange successor to the humble, holy, fervid St. Gregory of Nazianzus, the greatest theologian and one of the greatest orators of his day. But Gregory had shown himself too mild, too noble, and too good for the magnificent office of which he may be said to have created the possibility. When Gregory was carried by force from his humble bishopric at Nazianzus to preside over the little handful of the orthodox at Constantinople, the city, besides being execrably corrupt, was predominantly Arian.

Gregory lived in a lodging, and preached in a single room, which was large enough to receive the shrunken congregation. It was through his earnestness and fame that the room had gradually grown into a chapel, and the chapel into 'The Church of the Resurrection.' He was no imposing orator, but short of stature, and though only fifty years old, was pale, meagre, sickly, and prematurely aged, with bald head and beard already sablesilvered. He wore an aspect of continual melancholy; his careworn countenance was often bathed in tears. And so far from valuing the worldly eminence of his rank, his dress was more like that of a mendicant than of the bishop of the queen of cities, the capital of the Eastern world.

It was, of course, impossible that so good a man as Gregory should escape a storm of odium. That is the compliment which vice pays to virtue. He had as many stones flung at him as bad men have roses; his only criticism of them was they were so illaimed. His life was often in danger. On one occasion a furious swarm of Arians, headed by 'beggars who had forfeited their claim to pity, monks who looked like goats or satyrs, and women more frightful than Jezebels,' armed with sticks, stones, and firebrands, wrecked his church, assaulted his congregation, mingled with blood the wine of the chalice, and nearly murdered him. He escaped, but because one man had been killed in the tumult he was summoned before the magistrates for a breach of the peace. Then he was nearly ousted by the intrigue of one of the basest class of clerical adventurers in whom that age abounded. Gregory hated the place; he hated the work; he hated the prevalent hypocrisy; he hated the universal talk about religion, without a semblance of its reality, which left him hardly anyone whom he could trust.

Utterly against his will he was compelled to accept the archbishopric, which involved the care of the Church of the Apostles. He had not the least desire to be a bishop. He had never cared to hang about the doors of the great. With singular independence, he declared that he had never wished to clasp the bloodstained hands of rulers, 'under whose hands the whole world is ruled by a little diadem and a small rag of purple.'

He found the presidency of the Second Œcumenical Council the most distasteful of his duties. He describes it as a scene of faction, disorder, jealousies, and disgraceful violence. He found that the assembled ecclesiastics were chiefly interested in personal questions. They appeared as antagonists in a battle, bandying bitter accusations, and leaping from their seats in transports of mutual animosity, until Gregory was thoroughly ashamed of them. He describes them as chattering like cranes and showing their teeth like wild boars, and no sooner had he ended a wise and conciliatory speech intended to raise them to a higher level, than the younger clergy buzzed about him like wasps. It is curious that the two best saints of the fourth century, St. Gregory and St. Martin of Tours, had a rooted dislike of ecclesiastical gatherings. Gregory breathed an earnest prayer that he might have nothing more to do with them, and Martin said that he had never known anything come of them but mischief. The great Bossuet agreed with them. 'You know'—so he wrote to a friend—'what kind of things these assemblies usually are.'

Warning the congregated bishops that they were become a byword of strife and partisanship, and finding that they were intriguing to get rid of him, he offered to resign. With disgraceful alacrity the assembled Fathers took him at his word. He left his episcopate to be sought for by the restless ambitions of time-servers and hypocrites, 'angry lions to the small and fawning spaniels to the great,' and, sick at heart, retired 'to gaze on the bright countenance of truth in the mild and dewy air of delightful studies.'

Nectarius owed his election to the Patriarchate to the most casual incident. He was a Prætor, and as he was going to Tarsus he called on Chrysostom's old teacher, Diodore, Bishop of Tarsus, to ask if he could take any letters for him to that city. Struck with his venerable appearance and his placid temper, Diodore mentioned him to Flavian as a possible candidate for the vacant archbishopric. Flavian laughed at the notion, but out of compliment to Diodore put down the Prætor's name at the bottom of the list of selected candidates, which was handed to the Emperor. Theodosius passed his finger down the list, paused at 88

the name of Nectarius, read the list through a second time, and then declared that he chose Nectarius.

'Nectarius! Who in the world is Nectarius?' asked everyone in astonishment, and it turned out that he had not even been baptised! But Theodosius had very little opinion of any ecclesiastics except Ambrose, and Ambrose was a layman when the voice of the people had called him to the Archbishopric of Milan. So Nectarius stepped from the baptismal font to the most influential patriarchate of the world, and to the presidency of the Second Œcumenical Council!

But Theodosius was grievously mistaken if he supposed that Nectarius was going to be a second Ambrose.

On the contrary, he was just one of those purpureal, imposing, nugatory personages who, because of his easygoing nullity, his commonplace, worldly shrewdness, and his total absence of zeal and genius, suited the corrupt luke- warmness of a semiChristian city.

Nectarius rose to the full height of the pomposity which had been impossible to Gregory. He could, indeed, give no help to the Emperor in the intense perplexities caused by theological disputes. The bishops heard a terrifying rumour that Theodosius even meant to consult the heretic Eunomius, who openly argued the Son was unlike the Father. The world, as after the Council of Rimini, might wake with a groan to find itself Arian! As no help was to be obtained from the ignorant Archbishop, Amphilochius, Bishop of Iconium, threw himself into the breach, and determined to give Theodosius a picture- lesson. He went with other bishops to a Court gathering. Theodosius was seated on his throne in all his splendour, and by him sat his little son Arcadius, only eight years old, whom he had recently invested with the diadem, and whom the courtiers were surrounding with flattering homage. Amphilochius saluted the Emperor, and did not take the smallest notice of Arcadius. 'What!' said the Emperor, angrily, 'do you not see my son?' 'Oh, said the Bishop, carelessly, 'I forgot. Good morning, my child!' and he actually had the audacity to pat the august infant on the cheek and tickle him with his finger! 'Turn that man out!' roared Theodosius, in a flame of anger.

Then Amphilochius, facing him, said, 'You see, Emperor, you cannot tolerate an indignity to your son. Doubt not, then, that God shares the same feelings, and learn your duty.' The Emperor was deeply impressed, and the world was saved from the heresy of Eunomius!

Under the courtly archiepiscopate of Nectarius the clergy of Constantinople became utterly corrupt and utterly worldly; but then, Nectarius was such a good manager—he kept everything so quiet, and he gave such good dinners! And under his sway the Church, to use Kingsley's phrase, 'swaggered on, arm in arm with the flesh and the devil.'


XIV. — ANOTHER ARCHBISHOP

Paul did not say, Let everyone desire the episcopate. It is a work, not a relaxation; a solicitude, not a luxury; a responsible ministration, not an irresponsible dominion; a fatherly supervision, not a tyrannical autocracy.
—Isidore of Pelusium, Ep. iii. 216.

Nectarius, then, on September 27, 397, lay dead in his splendid palace; and the breath was hardly out of the Archbishop's body when there were a dozen 'austere intriguers' in the field, and the subterranean plots and whisperings began, and the wirepullers were incessantly at work. The floodgates of ecclesiastical ambition were opened, and poured their muddy sluices over the capital of the East.

All Constantinople buzzed and clacked with the counter-solicitations of eager interests, and every nameless pretender to the episcopal throne put into play every secret method in his power to win the coveted prize. For did not the Archbishop rank among the noblest in the whole land? Had he not the precedence over the most illustrious civilians at Court and in the houses of the great? Was not the Patriarch of Constantinople practically higher in position than even the Patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch, and Rome?

The electorate with whom the choice rested was a little illdefined. The provincial bishops were supposed to have weight in the matter, and as a synod of them happened at the time to be assembled in the city, under the presidency of Theophilus, Patriarch of Alexandria, their influence was regarded as highly important. But then the illustres and honorati—all who had high civil offices, had also to be consulted. The people, too, had an undeniable voice in the nomination of their prelate; and the supreme court had necessarily to be reckoned with.

So, for four weary, dreary, and shameful months Constantinople became a turmoil of cabals. There was the cabal of bishops, each trying to further the promotion of his own favourite, or of himself. There was the cabal of the clergy of Constantinople, some striving with all the reckless passion of self-interest to procure their own preferment; others, who had no possible chance, trying to curry favour with anyone who, if elected, might advance their future interests; there was the cabal of influential personages who felt intensely interested in the result, because they had pitted their importance against each other, and the failure of their candidate would be a diminution of their prestige. And each separate faction strove to calumniate and undermine all the candidates of the rest.

Incomparably the most odious of these cliques were those of the clergy, who seemed to hesitate at no moral humiliation which would further their ambitious plans. There was no flattery, no complaisance to which they would not stoop, if they could only capture popularity among the lowest of the people. They trumpeted their own merits in every direction, and got them still more effectually trumpeted by the dictated eulogiums of their partisans. On the other hand, no amount of subterranean calumny was too gross if it served to dim the hopes or dash the prospects of a possible rival. As for the civil functionaries and Court officials, they were constantly receiving the visits of the clergy, who bowed before them with the most abject abasement. Money was spent with profusion in the furtherance of their intrigues. From dawn to dusk the baths, the colonnades, the church porches, the markets, had but one theme of common interest—who was to be the new Archbishop?

'I know,' some bourgeois would say mysteriously as he stood in a group of gossipmongers.

'You know?' another would answer, with disdainful curiosity. 'Who is it, then?'

'Ah! that's telling. But I don't mind giving you a hint. It's one of the priests of the Church of the Anastasia.'

'Oh! you mean Alopecius,' said a third. 'There you're out. They could not possibly elect so mere a booby!'

'Ah! but,' said a fourth, 'he knows Castricia, and she has only to whisper his name in the ear of the Emperor, and he's certain. It's not for nothing that he gave her that pair of gold-embroidered shoes which he got all the way from Damascus.'

'Nonsense!' said another. 'Isaac, the monk; he's the man. Trust him!'—and a number of nods, and winks, and wreathed smiles seemed to appeal to something esoteric in the knowledge of the hearer.

'You're about right,' chimed in another. 'Besides, he's got hold of Marsa, who is much more powerful than Castricia, for she's a sort of aunt of the new Empress.'

'How sapient you all are!' answered another. 'None of you know the least thing about it. Isidore the Egyptian—he'll be the man, you'll see. The Patriarch Theophilus is moving heaven and earth to get him elected—no one knows why, unless it is that he may keep him under his thumb, and rule Constantinople with a rod of iron, as he rules Alexandria.'

'What a shame to thrust a low Egyptian on us!' they murmured.

'You are all reckoning without your host, and Theophilus too,' said another. 'There's one person who'll have more to say to the matter than even the Emperor himself, and that's the eunuch.'

'Eutropius!' they all exclaimed.

'Yes, Eutropius! Did you ever know any pie in which he had not his finger since he got rid of Rufinus?'

'Ah!' said another, 'then that's why a certain person took a costly necklace of pearls to the Chamberlain's sister yesterday.'

'A certain person! Who?'

'Serapion,' answered the speaker, who hated Serapion with a perfect hatred, because he had been reproved by him for cheating and perjury.

'That's just a lie out of your own wicked head,' hotly retorted the other. "Whatever the other may be, Serapion is a perfectly honest man, and if the patriarchate can only be picked out of the gutter, he would not stoop there for it.'

All this odious chatter was going on day by day and week by week; and the clergy, who were so largely mixed up with it, were sinking lower and lower into the contempt of all earnest Christians. There were many who even dreaded that the rivalry of cliques might deluge Constantinople with cruel massacre, as it had deluged Rome in the struggle for the Papacy between Damasus and Ursicinus in 367, when a hundred and thirty-seven corpses had hideously defiled, not only the Italian and Liberian basilicas, but even the floor of the Church of St. Agnes.

There seemed no end to the matter, and at last even the populace grew so weary and so ashamed of a struggle which seemed to banish from the Christian Church even the dregs of spirituality, that they agreed in a public assembly to leave the decision in the hands of the Emperor, entreating him to choose neither an intriguer, nor a nonentity, nor a time-serving worldling, but someone who by his ability and by his goodness would sustain the best traditions of a see over which a Gregory of Nazianzus had once presided.

That seemed likely to settle the matter in favour of the Egyptian presbyter, Isidore. The Emperor was believed to incline to him; Arcadius had succumbed to the ascendency of the bad hypocrite, Theophilus of Alexandria, a man who, in his boundless ambition, his hateful unscrupulosity, and his fierce cruelty when he was aroused to envy or hatred, was perhaps the worst type of many bad forms of priestliness in an evil age.

Nobody who knew him dreamt of crediting Theophilus with any pure motive. It was not generally known why he had pledged all his influence in favour of his obscure presbyter, Isidore, but it was generally believed that he would like to see a man of no distinction appointed, that he might bind him to himself by personal gratitude, and sufficiently dominate over him to render the throne of Constantinople entirely subordinate to that of Alexandria.

No doubt that motive existed, but there was another and a worse behind. Isidore was in possession of one of Theophilus's many dark secrets, and the Patriarch was prepared to pay any price to obviate the serious, but quite imaginary, possibility of being blackmailed by his own presbyter. He need not have been afraid. The only blackmailer was his own guilty conscience. Isidore was an honest man, and so little was he cognisant of the designs of his 94

Patriarch, that when they were mentioned to him he fled back to Alexandria.

For Theophilus, whose eye was ever fixed, not on Heaven, but on the main chance, had seriously compromised himself nine years before; and the sense that he had done so must have been one of the many skeletons which occupied the dark places of his soul. In the year 387 the usurper Maximus, taking advantage of the youthful helplessness of Valentinian II., had invaded Italy, and though Theodosius had advanced to the defence of the young Emperor, the issue of the contest was highly uncertain. Theophilus wanted to profit by the victory of either; but as he had not the gift of prophecy, and could not tell which was the more likely to succeed, he prepared presents and sent letters of congratulation both to Maximus and to Theodosius, which were to be delivered according as victory declared for the usurper or the Emperor. Someone had necessarily to be taken into the Patriarch's confidence, and he entrusted Isidore to proceed to Rome with the duplicate letters. As fortune decided for Theodosius, Isidore presented to him the letter which bore his address. But he did not bring back with him to Alexandria the letter addressed to Maximus. He returned home precipitately, as though in great alarm, and declared that the deacon who accompanied him had stolen the letter to Maximus. Had that been the case, there was little doubt that the letter would be heard of again; but Theophilus wrongfully suspected that it was still in Isidore's possession, and there were popular rumours to that effect. The silence and complicity of Isidore were worth purchasing at any cost. His allegiance might be finally secured at the superb price of the Archbishopric of Constantinople, and Theophilus felt so sure of carrying his election that, for the first time for many years, he began to feel a little more at ease.

We shall hear the final fate of Isidore hereafter. His ultimate ruin was only one of a long black-list of crimes committed by this man, who was amongst the most eminent ecclesiastics of his day. But the times were very bad in the Church, as in the State. The evidence under this head which comes to us from every side is overwhelming and conclusive. Another Isidore, the famous saint and abbot of Pelusium, says: 'Once pastors would die for their flocks; now they destroy the sheep by causing them to stumble.... Once they distributed their goods to the needy; now they appropriate what belongs to the poor.... Once they practised virtue; now they ostracise those who do.' 'Once men avoided the episcopate because of the greatness of its authority; now they rush into it because of the greatness of its luxury. Abate your pride, relax your superciliousness, remember that you are but as they. Do not use the arms of the priesthood against the priesthood itself.' 'There are bishops who live up to the Apostolic standard. If you say "very few ," I do not deny it.'

The decision as to the Archbishopric of Constantinople was now in the hands of the Emperor Arcadius, which, as everyone knew, meant that it was in the hands of the eunuch Eutropius. The Chamberlain was not in the slightest degree interested in the intrigues either of Theophilus or of any of the clergy of Constantinople. They only filled him with an amused but cynical disgust. He had determined on a coup de théâtre; he meant that Chrysostom, whom no one had ever mentioned or dreamed of, should be Archbishop. He had heard Chrysostom preach in Antioch, and had been stirred to the depths of his heart. He filled the Emperor with the praises of his eloquence, and of his genius.

'He will be the glory of your Empire,' said Eutropius. 'His fame will throw the Patriarchs of Alexandria and of the West into the shade. His speech rushes like the Nile in flood. No one has ever heard anything like it.'

Arcadius obeyed the behest of his Minister with his usual sheepish nonchalance. His government was a mere slumber, in which he never did anything but what he was told by his master for the time being.

'But will John come?' he asked.

'I will manage that,' answered Eutropius.

'But will not the Antiochenes rebel, and prevent his removal?'

'Oh! I will manage all that. Only let your Eternity leave it to me, and enjoy the pageant I have provided for you to-night.'

That night, when the palace revels were over, Eutropius gave an unusually magnificent reception at the house of his sister. The clergy attended it in throngs, with the intense desire of currying favour and making themselves agreeable. Theophilus was present in all his pomp, and was surrounded by their adulations. Wherever he turned they were on their knees, beseeching the blessings which he scattered on all sides with the most peachripening of smiles. He felt perfectly certain of success, and was convinced that before the reception was over Eutropius would announce that the decision of the Emperor had fallen on his presbyter, Isidore. Eutropius did not undeceive him, but with a very humble bow, before the assemblage broke up, said to him in the general hearing:

'May the humblest of the human race request a word with your Beatitude before you retire?'

'Certainly,' said the Patriarch, with bland alacrity, now more than ever sure that his long intrigues had been crowned with success.

'I thought that it might be interesting to your Sanctity, and to our friends in general, to know that the long vacancy in the Archbishopric has now at last been filled up.'

The eye of Theophilus glittered as he expressed his conviction that the Emperor's sacred majesty would be sure to have made a worthy choice, which all the world would approve.

'Surely, surely,' said the eunuch, devoutly. 'His Eternity the Emperor, son of the holy and orthodox Theodosius, could not possibly do otherwise.'

'And the new Archbishop is——?' asked Theophilus.

'I quite agree with your Beatitude that the nomination will give universal delight,' said Eutropius, who, with a keen sense of amused malignity, was playing with the Patriarch and the assembled clergy as a cat plays with a mouse.

'Only you have forgotten to name the fortunate candidate,' said Theophilus. 'Doubtless it is my saintly presbyter, Isidore.'

'Oh no!' said Eutropius, blandly; 'it is no Egyptian. It is someone much more worthy and much more widely known than the nobody-in- particular Isidore.'

Theophilus was in an agony of dread and disappointment. 'Who is it?' he asked, almost foaming with rage.

'Yes,' said Eutropius, pretending not to have heard the question. 'Quite true. I was telling the Emperor all about him this afternoon. He is the idol of his Church, the favourite of his people, a great writer, an ascetic, most purely orthodox, a man of dauntless independence, and of burning eloquence.'

It would have required a layman adequately to express the fury of Theophilus. He felt a mad desire to throttle the eunuch then and there, or at least, as he was accustomed to do in Egypt, to smite him such a blow in the face that the blood would flow. But he had to master his passion, and as the little, bald, wrinkled old man continued to rub his hands and to eye him with a gratified smile, he turned his back, and said:

'If you choose to play with the feelings and insult the patience of all these reverend bishops and presbyters, and to conceal from us the Emperor's nomination, this is no place for me, and I can only retire.'

'Oh!' said Eutropius, 'have I not mentioned his name? I beg your Beatitude's pardon a thousand times. It is—' after a slight pause, during which he watched the Patriarch with wickedly twinkling eyes—'it is John, the Presbyter of Antioch.'

'John—the—Presbyter—of—Antioch!' repeated the clergy, in astonished tones.

'John, the Presbyter of Antioch,' repeated the Chamberlain; 'an eloquent man, as Paul says, and mighty in the Scriptures.'

It was as though a thunderbolt had fallen into the midst of them, shattering a multitude of ambitions. But no one was more profoundly disturbed than Theophilus. He had been outwitted—and by an eunuch! His influence had been set at nought, his earnest solicitations thrown back, as it were, in his face! But that was by no means all. He had heard enough of Chrysostom to know that he was the last man to allow himself to be overpowered by domineering arrogance, the last man to play the part of a complaisant subordinate and a flattering colleague. Theophilus might have made many another man—even such a man as St. Jerome—the tool and catspaw of his machinations, but John of Antioch? No! And was not John the favourite presbyter of Flavian, who had deliberately set at nought the citations of Theophilus, and had called him 'an arrogant and overweening Egyptian'?

'I am sure that your Beatitude will feel exceptional gratification in consecrating John,' said Eutropius, rippling with laughter, which became less and less controllable as he marked the Patriarch's fierce discomfiture.

Something very like a curse was smothered in the voluminous folds of the beard of Theophilus, as he hissed out, 'I will never consecrate him.'

Eutropius heard, and laughed more merrily than ever, but affected not to have heard, and said: 'I must now wish good-night to all your reverences and your sanctities, and all the other illustrious guests who have honoured by their presence my poor abode; but perhaps his Beatitude of Alexandria will deign to give me one word in private before he departs.'

The glittering assembly buzzed into groups, and speedily broke up, leaving Theophilus standing alone. He was so absorbed in passionate thought that he hardly remembered where he was till a hand pulled his robe.

He started, and saw the eye of the Chamberlain fixed on him.

'Excuse me,' said Eutropius, whose whole manner had changed to one of insolent triumph, 'I think you said you would never consecrate John.'

'Never!' said Theophilus.

'What! Never?'

'Never!' repeated the Patriarch, stamping his foot, and with a glance which, like that of the basilisk, would have struck the eunuch dead if its power had equalled its will.

Eutropius smiled, and drew from his bosom a little bundle of papers. 'Look here,' he said. 'Here is a certain letter you once wrote to Maximus. Double-dealing is dangerous—especially for Patriarchs; and high treason is a very serious matter.'

The face of Theophilus grew pale as death, and he trembled.

'You will consecrate John,' said the Chamberlain, 'or——'; he tapped the papers with his finger, and saluted him with a mocking bow. He left him; but after he had taken a few paces he turned round to look at him. Theophilus was standing in an attitude of despair, and had lifted his clenched hands to heaven; but when he saw Eutropius looking at him he turned haughtily and indignantly away.

'What can I do?' he exclaimed to himself when he reached the sumptuous chamber which he occupied. 'The wretch holds my life in his hands. Curses on him! But I will watch, and by the God of heaven I will be avenged, I will be avenged!'

Eutropius went into his library, and flung himself on the chair of ebon inlaid with ivory which stood before his writing-table. He recalled the past, and contrasted it with the present. 'I have triumphed,' he said. 'I am avenged on the cruelty and baseness of the world. My own parents betrayed my helpless infancy; they received my price from the slavedealers of Armenia. They sold me to an Egyptian master. While my youth and beauty lasted he was kind to me, and I loved him; without one pang he sold me to Arintheus, and I had to do his vilest messages. Arintheus gave me to his daughter; I became a slave of the Gynæceum. I had to fan women with peacocks' feathers, to heat their baths, to carry their burdens, until that hateful Megæra, not even deigning to sell me, turned me out of doors as of no value. Would to God I had flung myself into the Nile, and not borne those years of turpitude and infamy! But Abundantius got me a place among the lowest eunuchs of the palace; and now,' he cried, striking the table with his fist, 'now I am here! My own skill, my own genius has lifted me. Theodosius himself sent me on the mission to John, the Egyptian eremite, who foretold his death in Italy when he went to fight Eugenius. I struck down the mighty Rufinus in his towering pride. As for Arcadius, I lead him about as if he were—a cow. I have brought every one of my foes to my feet, and now I have humbled to the dust this wicked and wily Patriarch. Stilico himself fears me. My name is eulogised by millions of lips. I am practically the ruler of the world; and—' he broke into a storm of bitter sobs, and laid his head on his folded hands—'and the vilest wretch who sweeps the streets of Constantinople is happier than I. Would to God I had never been born!'

A hand was laid gently on his shoulder. He looked up with a start. It was his sister, who had silently entered the room—the only being on earth whom he loved. She was past middle life, but still showed something of the beauty which once had marked them both.

He smiled at her sadly, the tears still in his eyes. She would not notice them. 'You have done a noble deed, my brother,' she said, 'in making John of Antioch the new Patriarch. He is a good man.'

'I am a Christian and a Catholic,' he answered. 'Would that I were a better Christian!' He paused; and his conscience whispered to him that he relied on words and formulæ alone, and that his many misdeeds—his greed, his revengefulness, the malice and hatred and wrath which he nursed in his heart against all mankind—were utterly unchristian. 'But,' he said, 'John of Antioch was the best man whom I knew among all the clergy of the Empire, and in selecting him I have acted right, and in a way which will win me deserved popularity. But as for gratitude, sister—alas! I never found a trace of it on earth!'


XV. — THE CAPTURE OF CHRYSOSTOM

Fortune? There is no fortune! All is trial, or punishment, or recompense, or foresight.
—Voltaire.

It was a morning in February. Chrysostom was arranging with the faithful and indefatigable Philip the duties of the day after they had shared the morning meal of bread and dates. Suddenly they heard a summons at the door, and old Phlegon came in to say that there stood outside a slave in the gorgeous livery of the governor of the city, who had brought a letter.

'What can he want at this early hour?' said Philip as he cut the silken band; broke the Government seal, and handed the letter to the Presbyter. Chrysostom read with some surprise, 'Asterius, Count of the East, requests the Presbyter John to give him the honour of his company an hour hence at the Roman Gate, that he may have the advantage of visiting in his company the Martyry of St. Lucianus.'

He handed it to Philip with a smile.

'Well, that upsets all our plans,' said Philip. 'But how odd! An interest in martyries was the last thing of which I should have suspected his Excellency. But it will be a delightful little excursion along the banks of the Orontes. You will let me walk with you as far as the Roman Gate? We must start almost immediately to get there in time.'

A few minutes later they set forth from the house in Singon Street, in which Chrysostom had been born, in which he had lived nearly all his life, and in which his father Secundus, his mother Anthusa, and his only sister had died. It was a burning morning of the Syrian spring, and as they passed in happy spirits through the streets—gazing now at the great Charonium, now at the statue of the Fortune of Antioch, now at the house which had been Philip's former home, and now at the glancing river, seen in glimpses here and there, and at the long colonnades, and the palaces, and the distant hills gleaming in the sunshine—the last thought which could occur to their minds would have been that thenceforth, to one of them for long years, and to the other for ever, those bright scenes would from that moment vanish from their lives, that they would never again tread, side by side, those old, familiar streets. Chrysostom could not have left the home of his parents, of his childhood, and of so many happy and fruitful years, without many a sob had he distantly suspected that when he walked from his paternal door so unconsciously he would never again set foot upon its threshold. Philip's heart would have been torn with reminiscences of his father's execution, his mother's sad death, his cruel punishment, the horrible fate of his boyish friends, if he could have dreamed how long it was before he could look on Antioch again.

A little before they reached the Roman Gate Asterius met them, all smiles and complaisance. Several of his bodyguard and slaves had escorted him, and fell back as Chrysostom and Philip approached. They were a little at a loss to know why he smiled so much, and was so very deferential; but they were soon to learn that—

A man may smile, and smile, and be...

—well, no, not exactly a villain, but the accomplice in a little plot.

The Martyry was not far beyond the city walls, and lay in an umbrageous grove of oaks and laurels. Asterius was walking with Chrysostom, and Philip followed them, a little in front of the escort. But no sooner had they turned into the path which led to the chapel than Asterius took Chrysostom by the arm, and requested him to step into a chariot which was there waiting.

'I am sorry, Count,' said Chrysostom, 'but I have my duties at Antioch, and directly we have paid our devotions at the shrine of the martyr I must return.'

'Pray oblige me,' said the Count, still all smiles; and meanwhile the escort had come up, and, with gentle and respectful violence, lifted the astonished and agitated Presbyter into 103 the chariot, and instantly started off at full speed.

'What is this, Count? What does this violence mean? Have you entrapped me? What has happened? Am I to be suddenly murdered, as Count Lucian was?'

'Pray be at ease, Father,' said the Count. 'I cannot explain matters at present, but not the smallest harm or incivility is intended you.'

'Incivility!' said Chrysostom. 'Is it, then, no incivility to seize an unoffending presbyter, entrap him into a chariot, and drive away with him he knows not where?'

'Pardon me, dear Presbyter,' said the Count, still with a smile of provoking amiability. 'The chariot is bounding along at such a rate over this paved road that I can scarcely hear you. But, pray, do not be agitated. Not the least injury will be done. Quite the contrary. I am only taking you a little drive as far as Pagræ, the first station.'

Chrysostom sank into silence, for, though he was lost in the wildest conjectures, it seemed useless to attempt to obtain any more information from the sphinx-like Count.

But Philip?

When the chariot bounded off at full speed he was extremely alarmed, and all the more because before it disappeared in a cloud of dust the soldiers and slaves who had accompanied the Count burst into roars of laughter. They were not in the secret, but they knew that no crime was meditated, and to them the situation had considerable elements of amusement. To Philip's wildly- eager inquiries they could furnish no information, beyond the assurance of Asterius that all was well, and that they should hear more on the Count's return. One thing only they were sure of—that Chrysostom would be detained away from Antioch for some time.

Philip was a youth of courage and swift decision. He instantly determined what to do. He hurried back through the Roman Gate, hired a horse, galloped to Singon Street, told the troubled servants that their master had been taken off by Count Asterius, and would be absent for some time. Then, not wasting a moment, he threw into a leathern bag some of Chrysostom's manuscripts and the things which he thought he would most immediately need, and once more galloped towards Pagræ at the utmost speed to which he could urge his horse.

A little before he reached the station, which was twelve miles from Antioch, he met the returning chariot of Asterius, in which, besides the Count, there was only one attendant and the charioteer. Asterius seemed still to be lost in smiles. He had a notion that the Presbyter John would be in a perfectly ecstatic state of mind when he first learnt the secret that he was to be Patriarch of Constantinople.[6]

6. The actual name 'Patriarch' is not found in public documents till rather later, but the historian Socrates uses it, and it was almost certainly current in common parlance.

Philip reined in his horse, and, forgetful of everything but his own alarm, called to the Count:

'Oh, my lord! what has become of the Presbyter John?'

'Don't be alarmed, my good youth,' said the Count, waving to him a gracious and muchringed hand, but not stopping the chariot.

Philip again darted forward.

At Pagræ there was quite a commotion—for there were two imperial chariots, with their gorgeously caparisoned horses, and by them stood two persons, evidently of the highest distinction, escorted by two decuries of mounted soldiers in full armour, which flashed in the sunlight.

There were again the same mysterious smiles, the same marked deference, but the same obvious determination to control the movements of Chrysostom. The two officials at once approached with most courteous salutations.

'I,' said one of them, advancing, 'am Amantius, the almoner of the Empress Eudoxia, and I offer my most respectful greetings to John the Presbyter.'

'And I,' said the other, 'am Aurelian, Magister Militum of the Emperor Arcadius. And these two bands of soldiers are at your service as an escort, for they are under my command.'

'What do you want with me?' said Chrysostom, indignantly. 'The Count of the East has simply carried me hither against my will.'

'I fear we shall have to take the liberty of conveying you a little farther,' said Aurelian, with polite deference.

'Whither?' said Chrysostom.

Aurelian glanced at Amantius, to know whether it was safe to tell him his destination. The official shook his head.

'At present, John, we cannot tell you,' he said; 'you shall know a little farther on.'

'But I have brought absolutely nothing with me. I merely started from home for a morning walk. May I not send to Antioch for things absolutely necessary?'

'We have everything which you can possibly require, and it is entirely at your disposal. But, pardon me, time is very precious. We have ample refreshments for you in the chariot, and at the next station we will sup.'

At this moment Philip galloped into the courtyard of the hostelry, and, catching sight of his master and adopted father, flung himself into his arms, and asked what had happened.

'You must ask these gentlemen, my Philip,' said the Presbyter. 'They will give me no information.'

'I have brought you some things from home,' said Philip, 'and wherever you go I will go.'

'Nay, that cannot be, my good youth,' said Aurelian, kindly. 'We have no orders to conduct anyone but John.'

Philip glanced from the soldier to the kind face of the eunuch, who seemed to be higher in authority, and he said:

'Oh, sir! may I speak to you privately?'

'Only for one moment, then,' replied Amantius, stepping aside; 'we are wasting very precious time.'

'Sir,' said Philip, 'the Presbyter John is a man of very delicate health. His digestion was utterly ruined when he lived as a hermit in the cave on Mount Silpius. In everything which concerns himself he is as simple as a child. He would never trouble himself about food or anything else unless someone attended to him. I have waited on him for years as a son. I entreat you, let me accompany him. I will be entirely faithful. I will make no plots. I am ready to go with him either to prison or to death.'

'You are a brave and gracious youth,' said Amantius, gazing with admiration on Philip's flushed but beautiful face. 'Well, I will stretch a point, and will speak to the Commandant.' 106

He told Aurelian what the youth had said.

'Will you be responsible for him?' asked the soldier.

'Yes.'

'Then he may come. But we must at once mount the chariots. Young man,' he said to Philip, 'we are sending one of our soldiers to Asterius. He can ride your horse back to Antioch, and you can borrow his.'

'And feel no alarm, my young friend,' said Amantius. 'John is happy to have such a faithful attendant as you.'

'I thank you, sir,' said Philip. 'He has twice saved my life. I owe him everything.'

'Forward, soldiers!' shouted Aurelian; and the chariots, with their mounted escort, started at full gallop.

It was useless to ask any more questions. If he attempted to do so,

The Chamberlain, sedate and vain,
In courteous words returned reply,
But dallied with his golden chain,
And, smiling, put the question by.


But Chrysostom, who was accustomed to kind care in all personal matters, as greatly cheered and relieved, whatever should happen, by the company of his beloved and faithful Philip; and for the rest, wholly unable to conjecture in his simple mind what the future had in store for him, he resigned himself and his fortunes into the hand of God.


XVI. — TALES BY THE WAY

For Heaven's sake, let us sit upon the ground
And tell sad stories of the death of kings.

—Shakespeare, King Richard, ii., iii. 2.

Apart from the fatigues of travel and the necessary uncertainty and anxiety, the journey of eight hundred miles towards Constantinople was as pleasant for Chrysostom as his captors could make it. The modern love for beautiful scenery was in those days but little developed; but John was one of the few who keenly enjoyed the beauties of Nature, and he could not be indifferent to the glorious scenes through which the journey lay. When they did not arrive at their station till after dusk he would often sit silent, gazing on the stars—'those eternal flowers of heaven,' as St. Basil calls them—and musing on his own unknown future, and on the little lives of men. He was also deeply interested in seeing the home of St. Paul's boyhood as they passed through Tarsus, and looked on the silver Cydnus, up which Cleopatra had rowed in her gilded barge.

Had the circumstances been less mysterious Philip would have been wild with delight as he galloped among the soldiery of the escort. He felt the exhilaration of change and exercise, and new glimpses of the great world; and he was naturally a favourite with the soldiers, who delighted in his witty Antiochene jokes and in his buoyant freshness of spirits, while they were struck with the genuine innocence and sweetness of his character. He did not share their rough quarters, but took his meals with Chrysostom and the two great officials, and slept at his master's feet, or in an anteroom.

They reached Pessinus, the capital of Galatia, after several days of almost unbroken travel. There Chrysostom and Philip looked with interest on the legend-haunted heights of Mount Dindymus, and saw the ancient temple of the mother of the gods, in which the Emperor Julian had recently paid his devotions.

Amantius and Aurelian had become more and more attached to their captive and his young companion; they no longer made any secret of the fact that they were conveying him to Constantinople. They pretended that it would be as much as their lives were worth to say why he was wanted; and he could not himself even form a guess, for he dismissed as preposterous the only conjecture which flitted across his mind. That he could have been elevated to the Patriarchate of Constantinople seemed to him an absurdity; and he would have shuddered at the prospect instead of being elated by it.

The sight of the Temple of Cybele, from which the heaven-fallen image had been carried to Rome six centuries earlier, naturally turned their thoughts to heathen idolatry, and as they rested in the evening Aurelian said:

'Idolatry is, I suppose, nearly as ancient as mankind itself; but such is the epoch in which we live that I have myself seen it receive its deathblows.'

'Do you refer to the edicts of Theodosius?' asked Chrysostom, 'or to Ambrose's crushing answer to Symmachus, when he pleaded with Gratian to restore the altar of victory in the Senate-house of Rome?'

'No. I refer to the destruction of the Temple of Serapis and the battle of Frigidus. I was present at both.'

'Do tell us about the destruction of the Serapeum.'

'It was an event of deep interest,' said Aurelian, 'but I wish I could regard it with unmixed approval. The Christians, especially the monks, after Theodosius had forbidden sacrifices in 386, had headed many furious assaults on temples. Heathens like Libanius say that they found their account in doing so. They did not always escape unpunished. Rustic populations were passionately devoted to ancient shrines, like this one as Pessinus, which were mixed up with all their memories and traditions. You have, no doubt, heard how Marcellus, the lame Bishop of Apamea, was killed in his attack on the great Temple of Jupiter. But no temple was so famous as that of Serapis. It had been founded by the first Ptolemy, and Alexandria itself was called "The City of Serapis." The temple stood on a mound which was ascended by a hundred marble steps. It was of enormous size, had a great library, and was full of exquisite statues and precious works of art. The very walls were covered with plates of silver and gold. The rising of the Nile, and therefore the prosperity and almost the existence of Egypt, was, by the mass of the population, believed to depend on the favour of Serapis. Libanius had unwisely taunted Theodosius with leaving untouched the great temples at Rome, Constantinople, and Alexandria, while he allowed the smaller temples to be assaulted, destroyed, and, alas! plundered by the monks. Theophilus of Alexandria, saving his reverence a bold, bad man, at once sanguinary and avaricious——'

'Hush!' said Chrysostom, who never hesitated to rebuke even the greatest if he thought it a duty.

'Well,' said Aurelian, 'he really is all I say, and worse; and the blessed Paul told the High Priest that he was a whited wall.'

'Yes,' answered Chrysostom, 'but directly he knew that he was the High Priest he apologised, and said, "It is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people."'

'I stand corrected, John,' answered Aurelian with a smile, for he was a soldier, and admired straightforward courage. 'But to continue. Theophilus had already profaned and dismantled a temple of Osiris, and the worshippers of Serapis, fearing the next step, garrisoned the Serapeum. The Christians assembled to attack it, and there would have been bloodshed, but the magistrates secured a truce till the Emperor could be consulted. Theodosius decided for the demolition of the temple, in revenge for the Christian prisoners whom the Pagans had tortured and killed. It was at once despoiled and demolished. But when the multitude entered the shrine where the huge gilded idol sat enthroned, with the basket on his head and the three- headed monster in his right hand, they paused in superstitious dread. Heaven and earth would collapse, it was believed, if the majesty of the god were violated. But one of my rude soldiers had no such fear. He put a ladder against the statue, and ascended it, amid the breathless silence of the multitude, with a huge battle-axe in his hand. Then the audacious legionary dashed his axe on the face of the image with all his force, and smote off its cheek. The mob expected to see him struck dead or blind; but no lightning flashed, no cloud darkened the blue of heaven. He smote again and again, while the hall rang with the echo of his blows. In a minute or two the hollow head of the image rolled with a clang on the marble floor, and out sprang an immemorial colony of rats, whose home had been thus rudely invaded. No sooner did the mob see the black, voracious creatures leaping and scurrying off in every direction than superstition was changed into angry contempt. The protector of heaven and earth had not been even able to protect his own rats! The people broke into shouts of laughter, swarmed up the pedestal, tore down the image, tripudiated on its shattered fragments as they dragged them through the mire of the streets, and ultimately flung them into a huge bonfire. There was a little delay in the rising of the Nile, and when it did rise it threatened a deluge. "Serapis," they murmured, "will avenge himself." But no; the waters sank to the due fertilising height, and even in Alexandria Serapis will never be worshipped more!'

Chrysostom listened, and mused.

'But, sir,' said Philip, modestly, to Aurelian, 'you said you had also witnessed the other deathblow to Paganism.'

'Ah! I see,' said Aurelian, 'your youthful blood is all on fire to hear about battles. I have been in many. Believe me they are frightful things, even when we are victors. I remember only too well the massacre of Adrianople. I was near the person of the Emperor Valens on that awful August 9, 378. It was only by a moment's delay that I was shut out of the cottage in which he was burnt to death with his followers, while the barbarians were massacring two-thirds of the Roman army, of which, but for the darkness, none would have escaped. Alas! it was the Nemesis of our crimes! If Valens admitted the Goths over the Danube to the hospitality of Roman territory, he should not have suffered them to be insulted and starved. Yet, even after the retribution of Adrianople we were guilty, that very year, of the horrid butchery of all the deceived and unarmed Gothic youth, which I for one regard as the most frightful of all evil omens and hateful crimes.'

'I would not ask you about those shocking scenes,' said Philip; 'but how did the battle of the Frigidus put an end to Paganism?'

'I must answer you briefly,' said Aurelian. 'It was September 6, 394; Eugenius, the puppetemperor of Arbogast the Gaul, had pretended to espouse the cause of the Pagans. In the mountainous passes he had placed statues of Jupiter, with his right hand uplifted as though to strike, and armed with golden thunderbolts. The battle was very risky, for Arbogast had posted his forces with great skill. The first day the enemy got the best of it. The Goths of Arbogast routed those under Gaïnas and slew 10,000 of them. Theodosius, pressed by many of his generals, would have retreated to a safer encampment, if he had not thought that this would look like a defeat of Christianity. "Our Labarum, which bears the cross on it," he cried, "shall never retreat before the image of Heracles."

'There was among the allies one superb young Goth, named Alaric, who, if I am not much mistaken, will be heard of again; he, almost alone, urged the Emperor to renew the battle. The enemy spent the night in songs and revelries; Theodosius spent it in prayer. When he slept he saw two terrible figures on white horses, who told him that they were St. John and St. Philip come to fight for him. Next morning he dared not narrate the dream to his troops, lest they should think it a fiction, until a soldier said he had dreamt the very same thing. Then Theodosius told his vision. His robe was wet with tears, and when he took it off to don his cuirass he hung the wet purple garment on a tree, as though in silent appeal to Heaven. Our men were filled with wild enthusiasm; but even then I doubt whether we should have won if suddenly—may I say supernaturally?—the bora, the blinding, driving, sleet-laden whirlwind of these mountains, had not burst in the very faces of Arbogast's troops. We rushed upon them in the track of the storm, and utterly routed them. Theodosius charged into the thick of the fray, shouting, "Where is the Lord God of Theodosius?" Eugenius was not fighting, as Theodosius did, in the forefront of the battle, but his tent was pitched on a knoll at a safe distance, and he sat in the tent-door in his purple and his diadem.

He was seized by soldiers who, he fancied, had come to drag Theodosius a captive into his presence. They tore off his purple and dragged him to the feet of his conqueror, where he prostrated himself, trembling. Theodosius upbraided him with the murder of the young Valentinian. While he was pleading for life one of the soldiers swept off his head with a sword, and put it on a pike. Then our men flung down the statues of Jupiter, and, seizing the golden thunderbolts, took them to Theodosius. "Keep them for yourselves," said the Emperor, who was in one of his gayest moods. "Thank you, Emperor!" said the soldiers; "may we often be smitten by such thunderbolts!" Theodosius rolled in his saddle with laughter at their rough wit. They took up the laugh—and so Paganism perished, at Alexandria and at the Frigidus, in two shouts of mirth!'

'How sad that Theodosius should have died so soon after his great victory!' said Chrysostom. 'But John, the Egyptian hermit, prophesied that it would be so.'

'Yes! he exchanged the laurelled car for the coffin, and passed from triumph to the funeral. He has died just when he was most needed. You are hardly likely to have read the verses of a new and splendid Roman poet named Claudian, the eulogist of Stilico, but he makes the dying Theodosius say, and quite truly—you understand Latin?—

Res incompositas, fateor, tumidasque reliqui.'[7]

7. Claudian, De Bell. Gild., vi. 293.

'Were you with him when he died?'

'I was. I was on guard, and a wonderfully pretty and touching scene took place in his sick-room. Knowing that his last hour was near, he sent for his younger son, Honorius, then little more than a child. The Emperor was so weak that he could not preside all day at the games of the circus given in honour of his victory; so in the afternoon the little boy Honorius took his place. To secure the allegiance of Stilico he married the boy to Maria, the daughter of Stilico and Serena, his niece, who had always had a great influence over him. The two 113

lovely children knelt by his bedside—Honorius with his placid, regular features, and Maria with her rosy cheeks and long golden locks. Stilico was there, his white head nobly conspicuous as he towered over the rest of the courtiers. The beautiful Serena bent over her little daughter. She wore the superb necklace of pearls which she took, perhaps wrongly, from the neck of the statue of Rhea, the mother of the gods.'

'Did not the old Vestal Virgin prophesy that one day she would be strangled with that very necklace?' asked Amantius.

'Ay,' said Aurelian, 'but I don't think it likely that the prophecy will be fulfilled. I could tell you many more incidents. I witnessed, for instance, the murder of that bright youth, the Emperor Gratian. But we must now go to sleep, for we have a long ride before us to- morrow.'

At Nicæa, on the eastern shore of Lake Ascanius, Chrysostom visited with deep interest the church in which, seventy-two years earlier, the first Christian emperor had been present at the first great Œcumenical Council. From thence a day's journey brought them to Nicomedia, the capital of Bithynia, the favourite residence of Diocletian before his

Self-corrected mind
The imperial farces of the world resigned,

and he retired to find greater happiness in the cultivation of cabbages at Salona. As they passed the village of Ancyron the chariots were stayed for half an hour that Chrysostom might visit the house and the room in which the great Constantine had ended the splendid and troubled dream of his strange life.

He suggested that evening that Amantius should enliven their journey with some of his reminiscences.

'I have been, naturally,' said Amantius, with a sigh, 'a man of peace; yet I have seen one or two scenes which interested me in the East, as Aurelian has in the West. He has said something about the great Ambrose. I could tell you something about the great Basil and his brother, Gregory of Nyssa, and his friend, Gregory of Nazianzus; something, too, about the Emperor Julian and his ways.'

'Tell us something about Basil of Cæsarea,' said Chrysostom.

'The only time I saw him,' said Amantius, 'was in the great cathedral of his metropolis. The Emperor Valens was not only an Arian, but a persecutor. He entered the densely thronged cathedral with his spear- bearers—it is nearly twenty years ago—to overawe Basil into communicating with the Arians. The people were pressing on each other like the waves of the sea, and were thundering forth the Psalms of the day. Behind the Holy Table, facing the people, stood the Archbishop, his crosier in his hand, the episcopal ring on his finger, the white pallium, embroidered with its four crosses, over his shoulder. He stood there tall, stately, immovable as a statue. His beard was long and white, his features thin but noble; his ardent gaze was fixed on the Holy Table; the presbyters stood round him, and the fervour of devotion and beauty of holiness which reigned through the church so struck the timid and conscientious, though cruel, Emperor, that when he came to present his offering he tottered, and would have fallen heavily to the ground if a presbyter had not caught him in his arms. But Valens inspired no respect. The mob of Constantinople openly jeered at him when he went to meet his fate, and from the walls of Chalcedon the people insulted him with shouts of "Sabaiarius," or "small-beer drinker." If they had behaved in that way to his brother, Valentinian I., he would have flung them wholesale to his two bears, Golden-Flake and Innocence, which he kept in a den near his bedroom, and fed on human flesh.'

'The brute!' said Philip, sotto voce.

'Basil was as great in the East as Ambrose in the West,' said Chrysostom; 'but Philip whispers to me that he is dying to know whether you witnessed the murder of Rufinus.'

'Yes; and a grim sight it was. Rufinus did not feel a doubt that on that very day Arcadius would nominate him Augustus. His purple, his diadem, his Court, his largesses, his banquets, his unequalled palace of "The Oak," at Chalcedon, were all prepared; the oration of thanks was hovering on his lips. He had been baptised by Gregory of Nyssa. The holy Ammonius, one of the four "Tall Brothers" of Egypt, had stood sponsor for him. He was murdered in the Hebdomon, seven miles from Constantinople, just after the golden coffin of Theodosius had laid in state in the Church of the Apostles, with the livid face exposed. Rufinus was so eagerly impatient for the consummation of his ambition, which should turn the provincial cobbler's son into an emperor, that he had the audacity to pull Arcadius by his purple robe to hurry him on. Then the chief Gaïnas and his Goths closed round him in threatening circle, and a soldier suddenly plunged his sword into his heart. The Emperor's robe was stained in the blood of his Minister, and he fled in terror. They struck off the head of Rufinus and put it on a pole, fulfilling the prophecy he had received in the morning, "that he should came back that day with his head higher than all." Then they hacked his body to pieces. One soldier had hewed off his hand, and managed to make the fingers open and shut by the severed tendons. He reaped quite a harvest of money in the streets by carrying round this hand, and crying, "Give an obol to the insatiable!" What a lesson it was of sudden Nemesis in the moment of overweening hopes!'

'But have you no reminiscences to tell us, John?' asked Aurelian.

'Nay,' answered Chrysostom; 'what should a humble presbyter like me have to tell? You know all about the affair of the statues at Antioch, and you would hardly care for my trivial experiences in a lonely mountain cave. Yet—let me see—I can tell you one little anecdote. You know that Valens, who was intensely superstitious, was at one time in a paroxysm of alarm about magic.'

'Why was that?' asked Philip.

'Because a group of foolish persons at Antioch had tried by Pagan sorcery to discover the name of his successor. They wrote the letters of the alphabet in a circle, and held a ring by a hair in the middle of the circle after elaborate incantations. The ring vibrated till it had touched in succession the letters THEOD. But, besides this, it was afterwards declared that the letters magically chosen were in four heroic verses, which said that the successor of 116

Valens would be a great prince; that they would be put to death for their curiosity, but that vengeance would fall on their murderers, who would perish by fire on the Plains of Mimas. No one knew what was meant by "the Plains of Mimas" till after Valens was burnt alive in the peasant's cottage near Adrianople, when they found there an old tomb inscribed with the words, "Here lies Mimas, a Macedonian Captain."

'The result of the divination was whispered abroad. Filled with fury and jealousy, Valens began to take vengeance. Woe to the man whose name began with Theod! Many Theodoruses and Theodotuses were put to death, and many changed their names; but, after all, his real successor, Theodosius, escaped, for he was then living as a private gentleman on his Spanish farm. But the horrors of that day will not soon be forgotten. Spies and informers sprang up, and flourished like a crop of mushrooms on rotten wood. The punishments were frightful. I myself'—he said, with a shudder—'saw the philosopher Simonides burnt alive in the Forum of Antioch. He died laughing, saying "He fled from life as from a mad mistress." One youth was executed for possessing a magic book, another for using a love-spell. An old woman perished for curing the daughter of a proconsul of fever by a crooning song, a boy for getting rid of a stomach-ache by muttering the vowels of the alphabet. The world went mad with silly superstition. Whole libraries were destroyed by the owners, lest they should be condemned to torture or death for being the unconscious possessors of a single book of sorcery. Many valuable works have thus perished for ever. Well, in those days of grotesque and horrible panic, when one was almost afraid to speak above a whisper, I was walking to the martyry of St. Babylas with my friend Theodore, now Bishop of Mopsuestia. He was in great danger, humble as he was, because of the fatal Theod in his name. We were walking under the flowering groves on the banks of the Orontes, when we saw something white floating on the river. It looked like the leaves of a book, and, moved by curiosity, we fished it out of the water with our staves. What was our horror when a glance showed us that the papyrus was written all over with magic formulæ. A soldier was close at hand. We suspected that he was an informer, and had laid a trap for us. We wrapped a stone in the leaves and flung them into the middle of the river. For days afterwards we were in an agony of apprehension; but by the mercy of God nothing came of it. If the soldier had seen us we should have been lost. To this day I count it as my greatest deliverance from imminent peril.'

'He was a poor creature—that Valens,' said Aurelian.

The next evening they reached Chalcedon, and the waters of the sea shone before them like a sheet of gold. Across the narrow strait of the Bosporus they saw the gleaming walls and towers and palaces of Constantinople, the new Rome.


XVII. — CONSTANTINOPLE

Urbs etiam magnæ dicitur æmula Romæ,
Et Chalcedonias contra despectat arenas.

—Ausonius.

A spacious barge, gay with streamers, was moored for them beside the quay at Chalcedon, with a gilded dragon at its prow and a gorgeous canopy of purple silk. It was manned by five rowers in the imperial livery, who speedily conveyed them across the sparkling waters. To the bewilderment of Chrysostom, whose unworldly simplicity had not even yet divined the secret, a vast multitude lined the opposite shore, and received them with acclamations and shouts of joy, in which he repeatedly heard his own name. The tall chariot of the Prætorian Præfect, who stood highest among 'the illustrious,' awaited them, and in this they were driven at a rapid pace to the Patriarcheion, or house of the archbishop. The streets were cleared before them by a band of liveried runners. The Presbyter looked in mute inquiry to his friendly captors. They only informed him, with renewed smiles, that for the present he would find rooms prepared for him in the Palace of Nectarius, and that, after he had refreshed himself by a bath and a morning meal, some of the palace officials would be waiting to conduct him to an interview, first with the Grand Chamberlain, and then with the Emperor himself.

Resigning himself to circumstances, and suppressing to the utmost of his power every impulse of curiosity, though he was conscious that some great crisis of his life was at hand, Chrysostom gave himself up to silent prayer. But Philip, in the young enthusiasm of his life, was in the highest spirits, and was all eyes. His journey had been full of exhilaration to him, and he delighted to catch a glimpse of a great unknown. Who could fail to look with interest on the famous city which was the rival of Rome? In that rapid drive he could only get confused glimpses of cupolas, and baths, and pillars, and statues, and churches, and ancient temples scattered over the seven hills of Byzantium, until they entered the second of the fourteen regions of the city. It covered the hill on which Constantine had pitched his tent, and he chose it as the site of his principal forum. The chariot drove under a triumphal arch, and on all sides were porticoes filled with the choicest works of ancient Greek statuary. Beside the arch, in a shrine, was the old statue of Cybele, which the Argonauts were said to have brought from Mount Dindymus. It had been turned into a statue of the genius of the city by removing the lions at the feet of the goddess, and altering the arms from a gesture of command to one of supplication. In the centre of the Forum stood a pillar of marble and porphyry 120 feet high. On its summit Constantine had placed a statue of himself, which, with that half-and-halfness which characterised his religious attitude, might be regarded as wearing the attributes either of Christ or of Apollo. Round its head were some of the nailssaid to have been brought by his mother, St. Helena, from Jerusalem as the nails of the Cross; but Pagans might, if they chose, regard them as the radiated crown of the old sun-god. This statue had, however, been replaced by one of Julian, and Julian's by that of Theodosius, which now surmounted the column. In this open space stood the Church of Santa Sophia, or the Holy Wisdom, once a Temple of Peace. South of it was a second forum, a long rectangle, bounded on one side by the wall of the Hippodrome, and on the other by the wall of the Augusteum, or Imperial Palace, now the Seraglio. In this stood the famous Milion, from which all the roads of the East were measured. It was a domed building, surrounded by an arcade of seven pillars, embellished with statues, and containing those of Constantine and St. Helena. On the east side of this second forum ran a long portico, called 'The Passage of Achilles.' The adjacent baths of Zeuxippus were enriched with the Athene of Lindus, the Muses of Helicon, the Amphitrite of Rhodes, the Pan consecrated by the Greeks after the defeat of Xerxes, and others of the loveliest works of the greatest Greek sculptors. North of the famous Baths stood the Senate-house built by Julian, and no sooner had the chariot passed this building than it drew up at a stately palace next to it. This was the Patriarcheion, the residence of Nectarius, and of the Archbishop of Constantinople. How unlike the humble lodging which had sufficed for the great St. Gregory of Nazianzus!

Here Chrysostom and Philip alighted after a courteous farewell to Aurelian and Amantius, whom they thanked heartily for their many acts of kindness and courtesy.

'We shall often meet again,' said Amantius. 'Indeed, we shall see you at the palace in an hour's time.'

A sumptuous breakfast was already laid out, and attendants were in waiting; but Chrysostom told them that he required but little food, and that Philip would wait on him. Philip opened the bag which he had hastily packed at Antioch, and provided the Presbyter with new garments instead of his travel- stained suit. He took the same opportunity to array himself in his best Antiochene costume, and, though he was not vain, a glance at one of the great polished silver mirrors told him that he looked well. When they were a little rested and refreshed Chrysostom, with Philip following him, was conducted in state to have an interview with Eutropius, the all-powerful Minister.

Passing through the great hall of the Patriarch's house—known as the Thomaites—they passed by the little Church of 'Our Lady the Theotokos,' which stood in the quarter of the Jewish bronzesmiths, the Chalkoprateia. In the palace-wall was a gate, called the Gate of Meletius, in honour of the saintly Bishop of Antioch, through which the Emperor used to walk to the private wooden staircase—the Skepaste Skala—which spanned the space between the Church of Our Lady and that of St. Sophia.

Through this entrance they were conducted to the suite of rooms occupied by Eutropius—the Præfectus sacri cubiculi, or Grand Chamberlain.

The outer hall was full of attendants, and here Philip had to stop; but Chrysostom was ushered to the inner room.

The officers who were conducting him knocked with their golden wands on the folding doors, which were flung back, and Chrysostom saw the Chamberlain seated at a table inlaid with precious marbles, on which lay a large golden inkstand, and a large pencase, also of solid gold. On one side of him stood the Count of the Sacred Wardrobe, the Count of the 121

Palace, and the Groom of the Bedchamber; on the other stood Amantius, as almoner of the Empress Eudoxia, and Aurelian, as captain of those palace bodyguards who were known as Silentiarii and Palatini. On either side of the doors stood four of these armed soldiers.

With these great palace officials stood the two prime favourites and most trusted agents of the Grand Chamberlain, men whom he had lifted out of the mire to set among princes. One was the Spaniard Osius, once a cook, and always a scoundrel, whom Eutropius had elevated to the post, first of Count of the Sacred Largesses, and then of Master of the Officers. The other was Leo, once a weaver, now a fat, cheery, bibulous general. He was nicknamed Ajax because, unlike Tydides

Whose little body held a mighty mind,

his greatness was wholly corporeal. Claudian describes him as

...Abundans
Corporis, exiguusque animi.


Eutropius instantly rose, and made a profound bow to the embarrassed Presbyter. Chrysostom saw before him the practical lord of the Eastern Empire, who shaped every whisper of the throne.

He was a little bald old man, with a fringe of grey hair round his baldness. His face might once have been beautiful in its features and pleasant in its expression, but now it was withered with premature old age, and there were deep wrinkles on the forehead. Years of degraded humiliation, years of anxious misery, years of triumph, avarice and guilt, years of cunning diplomacy, during which he held in his effeminate hands the threads of empire, had left their manifold, and therefore not easily decipherable, traces on his countenance; and if something of that which was, or might have been, good in him still sometimes shone in his glance or twinkled about his well-shaped mouth, the expression of his face more predominantly expressed astuteness, ill- dissembled arrogance, and flashes of the bitter hatred and 122

contempt which he felt for the majority of mankind. Like Sir Robert Walpole, Eutropius held that nearly every man has his price; and he had repeatedly enjoyed the sinister satisfaction of seeing men who stood very high in the civil and religious world ready and even eager to kotow to him, to kiss his feet, to sell their souls to him for a mess of pottage. It had been the curse of his life to be driven to radical disbelief in human nature. He despised almost every human being whom he knew; he trusted scarcely anyone, unless, indeed, their personal interests were, like those of Osius and Leo, indissolubly connected with his own.

But if there was one man in the world whom Eutropius did respect, and in whose moral superiority he firmly believed, it was the Syrian presbyter who had now been ushered into his presence. He had heard the thunders of his impassioned rhetoric waking the echoes of the great dome of the church of Antioch. In that fulminant eloquence he had recognised the cry which comes from a true human heart. Never before had he heard the unmistakable accent of intense and fervent sincerity. It had pierced like lightning through the thick crust of revenge, bitterness, and Oriental craft, under which, like a dying spark, beneath vast accumulations of embers, lay the true nature of Eutropius as God had meant it to be. Yes, this was indeed rhetoric—the ornate, if too Asiatic, rhetoric of a pupil of Libanius; but under the rhetoric burned the flame of conviction and of truth. Eutropius had heard and turned pale; and at the moment, trembling and terrified at accents so unlike those which breathed softly through the borrowed platitudes of Nectarius and the silken euphuisms of the corrupt and intriguing priests of Constantinople, his conscience had started up with pointed finger and outstretched arm. At those 'grave rebukes invincible,' though they were not addressed to him, and though Chrysostom had been wholly unaware of the presence of the then obscure and miserable eunuch, Eutropius had stood abashed,

And felt how awful goodness is, and saw
Virtue in her shape, how lovely; saw, and pined
His loss.


The impression had never been quite obliterated: he felt it now. But it gratified him to think that he had in consequence tried to do at least one purely good deed in his life, by elevating the preacher to an office which, in the hands of a great man, might practically be regarded as the highest in the world.

Chrysostom did not lose his self-possession, though he could not but be a little agitated to feel that now the well-kept secret, which any mind less absolutely unworldly than his would long ago have divined, must at last be revealed. He returned with dignity the low bows of Eutropius, of Osius, of Leo, and smiled faintly back to the smiles of his friends Aurelian and Amantius. But Eutropius, hardly knowing what excuse to offer for the way in which he had trepanned his visitor, stood there, still bowing, and a little uneasily, washing his hands in air.

'I must,' he said, with yet another bow, 'apologise to your Beatitude——'

'My Beatitude!' exclaimed Chrysostom in amazement. 'Babai!' (which we may render 'Good Heavens!') 'I am but a humble Syrian presbyter of Antioch, and we are not addressed by such titles there.'

The officials, even Eutropius, could not help a little laugh at this; but the Chamberlain continued:

'Pardon me, sir, you are no longer the humble presbyter of Flavian at Antioch; you are Archbishop of Constantinople and Patriarch of the East.'

Here, then, was the secret! It had, indeed, once flitted across the thoughts of Chrysostom in his journey, because the quick and curious Philip had suggested it to him as a possibility. But he had instantly rejected it as too wildly improbable to be even contemplated.

He stood there troubled and almost thunderstruck.

'Oh, spare me!' he cried at last, with one of those quick gestures of repudiation which come so spontaneously to an Oriental. 'I do not wish for this honour. I do not love this burden. I foresee that it will only end in trouble and misery. You yourself will repent of it, and regret it. I have never been consulted. I was wiled away from my home against my will. Oh, Amantius! oh, Aurelian! you have been cruel friends.'

'Nay,' said Eutropius, 'the Presbyter John must forgive us all. We doubted whether he would consent; and we knew that the Antiochenes love him too well to part with him readily. That was the sole object of our little ruse, and we trust that in all other respects your wishes and comforts have been attended to.'

'Oh! all that is nothing,' said Chrysostom, wringing his hands. 'But I must refuse. I cannot, I cannot be Patriarch of Constantinople. I am not ambitious. I am no courtier. Better by far the damp cave on Mount Silpius, in which I so nearly died. Would it had been God's will that I had died there rather than that this should befall me.'

Eutropius was a little taken aback. He had meant to confer an immense favour; he had been foolish enough to expect an effusive gratitude. Why, he knew no other bishop or priest in Constantinople who would not have kissed his feet in transport for so magnificent a boon. And now he was finding it necessary to apologise and to plead.

'I bear you witness,' he said, 'you have not sought this responsibility; but we must not shun responsibility when it comes. His Eternity the Emperor——'

'His Eternity!' exclaimed Chrysostom, on whom, unaccustomed to the fulsomeness of Byzantine Courts, the title jarred like a blasphemy.

'Oh!' said Eutropius, 'it is only a title;' while Leo and Osius were so struck by this strange specimen of independence that it was with difficulty they refrained from laughing outright.

It is surely a most unbecoming title,' said Chrysostom gravely. 'I thought it had been laughed out of fashion by Athanasius, even in the days of the Emperor Constantius. What higher title could you give to Christ Himself? But to give it to a man! All flesh is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth. "His Eternity!"—oh! let me return to my humble home in Antioch. I cannot breathe this perfumed atmosphere.'

'By Bacchus!' whispered Leo, whose expletives were not very carefully chosen, 'you have caught a Hun!'

Eutropius was fairly disconcerted. Here he was conferring on this man one of the most supreme of sacred distinctions, and, so far from thanking him for the favour, he had already rebuked him twice! But the very rebukes made him feel more keenly the royal independence and sincerity of the Presbyter. Almost for the first time in his life he was met by a Christian and a disinterested man!

'Well, well, my dear Presbyter,' he said, 'we will waive these little forms of speech; but I was going to say that we must all obey the wishes of the Emperor. He is now expecting you in the Purple Chamber. Are you ready to see him?'

'I am ready,' murmured Chrysostom. 'Would it had been otherwise. But God's will be done!'


XVIII. — THE EMPEROR AND EMPRESS

He hath two greyhounds in a leash,
Terror and Force; two slaves that serve his will,
Pleasure and Pomp.

—Lord Lytton, The Siege of Constantinople.

The great official personages rose in a body and preceded Chrysostom, by whose side walked Eutropius.

The Purple Chamber, into which they were ushered by a crowd of slaves, was so called partly from its pavement and walls inlaid with porphyry, and partly from its rich purple hangings embroidered with gold. The luxury of modern days would almost seem like childish simplicity before the lavish pomp of Byzantine splendour. The floor along the centre was sprinkled with gold dust, brought from distant lands in ships and chariots at enormous cost, that the sacred feet of the Emperor might not be desecrated by treading on anything less profoundly precious. The walls of alabaster and other lustrous marbles were inlaid with agate and cornelian, and the eastern sunlight glowed hotly on pillars of the Numidian marble, rose-coloured or golden. Chrysostom was almost blinded by the sudden blaze of splendour, to which he was wholly unaccustomed. Two lines of the palatine soldiers stood at intervals down the centre of the hall. They wore Sidonian war-cloaks so richly dight that there were pearls on their girdles and emeralds in their helmets.[8] Between and behind them were massed a number of courtiers in all the ranks of Byzantine officialism—perfectissimi, egregii, illustres, and spectabiles. Round the apse at the end stood a guard of tall and fully armed Gothic soldiers in their collars of gold, and nearest the Emperor stood the four Prætorian Præfects, conspicuous, like him, in the purple robe, or man-dye, which they, however, wore only to the knees.

8. Claud., de Laud. Stil., ii. 88.

In the centre, on a throne supported by four huge golden lions, lolled Arcadius on silken cushions fringed with pearls. His robe of purple was woven in gold with dragons, which were his imperial insignia. His person was a blaze of jewels. Huge rubies and emeralds were pendent from his ears. Necklaces of large orient pearls gleamed round his neck, and over his breast hung chains of precious stones chosen for their size and lustre. The passion for gems, which Constantine had fostered, had lingered among later emperors. Round the dark hair of Arcadius was the diadem, a band of purple silk woven with pearls and the choicest rubies and emeralds.

Arcadius was but a youth of nineteen, but it seemed as if all the fire of his blood, all the manliness and fervency of youthful life, had either never existed in his illshaped body, or had long ago been drained out of him by the hollow and dreary magnificence in which his days were passed. His intellect was of the feeblest; his character was flabby and invertebrate. Chrysostom took him in at a glance. He was a youth of short stature, of feeble health, of thin person, and of sallow complexion. His thick eyelids drooped over his eyes, and gave him the aspect of being always half-asleep; and, except in the very rare cases in which he was for a moment aroused out of his listlessness, his speech was apt to dribble out in low, lazy, and half-finished sentences. He was steeped to the lips in indolent and sensuous luxury, and though he was too languid to be actively vicious, this lord of the world was the born slave of everyone who had sufficient astuteness and opportunity to turn him into a helpless tool.

The look of Arcadius—who had been an emperor since he was eight years old, and who had been married at seventeen—betrayed nothing but infinite boredom. He had not even his younger brother's resource of keeping pet hens. He scarcely had as much activity as used to make Louis XV. take a courtier by the buttonhole and say, 'Ennuyons-nous ensemble!'

Chrysostom could not help wondering how it happened that such a poor creature—and his equally poor brother, Honorius—could be sons of the able, stalwart, and handsome Theodosius; and why the destinies of the word should be committed to hands so unequal to the burden.

And, if there was ever a man to be pitied, it was this hapless potentate. There was no bliss in his youthfulness. He cared for no one, and believed in no one. He regarded even the Ministers who domineered over him with a dull jealousy and suspicion, and would soon have got rid of them if he could only have summoned up the energy to do without them. Eutropius only suited him because he saved all trouble, relieved him of the intolerable burdens of empire, transacted the minute details and functions of necessary business; and arranged for him the amusements which served to dissipate his deadly dulness and to—

Disguise the querulous morrow
From its unseen reproval of to-day.

But meanwhile the wretched little human deity felt an inexorable weariness of everything:

Because his greatness, being of a kind
Which grew from all men's littleness combined,
Dwelt self-condemned among the multitude
Of voices lifted to proclaim it good.

And so he sat in his vast hall and in his 'sacred' chambers—

An undelighted man. To him all meat
Was tasteless and all sweetnesses unsweet;
To him all beauty was unbeautiful,
All pleasures without pleasantness, and dull
Each day's delights.


The Chamberlain and officials advanced with genuflexions and prostrations, and with hands which shaded their eyes, as though they were blinded with the divine and sunlike radiance of the Emperor. Chrysostom bowed low, and then advanced in the simple dignity of his manhood. Eutropius took him by the hand and presented him to Arcadius.

'This, sire,' he said, 'is John, the Presbyter of Antioch, whom your sacred Majesty has been pleased to appoint to the vacant Archbishopric.'

'Oh!' said Arcadius, slowly and languidly. 'I am glad to see you.'

Chrysostom bowed again, and since Arcadius seemed to have nothing more to say, he 129 replied:

'I thank your Clemency, though, had I been consulted, I would gladly have remained in my former obscurity.'

'Well,' said the Emperor, 'you shall be consecrated Archbishop on the twenty-seventh of this month. Meanwhile, as my Chamberlain has doubtless explained to you, the palace and the revenues of the Patriarchate are yours.'

'May God help me to do my duty!' said Chrysostom, and as Arcadius had now exhausted his conversational resources he bowed once more and stood aside. Eutropius gave his arm to the Emperor, who stepped down from his throne and retired. Then all the egregii, and spectabiles, and the rest, thronged round Chrysostom to load him with congratulations and fulsome compliments. From this embarrassment he was set free by a message that her Sacredness the Empress Eudoxia desired to see him; and his friend Amantius, as her almoner, conducted him into the presence of the young Nobilissima.

Eudoxia was a very different personage from Arcadius. She was a Frank, brilliant, beautiful, impetuous, full of passion and vivacity, determined, as far as possible, to brighten by every sort of excitement, mundane and religious, the dull though gilded prison of imperialism. Her reception of the Archbishop—for as such he was now regarded—was in singular contrast with that of her pale-blooded lord. One or two high officials were present in her audience-room, and among them the showy Count John, who was her favourite, and whom the scandalmongers of Constantinople declared to be her lover and the father of her children. At that time she had only one daughter, Flaccilla, who was now a year old, and whose rosy little face shone out of the glowing silk of her cradle inlaid with gold and ivory, beside the chair of the Empress.

Eudoxia rose to greet Chrysostom, and so far from allowing him to kiss her hand, she herself passionately pressed to her lips the hem of his garment. Eudoxia had, or fancied she had, deep religious feelings, and she certainly had strong superstitions, which she took for religion. Her religiosity was intense, but almost exclusively external. It impelled her to give alms, to build churches, to attend services, to prostrate herself to her favourite priests, and to adore the relics of martyrs; but so long as she manifested her devotion in this way she 130

did not think it of any importance that it should regulate the passions of her heart and the duties of her daily life. Her one object at this moment was to depose the hated Eutropius, and to put herself and her favourite, Count John, in his place. She respected and liked Amantius, who was a man of unaffected piety; but his character was too pure and his temperament too placid to give her material help in her ambitious designs. From the first she had intended to attract Chrysostom, and never doubted for a moment, that she could make him her devoted ally.

'Most heartily do I congratulate your Sanctity,' she said, 'on this high promotion.'

'I thank you, Empress,' he replied; 'but may I ask you to call me by some less flattering title? I am strange to the world of sounding designations which I hear on every lip around me. Sanctity! There is none good but One.'

The Empress smiled, for it was new to her to be corrected. Chrysostom had spoken with humility, but his independence was something delightfully unusual. It would make him a powerful friend, and to her Frankish temperament it was infinitely more refreshing than the slavishness with which she was surrounded from morning to night.

'You shall not be again offended by the title,' she said. 'I know that we shall be friends, and that I shall constantly enjoy the privileges of your holy counsel. You will have great demands upon you for the needs of the Church and of the poor; and your friend and my treasurer, Amantius, has my commands to further your benevolence with the largest liberality. Rely on my best assistance in all your good endeavours.'

Chrysostom warmly thanked her; for while he had no personal desires, he had an intense appreciation of almsgiving and munificence to churches. He felt favourably to the Empress, whose avarice and duplicity had not yet revealed themselves, because she had chosen for her chamberlain a man so gentle, blameless and pious as Amantius.

'You must show your gratitude,' she said sweetly, 'by coming to our banquet on the 24th. It is Lent, I know, but that day is the Festival of St. Matthias.'

Chrysostom could not refuse; but now he was glad to make his escape into privacy. The Empress asked him to give his blessing to her and to her child; and Amantius conducted him back to the outer hall, where they found the faithful Philip impatiently awaiting them.

No sooner had they left the Palace and entered the Patriarcheion than the youth, who was bubbling over with excitement and gratification, exclaimed:

'So the secret is out, my father. To tell you the truth, I had guessed, or half-guessed, it might be so some days since. And only to think that you are Archbishop of Constantinople, lord-paramount over bishops innumerable, one of the four great Patriarchs of the world, and with the precedence over all but Rome!'

'Ah, Philip, Philip! it is natural for youth to be dazzled by honours and externals. I was disenchanted of them all long ago in my mountain cavern. To me they have not the smallest attraction. Life has but one real boon—the blessing and peace of God.'

'But there is much to do,' said Philip. 'Won't you let me write at once to Phlegon and the other servants at Antioch to come here, and bring with them all you need? They tell me that Osius is the Postmaster-General, and while you were with the Empress I saw him, and he will put vehicles at your disposal. Don't take any trouble, father—or my Lord Archbishop I must now call you, or your Beatitude, or your Sanctity, or——'

'Nay,' said Chrysostom, 'call me "father" always, Philip. Let me feel that I have still some ties to a past which I already feel will have been far happier than the future can ever be.'

'Well, I will arrange it all; but won't you come and look round this enormous palace which is now yours!'

'Oh, how much I prefer the little house in Singon Street?' sighed Chrysostom.

They went on their tour of inspection, accompanied by some of the sumptuous slaves whom Nectarius had left. Chrysostom tolerated the great marble hall Thomaites, and the 132 halls of justice for ecclesiastical cases which opened out of it; but he groaned as he passed over the rich carpets and saw the silver vases and superb furniture of the room which the late Patriarch had occupied.

'Alas!' he said to Philip, 'this will never do. I could not live in all this sumptuosity. How can it befit those who ought to wash one another's feet? I cannot retain these luxuries; they must be sold and given to the poor.'

The slaves of Nectarius, who stood behind Chrysostom as he spoke the words, lifted up their hands and shrugged their shoulders in displeased astonishment.

'Babai!' whispered one to another, 'does he think that the palace of a Patriarch is to be no better than a damp, unpleasant mountain- cave?'

Chrysostom selected for his own use an airy room with an antechamber, in which Philip could sit, and intercept needless chatterers, intruders, and wasters of time. It was the most simply furnished room in this Palace; but he gave orders to remove from it everything approaching to luxury, and he proposed to fill it with the old familiar books and simple surroundings of his former home as soon as they could arrive.

When the slaves had conducted the strangers round the Palace, they took them into the garden which lay between it and the Senate-house, and there, for the first time, Chrysostom was genuinely delighted.

'Ah!' he said, 'Philip, most things have their alleviations. Our dear old home would go into this Palace ten times over; and we have not here the snowy mountains, or the river, or the ravines, though we have the sea! But this garden—yes, it will be delightful to me; and perhaps among these palms and cypresses and vines I may sometimes sit in the shadow and forget the crushing burdens of my new life. As for the fine gentlemen behind us, we must dismiss as many as possible of them with all convenient speed.'

There was no difficulty about this, for when Philip ordered the simple meal of bread and vegetables and dates, with the commonest wine, which, thin as it was, Chrysostom scarcely ever touched, the servants, accustomed to the Salian banquets of Nectarius, were utterly disgusted. 'Why,' they said to each other, 'we might as well go into monasteries at once. Only to think of having such a Patriarch! He is banausos!'

But Chrysostom went into the room which he had selected, laid his head on his hands, and fairly sobbed. The day had been to him infinitely trying, and now a revulsion of feeling came over him like a flood, drowning his past excitement in despair. Why, oh! why had he been torn from the old scenes, the old ties, the home of his childhood, the happy and peaceful past? 'Ah, Lord!' he cried, 'how many have wished for this high office, how many would be transported with delight to have it bestowed on them! Thou knowest I sought it not. I love it not. But if Thou hast put me to this work, oh, give me strength for it! I have but one prayer, O Lord; it is, " Teach me to do the thing that pleaseth Thee, for Thou art my God; let Thy loving Spirit lead me into the land of righteousness."'

Philip would not interfere with his dark hour; but seeing him given up to uncontrollable sadness, he came with the gentleness of a son, and, laying his hand on his shoulder, he said:

'Dear father, is it all so dark? Is not God at Constantinople as He was at Antioch? Will not He make your way plain before your face? I wish you many and happy days as Patriarch of the East.'

'Not many, my Philip—and that, perhaps, is well—and certainly not happy. Mere paraphernalia of rank and wealth are hateful to me. Ever since I heard of this promotion, as they call it, a heaviness has been growing on my spirit. This great, wicked city seems to me like a haunt of the demons. How can I ever do the good which I desire, at which I must aim? My happy days are over, Philip, for ever. I shall have very few to love me. Try to support me with your true affection, my son, my son!'

And again the new Patriarch of the East bent down his head, and wept in his splendid palace, till Philip once more came to him, and said:

'My father, your meal is ready. Be comforted. Man cannot do the work of Providence, but he can do his best, and await all that God will send.'

'You are right, my Philip,' said the Archbishop; 'I will, by God's grace, at once shake off this despondency. No cross, no crown.'

XIX. — GUESTS AT AN IMPERIAL BANQUET

Sumptuous gluttonies and gorgeous feasts.
—Milton.

The Patriarch had a few days of respite before his consecration would plunge him into the incessant, onerous, and intensely responsible duties of his new office. They were only broken by the banquet at the Palace.

'What am I to wear among hundreds of bejewelled popinjays?' he asked Philip in amazement. 'I have no conception in what sort of costume Nectarius would have appeared. Fortunately, I shall henceforth imitate the great Nazianzen, and refuse all invitations.'

Philip was equal to the occasion.

'You have,' he said, 'the white robe which Anthusa embroidered for you in gold with calliculæ and gammadias that you might wear it at Count Lucian's. That will do splendidly.'

So he was conducted by some of the palace eunuchs to the banquet, looking more dignified by far in his simplicity than the glittering courtiers whom Arcadius and Eudoxia had invited.

What a scene it was, and how distasteful to the simple Presbyter!

He was led up stairs carpeted with crimson cloths of which the borders were stiff golden broideries, and between tall lamps in which fragrant flames were burning, and of which the pedestals were covered with wreaths and garlands. The tables were of thyine and other precious woods, and were laden with crystal and myrrhine vases which had once been carried in Roman triumphs, and were now crowned with the choicest Chian, Lesbian, and Thasian wines. Between them were large golden salvers heaped with the most delicious fruits, and there was no dainty of the earth, the air, or the sea which the thousand cooks of the Palace did not procure for the Emperor's table. As for the richly dressed attendants, it seemed impossible to count the number of eunuchs and pages, of which the younger, specially chosen for their beauty, wore their hair in long, essenced curls. The whole spectacle was to Chrysostom inexpressibly distasteful. This materialism of luxury wearied and repelled him. The only thing which made it seem even excusable to his conscience was his reminiscence of Solomon feasting the Queen of Sheba in his halls of Lebanonian cedar, amid the dazzling display of gold and Tyrian purple, and slaves, and souls of men.

He was led to a seat at the sigma, or crescent-shaped table of rich mosaic rimmed with silver, which was pre-eminently the seat of honour. The Emperor sat at the centre, on a dais, in a chair of gold, with the Empress at his right. Next to her sat Theophilus of Alexandria. Chrysostom was placed at the left of Arcadius, and next to him sat Eutropius. The only others admitted to the royal sigma were the four Prætorian Præfects, who were highest of all in official rank.

Chrysostom barely touched either the dainties or the wines. Considerations of health, as well as his own tastes and wishes, made him habitually and to the highest degree abstemious; and, indeed, the chronic indigestion caused by the excess of his youthful austerities usually compelled him to take his meals alone. But all, or nearly all, of these assembled clarissimi and illustres were to be under his spiritual care, and he was interested in gazing round upon them.

Arcadius had the misfortune, for a ruler, of being intensely shy. He was overpowered with self-consciousness. After one or two half-attempts at commonplaces, uttered with blinking eyes, he gave up the fatiguing effort to converse. But the liveliness of Eutropius, who was in great good-humour, helped to while away the time. He pointed out to Chrysostom the three famous widows—Marsa, Castricia, and Epigraphia—in their upper robes of gauze, woven in gold with scenes from the Gospels, their necklaces, their earrings, their hands hidden with rings, and their shimmer of numberless jewels. Chrysostom gazed at them with a look of disapproval, but in his own mind contrasted them most unfavourably with three others of the noblest ladies present, who were conspicuous for the severe and almost nun-like simplicity of their adornment. One of these was Olympias, once the betrothed of the Emperor Constans; another was the Princess Salvina; the third was the good Nicarete, who was—what was rare in ancient days—an old maid, and who found her sole delight—so Eutropius bore her witness—in deeds of kindness to the poor.

Chrysostom looked longer at the male guests. He did not know Theophilus by sight, and asked the Chamberlain who that stately and richly clad ecclesiastic was.

'That,' said Eutropius, in a meaning tone, 'is the Patriarch of Alexandria.'

'Why does he scowl so heavily at me when he looks this way?'

'Because of jealousy, defeated intrigue, envy, hatred, malice, and all uncharitableness.'

'Impossible, surely!' said Chrysostom. 'I have never seen him before. How can I possibly have wronged him?'

'I cannot tell you the whole story; but he wanted his presbyter, Isidore, elected instead of you. The man has a sinister and evil eye. May Christ protect you from it!'

'Amen,' muttered Chrysostom. 'I will speak to him after the banquet in all friendliness. But will the Emperor like us to talk in this way, and neglect him?'

'Oh!' said Eutropius, laughing, 'His Eter—— I beg your pardon, his Sublimity, is more than half-asleep already, and will be fast asleep soon. He will not notice.'

'Well, then,' said Chysostom, 'tell me the names of those two Gothic warriors sitting near the top of the tables below us.'

'The elder is Fravitta,' said Eutropius. 'Though he is a Pagan, as his fathers were, he is most friendly to the Empire, and can be absolutely trusted. Have you never heard how he saved the life of the Emperor Theodosius?'

'No.'

'When you have been here a little longer, and begin to understand the intricate wheelwork of our intrigues, you will learn that there are two factions of Goths. One is thoroughly loyal to the Empire. It is scanty in number, and would be almost impotent if it were not headed by that noble Fravitta, a man who rises above the faithlessness of many of his fellows. 138

One day Theodosius, who was always kind to the Goths, invited some of them to a banquet, unaware that Eriulph, the head of the hostile Gothic faction, was plotting to overthrow the Empire. When Fravitta and Eriulph grew warm with wine they fiercely quarrelled, and Theodosius had to break up the banquet. Fravitta, fearing that Eriulph directly he left the palace would stir up a civil war, impetuously drew his sword, and, taunting him with treachery, stabbed him to the heart. A fierce tumult arose, and Fravitta would have been torn to pieces by Eriulph's followers if he had not been saved by the Imperial Guards. It is more than lucky for us that the Goths are not at one.'

'Do you foment their disagreements?'

'On that subject,' said Eutropius, smiling, 'as Æschylus says, "A great ox hath passed upon my tongue."'

'This man,' he thought to himself, 'has no idea of diplomatic secrets. He divines everything by sheer force of honesty.'

The Chamberlain was quite right, for Chrysostom replied:

'I see you have not forgotten the old Roman secret of "Divide and rule." But who is the other Goth?'

'An entirely different kind of person. He is an Arian; and all the Goths are so devoted to the memory of their missionary, Wulfila, that I doubt their ever being converted to orthodoxy. You must have heard his name often, for he has played a great part in recent events. It was he who brought down God's vengeance on the guilty head of Rufinus. It is Gaïnas.'

Chrysostom did not like the bitter tone in which the words were spoken; but as he was silent Eutropius continued:

'Do you not mark his discontented look? He is a conspirator, and will, I fear, create trouble from his influence over the army. Near him is his countryman, the barbarous Tribigild, and, if I am not much mistaken, they are at this moment hatching perilous plots.'

'I see a group of bishops seated at yonder table.'

'Yes, they are assembled under the presidency of Theophilus to settle some small ecclesiastical matter. Some of them have been here for weeks. Constantinople is constantly full of bishops. One cannot walk down the Chalkoprateia without stumbling across them. I see them very frequently at my humble abode,' he added—his eyes and features all atwinkle, as they always were when some mischievous fancy reminded him of men's weaknesses.

'I wish they would remain in their own dioceses,' thought Chrysostom, with a sigh; but he only said; 'It would be kind if you would tell me the names of one or two of them, that I may address them afterwards.'

'Well, if I may lay aside formality in talking to your Beati—— Oh! I beg your pardon. Well, in talking about bishops, I will describe the one or two of them whom I know best. You see that ponderous—I had almost said elephantine—specimen of humanity? That is Maruthas, Bishop of Mesopotamia. The little, slim, highly venomous-looking personage——'

Chrysostom looked reproof, and Eutropius, more and more convinced that his Patriarch was quite a new phenomenon at Constantinople, said:

'Oh! I mean nothing; but for freedom's sake let me talk in my own way. After all, my dear Archbishop, I am simply telling you the bald truth about the man, and setting down nought in malice. You will be able, later on, to judge for yourself. Well, the small man is Cyrinus, Bishop of Chalcedon. That portly, handsome, florid ecclesiastic, who looks as if one of our thousand palace-barbers had arranged his curls as well as those of the pages, is Severian, Bishop of Gabala, who would be exceedingly glad—if he could—to be bishop of something else. I could tell you a good deal about him, but I do not wish to shock your charity. Lastly, not to weary you, the old gentleman who is so heartily enjoying his dinner is Acacius, Bishop of Berœa.'

'I wish, Chamberlain, you would speak more respectfully of the bishops.'

'I have caught a Hun, as Leo remarked,' thought Eutropius. 'He does nothing but reprove me. No other presbyter or bishop speaks to me like this.'

'Seriously, and quite apart from all levity,' he said, 'I wish I could. But, in sober truth, I have not found that even the most exalted pretensions always carry with them the most elementary Christian graces. Sadly I say it to you, I find their Religiosities just as worldly and ambitious, just as unfair and bitter, as any of us poor laymen. Like priest, like people.'

'Yes,' said Chrysostom, with a deep sigh, 'but the reverse is also true. Priests are what people make them. But there is one ecclesiastic whose face and manner profoundly interests me, and you have not told me who he is.'

'That,' said Eutropius, laughing aloud, 'is a very distinguished person—Synesius of Cyrene.' [9]

9. I have ventured here on a slight anachronism. Synesius was at Constantinople for three years about this time, but he did not become a bishop till A.D. 410.

'I have heard of him. He is a brilliant writer. But why do you laugh?'

'He is a great man,' said the Chamberlain, 'a poet, an orator, honest to the heart's core, but the oddest mixture in the whole Church. I suppose he is an orthodox Christian, but he is a pupil and ardent admirer of the beautiful Pagan Neo-platonist, Hypatia. He is also a most enthusiastic sportsman, breeder of horses, and patriot. He is, moreover, a married man. He loves profane studies, is not very sure of the Resurrection, and——'

'Then how did he become a bishop?'

'You must ask Theophilus, who overcame his scruples, allows him to philosophise at home, and excused him from preaching what he calls "fables" abroad. But then, he has a genealogy of seventeen centuries, and much must be naturally excused to a lineal descendant of Hercules and the Spartan kings!'

'What brought him to Constantinople?' asked the Archbishop, without noticing the sarcasm.

'He came as a sort of ambassador from Cyrene; and by the interest of his friends, to say nothing of the crown of gold which he brought to Arcadius, he was allowed to deliver a great oration on the "duty of kings" before the Emperor and his Court. I never heard such audacity in my life!' ('Even you would hardly have surpassed its boldness,' he added mentally.) 'In the plainest way he arraigned the Emperor and the whole official system, and even me! If his——if the Emperor had not been fast asleep long before he got to the middle, and if I had not been very tolerant, the strange bishop might have lost his head. But people do me injustice. I am a very kindly and merciful person.'

'Why, what did he say?'

'It is easier to tell you what he didn't say, for he passed a sweepingly comprehensive condemnation on things in general. He represents what is called the Roman party. He called the Goths "Scythian fugitives"; openly blamed Theodosius for admitting them into the army and into dignities; denounced them for avarice and contempt of our civilisation, and compared them to the stone suspended over the head of Tantalus. He told the Emperor—most lucky for Synesius that he was asleep—that he ought to be like his predecessors, who were soldiers in fight, leaders in counsel, flying hither and thither to defend the Empire, and that he should entrust our defence to a native army, not to barbarian mercenaries, whom he ought either to reduce to the condition of helots or to drive back into the solitudes of Scythia. I expected to see Gaïnas or one of them send an arrow through his heart, but, luckily, most of them did not understand half he said.'

'Was the Emperor much influenced by his oration?'

Eutropius laughed long and loud.

'I have told you he did not really hear it, and knew nothing about it, though it was the talk of all Constantinople. His only remark was that it was dull and very long. The next thing he did was to make Alaric the Visigoth Master-General of Illyricum. After all, what can Arcadius do? Have not our native troops become so slothful that, in the reign of Gratian, they actually laid aside their defensive armour because it bored them to wear it? Alas! we live in degenerate days. Our soldiers now wear neither helmet nor cuirass, nor carry broadsword, nor pilum , nor even shields! Most of them have sunk down to miserable bows.'

'But to object to foreign mercenaries was hardly to attack the Emperor.'

'No; but he went on to say that a king who knows nothing about soldiers is like a cobbler who knows nothing about shoes; and then—after the condescending remark, "Do not be vexed at what I say; the fault is not yours"—he actually declared that the ruin of the Empire was due to surrounding the king with a theatrical pomp and semblance of "Divine mystery." "It reduces you" (this to the Emperor!) "to a sort of State prisoner. You see nothing, you hear nothing that can be of any use to you. Your only pleasures are sensual. You live the life of a sea anemone!" Imagine anyone saying this to a Theodosius! If he had said it to Valentinian he would have been flung to the bears in no time. Then he continued: "You think yourself great because you are arrayed in purple and gold; because you have gems from mountains and barbarous seas in your hair, your sandals, your robe, your girdle, your ears, your seats; and because, by walking on gold dust, you indulge the very soles of your feet in luxury. Things were far better when emperors were men with tanned faces, of simple habits, and in coarse dress."'

'But you were awake if the Emperor was not. Did he attack you?'

'I should think he did!' said Eutropius. 'He accused the Emperor of repelling the wise and noble, and admitting to his familiarity mere counterfeits of humanity. "You patronise men," he said, "with small heads and scanty brains, with idiotic grins and equally idiotic tears, to relieve by buffoonery the cloud of tedium brought upon you by the unnatural character of your life." But you see the satire was too ludicrous to hurt me; otherwise he should have had the fate of——'

'Of——?' asked Chrysostom.

'Never mind,' said Eutropius.

He was ashamed to blazon the wicked and ungrateful revenge which he had inflicted on Abundantius, who had first introduced him into the palace, and whom he had driven into beggary at Sidon; on the sausage-seller Bargus, whom he had used as his tool to defame and ruin the brave general, Timasius; and on Timasius himself, whom, by virtue of the forgeries of Bargus, he had got banished to Libya, where he was never heard of again. His widow Pentadia only saved herself by flying into sanctuary.

But at this point Arcadius began to show signs of vitality, and dismissed the guests. Chrysostom was deeply troubled by much that he had seen and heard. He paid his homage to the Emperor and Empress, and took the earliest opportunity to retire to his home.

XX. — FIRST IMPRESSIONS

And yet bubbles o'er like a city with gossip, scandal, and spite.
—Tennyson.

On February 26, 398, the humble Presbyter of Antioch attained the dignity for which so many had longed, intrigued, and bribed, and which myriads of ecclesiastics would have regarded as uplifting them into the seventh heaven of gratified ambition and satisfied desires.

The imposing ceremony took place in the cathedral of Constantinople, the great Church of St. Sophia. Its magnificence illustrated the altered fortunes of Christianity since Constantine had first placed the jewelled cross on the purple silk of his labarum. Its great doors were of shining bronze enriched with bas-reliefs; the windows were formed of thin slices of alabaster and other transparent marbles. The pillars and their capitals, carved with foliage, were all of porphyry or of Numidian giallo-antico. The floors were of lustrous and many-coloured marbles, with which also the walls were tessellated; the domes and architraves were inlaid with mosaic on a gold ground, and picked out with polychromes of blue and vermilion.[10] The Holy Table, which even then had begun by a false analogy to receive the unscriptural and unprimitive designation of 'altar,' stood in front of the apse, not against the wall, but in the middle of the chancel space.

10. The Church of St. Sophia is described by Paul the Silentiary and others. The descriptions apply to the Church of Justinian, but are generally true of the other church also.

It was of gold decorated with precious stones, and between the columns which supported it hung curtains of silk, embroidered in gold with figures of our Lord, St. John the Baptist, and St. Paul. The iconostasis was of silver, with a frieze of medallions representing Christ, the Virgin Mary, and the Apostles. In the apse was the Throne of the Patriarch and the synthronus, or stalls of the presbyters, which were canopied and were of silver-gilt. The choir extended nearly as far as the ambo, or reader's pulpit, which was of precious marbles with mosaics of lambs, doves, fishes, and peacocks, inlaid with gems. It was ascended by two flights of steps, one on the west side, one on the east, and the canopy above it rested on eight columns. The space below it, enclosed by railings, was occupied by the choir and the readers. The soleas, or division which marked off the seats of the clergy, was made of onyx. The tapestries which usually shrouded the sanctuary were drawn back for the service. The seats for the Emperor and Empress were on the south side; and not only were they present, but they came in their utmost pomp, attended with crowds of perfectissimi and illustres arrayed in their most brilliant robes.

Chrysostom was consecrated Archbishop by the darkly scowling Theophilus, and was the reverse of happy. The rasping voice of the wicked and black-browed Patriarch of Alexandria was hoarse with antagonism. It almost made him shudder, by the same subtle instinct which makes the nobler animals tremble at the hiss of the serpent. He felt the man's magnetic hatred, jealousy, and burning spirit of revenge in his very touch. But, besides this, he could not but mourn that God had called him to a work which he felt would be painful and stormy. He sighed for the love which had surrounded him in Antioch, and even more for the peaceful days of his monastery and mountain-cave. What were these rich carpets and gleaming floors to the grass that groweth on the mountains, and the lilies in the valleys of Mount Amanus? What were these crimson and gold-embroidered tapestries to the shadows of the blossoming trees on the banks of his loved Orontes? How could he ever acquire over this luxurious, turbulent, money- loving, pleasure-hunting, worldly throng of curious strangers, of whom so many were already inclined to hate him, the gentle influence which he had wielded over his former flock?

With a heavy heart and a mind over which flitted many a sombre cloud of misgiving he uttered his enthronisation discourse. In it he touched on the various spheres of duty which he regarded as belonging to his place as Archbishop of this metropolitan see. As yet, of course, he could only speak generally. 'There are still Pagans,' he said, 'in Constantinople: I will try to win them by setting a Christian example, and endeavouring to promote the true ideal of the Christian life. There are many Arians and other heretics: I will use no other weapon against them than the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. I will be a bishop, not a gladiator. I hate as unchristian the bitter spirit of unfairness in theological controversy. I repudiate as execrable the use of violence in ecclesiastical propaganda. Rather than exacerbate differences, I will willingly incur the ignorant calumny aimed at the great Basil of Cæsarea, that his teaching was like a river avoiding rocks to hide itself in sands. Theological battles and ecclesiastical cabals are an incomparably poorer proof of orthodoxy than simple faithfulness. "The bees," said Basil, "fly in swarms, and do not begrudge each other the flowers. It is not so with us. We are not at unity. More eager about his own wrath than his own salvation, each aims his sting against his neighbour." And, because of this, Basil was called a heretic! But his only answer was: "I have determined to neglect no labour, to shun no humble word or deed, to excuse myself going no journey, to decline no burden, if I may obtain the reward of the peacemaker."'

'As for myself,' said Chrysostom, 'I will, God helping me, boldly rebuke vice; I will make no agreements with death, no covenant with hell. In marshalling the hosts of righteousness to the Armageddon battle against sin, the trumpet in my hands shall give no uncertain sound. To wickedness and vice I must, by the very call of God, be an uncompromising enemy; but to the offenders themselves I would ever act in the spirit of compassion, and, as far as in me lies, will live peaceably with all men. But, beloved, man is nothing. God is all-in-all. Oh! help me by your sympathy! Oh! support me by your prayers!'

The sermon was not one of Chrysostom's greatest. There was but little of the cadenced rhetoric, little of the Asiatic luxuriance, nothing of the volcanic passion. Yet there was enough to show to the good that he was a good man, that he would not be one of those who mistake pride for dignity, or require people to speak to him out of the dust. But most of the fashionables in the audience were disappointed by what they regarded as the tameness of the discourse, and they said so to one another with little circumlocution.

It is a merciful provision that preachers do not hear the remarks and criticisms of their dispersing congregations. At every door such remarks hover in the air, like flocks of ravens, to peck away any good seed which may chance to lie on the trodden road of men's hearts.

But Philip, who was not known by sight, did hear many of the remarks that were made, as he stood by the great bronze door, waiting for Chrysostom to come out, that he might conduct him home.

A group of ladies passed by. 'How very poor! How very tame! No dazzling metaphor; no flights of rhetoric!'

'Ah!' thought Philip, 'it won't be long before you, my fine ladies, will have eloquence enough for you. I hope it won't singe your gay feathers too severely.'

'I thought the fellow could speak,' said an exquisite, who had intrigued and bribed in vain for Isaac the Monk. 'Why, he was as heavy as lead and as dull as ditchwater!'

A group of bishops passed by, escorting Theophilus of Alexandria. They were talking in tones which showed that they did not in the least object to be heard.

'I feel sure he is secretly unsound,' said Cyrinus of Chalcedon, venomously. 'Look how leniently he spoke of heretics.'

'Yes,' said Severian of Gabala, 'he will be like Theramenes, whom the Greeks called "Cothurnus," because that buskin fits on either foot; or rather, as the proverb says, "more slippery than a slipper."'

'A regular trimmer, I fear,' murmured Antiochus of Ptolemais;—and an alarmed titter, instantly suppressed, ran through the group, for everyone knew that 'Amphallax,' or 'Trimmer,' was a recognised nickname of Theophilus, and the black look which the Alexandrian turned on the speaker seemed as though he took an accidental slip for an intentional insult.

'What does your Sanctity think?' asked Isaac the Monk in a deferential tone.

'I think,' said Theophilus, savagely, 'that if we give him enough rope he will soon hang himself.'

'Who would have supposed,' murmured the priest Elpidius, who had founded a cheap reputation for wit on vapid malignities, 'that even as an orator we should so soon have to regret Nectarius?'

Philip was literally boiling over with indignation as he watched the receding group. 'These be your Christian bishops!' he muttered. 'It is almost enough to make one turn Pagan. What! more of them?' he said, for another group of ecclesiastics was approaching.

'Not one appeal to the clergy! Not one compliment to them!' said a presbyter. 'What a churl he must be! Look how Archbishop Gregory of Nazianzus publicly praised Maximus the Cynic.'

'A most unlucky instance;' said the Archdeacon Serapion, with much scorn, 'seeing that Maximus turned out to be a rogue of the deepest dye.'

'Hurrah!' said Philip to himself, 'the priestling did not get the best of that.'

Next passed Eutropius, with Osius, Leo, and others of his parasites.

'Surely, surely, Eutropius,' said Osius, 'he might have said at least one word of gratitude to you, who lifted him out of nothing.'

'I did not expect it,' said Eutropius. 'He despises me, but I respect him. He is a true man.'

'Well said, Chamberlain!' thought Philip; 'in spite of your crimes you are—or, if the baseness of the world would have let you, would have been—more of a man than the men who fool you to the top of your bent.'

'He might at least have said something of his Eternity the Emperor and of the lovely, pious Empress,' said the fat and waddling Leo.

'I wonder whether a lion ever dies of asses' kicks?' muttered the young Antiochene, shaking his fist at Leo's retreating back.

'Ah! my young friend,' said Aurelian, who at that moment was passing out of church with Amantius, and noticed the gesture, 'your master is coming. Look after him. He will need all your care in the sink of virulence and vileness which he will find in Constantinople.'

'I will, sir,' said Philip. 'In courage, in nobleness, in learning, he is a man of men; but in domestic matters he is a child.'

'I have already noticed,' said Amantius, 'that he is but little versed in the world's ways. You may be most useful to him, Philip. I am very glad that we let you come with him.'


XXI. — ANXIETIES AND TROUBLES, FRIENDS AND FOES

Insomnes longo veniunt examine Curæ.
—Claud., In Ruf. i. 38.

Chrysostom's first care after his enthronisation was to arrange his household, and then to master the manifold duties—diocesan, social, and patriarchal—of his high station.

His faithful servants had come from Antioch, and had brought with them the simple furniture of his paternal home. Old Phlegon was installed as porter at the Patriarcheion; and when he was vexed with the throngs of visitors and the incessant summonses which brought him out of his porter's cell, he sighed for Singon Street as much as his master. Social duties lay on Chrysostom with a heavier weight than the work of his archiepiscopate. Nectarius had given frequent and superb entertainments, not only to the bishops who visited Constantinople from every quarter of the world and to the leading clergy, but also to the prætorian præfects, the great senators, and all the high Court officials. The Emperor himself had sometimes been his guest. It would have been profoundly distasteful to Chrysostom to undertake anything of the kind. Valuing all the intercourse of private life which might be used for high and noble ends, he shrank from the pleasures and unprofitable frivolities of society as from a dreary and barren Sahara. He was impatient of 'the quotidian ague of frigid impertinences.' This was soon discovered by the worldly, the dissipated, and the idle, the illustrious dandies, and the fine ladies. The very aspect of the Archbishop's Palace became so severely simple that it kept them off.

'Philip,' said Chrysostom, 'I cannot bear the sight of all these curtains and tapestries and gorgeous superfluities. The bishops tell me that there is no harm in them; that hospitality is a duty; that I have a position to keep up, and so forth. It may be so. I blame neither Nectarius nor anyone else; but as for me, these things always seem to reproach my hermit notions with the thought of the carpenter's shop at Nazareth, and of Him Who had not where to lay His head. Surely St. Peter or St. John had a position to keep up, yet did not need these outward splendours to help them? You must get rid of them all for me.'

'But, your Beatitude——' said Philip.

'Nay, nay, my boy. If I must bear those tinsel titles from others, never call me by any other address than "Bishop" in public, and in private (as I told you) use the old, dear name of "father," as at Antioch.'

'Well, my father, my best happiness is to save you trouble in every way.'

'And you do, dear Philip. Often, when I have a happy, quiet hour in my study or in the garden, with St. Matthew, or the Acts of the Apostles, or the works of Basil and Gregory on my table, I know that you are doing all kinds of necessary business for me, and sheltering me from needless worries in matters in which I am helpless. And I know that you do it all kindly, courteously, and with perfect tact.'

That was quite true. Philip was Chrysostom's controller of the household, master of the ceremonies, and factotum. He meddled, of course, with no ecclesiastical business, except in arranging mere outward details. All that was done by Serapion, the Archdeacon. Serapion's position near Chrysostom was a misfortune to him. He was a true man, but was blunt and brusque; the mass of the clergy hated him because of his plain forthrightness and impatience of all shams. But Philip managed the servants, arranged all domestic matters, saw importunate beggars, deftly dealt with various genera of lunatics who came to the Patriarch with peculiar hobbies, inspirations, and discoveries about the Apocalypse; answered all merely business letters; kept an eye on tradesmen; fended his master from fussy intrusiveness; sifted the visitors who might or might not see the Patriarch; acted as an invaluable screen between the Archbishop and the irrelevancies, nonentities, and little nothings which would otherwise have wasted his time and worried his temper. And all this he did with consummate fidelity and grace. He might have abused his really important position in a thousand ways. Many tried to flatter, and even to bribe him, and to induce him to pull the wires for them and their interests as though he had been a Palace official. But though he was always bright, goodnatured, and exquisitely courteous, he had rejected the overtures of party intriguers and slanderers with such contempt and indignation that it speedily became known that he was useless except for all honourable and disinterested ends, and had no sympathy with 'prejudices, private interests, or partial affections.'

'What am I to do with the grandeurs, father?' he asked.

'Sell them, and give the money to the poor.'

'As to selling them, I can manage that, if you wish it. I have made a friend named Michael in the Chalkoprateia, who is the soul of honesty and holiness, and he can get that done for us easily. But on what principle will you give them to the poor?'

'There are thousands of the poor in Constantinople, Philip. At every door of Dives there lie a multitude of starving Lazaruses, who watch the banquets and purple and fine linen. They even throng the church-doors.'

'Yes, but the difficulty is to know the real Lazarus from all the sham ones. The impostures of the beggars are, as you know, sickening and endless. Some of them actually blind and maim their own children to make money by them. They terrify weak women by menaces or by adjurations, and are mixed up in many villainies.'

'You are right, Philip. One must not encourage the wretched and wicked trade of mendicity, which makes not a few nominal beggars rich. We must never give without some inquiry.'

'Even that does not always insure certainty,' said Philip. 'You know young Eutyches—that beautiful half-Gothic lad, left an orphan—the youth who looks as if he wore a nimbus when the sun shines through his light hair! Don't you know him yet? Well, he is being trained for a reader, and the deacons sometimes send him on messages. The other day a woman had come to them in paroxysms of distress, saying that her husband was dead, leaving her with 153

five young children, and that she had no money to bury him. They sent Eutyches to inquire. He heard some shuffling before he was admitted, but the woman told him that all her children were out, and pointed to the figure of her dead husband, who was laid out on a long bier, under a covering. When Eutyches returned to the deacon—the house was at a distance, near the Forum of Constantine—he found that he had forgotten his tablets. Coming back for them, and entering suddenly, he surprised the corpse in the act of reading his tablets and eating a large dish of sausages.'

Chrysostom laughed, and then sighed.

'I do not mean to lavish the money, as our saintly friend Olympias does. I mean to give it to found one or two greatly needed hospitals for lepers and others, as the Lady Fabiola has done in Rome, and as Basil did at Cæsarea. I shall want large funds. You must sell for me not only the magnificent furniture, but all those fine, pompous robes.'

'What! the pontifical vestments?'

'Yes. I cannot be pageanted about the cathedral as if I were some gaudy idol. Paul had but his one sea-stained cloak, for which he wrote to Troas; John had his garment of camel's hair.'

'But the High Priest had his golden robes and ardent Urim.'

'We have no High Priest but Christ, Philip, nor are we Jews. Moreover, the High Priest only wore his robes for half an hour on one day in the whole year; ordinarily he dressed in simple white linen.'

'You will offend the clergy.'

'I would not willingly offend them. But these sacerdotal pomps are a thing of yesterday; they represent no needs, and real needs are clamorously urgent. The great Basil wore one old threadbare dress; Ambrose sold even his church plate to redeem captives; and I am told that my brilliant and saintly brother, Augustine, who three years ago was made Bishop of Hippo against his will, when a gorgeous cope is given him, declines to wear it, and sells it for the common good.'

'They shall be sold,' said Philip. 'But, father, may I say something more, or are you too busy?'

'You never waste my time, Philip.'

'Well then, father, if I am to help you, I have really more to do than I can manage. May I have a fellow-secretary—or even two?'

'Certainly you may, Philip. I have noticed lately that you seemed overworked.'

'Thanks, father. Then give me Eutyches for one assistant. He is as good as he is beautiful; I never knew a whiter soul. And for the other——' Philip paused and blushed.

'Who is it?'

'Father, it is the son of Michael, whom I mentioned. His name is David. He is seventeen, writes swiftly and exquisitely, is very clever, knows Latin and Hebrew, as well as Greek. He would make you a first-rate secretary and attendant.'

'What! he knows Hebrew? Is he a Jew?'

'No,' said Philip, 'a baptised Christian, and a real one, as his ancestors have been for nearly four centuries; but of Jewish race, and that,' he added in an awestruck tone, 'the highest, the very, very highest.'

'You interest me,' said Chrysostom.

'Father, you know that the Jews keep their genealogies most sacredly. Bishop Synesius says he is descended from Hercules. Well, my David is descended from King David; and more than that.'

'More than that?'

'Yes. You know that there was a family in Palestine called the Desposyni, because they were the earthly relatives of St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin.'

'I know it,' said Chrysostom. 'The Emperor Domitian, in jealousy, sent for them to Rome in A.D. 94, as though they were claimants for a kingdom. They told him that they were of the family of Nazareth, and had for years cultivated the little farm which they had inherited. And when he saw that their hands were hard and horny with labour, he dismissed them with contempt, as though they were insignificant peasants.'

'The descendants of the family still exist. Father, Michael and David, though out of deepest reverence they never speak of it, are of the family of the Desposyni.'

Chrysostom was awestruck. 'But how did you discover the secret, Philip?'

'I was in the Chalkoprateia when I saw people rushing away from a dog which was snapping and foaming, and was evidently mad. A little crying, half-naked child of five was in its path, and was in terrible danger. I rushed after the dog, and luckily seized it by the back of the neck. At the same moment I saw Michael spring out of his bronzesmith's shop, and catch up the child in his arms. The great fountain is close by, and some good angel inspired me to hold the dog under water till it was drowned. I was frightened, and suppose I looked pale; and as I passed Michael's shop David stepped out and invited me to come in. There they gave me some delicious libbân and pure wine. On the wall I saw a little simple painting of the youthful Christ, copied, Michael told me, from one in the catacomb of St. Callistus at Rome. It could only have been fancy, but David looked to me exactly like that picture—so happy, so pure. Michael seemed greatly pleased with my seizing the mad dog, and in talking he told me about his descent. He said I might tell you, but no one else. Then David and I took the little child to the deacon's, who restored him to his home.'

'You must ask Michael to bring David, and come to see me.'

'I will. But, dear father, I would not conceal anything from you.' Philip seemed embarrassed, and a still deeper blush mounted on his cheek. 'David has a very beautiful young sister. I saw her that day, and have seen her since.'

'Philip, has Love lit his torch in your heart? I have ever hoped that you would some day be one of my presbyters.'

'No, father, that can never be. I feel no vocation for that sacred work; and, to tell the honest truth, what I have seen of most of the clergy here does not make me wish to join them. When I hear their worldly plans and slanderous speeches—when (pardon my frankness, father!) I contrast their immense pretensions with their very scanty virtues—it almost seems 156

to me as if a man like the Chamberlain Amantius or the tradesman Michael were far nearer than they are to the Kingdom of Heaven. Father, have I your sanction, if I can win Miriam's love?'

'Philip,' said Chrysostom, 'your happiness is dearer to me than my own; but ah!——'

He thought of the day when Philip must inevitably leave him, and he was too old to make new friends. But he would have been the last to let selfish feelings stand in the way of the happiness of a youth, or of anyone whom he loved.

'I am sorry you cannot seek the priesthood, Philip,' he said; 'but God bless you! The callings of men are different, and many (I know) serve Him unspeakably better in the world than some do in the priesthood.'

So Eutyches and David were duly installed with Philip as secretaries and acolytes. There was ample work for them to do, and it was not often that all three could be in the anteroom at one time, for there were constant messages to be taken, and visits paid, and details arranged. But they were happy of temperament and they were young and pure of heart, and in their presence and ready faithfulness Chrysostom found some of the scanty happiness of his troubled life.

The room in which they sat communicated with Chrysostom's study, and was curtained off from the large outer hall called Thomaites. If the Archbishop was engaged, visitors of importance often sat to wait in the room of the three youths, or on divans beyond the curtain.

In the hall itself often sat Serapion, the Archdeacon, who saw the clergy, heard their petitions or complaints, and gave them any advice or assistance which did not necessitate the intervention or sanction of the Archbishop.

Philip soon became well acquainted with such true friends of Chrysostom as had no private interests to serve, and were attracted rather than repelled by his unworldly simplicity. Among these was a group of noble and saintly ladies. The society ladies of Constantinople—the Marsas, Castricias, and Epigraphias—at first thought 'the dear Archbishop' on the whole piquant, and declared that they should like him; but soon found his sincerity alarming, and began to bewail their lost Nectarius, who never rebuked them, but was always ready to exchange courtly compliments. He, in his rare sermons, distressed no conscience, but steered triumphantly through the shallow waves of platitude. But there were some ladies who, themselves earnest and sincere, were drawn as with a powerful magnet by the unmistakable earnestness and sincerity of Chrysostom. Foremost among these was the beautiful, noble, and wealthy Olympias. Daughter of a count of the Empire, who left her the heiress of an immense fortune, she had been wedded in early youth to the young and handsome Nebridius, who, after two years, left her a childless widow. A widow she determined to remain, and to devote her life to good. She even braved the wrath of Theodosius by refusing to marry one of his kinsmen. Gregory of Nazianzus, while he was Patriarch, had loved her as a daughter, calling her 'his own Olympias'. Gregory of Nyssa had dedicated to her his Commentary on the Song of Songs, written at her request. Her good deeds and austerities were known to the whole Church, and her palace was the constant home of bishops, who rarely left her without immense grants in aid of their dioceses. Her gifts were so lavish and so freely bestowed that ecclesiastics of the baser sort preyed on her credulity. Among these was Theophilus, who on one occasion prostrated himself before her in a burst of crocodile gratitude and kissed her knees, which so shocked her humility that she flung herself with tears at his feet. Nectarius had made her a deaconess, and, being entirely ignorant himself, frequently consulted her. She was now at the head of a little college of younger deaconesses. She became the almoner of Chrysostom, and helped him in his great missionary and other designs, both at home and abroad. It was his painful duty to warn her against the exploitations of Theophilus and other episcopal vultures. He told her that she was responsible to God for the use of her vast wealth, which should be not merely lavish, but also wise and well considered. Part of the many sources of fury against Chrysostom in the bad heart of Theophilus and other bishops was due to the fact that he had dried up a fountain of beneficence which was wasting itself in barren sands.

Another devoted Church-worker was the virgin Nicarete. She was so humble that, in spite of a host of good deeds, she would never become a deaconess or accept the headship of the Consecrated Virgins, which the Patriarch pressed upon her. Her little foible was the belief that she was herself more skilled in healing than any professional physician. She went about with her little box of drugs and simples, which she pressed upon all with affectionate and confiding solicitude.

'No, Lady Nicarete, no pills for me to-day, thank you,' said Philip, as he laughingly ushered her into Chrysostom's room; 'I am in riotous health, which I do not wish to be disturbed.'

'Foolish boy!' said Nicarete, smiling. 'But now, does not your young friend Eutyches want a little medicine? He looks pale.'

'Pale!' said Philip, 'why there is a whole Daphne of roses on his cheeks! And, Nicarete, I really must interdict you from pressing any of the contents of your medicine-box on the Archbishop. He is not in riotous health, but his digestion is in a sufficient state of conflagration already, and he is so good-natured that he will destroy himself by taking all you give him.'

'You naughty lad!' said Nicarete; 'how shall I punish your sauciness? Eutyches is much more polite.'

'That is because he takes your prescriptions like an angel; but if you look in his drawer, you will find them all there, untouched.'

'Don't you mind what he says, Lady Nicarete,' said Eutyches; 'he laughs at us all.'

Far different from Nicarete was the deaconess Salvina. She, too, was of the noblest rank—a daughter of the unhappy rebel, Gildo, Count of Africa, and the widow of the nephew of the Empress Flaccilla, who had been educated with Arcadius and Honorius. She had two children, and, young as she was, determined to remain a widow. She devoted herself to good works, and became the patroness of the Churches of the East, and of all the clergy who visited the Court of Arcadius. Such was her fame that even St. Jerome had from his cell at Bethlehem written her one of his anti-matrimonial letters, of which the tone would have been resented in our days as supremely distasteful. Her life was absorbed in the education of her son and daughter, the due management of her wealth, and the service of God in all holy works.

And like her in ardent allegiance to Chrysostom was Pentadia, widow of the great Consul and Master of the Forces, Timasius. Eutropius—it was one of his basest crimes—had foully done the brave soldier to death by the agency of the ungrateful sausageseller, Bargus, whom Timasius had befriended. The general and his son both disappeared—the victims, probably, of secret murder—in the oasis of Libya. Eutropius had marked out Pentadia also for destruction; but she fled to sanctuary, which, in spite of the efforts of the all-powerful Minister, the Archbishop would not allow to be violated. When it was safe for her to leave the asylum she became a recluse, rarely leaving her home except to go to the church, but helping in all sacred and charitable organization.

These were Chrysostom's friends, and, among the great men of the Court, officials of high character like Amantius and Aurelian. And the mass of the poorer population of Constantinople soon learnt to be devoted to him. They saw in him a sincere and holy man, who, whatever might be his faults, had not a single ignoble or personal aim, and whose one object it was to support the weak and to fight against oppression, robbery, and wrong. But among the clergy very few are mentioned among his friends. The quiet, indeed, and the good and the faithful, grappled him to their souls with hooks of steel; but those who usually arrogated to themselves the title of 'the Church,' and all their organs of public opinion, were fiercely antagonistic to him. They hesitated at no calumny, sneers, or falsehood, and as they were the noisy, the pushing, and the intriguing, they claimed to be the sole representatives of clerical public opinion. To them nothing that Chrysostom could do was tolerable, and nothing that he could say was right.

It happened one day that two of the bishops, who from the first had set themselves most determinedly against the Patriarch, though as yet in secret, were seated in the great hall, hich happened to be empty, except that the Archdeacon Serapion was sitting at a table there with papers before him. They lounged on the divan by the curtain, which was not drawn back, for Olympias was with Chrysostom, consulting about his new hospital. They were Cyrinus of Chalcedon and Antiochus of Ptolemais; and they began to indulge in the gossip about the Patriarch which was already current in all clerical circles. Serapion, an Egyptian by birth, was a hot-headed and yet a taciturn man. They did not know his unwavering loyalty, and assumed that he would be a sharer in the ordinary ecclesiastical opinion about his chief. At first the bishops conversed in low tones, and although they did not exclude Serapion from their discussion, they did not often address him. These bishops condemned what they were pleased to call the squalid niggardliness of the Patriarcheion under the present régime. They severely denounced Chrysostom's intention of selling for the poor the splendid marbles which Nectarius had collected to decorate the Church of the Resurrection. They more than hinted at private peculation. To much of this conversation Serapion paid no attention, though he sometimes made a contemptuous nod of dissent when they appealed to him. But as the bishops lit up the smouldering fumes of each other's malice they began to talk in louder and more excited tones.

'He utterly neglects the duties of hospitality,' said Cyrinus, 'but they say that by himself he indulges in Cyclopean orgies.'

'Yes,' said Antiochus, 'and it is very unseemly that he should be often closeted with ladies. Olympias is always with him. She is with him now. You really should call his attention to some of these things, Archdeacon.'

These last remarks completely upset Serapion's usual disdainful indifference to what people said. He usually followed the rule, 'Get the thing done, and let them howl.' He often compared the tittle-tattle of society to the whirring of idle grasshoppers in the fields or the monotonous croak of frogs in a malarious marsh.

He rose from his seat in towering indignation, and, standing in front of the astonished prelates, he cried:

'How can you talk in that way? Are you neither afraid nor ashamed to let your tongues rage like fires, and worlds of iniquity set aflame of hell, and thus to run riot in defaming and defacing your spiritual head, who is a saint of God, which you are not? Cyclopean orgies! You spend more over one of your meals, Cyrinus, than the Patriarch does in six months. And you, Antiochus, is it not an infamy too black even for you to hint your foul insinuations not only against Chrysostom, but also against a saint like Olympias? Fie on you! You are not worthy to be bishops, you are not worthy even to be exorcists of the lowest rank, since you have not yet cast the evil spirits out of your own hearts.'

Had a thunderbolt fallen before the two bishops they could hardly have been more amazed than by this outburst. They were bishops, they lived amid the incense of flatteries and lordlinesses, and to be addressed thus—and by a mere deacon!

'You forget yourself,' said Antiochus, 'and you forget who we are.'

'I forget not,' answered Serapion hotly. 'I honour bishops who are bishops indeed. I honour not you; I honour not backbiters and slanderers.'

'You shall smart for this—you and your master too,' said Cyrinus.

'I know that there are scorpions, and that they can sting. But if God be with the right, what has John to fear from you? He shall tread upon the adder and the dragon. Go, false bishops, and abase yourselves in the dust, if haply the wicked thoughts of your hearts may be forgiven!'

'My cousin, the Patriarch of Alexandria, shall hear of this,' said Cyrinus.

'Let him!' said Serapion. 'I neither respect nor honour him. Go home to your neglected sees, you hireling shepherds. You have come here for your ambition and your greed, to air your rhetoric and fill your purses. I know you, and fear you not.'

The storm was over. The bishops, without waiting any longer to see the Patriarch, swept out of the hall in fierce anger. Serapion's wrath was honest, but he had gone too far in giving place to it. What he had said was true, but it was dangerous and unwise; and when he went to speak to Philip in the anteroom, still throbbing with suppressed passion, he told him what had occurred, and admitted that he had done wrong to put no curb upon his denunciation.

'You certainly did not spare them, Archdeacon,' said Philip. 'Really, if I had heard such lies and such insinuations I should have found it hard not to seize them both by the neck and fling them out.'

'Ah!' said Serapion, 'you are young, Philip; but I am older, and should have put more control upon my feelings.'

'But into what a nest of hornets we have come!' said Philip. '"Cyclopean orgies" indeed!' and then the ludicrousness of the accusation struck him, and as he thought of the crude apples and thin wine which too often constituted Chrysostom's sole meal, he laughed till the room rang again.

Not long after this Chrysostom asked Acacius, Bishop of Berœa, to dine with him. He had quite forgotten what Eutropius told him at the imperial banquet of the Bishop's foible for good living, and he had given no special order for the meal. Acacius, who had been accustomed to sup with Nectarius, was mute with surprise. Such a scant meal! and not a single dainty! and no Thasian, nor even Chian wine! He waited for at least some dainty which should prove that Chrysostom had done honour to his episcopal dignity. Chrysostom, entirely unconscious of his feelings, was talking to him, not about dinners, but about hospitals, and missions to the Persians, and St. Paul's visit to Berœa. Acacius got more and more sullen, and determined to go back and dine at home. So completely had he lost his equanimity that he exclaimed loudly as he passed through the hall, 'I'll cook a dish for him!'

Philip, who heard the remark, could hardly help laughing, for he was quick to see the ludicrous side of things.

'Tantæne animis cœlestibus iræ?' he said, turning to David, with whom he had been reading Virgil.

'Yes,' said David, smiling, 'but another Latin poet says:

Longissima cœnæ
Spes homini.'

'Yet I am sorry, too,' said Philip. 'Here is one enemy more, and the Archbishop has enough already. We lived so simply at Antioch that I humbly confess my deficiencies as regards the kitchen department. What can one do, Eutyches? An epicure like you ought to be able to advise.'

The others laughed too, as Eutyches was the most abstemious of the three; but he said:

'I will tell you, Philip. You must speak to Olympias. You are no good; you let him starve himself, and other people, even me.'

Philip shook his fist at him.

'I let you off,' he said, 'only because of your good suggestion. Olympias will know all about it.'

'And he?'—the youths often spoke of the Archbishop among themselves as 'he'—'he must ask Acacius again, and give him a Salian banquet.'

'Too late!' said Philip, sighing. 'The good Bishop will never again expose himself to so frightful a risk. When those red herrings came in, you should have seen his face!'

They consulted Olympias, and from that time she looked after Chrysostom's kitchen: saw that he had proper food, and that he did not starve himself; and that he kept a table for guests which, though in comparison with that of his predecessor it was only 'as moonlight unto sunlight, and as water unto wine,' yet was not so wholly inartistic as that which had so deeply stirred the wrath of the old Bishop of Berœa.

But when Olympias mused over the story she was hardly surprised at the remark she read in St. Isidore of Pelusium, that there were very few bishops who inspired any respect for their holiness; or at what Chrysostom himself had said in one of his homilies, that he feared more bishops would be lost than saved.


XXII. — MANIFOLD STRUGGLES

Truth is cruel.—Père Hyacinthe.

Every day brought upon Chrysostom the burden of new and incessant duties. The care of Constantinople and its diocese would have been enough to exhaust the energies of any man; but the affairs of many other dioceses, over which custom gave him a patriarchal jurisdiction, came before him; and besides his schemes of reformation and beneficence at home, he felt an intense eagerness to further the cause of the Gospel by missions among the Persians, the Phœnicians, and other nations. Meanwhile he was getting an insight into the general corruption and worldliness into which the Church had fallen, and was preparing to put in force every possible remedy. He saw on all sides of him a Christianity which was a Christianity in name alone; a Christianity passionately eager about theological shibboleths; a Christianity which plunged into all the vices and follies of the world, while it busied itself with all the functions and formulæ of the Church; a Christianity which relied for salvation on orthodoxies and amulets, while it neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice, mercy, and truth. What shocked him most was to find these false forms of a Christianity which had become hollow and nominal chiefly rife among the clergy. Their condition illustrated 'the eternal Pharisaism of the human heart.' They said, and did not. No word was more common on their lips than the word 'scandal.' Every petty divergence from their own conventionality, every recognition that the river of the grace of God might be deeper and broader than their straight-dug ditches, every cordial sign of union with brethren whose opinions or organisation differed slightly from their own, was always a 'scandal'. But the scandal of their own pettiness, narrowness, subterranean meanness, and total want of charity, was to them a source not of penitence, but of pride. The rottenness of dying superstitions and a feeble pretence at perverted intellectualism had half strangled Christianity with ever-new watchwords and ever-new creeds. Eyes blinded by immoral partisanship were incapable of recognising pure goodness. The thin dust on the balances of orthodoxy, and small ecclesiastical scrupulosities, had become more to them than the solid gold of righteousness and love. Strong in their opiniated self-satisfaction, they often yielded without a struggle to the coarsest temptations. Their hypocrisy became so ingenious that it even deceived themselves, and they voided the most envenomed virulence on those who repudiated their pretensions and loathed their habitual manœuvres.

All this had been seen and had been bewailed already by some of the greatest and holiest of the saints of God. Chrysostom had read the views of St. Hilary, St. Gregory of Nazianzus, St. Basil, St. Jerome, St. Isidore of Pelusium, and St. Nilus, the many letters to lapsed virgins and fallen monks, and the many stories of much-admired clerical adventurers; but he was slow to admit the reality of the sad condition of things which more and more was forcing itself upon his conviction. He would not act on impulse or in a hurry; he would wait, and watch, and pray, and discriminate, and use his private influence to the uttermost before he gave vent to any public utterance or struck any open blow.

It was the Emperor's custom to leave Constantinople in the summer, and retire to the voluptuous privacy of Ancyra. The plan had been devised by Eutropius, whose one object was so completely to absorb Arcadius in luxurious self-indulgence that he might leave all serious business in the hands of his Chamberlain. At Constantinople he kept him engaged day after day in the Hippodrome and the Circus, where he might see the runners, and the chariot- races, and the wrestlers, and the fighters, and excite himself, as far as his languor permitted, with the factions of the Blue and Green. Lolling and sleeping on soft silken cushions in the Kathisma, or Emperor's box, Arcadius could occasionally diversify his satiated boredom by looking on while funambulists walked upwards and downwards on tight ropes, or gymnasts, to the stupefaction of the mob, balanced a pole on their foreheads, on the top of which a little boy would go through all sorts of antics. Sometimes a thrill of delicious sensation would pass through the audience when the funambulist missed his footing and was dashed dead on the orchestra, or the boy tumbled from his balanced pole and broke a leg. If such an accident tended to cause too much emotion, the jesters called moriones, or cordaces, were at hand, who acted the part of clowns, and soon set the audience in a roar of laughter.

But lest monotony should jade the Imperial mind, especially during the burning heats of summer, Eutropius had provided the palace at Ancyra. The day of the journey was announced, and then the Chamberlain gratified the mob of the city with a gorgeous spectacle. On that occasion the Emperor always wore a crown of gold set with the most precious gems. His robes were of purple silk woven with golden dragons. He wore the most splendid of his earrings, and strings of orient pearls hung one below another over his breast. The attendant guards were decked with golden chains and armlets, and the heads of their lances were gilded, with silken streamers of purple pendent from them. The Palatini also carried dazzling shields with bosses of gold, round which were painted golden eyes. The chariot of the Emperor was a blaze of gold, and was covered with thin laminæ of flexile gold, which moved and glittered as it advanced. The white mules which drew it were shod with gold, their housings were blazoned with golden broidery, and the reins glittered with gems. Crowds of bedizened courtiers, and hundreds of attendant pages, and eunuchs of every age and of every race, walked in sumptuous procession before and behind, through streets thronged with thousands of sightseers, many of whom had been patiently waiting since the morning to see the palace gates flung open and the pomp issue forth. Yet, as one penetrates into the depths of a pyramid, to find at last only the ashes of a monkey or a cat, so the centre of universal interes was with the occupants of the chariot, and they were only a sallow, sleepy youth and a wrinkled, kotowing eunuch. Nevertheless—

... the rich retinue long
Of horses led, and grooms besmeared with gold,
Dazzled the crowd and set them all agape.


The procession wended its way to the harbour, where lay crowds of gilded barges to convey the Emperor and his Court to the other side of the Bosporus, whence they went by land to the soft climate of Phrygia. At Ancyra Eutropius amused and enervated the Emperor with banquets, and spectacles of dancing- girls, and with every costly diversion which the ingenious luxury of idleness could devise.

Philip and his young friends had watched the Emperor's departure with the curiosity and not ungenial cynicism of youth. As for Philip, he was an observer of human nature, and never missed the chance of seeing anything. Full of fun, he accused David of envying all the glory.

'Why should I envy the bloom on the wings of butterflies?' said David.

'Oh yes, you are a philosopher, David. But you,' he said to Eutyches, 'I confess that, in spite of your protesting look, you would give your eyes to be one of those processional gentlemen, and strut in gold amidst the cheers of the mob. I feel sure that you are saying to yourself, "Oh that I could be Eutropius for but one hour!"'

Eutyches turned to him his laughing face. 'You know better,' he said. 'I greatly prefer to be a clerk at the Patriarch's. As for Eutropius, if I had an enemy, and if I wanted to curse him——'

'Two impossible suppositions for you, Eutyches,' said David.

'Well, if I had, and if I could, I should say, change lots with Eutropius!'

'Curses wait round him open-eyed,' said Philip, 'but you would like to be Aurelian, now?'

'What, with Typhos, that wicked brother of his, dogging his heels and secretly trying to devour him?'

'All very fine, Eutyches; but you know you asked the Patriarch to come and see the show.'

'And do you know what he called it?'

'Vanity of vanities, probably,' said Philip.

'Well, something like it. He called it gilded misery and painted tears. But, Philip, you 168 are the culprit. You are dying to enjoy an armlet and a gold collar, and so you accuse us!'

'Perhaps,' said Philip. 'Who can tell?'

An old man in the cloak of a philosopher had overheard them. 'Ah! young man,' he said, 'Do you want riches, power, honour? Well, I have what you desire.' And then he opened and shut his hand three times.

'Is that a sort of incantation?' asked Philip, laughing.

'No,' said the old man. 'I have grasped the wind.'

But though the Patriarch had not cared to leave his books and waste his time to stare at the procession, he had gone the day before to pay his farewell respects to Arcadius, and he had taken the opportunity of holding a very serious conversation with the powerful Chamberlain.

Eutropius welcomed him almost effusively. His presence seemed to the favourite to give a touch of reality to a world of phantasms. Most of the insects who thronged about his noonday beam he utterly despised. He knew the value of the transports with which they kissed his hand or grovelled at his feet. He knew that their one object was self-interest, and that they would be ready to spit at and trample on him to-morrow if his fortunes fell. But among these spectres the presence of Chrysostom brought him in contact with a man who desired nothing from him, who neither feared nor flattered him, but who did deeply and genuinely care, if not for his temporal, yet for his supremest, interests.

'I welcome the visit of your Beatitude,' he said, after Chrysostom's simple greeting, 'though you constantly oppose my wishes and show little respect to my office. Why, præfects and patricians have barely left the room, every one of whom treated me almost as if I were Emperor, and you address me without the smallest approach to ceremony!'

'Do not I thereby honour you? To me you are Eutropius, a soul for whom Christ died. To be a Præfect of the Sacred Chamber is little, is nothing, but to be a man is something; and if a man be but a beggar, and yet a true Christian, his dignity is more glorious than that of many an emperor.'

'You have come, I see, to reprove me. I am a clarissimus; I am the greatest man under the Emperor. In farthest cities, to the remotest corners of the Empire, I wield the sacred power of Arcadius. Suppose I refuse to be reproved?'

'You can refuse; but have you never heard the Word: "He that, being often reproved, hardeneth his heart shall suddenly be cut off, and that without remedy"?'

'But what right have you to lord it over me, as though I were a culprit, and you my judge?'

'Nay, nay,' said Chrysostom. 'As a man I am but your poor fellow-sinner; but regard me as the impersonal voice of your own slumbering conscience.'

'I am not so black as I am painted,' said Eutropius indignantly, as he began to pace to and fro. 'I am not one atom worse, perhaps I am not nearly so bad, as many of your bishops and clergy.'

'Ah! how idle are all such comparisons!' said Chrysostom. 'Ultimately, for each human being there are but two entities—God and his own soul. May I speak to you plainly, Eutropius, not in priestly arrogance, yet without subterfuge, without disguise? I speak not as a judge, nor as a Pharisee. I would only fain help you to see the eternal realities.'

'Speak,' said Eutropius. 'You are the only living man from whom I would tolerate such freedom.'

'I would ask you, then, To what end is this vast accumulation of wealth, this dishonourable traffic in high offices? You are old. How long have you to live? Can you carry with you your gold, your estates, your palaces?'

'Wealth is power,' he answered sullenly.

'But how stable is your power? The Empress is your enemy. Gaïnas is your enemy. Your power rests only on a prince's favour. Put not your trust in princes. Put not your trust in wrong and robbery. All these will fail you. God alone, if you seek Him, will fail you not.'

'You speak to me very boldly,' said the aggravated eunuch. 'Look out into yonder square. You will see my statues in bronze and marble in every attitude. Go into the houses of the nobles, you will see my statuettes in gold and silver. I have but to touch this bell, and princes and senators will crowd in to flatter me. I sit in the theatre, and the nobles shout applause and the illustrious call me the Father of the Emperor, and the third founder of Constantinople after Byzas and Constantine.'

'Does it make you happy?'

'Happy?' said Eutropius; 'how could such an one as I, the victim of men's brutalism, stupidity, and vileness—how could I be happy? Think of what my childhood, my boyhood, my youth were. Think how I have been trampled into the mire, insulted, taunted, by the very meanest of mankind. Is it nothing that now I sit among princes, and that all the world rings with the two names of Stilico and Eutropius?'

'And yet, Eutropius, all this would be sold cheap for one self- approving hour. You are angry that I resisted you about the right of sanctuary. I did, and I will continue to do so. On whose behalf? Does the story of a lady like Pentadia awaken in you no stings of remorse? When you hear the name of the wronged Timasius, of the wronged Abundantius, do the Furies never shake their torches in your heart?'

'Leave me!' said Eutropius. 'You have deeply wounded me.'

' Faithful are the wounds of a friend,' said Chrysostom. 'It is only the kisses of so many enemies which are deceitful and poisonous, Eutropius. I love thee better than thy flatterers: I who reprove thee, not in my own name, but in His whose thou art—care for thee far more than thy false friends. Oh! forgive me if I seem to have been hard on thee, and think on all these things before the fall of night!'

'Too late! too late!' said Eutropius, deeply moved. 'I have chosen my lot; I must follow it to the end.'

'It is never too late to repent, never too late to be forgiven,' said Chrysostom. 'Nay, I will not let you part from me in anger. Farewell, and may God be merciful to me and thee!'

How often did that warning ring in the memory of the unhappy Chamberlain! Next day, when he sat beside the Emperor in the blaze of splendour, men noticed that his face was very sad, though on those occasions it was usually wreathed in the blandest smiles. He was thinking of Chrysostom and his reproof.

And so the days passed by, bringing their changes and their varied duties. That year was marked at Constantinople by the horror of unusual storms and earthquakes. A huge wave rolled over the Bosporus, and laid in ruins many of the houses nearest to the seashore. The quaking and yawning earth swallowed up others, and flames issued from the rent fissures. The distress was unspeakable, for supernatural fears added terror to these catastrophes, and while there were some who tremblingly anticipated that the end of all things was at hand, and plunged into the most slavish superstitions, others, in the mad defiance which always characterises such epochs of calamity, flung themselves into reckless debauchery, like sailors who break open the stores and drink themselves drunk when it is too late to save the foundering ship.

Amid such scenes Chrysostom kept his strong heart uncowed, and many a time in St. Sophia he comforted and inspired the timorous throngs of his people, trying to calm them with that peace of God which can face all the perils of life, because it has no fear of death.

But the Archbishop rarely had rest for long. When the earthquakes ceased the Arians began to give trouble. They had been a powerful party in Constantinople since the days of Valens, and they were strong in the adherence of so many of the warrior Goths of Gaïnas. By a decree of Theodosius they were not allowed to worship within the walls of Constantinople, but they still cherished the determination to get a church assigned to them. They began to inaugurate nightly processions, which marched through the streets and colonnades chanting in antiphon the strange theological hymns of Arius. Among these was one which had the taunting refrain:

Where are now the men who say,
In their enigmatic way—
Who the riddle right can see?—
'Three are one, and one is three?'


Having chanted such strains all the night, they retired at dawn to their church outside the walls.

Chrysostom was the more vexed because, though his own conviction was unshakenly orthodox, he had always endeavoured to treat the Arians with courtesy and fairness. He consulted two very different persons—Michael, the humble Desposynos, and Serapion, the uncompromising archdeacon.

Michael was not unfrequently summoned from his bronzesmith's shop by his son David to come and talk to the Archbishop, who valued his counsel—though he hardly knew what to make of his immense liberality and his total indifference to ecclesiastical conventions. The favourite quotation of Michael was the saying of Tertullian, 'Christ is truth, not custom; truth, not tradition.'

'How would you counsel me to deal with these noisy and troublesome Arians?' asked Chrysostom.

'I would humbly advise that you treat them with all gentleness, with all meekness, with all courtesy—nay, with all love.'

'They are heretics,' said Chrysostom. 'It is necessary to be firm with them.'

'I counsel meekness, Bishop, not weakness. Love is not weakness. Which do we need most, Catholics or saints?'

'We must not betray to the Arians the true divinity of Christ,' said Chrysostom.

'No, nor yet to the Apollinarians His perfect humanity,' answered Michael. 'But oh! it was an evil day for Christianity when men began to hate each other for watchwords and definitions, instead of loving the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in sincerity and truth, and showing their love to Him by love to all for whom He died.'

'But we cannot regard the Arians as Christians.'

'The Goths have learned their Christianity from Bishop Wulfila. Was not he a saint of God?'

The Patriarch was silent, for, like all men, he loved and honoured the memory of the holy Wulfila.

'Did Christ come to affirm a creed, Bishop, or to create a character? Is not he a Christian who does the works of Christ? Did not Christ say, "If thou wouldst enter into life, keep the commandments"? Did not the Beloved Disciple say, " He that doeth righteousness is righteous," and " He that doeth righteousness is born of God"? May we not be received into eternal life with many wrong opinions? The Arians, too, believe that Christ was Divine, though they err in the nature of His divinity. And when John said, "We forbade him because he followeth not us," did not Christ say, "Forbid him not, for he who is not against us is on our side"?'

'Yes, but did He not say also, "He who is not for us is against us"?'

'Both principles are true in their proper perspective,' said Michael. 'The one does not falsify the other. No deadlier disservice could be done to the cause of Christ than the angry clashing of formulæ, in which love and humility are lost. How far better is meekness of wisdom, and the emulation of good works!'

'What, then, would you advise?'

'Send for the leaders and priests of the Arians. Reason with them kindly and forbearingly, not in wrath and strife. Point out to them that these nightly processions can but annoy and embitter their opponents, and disgrace their cause. Do this, and all will be well.'

Philip had been present while they talked, and he ventured very modestly to express his earnest hope that the Patriarch would follow Michael's advice. 'Shall I carry a message for you,' he asked, 'to the Arian bishop?'

'No, Philip, not yet. I must talk the matter over with Serapion.'

Serapion, as usual, was unconciliatory and uncompromising. He never joined the suaviter in modo with the fortiter in re. He talked of betraying the cause of Christ, of seeming to favour heresy, of the need of severe repression; and he advised the getting up of counter-processions and counter-litanies.

So the streets were rendered hideous with the harsh shouts of contending theologies. The processions swelled in numbers and attracted all the idlest riff-raff of the wicked city. Nothing was less devotional than hymns chanted in rivalry, by voices harsh with anger, amid jibes and jeers. The theatres parodied and ridiculed the animosities of Christians, and made the multitude roar with laughter at mock processions, singing lewd and fantastic songs. Then the Empress took up the matter, for at that time she was most anxious to use Chrysostom as a powerful ally against Eutropius;—and that was one reason why she bade Amantius lavish her treasures upon him for hospitals and churches, the designs of which she drew with her own hands. She furnished the processions of the Catholics with silver crosses; she paid for devices and banners, and she ordered her Chamberlain, Briso, himself to walk at the head of the procession. The result might have been predicted: the crowds increased, the Arians grew more and more irritated. Scuffles began to take place, then furious attempts of each party to break up or disorganise the procession of the other. At last there were sanguinary conflicts. Philip, David, and Eutyches, loyally went out with the processions, though they did not like them, and always exerted themselves to keep the peace. One dreadful night not a few were left dead in the streets, and many were wounded. Philip came home with a broken collar-bone, and both the other youths had been hurt. The august Briso himself was seriously wounded by a stone which had struck him on the head. After that the indignant Empress left Arcadius no peace till he had interfered by peremptorily forbidding all Arian processions, while he allowed those of the Orthodox to continue. But Chrysostom, grieving that the holy name of Christianity had thus been smirched and degraded by mutual hatreds, was sorry that he had not followed the advice of the humble Desposynos.

One more event marked the close of the year 398. Chrysostom had received as a present from Synope the relics of the martyr Phokas; and Vigilius, Bishop of Trieste, had also sent him the remains of the martyrs Sisinnius, Martyrius, and Alexander. He announced that he would conduct them in a solemn procession at midnight to the Church of St. Thomas at Drypia, near the sea, a distance of nine Roman miles from the city. The huge procession was accompanied by a multitude of officers, and many illustres, spectabiles, and clarissimi were seen edifyingly commingled with the poor, and amicably walking with them side by side. More than all, the Empress Eudoxia in person walked the whole way on foot, in the simplest of robes, without a single ornament. She joined in the chants, and humbly held a fringe of the rich silken corporal which covered the relics. Although she had very little regard for righteousness, Eudoxia was genuinely superstitious, and Chrysostom, deceived as yet, took her superstition for true religion. He was carried away by the extravagance of his joy. He thought that the Empress would be indeed a protectress of the poor, a pillar of the true faith. When they reached the church his excited feelings found vent. 'What shall I say?' he cried. 'What shall I speak? I exult, I am beside myself with joy. See what an example the Empress has set! As though she were a maidservant, she, the wearer of the diadem and the purple, she whom not even all the officials of the Palace are allowed to see, has walked behind the holy relics. Blessed be thou, O Empress! Not we only, but all generations, shall proclaim thy blessedness. Thou hast been the hostess of the saints, the mother of Churches. Thy zeal almost equals that of the Apostles. We count thee among the saintly matrons, for in building sanctuaries, and upholding martyrs, and pulling down the errors of heretics, thou usest thine earthly royalty as a means for the attainment of everlasting felicity.'

After the discourse the multitude streamed homewards, and criticisms, as usual, were rife.

'Did you ever hear such a welter of Asiatic rhetoric?' said Antiochus of Ptolemais, 'and such indecent fulsomeness of praise? "I dance, I am mad!" Did ever Patriarch disgrace his office by such trash?'

'How different, how stately, how classic would have been your own chaste eloquence,' said Severian of Gabala, who had made Antiochus his model, and determined to walk in his steps.

Unluckily, Chrysostom's youthful secretaries walked near the bishops, as the Patriarch's attendants, and again Philip was forced to hear these unsympathetic and carping criticisms of the master whom he so fondly loved. Eutyches and David, though vexed, remained silent, and as they passed greeted the bishops with the usual demonstrations of profound respect. But Philip looked in the opposite direction, and would not bow.

They were very angry. 'Who is that rude young churl?' asked the Bishop of Ptolemais.

'Oh! an Antiochene whom the Archbishop says he has adopted,' answered Severian.

The next day Arcadius himself went to the Church of St. Thomas, accompanied by soldiers; and he, too, honoured the martyrs by laying aside his purple, his armour, and his diadem before their shrine. Chrysostom again delivered a discourse; but it was impossible to elevate the thin-blooded Arcadius into either a hero or a saint, and the language of his eulogy was much more measured.

Next day Philip looked in to see Michael; for he rarely missed the chance of visiting the Desposynos, in the hope of seeing Miriam, whom, though silently as yet, he loved with an ever-deeper devotion, and whom he believed to be not indifferent to him. He had a powerful ally in David, who loved Philip so much that in the family they always called him Jonathan, and David was never weary of singing Philip's praises.

'Is it not delightful,' said Philip, 'to see their Sublimities taking so much interest in the festivals of the Church?'

Michael smiled dubiously. 'Yes,' he said; 'but I am sorry that "he", as you boys call the Patriarch, lends so much sanction to the rage for relics.'

'Is it not natural to honour the mortal remains of saints and martyrs?'

'To honour, if you will, though they are but dust. Yet their cult has been pushed to fatal extremes. It has led to such gross imposture that sham monks go about cheating silly women with the bones of Noah or Methuselah. St. Martin discovered that his people were worshipping the relics of an executed criminal, and Bishop Cœcilian had to reprove a wealthy lady for kissing and hugging a supposed martyr's bone. It is twelve years since Theodosius had to pass a strong edict against this relic-worship, which seemed to him idolatrous and degrading. That is why the Pagans call us cinerarii ("worshippers of ashes ").'

'Everyone seems to approve of it,' said Philip. 'Is it not a Catholic custom?'

'I fear that many things are called "Catholic" nowadays,' said the Desposynos, 'which 177 are neither Scriptural, nor primitive, nor Christian, nor in any sense true. Your experience will soon teach you, Philip, that the current opinion of fashionable religiousness, however widespread it may seem, is often unspeakably shallow, as well as turbid. The life of the Apostles, of Athanasius—nay, of the Lord Christ Himself—proves to us that it is only one, with God, who is always in a majority. Many a true man has to cry with Elijah, " I, even I only, am left."'


XXIII. — FACE TO FACE WITH SHAMS

2

Vien dietro a me, e lascia dir le genti,
Sta come torre ferma, che non crolla
Giammai la cima per sofflar de' venti.

Dante, Purg., v. 13-15.

The errors of Chrysostom were errors of judgment only. He might have been equally inflexible without producing so deadly an exacerbation. Ambrose had been no less masterful than he, and no less fearless; but the training of Ambrose in civil offices had taught him the art of dealing with men. Even in his most bold proceedings he displayed a certain tact. We are apt to despise tact as a petty accomplishment; but just as a trivial oversight may ruin the smooth working of complicated machinery, so trivial faults of tone and manner, or a little lack of conciliatoriness, which is something wholly different from unfaithful concession, may throw out of gear the movement of great societies.

Certainly there had been little in the past experience of Chrysostom to bring this quality prominently forward. He had as little of it as Savonarola, whom he resembled more closely than any other historic parallel.

His long years of ascetic, monastic, and eremitic solitude, while they revealed to him many abysses of the deceitful human heart, and burned into his conviction the indefeasible supremacy of the moral law, had but little fitted him to bear the infirmities of the weak. He was out of touch with his surroundings.

Men are sometimes called upon to cleanse Augean stables without the Herculean strength by which alone the task can be accomplished. Men of unflinching honesty and flaming zeal are sometimes placed in the midst of societies hopelessly corrupt, and their heroic efforts only seem to precipitate their own destruction. Such a man was Gregory of Nazianzus, and Chrysostom, and Hus, and Luther, and Whitefield. Such men are forced, as it were, to dash themselves against barriers of adamant.

And his experiences in the mountain-cave had done Chrysostom another disservice. By hopelessly ruining his health they had caused also a sort of irritability—not so much of feeling as of tone and manner—which was more a physical accident than a moral defect, but which made what he said seem less easy to bear than otherwise it might have been. To this we must add the fact that his inexhaustible vocabulary and impassioned style made his words smite their hearers like a storm of hail. He was himself unaware of the effect produced by his own utterances. It was often more tremendous than he had intended. Even a platitude, wrapped round in the lightning of his fervent rhetoric, sounded like a paradox and a defiance.

Sometimes, when he had preached a sermon in which he only seemed to himself to have enunciated the most obvious moral certainties, he found to his astonishment that he had thrown all Constantinople into a ferment of agitation. If, for instance, oppressed by social problems and the glaring contrast between plethoric wealth and starving populations, he simply enunciated the plainest truths inculcated by Christianity and the Apostles, he found himself on the one hand besieged by applications from gross impostors who cursed him as a hypocrite if he refused their claims, while at the same time the upper classes were denouncing him as a dangerous Socialist and a reckless demagogue.

'How is it, my son,' he once said to Philip, 'that over and over again I only utter truths which hundreds have said before me, yet when I say them they seem to rouse men to fury, and when others say the very same thing they are set down as commonplaces?'

'There are ways of saying things, father,' said Philip, smiling; 'the gnats buzz, and the thunder roars, and the ultimate elements of sound are much the same, but they produce different effects.'

'You odd boy!' said Chrysostom—for their intercourse was always playful and unrestrained—'I think you must have learnt your style of talking at Antioch.'

'I thought we were both Antiochenes,' said Philip, demurely; 'but as you don't appreciate my simile, I will give you another. I shake this table, and no one notices it except a fly or two; but when an earthquake shakes things, even emperors and empresses get in a fright.'

'You haven't solved my perplexity, Philip. Gregory, Basil, Ambrose, Jerome—they are all every bit as much earthquakes as I am, but they didn't shake everything round them into a chaos of hatred.'

'Didn't they?' said Philip, innocently. 'Gregory had to leave Constantinople, shaking the dust off his feet, and comparing the Œcumenical Council to geese and cranes. Basil, I have heard you say, almost broke his heart at the savagery with which he was attacked, especially by bishops like Eusebius and Atarbius. Ambrose had to be defended in his church by the populace for days together. Jerome was driven from Rome by the rich, and by the monks, and by the clergy, and as he left Rome he called the city a purpurata meretrix, and compared her to Babylon.'

'Nevertheless, Philip,' said Chrysostom, 'it remains true that when Severian, for instance, or Antiochus, say the very same things that I do, the air does not become full of flame. You don't help me, Philip; I shall ask Serapion.'

'It all comes to this, father,' said Philip, 'there are ways of saying things, and it makes a difference whether they are spoken from the heart, or through masks and cottonwool. One man may steal a horse, another may not look over the hedge.'

'You are as riddling as the Sphinx, Philip. Send Serapion to me; I will ask him.'

Philip left the room laughing. He had but little experience of life to help his natural shrewdness, but he felt that what made Chrysostom's enunciation of a truth sound so tremendous, when on the lips of a Severian or an Isaac the Monk it would seem like a mere dulcet platitude, was that the one meant and acted on what he said, whereas everyone knew that the others did not.

But Chrysostom asked Serapion whether he spoke too strongly, and Serapion, akin to him in all his feelings, entirely repudiated the suggestion.

'You have rebuked the luxury of the rich,' he said. 'Have you said anything stronger than St. James? You have warned voluptuous women. Have you spoken more plainly than Isaiah?'

Chrysostom had asked these opinions because he had long had it in his mind to summon in the Thomaites two large meetings—first, of the virgins, the widows, and the deaconesses; then of the monks and clergy; and while he felt it to be his duty to address them with the utter faithfulness which they needed, he was anxious to tell the truth in love and not willingly or needlessly to exacerbate or wound.

The meeting of the 'consecrated' women took place first, and Chrysostom was grieved that he could not spare their vices. He was infected with the unscriptural and dangerous error of his times about the inherent sanctity of celibacy. Ignorant of marriage, and living at a period when, owing to the down-trodden position of most women in the East, the loftiest ideal of matrimony was but rarely realised, he could paint with caustic severity its trials and drawbacks, but did not fully recognise its supreme sanctity.

So far as words were concerned he repudiated the Manichean notion of the inherent taint of matter, and maintained that outward chastity was worthless if accompanied by inward depravity; yet he looked on marriage as an inferior condition. He drew for himself the loveliest ideals of virginity and consecrated widowhood. In such a consecration of womanhood he saw the existence of a new and unsuspected force on the side of Christianity, such as had already baffled the Emperor Julian at Antioch, and might still stem the swelling tide of corruption. It was, then, infinitely painful to him to think that worldliness, frivolity, and corruption could so invade the inmost recesses of the sanctuary as to falsify the conditions which ought to have been a pattern to all mankind. An Olympias, a Salvina, a Pentadia, seemed to him to have attained a conception of life which, if it became more common, might regenerate the world. But to see virgins wearing their ostentatiously coarse robes with almost meretricious coquetry; to see them adopt a demeanour so piquant that the dress was actually adopted by the lowest of their sex to enhance their own fascinations; to see them use the freedom and emancipation gained from their position to overstep the bounds of modesty, to gad about in promiscuous assemblies, to be seen in questionable places of amusement; to see widows who were so far from being 'widows indeed' that, like the women whom Isaiah denounced, they 'sewed pillows to all armholes,' and abounded in wimples and crisping pins; to see deaconesses at once bold and mincing, to see them forward, intriguing, uncharitable, slanderous—all this was as gall and wormwood to the burning sincerity of the Archbishop. And of all this he spoke to the seething throng of official religionism with a directness and power which made their cheeks blush and then hearts burn. The few of them who were sincere rejoiced to be reminded that position is one thing and character another; but the majority of them winced, and hated him with the quintessence of perverted femininity. He had carefully avoided what could be regarded as obvious personality, and spoke to classes, not to individuals; but his style was so picturesque, and his rebukes so unsparing, that not a few felt as if the masks as well as the veils had been torn off their faces, and their becoming religious costumes, which had fascinated so many sacerdotal eyes, had been torn and tattered on their backs. These were not in the smallest degree penitent; on the contrary, in their hearts they cursed and raged. They swelled with indignation, and their noses seemed more vengefully sharp than ever as they peered out of their hoods. Was it not monstrous that they, 'the religious,' they, so accustomed to veneration for saintliness, should be treated thus! How unlike their dear Nectarius was this Antiochene intruder! He was no bishop! They could only pray for better times. And so all the well- springs of 'human vinegar, sour and cold', were stirred up, and Chrysostom, who had hitherto had so little experience in that line, had to learn the 'Notumque furens quid femina possit! ' Henceforward as he met these ladies in the street, young or old, not a few of them drew back their garment's hem as though it were a pollution to touch him, and he was struck dead by forked lightnings from female eyes.

Then came the meeting of the clergy. To them the Patriarch had to speak truths even more disagreeable, and again he did not spare. He began with denouncing their ambitious worldliness. What had they to do with idle luxuries, when they ought to be setting the pure example of plain living and high thinking? Had not the eremite of Bethlehem, one of the ablest writers of the West, warned even a bishop against giving sumptuous banquets, and feeling flattered by the sight of the lictors and guards of a consul hanging outside his doors? 'You ought,' said Chrysostom, 'to live more frugally and more simply. It is painful to see presbyters of Christ indulging in parasitical flatteries to nobles who deserve their sternest rebukes. Do not tell me that you want to get money from them for your charities, or to intercede for poor criminals. Simplicity and sincerity would procure you an influence ten times more legitimate and ten times more availing. How can you rebuke extravagance when you practise it? and avarice when you are yourselves so deeply tainted with it? and luxury when you indulge in it? and ambition when the one aim of so many of you seems to be to induce some palace eunuch to get you a bishopric? I would not speak of myself, but have I not tried to set you an example in these respects? I do not give wasteful entertainments.'

'No,' whispered Antiochus to Severian; 'witness the dinner he gave to the poor Bishop of Berœa, of which Acacius is never tired of complaining.'

'No,' hissed Cyrinus in the ear of one of his presbyters, 'but they say, at any rate, that he indulges in enormous feasts all by himself.'

'Even in the palace of the Patriarch,' continued Chrysostom, not noticing the whispering bishops, 'I try still to live the life of a monk and an ascetic. I never so much as set foot in the Court of the Emperor unless I am summoned, or unless some great need of the Church demands my intervention.

'But though these evils are bad enough, there are others which are worse. You are unmarried. Though the Council of Nicæa did not require this of the clergy, the Council of 184 Eliberis demanded it, and so does the custom of the East. The Fathers of Nicæa allowed you to retain your wives, and listened to the impassioned appeal of the monk and hermit, Paphnutius, when he pleaded as St. Paul pleaded—and in accordance with the words of Him Who said that all men were not able to bear celibacy—that this burden should not be laid on your shoulders, and become a snare to you. But this celibacy has led to the all but universal adoption of a custom unseemly, nay, dangerous, nay, disgraceful, a custom which naturally and necessarily defames you, sometimes, not even rarely, with absolute criminality, but always with inevitable suspicion. It is a custom at which the very buffoons in the circus and the theatre aim their broadest sneers, amid the laughter of the multitude. The Council of Nice allowed you, if unmarried, to have your houses managed by a mother, a sister, or an aunt; but many have shamefully abused this rule. You live in the same narrow house with epeisactæ—with maidens who are no relations to you at all. You call them your "spiritual sisters," and this has become an offence and a source of untold iniquity. You are either weak or strong. If you are weak, it becomes the most sacred of your duties to shun temptation, to beat it back as you would beat back with a redhot iron a raging beast; but you surround yourselves with temptation, you court temptation, you live in the very atmosphere of temptation. But if you are strong, then you have no excuse, for in encouraging others to follow an example, which you profess to be harmless to yourselves, so far from bearing the infirmities of the weak, you render them fatal. It were far better than this that you should marry outright. A married presbyter could not possibly diminish his influence so much as one who, living with a young, perhaps attractive, maiden as the manager of his house, either tampers with sacred chastity, or leads others to think that he does so, and to do so themselves. Heaven's shame upon you!'

As he thus poured out the lava stream of his moral indignation, scorching the consciences of most of his hearers—for there were very few who had not rendered themselves liable to this reproach—a deep murmur of wrath rose among the offended presbyters, and fierce exclamations were heard.

Serapion started indignantly from his seat at Chrysostom's right hand. 'Bishop!' he exclaimed, 'you will never subdue these mutinous priests till you drive them all before you with a single rod.'

'Nay, nay, Serapion,' said Chrysostom, with a deprecatory gesture, 'I speak not of all. There are some, I know, who live alone, or only with their nearest relations, or with poor and aged women. But I speak of those whose rooms you cannot enter, though they profess to be celibate priests, without seeing the place strewn with caps and ribbons, and wool-baskets, and fashionable trumpery. Is it not monstrous to see such a man going to the silversmith's to ask for his lady's mirror, and thence to the perfumer's for her scents, and thence to the haberdasher's for her furbelows? Is it not even more distressing and unseemly to see them making room for these ladies in the very churches, and proudly stalking in front of them as though they were young dandies or gallants? Oh, my brethren, my brethren! when I see all this my heart bleeds and my spirit faints within me. And now, turning to you monks, I know not whether a still sharper pang does not strike into my soul when I see you—you who profess the sole Divine philosophy, you who should lead the angelic life—when I see you going about idle, oiled and curled, haunting the antechambers of the wealthy, whispering into the ear of painted matrons, begging in every direction for dubious objects, vending sham relics, merged in the black mud of ignorance, stirring up turbulent fanaticism, mixing yourselves with worldly intrigues, breaking your vows every day and in every direction. When I see this I feel inclined to cry, with Elijah, "Now, O Lord, take away my life!"'

In the description of false monks Chrysostom had not intended to depict one person in particular. But it was characteristic of the pictorial character of his intellect that he always saw everything in the concrete, and that, in describing a class, some prominent representative of the class rose spontaneously before his view. There were many monks and clerical adventurers of the kind which he had denounced. Every great city of the Empire swarmed with them, and in country places there were whole sets of them—like the Remoboth—who were regarded as positive nuisances. Bonaventura tells us that even in the second generation of the Franciscans people fled from mendicant friars as from the pestilence; and Augustine and others had said much the same of the wandering monks who belonged to no definite community. But on the lips of Chrysostom all this sounded like a new and unheard-of attack. While he spoke many, with the facility which most men have of applying the sermon to the man in the next pew, and being keenly alive to the way in which he must feel it, had turned their glances towards Isaac, the Syrian monk. That portly and despicable personage, who went about Constantinopolitan society like a sort of saintly dandy, oozing over with unctuous nonentity, and with his hair gilded and essenced and carefully arranged in curls, answered in every particular to Chrysostom's description. He thought that the harangue had been designedly and exclusively aimed at him. He left the hall with the rage of a demon in his false heart, a rage which, with his access to all the great officials, ecclesiastics, and Court ladies, he felt sure that sooner or later he would be able to gratify to the full. The Church of the fourth century reeked—by the confession of her own best saints—with frightful phenomena, but the most portentous of them all were men like Isaac the Monk.


XXIV. — THE CONSULSHIP OF EUTROPIUS

This is the state of man: to-day he puts forth
The tender leaves of hope, to-morrow blossoms,
And bears his blushing honours thick upon him;
The third day comes a frost, a killing frost.

—Shakespeare, Henry VIII., iii. 2.

'I have a piece of news for you,' said Eutyches to his two young friends; 'quite a first-rate piece of news. And I crow over Philip, who always fancies that he has the monopoly of news.'

'Out with it,' said Philip, 'before you burst!'

'Who do you think is to be the Consul for next year?'

'Who? I don't believe you know; it is mere gossip.'

'But I do; and the news is certain.'

'Well, who?' said Philip.

'No, no!' said Eutyches, 'I am not going to gratify your burning curiosity so cheaply.'

'I'll guess it in three guesses.'

'No you won't. I'll give you fellows ten guesses between you. If Philip guesses right I'll give him a picture of the Archbishop in gold on a blue ground, to stick up on his bedroomwall; if David guesses right I'll give him an earthenware vase full of roses from the flowermarket; and if neither of you guess in ten guesses, what will you give me?'

'Sly fellow!' said Philip. 'It's a sort of bet. But if we don't guess, I'll go to the brass-market and get you a little bronze——'

'Who's the sly fellow now?' said Eutyches. 'One word for me, and ever so many for yourself. We all know why Philip buys all his presents at the brass-market. We all know why the Archbishop's bills at a certain shop are so extravagant——'

'You young scoundrel!' said Philip. 'Whoever heard such impudence?' Eutyches dodged the box on the ear, and Philip chased him round the room. Finally, when the boy was driven 188 into a corner, he snatched up a chair and held it out with its legs towards Philip by way of fortification.

Chrysostom was wondering what made his young friends so lively in the next room, but he was always pleased to think that they were merry and happy in the dull Patriarcheion.

'What mischief are you boys about?' he called out from his study.

'It's only that noisy Eutyches, sir,' said Philip. 'That young person is always up to his pranks.'

'We all know how staid and quiet you are, Philip,' said Chrysostom.

'There now!' said Eutyches. 'You've disturbed him and maligned me. Now begin your guessing. You first, David.'

'That's to give him the best chance,' said Philip, 'because the roses will cost less than the picture I mean to win. But I see through you.'

'As the washerwoman remarked when the bottom of her tub fell out,' said Eutyches, keeping on the alert for another assault from Philip.

'Well, if I don't guess right,' said David, 'I'll give you a little alabaster pen-tray. I guess Aurelian, the new Prætorian Præfect.'

'He would be a first-rate Consul,' said Eutyches; 'but you're wrong. Now Philip.'

'Asterius, Count of the East.'

'Wrong,' said Eutyches.

'Cæsarius, Master of the Offices,' guessed David.

'Wrong. Philip thinks he's got it now.'

'Yes,' said Philip, 'the excellent Anthemius. He's young, and that is the reason why you are surprised.'

'Ever so wrong!' said Eutyches.

'Hellebichus,' guessed David.

'Wrong again, David.'

'I've got it!' said Philip. 'Gaïnas the Goth. It's no use guessing respectable people, as David does.'

'Wrong, O master of wisdom! I shall get my bronze—whatever it is to be. There are five wrong guesses. Now try again.'

'Arcadius himself,' said David. 'It will be his fifth Consulship.'

'Wrong. Now, Philip, try number seven.'

'Leo the Paunch,' said Philip. 'That would account for your excitement.'

'What! Ajax?' laughed Eutyches. 'Ajax the ex-weaver, whose huge body holds such a little mind? No.'

'I'll try no respectability this time,' said David; 'Osius.'

'Osius the ex-cook! No, David, you're quite out of it.'

'I have it,' said Philip. 'It's Count John.'

'What! the Empress's handsome favourite? Wronger and wronger. Oh, you imbecilities! You've exhausted all your guesses. Philip, go straight to the Chalk——'

'Take care,' said Philip.

'And buy me my bronze, whatever it is,' said Eutyches. 'I believe you guessed wrong on purpose to get an excuse for going.'

'Give me one guess more, to soothe my wounded vanity,' said Philip.

'Very well.'

'It can't be Eutr—— No, that would be altogether too absurd. Yet it must be somebody odd, or you wouldn't make such a fuss about it. Let me see.... I have it! It must be that old Pagan, Fravitta the Goth.'

'Hurrah!' said Eutyches, clapping his hands. 'Eleven guesses, and every one of them wrong. Never make the smallest pretence to political sagacity again, Philip.'

'Do give me only one guess more, to make the round dozen.'

'Oh you cheat!' said Eutyches; 'and then, perhaps, if you guess, you won't be able to go and see Mir——.'

'Look out!' said Philip, seizing him by the collar.

'I mean you won't be able to go to the Chalkoprateia after all. Well, one guess more.'

'Typhos, the demon brother of Aurelian.'

'Wrong again; and you will be wrong ad infinitum,' said Eutyches, 'so I shall get my bronze what's-his-name after all.'

'Do tell us,' said David; 'we are wild with curiosity.'

'What do you say to Eutropius himself?'

'Eutropius!' they both exclaimed, while

Up went the hushed amaze of hand and eye!

'None other,' said Eutyches.

'Good Heavens!' said Philip. 'I had his name again and again on the tip of my tongue, and rejected it as too insanely preposterous. Arcadius must have been asleep, and have nominated him in a nightmare.'

'Very likely; but the new Consuls are to be Eutropius for the East, and Mallius Theodorus for the West.'

'What a contrast!' said David. 'Theodorus is a scholar, a poet, a man of blameless integrity, who has written on Plato's "Ideas" and on the origin of the world, whom men honour for his probity, to whom Augustine dedicated his treatise on the "Happy Life." Eutropius is——'

'You will have to leave Philip to express your feelings for you, David,' said Eutyches. 'You are quite too gentle; you want a few years at Antioch to enrich your vocabulary.'

'I will say it for him,' said Philip, who was too deeply moved to notice the chaff of Eutyches. 'Eutropius is an insect of the harems, an incarnate rapacity, a whisperer of bedchambers, an old, bald, wrinkled creature only one remove above a monkey——'

'Oh oh, Philip!' said David. 'Slack the bow a little.'

'Well, but——' said Philip. 'That a fellow who has filled baths for houseslaves should sit on the curule chair! That a thing accustomed for years to flap fine ladies with peacocks' fans should sway the world's imperial fasces! Shades of the Decii! shades of the Camilli! have we come to this?'

'You ought to have been born in Rome,' said Eutyches. 'They would like to hear you declaim thus in the Senate. You will see that the East will stand it well enough. We are accustomed to the portentous spectacle of women and eunuch favourites who rule the world. But what will the West say?'

'It is really an awful business,' said Philip. 'I wonder whether he will guess? Let's ask him.'

'Sir,' he said to Chrysostom, going through the curtains, 'can you spare us a minute?'

The kind-hearted Patriarch came in.

'Eutyches, sir, has been gossiping in the Palace as usual, and——'

'Philip never does so?' said Eutyches, 'though he's as eager as an Athenian for news; only he's rather jealous that I have forestalled him.'

'Never mind him, Eutyches,' said Chrysostom; 'we all understand Philip.'

'And he thinks he has found out who is to be the new Consul,' said Philip, 'and he wants you to guess, only he's too shy to ask.'

'He need never be shy with me!' said Chrysostom.

'We've guessed Aurelian, Asterius, Cæsarius, Hellebichus, Anthemius, Gaïnas the Goth, Count John, Leo, Osius, Arcadius himself, Fravitta the Goth, and Typhos, and all twelve guesses were wrong; so you will see, sir, that it must be a very odd appointment. Eutyches has been getting out of us all sorts of presents——'

'Bronze things, and others,' said Eutyches, demurely, while Philip kicked his shin under the table.

'And no doubt wants to get one out of you, sir, unless you hit it off in five guesses.'

'Very well,' said Chrysostom, entering into their fun. 'I'll give Eutyches a little ivory diptych if I don't succeed; but after your experience perhaps I shall.'

'Take my advice, sir, and guess the oddest persons you can think of.'

'I will,' said Chrysostom. 'Is it Synesius?'

'No.'

'Saturninus, then?'

'No.'

'Perhaps it's this new Count Tribigild, who has come here from the Gruthonges, and whose tribe has to be gratified?'

'No.'

'It cannot surely be Amantius, the Empress's almoner?'

'No; but you're getting near it.'

'Briso, then?' said the Archbishop.

'To make up for his broken head,' said Philip, laughing. 'No, sir; and now Eutyches, who practically told us we were idiots for not guessing, will have to——'

'How am I to stop his audacious tongue, sir?' asked Eutyches.

'You don't really mean to say that the Emperor has ventured to nominate Eutropius?' 192

'You have guessed it, sir,' said Eutyches, clapping his hands, 'and they didn't.'

'Oh! this is serious indeed!' said Chrysostom. 'I fear the Chamberlain will have utterly destroyed himself by this insane ambition. It is dementation before doom.'

Philip had rightly anticipated that the effects of the Emperor's new stupidity would produce a far less intense impression upon the East than upon the West. The East received the strange intelligence with easy laughter, and contented itself with the cynical emphasis with which they called Eutropius the Father of the Emperor. But the first rumours which reached Rome and Milan were received with astonished incredulity, which, on the confirmation of the report, broke out in a thunder of indignation. The Consulship, it was true, was now mainly functional; it was shorn of any effective power. Nevertheless, the Consul stood at the summit of all official rank; he had unquestioned precedence; he gave his name to the year; he was the inheritor of centuries of heroic traditions. And that the honour should be bestowed on an obscure eunuch, born no one knew where, hawked about for sale by Armenian slave-sellers, subject to years of infamous degradations, a curler of women's hair, who had at last been turned out of doors—as not worth selling, and as too ugly to be even ornamental—to beg his bread in nameless purlieus——! And that such a man was not only to be made a patrician, but to sweep through the streets in gorgeous paludaments, attended by lictors, and to hold the ivory sceptre at the meetings of Senators! It was a portent ominous of blighted harvests and prodigious births or absolute infecundity! It was an outrage on ten centuries of history and thrice three hundred triumphs! It was an omen of frightful decadence. It would make the Roman world the open gibe of hosts of brave barbarians! It must not, it should not be!

The official confirmation reached Honorius in the Court at Milan as he and his warrior father-in-law, the brave Vandal, Stilico, were giving stately audience to an embassy of Ger- 193 mani and Suevi, who had been sent to ask for treaties of peace with promises of allegiance. Their presence was a proof that the glories of Rome were not yet dead, and that she could still boast of Saxons defeated, of Britain defended from the Picts, of subjugated races on the borders of the Danube and the Rhine. Crowds of Italians gazed with a thrill of pride on these stalwart barbarians in their mantles of skin, with their long red moustaches and lofty stature. And was it at such a moment that the dignity of Rome was to be humiliated by the association of her noble Consul, Mallius Theodorus, with a creature swept out of the scum of the Gynæceum? Claudian, the soldier-poet, whom Stilico had elevated into a military tribune, was present at this audience, and he became the impassioned voice of the indignation of the West.

He appealed to the young Honorius. 'You, O Prince!' he cried, 'you, the son of Theodosius the Great, have been four times Consul; and you, O Stilico, victor of a hundred battles, you have been Consul. Will you allow the Imperial fasti to be stained with this foul blot? Will you wage the wars of Rome under these womanish auspices? Are eunuchs to leave their fans and array themselves in the trabea? Are the hands which held umbrellas over dowagers to wield the axes of Latium? Spirits of the warrior dead—Bruti, Cornelii, Scipios, Claudii—start from your marble sepulchres, drive off this half-man who would wear your robes, would parade your insignia! Let the East, if it will, corrupted by the evil models of the Arsacidæ, accept the inert and slavish dominance of creatures who never drew a sword, who rarely stepped out of a bedchamber, who are only fit to fold up Tyrian robes and have the custody of secret jewel-boxes.'

The sonorous lilt of Claudian's hexameters echoed the wrath of the Western world, and Stilico and Honorius were not sorry to show their contempt for Arcadius and Constantinople by refusing to disgrace the Consular fasti with the eunuch's name. The year 399, by the first precedent during twelve hundred years, was named after a single Consul. It was the consulship of Mallius Theodorus alone.

Not many in the East could speak Latin; they were more Greeks than Romans. They did not read Claudian's heroics, and were untouched by his thunderous wrath. On the Calends of January Mallius Theodorus was installed as Consul in the ivory chair in the Capitol at Rome; and Eutropius, in the imperial palace of the Cæsars, was seated in all his grandeur in an ample robe broidered with golden palms, and surrounded by all the nobles and servants and great officials, who were emulous to kiss his hands, or, if more highly favoured, his withered cheeks. And as they bowed the knee before him the hall rang with acclamations which saluted him as the safeguard of the laws and the saviour of his country. Then the palace doors were thrown open, as though it were the residence of Eutropius himself, and in rushed the eager crowd with jests and shouting. After the reception Eutropius, still wearing his palmata vestis, arose, and, surrounded by his lictors and an escort of palace soldiers, went in stately progress to the Curia of Constantine, where he was formally inaugurated. Then he paced all round the Forum with its fine porticoes, and with intoxicated vanity saw images of himself clad in toga or military harness, and equestrian statues of marble and gilded bronze, among those of warrior- benefactors and ancient deities. A host of paid claqueurs rent the air with venal shouts, repeating the pompous titles engraven on the pedestals, and hailing him as the third founder of Constantinople.

How little he realised that he was seated on a razor's edge! The frenzy of his superhuman success clouded the usual shrewdness of his intellect. It was, as Chrysostom had said, the irony of impending doom. From two opposite directions, little as he had dreamed of it, destruction was marching on him with mighty strides; and Destiny had placed these dazzling crowns upon his head only to smite upon it, with deadlier force, her wedges and her shattering club.


XXV. — THE GOTHS

Rem Romanam alius circumsteterat metus totius Gothiæ.
—Amm. Marcell., xxx. 2.

As Chrysostom began to understand the general condition of society and politics at Constantinople he found that there were three predominant and fiercely antagonistic parties. He was more or less concerned with the affairs of them all. In each of the three parties he had some friends; with each he had some points of sympathy. The result was that every trouble and agitation in Constantinople became more or less a trouble or agitation for him, and he had to suffer from—

Desperate currents of a whole world's anguish,
Forced through the channel of a single heart.


First, there was the old Conservative Roman party, at the head of which stood his friend Aurelian, who, in spite of the desperate intrigues of his wicked brother, only known to history by the nickname of Typhos, was now in the high position of Prætorian Præfect. The literary exponent of this party was his friend Synesius. Although Constantinople was regarded as the capital of the East, it was called New Rome, and all of the old stock disdained to regard themselves in any other light than that of genuine Romans. They therefore looked with horror on the constant increase of Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Suevi, and Vandals, who now not only crowded the ranks of the Roman army, but constituted at least half of its numerical strength. They saw a fatal menace for the future in the fact that the three commanders-inchief of the Roman forces—Stilico, Alaric, and Gaïnas—the three generals who were thought to monopolise the military genius of the day, were all barbarians. The object of the great oration of Synesius before Arcadius had been to arouse him to a sense of the immediate dangers and of the certain peril to the ultimate fortunes of the Empire involved in this state of things.

Opposed to this Roman party was the Gothic party, headed at Constantinople by Gaïnas, formidable in arms, in numbers, in physical strength, in native manhood, and in military experience.[11] Even if they could have found none but barbarians to help their cause, it would have been difficult to resist them; but they were aided by the incessant intrigues of Romans like Typhos, who cared for nothing but their own pelf and advancement; and also by the intricate feminine intrigues of evil-living ladies like the wife of Typhos. If Gaïnas had even been such a man as Stilico, or, still more, such a man as Fravitta, who, though he still continued to be a Pagan, had married a Roman wife, and felt himself bound by laws of honour and loyalty, the Ostrogoths, who were the nominal defenders of Constantinople, would have constituted a less threatening factor in the problems of the day. But Gaïnas was a man of fierce, restless, unstable character. He was actuated by the passions of ambition and revenge which were common to him with most of his countrymen. He was discontented. He had helped Theodosius both against the usurper Maximus and the usurper Eugenius, and deemed himself inadequately rewarded, though he had received honours and donatives of which his fathers had never dreamed. Unhappily, too, the party of Gaïnas was not only the Gothic party, but the Arian party. The Arians, as we have seen, were still numerous. In the days of Nectarius they had even risen and burnt down the Patriarcheion. Fanatically devoted to their heresy, they were willing to make common cause with the Gothic chieftain, who fancied that even the diadem itself might not be beyond his reach. Arbogast, indeed, had thought that a barbarian could not venture to assume the purple, but things had advanced since the days of Arbogast. Arians had been emperors, and Goths had made emperors; why could not a Goth and an Arian elevate the glory of Wulfila even to the throne of Constantine?

11. The name Gaïnas is an abbreviation of Gaisananths, 'spear-bold.' Zosimus writes it Γαινης, Socrates Γαινας.

The third party was that of Eutropius: the party of civil officialism and palace favourites, the party of eunuchs and wirepullers. It derived its sole strength from the subservient ineptitude of the reigning emperor, but wielded an immense prestige from the fact that it could invariably command the influence of the Throne.

Typhos, indignant at his brother's elevation to the Præfecture, on which he had set his heart, began to intrigue secretly with Gaïnas, and the unscrupulous wife of Typhos with the wife of Gaïnas. The Goth, full of cunning and suspicion, was willing to utilise them both, but he was much too cautious to betray to them his own private plans.

Those plans were now nearly ripe for action. A kinsman of the Goth—Tribigild, a military tribune and chieftain of the Gruthongs—had come to Constantinople partly to compliment Eutropius on his elevation to the Consulship, but in reality to plead for higher office for himself and larger subsidies for his warlike nation.

Eutropius simply dallied with and fooled the Gruthongian chieftain. He despised his tribe as a distant section of the Ostrogoths too numerically feeble to be formidable. After manifold delays he snubbed Tribigild altogether, and sent him back without added pay, without presents, without even the cheap reward of empty titles. It was a fatal impolicy, due too the vertigo of his unwonted exaltation. No doubt such requests as those of Tribigild were an incessant worry to the Court; but Eutropius might have had sufficient foresight to see that a relation of Gaïnas, and a chief of high pretensions, could not be duped and insulted with impunity.

What passed between Gaïnas and Tribigild is not known, but there seems to be little doubt that they concocted between them a disastrous conspiracy.

Angry and dejected, his Scythian breast, as Claudian calls it, inflamed with want, his pride humiliated, his hand empty of gifts, the Gruthongian chieftain made his way home. His wife saw him approaching from a distance, and flew to meet him. She was one of those strong, and lofty-statured Teutonic women, by whose side the enervated Roman ladies looked so puny and slight- natured. She was clad in robes of fine linen, fastened at the breast with a jewelled brooch, and her long, fair tresses were confined by a band clasped with golden serpents. Joyously meeting him, and flinging her white arms round his neck, she asked what titles he had won, what presents he had brought for himself and her, what largesses for his tribe. Doubtless he had some necklace of orient pearls or emeralds for her, and some shield with its golden boss set round with gems to hang upon the wall of his banquet-chamber, and testify the admiration of Arcadius for a loyal chief?

'Ask me not!' he answered with sullen anger; 'I bring nothing. My requests have all been refused. No larger subsidies are conceded. They have not given me the title of Count. I have been insulted—and by a eunuch.'

Then, in all the old passion of a barbarian woman, his wife tore her cheeks with her nails and poured out her fierce taunts.

'Back, then, to your plough,' she said, 'husbandman, unfit to be a warrior! Fling away the sword, and take to the harrow. Let your Gruthongs sink to the level of an earth-grubbing peasantry. Oh! why did fortune link me with a poltroon? There are other Gothic women whose husbands have not been content to sweat over spades, whose homes are adorned with the spoils of cities that their husbands have laid waste, who are waited on by fair Argive and Laconian maidens. But the chief of their clan was an Alaric, and not a Tribigild.'

'My tribe is small,' said Tribigild, 'my warriors are few.'

'Tush!' she said; 'war will give you allies, war will crowd your ranks. Fling off the halfRoman; be a true Goth once more. They have spurned your fidelity; let them dread your injuries.'

No Goth could resist such appeals. Tribigild roused his tribe, and flew to arms. Multitudes of slaves and barbarians joined him. The rich plains of Phrygia lay before him, and its cities were only defended by walls which had long crumbled into decay. He devastated the whole country with fire and flame, and the terrified people appealed to Constantinople for protection from massacre and ruin.

At first Eutropius affected to make light of the catastrophe which his levity had precipitated. 'It is but an incursion of brigands,' he said to the frightened Emperor. 'They want chains, not troops. I will send a Prætor, not a Tribune, to punish them.' It was, as Claudian says, the policy of the ostrich, which hides its head in the sand, and thinks that its enemy will not see it. Secretly, however, he sent to negotiate with Tribigild. Experience had given him an immense belief in the omnipotence of bribes. In this instance they were vain. The Gruthong had already enriched himself with abundant spoil. He disdained to accept donatives wrung from fear. He affected to despise the honours which came from an eunuch. 'What, then, do you want?' said the emissaries.

'I want neither a courtship, nor presents, nor a donative,' he answered.

'Will nothing content you?'

'Yes! I want revenge. Send me the head of the eunuch and I grant you peace.'

Gaïnas made matters much worse by doing his utmost to increase the general consternation. 'My cousin Tribigild,' he said, 'is a first-rate general, and those Gruthongs are splendid fighters.'

Eutropius was in despair. At last he summoned such advisers as he could trust. But he had few on whom to rely except dandy youths and loose old men, whose chief glory it was to discover new refinements of luxury for their banquets, and to have peacocks and green parrots among the entremets. The chief subject of their chatter was the description of dresses and the discussion of the rival merits of athletes. Their very rings and their silk dresses were a burden to their decrepit enervation, and their chief aim was to look effeminate and have a good supply of lewd witticisms, while they talked of the wrigglings of acrobats and the dancing of actresses. But now Eutropius told them that affairs were serious. What was he to do?

They agreed that it would be unwise to send Gaïnas to suppress the rebellion. He was a Goth, and could not be trusted to put down Goths. His allegiance was more than suspected, and Tribigild was his cousin. No; there was nothing for it but to appoint Leo general.

Even in that conclave of his creatures the suggestion of Eutropius was received with an ill-suppressed titter, in which his prime favourite, the Spanish ex-cook, Osius, joined. For Leo was a common joke. He was so fat that he could neither walk without waddling nor speak without panting. What soldiers, whether Gothic or Roman, could respect or would obey such a general? Yet he valiantly exclaimed that he would drag this upstart Tribigild and these Gruthongian deserters behind his chariot to Constantinople.

So, while owls screeched their evil omens, he was sent forth to meet his doom, and to feed the Molossian vultures with the carcases of his soldiers. Never was there such a dissipated and ill-disciplined host. No one knew how to choose encampments. No scouts brought news of the enemy; no guides led them by the shortest routes; no sentries watched the vallum at night. Like a disorderly procession, the motley host marched towards the valleys and mountain-passes of the Taurus.

Tribigild, by a pretence of alarm, lulled the Roman army into fatal demoralisation. Leo, with senseless ignorance, had chosen his camp at a spot where a vast marsh at his rear cut off all hope of retreat. His insubordinate army spent the night in revelry and drunkenness. At darkest midnight Tribigild and his Goths burst over the unguarded rampart, and massacred at their will the drowsy and drunken soldiers. There was no battle—only a slaughter and a rout. Leo mounted his horse, and fled headlong towards the marsh, in which thousands of his miserable soldiers were already floundering. The horse, covered with streaming sweat under the precipitate career and enormous corpulence of its rider, stumbled in the marsh, and flung Leo over its head. The wretched general tried in vain to crawl out on his belly through the mud and slush. Sunk down by his own weight, he died, partly of terror, and partly of suffocation. Tribigild could leave the wasted regions of Phrygia behind him, and burn and pillage at his will the rich plains of Pamphylia and Pisidia.

Arcadius had now no choice but to leave Constantinople practically undefended, and to send Gaïnas to check the dangerous career of the rebel. He crossed the Bosporus, and 201 ostensibly marched to crush the enemy. But 'dog will not eat dog,' and he practically did nothing. The Emperor was mocked by missives in which Gaïnas lauded Tribigild as the best general of the age, and the Gruthongs as the most invincible soldiers. He saw no hope of defeating them. But they were inclined to be loyal had they not been so grievously offended. If the Emperor would only grant Tribigild's just demand for the head of the Chamberlain—Gaïnas would not call him Consul—the chief would lay down his arms and return to his own land. Was the safety of Eutropius to be preferred to the well-being of the entire Empire?

Nor was this all. A new terror began to threaten Arcadius. Bahram IV., King of Persia, had been his friend and faithful ally; but now the anti-Roman party had succeeded in effecting the murder of Bahram, and the first act of his successor, Izdegerd, was to send an army to attack Syria. Surely the omen of the Consulship of Eutropius had been sinister, and even deadly. For worse was still behind. If there was one person whom Arcadius hated, it was Stilico; and if there was one person against whom he cherished a malignant jealousy, it was his brother Honorius, who, though he was such a poor specimen of humanity, was yet on the whole his superior. Honorius and Stilico had disdainfully refused to acknowledge his new Consul, and now it began to be openly rumoured that Stilico, impatient of the disgraces and disorders of the East, meditated the suppression of Arcadius altogether, and the union of the dissevered empires of the East and West under a single emperor. This was the news which, more than any other, made the pale blood of Arcadius run cold.

'How will it be with me if I am dispossessed?' asked Arcadius of himself. 'How if I am rendered incapable of further rule, not only by imprisonment, but by akroteriasm?'

The frightful meaning of that word haunted him. It meant the cutting off of his hands and feet. He pictured to himself an abject cripple lying mutilated in a foul dungeon; and that cripple was himself, while the hated Honorius and the hated Stilico revelled in the purple chambers of the Byzantine Palace.

Harassed to misery by these sources of dread from many quarters, even Arcadius could hardly refrain from asking himself, 'Can I not avert the worst of these catastrophes by the sacrifice of one wretched old man?'

Whether his hesitation would otherwise have been broken down we cannot tell; but a sudden act of insane folly on the part of the eunuch called down the avalanche on his own head.


XXVI. — THE FALL OF EUTROPIUS

Tolluntur in altum
Ut lapsu graviore cadant.

—Claudian.

The mixture of dread, irritation, and intoxicated vanity which had come upon Eutropius as Patrician and Consul had clouded the usual keenness of his intellect and overthrown his shrewd judgment. He might have seen at some moments that, as a breath had made, so a breath could unmake him, and that the most ordinary common-sense dictated the advisability of his keeping on the best terms with the Imperial family. But of late Eudoxia had adopted towards him a tone almost of command, which he did not like. One day she spoke to him about the ravages of Tribigild, the insolence and probable treachery of Gaïnas, the certainty of a Persian war, and this intolerable menace of Stilico's intervention. She gave him to understand that she did not think he had managed well, and blamed him for sending against the Gruthongs such a man as Leo, when he might have sent a man of proved valour like Aurelian, or a man of capacity like Count John.

'Leave me to arrange these matters with the Emperor,' he said curtly. 'As for Aurelian, his appointment would have irritated Gaïnas; as for Count John—' he shrugged his shoulders, and looked at Eudoxia.

A blush mounted her cheeks, dyed them with crimson, and rose to the roots of her fair hair; but she disdained to notice what she regarded as an insolent innuendo.

'At any rate,' she said, 'you need not have sent a mere fat, incompetent glutton like Leo.'

'Leo was my friend, madam,' he said. 'You are no judge of his military aptness.'

'He has shown it egregiously,' retorted the Empress. 'Who ever heard of a Roman general suffocated in a scramble through the mud, as he galloped away in headlong flight?'

'It was his misfortune, not his fault.'

'Such misfortunes seem to come thick in your Consulship.'

Eutropius could not stand this. Was he Consul and Patrician—had he broken his birth's invidious bar—had he sold provinces and appointed præfects—had senators and nobles grovelled before him—had he made his name ring through the world side by side with Stilico's, only to be mocked by a Frankish woman who owed her position exclusively to him?

'Have a care, madam,' he said rudely. 'The same hand that raised you up can put you down.'

Eudoxia flushed into angry tears at the insult. Starting from her seat, she waved him aside with an imperious gesture, and made her way straight to the Purple Chamber, where were her two children. She took the little Flaccilla by the hand, and snatched the baby Pulcheria, afterwards destined to play so memorable a part in history, into her arms. Then, heedless of all Court ceremonial, she burst unannounced into the room where the Emperor was sitting, and flung herself, still weeping, at his knees. She could not speak for shame and anger, and the beautiful little children, understanding nothing, but catching the contagion of their mother's emotion, wept and wailed with her, while Arcadius, deeply disturbed, kept asking what was the matter.

'Am I your wife,' she cried, when she found voice to speak, 'or am I not? Am I your empress, or a slave and puppet of eunuchs? Are these your children? and is their mother nothing to you?'

'What is the matter? What is the matter?' Arcadius kept repeating.

'Eutropius,' she sobbed—'he has insulted me. I know that it is only because of him that you have withheld from me the title of Augusta, though I have borne you two children. But that is nothing. He says I owe my place solely to him. He threatens to drag me down when he likes. Is he emperor, or are you?'

Arcadius for more than a month had come to the slowly formed conviction that his supine abandonment of everything into the hands of his Chamberlain was likely to cost him 205 dear. Nothing but the indolence which Eutropius had fostered, and the dread of innumerable worries from which the Minister had relieved him, had prevented him from taking some step for the general good. Eudoxia's indignant fury was the last spark to fire the sluggish train. He would be a slave no longer to his own official. Eudoxia was now demanding his dismissal as the sole way to protect her from his insults, and, striking while the iron was hot, Arcadius acted on the impulse of a sudden resolution. He calmed Eudoxia's passion by a promise that her wrongs should be redressed, and striking a silver gong with unwonted energy, bade the officer to go at once to Eutropius with the order to leave the Palace on pain of instant death.

The officer was thunderstruck. Was he really to give this message to the Patrician, the Consul, the Grand Chamberlain, who but an hour ago had wielded absolute control of life and death, and had been the most powerful man in the whole Empire?

He had not to carry his message far. Eutropius had marked the wild rage of the beautiful Empress. He recognised that he had gone too far; that she was not like one of those soft Roman and Eastern ladies who cared for nothing but scents and jewels. She was a Frank, the daughter of a Frank general, and felt herself capable of rule. The home from which she came had made her unfavourable to Eutropius, much as she owed to him. She had no intention to be his subordinate. He watched her go to the Purple Chamber, watched her hurry with her children into the presence of Arcadius, heard the tumult of cries and sobs, heard the voice of the Emperor raised to a tone which he had never heard before, heard him summon an officer. But even he did not anticipate the summariness and tremendous finality of his doom.

The officer as he passed had mentioned to others the tenor of his heartshaking message; attendants gathered round the door had overheard what the Emperor said. The news spread through the throng of sycophantic hangers-on in the Palace with the rapidity of lightning. In five minutes it was universally known. Eutropius received the mandate. He was informed that soldiers were coming to arrest him. He had not a moment to lose. The Emperor's private passage spanned the Chalkoprateia, and led into the Church of St. Sophia. To reach it he had to walk through vast antechambers thronged with slaves, pages, soldiers, Court officials. Ten minutes earlier, if he had passed along, he would have been received with prostrations, and genuflexions, and hand- kissings, and titles of admiration, and wreathed smiles. Now he saw only scowls, and averted faces, and pointed fingers, and heard nothing but smothered curses and whispered jeers. The wretched man recognised that the sun of his fortune had suddenly plunged into deepest night. He hurried into the private passage, ran at full speed into the Cathedral, rushed up the steps among the astonished deacons and presbyters, and choosing for his asylum the most sacred and inviolable spot, he flung himself under the Holy Table, and grasped one of the gilded columns by which it was supported.

And there, still in the palm-woven robes of his consular dignity, in the purple mantle of his patrician rank, with dust scattered over his bald head, and grey thin locks, he lay and sobbed and grovelled in the dust.


XXVII. — IN SANCTUARY

Illatas Consul poenas, se consule, solvit...
Sævit in auctorem prodigiosus honor.
—Claudian.

Philip had been by accident in the Church of St. Sophia when Eutropius rushed into it down the private passage from the Palace which led into the Emperor's gallery, and down the staircase from the gallery into the nave. Lost in astonishment, Philip saw the unhappy man speed in wild affright up the porphyry steps of the sanctuary and disappear behind the drawn curtain. Usually the new Patrician and Consul was never seen in public except when he paced to the Theatre or Circus between his lictors, or in the centre of a throng of soldiers, slaves, and sycophants, while everywhere the claque of paid adherents received hire with acclamations, as if he were a hero or a god. What could possibly be the meaning of the unwonted spectacle of the most powerful of living men, pale, terrified, dishevelled, ungreeted and ungreeting, unattended even by a single slave, running at full speed, though with his knees trembling under him, and often stumbling on the road? Something portentous must have happened, and without even guessing what it was, the youth's shrewd and practical intellect instantly took in the importance of the occurrence. Whatever else it meant, it could only mean that Eutropius was taking sanctuary—was flying to the protection of that right of asylum of which he had endeavoured to rob the Church of Christ.

But great men do not fall, any more than great trees fall crashing over the forest which they overshadow, without serious commotion; and Philip was far from sure that Eutropius would not become the victim of his own law, which had excepted the crime of læsa majestas from the right of ecclesiastical protection. He foresaw that in half an hour's time, or less, when the news of the favourite's ruin had spread, the church would be transformed into a scene of the wildest commotion. It was necessary that Chrysostom should be instantly informed of what had happened.

The Patriarch's palace stood opposite the wall of the Imperial precincts, and was but a minute's distance from the eastern gate of St. Sophia. It faced the Milion and the line of statues which adorned the northern facade of the Hippodrome. While the few who were in the church were still lost in wonder, and were crowding up towards the presbytery to catch a glimpse of Eutropius when the curtains were drawn, Philip darted home, and passing straight into the Archbishop's room, said:

'Father, your presence is instantly needed in the Great Church! Eutropius has taken refuge in the sacrarium!'

'Eutropius?' exclaimed Chrysostom in amazement. 'He has fled to sanctuary? What has happened?'

'I know nothing more,' said Philip, 'but I saw him flash by me as I stood in the nave. He looked as pale as death. Terror was stamped on every feature. His robes were in disorder; his head was defiled with dust. In a few moments there will be some terrible scene. There is not an instant to be lost!'

'I will join you directly,' said Chrysostom. 'I have but to put on my pallium. Summon Bishop Palladius, Serapion, Tigrius, Cassian, Germanus, and all the clergy who may be in the Thomaites, to accompany me.'

'Come, David and Eutyches,' said Philip as he passed through the anteroom. 'It is I who have strange news to-day, but it is beyond all jest. The Archbishop will join the clergy in the Hall directly. Leave your work and come to St. Sophia, where you will see a scene which will be memorable for all time.'

The youths sprang up, and almost immediately Chrysostom came out, and, attended by his clergy and secretaries, walked rapidly to the Cathedral. The throng was already very large, and was momentarily increasing. The startling news had spread as though on wings of fire. It had reached the streets, where the crowds were yelling with savage satisfaction. It had reached the soldiers, who were in tumult. It had reached the Hippodrome, and passed as in a moment, none knew how, through its assembled thousands. Then a strange event 209

happened. Of late Eutropius had spent whole days in the Theatre and the Hippodrome, seated in state, graciously unbending to gratify the multitude, scattering smiles and largesses, flattering and flattered, omnia serviliter pro imperio, to all appearance the assured favourite of the promiscuous inhabitants of Constantinople. Yet now—such is fame, such the worth of the applause of the multitude!—the whole assembled populace rose as one man, shouting, 'Death to the eunuch!'

Chrysostom was not a moment too soon. But for Philip's swift resolution the hated Minister might ere now have been torn by rude hands from his place of shelter, and the sacredness of the shrine been polluted with the horror of bloodshed. Already there was tumult, and unwonted cries were heard in the holy place; but a hush fell on the people as the Patriarch came in sight in his pallium woven with crosses, and they made way before him as, in stately solemnity, he advanced towards the sacrarium with his attendant presbyters and deacons. They ascended the steps and passed through the curtain. It was there that Eutropius and Chrysostom met once more.

There was no manliness, there was no dignity in the anguish of the fallen Chamberlain: it was abject, it was womanish; it was calculated to awaken contempt rather than pity. The memory of his crimes added to the degradation of his wretchedness. It was as though the spectres of Timasius and Abundantius towered over him, and pointed him out to the avenging Furies. The idol which had so suddenly crumbled to the dust was a mean and ugly one. This was no Marius, sitting hungry and unshorn in his wretched dungeon, but still clothed in the majesty of manhood; no Pompeius, grand even in the midst of his calamities. It was a wretched, gilded insect of the harem whom Destiny, in one of her most cruel and sarcastic jokes, had first elevated from the most degraded slavedom to more than imperial power, and then suddenly, as in a moment, had flung away her plaything, with utter scorn, to grinning infamy.

The moment Eutropius saw the Archbishop he grovelled face downwards under the Holy Table, and wept and tore his hair; but at first his chattering teeth refused to frame a sound. Then he half rose, but hid his face in his robe, which was wet with tears and foul with dust.

'Look at me!' said Chrysostom.

For an instant the eunuch turned to him the deplorable, wrinkled face of his dishonoured age, with a look of appeal which would have been infinitely pathetic but for the ludicrous dishevelment and paltriness of the man, which made even sorrow seem too lofty an emotion for such a spectacle. Yet Eutyches and David were deeply moved, and there were tears in Philip's eyes.

'Destiny is pitiless,' said Chrysostom. 'Pray to God, pray to Christ to help thee. I fear thou mayst be beyond the help of man. But He who outstretched His arms upon the cross has a heart compassionate enough to embrace all wretchedness, and even the deepest guilt, so it be penitent.'

Eutropius could not answer. The Archbishop was thinking of the world beyond the grave; his own thoughts were all absorbed in the terror of the brief and passing present.

Meanwhile, through the opened curtains of the presbytery the crowd caught sight of the crouching figure, and amid the tumult and the menacing cries, which rose louder and louder, the tramp of soldiers and the clang of armour made itself ever more distinctly heard.

The sounds renewed the wildest alarm of the fugitive. 'Oh, save me!' he cried, 'save me!' And as he spoke he snatched at the Archbishop's robe, and kissed its hem.

'I will save thee,' said Chrysostom, 'if man may at all save thee.'

'Swear to me,' said the wretched man.

'Nay, a good man's word needs no oath. Fear not. Leave the Holy Table. Serapion will take thee into the Chamber of the Holy Vessels.'

Leaving the Archdeacon to attend to the eunuch and supply his needs, Chrysostom advanced to the front of the chancel, and ordered the curtains to be drawn behind him. He looked out on a wild scene. The armed Prætorians had forced their way through the dense mob to the front, and stood there shouting and brandishing their drawn swords, with cries of 'The eunuch! give us up the eunuch! He is in hiding here. He shall die!'

It was always in such scenes that Chrysostom rose to the fullest grandeur of his undaunted nobleness. Many a man will quail before a mad and mutinous mob who will face almost any other form of menace. But Chrysostom, as he looked on those gleaming eyes and furious faces, was as calm as if he had been talking to Philip in his own room. Not a pulse beat the quicker, and though his figure was not majestic, he seemed to dilate with the grandeur of his appointed task.

'Silence!' he called out in his clear, resonant voice, which was heard above the madness of the multitude; and once more, as they did not heed his command, he raised his arm in an attitude of authority and again cried,

'Silence, ye people, and ye turbulent Prætorians! Silence!' Astonished and overawed by the fearlessness of the man, which filled the disciplined soldiery with admiration, the crowd sank for an instant to silence.

'What mean ye? What do ye desire?' said the Patriarch, 'that ye fill with your lewd clamour the sacred silence of the church of Christ? Depart hence! The Hippodrome is the fitter scene for your shouts and tumults.'

'The eunuch! he is hidden here! Death, death to the eunuch!' they shouted.

'He has taken sanctuary,' said Chrysostom, with perfect calmness. 'He has flung himself on the protection of the Church. She spreads over him her mantle of mercy. Depart hence! your errand is in vain. He is inviolable here.'

'Nay, but you are breaking the law,' said the Tribune of the Prætorians. 'He has been guilty of treason. By the edict of Arcadius, by the edict he himself demanded and carried, he has no right to protection. You must give him up.'

'Never!' said Chrysostom.

'Nay, but we will have him; we will drag him out hence by the hair!' shouted the soldiers.

'You dare not!' said Chrysostom.

'We will soon see whether we dare,' cried the boldest of them, who were Arian Goths, filled with special hatred of the fallen Minister; and some of them began to rush up the marble steps.

'Back!' said Chrysostom, advancing with uplifted hand and checking their menacing onrush; while Philip and his two friends, who were watching the scene with intense excitement and unbounded admiration for their master, eagerly sprang forward, to protect him if possible, to die with him if necessary.

'This won't do,' shouted the Tribune. 'We have the Emperor's orders.'

'The Emperor's orders? What avail the Emperor's orders in the sanctuary of God? He is an emperor over frail men; we are the servants of the Most High God. What!' he cried, as he laid a firm hand on the cuirass of the foremost soldier, though he was brandishing his drawn sword over his head—'what! do you presume to violate the sanctuary of your Saviour?'

'We don't want to hurt you ; but, we will have the eunuch!'

'Then,' said Chrysostom, spreading out his arms across the narrow space, 'advance if you will; but if you do it must be over my body—yes, and over the bodies of these my presbyters;' for now they were all standing round the Archbishop, prepared—all unarmed as they were—to defend the sanctuary, even with their lives.

'Shame on you! shame on you, soldiers!' cried young Eutyches, carried out of himself by the scene. 'Would you defile the Holy Place of God with the blood of His murdered ministers? And are you not afraid that the lightning will flash on you, or the floor be rent with earthquake to swallow you up quick, like Korah and all his company?'

'Silence, you young cub!' said a soldier, striking the boy on the cheek, while others still pressed forward, being almost forced on by the waves of the people who surged behind them.

It was one of those crucial moments when the possibility of enormous crimes trembles, as it were, in the balance, and when there is but a hair's-breadth between scenes such as 213 history records for ever, or the averting of some dreadful catastrophe. At any moment one of those uplifted swords might descend on the head of the Archbishop; and then the soldiers and the mob, drunken with blood and fury, would have trampled down the presbyters, would have dragged Eutropius from his hiding-place, and hacked him to pieces at the very altar. The cheek of Eutyches was bleeding with the soldier's blow, and Philip and David had climbed up the balustrade, their faces aflame with the very enthusiasm of martyrdom, and had taken their places close beside their master, ready to shield him with their bodies.

The absolute calm of the Archbishop averted the peril. 'You have heard,' he said, 'as though God's voice had spoken to you by a boy's lips—you have heard the awfulness of the atrocity which you seem to be on the verge of committing. Pause ere you drown your souls for ever in destruction and perdition!'

'Give us the eunuch!' said a soldier, 'and we will disperse this multitude with the flat of our swords, march out in peace, and close the church-gates.'

'I will not give you the fugitive who has flung himself on Heaven's protection. Listen to me. Let the Emperor decide. Take me to him here and now. Take me to him as your prisoner, if you will. Leave some of your number, pledged by the word of your Tribune to defend the sanctuary from rioters while I am absent, and hear whether the Emperor really bids you to desecrate the church of God.'

'Not waiting for any consultation, Chrysostom quietly began to descend the steps. 'I will walk,' he said, 'in the midst of you.'

'Let us come with you, sir,' said Philip, earnestly.

'These are my young secretaries,' said Chrysostom to the Tribune. 'They are not formidable. Let them accompany us. They may be very useful in writing notes or taking messages. Your face bleeds, my poor lad,' he said to Eutyches. 'You might have dealt less roughly with the harmless boy,' he said to the Prætorian who had struck him. The Goth actually blushed at his words, and shrank back as he would not have done from the sword of the strongest enemy.

So the Tribune bade the soldiers form two lines and walk with uplifted lances or drawn swords on either side of the Patriarch to the Imperial Palace. The crowd in the church divided to let them pass; and in the streets they walked through myriads of spectators, struck with the unwonted spectacle of their Patriarch conducted into the presence of the Emperor by armed Trabantes, who did not abstain from cries of 'Death to the eunuch! We demand the head of Eutropius!'

As the streets were in a state of excitement, Aurelian, as Prætorian Præfect, had drawn up many soldiers as well as the Royal Guards before the gate, and through these the Patriarch and his escort passed in silence, until they had conducted him to the door of the Emperor's room.

Chrysostom briefly recounted all that had taken place, and Arcadius feebly pleaded that Eutropius, as a State criminal who had treasonably mismanaged affairs, and who had openly insulted the sacred majesty of the Empress, could not claim asylum from which the law exempted him.

'It was a cruel, it was a wrong, it was an unjustifiable law,' said Chrysostom. 'No doubt, if justice were perfect, if there were no officials to do deeds of oppression, robbery and wrong, the privilege of asylum might be abused, and might become dangerous and evil to the State. But it is not so. It may be that, here and there, it throws a shield over the guilty, but ten times more often it protects the innocent.'

'Eutropius is not innocent,' said the Emperor pettishly.

'I said not that he was,' said Chrysostom, 'but in the days of his fortune, in the days when he was your all-honoured plenipotentiary, in the days when he wielded and abused all your power——'

Arcadius winced.

'In those days I resisted to his face the arbitrary injustice of invading the sacred privilege of the Church. I made him my enemy by doing so.'

'Then why does your Beatitude protect him now?'

'I protect him all the more, Emperor, ten times the more, because he was my enemy. The question is not of him: it is of the rights of Christ and of His Church.'

'But he is guilty,' reiterated the Emperor.

'Granted, if you will. It does not affect the question. Think of others who were not guilty. Think of the innocent, the holy Pentadia, whom but for the rights of sanctuary Eutropius might have dragged into torture, or penury, or to share the death of her wronged and murdered husband, Timasius. Think of Lucian, Count of the East, whom, not for wrong-doing, but for an act of noble justice, your Minister Rufinus beat to death with leaded whips. Had he but foreseen his peril he might have been safe in the Church of Antioch.'

'But I have passed an edict on the subject.'

'Yes, or Eutropius passed one in your Majesty's name.'

Arcadius again winced, and almost summoned up sufficient energy to look angry.

'But though your laws are decisive in all human questions, one who, like yourself, desires to be a pious emperor cannot pretend to interfere with the indefeasible laws of God. Human law, except so far as it is a part of the Divine law—what is it? It is, and it is not. It is passed to-day, it is destroyed to-morrow. But Divine law? Well has the Greek poet sung that it is not of to-day, or of yesterday, but lives for ever and ever, and none knoweth whence it was manifested. The laws even of emperors are invalid if they encroach upon the privilege of Christ. The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.'

The Emperor was overborne. He was timid and superstitious, and dreaded lest he should kindle the displeasure of Heaven.

'What do you wish me to do?' he said helplessly.

'Nothing ignoble, nothing in any way unworthy of your sublime power: only one of those acts of mercy and of justice more glorious than the diadem. Come out with me, and bid Aurelian announce to his Prætorians that the sacred precincts shall not be violated.'

Arcadius went out in purple and diadem, and when Aurelian genuflected before him, he said, 'I must ask you to tell your Prætorians it is my will that the asylum of Eutropius should be respected.'

'He spoke—and stood irresolute; for, regardless of his presence, the soldiers, who in the silence had heard his decision, broke into a wrathful murmur and cries of 'Death to the eunuch!' which even Aurelian could not suppress. The emperor felt indefinitely strengthened by the presence of the Patriarch, but the most rigid law of Court ceremony forbade Chrysostom to speak. Arcadius, in halting, hesitating words, endeavoured to impress on the minds of his Guards what Chrysostom had been saying to him, but the arguments sounded very different on his lips. The soldiers paid no sort of regard to them.

'Why are you so enraged against the Chamberlain?' asked the Emperor. 'If he has done some bad deeds, surely he has done some good ones, too?'

'What good deeds has he done?' asked a Prætorian rudely.

'My father Theodosius sent him to John, the holy eremite of Egypt, and he brought back the prophecy of his victory and speedy death.'

A coarse laugh from the soldiers was the only reply, and one of them said: 'Why, any fool would have done as much as that.' The cries of 'Death to the eunuch!' were redoubled, mingled with shouts of 'Who murdered Timasius? Who put up Gildo? Who betrayed the army to Tribigild?'

Things looked very ominous, for the soldiers began to leap in the air and shake their long spears. Had Arcadius thought of ordering either Aurelian or Chrysostom to address the mutineers, they would no doubt have brought them to their senses; but he did not, and the revolt might very speedily have become a revolution. But at that moment Arcadius was protected by his very helplessness. He simply burst into tears, and implored the soldiers for his sake to spare his disgraced Minister. They were unaccustomed to the sight of an emperor in tears, and they sullenly consented to abandon their demand.

Chrysostom thanked the Emperor, and went back under escort through the raging mob to St. Sophia. The church was practically in a state of siege, and it was with difficulty that the soldiers secured his entrance. He brought to Eutropius the news of his immediate safety, which the eunuch received with transports of gratitude. He left him in charge of a number of the clergy, to whom Aurelian assigned the protection of a hundred soldiers; and then he returned home, deeply wearied with the adventures of the day, but thankful to God that he had saved the life of the suppliant, and successfully defended the prerogatives of the Church.


XXVIII. — INEVITABLE NEMESIS

Ambition this shall tempt to rise,
Then whirl the wretch from high,
To bitter scorn a sacrifice,
And grinning infamy.

—Gray.

The next morning was Sunday, and never—not even at the most sumptuous of Easter festivities—had so vast a congregation thronged the ample spaces of St. Sophia. Nave, tribunes, galleries, porticoes, were filled, till there was no standing-room—not so much by worshippers as by multitudes eager for new and powerful emotions. Virgins had quitted their chambers, women had left the Gynæceum empty, men had deserted the Forum and the Hippodrome. The Emperor and the Empress were present in the royal pew, in the centre of groups of betitled and bejewelled officials; scarcely a præfect, patrician, or illustris was absent; and soldiers in their glittering armour were mingled with the crowd.

After the service Chrysostom advanced to the ambo, and seated himself for his discourse. In the dead silence he perused for a moment the sea of upturned faces. Many of them were fixed on him in bitter anger because he had snatched their enemy from destruction. On other faces gleamed and flickered the vulgar joy of the base at the fall of the great into calamity. Others showed only the idle curiosity which makes dread disasters the sources of pleasurable sensation, provided only that they fall on their neighbours, not upon themselves.

It was just such a moment as that in Notre Dame when as vast a multitude watched Massillon mount the pulpit before which lay the coffin containing the mortal remains of Louis XIV., and when, after a pause, he began his sermon and melted all to tears by the simple words, 'God alone is great.'

Chrysostom ordered the curtains of the presbytery to be thrown back, and there the assembled multitude beheld the man whom a single day had hurled from the summit of human eminence to the lowest deep of human misery. He was lying under the altar, a pitiable spectacle, pale as a corpse, clinging convulsively to one of its golden pillars. If he raised for a moment his miserable face, he saw the dense throng of soldiers who had formed part of his escort, of slaves to whom his nod was law, of citizens who had shouted applause to him for hours in public places. Higher up, in the gilded gallery, he saw the Empress whom he had elevated from insignificance, the Emperor whom he had treated like a tame animal. Then the voice of the sacred orator fell upon his ears, saying

'" Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher; vanity of vanities—all is vanity!" True always, it never seemed more true than now. Where now is the splendour of the Consulate? Where the gleaming of lamps and torches, the acclamations, the dances, the festivities, the joyous assemblies? Where are the crowns and Tyrian tapestries? The flattering murmur of the city, the greetings of the Circus, the flatteries of thousands of spectators—where are they now? All that is past. The hurricane has swept down upon the tree, and not only scattered all its leaves, but upturned it by the roots, and whirled it to the earth. Where are the false friends, the swarms of parasites, the tables laden with viands, the goblets crowned with luscious wines and passing all day long from hand to hand, the delicacies of banquets, the soft murmurs of the slaves of power? What has become of it all? It has vanished like a dream when one awakes; it has faded like a flower of the spring under the sirocco; it has disappeared like a shadow. It is scattered like a vapour, bursten like a bubble, torn like a spider's web. Say, then, say ever, "Vanity of vanities; all is vanity!" Write it on your walls, on your garments, in your Forum, in your streets, on your houses, on your windows, on your gates. Write it most of all on your consciences, that it may be ever present to your thoughts. Reiterate it at all your banquets, and in worldly assemblies let each repeat it to his neighbour: "Vanity of vanities; all is vanity!"

'And thou,' he cried, turning to Eutropius, 'said I not to thee incessantly that riches make to themselves wings and flee away, and thou wouldst not listen? Said I not to thee that popularity was vain as the smoke and lukewarm water of mouthfriends, caring only for their own interests? Thou wouldst not believe me. And now experience hath shown thee that wealth is not only a thankless but a murderous slave. I became thine enemy because I told thee the truth; but said I not, "I am a truer friend to thee than they that flatter thee"? Warned I thee not that faithful are the wounds of a friend, deceitful the kisses of an enemy? Hadst thou borne my wounds thou hadst not been destroyed by their kisses. My wounds were health, their kisses death. Where now are the songs which welcomed thee? Where the army of slaves who cleared the way before thine omnipotence? They have deserted to thy foes, they deny thy favours. But I, whom thou couldst barely endure, have not abandoned thee, and now in thy fall it is I alone who support and solace thee. Thou foughtest against the Church, and the Church has opened her arms to receive thee; thou favouredst the theatres, and they are shrieking for thy head. When I warned thee not to tread thus gaily the road to ruin, thou, with a shrug of disdain, wouldst fly to the Circus. Lo! the Circus multitude, enriched by thy lavishness, whets the sword to slay thee; the Church, troubled by thy rage, is running hither and thither to snatch thee from thy misfortunes!'

And then the thought seemed to strike the Archbishop that he had been too severe—that he had not sufficiently tempered his words with pity for the fallen. It was from no lack of tenderness and compassion; it was from the abstract impersonal light in which he regarded the whole scene. The poor fallen wretch had been the enemy of the Church, and he was no obscure criminal, to be either punished or pardoned, and then doomed to swift oblivion.

He had played his part on the world's most brilliant stage; he was a man whom God had smitten with His thunder, on whom in all his guilt God's messenger was now 'pronouncing the humiliation of pardon.' The Archbishop had often reproved Eutropius for avarice, rapacity, injustice. The Minister's fall could not alter the mean estimate Chrysostom had formed of his character, and he almost forgot the personal feelings of the sufferer, almost ceased to regard him as one that suffered, in the strangeness of the spectacle, and in the desire to point to the frovolous multitude of nominal Christians—above all to guilty, grasping, luxurious nobles and officials, and to the wealthy classes in general—the terrible object-lesson which, from the speaker's point of view, their Saviour Himself had brought before their eyes. No doubt a man less inflexible of character, less rigid in his unsparing righteousness—man with more knowledge of the world, and trained in the midst of political affairs rather than by monks and hermits—would have managed the occasion with finer adaptability. His enemies declared that he had been merciless to the unfortunate. It was, indeed, the last thing which he had intended, and in the simpleness of his integrity he doubtless imagined that he had sufficiently proved the sincerity of his compassion by the generous sacrifice—by the sacrifice even of life itself—which he had been ready to make to protect the Church's suppliant. Still, as the thought crossed his mind that haply his language might have seemed harsh, he paused, and said:

'Nay, think not that I desire for a moment to insult a fallen man; my aim is to forewarn those who stand, and to bid them take heed lest they fall. I stand not here to fret the sores of the wounded, but to preserve the health of those who have no wounds; not to roll the billows over the head of the shipwrecked, but to point out the hidden reefs to those whose sails are swelled by the favouring wind as their prow cleaves the gleaming sea. Who was ever so great as this man? What living man in all the world could rival him in wealth? Consul, Patrician, Præfect of the Sacred Chamber—what honour was lacking to his Eminence? He was the envy of all men, and now he is as naked as the slave, indigent as the beggar. Drawn swords, and pits, and tortures, and the path that leads to execution, are ever before his eyes. These are the things, not the pleasures which he has exhausted, which crowd his vision. Why paint the picture which is before your very eyes? Behold him!

'I say again I desire not to insult his misery, but to touch your hearts, to warn your consciences, to make of his misfortunes angels to speak trumpet-tongued to your carelessness.

I know that there are some of you who reproach me for having sheltered him. Wherein am I to blame? He used, you say, to attack the Church. Yes! but now he has taken refuge there. Should we not thank God that the enemy of the Church has recognised her mercy and her power? Her power—for she has won the victory; her pity—for she has pardoned him, and folded over him the wings of her protection. Should not Jews and Pagans blush to see, in his presence here, the trophy of her greatness? He denied her privileges; he strove to deconsecrate her sanctuary. He has himself fled to that sanctuary, and, tenderly as a mother, she hides him under her inviolable veil from the resentment of the Emperor and the fury of the mob! Look at yonder Holy Table! It is adorned with gold and precious stones; but its richest ornament is the fugitive who crouches there.

'An ornament? you cry. This man, so greedy, so rapacious, so unjust. How can this criminal adorn the altar which he strove to violate? Ah! silence! Should you not think of Him who suffered the harlot, out of whom he had cast seven devils, to wash His feet with her tears, and wipe them with the hairs of her head? Of Him Who, when brutal soldiers were nailing Him to the cross, still breathed the prayer, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Murmur not that the man who would fain have closed our asylum should avail himself of it, for by so doing he has established its sacredness. The Church is as a monarch, who is not greatest when he sits on his throne in purple, with the circle of sovereignty upon his brow, but when barbarians, their hands bound behind their backs, lie vanquished at his feet. Come, then, let us now celebrate the Holy Mysteries, and afterwards we will go in a body to the Emperor to implore for Eutropius his pity and his pardon, and to lay the golden ears of the harvest of our compassion before his feet!'

The scene was too memorably striking to be ever forgotten by those who witnessed it, and the discourse of Chrysostom was too impassioned not to leave the deepest impression. But the courage of the Patriarch and the protection of the Church were all in vain. So long as Eutropius lay hidden in the sanctuary St. Sophia continued to be almost in a state of siege, and the Forum outside was the scene of incessant tumults. The eunuch himself grew weary of his incarceration. Death itself seemed hardly less intolerable than the blank and impotent existence—dishonoured, aimless, unoccupied—to which he was now reduced. The perpetual moaning in his ears of chants and litanies; the sight of no one but presbyters, deacons, and acolytes in the small dim chambers behind the apse; the voices which insulted him; the eyes which glared fiercely upon him, if he stepped into the sacrarium; the days so deadly with unbroken ennui; the nights haunted with ghastly visions; the perpetual sense of the presence of religion without any of its consolations became altogether too much for the miserable man. His overwhelming misfortune presented a contemptible spectacle, because it was unredeemed by one touch of the dignity which it would have derived from repentance or resignation. The sole thing left him was bare life, and he clung to bare life, but not under the dreary conditions which now dazed and stunned him. On the Wednesday, as he was sitting in the sacrarium in infinite despair, he saw Typhos, the brother of Aurelian, beckoning to him. He stepped within hearing distance, and Typhos promised him that if he would give himself up without tumult or resistance his life would be spared, and he should be sent to the island of Cyprus. 'Give me,' said Eutropius, 'the Emperor's oath that I shall not be slain, and I will give myself up.'

Next day he received the Emperor's sworn assurance, and in the dusk of evening, when the church was empty, he left the sanctuary. He was hurried in the darkness to a ship which lay by the quay in the Bosporus, and it at once spread sail for Cyprus.

But the moment the news was known it became manifest that his enemies would not be content with any such deportation. Is this, they said, a sufficient punishment for his many crimes? and what guarantee have we that he may not creep back again, wind himself once more into the favour of the Emperor, and rule as he did before?

In vain did Arcadius publish a decree of unexampled severity against him, which was to be affixed to the walls in public planes in every city of the Empire. The document is too curious an illustration of the times to be omitted. It ran as follows:


'The Emperors Arcadius and Honorius to Aurelian, Prætorian Præfect.

'We have confiscated to our Treasury all the property of Eutropius, formerly our Præfect of the Sacred Chamber, having stripped him of his splendour, and delivered the Consulate from the foul stain of his tenure, and from the recollection of his name, and the base filth thereof; so that, all his acts having been repealed, all time may be dumb concerning him; and that the blot of our age may not appear by the mention of him; and that those who by their valour and their wounds extend the Roman borders, or guard the same by equity, may not groan over the fact that the divine guerdon of the Consulship has been befouled and defiled by a filthy monster. Let him learn that he has been degraded from the Consulate and all other dignities which he stained with the obliquity of his character; that all statues, images, and pictures of him, of every material and colour, be abolished everywhere, that they may not pollute the gaze of beholders as a brand of infamy on our age. Let him be taken under escort of your faithful guards to Cyprus, where let your Sublimity know that he has been banished, so that, being there watchfully guarded, he may be unable to work confusion by his mad designs.

'Dated January 17, at Constantinople, in the Consulship of Theodorus, a most illustrious man.'[12}

12. The date January 17 is obviously erroneous.

It was a strange thing that Arcadius should be blind to the fact that it was he, and he alone, who had made Eutropius Consul, and that all this talk about the filth and pollution of his mere name redounded to the utter discredit of the Emperor, who was responsible for his entire career, and had until yesterday regarded him with boundless approval. But even this sanguinary proclamation did not suffice. Gaïnas and Tribigild refused to be satisfied with anything less than the head of Eutropius. The Western Empire still openly murmured that his punishment had been wholly inadequate to his crimes. True that the Emperor had pledged his oath that the eunuch's life should be spared, but the oath must be got rid of by any chicanery. Arcadius was persuaded to salve his conscience with the unction that he had only promised him safety as long as he was in Constantinople, and that he could be executed on new charges, though not on the old ones. A ridiculous accusation was accordingly trumped up that Eutropius had sometimes placed insignia which were purely imperial among the ornaments of his consular dignity; and, still worse, that he had caused to be yoked to his own chariot the steeds of a peculiar breed and colour, called kosmoi, which were never used by anyone except the Emperor himself. On this trumpery pretext, which was probably an invention for the occasion, and may have had no existence except in the vengeful brain of the Empress Eudoxia and her intimates, the hapless eunuch was dragged back from Cyprus to Chalcedon, seeing on every side of him his own rent pictures and dismantled statues, and there, after the most hurried mockery of a trial, his head was placed under the axe, and a career was ended which, passing in full circle from nameless abjectness, through imperial splendour, to immeasurable degradation, is one of the most dramatically strange which History has ever recorded on her varied page.


XXIX. — EUTYCHES IS INDIGNANT

Botoli trove poi...
Tanto più trove, di can farsi lupi...
Discesa poi per più pelaghi cupi
Trove le volpi, si piene di froda
Che non temono ingegno the le occùpi.

Dante, Purg. xiv. 46-54.

In all the later phases of his career Chrysostom had taken a noble and blameless part, unless a certain want of tact and of gracious versatility be attributed to him as a crime. Yet, as is so often the lot of the men to whose shining virtues the vicious pay the tribute of implacable hatred, Chrysostom was blamed and abused on every side. His moral brightness was, as his friend and biographer, Palladius, Bishop of Helenopolis, expressed it, like a lamp flashing in sore eyes. The enemies of Eutropius denounced the Archbishop for having sheltered him; the enemies of Chrysostom himself infamously pretended that he had betrayed him to the soldiers. Eutropius had not a single friend, but many who would not have let their little finger ache to save his life stormed at the prelate, who alone had pitied him, and who, at the risk of assassination, had stood between him and the swords of his assailants. He had been too hard and cruel for their delicate sensibilities! The incarnate vices of society united to sting to death the one man whose pure virtue was an embodied reproach to their wickedness. At Constantinople he—

Lived pilloried on Infamy's high stage,
And bore the pelting scorn of half an age.


It happened a day or two after these events that Elpidius, one of the worst of the Constantinopolitan clergy, was walking on the wooded shores of the Bosporus with the Bishop of Chalcedon. Elpidius was in his way a man of note among the clergy, because, in spite of a character entirely despicable, he was a heated and unscrupulous partisan. He identified religion with his own personal views, and, though his intellect was mean, his blind party spirit acquired for him the position of a leader among the most heated controversialists. His notions of argument were those which have been prevalent in every age among such men as he. They consisted in loud and overbearing reiteration of assertions, supported by flimsy sophisms which had been over and over again refuted; in boundless vituperation of his opponents, which among similar characters passed for reasoning; in the ignoring of the proofs which had long undermined the sandy bases of his false and unscriptural orthodoxy; and in the glaring and habitual misquotation of the words of his opponents. Such controversy, deeply dyed in vulgarity, virulence, and venom, was of a kind which no good man could deign to notice. It was mere malice, meanness, and misrepresentation, adapted only to feed the most ignorant prejudices and worst passions of his partisans. 'The Church'—a word for ever on his lips—meant, on the lips of Elpidius, himself and those who held his 'views.' It was the asserted authority for every superstitious accretion, for every Pagan development, for every soul-dwarfing falsity. The teaching and example of Christ, of the Apostles, and of the Christians of the first two centuries, were regarded as unimportant. Christ's reprobation of errors which were now thrust forward as the be-all and the end-all of orthodox religiosity went for nothing; but if any isolated phrase in the New Testament could be distorted into the false semblance of an argument, whole systems were built on it, like pyramids upon their apex. In short, Elpidius was one of those 'Churchmen,' so common in every age, to whom shibboleths, ceremonial, and their own self-exaltation, were of infinitely more account than judgment, righteousness, and truth. He represented the practical supersession of Christianity pure and undefiled by a dead Pharisaism and a dead Judaism, mixed up with elements of Pagan superstition and Pagan ritual. If the decrees of Councils decided in his direction, they were infallible; if they traversed his views, they were a collection of obsolete canons. If bishops supported his party they were elevated into an apotheosis of sainthood, and adored with genuflexions; if they opposed him they were a disgrace and a 'scandal,' to be treated with the most contumelious indifference. The controversial methods of Elpidius consisted mainly in exalting his own clique, and blackening all who differed from him with boundless depreciation. His all-absorbing churchliness and supernatural claims of sacerdotal supremacy were in nowise incompatible with violations of the most ordinary courtesies of a gentleman, or the most rudimentary virtues of a Christian.

Against Chrysostom Elpidius cherished one of those burning hatreds which, if opportunity be only favourable, stop short at no falsehood and no crime. He never spoke of the Archbishop without the hiss of the serpent being heard in every word. Nothing that Chrysostom could say was tolerable, nothing that he could do was right. Elpidius had been one of those who had been forced to wince under the Patriarch's scathing denunciation of the worldliness which hung about the tables of the great, and of the underhand intrigues which thought all means lawful if they furthered a favourite ecclesiastical end. He was notoriously one of the auriscalpii, who abused their priestly position to lead captive silly women laden with lust; one of those who, having frightfully abused even the safeguarded office of a public confessor, which Nectarius abolished because of the iniquities to which it led, had used every influence to get the office restored. He was one of those who, sanctioned by the abuse of custom, had lived with a young and beautiful agapete, whom he called his 'spiritual sister,' and for whose richly dressed loveliness he always secured a prominent place in St. Sophia, until Chrysostom had threatened him with instant excommunication unless he reformed a style of living which injured the reputation of the Church. Since then he had hated Chrysostom with a hatred of which a bad layman might have envied, but certainly could not have surpassed, the unscrupulous intensity. He was animated by the one desire and object to blast, and undermine, and overthrow his thrice-detested ecclesiastical superior.

A certain freemasonry of intuition made Elpidius and others of Chrysostom's enemies aware of the venomous dislike and jealousy entertained against him by the Bishop of Chalcedon, although Cyrinus had never manifested it to the world in general, and had, for his own reasons, concealed it entirely from the Archbishop himself. Elpidius and he had been discussing the revolt of Tribigild and the fall of Eutropius, and sat down to rest on a bank, entirely heedless of the presence of two youths who were also resting but a few feet distant from them on the shingly beach. As the youths were but plainly dressed, and evidently did not belong to the 'classes,' but to the 'masses,' such exalted personages as the Bishop and the leading presbyter did not think it worth while to notice their existence, or to talk in lower tones because they were so near. The two youths were David and Eutyches. The affair of Eutropius had thrown an immense amount of extra work upon them, and the kindly Archbishop had told them to go to the shore and breathe a little of the fresh sea air, especially as the cheek of Eutyches was not yet healed, and he had been a little shaken by the fierce buffet of the Gothic soldier. Chrysostom wanted Philip to go, too, but as business might arise at any moment, Philip would not leave him; and besides, though Olympias had now made herself responsible for his being provided with proper meals, Chrysostom was as likely as not to forget all about them, and leave them untouched while he was absorbed in his work, unless Philip were at hand to see that he took them.

'Were you present at St. Sophia when John delivered that sermon with Eutropius under the altar?' asked the Bishop.

'Present, my lord?' answered Elpidius in a tone of disgust; 'I should think I was!'

'I am told that it was very fine,' said Cyrinus tentatively.

'Fine!' answered Elpidius, raising his voice in a gust of anger. 'I don't know what they call fine. Eloquence? Turgid rhetoric I call it, empty bombast, the wind of platitudes; sound and fury, signifying nothing, It was shameful, it was infamous, it was a perfect scandal! John had no business whatever to break the law by giving shelter at all to such a criminal. But if he did, he had no right to insult him grossly, and browbeat and denounce him as he lay grovelling there. And afterwards, I am told, he betrayed him. Doubtless he got a good round sum, first for his protection, and then for his treachery which will add to the treasure of which he robs the Church daily, and which will supply the secret orgies of the Patriarcheion. What can you expect of a man like that—a cheat, a miser, a hypocrite, a liar, a man with a heart hard as a nether millstone and a fist close as that of a Harpagon?'

Elpidius, as he gave place to the devil, and flung the reins on the neck of his envy, hatred, malice, and all uncharitableness, had spoken louder and louder, so that all the last part of his remarks had been poured forth upstanding, and with fierce gesticulations, in a hurricane of frenzied wrath.

It was lucky that the fiery Philip was not there. There is no knowing how fiercely he might have rebutted so deadly an outrage on the character of his adopted father and benefactor. But such a tornado of brutalities and insults roused even the gentler spirit of Eutyches to indignant revolt. Before David—who would have seen the uselessness of any intervention—knew what he was about, Eutyches had advanced to the speaker. He was a very modest boy, and it was not till then that he recognised the Bishop of Chalcedon. The episcopal dignity overawed him, but after kneeling to kiss the Bishop's hand, as was usual, he said:

'My Lord Bishop, I know not who that presbyter may be, but suffer me to say that he has spoken to you the most shocking calumnies. The Archbishop gave shelter to Eutropius because, in defending the Church's right to sanctuary, he would have done so to the meanest of mankind and the worst of his own enemies. So far from being cruel, I saw him offer his own unprotected breast to the naked swords of the Goths in his defence. It was he, and he alone, who pleaded for him to the Emperor. Eutropius gave himself up against the Archbishop's will, and in spite of his warnings and remonstrances. To say that he either protected him for a bribe, or betrayed him for a bribe, is a wicked falsehood, whoever says it! Yes,' he added, fixing his clear and innocent gaze on the face of Elpidius, 'as wicked a falsehood as that the Archbishop is a miser or a hypocrite. On the contrary, he is profoundly indifferent to gold, and is a saint of God, if ever there was one.'

There was something in the words and bearing of Eutyches which overwhelmed Elpidius, and even Cyrinus, with confusion. His manner had been perfectly respectful, and as he stood there in all the glow of his ardent sympathy for the master to whom he was devoted, and all the bloom of his youthful innocence, Elpidius felt much as Milton makes Satan feel before the reproach of Ithuriel:

So spake the cherub; and his grave rebuke,
Severe in youthful beauty, added grace
Invincible. Abashed the devil stood,
And felt how awful goodness is, and saw
Virtue in her form how lovely—saw, and pined
His loss; but chiefly to find here observed
His lustre visibly impair'd: yet seem'd
Dauntless.


Ashamed to have been thus openly rebuked by a boy, and especially in the presence of a bishop, Elpidius tried to assume a disdainful indifference.

'Who is this impudent baby with a raw wound on his cheek who has been eavesdropping?' he said in his most brutal tone.

It was now David's turn to be indignant, but he put strong control over his feelings. 'This,' he said very quietly, 'is an orphan boy, one of the Patriarch's secretaries, who will soon be ordained a reader. You can hardly wonder, my Lord, that he was deeply moved when he heard such shameless defamation of his beloved master and benefactor shouted to the four winds in a voice which might have been heard a hundred yards off. And for the wound on his cheek, it is the mark of a soldier's blow, whom he was trying to keep from assailing the Patriarch while he was defending Eutropius at peril of his life.'

Elpidius and the Bishop looked from speaker to speaker in silent astonishment. There was something in their aspect before which vulgar rage was, if not disarmed, yet rendered 232 impotent. Eutyches, disfigured as he was at the moment, yet had the face of an angel. There had been nothing obtrusive, nothing unworthy of the respect due from youth to age, in the generous enthusiasm with which he had defended his master from wanton slanders. And now David stood by him, in the dress which marked his humble birth as the son of a tradesman, but with a face which showed the purest and loftiest type of the beauty of his race. David could never forget that he was by birth a Desposynos, that he came from the family of Joseph, which had once had their home at Nazareth, and which was also nearly akin to the family of the Virgin Mary. He had that type of countenance which dim tradition was already beginning to assign to the Son of Man—the perfectly oval face, the waved and wine-dark hair, the glowing complexion, the eyes whose depths seemed to be lighted by some holy spiritual flame within—of Him who had been fairer than the children of men. Besides this, his voice was full of melody, and the gravity of his demeanour was mixed with habitual sweetness and courtesy to all. The remembrance of his birth was to David a most sacred amulet. It was no source of pride, but rather of overwhelming responsibility, which would have humiliated him to the dust if ever 'the reflexion of his own severe and modest eye upon himself could have seen him doing or imagining what was base, were it in the deepest secrecy.' It was impossible, even for the wretched Elpidius, to resent words spoken with perfect calm and dignity, and with no shadow of anger or disrespect. Both he and the Bishop felt as if they had been suddenly rebuked by two good spirits. Conscious of themselves, and of the unhallowed feelings which too often ran riot in their hearts, they could not help glancing with a sense of uneasy humiliation on these two youths, whose very look and bearing were a silent rebuke to them. Elpidius turned away, and hated the burning hue of shame which, in spite of himself, mounted to the very roots of his hair. He would have liked to seize Eutyches by the neck, and cuff him on the face; but as it was he had to sit still, and feel for a few moments the pangs of Gehenna, as he kicked violently at a tough root of arum which happened to be growing beside his feet. Eutyches, half-amazed at his own forwardness, bowed low, and was about to walk away, but David ended the scene by taking his hand, and saying to Cyrinus:

'My Lord, you are a Bishop; pardon us if we have offended, and, before we go, give us your blessing.'

'You are strange youths,' said Cyrinus, 'and you should not listen to words not meant for your ears.'

'My Lord, we listened not,' said David respectfully. 'We would fain not have heard, but what this presbyter said might have been heard almost on the pier.'

'Well, you may depart.'

The Bishop gave them the Greek form of Benediction, in which the crossed and bent fingers stand for ICXC, or Jesus Christ; and they walked home almost in silence.

They agreed not to tell Philip anything that had occurred, for it made him almost beside himself to know that the wicked world outside, and the almost more virulently malignant form of the world which called itself 'the Church,' should ever be pouring on the stainless name of the Patriarch its oil of vitriol in endless calumnies.


XXX. — THE GOTHS AT CONSTANTINOPLE

Bis domitum civile nefas, bis rupimus Alpes:
Tot nos bella docent, nulli servire tyranno.

—Claud. In Ruf., ii. 389, 390.

Rufinus, who, under the merely nominal emperor, had wielded the sceptre of the world, had been lynched under the very eyes of Arcadius by vengeful Goths; Eutropius, who succeeded him as the arbiter of the fortunes of the nations, had been also flung by their influence from the dizzy pinnacles of greatness into headlong infamy. Gaïnas the Goth was now the most formidable personage in the Eastern world. On him the inevitable doom was next to fall. The Empress Eudoxia was the inheritress of the influence of the two murdered Ministers; but for her also this 'dread summit of Cæsarean power' involved nothing better than a few years of storms, remorse, and torturing anxiety, to be followed by an early, miserable, and unregretted death.

Thrown on his own helplessness by the fall of Eutropius, and feeling under the absolute necessity of being governed by someone, the fainéant Arcadius was thankful, rather than otherwise, to succumb to the more virile yoke of his haughty wife. But Eudoxia, in a State distracted by rival parties, not one of which could be neglected with impunity, felt the necessity of holding the balance between them. The Court party of slaves and officials had, for the time, been annihilated by the overthrow of the Chamberlain, and Eudoxia thought that she could herself represent the whole power of the Court if she formed against the Goths an alliance with the Roman party—the party of Aurelian, the friend of Chrysostom, and of Synesius, whose ideal object was the repression of the barbarian element which had recently sprung to such abnormal prominence, both in the East and in the West.

She had, accordingly, procured the nomination of Aurelian to the great office of Prætorian Præfect, and of her favourite, Count John, to the position of Comptroller of the 235

Sacred Largesses, while she also brought into power and influence the soldierly ex-Consul Saturninus, the husband of her friend Castricia.

She had, however, to counterbalance the forces, not only of the Goths, but of the Arians. The majority of the Goths were Arians of the moderate school of their saintly apostle, Wulfila, to whom they owed the precious treasure of their vernacular Bible. But there were many other Arians in Constantinople, Greeks and Romans. In the days of Valens they completely outnumbered the Catholic party, and they had never acquiesced in the triumph gained by the orthodox Christians through the ability of Gregory Nazianzus and the repressive edicts of Theodosius. They were constantly plotting to regain their ascendency, which they hoped to do through the power of Gaïnas.

At the head of these Arians, but more through policy than conviction, was a dark and dangerous conspirator, whose very name, by one of the curious accidents of history, remains unknown to us, but who is usually called by the nickname of Typhos, the Egyptian Satan, given to him in a narrative of this epoch, written in an allegorical form, by Synesius. This little romance is called 'The Egyptians,' and, not deeming it safe to describe actual events, the Bishop threw his reminiscences into the form of a story of the struggles between the good Osiris and the evil Typhos. Typhos was the brother of Aurelian, but hated him with a deadly hatred, and watched him with devouring envy.

When Aurelian was made Prætorian Præfect and Consul-designate, Typhos, who had set his heart on the office, was sick with rage; and his no less evilly disposed wife, who had longed for the prestige of a more exalted rank, did her utmost to abet him. They represented the most abandoned class of aristocratic society, and their private entertainments were scenes of gross licentiousness. For some reason unknown to us, but connected either with contumacious blasphemy or coarse dissipation, Typhos had established the practice of snoring-matches, and highly honoured those of his base companions who excelled in producing what Synesius calls 'the roundest snorts.' His wife, who spent her days in the insatiable pursuit of excitement at the Theatre and in the Forum, devoted hours to the adornment of her person, and filled her assembly-rooms with women of abandoned character. The object, both of Typhos and his wife, seemed to be the enlisting of false religion, immoral pleasures, and ostentatious Philistinism into a league of contrast with, and defiance to, the literary culture, orthodox faith, and noble propriety of Aurelian and his consort. When Typhos was disappointed of his ambitious desire, he flung himself alike into reckless debauchery and deep-laid treason, for which he also was shortly to meet his doom. He and his party became the Arrabiati of Constantinople.

To console his disappointment by yet more shameless luxury, he had a lake constructed in his garden, in which were artificial islands and warm baths. Here he and his adherents of both sexes abandoned themselves to shocking orgies. Meanwhile both he and his wife were in secret communication with the unworthy wife of Gaïnas, through whose means they ceaselessly endeavoured to seduce the Gothic chieftain from all semblance of allegiance. He was already the chief general of the Eastern Empire. The Goths accepted his sway, and the army under him was largely composed of German elements. He aspired to reestablish Arianism and to be the Stilico of the East—perhaps ultimately to wear the diadem, or at least to be the Consul, and king of his tribe, as Alaric was. Gaïnas was by no means contented with the scanty results which he had obtained from the ruin of Eutropius. So far from bringing him the additional honours which he had expected, it had only issued in the promotion and strengthening of the heads of the Roman party, whose opposition to all barbarian interests had found voice in the outspoken harangue of Synesius before the Emperor. The alliance with Typhos and his party seemed to put in his grasp the fulfilment of his wildest ambition.

So he threw off the mask, and having up to this time been in secret communication with Tribigild, now openly joined him at Thyatira. The two Gothic contingents entered into a 237 perfect understanding with each other. Gaïnas marched to Chalcedon, plundering as he went. Tribigild, with equal impunity, advanced to Lampsacus. At Chalcedon Typhos and his wife paid secret visits to the camp of Gaïnas, and encouraged him to undisguised rebellion. Inspired by them, Gaïnas insolently demanded that Arcadius should come to him in person at Chalcedon, and one of the terms upon which he chose to insist was that the unnatural hatred of Typhos to his noble brother should be gratified by Aurelian's execution.

Gaïnas accordingly sent to tell the Emperor that he did not choose to treat with inferior ambassadors, and that Arcadius must come in person to Chalcedon, that he might hear the conditions on which his life, his capital, and his empire would be spared.

Arcadius had no choice but to submit. The Roman forces on which he could rely were few, and were scattered in garrisons throughout the Empire. He had no soldiers to oppose to the army of the Gothic chief. It seemed as if the worse fears of Synesius were about to be justified, and half of the once undivided Roman Empire was now to be enfeoffed to barbarian aliens.

On the summit of a gentle hill near Chalcedon stood a Church of St. Euphemia, famous for its supernatural sacredness. Here the meeting was to take place, and here the helpless Arcadius had the humiliation of receiving the dictates of the rebel chieftain. Gaïnas was to be promised the Consulship; he was to be made Generalissimo of the East; he and Tribigild were to be permitted to cross the Bosporus unmolested. Worse than all, the Emperor was at once to deliver up Aurelian, the Consular Saturninus, and Count John, to be put to death, or to be kept as hostages, as the Goth should choose. Arcadius must consent to this, or—— Gaïnas emphasised the alternative by pointing to the hilt of his sword, and by a wave of his arm towards the camp of his army of 30,000 men.

What could the wretched son of Theodosius do? To yield was infamy, to refuse was destruction. The concession of the other demands was inevitable. But how could he, without bitter shame, betray the lives of his blameless Consul- designate and Prætorian Præfect, at that moment the first man in his Court and capital, and of the Consular Saturninus, who had in 382 suppressed the forces of Athanaric, and was the husband of his wife's kinswoman and most intimate friend? And what was the significance of the demand for the extradition of Count John? His rank and importance were purely official. He had no independent authority. He could not be regarded, like the two others, as a leader of the Roman party. Eudoxia saw, if Arcadius did not see, that this demand was simply aimed at her. Everyone except the Emperor knew that Count John was in a very special sense her favourite, and many believed that he was her accepted lover. She read in the inclusion of his name a sign that Gaïnas, with Typhos and his wife to help him, intended to strike her down as they had struck down her enemy, Eutropius.

Her anger was intense, and she even ventured to taunt the wretched Emperor with his impotence.

'Surely,' she said, you will never consent to this insolently outrageous condition! You might as well take off your diadem, and place it on the brow of that gross barbarian.'

'What can I possibly do?' said Arcadius, as he sat in limpest attitude on his embroidered cushions.

'Better abdicate,' she said, 'at once than give up at a breath one after another of your greatest and most faithful servants. Is this Goth a Cerberus, that at every bark he is to be pacified by flinging to him the head of your noblest subjects? Do you think that your father, Theodosius, would for a moment have tolerated such dictation? Is the Empire worth having if you are to sit in chains under the feet of a Scythian?'

'How can I refuse the general of 30,000 men? Do you think that my handful of Silentiarii and Palatini could stand for five minutes against them?'

'Then you will betray your noble servants?' she said, rising from her seat with contemptuous indignation. 'You are emperor in name alone! Would God I were emperor in your place! If the Archbishop John were emperor he would die a thousand times rather than yield.'

Eudoxia stood up before him with her face aflame, and took no pains to veil the scorn which sat upon her beautiful lips.

'What can I do?' asked Arcadius again in querulous helplessness.

'Do?' she cried. 'Be a man! You have millions of subjects. Appeal to their protection. Throw yourself on their loyalty. Why, even that half-man, Eutropius, would have shown more dignity and more courage!'

'I should simply be murdered,' he said.

'Then die like a man!' she answered. 'It were better not to be than not to be noble.'

But as her words kindled no spark of generosity, she turned away with a gesture of proud despair, and left him.

Arcadius simply collapsed into a dishevelled heap of imbecility. Not knowing what to do, and feeling equally incapable of thought or of action, he let things take their own course. He was not obliged to give an answer to Gaïnas as before the next day; meanwhile something might turn up.

The terms which Gaïnas had laid down soon became known, and the crisis was terrible. Civil war seemed the least of possible alternatives, for before any Roman forces could be summoned and concentrated there was nothing to prevent the sack of the undefended city, full as it was of Goths and Arians—and perhaps the establishment of a new and barbarian dynasty.

Under these circumstances Aurelian invited Saturninus and Count John to meet him at his house for consultation. He pointed out to them that the other conditions were inevitable, but that Arcadius could not hand them over against their will without infinite disgrace. And then he made a proposal worthy of the Decii. 'Let us,' he said, go voluntarily and secretly to Chalcedon, and there let us place ourselves in the hands of the Goth. He will throw us into prison. It is too probable that he will put us to death. But we shall have saved this distracted Empire—at any rate, we shall have given it a little breathing-space.'

Saturninus readily accepted the noble proposition. Count John murmured and hesitated; but if such was the decision of two men so much greater than himself, he felt it impossible to refuse.

They agreed to cross the Bosporus at once, and to be landed a little to the east of Chalcedon. Thence they advanced alone and unattended, and, announcing their name and rank, handed themselves over to the first Gothic sentries whom they encountered. By them they were conducted to the tent of Gaïnas. His eye gleamed with vengeful ferocity and gratified ambition as he informed them that by that day week he would decide their ultimate fate. They were manacled with heavy iron chains, and Aurelian, as he was led out of the presence of Gaïnas, was almost certain that through the partly open tent-folds of the inner room he caught sight of the dark eyes and malignant features of his brother. He was quite sure that, mingled with the tones of the wife of Gaïnas, he heard the shameless laugh of the wife of Typhos.

News always spread with miraculous rapidity through the populace of Constantinople, and David soon heard in the Chalkoprateia, where he was visiting his father, of the glorious self-devotion of Aurelian and his colleagues. He hurried to convey the news to his two friends, who shared the tension of the general anxiety.

'It is my turn now to be newsbearer,' he said. 'Eutyches told us of the Consulship of Eutropius; you, Philip, of his fall. Neither of you deserved the rewards of good tidings; but I do. For the present we are saved. Philip, your friend Aurelian, and Saturninus, and Count John, voluntarily went to Chalcedon an hour ago, and gave themselves up to Gaïnas to save the Empire.'

'A noble sacrifice!' said Philip; but "he" must be told of it instantly.'

He went into the Patriarch's study, and told him. Chrysostom was struck with admiration at the heroic conduct of the doomed three, but he was also deeply moved. In the whole Court of Arcadius there was no one for whom he felt a warmer regard or a higher esteem than for Aurelian, the Prætorian Præfect.

'I must,' he said, 'go to Gaïnas instantly, and intercede for their lives. You, Philip and Eutyches, come with me. I will leave our steady David to look after all business in our absence, and Heracleides and Serapion can attend to the visitors.'

'But the Goths are all Arians,' said Philip.

'It matters not,' said Chrysostom. 'Am I not by my office the common father of all? And, though Arians, they are still Christians. Come, there is no time to be lost. Those barbarians are liable to sudden and perilous impulses.'

They started immediately, and on landing the Archbishop, with his two youthful attendants, was conducted with great respect into the presence of the Gothic chieftain.

Gaïnas was a Goth who had never really identified himself with the interests of the Empire. The veneer of civilisation which he had received was far more superficial than that which made the Romans accept the authority of Stilico, Vandal as he was; and, unlike Stilico, Gaïnas had married a Gothic wife. He was a barbarian whose nobler qualities had been almost obliterated by contact with culture, while the inherent vices of his race—ambition, avarice and revenge—had only been stimulated into excessive violence. He was a noble-looking Amal, like those whom Chrysostom had admired in the streets of Antioch, though the natural beauty and manliness of his countenance had been spoiled by the dominance of selfish passions.

But, like all men who were really men, he felt a deep and genuine reverence for the Archbishop of Constantinople. He was struck by his natural dignity; and won by his transparent sincerity and straightforwardness. He distinguished between him and the ordinary mass of soft nobles and corrupt officials with whom he had to do. He recognised in him a prophet and a man of God. He felt that if there had been such a religious leader among the Arians his own religious convictions might have exercised a more real sway over his heart. Mentally, he always compared him to the Apostle of the Goths, as he had been described to him by his father, whom Wulfila had converted.

And something of admiration, with more of pity, filled the heart of Chrysostom as he thought how different, under better influences, this tall, fair-haired barbarian might have become. Had he but been orthodox—had he but been thrown with true Christians, not with nominal professors of the faith—this noble specimen of humanity might have been one of the glories of the Gospel in the day when Christ made up His jewels.

It was impossible to mistake the genuine reverence of the warrior's manner as he rose to receive his visitor. In sign of deep humility he took the hands of Chrysostom, and laid them on his own eyes. Then he summoned his two sons, Thorismund and Walamir, from the neighbouring tent, and, leading them to Chrysostom, bade them kneel and embrace his holy knees, while he asked the Archbishop to bless them. Chrysostom laid his hand on the fair, short curls of each sunny head, and made over them the sign of benediction. Then the two youths advanced eagerly to Philip, who at once recognised them, as they recognised him, with cordial greeting, though several years had passed since they had met at Antioch during the visit of Rufinus. They had never seen Eutyches before, but looked with frank admiration at his winning face.

While the youths stood apart the Archbishop told Gaïnas that he had not been commissioned to come to him either by the Emperor, or by Eudoxia, or by any official. He had come at the spontaneous instigation of compassion. Aurelian was a friend whom he highly esteemed, and Saturninus had been a worthy and valued servant of the Empire. Of Count John he knew less, but none of the three had ever injured Gaïnas, and it was unworthy of him to wreak on them a vague desire for vengeance.

'They are the foes of my countrymen,' said Gaïnas. 'The Roman party, of which Aurelian is the head, wants to sweep us back across the Ister. It was Aurelian who procured for Bishop Synesius the permission to deliver that oration before Arcadius in which he openly argued that we should be cashiered from all offices, and not even be suffered to serve in the army.'

'I do not share those opinions,' said Chrysostom. 'I am one of those who have long thought that our race, weakened by luxury and indolence, needs the infusion of fresh blood. I have long looked forward to see Roman and Teuton united in one nobler nation. Yet, remember that the views of the Roman party are not unnatural. The Goths in the Empire are but of yesterday in a nation which has been dominant for a thousand years.'

'Yes, and foully have we been treated,' said the Goth. 'Consider how we are subjected to the infamous exactions of Lupicinus, the corrupt and greedy Governor of Valens in Thrace. Consider the massacre of our glorious youth in the cities of the East. Know you that my own eldest son was murdered in that foul butchery?'

'I knew it not,' said the Archbishop. 'I grieve for thee. But there have been wrongs on both sides. It is needless now to enter into the terrible and chequered past—the massacre of Adrianople, the devastation of Elyria by Alaric, of Phrygia by Tribigild, your kinsman. Aurelian and the others are in nowise responsible for the old wrongs. Surely your sense of nobleness may be touched by the fearless loyalty with which they have, of their own accord, placed their lives at your disposal? Spare them, Gaïnas, and rise superior to your own lower self. Eutropius may have injured you; Aurelian never did.'

'We still have bitter wrongs to avenge,' said the warrior.

'Which is nobler,' said Chrysostom, 'revenge or forgiveness? Revenge and wrong still bring forth fresh tiger-whelps which resemble their parents. Since I came to Constantinople I have learnt a little Gothic, that I might sometimes minister in the church of the orthodox Goths. Have you never read these words?' He repeated from the version of the Lord's Prayer by Wulfila the words: 'Yah aflet uns thatei skulans siyaima, swa swe yah weis afletain thaim skulam unseraim' ('And let off us that which debtors we are, so as also we let off our debtors').

'I cannot answer you now,' said Gaïnas. 'Your eloquence and your presence bewitch me, and calm down the rancour in my heart. Come again, Patriarch; I love to talk to you. And, ere you go, bless me. I am not altogether the demon you take me for.'

'A demon!—no!' said the Patriarch. 'Not a demon, Gaïnas, but a noble human being who has too much given place to the devil. But promise me you will take no step until you have told me of your decision.'

'I promise,' said Gaïnas.

'Thorismund,' said Philip to the Gothic youth, 'intercede with your father for the life of Aurelian when we have gone. Aurelian is a noble fellow.'

'Let that lad with the angel's face make me the same request,' said Thorismund. 'I should like to hear his voice.'

'I don't wonder at that,' said Philip, 'for he is a chorister, and has the sweetest voice in Constantinople.'

'What makes him look so unlike the Greeks and Romans here?' asked Thorismund.

'Is it your Gothic way to compliment each other?' said Eutyches, blushing. 'But I do beg you to intercede with your father. And you also, Walamir. And you must listen to me, for though my father was a Roman, my mother was a Gothic lady.'

'Ah!' said Thorismund, 'I thought that you must have some Gothic blood in you, from the colour of your hair; you look too ingenuous for a Roman.'

'Babai!' exclaimed Philip; 'that's a poor compliment to me.'

'Oh! you are a Syrian,' said Thorismund; 'but we will speak to our father for your friends.'


XXXI. — THE DOOMED THREE

‘Old man, tis not so difficult to die.'
—Byron, Manfred.

'Well, has John talked you over?' asked Typhos, with a sneer, coming forward from another part of the tent when Chrysostom had left.

'He has not,' said Gaïnas.

'Good!' said Typhos. 'Leave the little man to deal with his priests. They, I imagine, will give him enough to do ere long, and they all hate him like poison.'

'Because he is the best among them all,' said Gaïnas.

'It may be so,' said Typhos, with a shrug of his shoulders; 'but he has no right to come interfering with you.'

He proceeded to undo all the good that the Patriarch had done by appealing to every evil passion in the warrior's nature—pride, ambition, and revenge. Gaïnas almost decided to execute his three opponents, and so to sweep them out of the way. But when Typhos had gone his two sons came in.

'Father,' said Thorismund, 'don't behead those men. They behaved nobly in giving themselves up.'

'What cause have we to love or to spare these Romans, Thorismund?'

'Yet spare them, father! They are voluntary hostages in your hands. Their lives may serve you better than their deaths.'

'Is it policy or compassion, son?'

'Perhaps a little of both, father.'

'And what says my Walamir?' asked Gaïnas.

'Spare them, father,' said Walamir, who was his father's favourite. 'That boy who looked as if he had never done wrong in his life asked us both to intercede with you, and we promised—and he is half a Goth.'

'I will think of it,' said Gaïnas.

While the fate of the three great officials yet hung in the balance, no day passed without 246

a visit from the Archbishop to the tent of the Gothic chief. He would have carried his point almost from the first but for the countermining efforts of Typhos and of the chieftain's wife, who had been won over by the wife of Typhos. And these, again, would have succeeded more easily but for the faithful influence of Thorismund and Walamir. So there was a struggle in the mind of the magister militum, between the impulse of the barbarian and the softening influence of his imperfect Christianity; and it was far from certain which would win the victory. Chrysostom was always accompanied by Philip, and generally by either Eutyches or David. While he was pleading with the chieftain, the Gothic youths took their friends round the camp, to repay Philip, Thorismund said, for his kindness to them at Antioch.

One day, when Chrysostom told them that he should be detained by business for some hours at Chalcedon, and bade them come for him in the evening, they seized the opportunity to take the young Goths to the Patriarcheion at Constantinople, and to show them the chief sights of the city. There sprang up between them one of those warm friendships which often arise amid complete dissimilarity.

At last the Archbishop triumphed. He received from Gaïnas the definite promise that the lives of Aurelian, Saturninus, and Count John should be spared. He begged that he might go to the tent where they still lay, fettered, under the close guard of Gothic sentries, and be the first to break to them the glad intelligence.

'Nay,' said Gaïnas, with a grim smile; 'I have reasons of my own why that must not be. Farewell, Archbishop! Whatever happens in the future—and many things may happen—you at least I shall ever hold in honour, and I beg your prayers. Farewell, but leave those two youths here with my young wolf-cubs. They shall bear you news of what I do.'

So Chrysostom went back over the Bosporus, and when Gaïnas saw his pinnace on its way, he told his boys to keep Philip and Eutyches with them at the end of the tent, and not to let them move, but at the same time not to be themselves alarmed by what they should see. Then, with a colossal Goth by his side, who leaned on a huge sword, and whom Thorismund knew to be the executioner, the chieftain ordered Aurelian to be brought into his presence.

The noble Roman was led in, and neither his chains nor his untrimmed beard and hair, and the squalor of his imprisonment, detracted from a dignity of bearing worthy of the Prætorian Præfect and Consul-designate. He glanced at the executioner, but did not wince, and confronted the Gothic Amal with an undaunted look.

'So you are the man,' said Gaïnas, rudely, 'who wants me to be ousted from all my offices? You are the man to whom all Goths are contemptible Scythians, little better than animals, who ought to be turned out of the Roman armies in a mass, and I suppose massacred, as some of them have been ere now, by you holy Romans.'

'You wrong me, chieftain,' answered Aurelian calmly, 'and you know that you wrong me. I have never despised your countrymen; there is much in them that I admire. As for massacre, I loathe and abhor it. Let there be Goths in Gothland, and Romans for the Empire, and let them be allies and friends. But it boots not to argue. I am ready for my fate.'

'Prepare, then, to die,' said Gaïnas. 'Kneel at this block.'

'One moment, and I am ready,' he said. He folded his hands, turned his gaze heavenwards, and his lips moved in silent prayer. 'Now strike,' he said; 'I am a Christian. A Christian does not fear to die.'

He bowed his head, and the executioner raised his mighty sword. Eutyches trembled and turned deadly pale. An involuntary cry of anguish and despair had burst from the lips of Philip, and he would have sprung forward, but Thorismund held him back with a hand of iron, and, putting his other hand upon Philip's lips, whispered, 'Hush! Fear not! My father is not a Roman. He keeps his word.'

Down swept the sword, and a rude laugh burst from the Gothic chieftain's lips. For the descending glaive had but touched the neck of Aurelian. It had not made a scratch. It had not even drawn blood.

'Rise, Aurelian,' said Gaïnas, 'and thank the Patriarch John that your life is spared.'

It was a frightful experience. The sudden revulsion of feeling was infinitely trying, but the Roman was master of himself. Rising from the block, he bowed, and said nothing. Even Gaïnas was struck with admiration. 'Strike off his chains,' he said, 'and lead him away. Only keep him under guard.'

'Let me go away,' said Eutyches to Walamir. 'This grim jest is cruel.'

'Nay, you must see it, Eutyches, and tell the Patriarch,' said Walamir; 'but no blood will be shed.'

Then Saturninus was led in; and he, too, did nothing common or mean, but bore himself worthily of a Consular of Rome.

'Kneel, enemy of the Goths!' said Gaïnas. 'There is the block. Prepare to die.'

'I have faced death many a time on the battlefields where I have defeated your countrymen. I am a soldier and a Roman. Slay me if thou wilt. There is a God in heaven who will avenge my blood.'

Again the executioner lifted his two-handed sword; again he arrested the blow in midair, and only grazed the neck of the Consular.

'Rise! Go!' said Gaïnas; 'you are not dead. Thank the Patriarch John for your life. Unchain him. Lead him away.'

Count John was led in last. He was white as death. He trembled as he saw the huge executioner wiping his sword, as though from the stain of blood.

'So you are the lover of the Empress,' said Gaïnas, disdainfully, for he despised the man. 'You are the father of the Emperor's children. You are the man who weaves plots in the Gynæceum with hags like Marsa and Epigraphia.'

Count John summoned up all the dignity and fortitude which he could command. 'Kill me,' he said with trembling lips, 'if you will, but spare your brutal taunts, and do not slander the sacredness of your Empress.'

'A Frankish woman, an adulteress; no Empress of mine,' said Gaïnas, pointing to the block. 'Kneel. You shall die.'

Count John, who had been one of the gilded youth—one of the many handsome dandies of Constantinople who murmured at the weight of their own rings and silken dress—a lady's man, and a debauchee, could not pretend to regard death lightly, as the Christian and the soldier had done. A blood-red mist seemed to sweep over his eyes. He stumbled piteously as he felt for the block.

'Strike!' said Gaïnas. The sword swished frightfully through the air, and inflicted on the Count's neck a wound slight indeed, but a trifle deeper than the barely visible scratch which had been given to the others.

'Rise,' said Gaïnas, laughing once more. 'You are not dead, coward.'

But John rose not. Overcome with the horror of the moment, sensible that the sword had cut his skin, he had swooned away. Gaïnas sprang forward, a little alarmed. 'Has terror done the work of the glaive?' he cried, seizing the arm of Count John. 'No; his pulse beats. He has only fainted. Fling a bucket of cold water over him. Carry him away. Enough, Wolf, for the day,' he said to the executioner. 'There is a gold-piece for thee. Go!'

Philip and Eutyches were deeply agitated by this stern spectacle. 'Go back to the Patriarch, and tell him what you have witnessed,' said Gaïnas. 'Tell him I have kept my word; and though I have thoroughly frightened his three friends—and I really am sorry for Aurelian—I spare their lives, though so many in the city and in the camp have urged me night and day to slay them. I swore that they should kneel at the block, and they have done so. Tell him further, that for his sake I shall send them into banishment, that they may do me no more mischief; but I shall not even forfeit their goods. I am not a Rufinus; I am not a Eutropius.'

'We will tell him, sir,' said Philip.

'My father, you see, has kept his word,' said Thorismund to Philip.

'Yes, Thorismund,' said Philip, 'but it was a grim and cruel jest.'

'It was meant to be more than a jest,' said, the young Goth. 'But it will not hurt them. 250 They are men—at least two of them are.'

The face of Eutyches had not recovered its colour. His intensely sympathetic character and quick imagination always made him suffer with those whom he saw suffer. He felt as if he, too, had knelt at the block, expecting instant death, and had heard the sword rush down. Walamir was still holding his hand, and swinging it uneasily, as though he would fain apologise to his wounded feelings.

At last he said: 'Do not think worse of us, Eutyches. We are altogether Goths, not Romans or half-Romans. Trained in raids, or battles and hardships, we think far less of scenes which seem terrible to you.'


XXXII. — THREE YOUTHS SAVE CONSTANTINOPLE

Now there was found in that city a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no one remembered that same poor man.
—Eccl. ix. 15.

After these events it really seems as if Gaïnas, to use a modern expression, had completely lost his head, or, to give the view of it taken by himself and his contemporaries, as if a demon had begun to trouble him; for his conduct became aimless and uncertain. Discontent, revenge, ambition, and evil counsels destroyed in him all capacity for wise and generous policy. Contact with the elements of a corrupting civilisation had deadened in him the savage virtues of his race, and gave nothing better to restore his moral balance.

He and Tribigild carried their armies across the Bosporus into Europe, so that Constantinople found herself overshadowed by a host of 30,000 men, of whom the vast majority were Gruthongs and other tribes of Ostrogoths. The city had nothing to oppose to them at the moment but the insignificant handful of Palace troops who were responsible for the immediate safety of the Emperor. The gates, the barracks, the walls were all in the hands of barbarians, whose allegiance was wavering, and whose ultimate objects were uncertain. The year 400 opened with the worst and darkest omens of misery and fear.

For the dominance of the Goths had rendered it necessary to fill the high office of Prætorian Præfect, from which Aurelian had been expelled, by the elevation of Typhos, his wicked and unnatural brother. And Typhos inaugurated a reign of terror more intolerable than that of Eutropius had ever been. He oppressed the provinces with frightful taxes; he sold the governorships to the highest bidder. Civil office could be purchased by the worst of reprobates, if they had enough of base skill or of ill-gotten gold to flatter or bribe the dissolute wife of the new Minister. Almost every independent voice was silenced. Synesius, with faithful friendship, did his utmost to support the cause of his friend Aurelian, and had even publicly pleaded in the presence of his brother. The only result was that Synesius himself was now kept under close surveillance, and was refused permission to return to his native Cyrene. Often in those bad days he sought the counsel of Chrysostom, and, though they were men of widely different sympathies, they had many an interesting discussion. But for the time being the Patriarch was personally powerless. The Empress, finding that she could not make him her tool, was already beginning to turn against him.

Indeed, the times were very dark. 'Everything,' said Chrysostom in a sermon delivered at this time, 'is full of fright, danger, mistrust, trembling and despair; no one trusts another, everyone is terrified of his neighbour; no friend seems sure, no brother trustworthy. The civil war raging in the midst of our society pervades not only all open, but all secret, relations. Everywhere are countless treacheries and dark concealments. Under the sheepskins are hidden a thousand wolves, so that we almost feel more confidence in the midst of open enemies than of semblable friends. They who greeted us yesterday with profound respect, and kissed our hands, to-day have flung away the guise of their masks, and have not only assumed the guise of enemies, but of our bitterest accusers.'

So Gaïnas overshadowed the miserable city from without; and Typhos and his wife, and Eudoxia and her Court, caballed within; and the Arians, aided by barbarians and false Romans, resumed the high hopes which they once had had of winning back the East to the creed of the Council of Rimini.

As for Tribigild, we hear no more of him. He went glimmering back into the night whence he had emerged. He died about this time, suddenly, and not without suspicious circumstances.

But now Gaïnas was goaded to show his ascendancy by demanding from Arcadius the cession of one of the churches of Constantinople for the exclusive possession of the Arians. The only church at present assigned to them was outside the walls. 'It is not reasonable,' said Gaïnas to the Emperor, 'it is an insult to my dignity, that I, the commander-in-chief of the forces of the East, and now the Consul-designate, should be forced to steal out of the city to worship outside the walls.'

The Emperor, as usual, drifted impotently between 'I would' and 'I dare not.' He hated to say 'Yes,' yet how could he venture in the presence of superior force to say 'No'? Chrysostom, hearing of the Goth's requisition, went to the Palace, and told Arcadius that under no circumstances must he comply with the demand; at whatever cost, he must peremptorily refuse. The helpless sovereign clutched at any straw. 'This,' said he to Gaïnas, 'is a religious question. The Patriarch desires to discuss it with you in person. Meet him at the Palace in my presence to-morrow.'

Gaïnas was nothing loth. Strange to say, he prided himself on being an irresistible theologian. In earlier days he had maintained a lively controversy with the far-famed Egyptian eremite, St. Nilus, in which the Goth boasted, perhaps seriously imagined, that he had won the victory in argument in favour of the Arian as against the Catholic creed. He came to the Palace with some of the leading clergy of the Arian party, and Chrysostom came with some of his bishops. The interview did not, however, take the form of a theological controversy, for, in truth, Gaïnas felt himself quelled and dominated by the saintly dignity and fearlessness of the Archbishop. His genius felt rebuked in that holy presence, and he cowered before John as the birds cower and lie low when the eagle is in the air. He did not venture to cross swords with the eloquent Patriarch in questions of faith and dogmatic definition, but, taking an entirely different ground, he said:

'I demand a church—one church only—for myself and my fellow-Arians. Is it just that I should be refused a church in the city I defend?'

'Refused a church?' said Chrysostom. 'Every church alike in the city is freely open to you.'

'But the opinions they represent are not mine.'

'Is the Catholic Church to alter her opinions to suit you? Is she to cancel the canons at 254 which her assembled Bishops and Fathers, headed by such men as Athanasius and St. Gregory of Nazianzus, deliberately arrived in the Œcumenical Councils of Nicæa and Constantinople? Are creeds to be abandoned and betrayed under the terror of armed forces?'

'I have been treated,' said Gaïnas, 'with injustice and ingratitude. Am I not the protector of the East? Did I not help the Emperor Theodosius to defeat the usurper Maximus at the great battle of Siscia, and the usurper Eugenius at the great battle of the Frigidus?'

'Treated with ingratitude, Gaïnas?' said Chrysostom. 'You amaze me. Surely your services have been not only amply, but superabundantly, rewarded. You came over the Danube a fugitive Goth. You came in hunger, you came in rags, you came a suppliant for our mercy, you came in when the Huns were driving you before them like drift on the seawave. Were you not received into the pity and the Empire? Consider what you now are, and what you then were. You are standing here in the Palace, splendid in your armour, in the Consular ornaments and Magister Militum of the forces of the East talking face to face to the Emperor, and almost daring to address him on equal terms.'

'I have the right to demand what I wish,' said Gaïnas, sullenly.

'How the right? Where is your solemn oath of allegiance to Theodosius? Where your fidelity?'

'I can demand what I choose.'

'Yes, if you are false to your allegiance; but the Emperor cannot grant your petition. The laws of God transcend the law of man. Emperor, you will refuse, will you not? Better to lose empire, better to lose life than to be untrue to the Lord who bought you, Whose you are, and Whom you serve.'

At such high and dauntless words Arcadius plucked up his courage, 'You see, chieftain,' he said, 'that your request is impossible. I dare not grant anything against the rights and privileges of the Church of God.'

Gaïnas was angry, but he was also abashed.

'Then it is useless for me to stay here any longer,' he said, rudely turning away. "But it may be you will live to rue this day.'

'Do you threaten?' asked Chrysostom sternly. 'Nay, Gaïnas, let your better mind, your better heart, prevail. Listen not to evil counsellors. Seek not thus madly your own ends. The path of duty is the path also of safety, of happiness, and of glory.'

Gaïnas looked at him almost with a look of appeal. He humbled himself so far as to kiss his hand. He would fain, but he dared not, have asked his blessing. But they never met face to face again.

When the chief left the Palace he strode with great strides through the city, back to his house, full of sullenness, of fury, of mad plans, which chased each other through his brain. Now his better self won the victory, and he determined to abandon wild dreams of universal dominance, and become a true soldier of the Empire in the East, as Stilico was in the West; and his two boys did their utmost to encourage this mood. But then, again, the sinister shadow of Typhos would fall over him, and his mind became as that of a demon.

It was this mood which, unhappily, prevailed. Two desperate plans suggested themselves to him, one after the other. One was to plunder the treasures of the goldsmiths and bankers, whose massive plate and uncounted stores, displayed in their bazaars and offices, excited the mad cupidity of the worst of his barbarian followers; the other, to fire the Palace, and rifle its purple chambers of their jewels and hoards of gold—and so, in either case, to break openly with the Roman Empire, and with all civilisation, and fight his way to some independent kingdom of his own.

Both plans were odious to Thorismund, his eldest son. Though he was so young, he exercised a strong and wholesome influence over his father, which might have saved him from utter ruin, if it had not been counteracted by the intrigues of his mother, who was wholly in league with Typhos and his wife. Thorismund could have no scruple in endeavouring to defeat designs which he regarded as wicked, dishonourable, and disastrous; for his views were also the views of the best, wisest, and least barbarous of the Gothic chieftains, and of all those Goths who, though they were Arians, were sincere in their adherence to the morals of the Gospel. They held a secret council, and empowered Thorismund to use every legitimate endeavour to prevent the accomplishment of the marauding treachery, which could not but bring on them immediate ruin and ultimate destruction. They saw that Gaïnas had miscalculated his power and influence, and that, as Roman troops were being gradually called into the city by the order of Arcadius, their wisest as well as their worthiest policy would be to keep the Gothic army on the footing which had existed previous to the revolt of Tribigild.

To Thorismund, therefore, the noblest leaders entrusted the task of saving Gaïnas and the whole body of the Goths from ultimate ruin by any means in his power. In deepest secrecy he sought his friend Philip, told of the nefarious plots which were being concocted, and asked his advice how best to counteract them without any open catastrophe.

'Think not, Philip,' he said, 'that in seeking you I am acting as a traitor to my father, or to my own people. My father is not himself. I have often heard him groaning in his room, and murmuring that his soul is in the possession of an evil demon. I think that the bad Typhos must have bewitched him. Several of the greatest of our allied chiefs, and his own officials, have authorised me to save him if I can from this dire infatuation. To reveal the existence of these plans to the Court or to the people would be to betray this city to flames and massacre. You must not tell any great man, you must not even tell John the Patriarch. The peril must be averted by secret means.'

'Let me think,' said Philip; and then, when a plan suggested itself to his quick intelligence, he asked: 'Tell me two things only, and I will, God helping me, save your father from this madness, and save the Goths, and this city, and the Empire. First, May I tell my two friends, David and Eutyches, whom you know and love? next, Are the days fixed for these attempts?'

'I trust your friends as I trust you,' said Thorismund; 'you are innocent; you fear God; He is with you. One day is fixed for both designs—it is three days hence. The banks and 257 bazaars are to be pillaged in the morning, the Palace to be attacked and fired that night. Be wise; be secret.'

'Wise as Solomon,' said Philip, smiling to reassure him; 'secret as death!'

The young Goth departed, and Philip called David and Eutyches to council. 'Now, first,' he said, 'keeping this peril utterly secret from the world in general, how are we to save the vast treasure of the banks from robbery?'

David gave his counsel. 'There, are,' he said, 'fourteen districts of the city, and there are rich shops and banks in only six of them. Let us each undertake two districts. Let us ask him for a day's holiday, as there is no immediately pressing correspondence. Then let us each take two districts, and go round in disguise—for that is essential—to the banks, ask for a private interview with the head of each, hand him an unsigned letter of warning, and be off.'

'Disguise!' asked Eutyches; 'how can we manage that?'

'Easily,' said David; 'my father, with the help of Miriam and her servants, will easily supply us, and we can steal out at early morning, or at dusk, or, perhaps better still, at the noonday siesta.'

'Good!' said Philip. 'I will write a letter, and we will all make copies of it.'

He wrote: 'Be warned! Guard your offices, and remove your treasures for a week to a safe place. Brigands abroad! Keep this profoundly secret, or all is lost.—A Friend.'

They carried out their plan that very evening and the next morning. It was entirely successful. Every banker and merchant took the hint, and kept his own counsel. People vainly wondered why the city looked so much less glittering and gay. The Goths noticed it, too, and saw that their very loosely guarded secret had got wind. It did not surprise them; but the intended attack on the Palace had only been announced to few, and remained unsuspected.

Philip and his friends had not seen how this tremendous peril was to be averted. The suggestion came from Eutyches.

'The Goths,' he said, 'are given over to superstition. Their terrors of the supernatural are easily excited, and men are always cowards when they are engaged in nefarious deeds.

There are no troops to hold the Palace, if they choose to assault it. Could they not in some way be terrified from it?'

'Excellent! excellent, my Eutyches!' cried Philip. 'You are a very Daniel. Just now the Goths are in such a state of tremor that the sound of a shaken leaf would make them fly; that sword-shaped comet, that has seemed to be rushing eastward from the constellation Cepheus, has frightened us all; but to them it has seemed a terrific omen. And I have heard them talking of a dozen other portents, especially of an armed colossal vision of the Archangel Michael, towering over the city and waving them northward. At this very moment they think that the powers of Heaven are declaring against them.'

'But we can't get into the Palace,' said David; 'and who could trust that mass of corrupt officials and pampered slaves?'

'I know two thoroughly good men in the Palace intimately,' said Philip. 'Amantius is a true Christian, and he has been my warm friend ever since I travelled with him from Antioch, when they entrapped the Patriarch. Briso is also indebted to me, for when he got hit on the head by a stone by one of the Arian processionists, and might have been trampled under foot, it was I who dragged him out of danger, and conducted him home. Both are chamberlains of the Empress.'

'Capital!' said Eutyches. 'Then the servants of Arcadius himself need know nothing about it. Now, mark—the only places the Goths can attack are either the wall of the Palace opposite the Hippodrome, at the Royal Gate, or the short, high wall at the back of the Imperial Gardens, towards the Bosporus. Station a few ghosts or angels at both, and the Palace will be saved.'

'Ghosts and angels indeed!' said Philip, pulling his hair. 'Did you ever hear such a midnight conspirator, David? He will be trying some of his ghosts or angels on us next.'

'Well, it is surely fair, is it not?' said Eutyches. 'Did not Onias, the High Priest, frighten Heliodorus out of the Temple at Jerusalem by two youths with scourges, whom the robber took for an angelic vision?'

'Onias?' said Philip. 'Oh, you heretic! Who told you it was Onias? It was two real angels. Do you think all ghosts and angels are of your sort?'

'Never mind his chaff, Eutyches,' said David. 'Your suggestion is a brilliant one. If the Palace is saved, it will be you who have saved it.'

'All right, you conspiring Onias,' said Philip. 'Now I am off for a secret interview with Amantius and Briso.'

The tact, quickness, and consummate good-sense of the young Antiochene made him an admirable manager of practical business. Knowing that Amantius was experienced and altogether trustworthy, and that no time was to be lost, he first pledged the Chamberlain to secrecy by a solemn oath, and then told him of the contemplated attack, concealing only the name of Gaïnas, and speaking of a loose raid of undisciplined barbarians. He pointed out that if once a riot or tumult arose, the consequence might be incalculably disastrous, and that if the Goths rose in a body, nothing could prevent the sack and burning of the Palace.

Amantius literally trembled in his shoes, and said, 'Surely it is my plain duty to tell the Emperor at once.'

'Nay,' said Philip, you have pledged yourself by oath not to do so; and if you do, you will precipitate the ruin which can now be averted.'

'Who told you of this?' asked Amantius. 'What do you suggest?'

'Your Dignity must not ask who told me,' said Philip; 'but you know me, and I am sure that you can and do trust me perfectly.'

'I do,' said Amantius heartily; 'but what can be done?'

'Do not laugh, sir,' said Philip; 'but the Goths are children of superstition, and I am convinced that by a very little contrivance, and at no cost, they may be simply frightened from the Palace.'

'I am not skilful, I fear, at masquerades,' said Amantius.

'Will your Dignity ask the almoner Briso to come and consult with us?'

'Yes,' said Amantius gladly. 'He is much younger than I, and will help us in this very quaint manner of averting an awful peril much better than I can.'

Briso came. He had plenty of shrewdness and humour, and it was settled that Amantius should leave all details to him and Philip, only procuring permission for the free admittance of himself and his two friends to the walk which ran along under the immediate summit of the Palace wall. Briso suggested to Philip that they might utilise the abundant skill of some of the acrobats of the theatre—not, of course, letting them into the secret, but only telling them that a silent masquerade was being got up by some of the Palace servants, and that they were simply to follow Philip's directions. Leave was obtained for a little private scene and frolic for a few of Briso's friends: Mirrors, hidden lights, white robes, stilts, and other scenic stage properties were kept in readiness, and by midnight all was ready. Of course the Goths did not approach en masse. They crept noiselessly, in small groups, with muffled tread, from various quarters; and as the earliest comers glanced upwards at the Palace, they saw strange effects. There were all sorts of mysterious flashes of fire. Gigantic figures robed in white gleamed out for a moment and faded away. Beings of strange aspect, angels or demons they knew not which, were moving to and fro. A terror seized the barbarians. They hurried back to the contingents whom they had left under arms in their camp. They infected them with their own mysterious and horror-stricken dread. The shuddering soldiers declared that nothing should induce them to brave such awful visitants. The streets and Forum sank into the wonted midnight silence. The mad designs of Typhos and Gaïnas had failed, and the three youths who sat in the antechamber of Chrysostom, unknown to all but one or two, had saved the Emperor from assassination, the Palace from fire, the city from pillage and slaughter, the Empire itself from disastrous wars.

But though the facts were unknown, it soon leaked out from a multitude of sources that, by merest accident, Constantinople had escaped an overwhelming peril from the hands of 261 the Goths; and it became more and more imperative to deliver the East from the forked lightning which now flashed with lurid and scarcely intermittent flames across the whole horizon.


XXXIII. — THE MASSACRE

Your hands are full of blood.—Isaiah i. 15.

Foiled at every turn, Gaïnas began to feel that his star was no longer in the ascendant; that fortune had abandoned him; that in the game of ambition he had been finally defeated; that Nemesis was but awaiting her opportunity. Tormented more and more by indecision and disappointment, and seeing in their effects the anger of a besetting demon, he gave out that he was ill, and that he should resort to the Chapel of St. John the Baptist at the Hebdomon. It was seven miles distant from the capital, and stood on the scene of the murder of Rufinus. Gaïnas said, 'I will pray for the recovery of my health.' He gave secret orders to his army to join him there, not in one body, but by detachments of ten thousand at a time. They were to bring with them from Constantinople their wives, their children—all their possessions. He felt that at Constantinople, as far as he was concerned, all was over. He would throw himself back on the wild and roving life of his ancestors. Asia had long been exhausted by rapine, but he would plunder the cities of Thrace and of Europe, and, making his way to the Danube, would there reoccupy the wide regions of wasted land, and make a new home for his people away from the curse of a dying and polluted civilisation.

But now disaster after disaster befell him, and never again did he enjoy a happy day.

Two-thirds of his army had joined him at the Hebdomon, when one of those workings of God's unseen Providence, by men nicknamed 'chance,' which by no means unfrequently have decided the mightiest crises of history, let loose the rush of the avalanche by which he was ultimately to be overwhelmed.

It only remained for the last division of the Gothic soldiers to shake the dust of Constantinople off their feet and join their chieftain, eager for fresh fields and pastures new.

The city was full of the most painful disquietude and alarm. What did the Goths intend? Whither were they going? Was the end of the world at hand? What possible deliverance could be expected from the tyranny within or the terror without?

It was the 12th of July, 399. At the city gate of the Blachernæ suburb sat habitually an old beggar-woman. It was morning, and she had noticed that since the early dawn the Goths had been stealing by hundreds out of the city. She noticed, too, that they were all armed, though it seemed as if they were trying to conceal their arms. She was seized with misgiving. What were they going to do? Would they ere sunset assault and burn the city? Dropping her beggar's dish, she wailed, and wrung her hands, and cried aloud to the gods. The Goths but imperfectly understood her words and her demeanour. They thought that she was cursing and insulting them, and one of the fiery barbarians lifted his sword to cleave her head. Indignant at such treatment of an old and well-known figure, a Roman struck the Goth to the ground. Then the Goths raised a wild and angry cry, and curious spectators came flocking up on every side. In the heat of the quarrel which arose both the soldiers and the multitude assumed a most threatening attitude. As the people outnumbered the soldiers in a proportion of three to one, the Goths became alarmed, and blood began to flow freely on both sides. Meanwhile the whole population of Constantinople seemed to be gathering in the streets, and there was no mistaking the significance of the fierce, indignant hum which betrayed the pent-up feelings of wrath with which the multitude regarded these alien intruders, who had so long imposed upon them an odious and insulting tyranny. At that early hour of morning twilight, before the stream of business and amusement had begun, all the citizens were free, and they naturally thronged to the scene of combat. More than this, the manhood of Constantinople showed on all occasions a more Roman, and therefore a more vigorous, manhood than was the case in the other cities of the East. The most fearless of them had not only seized whatever implements were available, but had eagerly torn the swords out of the grasp of the dead and wounded Goths, and were using them with terrible effect. Hemmed in by a threatening mass of infuriated and implacable enemies, some of the Goths hewed their path to the nearest gate and forced their way through. At the head of these was Thorismund, who had been left to accompany the last contingent; for the wife of Gaïnas was so utterly reluctant to leave the charms of security and civilisation for the roving life of incessant battlefields, that she had been one of the last to leave her home with Walamir, her younger son. She was surrounded by an escort of her countrymen, but they were far too few for so frightful and unexpected an emergency. Thorismund and the soldiers with him had fought their way safely out of the city, and, in the self-confidence of Gothic courage, felt no doubt that the whole remainder of the army would follow them. In this conviction they marched forward, and chose a place for their camp at some distance from the walls. But their conviction was mistaken. The populace had completely got the upper hand over their deeply disheartened and far-outnumbered opponents. In that street warfare, suspecting treachery at every turn, the Goths fought with far less than their usual resistless impetuosity. They made a wild effort to keep their mastery over the gate, to follow their comrades, or at the worst to give them intelligence of their frightful position, and entreat them to send reinforcements. But they were too late: the citizens had seized and manned every path of egress. When Typhos sent to them, demanding that the gates should be handed over to his guards, so deep was their distrust of him that they flatly refused to obey. Conscious of their success, they raised the pæan of victory. The Goths outside the walls, being at some distance, mistook its import, and made sure that it meant the triumph of their countrymen. One of the Goths managed at the point of the sword to make his way out of the city by one of the less guarded gates, and he undeceived them. Then Thorismund, at the head of all the most valiant warriors whom he could assemble, made his way back to the city. It was in vain. Every gate was shut against him. The walls bristled with hostile bows and spears. The young warrior could only rage in vain, while within the fatal circle the hapless barbarians got more and more entangled in the streets, and were at last hemmed inextricably into one narrow space, where, in despair almost too deep for attempted self-defence, they were being hacked, and hewn down, and stabbed by thousands of furious citizens, who were now mostly armed.

Through the burning heat of that dreadful morning the massacre went on, and a dozen Goths were struck down by stones from the windows, or pierced with arrows, or beaten to the ground with clubs and swords, for every one of their assailants whom they slew. Religious hatred, political hatred, race hatred, in their most enflamed bitterness, were incited to overwhelm for ever the detested, overbearing, and heretical barbarians.

The horrid scene still continued, and all attempt at interference would have been hopeless, for the multitude was mad with rage and the gratification of long-suppressed jealousy and revenge. The dominance of Gaïnas, in itself sufficiently detestable to the citizens, was identified in their minds with the still more execrated dominance of Typhos. Now that chance seemed to have offered them a hope of getting rid of both, they seized it with frantic avidity. Not much of the tumult was witnessed by Chrysostom, for the Silentiarii were posted at every entrance to the Forum, in order to secure the protection of the Palace. But his secretaries and some of the presbyters now and then brought him some description of the blood-bath which was deluging the streets, and as at least 7,000 Goths were still pent up in the city, the citizens, with scarcely any effectual retaliation, continued to slay and slay and slay. Distressed by the cries which reached his ears, and by his inability to prevent the massacre, Chrysostom ventured to seek an interview with Arcadius, and ask whether no energetic measure could be resorted to which might stay the fury of the sword. But the Emperor was stolidly obdurate. He regarded this dire event as a Divine intervention to rid him, in a manner wholly unexpected, alike of Gothic and of Arian tyranny. Beyond protecting his own palace he refused to give a single order or take a single step.

On the other hand, the ardent spirit of youth naturally made it impossible for Philip and his two friends to sit quietly in the protected Patriarcheion while so fierce a battle was thundering through the city streets. It was obvious that they could not join in the fighting, for Goths and Byzantines alike were under the Archbishop's care; but if any opportunity offered itself for deeds of mercy and service, they desired to seize it. All three of them were parabolani —that is, they were members of a guild ostensibly formed for the purpose of burying the dead, a duty which was often difficult, and was sometimes shockingly neglected. But this was not their only function: they were always ready for any other deed of mercy.

By the afternoon the bodies of several hundreds of the Goths strewed the streets, and among them lay not a few of the citizens who had perished in the dreadful encounter. But seven thousand still remained, surrounded on every side by myriads of threatening faces and fiercely brandished arms. They determined to make one more desperate effort for their lives, and the word was passed among them to hew their way to the church which had been set apart for the worship of orthodox Goths. It was a church in which Chrysostom had taken deep interest. He had fancied that it might become a nucleus of proselytising influence to win back this grand nation of barbarians to the faith of the Catholics; and he had even taken pains to procure presbyters and mission-agents, familiar with the Gothic language, to set before the Arians in their beloved native tongue the fulness of the Nicene verity. Into this church, then, the Goths determined to fight a passage, feeling no doubt at all that the sacred right of asylum, which had protected the life of Eutropius, would suffice to secure their imperilled safety. It never occurred to them that they, who had so long been servants of the Empire, and had fought its battles, whatever may have been the errors into which they had of late been misled by their chiefs, would be treated with a fury too implacable to be sated by anything short of their complete extermination. So with stern faces they turned to bay, and, cleaving themselves a lane through the living barrier of their enemies, fought their way towards the Gothic church. It was outside the great Forum, though at no great distance from it. They succeeded in their effort, though with ever-diminished numbers, since the crowd harassed them at every step and cut off every straggler.

David had been occupied in various parts of the city in tending any wounded citizen whom he could help to his home, or conduct to one of the Patriarch's hospitals. Eutyches, who was much younger and of a more timid disposition, strayed as little as possible from the side of Philip. Their dress as parabolani accounted for their presence in the streets in a peaceful capacity, and it was not long before their benevolent efforts were signally rewarded; for their eyes were attracted by a spectacle which would have moved a heart of stone.

In the centre of the stream of Goths, protected to the utmost by their shields, yet very imperfectly sheltered from the missiles hurled down on the doomed warriors from roofs and lattices, walked a tall and stately woman with her son, a boy of fifteen, a perfect type of manly Gothic beauty, by her side. She was richly dressed, and the brooch which fastened her embroidered robes was set with large emeralds, but she was now in a deplorable condition of fatigue and wretchedness. Her long, fair tresses streamed dishevelled over her shoulders: the jewelled ribbon of silk, which had confined them at the back of her head, had been torn away, and they were stained with blood from a wound in her forehead, caused by a stone, which had struck her with violence. With feelings harrowed to their depths, she watched the awful catastrophe which had befallen this mass of her fellow-countrymen; and it had long dawned on her mind that, in the crushing and crimson surge of massacre which every now and then deluged the heterogeneous conflict, and for which she herself felt partly guilty, her life could only be saved by a miracle.

It was Liuba, the wife of Gaïnas, and the boy by her side was Walamir, who had formed so romantic an affection for Eutyches in his father's tent. Walamir had never looked so beautiful or so noble. He was dressed in the armour of his nation. The light of battle was in his eyes, and the sunlight which burned in his short, bright curls where they were uncovered by his helmet, made a sort of nimbus round his face. Boy as he was, he had fought like a hero. He carried a drawn sword in his hand, and a bow and quiver were slung over his back. Now and then, if chance offered, he would thrust the sword into its scabbard, snatch an arrow from his quiver, and aim it at some prominent assailant; but his mind was mainly absorbed in the effort to protect his mother, to whom his restless glances constantly returned. He himself had evidently been wounded. A sword-point had pierced his leg, for he limped with painful efforts, and often stumbled; and he was pale with loss of blood from a deep arrow-wound in his shoulder, which had dyed his white tunic and the wolfskin belted across his breast with deep red stains.

Eutyches was the first to catch a glimpse of him amid the serried ranks of his warriors. He caught Philip's arms, and cried in an agitated voice: 'Oh, Philip! let us press as near as we can, and try to save him.'

'We will, my boy,' cried Philip; 'but oh! I fear the case is desperate.'

And now the Goths had reached the open space in front of the church, and by a natural movement they rushed forward to gain the entrance. The crowd pressed still more firmly on their ranks, to prevent them from reaching their asylum. Walamir and his mother were thrust on one side by the rush of the narrowing stream of soldiers, and, seizing his chance, a brutal citizen smote the wife of Gaïnas on the head with a club. She sank down without a groan, and would instantly have been trampled to death had not Philip leapt forward, and, aided by Eutyches—for the costume of the charitable brotherhood secured them from molestation—dragged her a little aside into the corner of the Galilee. Walamir had cut down the cowardly striker of a woman with a blow of his sword, and then, too faint from his wounds to make any further effort, sank with a low wail upon his mother's corpse.

Thousands of the Goths had now pressed into the church, till it was full from end to end, and those who could not enter were slain with scarcely the shadow of resistance. While the tumult roared about the gates one rioter aimed an infamous blow at Walamir, who, lying prostrate and with outstretched arms, was now conscious of nothing but that his mother was dead and his people were perishing. The force of the blow was broken, for without a moment's hesitation Philip felled the man with a blow on the temple from his clenched fist. But Walamir had swooned, and Philip and Eutyches, seeing that his mother was past help, gently disengaged his arms from her corpse. Philip had often been with his master to the church, and was well acquainted with its precincts. The humble residence of the presbyter, a venerable Goth, was at the back of the church, and the entrance to it lay through a shady little garden, entered by a wicket-gate which was scarcely observable amid the mass of creepers which twined about it in rank luxuriance. Through this wicket he and Eutyches carried the poor wounded lad, and the humble presbyter, thankful for the opportunity of helping one of his countrymen, laid the young Ostrogoth on his own bed, and entrusted him to the charge of his sister, who kept his house.

There for a time we must leave him, and narrate the savage and shameful tragedy which thereon ensued. For not even in the church were the hunted remnant of the Goths to find a secure refuge. They were within; they had barred the gates; they determined, if the place were assaulted by violence, to sell their lives dear. But the mob of their assailants, thwarted for the moment, had forced their way through the soldiers into the Forum, and were now yelling at the Royal Gate of the Palace, demanding that Arcadius should give them leave to violate the right of asylum and put a final end to the to terror of Gothic intimidation. It was always the impulse of Arcadius to yield. Perhaps he thought it useless to attempt resistance. Perhaps he fancied in his muddled and bewildered religionism that a holocaust of the Goths could not be but a pleasing sacrifice to God. Perhaps he fell back on his own edict that State criminals of the worst dye could not be protected by the rights of sanctuary. Be that as it may, he declined to interfere. Then the mob flew back to the church, pressed into their service every ladder which could be found, swarmed to the roofs of the sacred building, and tore them up, and broke them down with axes and hammers and battering-rams. Below was the dreadful spectacle of thousands of warriors densely wedged together in the sacred space, unable to defend themselves, unable to strike a single blow; above, on the ladders and walls and roofs, were the faces of their enemies, distorted by hatred and malignant triumph. There are scenes and occasions in which men become transformed into incarnate demons. It was so on that dreadful day with the mob of Constantinople. Pitiless as at the games of the Amphitheatre, they gloated on the final scene of slaughter, which incarnadined the sacred place with rivers of gore. Many of the Goths, seeing their desperate extremity, embraced their brethren-in-arms, and heroically fell by their own or one another's friendly swords. Others sat down on the pavement, with their heads bowed upon their knees, awaiting whatever form of death might come. Many who were Christians joined in the lilt of some Christian chant; others who were still Pagans raised fragments of the songs of their native land. The butchery did not last long when hundreds were hurling down on them showers of stones, and masses of burning wood, and huge fragments of masonry, and most of them chose rather to die by each other's hands. In the course of an hour not one was left alive. Portions of the church had caught fire, and there were places where the creeping streams of fire were quenched in blood. By evening, through the dismantled roofs of the wrecked edifice, the silent heavens looked down on masses of ruin, and blackened beams, and shattered rafters, and heaps of dying men and charred corpses, and broken arms.

History knows but of one scene which resembles this in its tragedy: it is the massacre of Corcyra. But in the massacre of Corcyra, B.C. 425, only 300 perished. That was on Mount Istone, not in any temple or sacred place. In this massacre at Constantinople 7,000 were helplessly and pitilessly butchered in a church which but a day or two before had rung with hymns and murmured with prayers to the White Christ, to the God of all mercy and all compassion.


XXXIV. — GAÏNAS MEETS HIS DOOM

Desinat elatis quisquam confidere rebus,
Instabilesque Deos ac lubrica numina discat...,
...Qui Sidonio velari credidit auro
Nudus pascit aves.
—Claud., In Ruf. ii. 440.

Such were the frightful tidings which reached the Ostrogothic chieftain in his camp at the Hebdomon. His wife had been slain; one-third of his army had been massacred; the gates of Constantinople were closed, and its walls garrisoned against him. His brave son, Thorismund, was with him, but he knew not the fate of the son of his heart, his beloved and beautiful Walamir. But there was no time to waste in anguish or in funeral obsequies—the case demanded instant action. Typhos was still left in power as Prætorian Præfect at Constantinople, and with Typhos he was in secret agreement. But this last thread of hope was speedily cut short. True that Typhos seemed almost indispensable to Arcadius for the moment, because, bad as he was, the unscrupulous thoroughness of his impartial oppression helped to replenish the exhausted treasury. But the breach between the Emperor and the Goths was now irreparable. Gaïnas was declared a public enemy. An extraordinary commission was appointed to examine into the misdeeds of Typhos. His manifold acts of treachery were exposed. He was flung into prison. For a time his execution was only averted by the intercession of Aurelian, who was now recalled from his undeserved banishment. But doomsday came to Typhos at last, as it comes in turn to all transgressors. Amid universal detestation, unaided by the vast treasures he had amassed for such brief enjoyment, he expiated his manifold malfeasance under the hands of the common executioner, and his wife died, shunned and execrated, in abject misery.

Gaïnas broke up his camp, and marched forward to ravage the lands of Thrace. But there comes to many a man who was once the spoiled favourite of fortune a time when he finds that everything has turned for him to thorns. Gaïnas and his army were utterly baulked of the rich plunder which they had hoped to win from the depopulation of Thrace. The Romans had everywhere been encouraged to contempt and defiance by the disaster of the barbarians at Constantinople. Gaïnas found the cities not undefended, like those of Asia; not with crumbling walls, but powerfully garrisoned and amply fortified. To take them by siege was impossible: time and siege-trains alike were lacking. In the place of harvests he found only wastes of stubble: the fields had been reaped already, the grain stored, the cattle driven into places of safety. It seemed as if he and all his Goths were engaged in a fruitless raid, in which at last they would be reduced to starve.

Overwhelmed with anxiety and despair, he made his way towards the Hellespont. He would once more cross to the lands of Asia, which, ravaged as they had been, still seemed to offer an inexhaustible resource. But meanwhile another event had happened.

Fravitta, a Goth by birth, a Pagan in religion, was, as we have said, by conviction a member of the Roman party. He had married a Roman wife; he accepted the duties of civilisation as the only rôle hereafter open to his fellow-countrymen. The line of Claudian was often on his lips:—

We are all one nation.
'Quod cuncti gens una sumus.'


Already, in his earlier days, he had, at peril of his own life, saved Theodosius from the dangerous conspiracy of Eriulph. His fiery youth was passed, but his courage was unquenched, his allegiance unshaken. He came forward and offered his sword and his services to Arcadius. The Emperor elevated him to the rank of Commander-in-Chief in place of Gaïnas, and he promised to make the rebellious Goths accept the yoke, or to drive them back beyond the Danube.

The safety of Thrace had been practically secured by the prudence of its own inhabitants and the bold front which they presented to the enemy. Still, Fravitta watched the movements of Gaïnas, and received early notice of his intention to fall back on the Hellespont. Fravitta arranged his forces on the Asiatic shore, and confronted the Gothic army, which was extended along the coasts of the Chersonese from Parium to opposite Abydos; he also assembled a fleet of Liburnian galleys to prevent the passage of the straits.

Gaïnas grew desperate. He and his army were suffering from the pressure of famine. Cross over to Asia he must, at whatever cost; and yet he had not a single ship, and there was a fleet to bar his passage!

The Goths did not know the art of shipbuilding, and, even had they done so, time would have failed them for the purpose. Behind them was hungry desolation; before them a determined army and the wild sea-waves. Gaïnas ordered every tree they could find in the peninsula to be cut down, and rude rafts to be constructed from the trunks lashed together. These rafts, helmless and rudderless as they were, were laden with men and horses, and launched to the chances of the sea-currents to sweep them whither they would. Gaïnas felt strangely confident of victory, and waited on the shore to watch the success of his plan. But Fravitta was more than ready for him. His galleys were at some distance from the coast, and he had armed them with iron prows. A strong west wind came to his aid. No sooner did he observe the rafts in the grasp of the isthmus-currents than he swept down on one of the largest, split it, sank it, and dashed its struggling occupants, cavalry and infantry together, into the deep sea. Those who could not swim were instantly drowned, the more easily because many of them were encumbered with the weight of their armour. Those who could swim flung away their arms; but the galleys drove amongst them, and struck them down, or they were pushed under the billows by the points of hostile spears.

In this way thousands were destroyed. Gaïnas saw a vast contingent of his army perish ignominiously under his very eyes. There was no possibility of assembling a new host. His 274 prestige was gone; his auspices appeared to be branded with fatality; his troops were daily weakened by desertions. Already the advanced detachments of Fravitta's Romans began to harry his rear as he fled through the Thracian plains, so void of sustenance. In despairing rage he slaughtered all the Roman hostages and prisoners who were with him, and made his way towards the Danube, determined to re-seek the home of his youth, and there achieve some fresh plan of vengeance, or end the clouded and dishonoured remnant of his days.

By the time he reached the banks of the Danube there were but few followers with him; but among them were his son Thorismund and the band of warriors who were specially devoted to the service of that fine young chieftain. Gaïnas, now more than ever in the grasp of the demon, spurred his foaming warhorse towards the stream, plunged recklessly into it, and swam it far ahead of the majority of his followers. Unhappily for him, the shore on which he landed was in possession of the Huns and their king, Uldes. This chieftain, who had many plans for the future, was most anxious to gain the favour and confidence of the Emperor of the East, and he well knew that he could offer him no more precious gift than the head of the enemy who for so many years had kept him in terrified subjection. Gaïnas, with about a dozen of his escort, rode up to Uldes, and asked permission simply to pass through his territory to their own old lands. The ugly face of the Hun only gathered into a frown. He gave a signal to his troop, and they closed in dense ranks round the unhappy Ostrogoth. He saw that his time was come. One gleam of joy alone lightened his last hour: it was that his son Thorismund was not one of those who had thus been shut up with him in the serried army of these treacherous enemies, so that it might still be possible for him to swim back across the Danube, and escape. Nothing remained but to sell his life as dearly as he could, and to this task he set himself with all the stern delight of battle.

'Ha!' he, shouted, raising his voice to its full pitch, 'it is treachery and death. Fly, Thorismund! But you, my brave comrades, you are Goths; let some, at least, of these grinning fiends accompany us to the realms of Hela! They think that we will tamely lay down our arms! They know us not. At them, my warriors!'

Gaïnas himself spurred his horse straight at Uldes; but the Hun swerved from his charge, and the Ostrogoth found himself in the very thick of the Hunnish legion. He fought like a lion. Many a Hun bit the ground before his strong arm and practiced sword; but he was already separate from his little band. In a few minutes every one of them had been slain, and Gaïnas, now covered with wounds, was dragged from his steed, and received his death stab. In his last moments all the passions and instincts of his Pagan forefathers had come back to him, and as his life-blood ebbed away he felt, in one flash of consolation, that the Valkyrie would not be ashamed of him, for he had not died tamely, but as an Ostrogoth should die, with his broken sword in his grasp, and leaning on his broken shield, yet in the midst of foes whom he had slain. They tore off his golden collar and his ornaments, and then, from the neck on which it had towered in its pride of strength and comeliness, they struck off the warrior's head, and spiked it on the summit of a lance, to send it to Arcadius as a gage of friendship and the best pledge of the Hunnish king's allegiance.

And it was thus that Gaïnas also met his doom.

But Thorismund and his followers, seeing the dread event, recrossed the Danube at full speed—for of what use would it be to throw away their lives in an attack upon a host which outnumbered them by a hundred to one? When they had reached a place of safety they drew rein, and after brief consultation determined to make their way to Illyricum, and there offer their swords to Alaric the Visigoth for his contemplated invasion of the West.

'Alaric was ever jealous of Gaïnas,' said an old warrior. 'They rarely acted together.'

'They were comrades-in-arms at the battle of the Frigidus,' said Thorismund, 'and the Ostrogoths are brothers of the Visigoths. Alaric will not refuse a suppliant who will aid him in exacting vengeance from the cruel and perfidious Romans. They have cheated and oppressed us. They deceived and massacred our noble youth. They have just slaughtered whole holocausts of our warriors in their accursed streets. We will still beat them to the dust. If not Constantinople, at least Rome, shall yet be in our hands. Courage, my Ostrogoths! If we cannot conquer, we will die in our simplicity.'


XXXV. — WALAMIR AND EUTYCHES

Like a flower, that cannot all unfold,
So drench'd it is with tempest, to the sun.

—Tennyson

Weeping, ringing his hands, casting up his tear-dimmed eyes to Heaven, Reikhild, the aged presbyter of the Catholic Goths, stood in his wrecked, desecrated church. It was the morning after the battle in the streets, and the spectacle which met his eyes could hardly fail to rend the heart of a pastor. What had been his Holy Sanctuary was now a revolting slaughterhouse, and among the fallen timbers, and shattered stones, and shapeless heaps of desolation, lay in their blood the torn limbs and putrescent corpses of hundreds of murdered men, which in the fierce summer sunlight had already begun to taint the air. His church was a ghastly ruin, an evitandum bidental, of which the very site would be thenceforward shunned as a haunt of demons, which no lustration would ever purify. On such an Aceldama no church could ever be built again. In the capital of the East the era of the Goths was at an end. Henceforward the billows of barbarian invasion would 'roll shoreward, and strike and be dissipated' on the cities of the Western world. With the Church had disappeared the congregation also. The occupation of the presbyter was gone; the work of his life was shipwrecked; the words of Reikhild, the son of Witiges, were ended.

Shocked beyond utterance by all that he had heard and witnessed, the old man tottered back to his lonely presbytery. But the scene had been altogether too much for him. Never had his aged sister seen him so pale; she noticed on his face, for the first time, that grey hue which is the harbinger of death. Nor was she mistaken. That very evening he took to his bed, and before a fortnight was over he had passed to his eternal rest.

Walamir still lay unconscious on the couch where they had laid him, and it was impossible for her to tend him with the incessant care needed by his critical condition now that she was beset by the new anxiety of her brother's illness. The parabolani were already hard at work in the ruined church, endeavouring to bury in one huge pit the unnumbered corpses of the dead which strewed the sacred precincts and the neighbouring streets. They laid the wife of Gaïnas in a separate grave. Philip and David had come to help them, while Eutyches went into the presbyter's house to see his wounded friend. He found Walamir in desperate case, unable to speak a word. The barb of the arrow by which he had been wounded was still embedded in the flesh of the shoulder, and unless it were cut out nothing could prevent a fatal termination. He must obviously be removed, and that at once. Eutyches hastened to the Patriarch, and begged that the young Goth might occupy his own bed and chamber till his recovery, or death, as he could himself easily sleep in an adjoining room in the many- chambered palace. Chrysostom, ever ready to do deeds of mercy, gladly assented, and the more so because the very limited hospital accommodation was already strained to its utmost capacity by the necessary tendance of wounded citizens, who in the present exasperation of feeling might resent the invasion of their privilege by a wounded Goth, even though that Goth was a mere boy, and though the secret that he was a son of Gaïnas was closely kept.

So Eutyches flew back to Philip, and with the aid of David and others of the parabolani carried Walamir in the easiest litter they could procure to the Patriarcheion. There the lad, still entirely unconscious, was laid with all tenderness on the bed of his friend, and Asclepias, the most skilful physician in Constantinople, was summoned to attend him. He pronounced that the arrow- head must be cut out without delay, and did not conceal that in the patient's present state of exhaustion the operation might end in death. But the boy had the magnificent physique of his father, and had been in that splendid health which is the natural result of purity and moderation. There was hope for him when there would be none for another.

He recovered consciousness during the consultation, and asked that his agony might be ended by the excision of the rankling barb. In those days anæsthetics were unknown, but 279

Walamir begged Eutyches to hold his left hand, set his teeth hard, and bared his breast. He would not scream under the knife. He bore the agony without a groan, only when the iron was drawn but he turned white as death, and fainted away with the ensuing hæmorrhage.

Nothing more could be done for him, the physician said, but to give him perfect rest and quiet, and simple, healthful food in small quantities at frequent intervals. All that skill and tenderness could do was done. The Lady Olympias came daily to the Patriarch's palace to see that the wants of Chrysostom were properly attended to, and she often cared for the needs of the sick boy. Nicarete also took his case in hand, and tended him with all the skill which she had learnt from daily attention to the wants of the sick and suffering in the hospitals and in their own poor houses. And in the long evenings Eutyches, 'with look and smile a healing in themselves,' sat by his bedside, carrying out with unwearying solicitude every direction he had received, and feeling more and more closely drawn to the now helpless lad, who had so earnestly sought his friendship. When they had first met in the tent of Gaïnas, Walamir had been like a picture of early youth in its finest promise; now he lay there worn and wasted, and recognising no one, and with fortunes utterly ruined, and very nigh to death.

But in such a frame as his Nature fought hard against the ravages of illness. The wound in his leg was relatively trivial, and soon healed. The pure, untainted blood which coursed through his veins gradually wrought the cure of the other and more serious wound, and if only he could hold out against extreme weakness he might yet recover.

Eutyches anxiously awaited the hour when he should awake to perfect consciousness and the delirium would cease, in which he murmured constantly of the scenes of recent slaughter, which seemed to shroud his memory in a mist of blood.

At last the hour came. It was evening, and the warm sunlight streaming through the lattice, with an infinitely soft air from the sea, which, came in laden with the balm of the innumerable roses in the garden, shone and breathed on the boy's face. He woke sane, sighed, opened his eyes, and, looking round him, asked in a low voice:

'Where am I?'

'You are in the palace of the Patriarch John, Walamir,' said his friend.

'And you?' he said, fixing his large blue eyes on the face of Eutyches—'surely you are he—whom my brother Thorismund called the boy who looks like an angel?'

'I am Eutyches, and your friend, and Philip is here, whom Thorismund loved well.'

'How came I here? What has happened?'

'You were badly wounded.'

'Ah!'

The words let loose upon him an avalanche of memories. For a time he did not speak; then a sob shook his frame and silent tears streamed down his cheeks. 'Oh, hide, hide from me the horrid vision!' he said, lifting his hand as though he would shut out the phantasmagoria of hideous recollections. 'My father?' he asked faintly.

'The chief marched away with his army into Thrace.'

'My brother?'

'Thorismund escaped through the gates with some of his trusted warriors. He joined Gaïnas.'

'My mother?'

Eutyches was silent.

'Oh! you need not tell me. I remember, I remember all! And my people—what happened to all the rest that day?'

'Do not talk more now, dear Walamir. You shall hear all in time. Try now to sleep.'

Walamir was, in truth, too exhausted to ask more. He lay back and closed his eyes, but could only sink into short and troubled slumbers. That night Olympias and Pentadia took it in turn to watch by his bedside.

Next day he seemed weaker. His mind was working incessantly, and it had nothing but tragedies on which to dwell.

The next evening he told Eutyches that he did not think that he could live. But Eutyches cheered him, holding him by the hand. 'I fear,' he said, 'you do not desire to live. But you are young; only think how much happiness may yet lie in store for you.'

'I am young,' he answered, 'and the sunlight is warm, and the sea air sweet, and these roses are beautiful'—for Eutyches had put by his side the vase which David had given him, and it was full of roses—'but what have I to live for? My father and my brother are exiles, burning, perhaps vainly, for revenge. My mother is dead. My people are slain. I am homeless and friendless.'

'Not friendless,' said Eutyches. 'We all love you. There is many a home which would receive you.'

'Ay, as a slave,' he said, 'or a humble dependent. But that can never be for a son of Gaïnas and an Amaling of the Ostrogoths.'

'Nay,' said Eutyches, '" sufficient for the day is its own evil." God will provide. Trust Him for the future. You are a Christian, though an Arian. Do you not know that Christ loves you?'

'How can the White Christ of the Romans love me?' he said. 'He must have deserted us. He must be angry with us about some formula we cannot understand. How else could He have suffered us to perish? Why else could He have thus smitten me into helplessness and misery?'

'Oh, hush! hush!' said Eutyches. 'I know little, I understand little. To confess to you the simple truth, I seem to care little about the hard, unintelligible words of which every idle tongue prates. But if I do not understand the doctrine, I try to do the will. I love Christ, and I know that Christ is love; and He is my Master and my Lord, and I have given my youth to Him, that He may have it under His own holy keeping, to save it from itself, and save it for Himself. Do I tire you?'

The only answer was a pressure of the hand.

'Well then, Walamir, I seem to myself to know nothing of life, and to see nothing but its mysteries. I am but an ignorant boy, but I doubt whether even wise men—whether even he, the Patriarch, really understands what life means, or why God suffers us to be afflicted. I have not yet been much afflicted, though I, too, am an orphan, Walamir. The Patriarch gave me a home, and Philip loves me, and David, and you—and I am happy; and for the rest, doubtless the day of anguish will come to me, as it has come to you. We are born: let that come which must come. Only, may God help us for a short time to bear it, and make us faithful. I am sure that He cares for us. Try to live, Walamir; pray that you may live and serve.'

'Tell me more of your faith,' said Walamir.

'I have been trained,' said Eutyches, 'from earliest childhood in holy homes. My father was a Catholic Goth. He died early. My mother loved God. I have been rocked in the cradle and nursed on the knees by saints of God, and that on which I built all my faith and all my love is that God is love, and that Christ is God.'

Again the mind of the Gothic boy was actively at work, and sorrows rushed in on him like a flood. He felt very tired, and as if he were at the point to die.

'Eutyches', he said, 'I think that I am dying. Lean my head upon your shoulder.'

Eutyches took him in his arms and pillowed the weary head on his shoulder. His tears fell on his friend's cheek as he stooped over him, but he spoke cheery words.

'Walamir,' he said, 'something tells me you will not die, but live, and do great deeds. What you now need more than all is sleep. Nicarete takes care of you to-night. One night of good sleep, and you will recover. To-morrow morning I shall bring him to see you.'

'Him?' asked Walamir.

'The Patriarch John,' said Eutyches. 'We call him so among ourselves.'

'The great and holy Patriarch who blessed me in my father's tent? He will not care to come and pray with a wretched, wounded, dying Gothic boy.'

'He is all kindness,' said Eutyches. 'He will come, and you will live.'

The next morning, as Eutyches had prophesied, Walamir felt a little stronger. His wound was dressed by the good Nicarete, who was in her element in a sick-room. Then Chrysostom came and knelt by his bedside, and poured forth for him a deep, strong, short, and tender prayer. We have heard how many a life has been saved by an affusion of blood 283

from the pulses of strong and healthy veins. Such a moral and spiritual affusion into the life of the young Ostrogoth was the prayer of Chrysostom. From that moment he visibly amended. Very soon he could be carried into the garden, and could lie under a couch in the deep shade, among the flowers. A little longer and he could walk thither, leaning on the arm of Eutyches, who had been partly set free from work to tend him in his recovery.

It was then that the very serious question arose what was to be done with him; in what way they could provide for his future?

Philip and his friends were discussing it together. 'Of course,' said Philip, 'he,' pointing his finger towards the Archbishop's study—'he would readily provide for him; but how, and where? That is the difficulty. After what has happened the people hate the very sight of a Goth. He would hardly be safe from insult in the streets. If anyone but ourselves knew that he was the son of Gaïnas, there are plenty of brutes and villains in the city who would strike him down.'

'I wish we could keep him with us,' said Eutyches.

'Impossible!' said David. 'He is born Ostrogoth. Much as he loves you, Eutyches, his temperament is as different from yours in most things as any nature could be. The spirit and the aspirations of his wild forefathers are in him. He will be a warrior, and in these days no other career is open to him. He could not live our quiet life. The pen may be for us; the sword must be for him.'

'Would it be possible to send him back to his father?'

'It would be full of risk,' said David; 'and in the present fortunes of Gaïnas the outlook for him would be desperate.'

'Then, what has the wise David to suggest?' asked Philip; 'for I am quite sure that you would not say all this if you had no plan.'

'I have, said David. 'Aurelian has been recalled from banishment. He is a Christian; a good man, a great soldier. You know him, Philip. Ask the Patriarch to go to Aurelian, and see if he cannot provide Walamir, as soon as he is quite well, with some place near his own person. He will do it; and among Aurelian's soldierly surroundings Walamir may be trained in arms and in the scenes and exercises which he loves, and yet in a Christian home.'

'Admirable!' said Philip; 'nothing could be better. We shall change your name immediately from David to Solomon!'

'And yours from Philip to Alexander,' said David with his grave smile.

'Which?' said Philip—'the Great, or the Coppersmith?'

'Oh! the Coppersmith, the Coppersmith, of course,' said Eutyches. 'That accounts for his being so much in the Chalkoprateia.'

'Will nothing cure your audacity?' said Philip, and he tried to seize him; but Eutyches darted off, and Philip shook his fist. 'Wait till I catch you,' he said.

'Alexander the Coppersmith did me much evil,' said Eutyches demurely. 'And that reminds me I never got the bronze what's-his- name which you owe me for not guessing that Eutropius was to be Consul.'

'Oh, you scoundrel!' said Philip; 'you forfeited it by your impudence. But I have no time to thrash you now, for I must ask him, and then be off to Count Aurelian's.'

Chrysostom was struck by the good-sense of the proposal, and Aurelian, who had always retained a kindly regard for Philip, gave him a cordial welcome, and at once agreed to receive the young Goth as a member of his household. The Præfect was, indeed, purposely living in comparative retirement until the exasperation of feeling between the Romans and the Goths should have died down. But he still had soldiers about him, and, as he soon formed a warm attachment to the noble and friendless boy, he gave him the training of a skilled soldier and of a high-minded, honourable man, which bore fine fruit in later years.


XXXVI. — HIS MURDERED FATHER'S HEAD

Est genus extremos Scythiæ vergentis in ortus
Trans gelidum Tanaim, quo non famosius ullum
Arctos abit; turpes habitus, obscænaque visu
Corpora.

—Claud. In Ruf. ii. 323-26.

So Walamir found a home, and often joined his friends in the Patriarcheion in their bathes and strolls and games in the gymnasium, having as it were grappled Eutyches to his soul with hooks of steel. He would have been even happy—for youth is less grievously haunted than age or manhood by the gnawing vultures of memory—if no further events had disturbed his life. But his happiness was constantly shaken by the dark news about his father's reverses. There was no way of hearing from him or communicating with him, nor did the young Ostrogoth dare to speak of him openly, or to let it be known that he was his son. He was again plunged in despair when he heard the intelligence of the drowning of thousands more of his countrymen by Fravitta's fleet during their wild attempt to cross the Hellespont on unguided rafts. After that catastrophe nothing was known for a long time, except that Gaïnas had ridden away with his remaining cavalry towards the banks of the Ister. Walamir feared that he would never again hear of his father or of his strong brother, Thorismund.

It was now January, 401. One day he was walking home with Eutyches from a rowing excursion on the Bosporus, when they saw a crowd of people assembling in the colonnade of the Forum, and were told that a deputation of Huns from Uldes, the Hunnish king, was marching to the Palace with a present to Arcadius and offers of allegiance and peace.

The two youths waited to watch the procession. The foremost Huns, who were soldiers marching in front of the ambassador, passed by. They were Taifals, the ugliest of the human 286 race, and had the universal reputation of being also the vilest and most brutal. Nothing could be a more complete contrast than that between them and the finelooking Goths. They were squat, and short, and yellow, and inconceivably ugly. Their cunning little eyes were the merest dots and slits in their large Mongolian faces. Their shock heads of hair seemed to be of no particular colour. Their wicked faces looked as if they were all mouths. 'Their faces,' says Jordanes, the Gothic historian, 'could hardly be called faces—rather shapeless, black collops of flesh with little points instead of eyes; little in stature, but lithe and active; good riders, broad-shouldered, good at the bow, obstinate and proud, hiding under a barely human form the ferocity of a wild beast.' Their wars were mere enslavement, lust, and rapine. They cut down fruit-trees, they stopped wells; their chiefs boasted that where their horses had once trod no harvests ever grew. Their invasions were like the descent of devouring and disgusting locusts. The land was as the Garden of Eden before them; behind them it was a desolate wilderness.

The Goths looked on these execrable savages with a peculiarly deadly hatred. It was before the wave on wave of their innumerable myriads, pressing one after another out of the vast steppes of Asia, that, first the Ostrogoths, and then the Visigoths, had been driven forward out of the lands they loved, the lands of their immemorial possession. They felt it to be an infamy to succumb to these semi-human demons, who gained their distorted name of Tartars from the popular belief that they had been disgorged from the depths of Tartarus. But how could human valour or human wisdom fight against numbers numberless, bred as though from verminiferous pains? Warriors might fight with men, but they shrank from conflict with demon cannibals.

Some of these feelings were struggling in the mind of Walamir, and he was looking on the hideous phenomena with a shudder, when suddenly another part of the procession swept round the cornet of the Passage of Achilles into the Forum. Conspicuous among them was a young, swart soldier, clad in skins, but fully armed, carrying a long lance with something at its summit. It was the son of King Uldes himself, who had been set apart for what he deemed to be a service of honour.

At that moment Walamir was staring with a frown on the faces of the nearest Huns, not concealing an expression of unmistakable disgust, for their aspect justified and deepened the old hereditary loathing. But the quick glance of Eutyches recognised what that thing on the lance-point was. A dim rumour had reached him of the fate of Gaïnas at the hands of the Hunnish king; but as it was only a rumour, he had felt himself justified in keeping it from the ears of his friend. The news was also known to Aurelian, but he had kindly ordered his household to conceal it, and he had hoped that the procession would be over before Walamir returned from the Bosporus. Eutyches saw at once that the Hunnish prince was carrying the head of the Ostrogothic Amal who, when he last left Constantinople, had been Prætorian Præfect, Consul-designate, and Commander-in-Chief. It was so that one of the Gothic comrades of Gaïnas had carried into Constantinople the head of the murdered Rufinus; it was so that his own murdered head was now carried through the streets which had once witnessed his towering stature and lordly stride. The blood of Eutyches ran cold. What was he to do? He knew the fiery and almost ungovernable impulses of Walamir, and at that moment the young Goth was slowly turning to look at the new contingent of the Hunnish embassy.

'Come away! come away!' said Eutyches in a hurried whisper. 'Do not let us look any longer. We have seen enough of these wretches.'

'No, no!' said Walamir. 'Remember, I never saw such creatures as these before. I must see them march up to the Royal Gate—— God! what is that?'

Too fatally, with too frightful suddenness, the grim spectacle had burst upon him. With a shock of horror utterly indescribable he had seen the Hunnish prince stalking nearer with his uplifted lance—and on its summit that livid face, those short, light curls, stiffened with dark blood. Good God! it was unmistakable! it was the head of his father Gaïnas!

With a cry like that of a wounded lion he sprang forward, and struck a wild blow at the young Hun. Happily for him, happily for Constantinople, Eutyches pulled him back with all his force. The hand of Walamir did, indeed, strike the cheek of the Hun, and in his startled fury and amazement he lost the unequal balance of his lance, and from its point the ghastly relic rolled in the dust of the street. Instantly swords flashed out. The son of King Uldes raised a yell of rage, and bloodshed would have ensued but for the admirable presence of mind displayed by Aurelian.

'It is a madman!' he said, calmly addressing the Hun. 'We are not responsible. Soldiers, take away the lunatic. If need be, put him in manacles.'

The Hun had not been hurt, for the blow had scarcely reached him. He picked up the dissevered head, again spiked it on his lance-point, patted with insolent brutality the livid cheek, and marched onward with a broad grin. The attention of the multitude was too much absorbed to notice the incident. The rumour which Eutyches had heard had begun to spread among them, and they were receiving the head of Gaïnas with shouts of acclamation.

But the sight had been too much for Walamir. In the revulsion of feeling he fell senseless to the ground, and his wound, which had not long healed, burst out afresh, crimsoning with blood the Gothic wolfskin which, at some peril to himself, but in the spirit of defiant patriotism, he had always refused to discard. Aurelian's soldiers knew him, and understood the incident. To save appearances they made a show of arresting him. They fettered his hands with light manacles, and led him home. Aurelian, when he returned, excused and forgave his rashness, spoke to him a few words of quiet sympathy and warning, and set him free.

But the lad was nearly broken-hearted. He was again prostrated by a sharp attack of illness, and during his recovery he formed the invincible determination rather to beg his bread than to stay in that hateful, guilty city a day longer than he could help. As soon as he was permitted he visited Eutyches, and consulted with him and his friends what was to be done.

'I cannot,' he said, 'remain in the house of Aurelian. I honour, I love him. He has been kind and generous. But wherever I walk in the streets I seem to breathe the crimson fumes of blood from the massacre of my people, and now I shall never be able to look upwards in the Forum without seeming to see——' He waved his hands before his face as though to avert a vision of horror.

'But what will you do if you leave us?' asked Eutyches.

'I have thought of that. The Gruthongs are no more. Alaric the Balt is a Therving,[13] not a Gruthong, but he is now at the head of my people. I will make my way to him.'

. 13 The Ostrogoths called themselves Gruthongs; the Visigoths bore the tribal name of Thervings.

'It will not be easy for you to make your way to Illyria in these troublous times,' said Philip.

'I can be of use in that matter,' said David. 'Owing to the known and stainless integrity of my father, he is often entrusted with commissions by the Jewish merchants of Constantinople. Walamir could not travel with him in his Gothic dress, but if he will condescend to wear a disguise for three days, till he is well beyond the immediate boundaries of Thrace, within a week my father will take him as a companion as far as Illyricum, and even to Æmona.'

'When does he start?' asked Walamir eagerly.

'To-morrow,' said David, 'at earliest dawn. Come to him now.'

The four youths went, Philip being, as usual, delighted by even a chance of seeing Miriam. They found that little disguise was needed. An upper garment of striped cloth, worn like the Jewish abeyeh, and a wig of long, dark hair under a turban, so effectually disguised the young Goth that his best friend would not easily have recognised him, and they all laughed at the complete transformation. That night Walamir wrote a few lines to Aurelian. 'Illustrious and kind!' he said; 'after what has happened this city is to me like a dungeon or a lazar-house. I thank you with true gratitude. Pardon me that I leave you. Farewell.' He gave the letter to the slave in the porter's cell, who let him out at dawn. He had bidden farewell to Philip and David the evening before, but Eutyches met him in the Chalkoprateia, before he went into Michael's house to be disguised. With hearts full of foreboding that they should never meet again they embraced each other. Walamir, who owed so much to his friend, fell upon his neck and wept, and Eutyches wept on his neck, and, parting to fulfil their widely and divergent destinies, they saw each other no more. Walamir travelled with the Desposynos, and, pitying his almost wild impatience, Michael pressed forward as rapidly as possible on his way. They had no special adventures on the journey. In two days the youth was able to discard the disguise, which he could barely tolerate. Within a week he was at Æmona, the capital of Illyricum, where the King of the Visigoths held his Court.

It was Alaric's custom every morning to take his seat in the hall of his palace, attended by warriors with spear and shield, and there to receive all who brought him their petitions.

The session had scarcely begun when a boy in full Gothic dress, pale, but of fearless and noble mien, and beautiful as a young god, advanced alone up the hall towards the King. The Visigoths looked on in astonishment, for his bearing was that of a chief's son, and they did not know his face. Unheeding of the gaze of so many eyes fixed upon him, he walked straight towards the King's chair, bent his knee for a moment in sign of homage, and stood before him with folded arms. He was dressed entirely in white. His mantle of the finest white wool was fastened on the right shoulder with a golden eagle. His short-sleeved tunic of fine silk woven with gold threads was tightened round his waist by a girdle. His leggings reached a little below his knee, and, like his wide turned-down collar, were fringed with an ornamental pattern which indicated his high rank. Two broad bracelets of gold, after the fashion of his nation, spanned his strong, naked arms, and through the opening of his collar was visible the torque of fretted gold, carved with runes, on which one who stood near him could read the words, Gut annom hai laq ('Sacred to the treasure of the Goths').

'Speak, boy,' said Alaric kindly. 'Thy look is that of a young warrior. Hast come to cast in thy lot among us?'

'King,' said Walamir, 'I am an Amal of the Gruthongs, the younger son of Gaïnas. I have fled from Constantinople; I would fain fight against the cowards and traitors who have destroyed my father and massacred my people. My brother—I know not whether he lives or is dead.'

'He lives, brother!' cried Thorismund, springing from his place among the bodyguard, and clasping his brother to his heart in a long embrace. He had been strangely moved from the moment his young brother had entered the hall, but in the months which had elapsed since they parted Walamir had passed the boundary between boyhood and youth. He had grown much taller and stronger, and the golden down was beginning to shine upon his upper lip. The pallor which his recent shock had left on his face, together with the improbability that he should be there, had prevented instant recognition. In truth, Thorismund thought that he had been killed with his mother in the massacre of June.

'My brother!' he cried, 'and I thought you dead! Now, God be praised! we will never part again.'

'Is he your brother, Thorismund?' said Alaric, taking him by the hand. 'Young Amal, you shall be as welcome to me as Thorismund has been. You shall be my page- atarms, and you shall both be by my side when we enter the gates of Rome.'

'We will!' said the young Amalings, lifting up their hands to Heaven.


BOOK III. A CHAOS OF HATREDS

Omai convien che tu così ti spoltre,
Disse il maestro; chè seggendo in piuma
In fama non si vien, nè sotto coltre.

Dante, Inferno, xxiv. 46-48.
'Now needs thy best of man'—so spake my guide—
'For not on downy plumes, nor under shade
Of canopy reposing, heaven is won.'


XXXVII. — THE WORLD, THE FLESH, AND THE DEVIL

The wicked spirit, which at that time had gained possession of the affairs of men.
—Zosimus.

We cannot, for some time, see Walamir again, or live among the Goths. We must remain in the stifling, corrupted city, amidst its meanness, its hatreds, its ecclesiastics, its society seething with cabals, its Court rank with intrigues, its base, manifold corruptions of the world, the devil, and the flesh.

The longer Chrysostom remained at work, the more pronounced of necessity became his antagonism to the gross worldliness of a purely nominal Christianity. Unfortunately, in his struggle with it his unflinching honesty of purpose did not save him from errors of judgment; did not enable him always to see things in their due perspective, nor to deal with them in the most effective and the least exasperating way. Already the main body of the clergy were his deadly enemies, especially the noisiest and the most domineering of them, and those who arrogated the right to speak for themselves, and for what they called 'the Church,' by which they never meant anything but the cliques who shared their own 'views.' A little group of the best among the ecclesiastics was devoted to him. Men like the bright and earnest Palladius, Bishop of Helenopolis; men like the venerable and original Synesius, as long as he remained in Constantinople; men like St. Cassian, who ultimately founded the great monastery of St. Victor at Marseilles; good presbyters like Germanus, the friend and relative of Cassian, and so closely linked with him in friendship that they were said to have but one soul in two bodies; sincere enthusiasts and disciplinarians like Serapion the Archdeacon and the Presbyter Tigrius—knew his saintliness, recognised his great intellect and incomparable worth. But he was feared and hated by the majority: by the great mass of loose, greedy, and fiercely dogmatic monks, led by their Archimandrite, Isaac; by the too numerous bishops who neglected their sees for their greed or ambition; by the great mass of the clergy, who would not be parted from their youthful, agapetæ, or give up their cringing to the wealthy and powerful; and by all the sham widows, and sham virgins, and sham deaconesses, who arrogated to themselves the reverence of sainthood by virtue of the distinctive dress, which served them at once as a passport to delightful freedom and as a broadened phylactery of pretentious profession. All these detested him with that bitterest kind of virulence which the world calls 'theological,' and recognises as not to be paralleled among secular circles.

As for the world of fashion and wealth, at first it did not make up its mind whether to crush Chrysostom or to patronise him. It soon found the latter course impossible. His warnings were so unmistakable in their plainness, so direct in their aim, so unique in their severity, that they could not be classed among the other thousand utterances of vapid pulpit rhetoric, which were generally understood to mean nothing in particular. This man was not indulging in the language of professional conventionality. It was quite clear that he meant what he said, and that he would act up to it. For he was not content with idle denunciation, or with talk which might be regarded as suitable enough for St. Sophia, but might be safely ignored in ordinary life. On the contrary, he declared in the most solemn manner that he would excommunicate the worst offenders, and that he would repel from the Holy Table those who obstinately refused to listen to his warnings and to reform their habits.

Preachers in all ages lave attacked particulars of dress. St. Jerome was so much disgusted with the innovation of Roman ladies in sprinkling their hair with gold dust that he calls it 'reddening their locks with flames of Gehenna.' Mediæval preachers used to attack the custom of wearing peaked boots. It is not, perhaps, wise to enter on such vain crusades. Fashions are but symptoms of passing vanity and folly, and their removal would not mean the cure of the disease. Chrysostom, however, thought it right to discourage and ridicule the silkembroidered boots of young men, which were the marks of the most elaborate dandyism. He drew scornful pictures of these youthful dandies carefully picking their way through the streets so as not to soil their precious shoes. 'Boots,' he said, 'were made to be soiled. If your boots are so gorgeous, why don't you take them off and wear them on your heads? You laugh, but I feel more inclined to weep over your follies.'

It was a more serious matter to kindle against himself the wrath of the worst part of the female world, but Chrysostom thought it his duty to attack the custom of wearing fringes. To us this might seem unworthy of his good sense; but in all such matters we cannot judge unless we are able to transfer ourselves to the habits of thought which prevail in other lands and other countries. In the East, from time immemorial, it had been regarded as worse than unbecoming for a woman to have her hair uncovered in public, and especially in sacred places. St. Paul himself shared this view. He approved of the Oriental prejudice which, in spite of the custom of Greece, forbade a woman to have her hair uncovered ' because of the angels.' If a woman appeared with unveiled head, it was believed that the evil spirits, the Shedîm, the impure demons, immediately alighted and sat upon it. The belief continued in the days of Mahomet. Khadijah tested whether it really was Gabriel or not who appeared to the Prophet, by taking off her veil; whereupon Gabriel immediately retired, which an evil spirit would not have done. In Byzantine pictures the hair of the Virgin Mary is, as a rule, carefully concealed. The same practice continues among the Eastern Jews to this day. At Constantinople itself the abandonment of the chalebi, a hideous female headdress of the East, was held to be a sufficient reason to account for the advent of the cholera along the coasts of the Bosporus.

But, apart from this ancient conviction, the wearing of a fringe of hair on the forehead had hitherto been the recognised sign of women of bad character. It seemed to Chrysostom a shameless thing that women professing to be Christians should have the effrontery—for so he regarded it—to appear in church in a guise which seemed to defy public propriety. In public and in private he spoke of this practice with angry and disdainful sarcasm.

Superannuated coquettes who aimed at juvenility of dress and manner were Chrysostom's pet abhorrence; and, unfortunately for him, the leaders of female fashion at Constantinople in his day were three ladies of high rank, of luxurious manners, of enormous possessions, and of a worldly morality which was in no way disturbed by ecclesiastical scrupulosities of outward observance. They excited his severest reprobation. They were Marsa, Castricia, and Epigraphia, and all three were now widows, which to Chrysostom—accustomed to the unaffected piety and genuine devotion of his mother, Anthusa—made their behaviour seem the more detestable. Marsa was the widow of the general Promotus, who had been suppressed and put to death by the jealousy of Rufinus. Theodosius had taken pity on her two children, and they had been educated with his sons Arcadius and Honorius. Besides this high title to social distinction, Marsa was, on the mother's side, a cousin of the Empress. Thus, she was the unquestioned leader of fashion among the ladies of the capital.

Castricia had only recently been left a widow by the death of the brave Consular, Saturninus, who had probably died during the exile to which he had been doomed by the jealousy of Gaïnas. We know nothing more of her than that she closely resembled her two friends.

The worst of the three, by unanimous testimony, was Epigraphia. In exact proportion as Chrysostom honoured a widow who, like Olympias, was a widow indeed, he felt repelled by a widow who, forgetful of her loss, cared only for the pleasures of the world, and gave rise to grave scandal by her light demeanour. Epigraphia threw open her house promiscuously to all the clergy of worldly habits and dubious antecedents, and also to women whose character was known to be the reverse of estimable. Added to this, the way in which she tried to look young by the resuscitation of her faded charms was, to an ardent ascetic like Chrysostom, an intolerable folly.

It was this pulpit denunciation which would, to these ladies, seem directly personal, since the glance of the orator fell directly upon them as they sat in their prominent gallery, in proximity to the ambo from which he spoke. Worse than this, the surging multitude which always thronged St. Sophia to be thrilled by the Patriarch's eloquence belonged mainly to the poorer classes; and though the populace of Constantinople was not quite so giddy as that of Antioch, yet there were many among them whose levity led them to turn their laughing eyes towards the wealthy widows, and emphasise the points of the sermon by meaning smiles in their direction.

Nor was Chrysostom satisfied with public references. The three aristocratic ladies were the chief offenders, and he held it his duty to pay them a pastoral visit, and try the effect of personal remonstrance, urged with all the weight of his high authority.

He went first to the house of Epigraphia; and as this cabal of female intriguers formed their most common rendezvous in her gossip-mongering drawing- room, he found them sitting together, and, as it happened, talking of him with the bitterest anger, at the very moment that he was announced.

'They tell me,' said Marsa——

But the precious piece of scandal derived from 'They say'—who is always much more than half a liar—was for the present lost, for at this moment the slave, with a deep bow, announced 'His Beatitude the Patriarch John of Constantinople.'

The three ladies rose, and, according to the universal custom, knelt and kissed his hand; but in other respects their reception of him was ostentatiously frigid.

Chrysostom had not come to bandy compliments, and, being incessantly occupied, he could never afford to waste time. Without an allusion to the weather or the movements of the Court, he said at once that he had come for the express purpose of reproving them. He considered their dress in every sense unbecoming to their age and widowhood.

'Our dress,' said Marsa, coldly, 'is our own concern. What can an ecclesiastic and a semi-anchorite like you know about a lady's dress?'

'Our dear Patriarch Nectarius honoured us with his respect and friendship,' said Castricia. 'In his day we were not subjected to these annoyances and insults.'

'It would be much better,' said Epigraphia, 'if you confined yourself to your episcopal duties. We do not all choose to go about as if we were beggars, like Olympias and Salvina.'

'I do not speak to you in my own name,' said the Patriarch gravely. 'You know the words of the great Apostle, St. Peter: " Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and putting on of gold, and wearing of apparel, but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which in the sight of God is of great price." Look at your dresses! Pagan ladies wear their robes of gauze woven with such scenes as the labours of Hercules. Yours, I see, are embroidered with the story of the Paralytic, and other scenes of the Gospels. Do you think that you honour Christ by carrying into the Circus, the Theatre, and all scenes of sin and frivolity, the stories of His Gospel? Oh that rather you would carry Him in your hearts!'

'Now that shows the difference between you and a truly courteous bishop like Severian,' said Marsa. 'When he saw us this morning in these very robes, he said, with a gracious smile: "The King's daughter is all glorious within; her clothing is of wrought gold, she shall be brought in to the King in raiment of needlework."'

'You are not young Jewish virgins at a great nuptial ceremony. You are aged widows.'

'Aged!' almost shrieked Epigraphia, while the other two winced visibly. Turning her back on the Archbishop, she said, with as much rudeness as she could possibly throw into her voice and attitude: 'Pray, is your Beatitude a milliner? We dress in accordance with our rank and our own tastes, and you may rely upon it that, in spite of your horrid remarks, we shall continue to do so.'

'And shall you,' he asked, 'persist also in wearing your hair in curled fringes over your foreheads to the general scandal, and in painting your cheeks with minium and dyeing your eyes with antimony, to support the illusion of pretended youth?'

'This is a mere outrage,' said Epigraphia, rising in a tornado of spleen. 'Be assured that the Emperor shall know of it. Marsa will inform her cousin, the Empress, and she will protect us henceforth from these insults.'

'To reprove is not to insult,' said Chrysostom, rising. 'But since you will none of my reproof, I must say to you, in the words of the prophet Isaiah: "Take heed, ye women that are at ease; hear my words, ye careless daughters." Until I see in you less worldliness, and more proofs of a life such as becomes widows professing godliness, I must close the doors of the Sacrarium against you, and will not admit you to Holy Communion.'

'There are other churches in Constantinople besides St. Sophia,' said Marsa.

'If by that you mean the churches of heretics,' said Chrysostom, 'the guilt be on your own soul. I have but done my duty. Would that in departing I could give you my episcopal blessing; but it would be a mockery to-day.'

'We do not desire it,' said Epigraphia; 'we should prefer to be without it. And I trust,' she added, with a low courtsey, 'that your Religiosity will not trouble yourself with another visit. If you do, you may chance to find the door closed against you.'

He bowed and left them. Isaac the Monk visited them a few moments later. He passed Chrysostom unnoticed, except by a scowl, and entered, filling the room with the scent of his carefully curled, essenced, and gilded hair. He found the three widows fuming in almost speechless rage. He heaped upon their wrath the fuel of every bitter calumny against the Archbishop of which he could think, and went out rubbing his hands, in the joyful conviction that his day of vengeance would soon be near.

But it was not only with male dandyism or female coquetry that Chrysostom became embroiled. It was with the whole world of wealth. He was naturally shocked by the contrast between boundless possessions squandered in vain ostentation, and poverty which had no refuge for sickness, and knew not where to provide a meal. Convinced of the brevity of life and the smallness of man's needs, he regarded the excesses of luxury and extravagance as an offence which cried to Heaven. If even a Pagan moralist could say, 'Cur eget indignus quisquam, te divite?' ('Why is any undeserving person in need whilst thou art rich?')

Chrysostom felt the force of the question in its full intensity. And, thus feeling it, and finding it always difficult to raise sufficient sums for his schemes of systematic benevolence, his hospitals, and his missions, he denounced display and gluttony and avarice with all his might. He asked the rich whether they ought not to be ashamed to starve provinces at a meal, and sweep land and sea to provide their unwholesome dainties, and whether it would not be wiser and better to enjoy the healthiness of temperance? He ridiculed the fashion of having a way made for them in the streets as though they were dangerous tigers. He satirised the vulgar fondness for gold, which was so lavish that he believed there were some who, already filling their houses with every sort of golden furniture, would, if they could, have the very sky and the very air of gold. He asked whether, with the utmost expenditure of lavishness, they could find tapestries lovelier than the ground broidered with vernal blossoms, or fretted roofs so beautiful as the blue or the starry skies?

Tired of these expostulations, of which the novel piquancy was soon exhausted, and to which they never had the smallest intention of paying respect, the rich began to desert St. Sophia. Their attendance had never been very regular, and even on the great festivals a spicy Atellane interlude in the Theatre, or a good programme in the Hippodrome, had quite sufficient attraction to make them turn their backs on services and communions. In coming to hear the Archbishop at first, they thought that they had 'done the civil thing,' and that their presence among his auditors was an act of condescension, for which he was insufficiently grateful. He had to say plainly in the pulpit that, if such were the views and objects with which they came, he was only too glad to dispense with their presence. He professed open preference for the simple services, in which the nave was thronged with his eager congregation of the poor. In praising them he took too readily his own ideal of what they should be for what they were. Perhaps, too, he did not in his own mind sufficiently notice that the phrase, 'the poor,' in Scripture is often employed in the sense in which it had been used by the prophets and by Christ to describe the anavim (the poor in spirit, the meek and lowly in heart), a class to which even the rich might belong. His language was not always prudent. Regarding himself, rightly, as 'the common father of all,' it was unwise to praise the needy too unreservedly, and to say after an earthquake, without further making his meaning clear, that the city, which had been nearly destroyed by the vices of the rich, had been only saved by the prayers and virtues of the poor.

On one occasion Chrysostom told a striking anecdote. There had been a long drought, causing widespread famine and distress. There had been many prayers and litanies for rain, and at last, to the intense joy and relief of the multitude, rain began to fall, and they thronged into the churches to thank God. But in the midst of the general gladness they met a man utterly downcast and miserable.

'Why do you not come with us,' they asked, 'to our joyous thanksgiving?'

'I hate it!' he said. 'I had laid up ten thousand measures of wheat to sell at higher and higher prices. Now it has all become useless.'

Such an anecdote might fairly be told to call forth execration against cases of individual hardness and greed; but it would have been well to point out that not all the rich were monsters such as this, and not all the poor were paragons of virtue. He did, indeed, find it necessary to defend himself by pointing out that he did not regard wealth as a crime in itself, but the wrong use of wealth. But one who spoke with generous breadth and conviction did not always safeguard his words in the fashion adopted by the lukewarm, the Laodiceans, and the half-in-half. He was not in the habit of trimming and of paring away his principles by exceptions and limitations until it was difficult to say whether they meant anything at all.

The result of all this was that the wealthy and the upper classes were grievously offended. And, in addition to the other overwhelming grudges which he had excited, Chrysostom was now openly denounced as a Gracchus in the pulpit, a seditious demagogue, a flaming anarchist, a man who for his own evil purposes preached socialism and set class against class. The rich as a body did not take the trouble to understand him, or to learn the lesson which he was endeavouring to teach; but the poor, who, as always, formed the vast majority, saw that he himself, in the midst of enormous wealth, lived in severe simplicity, and cared nothing for money, except to spend it for the good of those who had need. Admiring his consistency, grateful for his protection, they sustained and cheered him, and, for a time at least, by the passionate enthusiasm of their devoted love, delayed the success of the clerical and social plots formed for his destruction.

But, among these many enemies, Chrysostom made one whose enmity was more fatal than that of all the rest. The Empress Eudoxia, proud, passionate, impulsive, domineering, intolerant of any rival in her power or any barrier to her slightest wish, had become not only alienated from the Patriarch, but strongly inimical to him. Since the death of Eutropius she had ruled Arcadius with a rod of iron. What he did was simply what she demanded. The only partial counterpoise to her autocracy lay in the rank and independence of the Patriarch as head of the Eastern Church. As soon as she saw that neither she nor anyone else could make a tool of him, or induce him either by fear or flattery or self- interest, to deflect a hair'sbreadth beyond the line of rigid duty, she began to feel uneasy. But when the arrows of his harangues against luxury and oppression began to fall, or even to seem as if they glanced off, upon her, she grew hot with indignation and offended pride. Sometimes a sermon or an appeal smote through the joints of the harness of her conventional religiosity; but she hardened her heart. Two circumstances made her indignation flame into implacable wrath. One was her belief—a belief without any foundation—that Chrysostom had on some occasion betrayed to the soldiery the hiding-place of her favourite, Count John; for whom, on the contrary, he had earnestly pleaded, and whose life he had probably saved by his intervention. The other was the fancy that, in preaching about Jezebel, and Naboth's vineyard, the Patriarch had intentionally described a piece of dishonourable chicanery by which she had robbed a poor widow named Calliotropa of her estate. Now Chrysostom must undoubtedly have said something which admitted of this construction, for we are told so by his visitor, Bishop Porphyry of Gaza. And this at least is certain, that there has never been an age in which the prophets and saints of God have not been called upon to take their stand against the rich and the ruling. So Abraham in the old Jewish legend defied Nimrod; so Isaiah resisted Ahaz; and Jeremiah withstood Jehoiakin and Zedekiah; and Daniel braved the wrath of Belshazzar and Darius; and John the Baptist rebuked Herod. Athanasius had stood up against Constantine, Basil had resisted Julian and Valens, and Ambrose had braved the authority of the Empress Justina and the Emperor Theodosius. So, in later days, St. Columban defied Thierry, and St. Anselm resisted Rufus, and Savonarola rebuked Lorenzo the Magnificent, and Luther faced Charles V. at the Diet of Worms. If there was any truth in the report of Eudoxia's misdeeds, Chrysostom was the last man who would have shrunk from denouncing them.

The contemporary account written by Marcus, the companion of Porphyry, Bishop of Gaza, on the occasion of their visit to Constantinople gives us a glimpse of the state of things. It was early in the year 401. Porphyry had come to procure from Arcadius an edict to suppress the turbulent tyranny of the heathen at Gaza, and he asked Chrysostom to help him.

'My intercession would be useless,' said Chrysostom; 'for the Emperor practically means the Empress, and the Empress is embittered against me because she supposes that I compared her to Jezebel in a sermon about Naboth's vineyard, But I will procure you an interview with her through her Chamberlain, the excellent Amantius.'

Accordingly, Porphyry and his brother-bishop were admitted. They found Eudoxia seated on a golden sofa, and she apologised for not rising to greet them because she was speedily expecting to become a mother. She was pleased with the rustic dignity of these provincial bishops, gave them through Amantius a large sum of money for their diocese, and appointed another interview with them next morning.

When they came, she told them that the Emperor had been put out by the petition, because Gaza paid its taxes with remarkable regularity, and he was afraid that by interfering with the heathen he would retard the replenishment of his treasury. 'Still,' she said, 'I will continue to do my best.' Then she asked for their blessing and their prayers; and they blessed her, and moved her to a transport of gratitude by promising that, having been the mother of three little daughters, she would now become the mother of a son.

The promise was fulfilled, for a few days later was born Theodosius II., the first Porphyrogenitus, or prince born in the purple, since the days of Constantine. Eudoxia attributed her happy motherhood to their supplications. As speedily as possible the child was baptised with all splendour.

As the procession came out of the Cathedral a pretty little comedy was enacted, whereby Eudoxia gained her own ends; which, indeed, in these days, were rarely left unfulfilled. The Bishop, who was carrying the infant in his arms, stopped by pre-arrangement, while Porphyry placed his petition in the little hands. Arcadius took it from his child and read it. 'I cannot,' he said, 'refuse the first commands of my little son.'

The infant boy was at once dignified with the title of Augustus; and, much to the displeasure of the whole Western world, the Empress also—who was now wielding all the old power of Rufinus and Eutropius, and wielding it with equal greed and baseness—received the title of Augusta. It was not to the mere title of Augusta that the Roman world objected, but to the fact that the Eastern Empire, in its abject subjection, now to an eunuch, and now to a woman, seemed to recall the old days of a Bagoas or a Semiramis, and to have lost the stately and virile virtues of ancient Rome.

And thus, by the stratagem of Eudoxia, an edict was passed refusing any further tolerance to heathendom in the old Philistian city. But such repressive and persecuting edicts were not in accordance with the old spirit of Christianity. The rule of the primitive Christians was 'Force is hateful to God'; the town-clerk of Ephesus could appeal to the whole people in witness that St. Paul and his companions had never been blasphemers of their goddess, and in Athens the Apostle had pointed to the Unknown God, whom, though in ignorance, they worshipped, and Who is the Father of us all.


XXXVIII. — FRESH TROUBLES

The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and festering sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with oil.
—Isaiah i. 5-6.

We have already seen enough to show the intense and all but universal corruption which ruined the true work of the Church in Antioch, and still more in Constantinople. It is distressing to find the same moral apostasy, the same revolting unreality, prevailing like a pestilence over the whole of Thrace, Asia Minor, and Pontus—indeed, over the whole of that region to which St. Peter and St. James had addressed their œcumenical Epistles. As far back as the beginning of the second century the Church, on Pliny's testimony, had so far conquered the world, even in remote Bithynia, as to empty the ancient temples of the gods; but now those gods and the vices they represented—Ares and Aphrodite, Plutus and Cybele, Moloch and Ashtoreth, Mammon and Belial—were reinstated in Christian sanctuaries under the disguise of the holiest names, and that by the clergy themselves. There is abundant proof of the like intrusion of the world, the flesh, and the devil among myriads of professing Churchmen throughout Northern Africa; and if it were within the scope of our purpose to look at all closely at the Western world, we should see that Rome was as Constantinople, and Milan as Ephesus, and Ravenna as Alexandria. All the faithful might sigh, 'The Church has triumphed—but where is holiness? The Church is splendid, dominant, orthodox, oppressive; services are numerous, ritualism elaborate; women kneel to priests and kiss their hands; the Holy Supper has become a gorgeous and magic sacrifice, ending in the creation of a material idol—but where is the Christ of Nazareth and of Calvary?' Pagans like Eunapius, and Libanius, and Zosimus, said freely among themselves, 'Christianity, at first so sweet and simple in its moral ideal, has degenerated into a more intolerant and no less immoral paganism; it has incorporated the old superstitions which we had flung away; it has become more material, and more abject in its corruption, than our Neoplatonism; it has worthy sons, but most of its votaries have lost our manlier virtues, and have not failed to assimilate our acknowledged vices.' In Egypt, for instance, there was many an honest waverer who saw far more beauty and goodness in the life of the heathen Hypatia than in that of a hypocritic tyrant like the Christian Patriarch, Theophilus of Alexandria.

Christians who were Christians indeed felt their darker hours troubled by misgivings which were almost intolerable. They looked upon the abhorrent worldliness and falsity—which often seemed to them to be 'the falling away' of which St. Paul prophesied—as a sign of the nearness of the Antichrist. No language came more naturally to their lips than that of the Hebrew prophets. A century had not yet passed since the conversion of the first Christian Emperor and the assembling of the first Œcumenical Council; four centuries had barely passed since, on that first radiant Christmas Eve, the angels had sung, 'Peace on earth, goodwill towards men,' and already the chief living saint and most learned writer of the day had left Rome with a curse upon his lips against her Babylonian wickedness. And if such was the condition of the Church in the so-called See of St. Peter, what was the state of things elsewhere? Egypt was in a turmoil with barbarous bishops and brutal monks. The pilgrimages to Jerusalem were, as Gregory of Nyssa had testified, scenes of vulgar debauchery. The Holy City itself was a carnival of violence and littleness. Carthage and its daughter dioceses were not only trembling under the tyranny of wicked governors, but were torn with the alternate turbulence and persecution of Donatists and Circumcellions, between whom and many of the champions of Catholicism there was but little to choose. Asia was in the deplorable condition which we shall see immediately. And here, in the New Rome of Constantinople, there was a weak Emperor with the soul of a slave; a Frankish Empress domineering and unscrupulous as a Semiramis; a Court steeped in frivolity and guile; a world of officialism cankered through and through with bribery, greed, and oppression; swarms of sham monks and clerical adventurers; intrigue and simony rampant on every side; numbers of presbyters living with their 'spiritual sisters' in all but open concubinage; coquettish virgins, and nominal widows, and painted haridans; the lewdness of the theatre finding scope for its wit in the scandals of the clergy, and the rage of the Blue and Green factions of the Hippodrome uncontrolled in the smallest degree by the nominal Christianity of the population. Throngs of people rushed off to the public spectacles and wild-beast shows, even on Good Friday and Easter Day. On one Easter Day they saw a young charioteer, on the eve of his marriage, horribly trampled to death under the hoofs of the chariot-steeds. Avarice and licentiousness were rampant on every side. Among the lowest classes prevailed a mendicancy seething with atrocious impostures; among the upper classes, under the soft surface of voluptuous ostentation, there was a society rent by cliques and factions, bursting with splenetic malignity, and filled with such a universal plague of uncharitableness that, if here and there a saint emerged who was vexed, like Lot, with the filthy conversation and ungodly deeds of the wicked, he must be content to focus on himself the burning rays of 'religious,' even more than of secular, hatred, and to live with his head in clouds of poisonous flies. What could good men say of the Church in those days, as their tears fell on the page of Holy Writ, but 'Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water; thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves?' 'The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?'

Whether such reflexions be justifiable or no, whether the world had or had not re-intruded into the Church, whether or not the Church had gained from the infiltration of pagan superstitions and the oppressive triumph of Pharisaic externalism, the reader must judge from almost every page of the subsequent narrative, which, in the general picture presented, is a direct reflexion of the contemporary testimony of Christian saints.

For now an event happened which was the first distinct dislodgment of the loose snowdrifts, which were soon to rush down in overwhelming avalanche on the doomed head of the Patriarch of Constantinople.

It happened that a Synod of twenty-nine bishops was sitting at Constantinople, under the presidency of Chrysostom, to settle some matter of minor ecclesiastical importance. One day in September, A.D. 400, while they were in session in one of the rooms adjoining the apse of St. Sophia, a bishop who was not a member of the Synod, Eusebius of Valentinianopolis, an obscure Cilbian village in the valley of the Cayster, advanced into the assembly, holding in his hand a written document, and with an air and tone of intense indignation cried that he had come to denounce a series of intolerable scandals, which had disgraced the Churches of Asia.

Startled and horrified, the Synod asked for an explanation. Speaking with fierce anger, Eusebius said, 'I am here to accuse and denounce a bishop of Asia of seven enormous crimes—of simony, embezzlement, luxury, theft, malversation, misprision of murder, and incontinence.

'First, he bought his own episcopal see for an immense sum, and to recoup himself deliberately sells other episcopal sees at a regular tariff.

'Secondly, he has alienated to his own private use an estate left to the Church by Basilina, mother of the Emperor Julian.

'Thirdly, he has melted the silver chalices and plate of the Church to supply money to his son.

'Fourthly, he has taken marbles from the baptistery to inlay his own private baths.

'Fifthly, he has taken possession of marble pillars which had been prepared for the church, and has used them for the adornment of his own triclinium.

'Sixthly, he has, in spite of his episcopal oaths, recalled his wife, with whom he openly lives; and by whom, since his consecration, he has had several children.

'Seventhly, he has retained in his service a youth who has committed murder and has never, never been brought to justice or done penance.'

'Who is the offender?' asked the Patriarch.

'He is here; he is in the midst of you; he is one of the bishops of the highest rank in your assembly,' said Eusebius hotly. 'There he sits!'—and he pointed to Antoninus, Metropolitan of the important see of Ephesus, bishop of the church in which St. Paul had preached so long, successor of St. John, the beloved disciple, successor of that Angel of the Church of Ephesus to whom St. John had written in the Apocalypse.

Antoninus, who knew his own guilt, turned white as a sheet, and winced before the pointed finger of this obscure prelate from the Cilbian hills; and Eusebius continued: 'Yes, and the simoniacal intruders whom he has appointed, these who have trafficked for their sees, these hucksters of sacred things, these men who have sold and bought for money the Holy Spirit of God, they too are here, they too are of your number.'

'Surely,' said Chrysostom, 'you must be under some mistake. What you say sounds incredible. Brother Paul of Heraclea, you are a personal friend of the Bishop of Ephesus. Will you consider the matter with him and his accuser, and try to reconcile the strong enmity which seems to subsist between them?'

'I refuse any mediation,' stormed Eusebius.

The bishops might well be disturbed by an accusation so vehement and so detailed; but Chrysostom, who is often accused of reckless haste, did not for a moment lose his calm. He acted with consummate kindness and circumspection. He saw that, even if all the charges could not be denied, some of them might admit of explanation or palliation. The one which seemed most seriously circumstantial, and which, if true, could not under any circumstances be extenuated, was the charge of open and shameless simony.

'Brother of Ephesus,' he asked, 'what say you to this grave accusation?'

By that time the Bishop of Ephesus had partially recovered his presence of mind. Summoning such fragment of dignity as was left him by his guilty conscience, he rose and said:

'I am entirely guiltless of all these crimes. They can be refuted. This man is a false accuser.'

'Eusebius,' said Chrysostom, 'you are evidently in a heated frame of mind. You seem to be influenced by personal animosity. I entreat you to be sure of your ground. Do not bring these tremendous indictments unless you can prove them. Bishop Antoninus has denied your charges. He says he can disprove them. Beware, then, how you bring needless scandal on the Church.'

But Eusebius, who was still in towering wrath, refused to withdraw what he had said, and endeavoured to thrust his schedule of gravamina into the Patriarch's hands.

'Nay, brother,' said Chrysostom, 'I refuse to receive your schedule at this moment. We are about to enter the church. We are about to begin the Holy Office. Think the matter over; if, after due prayer and deliberation, and when you are quite calm, you think that duty, and not passion, requires you to accuse your brethren, then come and hand in your charge. The Synod is ended; let us enter the church.'

The bishops rose; Chrysostom led the way to his episcopal chair at the end of the apse; and when he had pronounced the opening Benediction, 'Peace be with you,' the other prelates took their seats in a semicircle on either hand. The service began, when suddenly Eusebius was seen hurrying up the nave with great strides, and, amid the astonishment of the crowded congregation, he went straight up the steps of the sanctuary, passed the Holy table, and, stopping in front of the Archbishop, who was seated behind it, endeavoured once more to thrust the paper into his hands. As Chrysostom was still reluctant to take it, he broke into the most terrible appeals, adjuring the Patriarch by the life of the Emperor not to refuse justice in a matter which concerned the inmost purity of the Church. His demeanour was so tumultuous that the people thought he must be demanding immediate intercession for the life of some condemned criminal. Unwilling to prolong the unseemly spectacle, which was disturbing the sacred solemnity, Chrysostom took the paper, and the Lessons of the day were read. But when the time came for the Eucharist, the Archbishop found himself in a state of such strong mental agitation that, fearful of unworthy participation, either on his own part or that of the bishops, who shared his emotions, he begged Pausophius, Bishop of Pisidia, to consecrate the elements, and made a sign to the members of the Synod to follow him into the baptistery. Thither he summoned Eusebius, reproached him for his violent precipitation, and began the investigation which he so urgently demanded. Some witnesses were produced, but Eusebius declared that others, and the most essential, were in Asia, and that there he would produce them. 'Then,' said Chrysostom, 'since the honour of the Church is at stake, I will myself proceed to Asia to examine them.'

Matters had now assumed a serious aspect. Antoninus felt that his scandalous misdoings had been too flagrant to escape condemnation at the hands of so pure a judge. He fell back on astute manœuvres. The times were troubled. The absence of the Archbishop, in the darkness of the political horizon, might cause grave inconvenience. Among his other gross irregularities, the Bishop of Ephesus farmed an estate in Asia as agent for one of the great Court officials. Anxious to gain time for his doublings, and if possible to avoid being run to earth, this ecclesiastical wolf in sheep's clothing went to his patron, and begged him to use his influence with the Emperor to prevent permission being given for the Patriarch's departure. In this he was successful. But Chrysostom did not mean to let matters rest. Since he could not go himself, he sent a commission of three bishops, one of whom was his friend and ultimate biographer, Palladius of Helenopolis. They met at Hypæpæ, near Ephesus, with the bishops of the province, and summoned Eusebius and Antoninus to appear before them.

Meanwhile, by fresh acts of collusive baseness, these two ecclesiastics had done their utmost to reduce the commission and the inquiry to a despicable farce. The brazen front of Antoninus was not likely to recoil before new villainies, and Eusebius had revealed himself in his true colours. The frantic denouncer of simony had himself become a simonist; the indignant opponent of Antoninus had become his secret accomplice; the accuser of misprision had accepted an enormous bribe as the guerdon of misprision. The judges were mocked with plausible excuses. 'Yes, certainly Antoninus had his witnesses who could prove his innocence, and Eusebius had his witnesses to support his contentions, but to get them together was a difficult and expensive matter. They were scattered over half Asia.'

'How long, then, will it take to collect them?' asked Palladius, who was as earnest and upright in the matter as Chrysostom himself.

'Forty days at least,' said Eusebius blandly.

Forty days!—and that in the heat of the malarious autumn! It seemed evident that the delay was intentional, and that so long a period was fixed in the hope of tiring out the patience, perhaps of undermining the health of the commissioners. They waited, however—at least two of them, for the third, a secret ally of Antoninus, refused to act. At the end of the time Eusebius did not appear, and was at once excommunicated by the Bishops of Asia for connivance and contumacy. He had quietly sneaked off, and was lying hid in the slums of Constantinople. This exemplary personage, who, like other bishops, was saluted as 'your Sanctity,' had egregiously proved his wickedness and worthlessness. His zeal for Church discipline had been nothing more than a cloak for jealousy and ulterior designs. What became of his Lordship's diocese we do not know; but it must be borne in mind that there were scores of bishops in those days who, apart from their title, had not one hundredth part of the duty or responsibility of even a humble country vicar. When St. Gregory Thaumaturgus was made Bishop of Neo-Cæsarea, he had only six parishioners under him; and Sassima, the diocese to which St. Basil so unworthily and unaccountably relegated the friend of his youth, the great St. Gregory of Nazianzus, was a roadside horsestation. Probably the mountaineers of Valentinianopolis, wherever it was, were well rid of their scoundrelly pastor.

The commissioners stayed a month longer to no purpose at Hypæpæ, and then returned. When they stumbled across Eusebius in the purlieus of Constantinople, and taunted him with his mischief-making perfidy, he coolly asserted that he had been ill.

Meanwhile Antoninus, Metropolitan of Ephesus, had gone to his last long account, to stand with all his falsities, embezzlements, and simony on his head before the bar of that—

Judge whom no sinner can escape,
And where the guilty man is also
Himself the judge and jury, and himself
The witness at the bar, always condemned,
And that drags down his life.


Among his stolen marbles and appropriated columns, and perhaps with the sons by his bedside whom he had endowed by sacrilege and begotten in perjury, the bishop by purchase of the See of St. John the Divine escaped the earthly tribunal to stand before the judgmentseat of Christ, Whose name he had covered with infamy, and of the Holy Spirit, Whose gifts he had bought and sold.

And, as always in the case of those great sees—once more as at Antioch, as at Rome, as at Alexandria, as at Cæsarea, as at Constantinople—there broke out the blighting storm of base ambition and underground intrigue which was the normal result of the death of a bishop of the Church of Christ in those bad days, and which we need not again describe.

And, as at Constantinople, and Rome, and everywhere else, the faithful few grew sick of this state of things, and interfered to cut short the mean rivalries of contending Churchmen. Hating the debasing turmoil, and dreading the infamies of some new Antoninus, some of the clergy and neighbouring bishops wrote an appeal to Chrysostom. 'For many years,' they wrote, 'all law and order have been violated among us. We implore your Dignity to come and reimpress some form of divineness on our distracted Church. Our misfortunes are unparalleled. On one side the Arians tear us to pieces, on the other many, like deadly wolves, are lying in wait to plunder our episcopal seat. Even now bribes are flowing among us in rivers of simony.'

It was the dead of winter, and Chrysostom felt worn-out and ill; but he could not resist so solemn and anguished an appeal. The earnestness of his soul supplied the failing strength of his body. On January 9, 401, he set sail from Constantinople for Apamæa. The end of the troubles involved in the revolt of Gaïnas and the activity of the Arians left no excuse for the Court to oppose his departure.


XXXIX. — BAD ECCLESIASTICS AND BASE PLOTS

The priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the Lord, and say: Is not the Lord among us? none evil can come upon us.
—Micah iii. 11.

E furon le sue opere e le sue colpe
Non creder leonine ma di volpe.

—Pulci, Morg. Magg. xix.

Chrysostom would fain have taken Philip with him, for Philip grew more and more endeared and more and more useful to him. But Philip, as manager of the Archbishop's household and an assistant in all matters of business, could not be spared for a long absence from the Patriarcheion. To take Eutyches would have been pleasant, but it seemed undesirable to expose his youth to the inevitable hardships of rough travel; and Chrysostom, who hoped for the day when he might be a presbyter or a bishop, and all that such an officer of the Church should be, was unwilling to disenchant him too painfully by those glaring contrasts between the ideal and the reality which would confront him at every turn in the now corrupt, superstitious, and simoniacal churches of St. Paul, St. Philip, and St. John. So Chrysostom took with him the graver David, whom he esteemed no less highly for his work and character, but whose grave temperament had not the buoyancy and brightness which often refreshed him in the other two. David also was considering the question whether he could face the responsibilities of the presbyterate; but he had been more familiarised than Eutyches with the existence of ecclesiastical unworthiness by his longer and more varied experience.

So Chrysostom set sail, accompanied by the Deacon Heracleides—a man of the highest worth—by some other presbyters and deacons, and by David. He had already sent before him Cyrinus of Chalcedon, Paul of Heraclea, and Palladius of Helenopolis, who were to act as his assessors. In the guileless straightforwardness of his disposition he was unaware of the fact that the first two were wholly out of sympathy with himself, even if they had not yet assumed the attitude of his open enemies. Still more generous and guileless was the arrangement which he made for a substitute to supply his place in the pulpit of St. Sophia during his absence. He appointed the worthless Severian of Gabala to fulfil this function, and Severian of Gabala was a contemptible intriguer of the most vulgar description.

Gabala was a town of Galilee, and its bishop under ordinary circumstances would have been of less account in the great world than one of our obscurest country clergymen. But Severian was ambitious, and regarded himself as an orator. He did not mean to hide himself at so dreadful a depth below the surface as Gabala, and so long as he advanced his own position he cared very little what became of his sheep in the wilderness. He separated himself from them for years, with little loss to them, but without the smallest compunction, so long as he fancied he could further his private interests. Wealth, rank, fame, Court favour—these were the dazzling lures which the devil dangled before him. This clerical opportunist would hold no views which were not popular; would express no opinion which would tend to hinder his advancement; would reject no alliance, however contemptible, which seemed likely to elevate him ever so little in the direction of the inch-high dignities which he coveted, and which a diseased ambition represented as enormous altitudes. With the whole meanness of his soul he was exclusively devoted to—

This bubble world,
Whose colours in a moment break and fly.


He was thus in every respect the antithesis to Chrysostom, whose simple godliness, apostolic simplicity, and transparent guilelessness he despised from the whole height of his own inferiority.

Severian's appearance reflected his character. He was unctuous and portly. His hair was oiled and curled in a manner which would have reminded our latest Laureate of an Assyrian 320 bull. His face was broad, his features regular, his dress irreproachable, and he had gained a character for boundless affability by cultivating a smile so sunny that it would have ripened a peach. He could never contemplate the short figure, humble dress, and brusque manners of Chrysostom without an inward murmur against the indiscriminating obliquities of fortune. How much more popular and imposing a Patriarch he would himself have made! He could see himself, in his own ecstatic imagination, sailing through the small pomposities of gorgeous functions in a manner so supremely ornamental that, externally at least, the whole Church could not have failed to be edified. He would have outshone Nectarius himself! Whereas this John of Antioch, who wore no vestments to speak of and gave no banquets, relied on mere goodness and spirituality, and was only cared for by the poorer classes. He had been fired to struggle out of his provincial obscurity by the 'success'—for so he enviously regarded it—of Antiochus, Bishop of another Syrian town—Ptolemais. Antiochus had left his diocese for the grander and more glaring theatre of the capital. He had been asked to preach in St. Sophia; had created a certain reputation for eloquence; had for a time been 'the vogue' in fashionable circles; had been introduced at Court; and whenever he condescended to go back to his humble 'throne' at Ptolemais, went back with a purse heavily replenished, and in a blaze of popularity. And yet Severian was quite convinced that, as an orator, he could easily surpass anything which Antiochus could do.

So he occupied himself some time in preparing and committing carefully to memory a stock of sermons; and when he felt sure that they were polished into sufficient sonorousness and inanity, he set sail for Constantinople, convinced that no misfortune could happen to the barque which carried Severian and his sermons. Arrived at the capital, he waited on the Archbishop, treated him with abject deference, and begged that he would ask him to preach in St. Sophia. The invitation was not difficult to obtain, for strangers, and especially bishops, were frequently requested to deliver the sermon; although the people were so much fonder of hearing Chrysostom that, even in the Cathedral, they would sometimes venture to clamour and remonstrate if they saw anyone ascend the pulpit in his place.

So Severian was asked to preach, and, selecting the sermon which he regarded as most original and striking, and practising it in his lodging before a large silver mirror until he felt himself perfect in the most accidental and spontaneous gestures, he seized his chance. At first the people were inclined to titter at his harsh and unfamiliar Syrian accent; but as soon as they grew accustomed to his voice they were delighted with the apparently unpremeditated flow of sonorous, vapid, and conventional rhetoric. It tickled their ears without in the least disturbing their consciences, or giving them the trouble of thinking of anything which might interrupt their vices or ruffle their self- satisfaction. The aristocratic world was specially delighted. These sermons were charmingly short and exquisitely unctuous. One had time, when they were over, to go to the theatre. There were no offensive attacks on dress; no stringent demands for self-denial; nothing to disquiet the serene conventionality of routine religionism, or to force the hypocrite to look inwards at the many-headed monster of his own ill-regulated passions. Here indeed was a delightful preacher! Castricia, Marsa, Epigraphia, could listen to such sermons for ever without being tired! How immensely superior to the crude violence and uncourtly personalities of the Antiochene intruder, for whom they had no one to thank but the wicked Eutropius! Severian was such a dear man! The female world of Constantinople was soon at his feet.

So the Bishop of Gabala was successful beyond his wildest dreams, and—heaven of heavens!—the Emperor and the Empress themselves actually asked that he might be presented to them. In spite of the obsolete canon which forbade the transference of bishops to other dioceses, Severian might be translated. If he could only kick down the humble and hated ladder by which he had ascended, he might—who knows?—become Patriarch of Constantinople itself! Oh! Paradise!

Such was the man whom, in his guilelessness, Chrysostom left in his place to be the moral instructor of the people. It was not his fault. He was himself intensely humble. He was so generous a critic that, always seeking the good in every sermon, he thought every sermon good, and better than any which he could preach himself. Apart from such glaring evidence as could not be disputed, he would not believe that anyone could be actuated by rivalries so base as those of Severian; nor could he even conceive of a character which, under its film of iridescent semblance, could conceal such Dead Sea depths. No other bishop equally well known happened to be then present in the capital. Philip grumbled openly; Eutyches shook his innocent head; David would not breathe one syllable of approval. Serapion declared quite plainly that he regarded Severian as a designing hypocrite. Chrysostom's best and wisest presbyters—Tigrius, Germanus, Cassian—expressed their serious doubts about the man and his aims, and the sincerity of his teaching. Bishop Palladius did not hesitate to tell the Patriarch privately that Severian was no better than an unsavoury windbag. But Chrysostom's charity would think no evil; and, in deed, it was difficult for him to make any other provision, for the Emperor, who had some right to ask, had, at the instigation of Eudoxia, made it his personal request.

But though he left the pulpit to Severian, he would not entrust to him (as he wished) the management of the diocese. He left that in the stern yet faithful hands of the Archdeacon Serapion.

No sooner had he set sail than he was glad that he had not taken Eutyches with him, for it required a hardy frame to bear the trials of the journey. His ship had barely reached the Euxine when a north wind broke on them with unwonted fury. They had to take refuge under the promontory of Triton, and there for two whole days tossed at anchor in the storm. The delay was so unexpected that the captain had not even provisioned his ship, so that, to add to their misery and sea-sickness, they were actually starving. Then, fortunately, the wind changed, and they arrived safely at their destination.

The first thing to be done was to provide Ephesus with a new and worthy bishop. The only way to satisfy the factions which existed was not to exalt one set of partisans over another by electing their candidate, but to appoint someone who had never coveted the office. Accordingly, Chrysostom presented to them his friend and fellowtraveller, Heracleides. Heracleides had only been a deacon for three years, but he was a man of mature age, of learning, piety, wisdom, and knowledge of the Scriptures, and for many years he had lived with an ascetic community in the Sketic desert. He was in every way fitted to adorn his high office; but he was too good a man for that age and that country, and the unwished-for elevation which he won by the eloquence of his friend only plunged him within a few years into an abyss of misery and ruin.

The next step was to inquire into the case of the simoniacal bishops; and at this stage of the proceedings, Antoninus being dead, to whom he had sold his silence, the miserable Bishop of Valentinianopolis reappeared on the scene. 'I implore your Piety,' he said, 'to readmit me to communion with my brethren, and to allow me now to produce my witnesses against the six bishops whom I accused.' Such was the indulgence with which the man was treated that his excommunication was removed and he resumed the role of accuser. The six bishops stoutly asserted their innocence; but they were overwhelmed with the countertestimony, not only of lay persons, both male and female, but of ecclesiastics. Some even of their own presbyters, in whom they had trusted, inculpated them with proofs of the time, place, character, and exact amounts of the bribes by which they had purchased the titles of 'your Piety' and 'your Sanctity.' When they were no longer able to deny, they confessed, and humbly begged for pardon for their simony, though not, apparently, for their persistent lying.

They could only offer a twofold plea, and each plea was disgraceful to the Church in general. First, they argued that they were not conscious of doing anything wrong in their trying to purchase the gifts of God with money, because it was a regularly established custom, so that they were very far indeed from being the sole offenders. Next, the reason for their offence was the same which existed in the case of many others. They were curiales—that is, they possessed farms of more than twenty-five acres in extent, and therefore, in the horrible pressure of taxation in troubled times and under an Administration at once feeble and corrupt, they were not only compelled to pay taxes, but to enforce the payment of them by others. This was a duty onerous and odious, and, being purely secular in its character, Constantine had excepted the clergy from the burden. The consequence had been that many had purchased bishoprics without a single call to the office, or qualification for it, solely because they wished to be exempted from the trouble of civic obligations. All that they could now say was, 'Habetis confitentes reos.' They threw themselves and their acknowledged guilt on the mercy of the Patriarch and his commissioners. Two things only they asked: the one that, although they forfeited their sees, they might still be allowed, as exbishops, to communicate with their episcopal brethren within the rail of the sacrarium; the other, that the money which they had simoniacally expended might be restored to them. For, they said, the greed of the Bishop of Ephesus had demanded large sums, and in order to become bishops they had been forced to strip themselves of all their own possessions, and even of the furniture and jewels of their wives.

All their requests were granted; only since the Church could not repay them their vilelyexpended money, they were allowed to recover it from the heirs of Antoninus in the courts of law. Chrysostom was afterwards accused of haste, violence, and arbitrary injustice; but so far, at any rate, he and his fellow- judges seem to have gone to the extreme verge of a too compassionate leniency.

Whether his subsequent proceedings were less anxiously merciful, and more summary, we cannot judge, for we only have the testimony of his enemies. He was accused of having traversed Lycia, Pamphylia, Phrygia and Pontus, and there, with usurped jurisdiction, without even the excuse (as at Ephesus) of any appeal to his intervention, to have accused, judged, and condemned no less than sixteen bishops, one of whom, Proæresius of Lydia, had been accused by himself alone. It was said that, in spite of the canons, he had sometimes ordained as many as four bishops at a time, that he had appointed new bishops proprio motu, without even consulting the local synods, and in spite of their wishes; and that this had been done so carelessly that, in some instances, he had consecrated unenfranchised slaves of a character actually criminal.

Probably there was no truth in any of these allegations, although it is possible that Chrysostom, filled with shame at the condition of the Church, thwarted on every side by perjury and chicanery, and anxious to get back to the duties of his own diocese, may have been carried into hasty measures by the passion of his reforming zeal. As for his jurisdiction in Asia Minor, it rested on prescription. It was only actually established fifty years later, by the Council of Chalcedon, but no one seems at the time either to have challenged or doubted it. Chrysostom clearly thought that he was acting within his rights, and was only obeying the painful commands of duty. As for smaller matters, multitudes of canons existed which, by universal consent, had come to be treated as obsolete almost as soon as they were enacted; and a man like Chrysostom, who viewed all questions in the large air of moral and spiritual obligations, was not likely to worry himself with the chicanery of niggling scrupulosities in which small and peddling minds find their chief delight.

But even now this disastrous mission was not to close. On his way back through Bithynia, Chrysostom stopped at its capital, Nicomedia, to bring under his patriarchal censure this time not only a bishop, but an archbishop, and one of the strangest specimens whom the office could produce. He was an Italian named Gerontius, and had been half-physician, half-necromancer at Milan. He figured as a sort of fourth-century Paracelsus or a nineteenthcentury Mahatma; but whatever skill or knowledge of medicine he possessed, he eked it out with theurgic pretences. He professed to wield a power of evoking demons and subjecting them to his control, and he was anxious to add sacred claims to those of his worldly profession. He boasted that on one occasion he had seen one of the horrible nightspectres known as an Onoskelis, which sometimes appeared in the guise of an ass. But the piercing gaze of Gerontius had penetrated the disguise; he had seized the ghostly impostor, thrown a halter over its neck, and compelled it to work in grinding a mill! He so completely took away the character of the harmless donkey that it was henceforth regarded as a subjugated demon!

This charlatan had managed at first to deceive the great St. Ambrose, who had ordained him deacon, but who, on discovering his quackeries, had chased him out of the Church of Milan. He then transferred his practice to Constantinople, and used his spells and sorceries among Easterns, who were more deeply sunk in superstitious credulity. Here he in some way came across Helladius, Archbishop of Cæsarea and Exarch of Pontus. Having obtained a footing at Court as a physician, Gerontius, with an eye to future favours, had been able to render Helladius a service by procuring a first-rate military commission for his son. Helladius, by way of gratitude for this use of backstairs influence, was required to ordain him, first presbyter, and then Archbishop of Nicomedia. At Nicomedia, in his double capacity of healer of souls and bodies, he had acquired great popularity. Ambrose, indignant at the elevation of so flagrant an impostor, had written urgent letters to Nectarius, entreating him to free the Church from the disgrace of such dubious presidency. The easygoing Nectarius was too timid to incur the displeasure of the degenerate Christians of Bithynia. Not so Chrysostom. He summoned Gerontius before him, cashiered him from his office, and gave the Church a worthy prelate in the person of Pansophius, a philosopher and a Christian, who had been the tutor of the Empress Eudoxia. The Nicomedians, however, were anything but grateful. As though their city had been devastated by a pestilence, they went through their streets in funeral apparel, chanting doleful litanies over the catastrophe which had happened to them, in order to induce the Almighty to restore to them their bishop. Not content with the signs of public mourning in Bithynia, their fellow-citizens at Constantinople tried to excite odium against the Patriarch by there adopting a similar method of expressing their displeasure.

And thus, as though the hatred which Chrysostom had created by his fearless righteousness in the corrupt Church of his own city had not been sufficient, he had now evoked hurricanes of calumny, which were henceforth to burst upon him from every province of Asia Minor. Every bad, mean, and worldly ecclesiastic gnashed upon him with his teeth, as it had been a ramping and a roaring lion.

Nor was this the worst. He had bean repeatedly apprised by letters from his faithful Philip and Serapion that Severian was abusing his position to intrigue against him. Lies and sneers and misrepresentations were rife, and not a few of them could be traced back to Severian.

There were in those days no 'religious' newspapers, but the battling coteries of unscrupulous partisans served the same purpose of puffing all their own adherents, and of blackening all who did not agree with them. Severian had two plans—the one to pander to his own popularity, and by any amount of flattery and compromise to ingratiate himself with the powerful; the other, to omit no opportunity of surreptitiously creating an unfavourable opinion of Chrysostom. By these two means he hoped in time to supersede him. Even his sermons, which might otherwise have been described as 'syllabubs whipped in cream,' abounded in innuendoes and side-allusions, which were intended to glance off and to wound the hearts of Chrysostom and his adherents.

Of all this Chrysostom was warned; but he was too magnanimous to stoop to resentment of small annoyances, or to contentions with unworthy antagonists. The spirit in which he acted in the face of even the grossest perversions of truth as regards himself was that of the inscription on the wall of Marischal College, Aberdeen: 'They say. What say they? Let them say!' He got the thing done, and let them howl.

But at last he was informed of an incident which demonstrated the unfitness of Severian for the sacred functions assigned to him, and was too flagrant to admit its being passed over in silence. What that was we shall hear a little later on.

The machinations of his enemies throughout the Church, and above all of the corrupted clergy, had been deadly and incessant. Among these there were two who would have been willing at any moment to take his life, if opportunity should offer. He had excommunicated them both: one for detected adultery, the other, whose name was John, for murder—since brutality of passion had made him actually beat to death a young slave who had offended him. But with them were joined all those whom he called 'the priests who ate at Jezebel's table,' and all those whom his witty friend, Bishop Palladius, describes as the 'belly-worshippers, table-giants, and women-hawks,' who disgraced the ranks of the priesthood. The people, however, knew how to estimate these gentlemen by a very different standard from that of their own exalted spiritual pretensions. They showed themselves profoundly indifferent to the lies which false monks and cunning priests had let loose. When their weary Patriarch landed from his returning barque they thronged the quay and the streets in myriads, received him with louder bursts of acclamation than were ever vouchsafed to Arcadius or Eudoxia, and pressed forward in such countless numbers to kiss his hand that his way to his palace was very slow. He bade them meet him in St. Sophia, and there poured forth into their enraptured ears the expression of his heartfelt gratitude for a fidelity which had withstood the assault of so many open attacks and secret machinations.


XL. — A VISIT FROM VIGILANTIUS

Quam dissimilis est nunc a se ipso populus Christianus!
—Salvian, de Gubernat. Dei.

'Philip and David,' said Chrysostom, 'Proclus has just told me'—Proclus was the young deacon who helped Serapion to arrange audiences with the Patriarch, and he ultimately became Patriarch himself—'that I am to receive a visit to-day from the wellknown presbyter, Vigilantius. He has travelled in many lands, and brings me a letter of introduction from the Western poet, Paulinus, Bishop of Nola. I think you will like to hear something about the great men whom he has met; so, if Eutyches will take a little of your work, you may come in after dinner and meet the Gaulish presbyter.

'Eutyches won't mind, I know,' said David, 'for there is not much to do to-day, and he is anxious to write a letter to his friend Walamir, who, as we have just heard, is now with Alaric at Æmona.'

'Very well,' said Chrysostom. 'Vigilantius will be here at noon.'

'I hope, father,' said Philip slyly, 'you will give him a better dinner than you gave to the Bishop of Berœa, or we shall have more trouble.'

'I shall never hear the last of that unhappy dinner,' said Chrysostom, smiling; 'and you know it was all your fault, Philip. But, happily, the Lady Olympias has now taken all that out of your hands, and I have no doubt she will manage much better.'

So Vigilantius was invited. He was a Gaul, born at Convenæ, and afterwards settled at Calagurris. Jerome has deluged him with some of the—pardon the phrase, reader, which, if I dared to quote, would be more than amply justified—of the worst clerical and ecclesiastical Billingsgate. Untaught by the way in which his own heart had been lacerated by shameless calumnies, the eremite of Bethlehem was disgracefully reckless in the virulence with which he spoke of others. Jerome habitually calls him, not Vigilantius, 'the watchful,' but Dormitantius, 'the snorer,' just as, after his quarrel with the learned, saintly, and ascetic Rufinus, of whom originally he could speak in no terms of eulogy too exalted, he pursued that great man, even to his death, with the name of Grunnius, 'the grunter.' Even when he lay dead in Sicily, the unforgiving saint, in a commentary on Holy Scripture, has no better epitaph for the friend of his youth, whom he had once called 'his true colleague and brother,' than 'the Scorpion is crushed to the earth between Enceladus and Porphyrion, and the hydra of many heads has ceased to hiss against me,'—this 'hydra' being one of the holiest Churchmen of his day, whom Bishop Palladius describes as a man of 'unequalled learning and unequalled humility.'

It is said that the father of Vigilantius was a vintner; hence Jerome calls him 'a base-born tapster, a Samaritan, a Jew, a man who belches forth his impure crapulousness, whose tongue ought to be cut out by surgeons, and his insane head healed.' But, in spite of this torrent of foul invective, Vigilantius is spoken of with respect by the voice of history. He was a man of blameless life, of bright intelligence, of fearless candour, and of a forgiving modesty, which is best illustrated by the fact that he never answered by a single syllable the rancorous and frantic vituperations to which he had been subjected by the passionate recluse. The extent to which we are forced to discount the invectives of Jerome may best he estimated by the fact that he has nothing better to say of Chrysostom, a saint whose holiness was incomparably superior to his own, than that he was 'a mad, pestilent, contaminated, furious, and insanely tyrannical person, who had sold his soul to the devil,' and 'an impure demon who drags along a filth of words like a torrent.' Jerome, it is true, only translated these words from a hideous libel written by Theophilus; but he lent them the endorsement of his Latin eloquence and his mighty name. And the other saint of his day—St. Ambrose—he described as 'a croaking raven, who, himself entirely dingy, laughs in marvellous fashion at the colours of all other birds.' There are some men, and even good men, who seem at once to inspire each other with mutual antipathy; there are others who are at once drawn to one another. Vigilantius and Jerome disliked each other almost from the day on which they met. Their characters and their temperaments were wholly dissimilar. But the Gallic presbyter felt at once drawn towards Chrysostom, and there was something in his frank impetuosity which attracted the Patriarch's sympathy.

After their brief repast, which the simple Vigilantius thought excellent, though he had been warned beforehand that Chrysostom's entertainments were profoundly despised by connoisseurs, the two youths came in.

'Let me introduce to you,' said Chrysostom, 'two of my young secretaries, Philip of Antioch, and David—of Constantinople at present, but once of Nazareth.'

'Of Nazareth?' asked Vigilantius. 'I know well the village where Christ was born. I visited it when I was staying with the saintly Rufinus at Jerusalem. Never can I forget its sweet, green valleys, and the prospect from its hill, on whose summit the Lord Jesus in His happy boyhood must have stood so often.' He fixed so earnest a gaze on David's face that the youth was not sorry when Eutyches came in, and called him to settle some point in the Patriarch's correspondence about which he was uncertain.

'Who is that youth from Nazareth?' asked Vigilantius. 'I fear I stared at him too rudely, and made him blush. But my reason was that I have seen in the catacombs of St. Callistus, at Rome, a picture of Christ of which his face at once reminded me.'

'A picture of Christ!' said Chrysostom. 'Are there such in existence? I thought that we had every reason to disapprove of all attempts to represent Him in His human aspect. The Council of Eliberis forbade it, and the great Eusebius of Cæsarea was almost indignant with the Empress Constantia when she asked him to procure her a picture of Christ.'

'That is true,' said Vigilantius. 'This catacomb-picture is the earliest attempt to represent the Son of God, and is later than the days of Constantine. But in Palestine I heard that there were some dim and faint traditions about His human aspect, which were repeated to me, especially as to the wonderful sweetness of His smile; and your young secretary reminded me both of this description and of the picture in the crypt of St. Callistus.'

'Ah!' said Chrysostom, 'there is a something about him which, out of reverence and humility, he keeps in the depths of his heart; but I may tell you—if you will promise not to speak of it—that he is lineally descended from the family of the Desposyni.'

The wonder and surprise of Vigilantius remained unexpressed, for at this moment David came back; but, rising from his seat, he grasped the youth's hand, and apologised for having stared at him, as he was interested in one who had been born at Nazareth.

David readily forgave him, and Chrysostom said: 'You have mentioned to us the pictures in the Catacombs; are they not being also introduced into churches in the West?'

'The first church which I have seen painted all over with pictures,' said Vigilantius, 'is that of my kind friend Paulinus, Bishop of Nola.'

'It is a Church of St. Felix of Nola, is it not?' said Chrysostom.

'Yes, he is devoted to St. Felix. He writes a poem in his honour every year; he has an immense festival in his honour on the day of his martyrdom, and has painted the whole church with scenes from his history.'

'It is a serious innovation,' said Chrysostom.

'It is,' said Vigilantius, 'and, in my humble opinion, in these days, a dangerous one. Paulinus calls his pictures "The Bible of the laity," but it is mainly a Bible of St. Felix.'

'Who was St. Felix of Nola, sir?' asked Philip.

'Only to think that you should not know,' said Chrysostom, whose intercourse with Philip was habitually playful. 'Why, even a boy like Eutyches would tell you that.'

'Will your Beatitude try him?' said Philip, revenging himself by a title which, in public, his adopted father could hardly reprove. 'Eutyches!' he called out, 'his Beatitude wants you.'

'Philip does not know who St. Felix of Nola was!' said Chrysostom. 'Tell him, Eutyches.'

Eutyches looked puzzled. 'Come, Eutyches,' said Philip, 'the Patriarch wants you to pour out the stores of your erudition, and to shame my ignorance.'

'This must be one of Philip's jokes, my Lord,' said Eutyches. 'Frankly, I don't know.'

Philip smiled in mischievous triumph. 'Well,' said Chrysostom, 'Vigilantius will tell you.'

'Felix,' said Vigilantius, 'was a priest of Nola who was a confessor in the persecutions of Decius and Valerian, but of whom little is known except legends. I will tell these youths one pretty story about him. On one occasion he was being pursued by the soldiers during the persecution. He had barely time to hide himself in a cave on the mountainside, and a spider instantly spun its web over the entrance. The pursuers, seeing the spider's web, did not enter the cave. "Ubi Deus est," said Felix as he came out after they had passed: "ibi aranea murus; ubi non est, ibi murus aranea."'

'Translate that for Philip's benefit, Eutyches,' said Chrysostom.

'"Where God is,"' said Eutyches, 'but Philip knows it without my translation—"there a spider's web is a wall; where He is not, a wall is but a spider's web."'

'Thank you, sir,' said Philip, 'and now that Eutyches has made me blush by his erudition'—he looked at the Patriarch with twinkling eyes 'he had better go back to his work, or we shall get behindhand.'

Eutyches punished Philip by an unobserved pull at his ear as he went out, for which he was repaid afterwards.

'Tell us more about the Chapel of Paulinus,' said Chrysostom. 'Are his pictures really useful?'

'Far from it,' said Vigilantius. 'The half-Pagan rustics practically worship them.'

'I hope not; that were an idolatry to be abhorred of Christians. But surely Paulinus does not venture to paint Christ?'

'No; he stops short there,' said Vigilantius. 'When he wants to indicate Christ he paints a snow-white lamb under a bloodstained cross. Another of his novelties is to have endless candles burning round the shrine of St. Felix, even in the day time; and he undoubtedly prays to him, as if the saints were ubiquitous.'

'I am unwilling to say anything severe of a truly good man like my brother, the Bishop of Nola,' said Chrysostom, 'but I will confess to you that much of this seems to me to be fraught with danger, and to be utterly unwarranted by Holy Writ.'

'I love and honour Paulinus,' said Vigilantius, 'but, my lord Patriarch, I cannot but admit that being, as he is, a late convert from Paganism, he has carried into Christianity much Pagan ritual and many Pagan superstitions. Perhaps I speak with unbecoming freedom before your Dignity?'

'Speak freely,' said Chrysostom; 'and as for titles, I gladly exonerate all my visitors from using them.'

'I was going to be so bold as to say that there seems to be some truth in the complaint of Faustus when he says of Christians: "The sacrifices of the heathen you have turned into love-feasts, their idols into martyrs, whom you worship with similar devotion; you propitiate the shades of the dead with wine and vanities; the solemn days of the Gentiles you keep with them, and—though this, thank God! is not true of all—certain it is that you have changed nothing from their manner of life."'

'Faustus the Manichee? Was he not once a teacher of Augustine of Hippo, some of whose writings I have read?'

'Yes. Faustus spoke severely, but there is a terrible substratum of fact under his denunciations.'

'It is too true,' said the Patriarch; there is much to fear from this reintrusion of Pagan ritual into the Christian Church; and the deplorable degeneracy from the old ideal of Christian innocence causes the deepest misgivings of my heart. Do you think that this relicworship, this blaze of candles in daylight, these pictures, these martyrfestivals, have a good effect on the people?'

'None at all, or a bad one, on the testimony of Paulinus himself. I have heard him bitterly deplore the orgies of drunkenness, and other grave scandals, caused by the nightly vigils which the Council of Eliberis so strongly condemned, as Augustine of Hippo has also done. As for relic-worship, even Jerome sneers at "superstitious womanlings" grovelling over supposed fragments of the true Cross. If the example of Paulinus prevails, we shall soon have a new polytheism. What need have we to pray to imperfect mortals, when we can pray to Christ? Is it not monstrous, Bishop, to imagine that they are more compassionate than He, or that we need to thrust their intercession between our souls and His infinite tenderness? Jerome has no language too abusive to denounce me for holding these opinions; he taunts me with incredible ignorance; he expresses a pious hope that during my snores I may be destroyed like the firstborn of Egypt. But when he condescends to arguments, all that he can adduce seem to my simplicity to be so sophistically misapplied that even a well-taught child could answer them.'

'Ah' said the Patriarch, 'I am sorry that he should thus speak and write of you. This ferocity which cannot forgive a difference of opinion is the plague-spot of our Christianity. How intensely we all need the verse, " I said I will take heed to my ways, that I offend not with my tongue."'

'Amen! and amen!' said Vigilantius. 'When I read how Jerome says that I am more pernicious than Cacus or Geryon, a more portentous monster than Leviathan or the Nemean lion, I am only sorry for him, and for the effect of such a style on the minds of others—not for myself. It cannot hurt me. His offence is more rank when he tries to blacken my character by a ridiculous story. He says that one night, when there was an earthquake at Bethlehem, I leapt out of bed, equally destitute of faith and clothing, and, being intoxicated, remained at night praying in the Cave of the Nativity as naked as Adam and Eve in Paradise. His falsehood that I was intoxicated—which I have never been in my life—is his way of reviving the untrue sneer that my father was a publican. May God forgive him! I am sure I do.'

'Alas!' said Chrysostom, 'it is language like this which makes the heathen say, with a sneer, "There was a day when even Christians loved one another." But why is he so vehemently embittered against you? Were you not his guest at Bethlehem?'

'I was, Bishop; and, oh! with what reverence my soul was filled when I was sheltered in his cave, which is close by the cave of Christ's nativity. I can sympathise with Jerome when he calls the village of Bethlehem more august than the city of Rome.'

'His must be a delightful life.'

'It might be,' said the Gaul, with a sad smile. 'The place is full of charm. The fields in spring are embroidered with blue and purple and crimson flowers, like the High Priest's ephod, and they ring with the songs of birds. In summer there are the shadows of the hills, and of groves rich in foliage. In autumn it was pleasant to pace the leafstrewn walks. Even in winter there was no fear of cold, for there is an abundance of fuel.'

'Happy Jerome!'

'No, not happy, I fear. Yet Jerome might be as happy as anyone. He lives pen in hand, and has the delight of constant occupations. He daily teaches the two noble ladies, Paula and Eustochium, who came with him from Rome; he writes many letters and many books; he instructs the monks; he educates the boys of his monasteries, and preaches to the pilgrims, who swarm in hundreds to his cœnobium.'

'Then how comes it that you only say his life might be happy?'

'For two reasons. First, he makes himself ill, fretful, and irritable with over-asceticism; and, next, he is always involving himself in a whirl of controversies; which he renders ten times more bitter by his ferocious eloquence.'

'You have not yet told us why his anger burns so hotly against you.'

'It is because I dare to hold some of the opinions which the wronged Jovinian also held, against which Jerome has written his fiercest denunciations. Jovinian, as you know, had been a monk and an ascetic, who wore a single rough tunic, lived on bread and water, and even went about in winter with bare feet. Experience convinced him that there was no essential moral or spiritual profit in this will-worship. He never married, but he held that it is only a false tradition which imposes celibacy on presbyters. In that he agrees with the Nicene Fathers. Surely marriage is in all respects as sacred as celibacy? Did not Clement of Alexandria say that to disparage marriage was to disparage the Apostles? Was not St. Peter married? Did not the holy Philip give his daughters in marriage? Does not St. Paul say that a bishop must be the husband of one wife? Did not Athanasius say that "nothing prevented the right of a bishop to marry if he chose"?'

'Marriage,' said Chrysostom, 'is honourable in all. I have myself ventured to say distinctly, "Enjoy the married state with due moderation, and you shall be first in the kingdom of heaven, and enjoy all blessing." But you would not disparage celibacy for such as feel themselves called to it?'

'No,' said Vigilantius; 'but when I consider the vile custom of living with agapetæ, with which even imperial laws have tried to grapple in vain, it is clear to me that the enforcement on the many of an ideal possible only for the few, will be in the future, as it has been in the past, a source of immense demoralisation and a curse to the whole Church of God.'

'Was this the only ground of Jerome's wrath?'

'No,' said Vigilantius. 'I have ventured to raise my voice against what seem to me to be trivialities and superstitions; and I have held this to be all the more incumbent on me, because herein I oppose the current tendencies.'

'Is it true that you have denounced fasting?'

'No; I have only said that it is nowhere enjoined as a Christian duty; that it cannot be intrinsically pleasing to God as an end, but only as a means; and that for most temperaments it makes the Christian life not more easy, but more difficult.'

Here Philip ventured to interpose a question. 'Bishop,' he said, 'may I ask the Presbyter what he would say to the words, "But the days shall come when the Bridegroom shall be taken from them. Then shall they fast, in those days"?'

'I could reply,' said Vigilantius, 'but it will be more respectful if I leave the answer with the Patriarch.'

'That text does not apply, Philip,' said Chrysostom. 'These are in no sense the days when the Bridegroom is taken from us. He is with us always, even to the end of the world; and much more with us than He could be by His bodily presence. My views about fasting have changed greatly since the days when I destroyed my health by it for ever.'

'As to fasting,' said Vigilantius, 'Jerome, in his too famous letter to Eustochium, shows how absolutely powerless it was to deliver him even from the temptations which he most hated. But one of the truest saints I ever knew told me that fasting made him irritable and ill-tempered; that it robbed him of command over his acts, feelings, and expressions; that it makes his tongue, lips, and brain no longer in his power; that it deprives him in many ways of all self-command, makes him use the wrong word for the right, makes him seem out of temper when he is not, and makes him smile or laugh when he ought to be serious. Worse than all, he said that when thoughts present themselves to his mind in fasting, he feels wholly unable to throw them off any more than if he were some dead thing, and that thus they make an impression on him which he is unable to resist. So far from making his prayers more fervent, he finds that fasting hinders him from fixing his mind upon them. From sheer languor and listlessness it tempts him to sloth; and, what is worst of all, he says that even moderate fasting is so undeniably a means of temptation as to expose him to thoughts from which he would habitually turn with shame and abhorrence. Yet he persists in fasting, because he says that it is enjoined by God. Surely this is a fatal error? We are to fly from temptation, not seek it; and God would never have enjoined that which is for most men a source of greater moral difficulties.'

'The right fasting,' said Chrysostom, 'is habitual moderation, and abstinence from evil. My predecessor, Gregory of Nazianzus, once, most wisely, kept his Lent by silence, because he felt himself too much tempted to hasty words. And in that beautiful "Shepherd," by Hermas, which I gave to you boys the other day, Philip—you remember what the good Shepherd says to Hermas?'

'Yes, sir,' said Philip. 'He tells Hermas that the true and acceptable fast is the forgiveness of injuries, and the advance in godliness.'

'That is my view,' said Vigilantius; 'and even if I be wrong, I hardly think,' he added, laughing, 'that what I have said justifies Jerome in his remark that I wish to reduce men to the condition of swine, or that I call abstinence a heresy, or that my object is to enrich my drinking-shops! I need hardly say that I have none; but that matters nothing to such controversialists.'

'My son,' said Chrysostom, 'do not let these assaults irritate you. There never yet was a good man whom some did not call Beelzebub, as they called our Master. Forget them.'

'When I need comfort,' said Vigilantius—'and I often do—I think of Him Whom men called a " gluttonous man and a winebibber," of Whom they said that He was a Samaritan, and had a devil. Jerome's writings will live, and I shall be handed down, it may be, to after-ages as a name of scorn. What matters it? God is the judge; not man.'

'But you must also forgive your slanderer.'

'I forgive him,' said the Presbyter, 'with all my heart. Jerome, much as he has wronged me, is sincere. The Church owes him much service, if some wrongs. I shall not answer him. I shall not defend myself. I trust my cause to Him that judgeth righteously. I shall retire, till my life ends, to the quiet duties of my office and my home. I kneel for your blessing, Patriarch, and thank you for your kindness to one whom the Church hates.'

'Farewell, Vigilantius! May God be with you!' said Chrysostom, and over the head of the kneeling presbyter he pronounced his blessing. 'If you are dear to Christ it will matter very little that you are hated by some who profess to be the sole true representatives of His Church.'


XLI. — A FAREWELL

For I am long since weary of your storm
Of carnage, and find, Hermod, in your life
Something too much of war and broils which make
Life one perpetual fight.

—Matthew Arnold, Balder.

What a long talk you have been having!' said Eutyches, when David and Philip came out of the study. 'Tell me all about it.'

'Well, first you told us all about St. Felix and the Bishop of Nola.'

'You witty fellow!' said Eutyches.

'Then you pulled my ears, for which you shall catch it.'

'It was less punishment than you deserved.'

'Then Vigilantius told us all about Jerome of Bethlehem, who, according to him, must be a singularly amiable person.'

'You are no good,' said Eutyches; 'David is ten times as patient as you, and is never in a hurry, as you always are. So I shall ask him all the rest.'

David gave him a sketch of what had passed, though, with characteristic sweetness, he softened down all that seemed most unfavourable to Jerome. Eutyches listened with interest, and some surprise.

'Have you written to Walamir?' asked Philip. 'If you have, I hope you gave our kindliest greetings to him and Thorismund.'

'I have,' said Eutyches. 'One of Aurelian's soldiers happened to be starting for Illyricum to-morrow, and he is going to take my letter. I must give it him at once. I shall have to pass through the Chalkoprateia.'

'To the owls with your Chalkoprateia!' said Philip; 'you know I am too busy to come with you.'

'And when are you going to pay me that bronze what's-his-name which you have owed me for ever so long? I believe you go to the Chalkoprateia once a week, and pretend to choose it, but I have never got it; whereas David gave me the pentray at once, like a man.'

'I don't approve of bets,' said Philip.

'Then why are you always going to choose it at the Chalk——'

Philip chased the boy out; and when he had started, David turned to him, and said, 'Philip, I want to talk to you. What do you think of all that Vigilantius said?'

'I agree with it heart and soul,' said Philip.

'And I,' said David; 'and it only deepens my conviction that I can never join the ranks of the clergy.'

'I came to that decision long ago,' said Philip, 'but it was because I felt no vocation. I can serve God better in other ways. But you are different, David. And Vigilantius quoted saints and Councils, as well as the Scriptures, for his views.'

'And yet,' said David, 'it is Paulinus, and Augustine, and Jerome who in some of these matters speak the voice of Rome and of the West; and though in these and other things their views are not those of the early Church, I do not wish to join a body by whom Vigilantius is treated as a monster, and to whom it is due that Jovinian, a profoundly good man, was beaten with leaded scourges, and banished to Dalmatia. I believe as little as Vigilantius in the exaltation of celibacy, and relic-worship, and the supreme meritoriousness of dirt and self-inflicted misery, and the trampling down of the sweet natural affections which God has given us. It seems to me un- Christlike and altogether unscriptural. It is based on human ordinances, or on false conceptions, twisted out of a few childishly misinterpreted texts.'

'I agree,' said Philip. 'Our excellent Cassian was talking to us the other day about monkish saintliness. He exalted one monk above everything because, in holy obedience, he walked three miles every day for years, at his abbot's order, to water an old stick. Could he find nothing better to do, and the abbot nothing more sane to command, in a world lying in wickedness? He told another story of a monk named Marcus, who had a little son eight years old. To wean him of the crime of affection for this son his brothermonks purposely left the child dirty and neglected, and beat him that he might be always in tears. Finally, the abbot told Marcus to fling the boy into a river—and he did! And this unnatural Paganism is exalted as superhuman virtue! And, all the time, our Eutyches was listening to Cassian open-mouthed with admiration. That is just how young souls are spoiled. I cured him afterwards by telling him the story of Stagirius.'

'Yes,' said David; 'and the strange thing is that a holy man like Cassian still upholds the system, though there is scarcely a monkish community, however small, which has not been a hotbed of enormous scandals—even the monastery of Jerome at Bethlehem; even the cœnobium of Augustine at Hippo. Jerome says that in the holy frightfulness of the Nitrian desert he found adders as well as monks, and Augustine speaks of the numbers of hypocrites under the guise of hermits. Cassian himself dwells on the horrible liability of the monks to the principal vices which infest human nature—gluttony, uncleanness, avarice, anger, vainglory, pride—above all, that despairing and unaccountable melancholy which they call acedia, and describe as "the demon that walketh in the noonday." That is what comes of inventing our own sacrifices, instead of offering those with which God is well pleased.'

'But you can be a presbyter without approving of dangerous and unnatural asceticism,' said Philip.

'Yes,' said David; 'a simple, true presbyter, if that were all, as St. Peter, and St. Paul, and St. John are content to call themselves. But nowadays every presbyter will arrogate to himself the exclusive name of a sacrificing priest, which the New Testament never once allows them.'

'The Eucharist?' said Philip.

'Philip, is the name of "a sacrifice" so much as once given to the Eucharist by Christ, or the Apostles, or the Evangelists? The sacrifice of Christ, of His Incarnation, and His whole life, as well as His death, was offered once only, once for all. It cannot be re-offered. Three of the Evangelists record the institution of the Lord's Supper. In which of them is there one syllable about its being a sacrifice? How could it have been, when the Lord still stood a living man among His disciples?'

'I don't profess to be a theologian, David; but I have a profound trust in the Patriarch, and did not he talk in one of his homilies of "offering the tremendous sacrifice," and speak of "the Lord" Himself sacrificed and lying there, and the priest standing at the sacrifice, and the receiver reddened by the blood?'

'Rhetoric is not logic, Philip. I asked him about those very words, and, admitting at once that this was impassioned and metaphoric language, he pointed me to his Commentary on Heb. x. 9, where he says, "We do not offer another sacrifice, but we make a commemoration of a sacrifice." Philip, half the things which seem to me like superstitious and materialising aberrations from the pure and simple faith of the Gospel arise from teaching for doctrines the commandments of men, or from failure to interpret in their allegoric significance the simple metaphors of the East. This applies especially to the Lord's Supper. The elements of bread and wine have already begun to be treated as though they were dreadful idols—actual flesh and actual blood—although the body of Christ is now a Spiritual Body glorified in Heaven.'

'How do you understand the discourse at Capernaum?' asked Philip.

'To my mind,' said David, 'the fact that it was uttered two years before the Lord's Supper is sufficient to prove that it referred generally to Christ as the Bread of Life. The simple Eastern metaphor of "eating" expresses the closest spiritual union, and has been grossly misapprehended. That discourse, had it referred to the Lord's Supper, would at the time have been perfectly meaningless. It was not so because every Jew knew that "to eat of" meant "to be united with." They had read the words used about wisdom, "He that eateth Me shall even live by Me;" they knew the proverb, "To eat of the years of the Shechînah."'

Philip mused awhile, and David added: 'But, dear Philip, opinions differ, and will differ; it is not by our opinions that Christ will judge us, but by our fruits. We may go to heaven with many wrong opinions, but not with wicked hearts. I only spoke to you about these things to show you why I can never become so much as a deacon. The feeling was rendered invincible by the disgraceful spectacle of the Churches of Asia, when I went there with him. But that being so—— Oh, Philip! I am for many reasons very sorry—but in less than a month we shall all leave Constantinople.'

'What!' said Philip, with a movement of sudden alarm; 'you, and your father, and'—he bowed his face over his hands—'and Miriam?'

'It is so, Philip; and our one pang, our sole pang, will be to part with the Patriarch, and Eutyches, and, above all, with you.'

'Oh, David! But why is this?'

'I will tell you. My father, being the descendant of Jude, whom Apostles and Evangelists called the "Lord's Brother," has never been in the least ashamed of his bronzesmith's shop, any more than St. Joseph was ashamed of the shop of the carpenter at our Nazareth. But God has largely prospered my father: not only our own people, but all Constantinople, know his integrity; and, besides his prosperous trade, he is employed in many transactions which make him honourably rich, far above our simple needs. His brother Simon has long been farming our lands in Galilee, but we have just had news of his death. His only son was slain in a recent invasion of Isaurian robbers who swept down even as far as Bethlehem. My father now inherits those lands and we are going to fix our home there. He shares my views, and approves of my decision never to become a presbyter in the Church as it now is.'

'Oh, David!' said Philip, who was now very pale, and into whose eyes the tears had rushed. 'And Miriam? You know that I love her, and I had hoped that she loved me.'

'She loves you, Philip. There is no levity in Miriam. She has never seen any youth whom she loves as she loves you, with a love pure and intense.'

'And yet you doom us never to meet again.'

Why so, Philip? She is quite too young to marry yet, nor would it be right for you to leave him. But there are thousands of pilgrims to Palestine every year, and what is to hinder you from hearing constantly of each other? We see not how—yet my father does not doubt that the changing years will bring you together.'

But to Philip at that moment the whole world seemed to have turned into ashes; he laid his head upon his hands, and wept.

'Do not weep, Philip,' said David. ' God is love. Build your faith on that.'

'I lose my friend,' said Philip, 'and I have but few; I lose my love, and I never had but one—and you bid me not to weep!'

'Dear friend of my youth!' said David, rising and embracing him; 'but you still have your father, and you have Eutyches; and, more than all, you have duty, and you have hopes to shine on you like stars; and, most of all, you have God your father in heaven, and Christ your eternal friend.' But David was himself in tears.

But Philip would not be comforted, and both were silent till, far off, they heard the voice of Eutyches in the garden, singing in his blithe young voice, as he approached, the Latin hymn of Ambrose:

Veni, Redemptor gentium,
Ostende partum Virginis;
Miretur omne sæculum!
Talis decet partus Deum.


As he approached the garden-entrance of the Patriarcheion he was in high and happy spirits. The soldier whom Aurelian was sending back to Æmona had come from Illyricum, and by him Walamir had sent Eutyches an ancient Gothic silver ornament of great beauty, in the shape of a gryphon, with a brief letter and the kindest messages. Eutyches had just been sending to him with his own letter two little pictures which he knew would delight him—one, a really good likeness of the Patriarch, painted on a blue ground, and the other a likeness of Wulfila, the apostle of the Goths.

He burst into the room full of his news, and said 'Aha, Philip! I have been where you would like to be—in the Chalkoprateia; and I saw by a certain door the veiled figure of——' He stopped short. 'What is this? You cannot conceal from me that you have both been in tears. What is the matter? Is it possible that David and Jonathan have been quarrelling?'

The suggestion sounded so ludicrous to them that they both smiled. 'Ah! that is better,' said Eutyches; 'but, in the name of Heaven, what has happened?'

'My boy!' said Philip, and again his tears burst forth, 'you will never be able to chaff me again about my love for the Chalkoprateia. David has just told me that he and his father and—and my Miriam are about to leave us for ever.'

'For ever?' said Eutyches, thunderstruck at intelligence so wholly unexpected.

'For ever is a very long word, Eutyches,' said David.

'But where are you going to live?'

'In our old home, not far from Nazareth.'

'Does he know?' asked Eutyches.

'Not yet,' said David; 'but the plan cannot be changed.'

'My poor, poor Philip!' said Eutyches. 'I am so sorry that I hurt you. What will you do without David, and—— Oh! this is very sad.'

He laid one hand on Philip's shoulder, and grasped his friend's other hand. But Philip could not trust himself to speak. It was as though all the brightness of his life had been quenched in sudden midnight.

Chrysostom was deeply sorry to lose the services of David. After a long and solemn talk with him, and with his father Michael, he did not feel it right to interpose any obstacle, but he spoke anxiously about Philip and his love for Miriam.

'They love each other with a true love,' said Michael; 'but Miriam is not sixteen. She is too young to marry; nor would it be right for Philip to leave you yet.'

'It might be easier in a few years,' said the Patriarch. 'As far as means are concerned in these hard times, Philip will not be penniless. He is the owner of his father's house in Antioch, which is let; and with it he also inherited a small sum of money, which is being faithfully husbanded for him. Besides this, though he does not yet know it, I have, by my will, bequeathed to him my old house in Singon Street, which brings in a yearly income, and I have divided what remains of my own modest income between him and Eutyches. I did not include your David because you once told me that he was well provided for, and needed nothing.'

'He whose desires are few is rich, Patriarch,' said Michael; 'nor would there be any objection on the score of even poverty, for Miriam will have an ample dower. 'But——' A very troubled look passed over his face. 'My Lord Bishop,' he said, 'God sometimes gives me the power to look dimly into future years. I know not how or why. I only know that I can sometimes see something of the future as though it were present. I know that I am bidding you farewell for ever. I thank you for all your goodness and kindness to David, and to me, who am but a humble artisan of Jewish birth. But forgive me if I speak. As I look into the future I see clouds before you, and thick darkness. Fain would I avert my gaze from those coming years. May the Christ of God be with you! I know that you daily hear the Voice saying, "Be thou faithful unto death, and"—you will need that promise to sustain you— "and I will give thee the crown of life."'

'I know it,' said Chrysostom; 'but He Who for our good sends our calamities to purge us as gold is purged in the furnace, never fails also to send grace to help in time of need. Let us both kneel down, and pray for His blessing—even if it comes veiled in darkness—for each other, and for us both.'

They knelt side by side—the Patriarch of Constantinople and the humble Desposynos—and they rose strengthened for any fate.

The last day of Michael's sojourn in Constantinople came. Chrysostom, with a heavy and foreboding heart, had parted from David, and given him the kiss of peace, and blessed him. He presented him with a beautiful manuscript of the Commentary on the Hebrews as a token of his parting love. The family were to sail away at evening, and all their goods were on the barque which lay at anchor by the quay to take them to the port of Accho. With the full consent of Michael, and in his presence, Philip and Miriam had pledged themselves to one another in solemn and sacred vows, and had exchanged their gifts of betrothal. Philip had given to Miriam a precious jewel which had belonged to his mother, and Miriam to Philip one of the little carcanets of gold coins which Eastern maidens often wear round their hair. It had been for years a treasure in the family of the Desposyni; and since it consisted of the Maccabean coins of the High Priest Simon, stamped with the lily, had once—it was whispered among them—been worn by the Virgin Mother herself, and so had acquired in their eyes an inestimable preciousness. One coin was missing, and it had purposely been left unreplaced, for they saw in it an illustration of 'the woman and the lost coin,' and a sign that Christ would regard all His work as marred if but one soul were missing of those whom His Father had given Him to keep. To no one—not even to Philip—would Miriam have thought of entrusting this priceless treasure if Michael had not solemnly told her that the day would certainly come when Philip would restore it to her own hands again. The two lovers had also exchanged locks of each other's hair, to be worn on the heart till they met again. They had been suffered to clasp each other in one long embrace before they spoke the farewells which 'press the life out of young hearts.'

'Be brave, dear son,' said Michael to Philip, as he started with Miriam and her female attendant to the barque.

'It is through much tribulation that we must enter into the Kingdom of God.'

'My father! my father!' sobbed Philip; 'I shall see your face no more. It is that which makes me weep most of all.'

'Nay, Philip,' said Michael, solemnly; 'fear not. Something tells me, quite surely, that whether you and I meet again or not on this side the grave, you and Miriam will be one. I see dark, dark waves before us all—storm and tempest; but a sea of light encompasses them, and flows over them, and in that I behold the infinite love of God. Farewell! farewell!'

David stayed on shore till the last, to make the last few final arrangements. The shadows of night were falling when Philip and Eutyches walked with him to the quay on the 349 Bosporus. Philip had given David as his last gift a silver box made and beautifully chased by his father in Antioch, and had received from him a golden Eastern lamp of unknown age and perfect workmanship.

There was no more to say. They knew each other's thoughts. They pressed each other to the heart. They could not speak; they parted in silent tears. David stepped on the deck, and the vessel spread her sails. It had very soon melted into the deepening dusk. The last thing which Philip saw was the waving of Miriam's white scarf from the ship's deck. Then the darkness rushed down. He turned away, and walked home with Eutyches in silence, only broken by the occasional sobs which shook his whole frame. It was not only the anguish of parting from his love, and from his friend, which shook him. It was an unspoken, immense foreboding. It was an horizon which looked to him as black as the gathering midnight. Eutyches knew that it was vain to try and comfort him. He could only press his hand in silence. The one thought which flapped its wings like a vulture over Philip's mind, and returned again and again to tear his heart with obscene beak, was, 'I have lost my friend; I have lost my love for ever—for ever; nothing remains for me but despair and woe.'

Many dark days ensued. All that the Patriarch could do, all that Eutyches and Olympias and Nicarete could do to lighten that heavy heart was done; and time laid on the youth's misery a healing hand. The days were, fortunately, full of duties and occupations; but it was long before Philip's manner resumed its natural brightness and elasticity, and long ere those who loved him best recognised upon his face the glad smile which played over it like an incessant gleam of sunlight in happier days.


XLII. — THE MISDOINGS OF SEVERIAN

Superbia, invidia, ed avarizia sono
Le tre faville ch' hanno i cori accesi.

—Dante, Inf. vi. 74, 75.

A few days afterwards the Archdeacon Serapion came into the room of the Patriarch with a face flushed with indignation.

'I come, my Lord Archbishop,' he said, 'to bring a complaint of the utmost gravity against the Bishop of Gabala.'

'What has Severian been doing now?' asked the Patriarch.

'My Lord, I was sitting yesterday in the Thomaites with the Presbyter Tigrius, the Bishop Palladius, Proclus, young Eutyches, and others, when Severian passed into the anteroom where Philip was sitting. He asked for you; but you had gone to visit a sick presbyter, and he again passed out through the hall. Eutyches and the others rose as usual, and with them the Ladies Pentadia and Olympias, who were awaiting your return, as they had to see you on business respecting the institution of deaconesses. I did not rise. I happened to be writing, and did not observe his presence. If I had done so I should probably have risen, although I cannot tolerate the Bishop of Gabala.'

'It were better to rise, Serapion,' said Chrysostom. 'It is a conventional mark of honour paid to bishops, and has become usual.'

'I will do so in future,' said Serapion. 'The wish of your Dignity on the subject is more than sufficient for me. I cannot, indeed, stand up when he passes with any pleasure, and do not pretend to feel any respect for Severian. To me he seems to be a traitorous hypocrite.'

'I grieve that your feelings about him are so strong. You can, however, respect the office, even if you cannot respect the man. And should we not fight, Serapion, against these intense feelings of dislike and disdain for our fellow-men? We all have need of large forgiveness, of infinite forbearance. No man is all devil; something of the angel must be somewhere hidden in the depths of his heart. The Holy Spirit within us may be desecrated, but never wholly lost.'

'I bow to your reproach,' said Serapion. 'I will follow your exhortation, although my disdain has been kindled by his treachery and baseness towards you. But what I have to report is very serious. Seeing that I had not stood up, Severian glared at me, and said in a tone of fury, in the hearing of us all, "Christ was never made man."'

'Surely that is inconceivable, Serapion,' said Chrysostom; 'your ears must have deceived you.'

'Mistake was impossible,' said the Archdeacon.

'But what could he have meant?' said the Patriarch.

'What conceivable object could he have had in uttering words of blasphemy which, if he spoke them, would at once brand him as an hypocrite?'

'I cannot pretend to explain,' answered Serapion, 'but will you question the others? They are here.'

Those whom Serapion had mentioned came in one by one. Olympias and Pentadia said that they had been seated at some distance from the table where Serapion sat, and the back of Bishop Severian was turned to them; but those words, uttered in fierce anger, they unquestionably heard. Proclus and Tigrius also heard them, and noticed the look and accent of fury with which they were spoken. Eutyches, who had been sitting by Serapion, and who rose as the Bishop of Gabala passed, said that the Bishop seemed first to mutter something which he could not hear, and then burst out with the blasphemous sentence.

'What did you take to be his meaning, my boy?' asked the Archbishop.

'I thought,' said Eutyches, 'that in his uncontrollable anger he had broken into a sort of oath. May I speak further?'

'Certainly.'

'Well, sir, St. Paul, when he speaks about the abuse of tongues at Corinth, says, "No man speaking by the Spirit of God says 'Jesus be anathema.'" I have heard you explain this to mean that in overpowering excitement men lost all self-control, and their tongues were then forced by evil spirits to call out blasphemies. The word which exploded from the wrath of Severian reminded me of that.'

'My boy,' said Chrysostom, 'I can no longer doubt that Severian did speak those awful words, and there may be wisdom in your suggestion about them. Let the Bishop be summoned into my presence.'

Severian came, serenely unconscious of what had happened—came in with the airs and graces of the handsome, portly, well-groomed, self-satisfied ecclesiastic. Chrysostom rose to receive him, but rose with so stern a look upon his face that the Bishop of Gabala suddenly stopped short in the well- turned compliments and remarks about the weather into which he had begun to glide.

'Your Religiosity seems to be disturbed to-day,' he said.

'Severian,' said the Patriarch, 'it is reported to me by six credible witnesses, who could not and would not lie, that you exclaimed, in their hearing, "Christ has not been made man."'

'How can you listen to such vain gabble?' said Severian. 'Why, if I believed half, or a tenth part of the things which are daily said about you , I should regard you as an utter demon.'

'What may be said about me,' said Chrysostom, with contemptuous sternness, 'is not the question. If any man can witness ought against me, let him speak. But,' he said, with a wave of the hand, 'the charge against you is perfectly definite.'

'I never said anything of the kind,' said Severian, with brazen front. 'When and where did I say it?'

'Yesterday, in the Thomaites.'

'Who says so?'

'Serapion, Tigrius, Proclus——'

'All my enemies', said Severian.

'My young secretary, Eutyches.'

'A pert, conceited boy,' said Severian.

'Silence, Bishop!' said the Patriarch. 'Eutyches is little more than boy, but one more modest and one more blameless I have never seen. And, besides these, the ladies Olympias and Pentadia.'

'Special friends of your Sanctity,' said Severian, with an undisguised sneer.

'I blush for you,' said Chrysostom; 'would to God I could see you blush for yourself! You, a Christian bishop—do you so much as dare to insinuate that these holy presbyters, these saintly women, have invented a lie to injure you? Some of them may not think well of you, but I would answer for every one of them that they would rather die than lie.'

'Oh! well, if you have, in your usual manner, prejudged the case,' said Severian, 'I can but retire.'

'Again,' said Chrysostom, mastering a strong impulse to indignation, 'you seem to forget that you are here to answer a most definite accusation. For the moment I sit here to examine as to its truth. You will gain nothing by insolence towards your judge.'

'Everyone knows that you are jealous of me,' said Severian.

Chrysostom could scarcely suppress a smile. Of all human foibles, jealousy, a mark of mean natures, was the one from which he was most exempt, and jealousy of Severian in particular was the last feeling he could possibly entertain.

'Suppress these irrelevancies, Bishop,' he said; 'the question is very simple and definite. Did you, or did you not, in the hearing of at least six persons, use the words "Christ has not been made man"?'

'The charge is preposterous,' said Severian.

'Well, then, I will summon the witnesses.'

'Oh!' said Severian, who now saw that escape was impossible, 'stop!' and putting his hand to his head in an affected attitude, as though he were trying to remember, he said slowly: 'I have some sort of dim recollection that something of this sort happened. Your archdeacon, Serapion, the most churlish and ill-conditioned dog I ever came across——'

'Such language disgraces you,' said the Patriarch. 'It is unfitting for a Christian, much more for a bishop, who should set an example.'

'Do not try to browbeat me,' said Severian, swelling his portly person. 'I was saying, when you interrupted me, that in passing through the Thomaites Serapion, that pink of politeness, that pearl of courtiers, sneered at me, and did not think proper to rise as the rest did. I suppose you have taught your underlings to insult me——'

'I have already desired him to rise in future,' said the Patriarch, whom the Bishop's insolence could not ruffle. 'He assures me—and I believe him—that he did not rise simply because he did not see you, being engaged in writing. His supposed sneer is the offspring of your imagination only.'

'—and in a fit of anger, utterly disgusted with the man's churlish impudence, I may have muttered in my wrath—for after all I am only human—something, to the effect that "if Serapion dies a Christian, then Christ was not made man." As Serapion has never lived as a Christian, I felt sure that he could never die as one, and I only express the impossibility by a strong hypothesis.'

'Enough!' said Chrysostom. 'You have admitted the use of the words. It would have been better for your truth and honesty if you had not at first denied them. Your explanation hardly makes them better. Your remark was grossly slanderous, and the form into which you threw it was irreverent and disgraceful. As far as Constantinople is concerned your stay here is ended. By my authority as Patriarch I cut you off from communion in any one of my churches. I inhibit you from entering them. You have disgraced your character and calling. Depart, and ask God if haply your sin may be forgiven.'

'The Empress shall hear of this,' said Severian, insolently.

'Enough!' said Chrysostom. 'The Emperor has authority in all things temporal; his sway does not extend to spiritual censures. You have for years been absent from your neglected diocese, pursuing here the designs of your ambition. I recommend you to return to it, and resume your duties. Philip, conduct out the Bishop of Gabala.'

Purple with rage, Severian swung out of the room, intending at once to lay his complaint before the Court, where, by his intrigues and flatteries, he had made himself a favourite. But when he got outside the Patriarcheion he found a menacing crowd assembled in the Forum. Rumours of Severian's treacheries against their beloved Patriarch had been prevalent among the multitude. They had long seen through the man who was adored by such ladies as Epigraphia and supported by such reprobates as Elpidius and Isaac the Monk. It happened that during the interview which we have narrated some decani—humble church servants, who formed a branch of the parabolani , and helped to bury the poor—had been in the garden below, and had heard the loud voice and harsh accents of the Bishop of Gabala raised in objurgation. They had slipped out with the news that Severian was insulting the Patriarch. A crowd had gathered, who would have been glad at a moment's notice to lynch the hated Syrian. Under his habitual air of bravado Severian was an abject coward. He entreated Philip to conduct him through the mob, whom Philip succeeded in pacifying, for they all knew and loved him for his bright face and witty speech.

'My life is in danger here,' said Severian. 'Come with me, Philip, to the quay. I will take a boat to Chalcedon.'

'As these quarrels have arisen, Bishop, might it not be better if you left Constantinople altogether?' said Philip respectfully, as the rowers pushed off the boat.

'We will see to that,' said Severian.

In point of fact he did not remain absent more than a few days. For Eudoxia and all her clique were furious when they heard of the inhibition of their favourite. It was intolerable to the Frankish Empress that, even in the Church, anyone should presume to exercise any power except herself. She sent for Chrysostom, and entreated him to bring back that excellent bishop. 'What fault can you find,' she said, 'with so eloquent, gentle, and orthodox a preacher? He is the only person in Constantinople to whom I, and the ladies of my Court, and the Emperor can listen with the smallest comfort.' And so she went on, infusing into every sentence the feline malice with which she hoped to make the Patriarch wince. She saw, however, with a pang that she could not even move him to anger. Chrysostom, serene in perfect integrity, had long acquired the habit of ignoring contemptible antagonists and paltry impertinences. The eagle does not worry itself about the chatter of jays.

Then the Empress fairly teased the Emperor into interceding for Severian. By dint of taunts and tears and persistence she at last sitrred him sufficiently to beg the Archbishop to withdraw his inhibition. 'The Empress wishes it,' he said, 'and so, of course, do I. Severian's sermons do not worry us as—as some sermons do. One can sleep—I mean, one can listen in peace. We shall miss him.'

'As far as your wishes are concerned, Emperor, I desire profoundly to respect them,' said Chrysostom. 'I had serious misgivings about the Bishop of Gabala, but since you and the Empress wished it, I left him to fill the pulpit of St. Sophia in my absence. But the conduct for which I have been compelled to inhibit him was so reprehensible as to show his unfitness for his office. My duty to you is scarcely compatible with my higher duty to the Church.'

'Then I shall never hear the end of it,' said Arcadius. 'I wish you clergy would leave me in peace.'

'Ecclesiastical offences must be punished,' said Chrysostom, 'no less than secular.'

But Eudoxia was determined at all costs to have her way. On the following Sunday, just before the service began, she was seen advancing up the nave of St. Sophia, with her attendants, and carrying in her arms her infant son, who was already an Augustus. The complaisance of the East had given to members of the Imperial Family that right to pass within the curtains of the sacrarium which Ambrose, with courteous dignity, had forbidden to Theodosius the Great in the West, when he pointed him to a seat below the step, and said, 'Emperor, this is the place for presbyters; your place as Emperor is below.'

After that, even at Constantinople, Theodosius would never accept the invitation of Nectarius to sit inside the sacrarium. In the sight, however, of the whole congregation Eudoxia advanced, placed the imperial infant on the knees of the Patriarch, and adjured him in a loud voice, by the life of the Emperor and by the head of the infant Augustus, to recall Severian.

To refuse would have been to create a terrible disturbance in the sacred building. The eyes of the Patriarch filled with tears. He bent down, and kissed the sweet child, whom the Empress had left in his arms. Thinking only of the little placid infant, his memory reverted to the sacred scene when the humble Virgin of Nazareth had placed the Holy Child in the arms of the aged Simeon, and his heart was softened. He could not resist the feminine persistence which had not hesitated to go to such strange lengths for the accomplishment of Eudoxia's purpose. While his judgment disapproved, the thought came over him that this was the wife of the Emperor, and St. Paul had required obedience to the powers that be, because they are ordained of God. The adjurations of Eudoxia were so vehement that it seemed like high treason to turn a deaf ear to them.

'Empress,' he said, 'I am scarcely justified in resisting these appeals. I regard the responsibility as mine no longer. On your command, which I understand to be that of the Emperor, I will readmit Severian to our Communion.'

A swift messenger from the Empress bore the tidings to Chalcedon, and Severian returned, exulting in his bad heart at the Patriarch's humiliation. Yet even now he was dependent on the forbearance of the man whom he had so disgracefully endeavoured to undermine. For though the Empress might almost force on the Archbishop the withdrawal of his inhibition, the populace had a voice in the matter. They were quite likely to make Constantinople too hot to hold Severian, and would have thought but little of ejecting him by force from any Church which he attempted to enter. But it was not Chrysostom's way to do things by halves. If he were forced to recall Severian, he would cherish no hidden grudges. If he felt it his duty to respect the Imperial urgency by restoring him to Communion, he would do so without reservation.

He therefore preached a sermon on the following Sunday with the object of smoothing down the antagonism of the people, and inducing them for his sake to abandon their hostility to the Bishop of Gabala. 'The head,' he said, 'must be united to the members, and so must the Church to the priest, the people to the Emperor. As the branch may not sever itself from the root, nor the river from its fountain, so sons must be one with their father, and disciples with their master. You have often shown your love for me, your obedience to me, and you have been willing for my sake even to jeopardise your lives. We are one in duty, one in affection. As my spiritual children, I counsel you to peace. We have had troubles among us. Let them end, let them be forgotten. Receive our brother Severian.'

The discourse was straightforward, simple, and noble, and the name of Severian had been brought in with consummate force and skill. The vast congregation felt the sincerity of the speaker, and they broke into applause. Chrysostom thanked them for their implied assent to his proposal, and begged that as they agreed to receive Severian, they would receive him graciously. Such a triumph of brotherly love would bring peace to the Church and cause joy in heaven.

To make the reconciliation complete Chrysostom invited Severian to preach on the following Sunday. His oration also has come down to us. It is rhetorical, fantastic, profoundly commonplace, and insincerity rings in every sentence and accent. Most of it is a sonorous amplification of the blessings of unity. 'In our cities,' he said, 'the pictures of the august brothers who rule the world—Arcadius and Honorius—are painted with the figure of Concord standing behind them, and embracing them in her maternal arms. Even so, now the peace of God embraces both of us in her throbbing bosom, and teaches us in separate bodies to keep a single mind. War is overthrown; peace reigns.'

The pledge of peace was ratified before the Holy Table. Chrysostom was entirely true to it. Neither by words, nor deed, nor look did he break it. But Severian went away to con- 359 tinue as heretofore his lies, his plots, and his intrigues—the fat, affectionate smile upon his lips belying the rancour and jealousy of his venomous heart. And the heavens darkened more and more!


BOOK IV. DEATH-GRAPPLES

I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano;
A stage, where every man must play a part,
And mine a sad one. —Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice, I. 1.


XLIII. — ‘ECCE ITERUM CRISPINUS!'

Quanti si tengon or lassù gran regi,
Che qui staranno come porci in brago,
Di sè lasciando orribili dispregi!

Dante, Inf., viii. 49-51.

'Philip,' said Eutyches one morning as he came in to the day's work, 'there are four of the strangest beings you ever saw in the Thomaites.'

'Ghosts or angels—which?' asked Philip. 'Are they like those you frightened the Goths with on the Palace walls?'

'Neither, you trifler from Antioch!' answered Eutyches, laughing; 'but they look like spectres. They are old, but astonishingly tall, and look gaunt, wretched, and half-starved. They are dressed only in white sheepskins and sandals. Their black locks are long and matted. Their arms and legs are bare, and are covered with the marks of scars; and one of them has lost an ear.'

'What do they want?'

'They will only say that they have come to throw themselves on the protection of the Patriarch. Proclus has told them that he is engaged, but that they shall be admitted in a few minutes. Do go, and take a glance at them.'

Philip went into the Thomaites, and saw the four strange figures which Eutyches had described. They stood together, with downcast eyes, at the end of the hall, leaning on their staves. Their appearance as they stalked through the streets was so unusual that a crowd of soldiers and street-boys had accompanied them to the entrance of the Patriarcheion, and some of these were peeping in through the open gates. But the strangers seemed to be unconscious of the attention they excited, and stood silent, as if they were absorbed in their own thoughts. Their lips moved as in silent prayer.

'I guessed whom they must be from your description, Eutyches,' said Philip. 'A glance showed me that they were hermits from the desert of Nitria. They can be no other than the 364

four celebrated Tall Brothers. But what can they be doing here? I hope that their presence is not ominous. They belong to that—saving his Sanctity—that bad Patriarch of Alexandria, and I have heard that they have been most infamously persecuted by him.'

'Tell me something about them.'

'I will tell you the little I know, Eutyches. The eldest is Ammonius. He was the companion of the great St. Athanasius when he was exiled in 341, near sixty years ago, and fled to Italy. He was the first monk whom Rome had seen. He was then a youth from a desert monastery.

The soft Romans were amazed at his gigantic size, his splendid figure, his sheepskins, his utter simplicity of life; for, amid their gorgeous gluttonies, he ate nothing but bread and vegetables, and drank only water. It was owing to the strange impulse of envy and admiration excited at Rome by his complete indifference to the world that monasteries have been introduced into Italy by Ambrose. When Athanasius went back Ammonius became a hermit.'

'How did he lose his ear?'

'He cut it off; and that is why he is called Parotes.'

'Why? Did he think one ear enough?' asked Eutyches, laughing.

'No; but in those days Theophilus pretended immensely to admire these Tall Brothers, and wanted to seize him by force and make him a bishop. He hated the thought of it, and only desired to live far away from a corrupted Church and an evil world. So he fled into the depths of the Libyan desert. But even thither the agents of Theophilus pursued him. Finding that he could not escape, he cut off his ear, and, going out to meet them, said, "Go! your purpose is vain. The canons forbid any man who is mutilated to be ordained"—and he pointed to his bleeding ear.'

'What a man!' said Eutyches. 'But what are those scars on their arms and legs?'

'The Brothers are confessors,' said Philip. 'Those are the stigmata left on them by the tortures of the Arian Valens.'

'And the three others?'

'Theophilus, urging on them the duty of obedience, made two of them come and work as presbyters in Alexandria. The third, Dioscorus, he seized by force, gagged him that he might not appeal to Christ against his ordination, and consecrated him Bishop of Thermopolis.'

'What! Is he a bishop? No one rises when he enters, or takes any notice of him. And where is Thermopolis?'

'It is only a squalid village of a few huts near the deserts, and, practically, Dioscorus never ceased to be a hermit; but he is no longer bishop. Theophilus degraded and expelled him, and has done his best to degrade, to defame, and even to murder these Brothers.'

'Why? Is he a Pharaoh?' asked Eutyches.

'A Pharaoh!' said Philip, passionately. 'Yes, and a Nebuchadnezzar, and a Caiaphas, an Annas, and a Judas all in one; a whited wall, a whited sepulchre, full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. God forgive me if I err in speaking so of one of the four chief bishops of the faith! But Truth has her claims as well as Charity. Jeremiah cursed the priest Pashur, and Isaiah spoke thunder and lightnings against the drunken, hiccoughing priests of Jerusalem. The Prophets are full of the denunciation of the priests, and multitudes of them are as bad and false in these days as then.'

'What makes you so very hot against Theophilus?' asked Eutyches. 'Oh, Philip! since you lost David, and since Miriam went away, you are so much sadder and more gloomy. I wish I could ease your troubled heart.'

'Eutyches,' said Philip,' you are very dear to me. But for you and him—my father—I know not how I could bear life, for all around us is blackness and falsity and wickedness. But the reason why my anger burns against this Theophilus is because I know that he is moving earth and hell to wreak his vengeance and jealousy on him. And oh!' said Philip, wringing his hands, 'something tells me that he will prevail. Our Patriarch beside him is but as a guileless child. He is no match for deceit and treachery. They paralyse him with the same sort of horrible fascination which makes the bird drop into the serpent's jaws.'

'God forbid!' said the boy, making the sign of averting the evil eye, which is, in the East, of immemorial antiquity.

'Amen!' said Philip; 'but this Patriarch of Alexandria, this successor of Athanasius, is the wickedest man I ever heard of, even in the Church—and that is saying a good deal when one thinks of Severian, John the Deacon, Antoninus of Ephesus, the sorcerer Gerontius, the bribed liar Eusebius of Valentinianopolis, Elpidius that deadly hater, Isaac the Monk, and a good many more.'

'Even in the Church? Oh, Philip!'

'Alas! alas that it should be so!' said Philip; 'but so it is. A bad priest seems to me the worst of men.'

'You are right, Philip,' said Serapion, who heard the last sentence as he entered. 'A bad priest is the worst curse the Church can have. He is pledged to meekness, and he is insolent; he professes truth, and he is infamously slanderous; he should be a servant of all, and he is the most unscrupulous of usurpers; he preaches the law of liberty, and he imposes the yoke of bondage; he should be an example of lowliness, and he lords it over God's heritage. When you are ordained, Eutyches, remember always that a Christian presbyter is a presbyter, and in no sense more a priest than every true Christian is.'

'I do not think that our Eutyches will fail in lowliness,' said Philip. 'He reserves all his impudence for me.'

'Don't believe him, Archdeacon,' said Eutyches; 'but now, Philip, tell me more about these holy Brothers.'

'It must be very briefly, then, for they will be ushered in directly. Ammonius and Dioscorus remained in the desert, but Theophilus insisted on keeping the two others at Alexandria, where they grew more and more miserable as they began to see the greed, tyranny, and hypocrisy of their Patriarch. They entreated to be allowed to return to Nitria, and Theophilus, who saw their mistrust of him, has hated them ever since.'

'But they must have offended him in some way.'

'Yes, Eutyches; and how do you think? Theophilus is a very idolater of gold. A legacy had been left to his sister for the use of the Church, and he declared that it had been promised to her for her own use. Isidore declared that he had never heard a syllable on the subject. He then began to defame Isidore, and appealed to the four Brothers to support his slander. They, on the contrary, swore that Isidore had always lived a holy life. Theophilus was mad 367

with rage. He cannot endure being resisted. He is accustomed to treat his bishops, priests, and monks as the merest slaves, whom he can cashier, imprison, or put to death without reason at his pleasure. He can do this the more easily because most of the Egyptian magistrates are in his pay. But since he could attack the Brothers in no other way, he used his last and most terrible resource, which always is to charge men with heresy.'

'What heresy?'

'What he calls Origenism, the silliest and most unmeaning of all charges.'

'I thought that Origen was one of the saintliest Christian teachers.'

'The greatest Christian writer since the days of the Apostles. But some brutal and ignorant monks deem him a heretic, so Theophilus denounced the Brothers for Origenism.'

'What is Origenism?'

'No one has the least notion. Origen was a voluminous writer; even in his lifetime his writings were grossly interpolated. A bad man like Theophilus finds it easy to call a man an Origenist, and crush him. Then came the affair of Isidore.'

'What Isidore?—the one whom he wanted to make Patriarch?'

'Yes; Isidore become Hospitaller of Alexandria. A noble lady, knowing that Theophilus is "stone-mad" in building churches, and that much of his fund is grossly misapplied, gave Isidore a thousand pounds for the poor, on the express condition that he would not tell Theophilus. But Theophilus, who has hundreds of spies in his pay, heard of it, and in revenge trumped up a false charge against Isidore, which he suddenly produced at a synod of the clergy.'

'What was the charge?'

'It is too horrible to tell you, Eutyches. Isidore, who is an old man of eighty, challenged proof. Theophilus had bribed a youth to accuse him, but the consciences of the young man and of his mother smote them; they shrank from the wicked perjury, denied the asserted crime altogether, and the charge hopelessly broke down. Nevertheless, Theophilus forced his wretched herd of barbarous Egyptian bishops to degrade Isidore, and he fled to the Four Brothers in the Sketic desert. I do not know what happened afterwards.'

'Your story has interested me almost terribly,' said Eutyches. 'I must slip into the Thomaites and have another look at these famous men.'

He went out, and found the Bishop of Helenopolis talking to the Brothers. Palladius came, and asked him when the Patriarch would be free to see his suppliants.

'In a few moments,' said Eutyches.

'Then I will come into your anteroom, if I may,' said Palladius, 'and will myself introduce them when they can be received.'

When he had entered the anteroom, Philip said to him, 'My Lord, Eutyches is dying to ask you something about the Tall Brothers, but he is too modest.'

'I know all their story,' said Palladius, with whom Eutyches was a favourite, 'and I shall be happy to tell him. What does he want to know?'

'Tell us, Bishop,' said Eutyches, 'what happened to them after Isidore fled to them.'

'It is a very sad story, my boy,' said the Bishop. 'The Brothers came to Alexandria, and, knowing that Isidore was innocent, implored Theophilus to restore him. He promised that he would—and did nothing. Then they came again, and Ammonius reminded him that he was breaking his promise. Resistance to his will always drives Theophilus into demoniacal fury. He flung Ammonius into prison. His brothers declared that they would share his prison. But the Alexandrians were so horrified that they began to murmur. Theophilus, in alarm, had the Brothers turned out into the streets, and in their humility they thought it right to go to him. Ammonius spoke for them with perfect calmness and dignity, yet as he listened Theophilus sat glaring at them with fierce aspect and bloodshot eyes, sometimes pale, sometimes livid, and sometimes with a bitter sardonic smile. Then suddenly, without a word of notice, he sprang up, seized Ammonius by the throat, and smote him in the face so brutally with his heavy hand that the blood gushed out, while he kept yelling, "Heretic! anathematise Origen!" The mere name of Origen had not once been mentioned.'

'Had he never read,' said Philip, 'that a bishop should be no striker? It sounds incredible.'

'It may well do so,' said Palladius, 'even of a Nero or a Commodus; much more of a Christian Patriarch. But he then summoned in his soldiers, with his own hands twisted a halter round the neck of Ammonius, and ordered the Four Brothers, laden with chains, to be conducted back to Nitria.'

At this point Chrysostom called to Philip to admit the Tall Brothers. Philip told him that Palladius was present, and would introduce them.

They entered the Patriarch's presence, and with great humility kneeled, and kissed his hand. 'It is a joy to us,' they said, 'to see your Sanctity.'

'Nay, rise,' said Chrysostom. 'It is I who should kiss the hands of the friends of Athanasius, the scarred confessors under the tyranny of Valens. And call me only bishop, not your Sanctity.'

'Thanks,' said Ammonius; 'but the Patriarch of Alexandria will never allow himself to be addressed without endless iterations of your Beatitude, and your Religiousness, and your Dignity, and your Holiness. It will be a far easier task for our rude simplicity if you will let us address you more freely.'

'Speak,' said Chrysostom, 'as a brother to brethren, as a man to men.'

'Doubtless, sir,' said Ammonius, who as the eldest spoke for the others, 'you know our sad story up to the time when Theophilus sent us back, disgraced and in chains, to our brethren for no fault, bidding us anathematise Origen, about whom we had spoken no single word.'

'How could you at his bidding anathematise a saint of God?' asked Chrysostom. 'I thought that Theophilus himself was an admirer of the Adamantine?'

'He was,' said Ammonius, 'but he turned round in the strangest way. Origen held that God is a Spirit. But the illiterate monks whom they call "Anthropomorphites" maintained with savage fury that God has very hands and feet and eyes like men, and they rose in one of their fanatical tumults and rushed to Alexandria to murder Theophilus for not sharing their view. He was in great alarm, and, advancing, said to them, "In seeing you, holy monks, I see the very face of God." Delighted at this flattery, they embraced instead of killing him, and since then he has seen how powerful a weapon he may wield against his enemies, and you among them, Archbishop.'

'No man is a heretic,' said Chrysostom, 'because another man, in ignorance or in malice, may choose to call him so. But proceed.'

'We returned to Nitria chained, maltreated, slandered, excommunicated, covered with blood. Then an order came from the Patriarch that in every monastery every work of Origen was to be burned. Many of the manuscripts were comments on Scripture, rare, and holy, and full of learning.'

'To that I can testify,' said Chrysostom.

'Naturally there were some among us who, highly valuing these works, were reluctant to obey an order so unjust. Theophilus had his spies even in the Nitrian desert, who informed him of all that we did and said. Five of them were men of the lowest order, not worthy even to be porters; one of these Theophilus ordained a deacon, three of them presbyters, and for one he created a sham see in a miserable hamlet. He then entrusted to them a petition to himself, written by himself, full of false accusations against the Nitrian monks. After a short time these five spies left their cells, entered Alexandria, went straight to the church where the Patriarch was officiating, and, prostrating themselves before his throne, presented him, as though in the deepest grief, his own petition. Theophilus held up his hands in pretence of holy horror as he read the libel which his own hand had written, exclaiming that if heresy was to be extirpated he must visit Nitria in person. He sent to the magistrates to lend him a band of soldiers. To these he added the numerous servants of his palace and the paid bravoes who execute his vengeance. He deluged them with drink, and at their head he started for the desert, timing his visit that he might arrive after nightfall. It was dark when they reached the mountains and burst upon us. In the terror of that midnight, multitudes of the monks fled and hid themselves, like Elias of old, in the rocky gullies. The cells of the monks were given up to the brutal soldiery. Few, as you know, were their possessions; but their little stores of food, their lamps, their books, and all that they possessed, were plundered.'

'How came you to escape?'

'We were the chief mark for his vengeance. To seize us had been his main desire. But our small laura was built far away in the recesses of the hills, and a hermit, flying to us in terror, told us that a wild boar was ravaging the vineyard of the Lord, and that one of the assailants, our secret friend, had bidden him warn us that we were to be slain. Flight was impossible, for all the paths were blocked by these Sons of Gehenna. Hastily our brethren let us down with cords into a well, over whose mouth they heaped wood and stones. They were only just in time. Scarcely were we concealed than the varletry of Theophilus burst into our laura. In their rage at not finding us they sacked our cells, tore our sacred books, smashed our beds and humble furniture, pierced the very walls to make sure that we were not in secret hiding, and, lastly, heaped fuel about our dwelling and set it on fire. The flames spread rapidly through the wattled huts in the hot, dry, desert air. We had left a poor boy to save, if he could, any of our possessions. He was the son of one who had left all to join our community, and had been trained among our hills in temperance and holiness. We all loved him. He perished in the flames.'

The aged face of the speaker was bathed in tears, and the Patriarch, as he listened to the tale of their misery, groaned aloud.

'Even the sacred vessels of the Eucharist were melted; even the holy elements which had been consecrated were consumed to ashes in the conflagration.'

'Oh, horrible!' said Chrysostom.

'Leaving nothing behind him but blackened ashes, amid which lay the half-calcined bones of our poor boy, Theophilus and his brigands departed. When we were drawn out of our well, half-dead with cold, that was the sight which greeted us. Whither should we go? As we walked, hungry and wailing, down the hill, a few fugitives came from their hiding-places, and told us that as Egypt could no more be a home for us, they would fly to Syria, and meet us at a spot to the west of the Red Sea. There eighty of us met. Three hundred had started, but many were old and infirm, and perished by hunger on the way. Among the survivors were abbots, presbyters, deacons, monks—some of great age, many branded with the marks of the tortures which they had endured as confessors for the faith of Christianity. We determined to make our way to Palestine and throw ourselves on the protection of John, the good Bishop of Jerusalem. Everywhere the people received us with love and reverence; but even here Theophilus circumvented us. He had sent a most haughty letter to all the bishops of Palestine, in which, as though he were a god——'

'It is true,' broke in Palladius. 'He as God, sitting in the temple of God, showeth himself that he is God.'

'I hope not, Palladius,' said Chrysostom, 'for that was written of the Antichrist.'

'Is not that man an Antichrist, my Lord Patriarch,' said Palladius, 'who, while he assumes the place of Christ, overthrows the work of Christ?'

Chrysostom made a sign to Ammonius to proceed.

His brief letter to the Palestinian bishops ran thus: "You ought not, against my will, to receive these monks into my cities. I only pardon you because you have done it in ignorance. Henceforth beware how you admit into any place, ecclesiastical or private, those whom I excommunicate." Before he received this letter Bishop John desired to show us every kindness. But now we were hunted by Theophilus out of Palestine as though we were felons. We took ship at Joppa. Our number is now reduced to fifty, and we are come, O Patriarch! to throw ourselves on thy protection, knowing thee to be a lover of righteousness.'

'My brothers,' answered Chrysostom, weeping, 'I grieve for your misfortunes, but you are not under my jurisdiction. It behoves me to walk warily. A Council, whatever its character, has condemned you; until another Council, or your own Patriarch, has reversed your sentence the laws of the Church tie my hands. Reveal not why you have come hither till I have written to Theophilus. I may not yet communicate with you, but my Churches are all open to you for prayer, and for the supply of your bodily needs.'

'They are very small,' said Ammonius. 'If we can get palm-leaves, the mats and baskets which we make sell for prices far beyond their value, and buy us food.'

'Still, the deaconess Olympias and her sisterhood will see that you are cared for, and as your home I assign to you the precincts of the Church of the Resurrection, so dear to my great predecessor, Gregory of Nazianzus.'

No conduct could have been more prudent or just under circumstances of the utmost delicacy; and in order to lose no time Chrysostom wrote to Theophilus in the spirit of a brother and a son, entreating him to free the monks from the ban of excommunication. Of this letter Theophilus took no notice. Meanwhile the monks, weary of their long expulsion from the privileges open to the humblest Christians, drew up a letter full of charges against Theophilus so horrible that Bishop Palladius declined even to mention them, because, he says, they would sound incredible. Unable to obtain redress for their wrongs, they threatened to appeal to the Emperor, and to place this document in his hands.

Then Chrysostom again wrote to Theophilus, and told him of the step to which the monks would be driven in their despair. The answer of Theophilus was threefold. He sent some of his own creatures—a bishop and four monks—to Constantinople to blacken with infamy the names of the Tall Brothers and their companions, by calling them heretics and magicians. Among the superstitious populace the poor sufferers began to be regarded with such aversion as to be unable without insult to leave their cells: the precincts of the Church of the Anastasia became their prison. It was here that the unhappy Isidore, the Hospitaller, whom Theophilus had once striven his utmost to make Patriarch of Constantinople, and had subsequently ruined by deeds of characteristic infamy, died at the age of eighty-five. To Chrysostom Theophilus wrote a curt and arrogant letter of three lines: 'I thought you knew the Nicene canons which forbid bishops to judge quarrels outside their own dioceses. If you are ignorant of those canons, attend to them now. If I ought to be tried, it can only be before Egyptian bishops, not by you, who are seventy-five days distant.' Lastly he excommunicated the fourth brother, Dioscorus, had him dragged from his episcopal throne by black slaves, and abolished his diocese. Dioscorus fled, and rejoined his brothers.

Several circumstances gave Theophilus an immense influence, even in Constantinople. The city depended on Alexandria for its supply of corn from the granaries of Africa, and for this reason the port was often crowded with Egyptian vessels, and the streets with Egyptian merchants and sailors. Theophilus was in all but name the lord of Egypt. He could, if he chose, reduce the capital to famine, as Athanasius had been accused of doing in the days of Constantine. And not only were these Egyptians, mostly of the lowest orders, at his disposal for purposes of mischief, but he used his enormous wealth to bribe every civil and Court official who was open to venal advances.

But as Chrysostom was powerless the Brothers, now maddened by wrongs and misery, determined at last to address Arcadius. With his usual ill-fortune Chrysostom, who desired only to do all that was wise and just, had to brave the bitterness of a twofold animosity. The friends of the Brothers accused him of slackness in their cause, at the same moment that the mind of Theophilus was surcharged with venomous hatred against him because he had defended them.

But now the monks secured a powerful and unexpected ally.

The Augusta, in her manifold religiosity, was fond of paying public visits to every church which was regarded as specially sacred; and all the more as she had now turned her back on St. Sophia to show her dislike of Chrysostom. One day she announced her intention to visit the Church of St. John the Baptist at the Hebdomon, where the unhappy Gaïnas had prayed for deliverance from the demon who tormented him. The monks, headed by the Tall Brothers, placed themselves conspicuously in her path. She was riding in a splendid carriage surrounded by her guards. Seeing the strange band in their sheepskin dresses, she recognised by the tallness of their stature the persecuted saints, of whom she had heard so much. She ordered her carriage to be stopped, and signed to them to come forward. They placed their terrible complaint against Theophilus in her hands, and explained its purport. Eudoxia had not the least intention to be braved by Theophilus, any more than by Chrysostom. What were Patriarchs to her unless they obeyed her wishes? Her motto was, L'Empire c'est moi. 'The Patriarch of Alexandria shall be summoned here,' she said, 'and shall be tried by a Council on the crimes which you lay to his charge. And you, reverend fathers, pray for me, and for the Emperor, and for my children.'

She kept her promise. Her chamberlain was at once despatched to Alexandria to summon the Patriarch to answer for the high crimes and misdemeanours with which he was charged. He received the command in savage and sinister silence. He saw in this summons the manœuvre of a rival. The affair of the Tall Brothers was now beneath his notice. His revenge demanded the utter ruin of Chrysostom. He would come, not only as an accuser, but as a judge.


XLIV. — EPIPHANIUS INTERVENES

As who should say, ‘I am Sir Oracle,
And when I ope my lips, let no dog bark!'

—Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice, I. 1.

One way, and one way only, was open by which the Patriarch of Alexandria might hope to ruin the Patriarch of Constantinople. Had their rôles been reversed—had the soul of Chrysostom been burning with unholy rage against Theophilus, he could have brought home to his adversary crime after crime of the deepest dye, and, by an appeal to the people, could easily have destroyed him. But Chrysostom held it better even to perish at the hands of the wicked than to use their own methods to overthrow them. ' Ye have condemned, ye have killed the just; he doth not resist you.'

Lying defamation was a weapon in the use of which Theophilus was a deadly expert. But he might as well have tried to throw dirt against heaven and stain it, as attempt to gain credence for lies which could induce people to believe that Chrysostom was a reprobate. How saintly the Patriarch's life had been was known to all. No human being attached importance to the slanders which bad bishops and criminous clerks disseminated respecting him. But surely as a youth he could not have been so immaculate in his white innocence as now he was? Surely some old, dead scandal might be raked up against him out of the fetid embers of bygone calumnies in the vicious purlieus of Antioch where he had lived till manhood?

At any rate, it was worth trying, and Isaac the Monk was despatched on the loathly but congenial mission of attempting to pick up some rag of slander out of the longputrescent gutters of the Syrian capital. No fitter emissary could have been chosen than this pestilent hypocrite; but his attempt failed ignominiously. He could find nothing wherewith to incriminate the Archbishop, even in the days of his unbaptised and unconverted youth. And when the Antiochenes began to suspect the object of all these inquiries of this unsavoury monk, he narrowly escaped being kicked and pelted out of the city, and had to run for his life.

But what did that matter? If defamation of character was more difficult in the case of Chrysostom than of most men, nothing was less likely than that the prolific inventiveness of ecclesiastical hatred should fail to find some other means to wreak its purposes upon him. Heresy was a charge no less fatal than crime. In the hands of an able accuser it was easily manipulated; and, of all charges, that of Origenism was the one which filled the minds of the ignorant with the greatest amount of vague alarm. Chrysostom should be branded with the stigma of Origenism.

But it would be highly convenient if the charge could be fixed on him by someone whose name would not at once, like that of Theophilus, excite incredulous scorn as to his sincerity. Theophilus—who had himself contemptuously rejected anthropomorphism until it suited his purpose to seem to favour it, and who had been in every sense as much an Origenist as Chrysostom ever was—at first thought of securing the services of Jerome. The mind of Jerome was intensely sensitive to the slightest suspicion of heresy. He had been an ardent admirer of Origen, had openly extolled his greatness, had translated and disseminated some of his books. But now, in his terror of being thought guilty of heresy, he turned completely round, and belied his own honesty and intelligence. There was a sort of basilisk power in Theophilus which paralysed opposition. He induced Jerome to translate into Latin the letter in which the Egyptian had called his rival 'an impure demon who had sold his soul to the devil'; but the timid Recluse of Bethlehem was obviously unqualified to take part in any active crusade.

So Theophilus determined to make a catspaw of the aged and highly venerated Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamis, in Cyprus, whom no one would suspect of ulterior objects. Epiphanius was saintly and fairly learned, but his simple nature had two great foibles, which made him an easy tool in the hands of the astute intriguer. He had written a book which he regarded as a sufficient answer to all heresies, and having all his life long entertained that rooted belief in his own theological infallibility which is the specialty of many ecclesiastics, he had now sunk into a senile vanity which made him indignant if anyone disputed his oracular utterances. The meddling instincts of a heresy-hunter had already led him to a series of gross and illegal aggressions in the diocese of John of Jerusalem, of which he had quite needlessly, and somewhat treacherously, disturbed the peace. It required all the gentleness of John to forgive and tolerate him; but Epiphanius, revelling in the incense of adoration offered by the common people to his saintliness, was blinded by selfconceit to the disorders and improprieties of which he had been guilty. What were Church canons to him, when he was the only man who could set the Church right on all matters of religious opinion? Canons of episcopal discipline could not apply to a man who had refuted all the heresies.

The name of Origen acted like a red rag to the old man's self- satisfied infallibility. How could any man say a word in favour of the Adamantine, when he had shown how 'dangerous' were his views? Every competent observer, except himself, was well aware that he had never read Origen's books; that, if he had, he was incapable of understanding them; and that intellectually, and perhaps even morally, he was scarcely worthy to tie the shoes of the holiest thinker whom the Church had produced since the days of the Apostles.

Theophilus knew his man. He sent him the decree of his precious Egyptian synod of sycophants and nobodies who had condemned Origen, and with it a humble, flattering letter, in which he intensely gratified the old bishop's egregious vanity by saying that he himself—Theophilus—had once been entangled in Origenistic errors, from which the learned wisdom of Epiphanius had liberated him as a bird out of the snare of the fowler. Would not the saintly Bishop of Salamis once more save the world and the Church by summoning a Council to anathematise Origen and forbid all men to read his books? Would he not, especially, save Constantinople and the Eastern world from its heretical Patriarch, who, with the Tall Brothers, was perverting his diocese with the Origenistic heresies which Epiphanius had long ago refuted?

Epiphanius scented the heresy-hunt from afar, and went over to Theophilus with a bound. Egregiously duped both as to facts and opinions, and completely blinded to his own non-jurisdiction and incompetence in the matter, he summoned his suffragans, and summarily anathematised Origen and all his works.

To Epiphanius the sole norm of orthodoxy was agreement with himself. If anyone had a religious opinion which differed from his own he was 'a' wrang, and a' wrang, and a'thegither a' wrang'; and was not only a' wrang, but also perverse, blind, ignorant, and presumably wicked. He is in this respect one of the commonest of ecclesiastical types.

Theophilus sent the decree of this ignorant synod and of his own to Chrysostom with another curt and insolent letter; but he, seeing through the plot, and profoundly uninterested in 'the fury of the theological insects' who were crawling over the sacred dust of Origen, put aside the whole matter as a petty dispute which did not concern him, and sent no reply.

Nettled at the unconcern which Chrysostom showed respecting his decisions—an unconcern due only to the fact that he was no more Origenistic than most of the wisest and ablest Fathers of the Church had been—Epiphanius now accepted the suggestion that, though he was eighty, he should go in person to Constantinople, and set things in order in the diocese of a superior in which he had not the least legitimate footing. He braved the dangerous winds, sailed through the Cyclades, and landed near the Church of St. John the Baptist at the Hebdomon.

From that moment his whole career at the capital was foolish and disorderly. He officiated and preached at the church, and, as he had done in the Diocese of Jerusalem, again flagrantly violated all ecclesiastical rule by ordaining a deacon. In spite of this, Chrysostom and his clergy received him with the respect due to his age and saintliness, and the Patriarch invited him to share his hospitality.

'Not unless you swear to excommunicate the Tall Brothers and anathematise Origen,' said Epiphanius, rudely. 'Nay,' said Chrysostom, 'as regards that question we must await the decision of a General Council.'

'Very well,' said the Bishop; 'then I shall go to a private lodging prepared for me by the agents of Theophilus.'

In spite of this petulant rebuff Chrysostom, in forbearance to a senility intoxicated with the sense of its own self-importance, sent Philip to the lodging of Epiphanius, the next morning, to invite him to take part in the service of St. Sophia.

'Tell your master,' said Epiphanius, 'that I cannot lend the sanction of my authority to heresy.'

Philip was unwilling to carry back so crude an insult. Bowing and reddening, he asked, 'Has your Dignity no further answer to the request of the Patriarch?'

'None,' said Epiphanius.

'He may be a saint,' said Philip, indignantly, to Eutyches, who awaited him outside, 'but he is certainly a churl.'

But Epiphanius, as if he held in his hand the keys of all the creeds, invited every bishop who happened to be at Constantinople, denounced Origen with all his might, and induced not a few of them to subscribe to his condemnation, though they knew as little about Origen as Epiphanius himself. All, however, were not so flexible. Among them was Theotimus, Metropolitan of Scythia, whose holiness of life and loving magnanimity at Tomi, on the Euxine—famous as the scene of Ovid's exile—had won the Goths to devout admiration, and had even softened his savage neighbours, the Huns, who, struck with the loving homage by which he was surrounded, called him, in their ignorance, 'the God of the Romans.' Saint and confessor, he had even acquired a reputation for working miracles, and when he rose, wearing the long locks which he had never cut, there was silence among the bishops. Educated in Greece, Theotimus had carried some of the works of Origen to his Scythian see, and there read them with profound advantage. He drew one of these manuscripts from his bosom; and read aloud page after page of teachings full of depth and beauty. 'Is this the man whom you want us to anathematise?' he asked; 'this saint, whose holy teaching abounds in high and orthodox instruction? To condemn him thus indiscriminately is to condemn the sacred books, which he expounded as no one else has done so wisely. If you find anything wrong in his books, reject it; but do not because of it obliterate all the abounding good.'

It was, however, useless to appeal to men whose condemnation was due either to ignorant prejudice, opiniated misconception, or hateful ends; and Epiphanius himself felt that such condemnation was of very little avail. He wanted to appeal to the people, who received him with veneration, and he actually had the temerity to announce that he would preach a sermon against the errors of Chrysostom in one of his own churches—the Church of the Apostles. But even Chrysostom, with all his boundless forbearance towards the intrusive old man, now found it necessary to interfere with an act of infatuation which might well have caused a tumult dangerous to Epiphanius himself. He sent Serapion to inhibit him.

'Bishop,' said Serapion. 'you have acted, and are acting, with discourtesy and irregularity. Be warned in time, or you must take the consequences.'

The firm rebuke made Epiphanius pause in his wilfulness; and he received another from the Empress herself. At this time her little son, Theodosius II., fell ill, and in her usual devotion to strange bishops she sent to ask the Bishop of Salamis to pray for him. 'Tell her,' said the old man—whom we can hardly regard as responsible for his actions—'that the child will live if she ceases to favour heresies and heretics.' The Empress was justly offended. 'Tell him,' she replied, 'that my child's life is in God's hands, not in his.' Such, however, was her superstition that she sent for one of the Tall Brothers, and asked him to speak to the aged Bishop.

All four of them went to him. He had never seen one of them before.

'Has your Sanctity ever seen one of our disciples,' asked Ammonius, 'or read one of our books?'

'Never,' said Epiphanius.

'Ought you not, then, to have done so before you judged us?' said the hermit. 'We have 382 done so as regards you. We have spoken to your disciples; we have read your "Anchor of the Faith." There are many who condemn you as a heretic, and we have ever maintained your orthodoxy; yet you vituperate us without ever having cared to ascertain our real opinions!'

At last the eyes of the old man were opened. He saw that he had been hasty, uncharitable, unjust; he saw that he had made himself the deluded victim of a wicked intrigue aimed by bad men against the righteous and the good. The moment he was convinced of his folly he threw up his unintentional share in proceedings so nefarious, grieved that the last conspicuous act of his life should have been so little to his credit. He hastened to return to Salamis. Some bishops accompanied him to his vessel. His disillusioned bitterness found vent in his farewell words to them. 'I leave you,' he said, 'your capital, and your palace, and your theatrical hypocrisy. I depart from you. I haste, I haste away.'

He and Chrysostom parted in mutual anger. He was the wronger; Chrysostom the wronged. Yet he would not apologise or admit how egregiously he had been in the wrong. 'I hope you will not die a bishop,' said he to Chrysostom. 'I do not think you will ever arrive at home,' replied the Patriarch. Let us drop a veil over the dissensions of saints—for even saints err. ONE only was without sin. If the words were ever spoken, they were sadly fulfilled.

They are the last recorded words of Epiphanius. He did not survive the voyage home, but died on board ship, his death being doubtless hastened by chagrin at his total failure, and by self-humiliation at his unjustifiable and arrogant intermeddling with affairs which did not belong to him, and questions which he was too prejudiced and ordinary to understand.

So far, then, Chrysostom had behaved with wisdom, self-repression, and generous forbearance, and had triumphed almost without striking a blow. But now he fell into one of those errors of judgment which are so venial, yet so fatal. A mistake in this world is often far more ruinous than a crime.

For this was the unfortunate moment which he chose to launch another of his impassioned diatribes at the worldliness, the luxury, the intrigues, the meretricious bedizenment of wealthy and high-born women. The sermon has not come down to us; perhaps it was purposely suppressed by the shorthand-writers, lest it should bring them into trouble. But it was at once perverted and misquoted, and reported to the Augusta in the most malignant form, as though it had been deliberately intended for a flagrant attack upon herself. Indeed, Chrysostom could hardly allude in the most distant and historic way to Elijah and Jezebel without being accused of glorifying himself and fixing treasonable nicknames on the Empress.

This sort of travesty of what he had said had become so normal that he had chosen as his third amanuensis an excellent youth, named Kallias, who had made himself so skilled a reporter that no 'swift writer' in Constantinople could equal him in rapidity and accuracy. Left an orphan in early years, he had been trained in a monastery; but finding as he grew to boyhood that he had no vocation for the monastic life, he had ardently thrown himself into the task of 'reporting' as a means of gaining a livelihood. Nothing which could be called 'shorthand' then existed, but Kallias could practically take down an entire speech or sermon in such a way as enabled him afterwards, by the aid of memory, to write it out exactly as it had been delivered. It is to Kallias that we owe the preservation of many of Chrysostom's later homilies; and sometimes, by referring to the reports of Kallias, the Archbishop was able effectually to refute—when he deigned to do so—the hideous parodies of what he really had said which were falsely attributed to him.

Kallias had been with Philip and Eutyches at the delivery of the sermon on the sinful extravagances of women, and Philip saw at once that it was fraught with peril. As he walked out with the two other youths he said: 'We shall hear again of that sermon. Oh that our Patriarch had more of the serpent's wisdom with the dove's harmlessness!'

'He would say, I suppose,' answered Eutyches, 'as I have often heard him say, that he can only speak what it is given him to speak at the time.'

'Not for one moment do I presume to blame him,' said Philip. 'But these sermons will be his ruin.'

'But what can be done?' asked Eutyches. 'This sermon will be represented to Eudoxia in a way which will make her mad. What says Kallias?'

'I have done what little I could,' said Kallias. 'I noticed that the only other "swift writer" present was Phocas, who reports for Severian. I know him of old. I have observed that he purposely introduces malignant words and touches, or gives a turn to sentences which they never had in the context.'

'Oh! as for that,' said Philip, 'I had not been a month in Constantinople before I found out that the normal way of criticism was to attribute to an opponent something which might pass for what he said. A word or two here and there, culled out of separate sentences, and pieced together as a quotation, makes smart criticism, and a splendid basis for attacking a man whose real words were wholly different.'

'Exactly,' said Kallias; 'and that is what Phocas tries to do in the interests of Severian. But to-day someone has spoiled his little game.'

'How?'

'Oh! there was a great crowd as we left the Cathedral, and Phocas was sitting on a chair at one side, trying to write out his notes, when someone upset his inkstand right over all his tablets, so that he cannot possibly make them out.'

'Someone,' said Philip, laughing. 'Oh, Kallias!'

'Well,' answered Kallias, blushing a little, 'I really thought it quite fair after all his deliberate scoundreldom.'

'It won't prevent gossips from retailing the sermon to the Empress under the worst guise, I fear,' said Eutyches.

'No, Eutyches, it won't. The days are darkening round us. I expect that before long we shall have to say with the Maccabees, "Let us die in our simplicity."'

The youths were right. Eudoxia was informed that Chrysostom had savagely preached at her in St. Sophia. The information, purposely distorted by Epigraphia and the bishops, monks, and priests, drove her into one of the paroxysms of rage to which she yielded without restraint. Hitherto she had sided with the Tall Brothers, and it was she who had induced Arcadius to summon Theophilus before a synod for judgment. Now the Tall Brothers and 385

their wrongs were nothing to her. She wrote to Theophilus, urging him to come with as many Egyptian 'bishops' (so-called) as he could scrape together, and to come with the express object of destroying Chrysostom.

And his bad heart exulted, and he felt sure that at last the hour for revenge had come!


XLV. — EPISCOPAL CONSPIRATORS

Slander the stylus, Treason plied the knife;
And, preaching peace, Religion practised strife.

—Lord Lytton, Chronicles and Characters.

Theophilus sent his twenty-eight bishops by sea. Strange bishops they were! Men with the names of barbarous Egyptian gods, bishops of collections of mud huts and crocodile swamps on the banks of the Nile, bishops ignorant of everything in the choir of heaven and the furniture of earth, and so completely subservient to their wicked and terrorising Patriarch that at a crook of his finger they would have been prepared to condemn Athanasius himself. And these were the men who, at the instigation of his deadliest enemies, were in his own diocese to sit in judgment on the chief Patriarch of the East, the greatest saint, orator, and writer of his age, in the teeth of the decisions of the bishops assembled around him, more, and more honourable than they—among whom were seven metropolitans.

The Egyptians were to await their Patriarch at Chalcedon, where their dull and blind animosities might be daily exacerbated by the diatribes of Bishop Cyrinus, who never spoke of Chrysostom except as the arrogant, the ruthless, and the heretical.

Theophilus himself came more leisurely by land. He did this with an object. On the one hand, he left the evil leaven to work; on the other, he could gather conspirators in the Churches of Syria and Asia Minor, who received him with adulations because of his high rank, and to whom he sedulously announced that he was on his way to depose the Patriarch of Constantinople. His attempt, however, was not very successful. In addition to his twentyeight Egyptian parasites he only inveigled seven others from Armenia, Persia, and Mesopotamia. It would have been well for the unhappy Bishop of Chalcedon if one of these had never come. It was Maruthas, Bishop of Mesopotamia. He was a man of slouching gait and elephantine proportions, who wore heavy boots. Cyrinus was sitting on a divan with his legs outstretched before him. Maruthas, as he came blundering in, trod with all his weight on one of the feet of Cyrinus. The Bishop uttered a shriek of pain. The points of the iron nails, with which the boots of Maruthas were shod, wounded his foot in four or five places. The result was as though all the venom in the blood of Cyrinus had flowed into those wounds, in order to wreak upon him the vengeance of God. The wounds gangrened. It became necessary to amputate his foot; and it must be remembered that in those days there were no anæsthetics. The stump gangrened again; and it was again necessary to make an amputation at the knee. The leg gangrened again. There was another amputation, and the wretched Bishop died. He took what part he could in the Synod of the Oak. He signed its childish and infamous decrees; but he was scarcely ever able to cross over to Constantinople to aid in its machinations, and men saw in his frightful and lingering death a mark of the wrath of God for the part which Cyrinus had taken in the destruction of His saint.

On Thursday, at noon, in July, 403, Theophilus, accompanied by his twentyeight suffragans, crossed the Bosporus, and landed at a quay known as the Chalcedonian Stairs. All the Egyptian corn-ships were decked with streamers; all the Egyptian sailors received him with acclamations. He traversed the city to the Pera district, where the Empress had assigned to his use the palace named Placidiana, on the other side of the Golden Horn. In passing the Patriarcheion he disdainfully refused the hospitality offered with all courtesy to him and his bishops by Chrysostom. He would not even follow the custom of entering the church to join in Communion. 'This,' said Chrysostom to his friends, 'is nothing less than a declaration of open war.'

It is to Palladius, Bishop of Helenopolis, as well as to the letter of Chrysostom to Pope Innocent, that we owe our knowledge of these events. Theophilus, says the lively Palladius, had come from Egypt like a dung-beetle, except that the load which he rolled before him consisted of the loveliest and sweetest products of Egypt and Arabia, which were to be used to create the stench of hatred and envy. At the Placidiana the Alexandrian prelate lived en prince, winning courtiers and clergy alike by superb banquets and subtle flatteries, and working in concert with the monkish, clerical, and feminine cabals which sat in permanence at the house of Epigraphia. He soon got hold of tools who would admirably serve his purpose: the deacon John, excommunicated by Chrysostom for murdering his servant, and another deacon who had been condemned for adultery. He was also effectually aided by the three widows—Marsa, Castricia, and Epigraphia—and their clientéle, consisting of Severian of Gabala, Antiochus of Ptolemais, and Acacius of Berœa, together with the mass of the corrupt clergy of Constantinople and the concubines whom they called their 'spiritual sisters.' Theophilus felt no doubt of the result, despite the scruples of Arcadius, to whom it seemed strange that a number of unknown Egyptians, headed by a Patriarch accused of enormous delinquencies, should have come to his own capital to accuse his own Patriarch, whom, whatever might be his errors, Arcadius knew to be a saint. Moreover, at this moment the five previous emissaries of Theophilus were under sentence of death for libel, and it was only by bribery that he secured the modification of their sentence into relegation to Proconnesus. This, however, was a trifle; for Eudoxia, not Arcadius, was the real emperor. The people, it is true, were dead against the intruders and their own apostate clergy; but Theophilus secured his personal safety by getting from the Empress a guard of honour.

It was, nevertheless, obvious that no Council adverse to Chrysostom could sit at Constantinople without danger of a riot, and Severian recommended its transference to the neighbouring Chalcedon, where it could be held in the superb palace of Rufinus, possessed years afterwards by Belisarius. Here the murdered Minister of Arcadius had built a magnificent church, called the Apostolæum, in honour of St. Peter and St. Paul; and hither he had, ten years earlier, summoned Ammonius, the eldest of the Tall brothers, as the man whose reputation was the saintliest in the Empire, to perform his baptism. The palace was called 'The Oak,' and the synod now held there was perhaps the most contemptible and infamous known in all the annals of the Church. It proposed to take in hand three questions—the accusations against Chrysostom; the affair of the Tall Brothers; and a charge of having stolen a deacon's clothes brought against Heracleides, whom Chrysostom had made Metropolitan of Ephesus. This 'Synod of the Oak' was known as the Alexandrian party; the larger synod of bishops gathered round Chrysostom in the Thomaites was called the 'Johannites,' and, among others, comprised among its members no less than seven metropolitans. There was scarcely an ecclesiastical offence against the Nicene canons respecting episcopal jurisdiction which this paltry and wicked synod of the Oak, relying on Court patronage, did not openly violate. Summoning before it the Constantinopolitan clergy, with outrageous impudence, it first considered the charges against Chrysostom, preserved for us by the industry of St. Proclus, who was then a young reader, but who, thirty years afterwards, became his successor in the See of Constantinople.

John, the deacon excommunicated for homicide, accused Chrysostom, among other things, of having fettered a monk as a demoniac; of having embezzled, sold, or diverted by malversation the possessions of the Church; of having published a book full of insults against the clergy; of having charged the deacons with the theft of his gallium; of having ordained as bishop a grave- robber named Antonius; of having betrayed Count John to the soldiery, of entering and leaving church without prayer; of receiving women alone; of ordaining men without witnesses; of secret 'Cyclopean orgies'; of violences and irregularities in Asia; of having smitten Memnon in the face in the Church of the Twelve Apostles, and made him bleed; of having put on his bishop's robes as he sat on his throne; and of having eaten a pastille before the Holy Communion.

To these Isaac the Monk, a worthy coadjutor of the homicide, added that he had favoured the Origenists; that he had used such expressions as 'The Table of the Church is full of 390 Furies'; and 'I am mad with love'; and 'If you sin again, repent again'; and that 'If Christ's prayer was not heard, He had not prayed aright'—and that he stirred up the people to sedition.

Isaac's charges were chiefly concocted out of disconnected and meaningless scraps fished out of the turbid waters of notes of sermons garbled by Phocas, the reporter, suborned by the malign influence of Severian of Gabala. They were about as fair and about as true as a criticism of an ecclesiastical opponent written by an anonymous clerical reviewer in a modern Church newspaper.

These libels—a heterogeneous amalgam of frivolities and lies—were redacted, on the suggestion of the two renegades, by a pen skilful in the manipulation of slander—that of Theophilus himself. No one regarded these preposterous charges as anything more than convenient implements of unscrupulous malignity. Those which possessed even a shadow of foundation were obviously steeped in the venom of misrepresentation. Pope Innocent and the whole Catholic world afterwards characterised them as ridiculous and contemptible.

There are accusations to which a noble-minded man, conscious of his own blameless integrity, cannot reply, because he feels them to be beneath his notice. To scarcely one of all these forty or more accusations did the Archbishop deign to allude. What need was there for the most abstemious man in Constantinople, whose habitual diet consisted of bread and vegetables, and who ordinarily drank nothing but water to declare that he was not given to 'Cyclopean orgies'? What did it boot for a man notoriously indifferent to money to prove that what he had withdrawn from luxury he had expended on beneficence? No one, except a couple of perjurers of notoriously bad character, pretended to vouch for even the least serious charges. It was only afterwards that Chrysostom, in a private letter, said that the immorality with which he was infamously charged had for him long been a physical impossibility. It strangely illustrates the depths of anile superstition into which the Church had fallen from the simplicity of the Gospel that the one charge which Chrysostom seemed to feel most was that of having eaten a lozenge before the Holy Communion. This infinitely frivolous accusation of a purely imaginary sin he repudiated with strong asseverations, although he naturally adds that, even were it true, he would have done nothing but what Christ and the Apostles themselves did when they partook of the first and holiest of all Holy Communions, at the immediate conclusion of a meal.

Yet, strange to say, while the scoundrelly Synod of the Oak was jubilant, the more numerous band of bishops gathered round the Patriarch in the Thomaites was painfully depressed. The reason of this was their certainty that Theophilus and his hirelings were backed by the Court and by the majority of the evil- minded clergy. 'Pray for me, dear brethren,' said Chrysostom, when he heard the hideous list of charges brought against him, and knew that as regards some of them it would be difficult to extricate himself without injury, because 'A lie which is half a truth is ever the greatest of lies.' 'Pray for me, for I am in the toils of Satan. My God have mercy on me!' The bishops, on hearing these sad words, melted into tears, and, amid the sound of general sobbing—for they had all heard the rumour that the Patriarch would be executed for treason—they poured round him, kissing his eyes, his eloquent lips, his sacred head.

'Nay,' he said. 'What! mean ye to weep and to break my heart? What is life but a dream, a shadow, a vapour, a nothing less than nothing? Have I not sold this world that I may win eternal life? Does my lot differ in any respect, in its miseries and persecutions, from that of the Patriarchs, the Prophets, or the Apostles? What was the earthly reward of the Lord Himself at the hands of "Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites," but first to be called a Samaritan and a Beelzebub, and then to be crucified?'

If we weep,' said one of the bishops, 'it is because you leave us orphans and the Church a widow, while we see her laws trampled and wickedness triumphant.'

'Enough, my brother,' answered Chrysostom, bringing down his right finger on the palm of his left hand. 'Do not leave your churches because of me. The Church never lacks a head. If you behead Paul, you leave Timothy, and many more.'

'Ah! but,' exclaimed another bishop, 'they will never leave us our churches without forcing us to communicate with them, and subscribe to your condemnation.'

'Communicate with them,' said Chrysostom, 'lest there should be a schism in the Church, but subscribe not, for I am innocent, and you would be setting your names to a lie.'

At this moment arrived two young Libyans from the Synod of the Oak, commanding John—to whom they did not even give his title of bishop—to appear before them, accompanied by Serapion and Tigrius.

The Council of the Patriarch sent their answer to Theophilus alone. 'Cease,' they said, 'to break the laws of the Church by intermeddling, contrary to thine own express letter, in a jurisdiction not thine own. Come thou before us. We are forty bishops, of whom seven are metropolitans. You are but thirty-six, of which twenty-nine are Egyptians.'

But to the Synod of the Oak—though more than three-fourths of its members were ignorant creatures of Theophilus, without name, without knowledge, without conscience, or consecrated only to multiply dishonest and dictated votes—Chrysostom wrote in his own name. He said that while he disdained their accusations, and denied their rights, he would yet appear in person before them if they would exclude from their body his avowed and open foes—Theophilus, Acacius, Antiochus, and Severian. Otherwise they might summon him a thousand times, and it would be vain.

Three of Chrysostom's bishops and two priests were sent with these replies. Then came a message from the Palace with an order from Arcadius that 'John was to appear before the Synod.' Chrysostom gave his reasons for refusing. Next entered the monk Isaac and a priest of Constantinople, Eugenius—whose treachery to his master had been rewarded with a bishopric—who once more curtly cited him. It is well that he did not go, for the synod of bishops at the Oak had been transformed, like the robber-synod of Ephesus in later days, into an assembly of brutal assassins. One of Chrysostom's three episcopal envoys was beaten; the dress of the second was torn off his back; the third was fettered with the chains which had been intended for Chrysostom himself, and was sent adrift in a boat among the currents of the Bosporus!—These were your Christian bishops!

But as Arcadius seemed to be wavering they now pressed Chrysostom with the charge brought by the monk Isaac, that he had been guilty of high treason by calling Eudoxia 'Jezebel.' He had called her nothing of the kind, though, having lauded her merits with earnest warmth when she seemed worthy of praise, he had warned her of the perils of her imperious passion. In its twelfth session the wretched Synod unanimously condemned the Patriarch, and sent their condemnation to the Emperor, saying, in a style of hypocritic ecclesiastical tenderness worthy of Torquemada and the 'Holy' Inquisition, that while they dethroned John for contumacy in refusing to appear before them, they would leave the Emperor to deal with the capital charge of high treason. In Spanish Papal fashion they handed him over—so kind and tender were these holy men!—to the secular arm.

The next matter for them to settle was the affair of the Tall Brothers. By this time the Presbyter Isidore was dead; the Bishop Dioscorus was also dead; Ammonius was fast dying, and could not answer the citation of the Synod. Theophilus went through the grotesque comedy of a reconciliation with the two surviving brothers, who were of the least courage and of little comparative account. He beslobbered them with crocodile tears; allowed them to return to the monastery of Skete; afforded them his gracious forgiveness for the murderous wrongs which he had inflicted upon them; and declared that he had never met so admirable a monk as their brother, Ammonius! After this abhorrent farce the absence of Heracleides of Ephesus prevented them from proceeding any further with his case. And as for Origen, Theophilus resumed his former studies of the Alexandrian exegete, and being one day caught reading one of the treatises which on pain of excommunication he had ordered to be everywhere burnt, pleasantly remarked that in reading Origen he culled the flowers and neglected the thorns!

Meanwhile Arcadius ordered Chrysostom to depart, but took no step to insure the fulfilment of the order, because the multitude in their serried ranks protected the Patriarcheion day and night, exactly as they had protected Ambrose at Milan from the troops of the Empress Justina. Before the palace- gates of Arcadius they shouted, 'We will have a true Council! We will have a General Council to try and acquit the Archbishop.' They also filled the streets and churches with the wail of their entreating litanies.

The second day after the sentence of the Synod, the showy hypocrite Severian had the impudence to mount a pulpit in one of the churches and declaim against Chrysostom, saying that he ought to be deposed for his pride alone, if for nothing else, since—so said this peculiarly humble conspirator!—pride is of all things most hateful to God. Such was the fury of the congregation at this barefaced effrontery that they rose in a mass and chased the wily, oily impostor out of the city so precipitately that he barely had time to make his way back to the Bosporus, and fly with all speed to the diocese on which he considered his brilliant talents to be so miserably thrown away.

But on the way he thought better of it. Gabala was not yet to enjoy the light of his countenance. In hopes of a reaction he hid himself, with his precious colleagues, Antiochus and Acacius, in the house of Cyrinus. The gangrene of which the Bishop of Chalcedon was dying by inches was hardly more intolerable than the black thoughts of these episcopal conspirators.

Chrysostom, on the other hand, was escorted by the multitude from his palace to the Basilica, and there addressed them. 'My brethren,' he said, 'the waves beat on the rock, but they can only shatter themselves to foam on its impregnable bases. The billows curl over the ship; how can they submerge it when Jesus is on board? Fear not for me. What have I to fear? Death? To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain! Exile? The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof. The plundering of my goods? I brought nothing into this world, and certainly I shall carry nothing out. I despise that which makes many tremble. I laugh at the riches and the honours which many covet. Wealth and poverty to me are both alike; and if I desire to live, it is solely if I may be of use to you. God has united us. Tyrants have endeav- 395

oured ere now to crush the Church. Where are they now? They have sunk to silence and oblivion, but the sun still flames in the zenith even where clouds have overshadowed it. Tyrants have tried to subdue even young maidens with iron teeth, and their faith remained unshaken by torture. Believe me, these storms and threatenings are but as a spider's web. As for the Empire and its laws, all is turning to dishonour——'

The word had scarcely passed his lips when a sort of wave of emotion which passed over the people showed him that the word adoxia, which he had unwittingly used for 'dishonour,' was capable of being regarded as a deadly insult to the Empress Eudoxia; though he had not in the least intended it. It was so reported to her, and the next morning a Count of the Palace came to demand, in the name of the Emperor, the instant departure of the Patriarch. A boat, he was informed, awaited him at the 'Chalcedonian Stairs,' and, if he resisted, the spearmen were ready to 'carry him off by force.'

By force! Chrysostom saw at once that the attempt to use force would mean a bloody battle between the troops and the populace, perhaps even a terrible revolution. He could not tolerate the thought that blood should be shed on his account. He determined to surrender himself secretly. He sent Philip to the Count of the Palace to inform him of his determination. The Count entrusted the management of the affair to a detective. There seems to be no better word for the officer who is called a curiosus. Under his guardianship Chrysostom slipped out of a secret gate at the back of St. Sophia about noon, and, accompanied only by Philip, was placed in hiding in a neighbouring house. At nightfall the detective led them to the boat, where the Count awaited them. They were recognised, but the Patriarch by his authority suppressed all attempts at a rescue, though multitudes attended him to the vessel and broke into loud cries against the Empress and the Court.

It was now the end of September, 403. Next morning the whole city was like a church, for the poor of every age and of both sexes poured out of their houses with tears and lamentations. In the midst of this wild excitement the victorious Theophilus, with his guard of soldiers, took possession of Constantinople like a conqueror, scattering excommunications among the friends of Chrysostom, and bishoprics or other dignities among his own adherents. He ordered the perjured priests who had betrayed their Patriarch to take repossession of the churches from which they had been expelled; but the crowd prevented their ingress, and each church was barricaded like a citadel. His own attempt to enter St. Sophia led to a violent outbreak. The monks, whose vices and furies Chrysostom had so scathingly exposed, were all on the side of the Egyptian, and fought for him. The soldiers turned against 'the black men,' as they contemptuously called them. Blood flowed like water in the sanctuaries, yells of fury resounded in the place of prayer and hymns, the very baptismal fonts were stained with blood. The Patriarch of Alexandria, coward no less than tyrant, was filled with terror. The people were shouting after him, and declaring that they would without hesitation pitch him into the sea. He fled in disguise and in horrible alarm to Chalcedon, and there, hastily embarking with his twenty-eight miserable suffragans, fled back to Egypt.

Ipse suum cor edens, hominum vestigia vitans.

The detestable arch-monk, Isaac, accompanied him in his flight, and thenceforth, to our relief, vanishes into the midnight, with the scourge of an accusing conscience sounding over him and the clutch of the demons on his gilded and essenced hair.


XLVI. — THE EARTHQUAKE

Ktupese men Zeus chthonios, hai de parthenoi
rhigesan hos ekousan.

—Sophocles, Oed. Col. 1606.

Philip had been permitted to accompany his beloved father and master when he was conveyed by the Count of the Palace across the Bosporus; and his heart was full of an anguish too deep for tears. All the long future seemed for him to be not only uncertain, but smitten with a blight. What would come of this banishment? Would Chrysostom ever be recalled? Where would be his future? He could never desert the Patriarch while his services were so indispensable; but thoughts of Miriam, and doubts whether he should ever see her again, mingled with his more unselfish grief.

He was amazed at the cheerfulness of the Patriarch. Here he was, hurled from his high estate, defeated by his enemies, an exile, horribly calumniated, not knowing what a day might bring forth, and yet he uttered no word of lamentation, and could speak to Philip with a smile.

But Philip was aware that what supported his master was 'the strongsiding champion, conscience.' He might have made, he had made, many errors of judgment; he had yielded to occasional impatience and irritability, caused chiefly by his severe bodily self-denial, both in the past and in the present; but of any sins such as those with which he had been charged by the foul Synod of Theophilus and its hired assassins of the truth he was wholly innocent. He felt that but for his magnanimity and self-repression nothing would have been more inevitable than a massacre in the capital, a revolution in the Empire, a schism in the Church. This had only been averted by his voluntary surrender.

They were landed at a place called 'The Shrine,' not far from Chalcedon. The Count remained; the guards went back across the Bosporus. When they were alone, Chrysostom 398 said to Philip, 'My son, I do not like to remain in this place. It is too near Chalcedon. In the neighbourhood of Cyrinus and Severian I do not feel my life secure. If you will go and hire me a boat, dark as it is, we can sail at once to Prœnetus, on the Gulf of Astacus, opposite Nicomedia. There my friend Palladius has two relatives who own a little farm, and there we shall be safe.'

Not a moment was to be lost. Philip found a boat. Wind and current were favourable, and before midnight they found themselves hospitably sheltered in the farm, and treated by the relatives of Palladius with the utmost courtesy and reverence.

But Philip's heart was heavy. 'My father,' he asked, what will Kallias do, and poor Eutyches, and old Phlegon, and your servants? Will the Emperor and the clergy appoint a new Patriarch? Where will you live?'

'My boy,' said Chrysostom, 'when you have reached my age you will learn to say with all your heart, " Be not over-anxious about to-morrow. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." As for you, and Kallias, and Eutyches, and my old servants, perhaps—who knows?—we may all be allowed to go back to Antioch, and live in Singon Street. I cannot tell. God will provide.'

'Oh! that will be like heaven after that horrible, guilty city,' said Philip; and then he became sad and silent.

'Now, Philip,' said the Patriarch, cheerfully, 'turn your attention for the moment to this excellent supper which our friends have provided. It is much better than you would have had at the Patriarcheion, and a young appetite like yours should be ready for it, since it is long since you broke your fast.'

'I am thinking,' said Philip, 'that you will no longer be the great Patriarch of Constantinople.'

'Nay, Philip, grieve not for my sake on that account. There can never be real greatness for anyone except such as is inherent in himself. Honours and titles cannot make a little man great, nor can the deprivation of them make a great man little. And what are we at the best but dust and ashes? Can gilding add to their true value? If it be so, God will have relieved me of an enormous burden. My elevation was the worst misfortune which ever befell me. And what are rank or wealth to one whose chosen home was once a damp cavern? Tell me, Philip, don't you think we were much happier in the little house at Antioch?'

'Yes, father, I look back to those blessed days. There you were not surrounded by the hatred of the bad and the lies of the contemptible. Whenever I think of Constantinople, it seems to me like that monster, composed of hissing serpents, which Hannibal saw crashing after him in his dreams.'

'Well, then, let us kneel down, my boy, and I will pray for you, and myself, and our beloved Desposyni, and Eutyches, and all of us; and then we will sleep as peacefully as happy children who have laid all their cares on God.'

They knelt. He poured out his soul aloud in simple prayer. Then they retired to rest, and slept long and soundly—the youth sleeping at his father's feet.

It was high dawn when they awoke refreshed, and prepared for whatever the day might bring forth.

How differently had been the night spent by their enemies! Theophilus, sick in body and sick in heart, was tossing on the stormy waves with his twenty- eight creatures, feeling foiled and humiliated for all his semblable victory, and still hearing in his dreams the howls of the angry populace, emphasising the unrest of his own conscience, which barked within him like a furious Cerberus. Severian, as he tossed on his sleepless couch, farther (it seemed) than ever from the accomplishment of his personal ambitions, felt, with agony of mind, that he was a mean and degraded impostor. Cyrinus lay sick, body and soul, nigh unto death, with the anguish of his amputation, which was beginning to gangrene afresh. Qualms of conscience disturbed the slumbers of Antiochus of Ptolemais. The old Acacius of Berœa wished, with a sigh, that his long white hair and venerable aspect could gain from himself the reverence which it won from others. All were troubled; but none of them repented. And in the palace of the Emperor and Empress all night long there was tumult and wild affright.

For about the time that they retired to rest they heard from the Hebdomon the first moaning rumblings of an earthquake, and felt that first, indescribable shivering of the ground which, more than any other power of Nature, reduces man to imbecility and paralyses him with terror. The shocks increased in violence as they moved towards the centre of the city, and at last, again and again, the Palace was shaken as though its walls were smitten with palsy. To Eudoxia the bodily alarm was tenfold intensified by superstitious horror. Was it not obvious, she thought, that this earthquake was sent by God in vengeance upon her for the wrongs which she had inflicted on His servant, the Patriarch? The violence of the earthquake, which reduced their Imperial Eternities to the level of the humblest slaves in their palace, seemed to concentrate itself in the bedchamber of Eudoxia. She lay pale and palpitating, too agitated even to pray, suffering in her terror a thousand deaths, till at last, at a shock more violent than those before, she heard the wall of her chamber crack terrifically, her bed was tilted over, and she fell shrieking on the floor.

Her attendants, pale and horror-stricken as herself, came rushing in to her assistance.

'Throw my upper robes over me,' she gasped. 'Take me, take me to the Emperor!'

Arcadius had also been roused from his slumbers by the earthquake, and was sitting by his bedside limp and abject, with some of his trembling chamberlains around him, when Eudoxia burst in, half-dressed, with streaming hair, and, wildly clasping his knees, entreated him at once to recall the Patriarch. 'It is for our wickedness to him,' she cried and sobbed, 'that God has sent this earthquake to swallow us up quick like Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, who plotted against God's High Priest.'

'Our wickedness?' said the Emperor with intense pettishness. 'I never had any quarrel with John. He has always been loyal to me. I believe him to be a holy man. I respect him more than the whole crew of hypocrites. But for you, and your Korahs, Dathans, and Abirams like Severian and this dark-browed Egyptian meddler, the Patriarch and I would have been the best of friends. I never really supposed that he called you Jezebel, and so on. All that was the malignant nonsense of your widows and your priestly satellites.'

'Oh, recall him! recall him!' cried Eudoxia, or we shall all perish. This very moment let us send—'

Another rumble and shock, which seemed to make the Palace quiver to its foundations, left her shrieking and sobbing at the Emperor's feet.

'How can we send this very moment?' he answered, irritably. 'It is the dead of night; you hear outside the crash of falling buildings.'

'Well, then,' she said, 'by earliest dawn. Perhaps by that time the earthquake will have ceased. It may only have been meant to warn us.'

There seemed to be a pause in the shocks, and Eudoxia, a dishevelled and pitiable object, returned, not to her half-dismantled chamber, but to another which seemed to promise more security. No sooner had she gone than Arcadius angrily muttered to himself words which, had she heard them, might have cost him his life by poison or the dagger.

'This woman worries me,' he muttered. 'She gives me no rest; she keeps me in a ferment and a turmoil. I was never half so much worried in the days of Eutropius. With her one has no peace for a day at a time. Tumults and riots by day, earthquakes by night. She banishes the good Patriarch with curses one day, and recalls him with entreaties the next. I wish I had married Rufinus's daughter after all.'

And with such reflexions the miserable ruler of the world flung himself back upon his bed—but to sleep no more.

At earliest dawn the Empress despatched a messenger to the Patriarch at the Hieron with a letter in which, with sublime self-deceit and disregard of facts, she wrote: 'Let not your Sanctity think that I am responsible for what has happened to you. I am innocent of your blood. Bishops and wicked men have devised this plot against you. God, whom I serve, is the witness of the tears I shed for you. I forget not that by your hands my children have been baptised.'

But the messenger did not return, for he searched the Hieron for Chrysostom in vain. Then she sent another, and neither did he return. Then she despatched a third; and at last, in despair, she sent her Chamberlain Briso himself, who would, she knew, be welcome to Chrysostom as one of his personal friends. Briso was lucky enough to light on the boatman who had conveyed Chrysostom so quietly to Prœnetus, and he set sail to the Gulf of Astacus to find him.

Meanwhile the populace, wild with joy, heard that their beloved Patriarch was to be recalled, and that messengers had been sent to find him. They were disturbed and rendered suspicious by the non-return of the messengers, and determined to search for the Patriarch themselves. They hired every boat they could find, and, hearing that be was no longer at the Hieron, sailed to port after port in the neighbourhood.

There had been no earthquake at Prœnetus. Philip had awaked in a less gloomy mood from a refreshing sleep, and, as he dressed himself, he saw Chrysostom still placidly slumbering, with a smile upon his face. ' Thou shalt keep him in peace—peace,' he murmured, ' whose mind is stayed on Thee; because he trusteth in Thee.'

Going into the open air, he saw the waters of the Propontis sparkling in the morning sunlight, and white with unnumbered sails. He was perplexed. Something had evidently happened, though he could not conjecture what it was; but that they were searching for someone was evident, for they steered into one after another the ports which abounded on that populous shore. Was it for good or for evil? Who could say?

At last he saw a sail making all speed for Prœnetus. 'Now,' he thought, 'we shall know,' and he hurried in to tell his master.

'Look,' he said, 'Father, at all those sails! I cannot make out the cause of the excitement, but something must have occurred at Constantinople. We shall know in a few minutes, for a boat is even now pushing its beak into the port.'

'Go and meet it, Philip. Use your own judgment as to what is best to say or do, to make known or to conceal. I am prepared for whatever God may send.'

Philip went down to the shore, and gave a shout of joy, for on the prow of the boat stood Briso, waving an olive-branch. The kind-hearted eunuch recognised him with smiles which could betoken nothing but good-fortune.

Briso told the good news to Philip, who took him straight to the little farm. He handed to Chrysostom the letter of the Empress, and, barely waiting to snatch a hurried breakfast with them, insisted that Chrysostom should at once accompany him. He had already despatched messengers on every side to say that the Patriarch was found. Boats came flocking into the port, and when the Chamberlain and the Patriarch embarked, it was in the midst of an attendant flotilla of hundreds of shallops, of which the little crews burst into cheers as he passed. He was fully determined not to enter Constantinople itself, for there was the canon of a Council—though only an Arian Council, held at Antioch in 341—which forbade a bishop who had been deposed from entering his see until he was absolved by another Council. He therefore stopped in one of the suburbs named Mariana, where the Empress had a palace, which she placed at his disposal. The multitude was not, however, content with this, and being still in a state of excitement, continued to shout invectives against the Emperor and Empress. Eudoxia therefore sent him a most humbly earnest entreaty to lay aside his scruples; and Briso represented to him that the Antiochene canon could not in any case apply to the decision of a trumpery and violently irregular synod of intruders like the Synod of the Oak; that, even if it did, a larger number of bishops had absolved him; and that, in any case, the Imperial fiat was, under the circumstances, sufficient. Philip indignantly took the same view. 'Condemned by a Council, indeed!' he said. 'Begging your Beatitude's pardon—rubbish!' Philip always addressed his master as 'your Beatitude' when he was in bright spirits, and he laughed at the forefinger which Chrysostom shook at him in reproof.

The people settled the question by carrying off the Patriarch almost by force. By this time it was evening. They flocked out in myriads to escort him, and as every hand carried a torch, the procession looked like a river of fire. At their head was the Empress herself. She not only welcomed the Patriarch with effusion, but almost seemed to be joining in the festive 404

dances and cries of joy; and, strange to say, in the sight of all the people, she actually flung her arms round his neck! His return was splendid triumph. The Emperor was represented by his chief secretary. Hymns were sung which had been hastily written or adapted for the occasion. The general feeling towards the clergy who had betrayed and tried to ruin him was shown by the shouts of 'Bishop, purge thy clergy! Chase away the traitors.' No less than thirty bishops were among those who formed his escort. He was swept along by the rejoicing throng until they had entered the vast nave of St. Sophia. There, kneeling, and actually prostrate on the marble floor, they entreated him to give them his episcopal blessing. At last he did so, and promised to address them on the following morning. That evening his triumph seemed to be completed by his receipt of another letter from the Empress, in which she wrote in her impassioned way, 'My prayer is fulfilled; I have attained my purpose. It is to me a richer ornament than my diadem. I have brought back the priest. I have restored to the body its head, the pilot to the ship, the bridegroom to the bridal chamber.'

But, amid all this intoxication of enthusiasm, nothing more deeply moved the tender heart of the Archbishop than the unspeakable joy which his return caused in his own home and among his dearest friends. Most of these had been unable to get near him amid the dense and surging crowds. But now, in the Thomaites, stood old Phlegon and his dear, familiar servants, who dropped on their knees for his blessing; and Serapion, and Tigrius, and Germanus, and Proclus, and Cassian, and Bishop Palladius embraced him in their arms; and the youths who, like Philip, would have died for him—Kallias and Eutyches—kneeled down, took possession of either hand, covered them with kisses, and bathed them in tears, until he raised them up, and gave them with a full heart the kiss of peace.

On the following morning he addressed to a vast congregation the stillextant 'Homily after Return.' He spoke very sternly, yet not intemperately, of the brutal intrusion and viol- 405 ences of Theophilus. Of his many other enemies he took no notice, but passed them over in complete silence. Entirely deceived in the simplicity of his heart by the frantic simulation and dissimulation of Eudoxia, he spoke of her in terms of high eulogy. To his own faithful people he poured forth his soul in warmest gratitude.

After his sermon Eutyches, who was now an ordained 'reader,' took off the Archbishop's pallium, and hung it, as was the custom, round the neck of one of the statues of the Apostles. It was a band woven of the finest lambswool, three fingers broad, at the end of which hung thin flakes of lead, covered with black silk, on which were woven four crosses in red. It was fastened on each shoulder by three golden pins.

'Two days ago,' said the Patriarch, with a smile, 'I little deemed that I should ever again wear the episcopal pallium in this place. God has been very good to me.'

'I hope that I may help many a time to robe and disrobe your Dignity,' said the young reader.

In truth, at that moment the Emperor himself was hardly so powerful in his own capital as was the Patriarch. He at once resumed with all his accustomed strenuousness his manifold episcopal duties. To purge his clergy of scoundrels and traitors was an immediate necessity, and he did so with a firm hand; while at the same time he rewarded the true and faithful. The Deacon Tigrius was raised to the priesthood. Serapion was elavated to the Bishopric of Heraclea, vacant by the flight or deposition of Paul, whom, with a crocodile semblance of impartiality, Theophilus had nominally appointed president of the Synod of the Oak on the day when Chrysostom had been deposed.


BOOK V. DEFEAT IN VICTORY
AND VICTORY IN DEFEAT

Signor, non sotto l'ombra in piaggia molle,
Tra fonti e fior, tra Ninfe e tra Sirene,
Ma in cima all' erto a faticoso colle
Della virtù riposto è il nostro bene.

Tasso, Gir. Lib. 17. St. 61.


XLVII. — EUDOXIA'S STATUE

Envie is lavender to the Court alway,
For she departeth neither night nor day
Out of the house of Cæsar.

Chaucer, Prologue, Good Women.


Alas! the seeming peace was but the placidi pellacia ponti; it was but—

A stroke of cruel sunshine on the cliff,
When all the vales are drowned in azure gloom
Of thundershower;

for, on the one hand, Eudoxia was still Eudoxia, and between her and the Patriarch, so antipathetic to her in character and temperament, it was impossible that there should be longcontinued amity. What lasting concord could there be between a woman of insane and insatiable pride, whose Court reeked with intrigue and worldliness, and an Archbishop of dauntless courage and inflexible righteousness? And, on the other hand, Theophilus defeated all Chrysostom's attempts to secure by a competent General Council the reversal of the judgment passed upon him by the hateful Synod of the Oak. Arcadius summoned Theophilus to come to a General Council and answer the charges brought against him. But the Egyptian had not the least intention of again imperilling his sacred Hypocrisy among a populace intoxicated by affection for their Archbishop. He wrote back that, after having been driven out of Constantinople by mobs which threatened to fling him into the sea, he could not visit the city again; and that his own people were so devotedly attached to him that his departure would cause a riot at Alexandria!

So for two months things went on. A multitude of bishops to the number of sixty, as they could not be gathered in formal Council, declared informally their sense of Chrysostom's 410 innocence, and of the wicked nullity of the proceedings in the Synod of the Oak. Feeling that he had now done everything in his power to obey the laws of the Church and maintain its honour, Chrysostom devoted himself simply to the duties of his office.

But in September, 403, Eudoxia, whose ambition needed the burning of everfresh incense, procured for herself an honour of unheard-of extravagance which precipitated the destined catastrophe.

A person ignorant of human nature might have imagined that a halfbarbarian lady, daughter of a Frankish soldier, elevated by the intrigue of an eunuch to share the empire of the world, would have been reasonably satisfied. Further than this, she was mated to an indolent weakling, and had asserted over him an immense dominance. If she was not content with the actual autocracy, but wanted all its acknowledged paraphernalia, she had now obtained from her husband the highly coveted title of Augusta, which even the stately wife of the first Augustus had not received till late in life. She had also worried out of Arcadius the privilege of being 'adored' as well as himself. This half-pagan adoration was in reality a survival from the days when the emperor, as a sort of incarnation of the people, shared the worship addressed to the goddess Rome. This worship had never yet been accorded to a woman. The wives or other nearest female relatives of emperors were only supposed to gleam with a reflected lustre, and to receive from him any sacro-sanctity which they might possess. The concession of such a distinction to a semi-barbarous nobody like Eudoxia involved the parading of her statue for something barely distinguishable from Divine honours in every city of the Empire. This might be tolerated in the sluggish and servile East, but it so utterly offended the sensitive dignity of the Western world that Honorius made it a subject of energetic remonstrance with his elder brother—a remonstrance which Arcadius treated with his usual masterly inactivity and with sullen contempt.

But even this did not suffice Eudoxia. Working on Simplicius, the Præfect of the City, and on the leading senators, she induced the Senate to vote her a statue of unsurpassed 411 magnificence in the most prominent site of the whole city.

It was in the Augusteum itself, between the Imperial Palace and the Cathedral of St. Sophia, from which it was only separated by the breadth of the grandest thoroughfare in the capital. It was reared on a platform of many- coloured marble, where stood the Rostra, from which on great occasions the Emperor addressed the Senate, the people, and the army.

Here, then, the statue was erected. First there was a massive stylobate. It still exists, for it was dug up in 1848. It preserves, on one side in Latin prose, on the other in Greek hexameters, the fulsome laudations of the upstart and eminently undeserving Empress. On this pedestal was reared a column of porphyry; and on the summit of the column stood a figure of Eudoxia in solid silver, menacing Church and Senate, and populace and city, with her gesture of command.

It was customary, as we learn from a law of Theodosius II., to inaugurate the statues of imperial personages on Sundays or feast-days; and the sort of semi-idolatrous cult bestowed upon them so deeply scandalised the Christian conscience that, in the days of Eudoxia's son, it was forbidden by edict. Further than this, we learn from the extant discussion between a Christian and Apollonius, a philosopher, that the abject honour paid to such statues made the heathen ask, with indignant scorn, 'Why Christian priests permitted this idolatry of royal images, when they condemned the worship of Pagan statues.' 'Why,' they scornfully demanded, 'do you give to men, and even to women, the honour which you preach should be given to God alone?'

On every ground, then, both the statue and the homage paid to it were inexpressibly distasteful to Chrysostom. These honours, however, were part of the universal custom of the Eastern Empire; and as they had been passively condoned by the Church, he could not interfere with them. But the orgiastic dances, loose mimes, and noisily lewd songs and buffooneries of every kind which attended the unveiling of this hateful memorial of a woman's pride could not be left without rebuke. The principal day for the inauguration of Eudoxia's image—the day when the noises were most irreverently loud and most obscenely offensive—was the Sunday. On that day it became impossible adequately to conduct the service and Holy Communion of St. Sophia. The voices of the choir ware drowned in shrill shrieks of amusement and coarse bursts of laughter at the comedies which were going on in the vulgar fair. When Chrysostom attempted to preach his voice was rendered inaudible by the indecent tumult just outside the Cathedral doors. Profoundly irritated, Chrysostom appealed to the Præfect of the city. He, however, being a Manichee, and a foe to the Patriarch, was secretly delighted with the chance of affronting with impunity the Catholic party. So far from taking any step to interfere with the worst developments of the inauguration observances, he carried to the Empress an exaggerated account of Chrysostom's opposition, and falsely reported that Chrysostom had sworn to deprive the Empress's statue of all popular observance. Eudoxia was already vexed at the rebuke which Arcadius had received from his younger brother of the West. With Honorius she could not deal; but it was intolerable to her that she should be constantly thwarted and reprehended by the Patriarch in her own capital, and that, while every other official was at her feet, this indomitable prelate should confront her at every turn with the incomparably superior majesty of the moral law. She burst into unmeasured expressions of hatred, anger, and bitterness against him, and, being rapidly made aware of this, 'the fury-intoxicated phalanx' (as Palladius calls them) of his enemies soon closed him in on every side. The Marsas, Castricias and Epigraphias were soon joined by Annas, and Caiaphas, and the priests and hypocrites, in the persons of Severian, Cyrinus, Antiochus, and the rest.

Nothing is more probable than that, on the following Sunday, Chrysostom, in his sermon, gave some expression to the profound disgust with which his heart was full; and, judging from what has happened in similar cases in all ages, his thoughts so far coloured his expressions as to lead him into phrases which might easily be distorted into direct personalities. But he was not prepared for the frightful trick played him by his episcopal enemies.

Kallias had, as usual, taken down his master's sermon, and Chrysostom, when it was written out, read it, and was glad to find that, though he had spoken strongly of idolatrous profanation of the Sabbath, and of the perils of overweening pride and ambition, he lead not been hurried by the fire of oratory into any remarks which exceeded the bounds of duty or of moderation. He had been the more careful because Philip, whose intense love for him he knew, had, in the modesty of fearful duty, ventured to ask him not to show too much wrath at the recent turn of events. 'My father,' he had ventured to say, 'the world cannot be converted at one stroke; and surely we cannot be held responsible for events which we could in no way prevent?'

But the other tachygraph, Phocas, over whose report Kallias had accidentally-on-purpose spilled his inkstand on a previous occasion, had also reported this sermon, and subjected it to the sly manipulations suggested to him by his patron, Severian. He took his report to the house of Epigraphia, where, as he expected, he found Acacius, Severian, Antiochus, and two new foes of Chrysostom—Leontius of Ancyra, a dark intriguer of the Theophilus type, and Ammonius of Burnt-Phrygia, who, as Palladius says, had come from Burnt-up Phrygia to burn up the Church.

Severian glanced at the manuscript, and saw his opportunity to strike a fatal blow.

'Come with me,' he said to Leontius. 'You will, I feel sure, agree with me that this Patriarch, who defies the canons of the Church, and has been condemned by a synod for crimes and misdemeanours, must be got rid of. Until he is, there will be neither peace nor harmony, and the Church of Christ will suffer.'

'I agree with you,' said the Syrian metropolitan in his gruff voice.

'Well, glance at this report of his sermon.'

Leontius glanced at it, and shrugged his shoulders. 'One or two strong expressions,' he said, 'but nothing to lay hold of seriously.'

'Yes,' said the conspirator; 'but might we not in this matter exercise a little of "œconomy," or management, a little of the wisdom of the serpent, of that deceiving others for their good and the good of the Church—in short, of that falsitas dispensativa—the permissibility of which, as a hallowed instrument of warfare with evil, has been generally admitted by priests?'

The Metropolitan of Ancyra was not shocked. He was quite familiar with the laxity, as regards both untruthfulness and degraded casuistry, which in the East prevailed even among high ecclesiastics—as it has often prevailed also at home, having found deliberate defenders among her canonised casuists. The Church had not yet quite arrived at the moral views of Escobar or 'St.' Alphonso de Liguori; yet Leontius was far too familiar with the grossly unscrupulous methods which over and over again were adopted, even in episcopal circles, to have the least doubt as to the meaning of the Bishop of Gabala. He knew how many there were who did not regard evil as evil if it were meant to be subservient to their own ends, which they always identified with the good of 'the Church.' He could recall scores of instances in which bishops had, with these views, manipulated truth into falsehood, and not disdained to utilise absolute crime for the suppression of the opponents whom they dubbed heretical or dangerous.

'If you take bits of mosaic and rearrange them,' he said, 'you can turn the image of a king into that of a reptile or a dog. But I do not see that much can be made of this sermon.'

'I will manage it,' said Severian, 'and John's doom is sealed.'

He went home to compose his forgery. He headed it with the one sentence which report attributed to Chrysostom:—'Again Herodias maddens, again she dances, again she demands the head of John.' He appended a number of loose sentences, many of which, in some form or other, Chrysostom may very likely have used on that or other occasions; and then, getting tired of his task, took down a Syriac manuscript of his countryman, Ephræm Syrus, translated half of it into Greek, and tacked it on to the end of his miserable patchwork. Then he had this forgery copied out by Phocas. And this was the manuscript which he submitted to Eudoxia as a verbatim report of Chrysostom's latest sermon!

It is still extant among the spurious works of St. Chrysostom, and, fortunately, bears on the face of it the proof that it is an unblushing forgery.


XLVIII. — THE FORGED SERMON

Tu, licet extremos late dominere per Indos,
Te Medus, te mollis Arabs, te Seres adorent:
Si metuis, si prava cupis, si duceris ira,
Servitii patiere jugum, tolerabis iniquas
Interius leges. Tune omnia jure tenebis
Cum poteris rex esse tui.

—Claud. IV. Cons. Honor. 257-62.

No sooner had she read the first sentence than the haughty, passionate woman flamed into uncontrollable rage. She knew that Chrysostom, because his name was John, and his life was that of an ascetic, and his moral attitude inflexible, was often compared with John the Baptist. The free street-cries of Constantinople could not leave her unaware that she was often called Jezebel and Herodias. She did not suspect the deceit which the Bishop of Gabala had practised upon her credulity, and she had so few opportunities of seeing the world, except through the medium of contaminated minds, that she rarely arrived at the real truth. She accepted the report as genuine; and that such language should be used of her in St. Sophia, and by the man whom she had recalled two months earlier, and who had then lauded her piety and beneficence, was a fact which lay on her heart like a spark of fire. Severian, as he observed how hate and rage and wounded pride changed her face from red to pale and pale to red, and how her bosom heaved and her breath quivered and hissed as she turned over the leaves, felt that now at last his work was finally and effectually done, and exulted in his abominable heart.

Leaving his lie to produce its full effect, he took his leave; and she, knowing that the Emperor was alone, burst unannounced into his presence.

There was nothing which more shook the nerves and worried the immobile passivity of Arcadius than these sudden inroads from Eudoxia. Eutropius had formerly protected him from them, but now they were matters of constant occurrence. If we could imagine what would be the feelings of an automaton which found itself mated with a whirlwind we can realise what he felt.

When they were in public the Emperor and Empress never neglected the most rigid conventions of imperial etiquette. Were they not both august, and their infant already an Augustus? Were they not both 'adored'? Did not their courtiers cover their eyes with their hands as they approached them, as though to shield themselves from the too sunlike radiance? In their public relations nothing disturbed the quotidian ague and frozen routine of gorgeous Byzantinism elaborated by Oriental servility. But when they were alone they indemnified themselves for this ponderous parade of functional ineptitude by relapsing into interchanges of spleen as frankly human as those of the meanest of their subjects. Slaves, eunuchs, pages, chamberlains, and courtiers heard from the inmost recesses of the purple chambers voices raised into tones of the shrillest vehemence, and sometimes even scraps of objurgation with which they were not unfamiliar at the Chalcedonian Stairs and other resorts of ordinary human clay.

Arcadius knew that he had to prepare for the worst whenever Eudoxia invaded his privacy unaccompanied by any of her children. At certain times of the day, above all when she entered his room with a certain flounce of her imperial robes, as she did on this occasion, he made up his mind for a bad quarter of an hour.

'It is intolerable!' she began, flinging herself down on a golden chair; 'it is quite sickeningly intolerable! I would rather be a drudge in the bazaar than the Augusta if I am to submit to this.'

'What is the matter now?' asked Arcadius with an air of weary and irritated displeasure.

'The matter is that you are no longer Emperor of the East,' she said, with frigid scorn.

'Indeed!' replied Arcadius with studied indifference. 'Then who is Emperor?'

'That man!' she almost screamed; 'and until you get rid of that man neither city, nor Church, nor Empire will have a moment's peace!'

'That man being——?'

'That Patriarch, that John of Antioch, who has been condemned by a synod of all sorts of crimes, and yet comes back!'

'Why, it is but two months,' said Arcadius, 'since you yourself were here on your knees, screeching and sobbing that night of the earthquake, and saying that God was destroying us because we had driven out that saint. It was you who drove him out——',

'I never did!' said Eudoxia defiantly.

'I know you said you did not,' replied the Emperor; 'but, if so, who did? You wrote to Theophilus; you were daily caballing with the bishops; you got him banished by falsehoods——'

'This is too much,' said the Empress, as she listened with tightened lips.

'Then you summoned him back all in a hurry; you sent messenger after messenger for him; you went out to meet him; you kissed and hugged him——'

'Oh!' shrieked Eudoxia, 'is there no one to avenge me?'

'And now,' said Arcadius, continuing his placid course with no regard to these interruptions, and feeling that for once he was, to use a vulgar expression, scoring—'and now you come raging and shrieking again, and want him banished; and then, after another earthquake, I feel no doubt you will rage and shriek again to have him recalled. I hate these scenes!'

'Very well,' she exclaimed, livid with wrath; 'so Arcadius is such a paleblooded phantom as to suffer the wife who has borne him four children to be publicly called a Jezebel and an Herodias before the lewd, seditious mob in his own church, not a stone's-throw from his own palace. Would God,' she muttered, 'I had but married a man!'

Arcadius was about to adopt his usual plan, of doing nothing, and letting affairs take their course; but after a pause, in which Eudoxia had been indulging in inarticulate sobs, she started up, and flung the spurious sermon at his feet in a perfect storm of passion.

'Read that!' she said.

Arcadius, in a helpless way, picked it up, glanced at it, and let it drop, as if it did not particularly interest him.

'What are you going to do?'

Arcadius did not answer.

'Am I to be thus grossly and daily insulted with impunity?'

Still the same sullen silence, more maddening to Eudoxia than any speech.

'Are you a man, or a dastard?'

'Are you a woman, or a fury?'

'Would that I had never left the house of Promotus!'

'One thing only is clear to me,' said the Emperor: 'which is, that I was quite infinitely less worried in the days of Eutropius.'

'Then choose out some slave from the dregs of your eunuchs, and make him lord over you,' screamed Eudoxia; 'but understand that you will be made the veiled joke of the comedians in the theatre. The meanest clown in Constantinople will sneer at the man who is more cowardly than himself; for even such a clown would hit the man who insulted his wife.'

'Do what you like; have it your own way; only leave me in peace,' said Arcadius in a tone of unspeakable disgust. He sank back on the cushions of his divan, utterly wretched, and closed his heavy eyes. He was much to be pitied. Had his wife been the sweet and gentle woman that his mother had been he might have been a better ruler and a less miserable man. But—

Look you, the grey mare
Is ill to live with when her whinny shrills
From tile to scullery, and her small goodman
Shrinks in his armchair, while the fires of hell
Mix with his hearth.



XLIX. — INTRIGUE TRIUMPHANT

Of all malicious acts abhorred in heaven
The end is injury; and all such end
Either by force or fraud works others' woe;
But fraud, because of man's peculiar evil,
To God is more displeasing.

—Dante, Inf. xi. 23.

It soon became patent to all the world that Eudoxia was leaving no stone unturned to ruin the Patriarch, and darkest clouds of misgiving closed over the last smile of brief sunshine in the hearts of his friends. The Empress had again invoked the aid of Theophilus, and though he would not come in person, he was sending 'three miserable Egyptians' to act in his name. All the other bishops and ecclesiastics to whom Chrysostom's very virtues were a reproach were speeding like vultures to a feast. Another Council was to be held, about which two things were clear—that it would not be the General Council which the Patriarch had demanded; and that, under the terrifying influence of the Court, it would be all but exclusively composed of the Patriarch's opponents.

Those who were not in the secret could not understand the rush and blare of the new thunderstorm. Chrysostom had only shared the feeling of every sincere Christian in the city in deploring the Pagan profanities which accompanied the Sunday inauguration of Eudoxia's statue, and surely his disapprobation could not have created an offence so deadly as to cause his destruction to be determined. Philip and Kallias alone divined the secret. Kallias knew that ere now spurious sermons, attributed to Chrysostom, had been handed about. He sorely suspected a plot between the reporter Phocas and his patron, Severian; and Philip agreed with him. Philip determined to take the bull by the horns, and walked with Eutyches to the lodging of Phocas. Philip never attempted a ruse. If he carried a point, it was always by frank forthrightness.

'Phocas,' he said, 'we love the Patriarch, and have reason to fear that the present exasperation of the Court against him must be based on travesties of what he really said about the Augusta's statue. Would you mind lending us your verbatim report?'

'That you may compare it with that of your friend Kallias,' said Phocas, with a touch of professional jealousy, 'and injure my reputation as a tachygraphist, to his advantage.'

'Nay,' said Eutyches, with the frank smile which disarmed opposition. 'We really are not capable of such small tricks. Philip has told you that we have reasons for suspecting that he whom we regard as a father is being ruined by subterranean plots. It may help us and save him if by two reports—Kallias's and yours together—we can prove that he said nothing wrong. No reporter in Constantinople comes near you two.'

'That boy knows how to flatter,' said Phocas, disarmed. 'Well, you shall see my report.'

'They saw it, and found that while in a few expressions it had been a little coloured, it agreed in the main with that of their friend.

'Was this the report which, as people say, Severian showed to the Empress?' asked Philip.

'That I don't know,' answered Phocas; 'but Severian paid me for a copy.'

They thanked him, and parted good friends; but Philip determined to push his inquiries a little further.

He went to Amantius; but though Amantius was Eudoxia's chamberlain, she never shared her secrets with him. He could give no information. Nor could Briso. He had seen a manuscript, in a handwriting which he knew to be Severian's, lying on the table of the Empress's room. He knew no more.

'Could you not get me a glimpse of it?' asked Philip.

'Any attempt to do so, my good youth, might simply cost us our heads,' said Briso; 'and I doubt whether any good would result from it.'

Philip's plans were defeated. Unless God threw His shield of protection over his beloved master he could now see no hope.

The bishops who were hurrying to Constantinople were deliberately poisoned against Chrysostom by his enemies, or won over by the bribes and threats of Eudoxia's agents. One honest man, Theodotus of Tyana, finding that he was expected to take part, not in a trial, but in a conspiracy, turned his back on the capital and returned to his own diocese.

Christmas was now close at hand, and on Christmas Day the Emperor and Empress always attended St. Sophia in state. Now, however, Arcadius announced that he could not again communicate with Chrysostom until he had cleared himself of the heavy charges against him. Chrysostom replied that to clear himself was what he had always longed for, and that whenever the Emperor would summon a fair and free Council he would with the utmost pleasure appear before it. Even before the packed assemblage, which it was ridiculous to describe as a Council, he was ready to appear as soon as they formulated their charges and adduced their witnesses.

The boldness of his innocence alarmed his adversaries. What if he should appear in person, and by his innocence, his eloquence, his popularity, his array of overwhelming refutation, should scatter their trumpery falsehoods and trivialities to the four winds, and emerge from the storm more invincible than ever? This would not at all suit them. They wrote to Theophilus for counsel, and he advised them to rely exclusively on a canon of the Antiochene Council of 341 which forbade a bishop dispossessed by a synod to return to his see until he had been recalled by another synod. According to that canon, said Theophilus, John had no right whatever to be in Constantinople.

The answer of Chrysostom to this pretext was overwhelming. The Synod of the Oak was wholly incompetent; it broke every conceivable law of ecclesiastical discipline and of common equity; it was composed of Egyptian hangers-on of Theophilus. Its assembling in his own diocese to sit in judgment upon him was a direct violation of rules of the Council of Nice, on which nobody had insisted more strongly than Theophilus himself.

Next, even if the Synod of the Oak had been valid, its decrees had at the time been rejected by a much larger synod of bishops sitting with Chrysostom, including seven metropolitans.

Thirdly, Chrysostom's return had since then been approved and his entire innocence asserted by an agreement of at least sixty bishops—nearly double the number which had voted at the Oak.

Fourthly, Chrysostom had not returned of his own accord at all, but had been carried back, almost by violence, by his people, and in obedience to the commands of the Imperial Court.

Fifthly, the Council of Antioch which passed the canon now adduced against him was an heretical Council, of which the authority was repudiated by the Church; and this very canon could have no better proof of its worthlessness than that it had been forged as an implement of oppression to overthrow the holy Athanasius.

Against these decisive considerations the episcopal conspirators raged in vain. At last they urged the Emperor to hear the matter pleaded by ten bishops on either side. What Severian's party lacked in argument they compensated by a noise and bluster so unseemly as to threaten scenes of violence in the Emperor's very presence. Awaiting a moment's lull in the wild storm, Elpidius, Bishop of Laodicea—an aged and blameless prelate, with white hair and beard, and venerable aspect, who was on the side of Chrysostom—arose. He said in his quiet voice: 'Emperor, will you ask Severian and his party whether they are ready to subscribe to the creed of the Council of Antioch? If they cannot do this the Council was heretical and its canons are invalid.' The opponents of Chrysostom were thunderstruck by this very simple but unexpected proposal, which Arcadius, with a smile, declared to be excellent. They stood silent; but at last, out of mere bravado, they said they would subscribe to the faith of the Council of Antioch, and broke up the discussion. They never dared to do what they had promised, and excused themselves by the monstrous pretence that the promise had only been extorted by force.

This might have seemed a triumph for the Patriarch; but it was fruitless. Eudoxia had decided to expel Chrysostom, if not by semi-legal methods, then by open tyranny. Might should be right; and if any of the bishops who were friendly to him refused to succumb either to bribes or menaces, then the Patriarch should be expelled in spite of them, and with complete disregard to their remonstrances.


L. — PROLONGED AGONY

The history of the Byzantine Empire is a monotonous story of the intrigues of priests, women, and eunuchs; of poisonings, of conspiracies, of uniform ingratitude, of perpetual patricides.
—Lecky, European Morals, ii. 14.

The year blossomed into Lent, and all things still remained in a condition of trouble and uncertainty. The state of things at Constantinople was as when two armies watch each other for months from opposite heights, and neither dares to attack the other; and there seemed no hope of peace or of any return to normal duties.

It was the party of unscrupulous episcopal malcontents, envenomed by their own jealousy and goaded forward by the furies of Eudoxia, who were most afraid. Easter was approaching. They dreaded lest the Emperor would on that great festal day go to St. Sophia, and be impressed by the passionate love and fidelity with which the multitude clung to their great pastor. This must be prevented at all hazards. They went to Arcadius, headed as usual by Severian, and begged that as Chrysostom was entirely defeated, and had been condemned by two synods, he might be expelled from the church. But had Chrysostom been so defeated, so condemned? Arcadius, in his somewhat constipated intellect, felt considerable doubts as to the truth of either assertion, and expressed them.

'You should believe us,' said Severian; 'we are bishops, and a true bishop cannot lie.'

'It depends on how you define a true bishop,' thought Arcadius; but he was, as a rule, at the mercy of the last speaker, and usually adopted the course which cost him least trouble at the moment. He therefore so far yielded as to send a message to Chrysostom that, as he had been condemned, he must keep at a distance from his church.

'I received the Church from God, my Redeemer,' answered the Patriarch, 'for the care of His people. Therefore I may not abandon it. If you wish to drive me out by violence, it is, of course, in your power to do so.'

Arcadius wavered. 'It might,' he said, 'cause another earthquake. I will confine him to the Patriarcheion. Then, if God gives any sign of anger, I can send him back to his church.'

This was truly to seek after a sign! Chrysostom might dispute the Emperor's right to deliver such a command, but it reduced him to the condition of a prisoner in his own palace. Yet, even so, it was clear that the populace was in an excited state, and, fearing some terrible outbreak of their wrath at this treatment of the one man whom they loved and trusted, Arcadius, in extreme misgiving, sent for Acacius and Antiochus. He would not send for Severian, for whom he had acquired a complete disgust, although he continued to be to Eudoxia the trusted agent of all scoundrelism. The Bishops of Berœa and Ptolemais—the dotard, whose dignity had been offended, and the adventurer, who hated a virtue so far above his own—urged the wavering Emperor to depose the Patriarch.

Like Pilate, he still hesitated.

And, like Annas and Caiaphas, they cried, 'On us be the guilt!'

But there were still forty bishops who were in daily communion with the Patriarch, and they determined to make one more effort to save him. They are but the fewest whom a good cause stirs to the activity which the votaries of evil display for their bad ends. The devil, as a rule, receives from his servants an energy of devotion which is often lacking in the servants of Christ. Men who have yielded themselves slaves to envy leap and bound upon their errands like steeds at the crack of a whip, while at the trumpet-call of duty men crawl like snails. The strenuousness of malice spurred Severian and his abettors to ardent vigour; the wrongs outpoured on righteousness evoked little more than murmurs of 'What a shame!'

The 'Johannite' bishops, as Chrysostom's friends were called, heard that the Emperor and Empress were going to prayers at the Church of the Martyrs, and went forth in a body to meet them. With tears they besought their Majesties to restore the pastor to his church for the great Easter festival. They met with a curt refusal, for by the side of the more pliable Arcadius sat his evil genius in the person of Eudoxia. Then Paul, Bishop of Crateia, plucked up courage, and cried, 'Eudoxia, fear God! have pity on thy children! Stain not with bloodshed the high feast of our Lord.'

Their appeals were dashed to pieces like weak waves on the rock of her hatred. She would not yield, but was only the more hardened, provoking the doom which so speedily awaited her.

Easter Eve was the great season for baptisms. On that Easter Eve, A.D. 404, no fewer than 3,000 were to be admitted into the Church of God. All these catechumens were assembled in the Baptistery, and the sacred service had begun, amid ringing hymns and holy rejoicing, as the white-robed candidates stood ready to enter the holy font under the light of many lamps. It was at that moment that a rabble of Chrysostom's enemies, headed by the Bishop of Gabala, and protected by a band of soldiers, many of them Pagans, Arians, and unbaptised, burst in with the purpose of seizing the Cathedral, that it might not be occupied by the faithful on Easter Day. A frightful tumult arose. The brutal soldiery rushed upon the catechumens. Many of them were women; many of them were boys or youths; most of them were partially undressed, preparatory to immersion. They were driven to hasty flight without even having time to snatch up their most necessary garments. The priests and deacons who were taking part in the ceremony were seized, and their sacred garments torn off their backs. Many were severely wounded. The lustral water of the font blushed with the horrid taint of blood. In the plunder the soldiers profaned the Holy Table, and the dress of coarse legionaries was incarnadined with consecrated wine scattered over them from upturned chalices of the grapes of God.

Undismayed by so terrific a violation of all sanctities, the faithful flock of Chrysostom, after they had been scattered from the Baptistery, assembled in the Baths of Constantine to complete the sacred ceremony of initiation. It was now past midnight, and nothing would less serve the purpose of Severian and Acacius than that the Emperor should, the next morning, find the Cathedral perfectly deserted, from the indignation of a people deprived of their true shepherd. They therefore determined that the multitude should be driven into St. Sophia by violence, and begged Arcadius for a body of troops to carry out their abhorrent purpose. With the fear of Eudoxia before his eyes the helpless ruler of the world acceded to their request. Once more the palace troops were put into requisition. A body of Thracian shield-bearers stormed the church which the catechumens had improvised in the Baths of Constantine. Their leader, Lucius, had been bidden by Arcadius to abstain from extremes; but as they would not disperse, he was bribed by Severian and Acacius to use force. He did so, nothing loth, and set the example to his rude Thracians by banging about him with a truncheon, which, without the smallest remorse, he brought down with equal indifference on the white hair of aged men and on the bright locks of young catechumens, and wielded with equal impartiality against the clergy and the laity. Scenes then took place even grosser than before. The faithful were scattered; wounds were dealt freely on every side; the clergy were savagely beaten; and the soldiers looted everything on which they could lay their hands, not even excluding the holy vessels. Next morning the public places were placarded with notices threatening exemplary vengeance on all who would not renounce communion with Chrysostom.

It was thus that the holy Bishops of Gabala, Berœa and Ptolemais glutted their execrable passions in the name of Christianity, and disgraced the Gospel of Peace with infamous barbarities.

But the faithful were still undaunted. They would not desert their Patriarch; they would not join the vile phalanx of his enemies. As they might not worship God in St. Sophia, they streamed out of the city in a body to worship Him, under green trees and the shadows of wooded hills, on a spot set apart by Constantine for the Circensian games. It happened that the Emperor had gone to a church outside the city for his Easter service, and on his return caught sight of a great crowd of white-robed catechumens and other worshippers. He asked, in astonishment, who they were. 'Oh! they are heretics,' said some of his lying attendants; and when he returned, Severian and his fellow-conspirators asked permission to have them scattered and their teachers arrested. The permission was granted. Again the imperial myrmidons, rejoicing at their task, fell upon the innocent worshippers. They tore the valuable earrings out of the ears of the women, often tearing a part of the ears with them. The clergy, the eminent laymen, the leading members of the congregation, were seized, and flung into the common prisons. Thus the very prisons were turned into churches, and rang with holy hymns. And still the great mass of the people remained unshaken in their allegiance to their Bishop, for whose sake multitudes were ready to brave martyrdom itself.

Such were the successive tidings which troubled to their inmost depths the hearts of Chrysostom and of the friendly prelates who still surrounded him. And it may well be imagined that his three young secretaries—Philip, Kallias, and Eutyches—were plunged into a grief which crushed their spirits into the dust.

'Father,' said Philip, 'this life must be unspeakably dreary to you; our hearts bleed for you.'

'It is not so much that it is unspeakably dreary,' said the Patriarch, 'or even that there is a heavy trial in its uncertainty. I am not the first of Christ's servants, nor shall I be the last by many millions, to find that it is truly a misery to live upon earth. Job experienced, a thousand years ago, that " man is born to sorrow as the sparks fly upwards." But all this personal misfortune I can endure with fortitude. The grief which will not be healed is my grief for the Church and for my people. They are a vineyard which whole troops of wild boars are laying waste. And I cannot tell—oh! I cannot tell—what the end will be. But it must be near at hand.'

'Would that I had the gift of insight, as Michael had,' said Philip. 'He warned us of calamities at hand.'

'We need not prophesy, my Philip. In the long run, " Say ye to the righteous, it shall be well with him"; but we were warned that the hundredfold reward should be " with persecutions."'

As though to emphasise their words there sounded in the room a tumult from without. Philip ran to inquire what it was. He learnt too soon. A man who pretended to be a maniac had made his way to the porch, and was brandishing a huge dagger, and swearing that he would murder Chrysostom. He had been seized, and would have been torn to pieces by the mob, but the Patriarch despatched Philip to the City Præfect, who was close at hand. The man was taken red- handed. No one doubted either that his madness was simulated or that he was an agent of the devilish wickedness of the clerics who thirsted for the Patriarch's blood. The Præfect ordered him to be examined by torture; but before it was applied Chrysostom sent some bishops to intercede for him, and to set him free. He hoped even against hope that his enemies might be overcome by his immense forbearance.

He hoped in vain! Ecclesiastical malice is the bitterest and most unscrupulous form of malice known to the human race. It was very shortly after this act of mercy that Eutyches came running into the anteroom with a white face to tell Philip and Kallias that a murderer with a dagger was raging at large in the Thomaites. The youths jumped up at once, and Philip seized a club which, in these dangerous days, he had thought it safe to keep in a corner of the room. In the great hall was a scene of terror and confusion. A slave with a dagger had forced his way in, and, on being confronted by one of the Patriarch's servants, had stabbed him. He had wounded a second, who fled from him with loud cries. He had stricken to the earth with his weapon a third who tried to stop him; and as by this time a universal tumult had arisen, he fled, and with reckless fury dealt wounds more or less deadly upon four others. Thus, when the two young men ran into the hall the assassin had already killed or wounded no less than seven persons of the household of Chrysostom.

Rushing upon him, Philip brought down the club with all his might upon the wretch's shoulder, and the blow was so strong and so well dealt that he was smitten to the ground by the shock of it. At the same instant Kallias seized him by the right hand, dealt him a blow on the temple, and wrenched the dagger, which was streaming with blood, out of his grasp.

Gasping and utterly discomfited, he was bound, and dragged into the Patriarch's presence.

Conscious of his frightful guilt, the bravo, who had shown courage enough so far as personal recklessness was concerned, was cowed into inconceivable abjectness in the holy presence of the Archbishop whom he had designed for his victim. His knees trembled under him, his face grew ashen with deadly pallor, his teeth chattered in such a way as to render his words almost unintelligible. Would the Patriarch strike him dead with a glance? Would he curse him with a sign into madness and hideous leprosy, and send him—

Unhouselled, unanointed, unaneled,
No reckoning made, but sent to his account
With all his imperfections on his head,

—into the horror of some inconceivable and endless hell?

'Pardon! pardon! pardon!' he shrieked. 'It was not my doing. I was sent to murder you. I received a bribe.'

'For what bribe did you sell your guilty soul?' asked Chrysostom.

'For fifty gold pieces.'

'Did Judas profit by the thirty pieces of silver for which he sold his Lord?'

'Oh! send me not to hell,' shrieked the wretch again, trying to fling himself prostrate, and crawl, grovelling in the dust, to the Patriarch's feet. 'I am not so bad as he who sent me.'

'Who sent you?'

'One of your own presbyters.'

'Say who it was, you foul murderer,' said Philip, clutching him by the hair.

'Gently, Philip, gently,' said Chrysostom.

'Yes; but, father, four of the villain's murdered innocent victims lie dead on the floor of the hall, and who can tell whether even the three others who are badly wounded will survive?'

'I will tell you who bribed me to murder,' said the wretch sullenly. 'It was the priest Elpidius. I am his slave. If holy priests bribe slaves to murder, how can ignorant slaves resist? Curse him! Curse him! May God curse him!'

'His was the greater crime,' said Chrysostom. 'As for your attempt upon my own life, I forgive it. May God also forgive it! But you have murdered four, perhaps seven, innocent men, and it would be a sin to set you free. Take him to the Præfect.'

'Oh!' said Philip to the assassin, 'I dare not trust my own rage to drag you to justice. Tell your master, if ever you see his face again, that he is an infinitely viler reptile even than you. I hope that he may never cross my path, or I know not how I could abstain from throttling him, priest or no priest.'

'Philip! Philip!' said Chrysostom to the passionately excited youth, 'control your anger. You are a Christian, a true Christian; be not transported beyond yourself, even for my sake. The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.'

'Pardon, my father,' said Philip, kneeling, 'and forgive me. Bless me, even me also, oh my father!'

'You need little forgiveness, my son. Your anger was generous. Only, let it burn no more. I give you my best blessing. God will reward your faithful love for me. The world is forsaking me, but you——'

He could not finish the sentence.

'We—I, Eutyches, Kallias—yes, and some even among the bishops and the clergy—we will never forsake you, even to the death,' sobbed the remorseful youth.

But now that the people of Constantinople felt that the life of their idol was no longer safe from the burning fury of Eudoxia and the murderous malice of priests and bishops, they determined to watch for him, and protect him day and night, as the people of Milan had defended Ambrose. They divided themselves into relays, and guarded every private and public gate which led into the Bishop's palace.

But it had been only necessary to defend for a few days the life of Ambrose. A bishop could not be protected in his house by his people from Court and clergy day and night for 433 ever; nor could everything in the Church and in the City remain in this state of unstable equilibrium. The fact that neither the priest Elpidius, nor the slave whom he had bribed to assassinate Chrysostom—who had actually murdered seven perfectly innocent victims—were punished, showed the horrible demoralisation of imperial justice. But Chrysostom still lived, and was still in the Patriarcheion. It became intolerable to the conspiring prelates that they should be unable to snatch the spoils of their victory; nor was the frenzy of Eudoxia and her Jezebels yet sated with vengeance. Things went on in this dreary way from Easter till it was nearly Whitsuntide. No one felt more deeply than Chrysostom that it could not last. He had for some time been secretly making up his mind to sate by voluntary sacrifice the episcopal tigers who were thirsting for his blood. Since their wrath was so fierce and their hatred so implacable, he would voluntarily end the strife, and make way for another. He did not object to the loss of his rank or state; he was content to be driven by force from his home and from his see; he was ready to offer his life in sacrifice; and, if it were God's will, he could lay it down as lightly as a pin. One thing he would maintain till death—it was his stainless innocence; it was that his character had been void of offence towards God and towards man.

From the execrable corruption dominant in the Church of the East he turned to what he trusted was, in some respects, the purer Church of the West. He wrote to Innocent I., Bishop of Rome, to Chromatius, Bishop of Aquileia, and to Venerius, who now occupied the episcopal throne of Milan. He might hope that, through the law-abiding justice of the West, the Church might be delivered from the licentious turbulence into which the intrigues of Theophilus and his fellow-conspirators, fostered by the overweening arrogance of a semibarbarian Empress, had plunged the disordered East. In this letter, after describing the scenes of riot and oppression which had dragged down the Church of Constantinople, he entreated them to put an end to this condition of frightful confusion; to declare his pretended condemnation to have been tyrannous, irregular, null, and void; and to censure those who, in committing these iniquities, had treated him with more violent injustice than even Scythians or Sarmatians would have ventured to commit.

It required a bold and trusty messenger to bear this letter; and as the movements of a bishop, or even of a deacon, might be more jealously watched and impeded, he determined to send Kallias, for whom he felt a warm regard. He could take the letters secretly; his movements, as he was a mere youth, would not be regarded with suspicion; his talents as a tachygraph might prove useful; his blameless and ingenuous character would be a passport through all difficulties. Eutyches was too young and inexperienced. Philip could not be spared. Kallias was instructed to visit first the three great bishops to whom the letter was addressed, and then to see any other eminent prelate to whom he could find access, and, if possible, to enlist the sympathies of the great Stilico and of the Emperor Honorius himself. All details were left to his faithfulness and ingenuity, and a sum of money was entrusted to him to meet all his probable expenses. Kallias, before he started, had many a long and earnest conversation with Philip, and agreed at every possible opportunity to send news of his doings.


LI. — DRIVEN FORTH

'I have loved righteousness and hated iniquity; therefore I die in exile.'
—Gregory VII

Thus miserably did things drag on till Whitsunday, while civil oppression, animated by the burning passions of Eudoxia and the vitriolic malignity of the bishops, permitted scenes of shame and brutality to violate even the sanctuary of God. The fury of oaths, the screams of the tortured, the whistling of scourges, were heard even in churches, while the attempt was made to coerce the faithful to anathematise the holy pastor whom they loved. Men recalled the language of the Gospels—' And there shall be signs in sun, and moon, and stars; and upon earth distress of nations in perplexity for the roaring of the sea and the billows; men's hearts failing them for fear, and for expectation of the things which are coming on the world; for the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.' Nor was their dread unreasonable. The defeat, deposition, exile, and martyrdom—for martyrdom to all intents and purposes it was—of the saintly Patriarch of Constantinople led to age- long consequences, both in the East and in the West. In the West, the events which issued from it tended to establish the influence of the Bishop of Rome at a period when that influence was in many respects for the advantage of mankind, and before it had been distorted by forged donations and false decretals into a cruel and pernicious tyranny. In the East, it degraded the Church into an abject subservience, in which she abdicated her functions as a denouncer of luxury and oppression, and submitted to 'the Cæsaropapism' of wavering despots.

The days of trouble and rebuke and blasphemy, in which, to use the image of the prophet, the children were brought to the birth, and there was not strength to bring forth, dragged on amid alarms, tumults, and attempted assassinations till Whitsuntide, June 5, 404. Eudoxia and her priestly instigators felt that any further delay in the consummation of their plots would be fraught with peril. In the plenitude of autocracy they still felt the terror of the guilt which trembles before unarmed innocence. The passionate enthusiasm of the people for their Bishop might still triumph over the conscientious timidity of the Emperor. Their hideous plots of murder had been frustrated; it might happen that truth and righteousness would still triumph, and so their dark webs of lies and bribery be torn to shreds. Arcadius, terrified lest the crime of his connivance in accusations which he knew to be the perjuries of jealousy and hatred should provoke the intervention of Heaven, had been waiting for some admonitory eclipse and earthquake which might once more frighten Eudoxia. This would have given him the excuse for dismissing the episcopal intriguers to their neglected sees and restoring Chrysostom to his Patriarchal throne. But in those burning days of June no thunderbolt fell, no storm disturbed the azure sleep of heaven. Meanwhile the passionate importunities of the Empress disturbed his abnegation of all effectual power. His conduct was finally decided by the four worst bishops who were leaders of the Empress's party. These men—Antiochus, Acacius, Cyrinus, and Severian—urged by Eudoxia, demanded an audience, and came into his presence. Arcadius was no match for these sanctimonious criminals, though even his obtuseness saw to the depths of their villainy. 'Emperor!' they said to him—for it was their snake-like policy to enslime their victim ere they gorged—'Emperor! thou hast been appointed ruler by God that all may obey thee, and that thou mayst act according to thy will. Be not more compassionate than priests, more holy than bishops! We have said before all the world, "Let the deposition of John be on our heads." Do not destroy us all that thou mayst spare one.'

'Well,' replied the Emperor, 'if yours is the crime, yours be the penalty. I hold John to be innocent and orthodox; if you force me to offend Heaven by wronging him, let his blood fall on your heads.'

Then they said of Christ's servant as the priests of old had said of Christ Himself:

'His blood be on us and our children'; and Arcadius, like Pilate, practically washed his hands of the matter, and said, 'I am innocent of the blood of this just person. See ye to it!'

At noon that day Patricius, the principal notary of the Emperor, was a bearer of a note to the Patriarch in which Arcadius said: 'The four bishops make themselves responsible for your deposition. Commend your affairs to God, and depart hence without delay.'

'Commend your affairs to God!' Even in that phrase the Emperor betrayed the fact that his rescript was the outcome, not of his convictions, but of his imbecility.

Clearly, however, the order was meant to be final; and it was precise. Chrysostom, anxious to put an end to intolerable complications, which threatened to have a terrible ending, and deeming it a duty in the last extreme to submit to the powers that be, prepared to obey. A group of bishops and clergy were with him in the Patriarcheion. He read them the Emperor's letter, and told them that he would be willing in a few moments to go with them to the Cathedral, and thence to depart he knew not whither.

Then he went into his study, and called Philip and Eutyches to him.

'My sons,' he said to them, controlling his deep emotion by a strong effort, 'the destined hour has struck. The Emperor has sent me his decree of banishment, which I can resist no longer. I depart hence, and a voice tells me that when in a few moments I leave this home, which men call my palace, I leave it for ever. My place shall know me no more. I am in God's hands. His will be done, not mine.'

He paused, lest he should break into uncontrollable weeping; for the two youths had kneeled at his feet and had grasped his either hand, and could not speak, but were kissing his hands and bathing them with their tears.

Gently he disengaged his hands, and laid them in blessing on the dark locks of Philip and the short, fair hair of Eutyches. 'My dear, dear sons,' he said, 'I have seen day by day your goodness, and faithfulness, and love to me. It costs me a keener pang to part from you than from any others. You have been utterly true to me. Dear Philip, for years you have brightened my days, you have lightened my labours. I always knew that whatever I trusted to you would be done, and well done. I had but to mention it to you, and then I could dismiss it from my mind. And you, dear Eutyches, I have rejoiced to see you growing up in holiness, " like the flower of roses in the spring of the year, and like lilies by the watercourses." Farewell! farewell, my children! and the God of mercy and of peace be with you!'

They had hidden their faces in their hands, and he made over them the sign of benediction; but then Philip sprang up impetuously.

'Nay, my father,' he said, 'bid us not leave you. We will go where you go, we will die where you die. As your God is our God, so your trials shall be ours.'

'Not so, my sons,' he said gently. 'Your sympathy, your service, would indeed be to me an immense consolation. But how can I suffer you to blight your youth for my sake? I am an old man; my days are spent; my work is done; mine enemies have triumphed. I go, like St. Paul, knowing nothing, save that in every city bonds and imprisonment await me. The dark days which Michael foresaw have come; I know not even whether for me in this world at eventide there shall be light. But as for you—live out your lives in God's faith and fear, and may He give you, of His goodness, many happy days!'

'We cannot leave you, father,' sobbed Eutyches. 'Better trial and persecution with you than to know that you were in trouble, and that we were far away, and could do nothing to lighten your griefs.'

'Ah! my dear son, Eutyches, it may not be,' said the Patriarch. 'It would not be permitted, even if I could desire it. But take comfort, my boy. To know that you are well and happy will be a far deeper alleviation to me than to see your young lives devastated for my sake with premature anguish. And oh! cease, cease, my sons. By your weeping you break my heart. Believe me, even in this hour, even in the midst of my grief, I am happy, for I am innocent. If you grow up to suffer, may you grow up also to know and feel that to suffer with Christ is not to suffer.'

But when he saw that neither of them could speak, he added, very calmly, 'Nay, my sons, give not way too much to grief. To do so were to doubt the goodness of God. You, my Philip, stay to look after my few possessions, and to see that the dear old servants of my youth are conducted safely back to my home at Antioch. And you, my beloved Eutyches, when I am gone, Philip and Olympias will see that you lack nothing till you become a presbyter. I have left you both provided for, in the present and in the future, as this paper will show you, Philip. Farewell! Farewell!'

He lifted them from their kneeling attitude, kissed them on both cheeks, and, with his face still bathed in tears, went out to the bishops and presbyters in the Thomaites.

'Come,' he said to them; 'let us go to pray for the last time, and to bid farewell to the Angel of the Church.'

The distance was short, and they walked to St. Sophia under an escort of the palace guards. They found many assembled in the church, and an immense multitude, dimly cognisant that some great crisis was at hand, crowded all the streets and avenues. Chrysostom and his friends passed up the ambo-stairs, behind the curtains of the Sacrarium. He had scarcely entered when a note from his friend Aurelian was put into his hands. 'Hasten!' it said; 'the brutal ruffian, Lucius, is posted with a company of soldiers in the Baths of Zeuxippus. He swears that if you linger he will drag you out of the church by force. Leave the church secretly, or there will be a collision between the troops and the people, and the streets will run with blood.'

He read the note aloud, and added: 'Never, if I can prevent it. My servants have ordered my mule to be caparisoned at the western gate. I will slip out in secret through a postern at the east. Farewell, dear friends!'

He gave to two of the bishops his farewell kiss of peace, but could proceed no further. Farewell all of you!' he said; 'it would unman me too much to embrace you all. A few moments in the Baptistery to recover my calm, and I will set forth.'

But in the Baptistery four of his holiest, noblest, and most beloved deaconesses—Olympias, Pentadia, Ampriecte, and Salvina—awaited him, and there was another harrowing scene of parting.

'Listen to me, my daughters,' he said to them. 'All is over; I have finished my course. You will see my face no more. If my successor is duly and rightly appointed, respect and obey him. Let not the Church of God lose your services—and oh! think of me in your prayers.'

The noble ladies flung themselves on the marble floor, and kissed his feet and bathed them with their tears.

'Conduct them hence,' he said, with a broken voice, to Bishop Eulysius, who had volunteered to accompany him, 'for I feel utterly unmanned, and the sight of their anguish may haply excite the fury of the people.'

Very gently the friendly bishop took the princesses Olympias and Salvina by the hand, and, bidding the others follow, led them out of the Baptistery. Then Chrysostom went out by the small eastern door, evading the throngs of people who were expecting to see him mount his mule at the western gate.

'He went forth,' says Bishop Palladius, 'and the Angel of the Church went forth with him.'

A little band of soldiers, under two young and noble officers, Anatolius and Theodosius, had been bidden to await him there. Attended by the Bishops Eulysius and Cyriacus and some honest presbyters, who desired to accompany him on his journey across the Bosporus, and at least as far as Nicæa, he placed himself in the hands of the guards, and, avoiding the most frequented streets, they made their may to the Chalcedonian Stairs. To escape observation as far as possible Chrysostom concealed his face in the folds of his robe; but a few of the people, full of alarm and suspicion, recognised and followed him. Their numbers increased, and nothing but the drawn swords and firm bearing of the Prætorians overawed their menacing attitude, and prevented them from attempting a rescue. But there certainly would have been bloodshed if the Patriarch himself had not stepped forward and said 'My dear and faithful people, I am departing willingly. Let us obey the will of God and the edict of the Emperor. You will fill me with anguish if so much as one drop of blood is shed on my behalf. To God's gracious mercy and protection I commit you all. Farewell!'

He raised his hand in benediction. The crowd knelt to receive it, and were calmed.

But Philip and Eutyches could not be content to stay in the Patriarcheion while their father was being hurried into unknown exile. How could he even expect such love as theirs to abandon him, when they felt his loss like the parting of the Shechinah from the temple of their young lives? After a moment's hesitation, lest they should cause him needless pain, they said with one voice, 'Let us go, and, if need be, die with him.' Unperceived—for they had thrown over their ordinary dress the brown robe of the parabolani —they followed Chrysostom to St. Sophia, entered with others of the people, and saw him ascend to the Sacrarium. Then Philip, familiar with the church, and suspecting what would happen, went with Eutyches to the quiet eastern door, saw the Patriarch come out, and followed his escort of guards to the quay. Chrysostom went on board the vessel which was awaiting him, and both he and Philip involuntarily recalled at that moment with what different feelings they had twice before arrived at the Chalcedonian steps—once in the gilded, dragon-prowed, imperial barge, rowed by palace servants, when, with Amantius and Aurelian, he had been welcomed by the shouting populace; and once when, after his first exile, the flower-crowned multitude, robed in white, had poured forth in myriads to receive him with overpowering acclamations. And now he was being hurried away in secrecy, amid the fading twilight—hurried to his ruin by wolves in sheep's clothing, choked in a chaos of hatreds, entangled in a network of odious chicanery and wicked lies.

Philip pressed forward out of the crowd and endeavoured to go on board. The soldiers barred his way with crossed spears, and told him, with objurgations, that no personal attendant was permitted to go with the Archbishop. Then Philip made an intense appeal to the two young officers

'Oh, sirs!' he said, 'the holy Patriarch is ill and weak, and knows not how to care for himself. I have been accustomed to wait on him since my boyhood. I entreat you to let me go with him. I will meet my own expenses. I will give no trouble.'

'And let me go, too,' said Eutyches, wringing his hands. I am one of his secretaries.'

The officers, who had none but the kindliest feelings and intentions towards their illustrious captive, were visibly affected, but Anatolius, the senior of the two, laid his hand kindly on Philip's shoulder, and said, 'My good youths, we are sorry for you. But the Emperor's orders are stringent, and you must not come.'

They stepped on board; the oars dipped in the deep blue waters; and the youths caught their last glimpse of their friend and father as he stood on the deck. He had heard their voices; he saw them stretching out to him their appealing hands, and was weeping; but he cried to them, 'Oh! my sons, why did you not spare me this fresh pang?'

But Philip now felt utterly beside himself. 'My father! my father!' he cried, 'I cannot, I will not leave you,' and he made a spring towards the boat.

He barely failed to reach it, but fell short into the water, and one of the oars struck him on the head. He sank under the waves, and Chrysostom and Eutyches both gave a cry. A sailor from one of the many boats plunged after the drowning youth, drew him safely to shore, and handed his fainting form to Eutyches. But the blow which he had received was slight. The shock of the cold water revived him. In a few moments he had recovered consciousness, and, leaning on the boy's arm, with bent head and aching heart he walked back to the Patriarcheion in his dripping weeds.


LII. — CONFLAGRATION

A coal-black, giant flower of hell.—Browning.

Meanwhile, as though things were not black enough already, an event had happened which was fraught with unutterable disaster to the guilty city.

As the little boat which carried Chrysostom to the Bithynian shore furrowed its way through the starlit waves the rowers and soldiers raised a sudden exclamation of curiosity and amazement. Startled from his moody grief, the Patriarch looked up, and saw a huge blaze shooting up into the air, broadening in area, deepening in vividness and intensity, and at last reddening the evening sky with terrible illumination. What could it mean? What had caused it? That the Cathedral should be in flames seemed inconceivable; but was it possible that there could have been a revolution at Constantinople? Had the populace, in wild grief at the loss of their Archbishop, risen against the Emperor, and burnt to ashes the buildings on either side of the superb oblong forum known as the Augusteum, and the Imperial Palace itself? They learnt too soon the fatal truth, but meanwhile they had to repress their devouring anxiety and press forward on their way.

No sooner had the crowd outside St. Sophia begun to suspect that treachery was intended, and that their beloved Patriarch was being forced away from them, than they endeavoured to force their way into the church, of which they found that the western gates had now been locked and barred. Rushing round the cloisters to find some other entrance, they found the eastern ingress defended by soldiers of the Court, who opposed their ingress. A fight began, and though many were killed, the crowd succeeded in bursting in. Meanwhile, the multitudes who thronged the western Galilee, ignorant of what was taking place, and imagining that their bishop was being seized by violence, began to batter furiously upon the principal gates, which at last they partly burst open, and partly shattered to fragments. Rushing in, they again found themselves confronted by the soldiery, who, alarmed by the fury of the mob, drew their swords. The Jews and Pagans whom curiosity had attracted to the scene looked on with sneers and bitter ridicule while the mob and the soldiers stood face to face. Maddened by their insults, the crowd rushed forward, another bloody fight ensued, and the manycoloured marbles of the sacred pavement were soon heaped with corpses and incarnadined with blood. To add to the general horror, a storm had rolled in from the Euxine, whirling before it so dense a mass of clouds as to cause a blackness which, to the excited minds of the spectators, seemed inexplicable and miraculous. Stunned by the sudden roar of the hurricane, soldiers and populace alike stood silent in a co-instantaneous pause of horror which had in it something sublime. The fighting ceased, and the multitude, haunted by supernatural awe, began to steal out of the sacred edifice; when suddenly, as though a thunder-bolt from heaven had smitten the roof, a crack was heard, and from the Patriarch's throne a jet of fire leaped upwards with inconceivable fury. The cry of 'Fire! Fire!' had scarcely been raised when it seemed too late to check the strangely precipitous ravages of the conflagration. The timbers of the building were dry with the scorching heat of many summers. The spout of fire leaped up as high as the roof, and, spreading among beams and rafters, presented the aspect of a colossal tree of red flame. Then, from the boughs and the leaves of this awful tree it seemed as if myriads of fiery serpents darted in every direction, wreathing about pillars and architraves, melting the iron of the roofs and the chains of the great lamps, which fell with crash after crash and shattered themselves to pieces on the tessellated floors. The crowd and the soldiers alike, seized by the same panic, rushed promiscuously into the open air, reduced to peace by common terror. Many were crushed to death or had their limbs broken in the wild effort to escape, and barely had they emerged into safety when the whole cathedral seemed to be blazing like a furnace of demons, beyond all hope of preservation. Of the metropolitan edifice, one of the stateliest churches in the world, nothing was left but a heap of blackened ruins, half-calcined by the fierce heat, and one little side-chapel, which had not been so much as scathed by the flames.

But this was not the whole extent of the mischief. Driven before the fierce wind great flakes of fire and of burning material were swept southward to the adjacent buildings. Strange to say, they did not light on the Patriarcheion, which stood nearest to the church. For this—though it was not known—thanks were due to Philip, who, roused by the awful spectacle from the stupor of his grief, employed the servants in deluging the roof with bucket after bucket of water, extinguishing each flake and brand as it fell. There was no one to take similar care of the two next buildings, the Senate- house and the Baths of Zeuxippus. The consequence was that they too were speedily raging like huge furnaces of inextinguishable fire. The flames shot high into the air and, beaten along by the wind, they met in gigantic burning arches overhead; while beneath them, as between two labouring volcanoes, streamed the myriads of the people, whose hearts were swept by strange extremes of emotion. Every citizen who had any patriotism mourned for the loss of the two loveliest edifices in the Imperial City. If the Christians felt inclined to taunt the Pagans with the destruction of their idols, the Pagans could sneer at the Christians for the reduction to ashes of the huge basilica where they worshipped 'the pale Galilean.' But Pagans and Christians alike felt that the Church, indeed, could be rebuilt—as it was soon rebuilt, with even greater magnificence—but that nothing could replace the choicest works of Greek sculpture. The famous statues of the Nine Muses, which Constantine had carried from Helicon to adorn his new capital, were calcined into dust. 'What wonder!' exclaimed the æsthetic Pagans. 'What did the Muses care for the new religion, with its uncultured barbarism?' But the Zeus of Dodona, the Athene of Lindus, the Amphitrite of Rhodes, the Pan which the Greeks had consecrated in memory of the battle of Salamis—all perished indiscriminately; and the skill which had produced them had vanished from the world. They had sunk amid the lava streams of molten metal, or had been crushed by the masses of superincumbent ruin. The Zeus and the Athene had been preserved, though desperately injured, by the melted lead which had streamed over and encased them; and the Pagan historian, Zosimus, consoles himself with the inference that Zeus and Athene had determined under no circumstances of Christian provocation to abandon for ever the city which was the New Rome. But his consolation is soon overshadowed by the no less strong conviction that the share of these deities in human affairs is unaccountable; that they do whatever pleases them, and for the most part—

Lie beside their nectar, and the clouds are curled
Round about their golden houses, girdled with the gleaming world.
And they hear a lamentation and a wail of ancient wrong,
Like a tale of little meaning, though the words are strong.


Thus all the inhabitants of the great city had cause to mourn, and cause far deeper than any of which they were aware; for when Chrysostom went forth, not only had the Angel of the Church gone forth with him, but gone forth never to return. The golden candlestick of the Patriarchate was removed out of its place. There was, indeed, a long succession of archbishops, but the majority of them were nullities, who raised no voice against religious folly and worldly iniquity. The Patriarcheion became for all practical purposes a mere appanage of the Imperial Palace; Christians took their religion—orthodox or heretical as the chance might be—from the dictate of emperors, and set before themselves no loftier ideal of morals than they saw in the tyranny, the corruption, and the boundless luxury of the Palace and its despicable little human gods.

Who kindled that thrice-disastrous conflagration? The answer to that question will never be known till the great day, when the secrets of all hearts shall be revealed.

Some, in their excited imagination, declared that it had been supernatural. They said that they had heard the crash, and seen the rush of a descending thunderbolt, which had shattered the Archiepiscopal throne as a sign of God's wrath and judgment, and in order that no bad or mean successor should defile with his presence the seat on which the holy John had sat.

Others laid the blame on the Jews and Pagans, who, they said, had with fiendish malignity seized the moment when the Christians were distracted with anguish to destroy their famous church, and, if possible, to consume some of the worshippers in its ashes.

Others fomented the preposterous calumny that Chrysostom himself was the guilty incendiary. But even the rage of Eudoxia, even the stolidity of Arcadius, found that charge too wickedly absurd. Every fact of the case, as well as the testimony of hundreds of witnesses and the holy character of the Patriarch, rendered the charge as ridiculous as it was infamous. The brutal Pagan præfect and magistrates, eager as they were to seize every weapon of destruction against men whom they detested, abandoned this pretence from the first. They left it to be cherished exclusively by the venomous falsity of the hostile bishops, who had the effrontery to assert it in their letter to Pope Innocent as though it were an indisputable fact.

The commonest view—though there was no tittle of evidence produced in its favour—was that it was the work of 'the Johannites.' It may be regarded as certain that this was not the case. Had any such plot existed, it cannot be doubted that in the tortures and persecutions which followed it would have become known.

The conflagration may have been due to accident pure and simple, so that not one person in Constantinople was aware how it arose. Or, again, it may have been the work of some one wild partisan of the Patriarch, driven half-mad by despair and a sense of injustice. If so, the secret remained locked in his own bosom. How vast a forest that first tiny spark enkindled!

There was only one alleviation of the calamity caused by the fire. A small chapel had marvellously escaped when the rest of the great cathedral had been consumed to ashes. It was the Sacristy, and in it were contained the precious gold and silver vessels and other treasures of the church. In this circumstance the friends of Chrysostom saw a Divine interposition. For one of the charges brought against him was that he had sold, alienated, embezzled, and diverted to his own purposes the possessions of the church. Had the Sacristy and its contents been consumed in the conflagration, it would not only have been impossible to scatter this calumny to the winds, but it would have been urged that John had consumed the building to conceal the evidence of his own defalcations. As it was, all the treasures could be produced intact. An accurate inventory of them existed; this was placed in the hands of the Præfect Studius and a committee of high official assessors. Two friends of Chrysostom—the presbyters Germanus and Cassian—went through it before the legal authorities, handed over the sacred vessels, were furnished with a receipt in full, and carried this receipt with them to Pope Innocent at Rome, as a triumphant vindication of the Patriarch's integrity. The providential preservation of the Sacristy robbed unscrupulous slanderers of what would otherwise have been their most fatal weapon.

The resultant anguish fell first, and most heavily, on Chrysostom himself. Accompanied by the Bishops Eulysius and Cyriacus and a few presbyters, he was making his sad journey to Nicæa, where he was to be informed of his ultimate destination. Their hearts were full of heaviness at the news that St. Sophia had been reduced to heaps of ruins, when they were thunderstruck by the arrival of an officer, despatched under the orders of the Court by Studius, the præfect, to charge the two bishops with incendiarism, to throw them and the presbyters into chains, and to conduct them back to prison in the city. Chrysostom, indignant at the wicked charge, said that they were as innocent as himself—that he could not separate his cause from theirs. As a matter of the barest justice, he demanded to be heard in his own defence and that of his friends. But not even the Empress had dared to include the Patriarch in the odious accusation. The emissaries could only act on their orders. They fettered Eulysius, Cyriacus, and their companions, and they were carried off to prison, first to Chalcedon, then to Constantinople. The trial showed that there was not a tittle of evidence to inculpate them; but even under these circumstances they were banished from Constantinople, and forbidden ever again to enter its precincts.

Chrysostom, almost crushed with grief, continued his journey. He had not been allowed to take with him a single personal attendant. But God was merciful to him. The hearts of the rough soldiers were touched by his dignity and his misfortunes, and they and their officers treated him with affectionate respect, and did what they could to supply his needs.

They reached Nicæa, and there for a while they rested till the will of the Emperor was known. Chrysostom was a little refreshed by the comforts of the city and the soft breezes of Lake Ascanius, and he ventured to hope, in his innocence, that some tolerable place of exile like Sebaste, in Armenia, would be appointed for him as a residence, where he could spend in peace the rest of his days—those années plus pâles et moins courannées, which would not seem dim to a soul which had never been enchanted by the ambitions of the world. But it was a bitter blow to him to hear that he was to be banished—thanks to Eudoxia—to the half-desert town of Cucusus, at the end of a wild valley of the Taurus range. It was a place of wretched climate, liable to incessant assaults of Isaurian marauders, into which, as though he were dead already, he was to be flung aside as into a living tomb. In vain had his friends pleaded for a less intolerable place of banishment. Notorious criminals constantly secured for themselves a comfortable abode; but the hate of the Empress was as an axe whose edge could not be turned, and the paltry Armenian hamlet, whose only boast was the tomb of a former Archbishop of Constantinople—Paulus, who had been martyred by the Arians—was now to be immortalised by furnishing a rude shelter to the last years of the best saint and greatest Father of the fourth century.


LIII. — DRAGGED ON HIS WAY

Contenti nel fuoco.—Dante, Inf. i. 115.

The melancholy journey began on July 4, 404, and its hardships nearly produced the effect so ardently desired by the Empress and her priestly abettors—the precipitation of the martyrdom of him who had become their enemy because he told them the truth.

Not that the indomitable spirit of the Patriarch succumbed even for a day. With wise heroism he determined—accused, banished, loaded with calumnies as he was—to render every service to the Church of God which was still in any way possible to him. Uncertain of his destiny, he occupied himself with ardent efforts to further his missionary enterprises in Phœnicia and other countries. At Nicæa lived a hermit who, in the ignoble perversion of the religious ideal, had walled himself up in a mountain cavern, where he had sworn to die. Chrysostom visited him, bade him to cancel his immoral oath and redeem his sterile life by taking his staff, going to the good priest Constantius at Antioch, and offering himself as a missionary to overthrow the Phœnician idols. He also occupied his leisure by writing letters of consolation, which breathed the undaunted spirit and holy resignation of St. Paul, to alleviate the sorrows of Philip, of Olympias, and his other friends.

Then the escort started. No sooner had they plunged into the black district of BurntPhrygia than Chrysostom was attacked with chronic fever, caused partly by fatigue, partly by the impossibility of procuring the daily bath which was essential for his feeble health, partly by the foul water and black, malodorous bread which was often the only nourishment which they could procure. For their orders were to avoid the towns on their route, perhaps because the Court was afraid of the effect of public demonstrations in the Patriarch's favour. As long as they were in the Diocese of Pessinus, of which the bishop, Demetrius, was his friend, they were not liable to molestation; but when they entered the diocese of Leontius of Ancyra, that bad ecclesiastic, untouched by the misfortunes of his innocent superior, harassed him with menaces which hinted even at murder. When they had struggled through this region into Cappadocia, the population flocked out of the towns and villages in throngs to honour him; but here again he was subject to the villainies of Pharetrius, Bishop of Cæsarea, whose cruelty was rendered more atrocious by his execrable hypocrisy. This man sent a message of unctuous affection to the Patriarch, saying how much he longed to embrace him, and how he had assembled multitudes of monks and nuns to do him honour. The miserable opportunist wanted to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds; he did not wish to offend his clergy, who honoured John, and still less did he care to embroil himself with the Empress. A lodging was provided at the extremity of the city; but Pharetrius was maddened with spite when he heard how the inhabitants surrounded the exile with marks of pity and of honour. He was worn out with forced travels night and day. Two physicians showed him special kindness, and ill as he was, he greatly needed their care. One of them even volunteered to accompany him to Cucusus, and, if possible, to save him from dying of sufferings which, as he wrote to the deaconess Theodora, were more severe than those of felons condemned to chains or to the mines. An additional torture was the absence of letters from Tigrius, or Philip, or Olympias. Happily for him he did not know, and never fully knew—such was the sacred tenderness of their reticence—the causes which had made it impossible for them to write.

Meanwhile Bishop Pharetrius was driven into ferocity by mingled jealousy and alarm. It was intolerable to him to see the illustrious exile treated by the great men of the city with an honour which they never deigned to show to his miserable self; and he was afraid lest the enemies of Chrysostom should take him to task for his hospitality, niggard, ungracious, and uncharitable as it had been. Like all base natures, he betook himself to plots. Chrysostom had still one hundred and twenty-eight miles to travel, and was too ill to brave the perils of the mountain roads; but just when the escort was on the point of starting the journey was impeded by an alarm that the Isaurians were ravaging the country. All the inhabitants of Cæsarea, even the old men and the boys, were impressed to defend the walls of the city. Seizing the opportunity, Pharetrius sent hordes of monks, armed with stones and clubs, to surround the lodging of Chrysostom, with threats that they would burn him and his escort alive unless they instantly departed. They even went so far in their holy brutality as to beat many of the Prætorian soldiers, who were too few to resist them; the præfect of the city was appealed to, but his intervention failed to repress the monkish hordes. Pharetrius would not even permit a respite of two days. At last the officer of the escort said to Chrysostom, 'We must at all costs start; the Pagan brigands are less dangerous than these monks.' It was burning noon, and Chrysostom was hurried into his litter. One of the weeping presbyters who witnessed his forced departure came to him, and said, 'Your life here is no longer safe. The Isaurians themselves would treat you better than these wretches!'

At this crisis a lady named Seleucia offered to the sick and suffering martyr the shelter of her villa, which was five miles distant. He gratefully accepted the offer, and Seleucia armed her slaves to repel the possibility of a midnight attack. Pharetrius sent her a fierce menace if she did not dismiss her guest; but the brave lady persisted in her work of kindness. A second and more threatening mandate terrified her. Chrysostom was awaked at midnight, his effects were hastily huddled together, he was told that the Isaurians were at hand, and that the servants of Seleucia had fled and hidden themselves. He found his mule harnessed and the escort ready. The night was wild and starless. He ordered that torches should be lit; but the presbyter Evethius, who had accompanied him from Cæsarea, bade that they should be extinguished, lest they should attract the barbarians. The guide led them through rocky and desert mountain paths. The mule stumbled at every step. At last it fell, and Chrysostom was flung to the ground, terribly shaken and half-dead. Evethius thought that he had expired; but he revived, and as he could ride no longer, the presbyter seized his hand, and dragged him along over the stones in an agony of pain. They escaped the Isaurians—if Isaurians there were, and if the whole alarm had not been due to a scoundrelly invention. All the next day they continued their bleak course over torrents and rough rocks, and at last, on the seventieth day after they had left Constantinople, they arrived at Cucusus. But that night of terror and anguish remained deeply graven on the Patriarch's memory. 'Light sorrows speak; great griefs are dumb.' He told his miseries to no one except Olympias, and begged her not to talk of them. From Cucusus he wrote to her, and said, 'I am safe at present from the Isaurians; they have retired into their own domains. I am safer here than at Cæsarea, for, with few exceptions, I fear no one so much as the bishops.'


LIV. — A REIGN OF TERROR

O, he is bold, and blushes not at death:—
Avaunt, thou hateful villain, get thee gone!

—Shakespeare, King John, iv. 3.

Scarcely had Chrysostom been sent on his way to his deplorable place of exile than a reign of terror began at Constantinople.

The election and consecration of his successor were accomplished with startling rapidity. Apparently neither the bishops, nor the clergy, nor the people were consulted. Within a week of the burning of their church the inhabitants of Constantinople learnt, with stupefaction, that their new Patriarch by the grace of Eudoxia was the presbyter Arsacius!

He was an old man of past eighty, totally without ability or distinction. Maddened by the independence of Chrysostom, Eudoxia had determined that her next Patriarch should be a fainéant in the depths of senility. Arsacius was the brother of Nectarius, the predecessor of Chrysostom, and he was dull in intellect, timid in action, feeble in speech; 'muter,' says the lively Palladius, 'than a fish, and less competent for business than a frog.' Rumour said that when his brother Nectarius had wished to make him Bishop of Tarsus, and he had declined, the Patriarch had accused him of coveting the See of Constantinople and waiting for dead men's shoes; and that he had sworn on the Gospels that he would never accept episcopal ordination. But then he had one supreme merit in the eyes of Eudoxia. The silent contrast between the energetic and self-denying patriarchate of Chrysostom and the luxurious indolence of his brother Nectarius had filled Arsacius with jealousy, and he had disgraced his hoary hairs by coming forward to accuse John of embezzlement of Church property at the infamous Synod of the Oak.

He was hurriedly consecrated by Severian and his clique in the Church of the Apostles, which served for the time as a pro-cathedral.

But he found himself a bishop of empty churches. The people, devoted to Chrysostom, and accustomed to his fiery and varied eloquence, did not choose to countenance the 'wolf in sheep's clothing' who had been illegally thrust upon them, or to listen to a man whom they regarded as few removes above an imbecile. The result of his superannuated ambition was only to cause him a year of humiliation, followed by a death of disgrace. His patriarchate, undistinguished by a single merit, was rendered infamous by two diabolical persecutions, for both of which he must bear his portion of the blame. Unable to win even ordinary respect either by ability or kindness, he did not interfere to alleviate the first persecution, and by his appeal to the Court became the immediate cause of the second.

The first persecution turned nominally on the charge of incendiarism against 'the Johannites,' and to equal its cruel infamy we have to come down to the darkest days which ever brought down the wrath of Heaven on a guilty Church: the dark and horrible days of religious persecution in its most baleful guise, when devils wore the garb of 'the Holy Office'; the days when 'Saint' Pope Pius V., that 'perfect priest,' sent, with his blessing, a jewelled sword to Alva, the cold-blooded butcher of the Netherlands; the days when Torquemada and his successors daily filled the prisons of Spain with the shrieks of those whom, in the name of the merciful Jesus, they tortured with rack and thumbscrew,—blackened the blue heavens of Spain with the Tophet-smoke of their bale-fires, and laded the winds with the ashes of God's faithful worshippers; the days—

When persecuting zeal made royal sport
Of murdered innocence at Mary's Court;

—the days when Pope Gregory XIII. consecrated the vilest form of assassination by singing Hallelujahs and striking medals in honour of the Massacre of St. Bartholomew. That such deeds of hell were possible as early as the fourth century is alone a sufficient proof of the hideous corruption of the Church caused by the usurpation of priests; of the dark and deadly superstition, half-Pagan, half-Jewish, which had polluted with turbid influences the pure river of the Water of Life; of the unspeakable degeneration from the religion of Him Whose name was Love, and who placed in love the fulfilling simplicity the law. The early Church, in the days of her simplicity and sincerity, would have revolted in unspeakable loathing from devilish cruelties, born of ambition and intolerance, which for so many subsequent centuries were committed in her name. Her doctrine, taught with absolute firmness by her early saints, was, 'Violence is hateful to God.' Could the Angels of the Church of the first and second centuries have witnessed the horrors perpetrated in later days by those who called themselves her champions, would they not have appealed to her Lord, and cried:

Face, loved of little children long ago,
Head, hated of the Scribes and teachers then—
Say, was not this Thy passion—to foreknow
In thy death's hour the deeds of Christian men?



LV. — A BURNING, FIERY FURNACE

Elaune, kinei, phonion exiei kalou.—Eur. Herc. Fur. 837.

The examination of the two good bishops, Eulysius and Cyriacus, who had gone forth with Chrysostom, had fallen to Studius, the Præfect of the city. It was impossible for the vilest of tribunals to condemn men whose innocence was alike transparent and demonstrable; so, after their bonds and imprisonment, they were gratuitously banished from the city. Apparently their escape was not to the liking of the heroes of the Synod of the Oak. They thought that Studius was not half cruel or unscrupulous enough in the violation of the law. Eudoxia agreed with them. Studius was cashiered, and Optatus, a Pagan—the Judge Jeffreys of the fourth century—was put in his place. He was sufficiently brutal and tyrannous to satisfy even Bishops Severian and Antiochus.

One of the first to be brought before this villainous tribunal was the presbyter Tigrius. His history was a touching one. He had been a barbarian, a slave, and a eunuch, whose fidelity had been rewarded by manumission. When he became free, piety and charity had marked him out for the diaconate, and he had ultimately been ordained presbyter. He had been one of Chrysostom's most faithful friends, and had become universally known as a man who was gentle, generous, and kind to the poor. Charged with being one of the authors of the conflagration, he of course declared his innocence; but the vengeance of his enemies was not to be baulked by such a trifle. He was a 'Johannite,' and that was enough. He was stripped of his clothing, and laid face downwards. Then he was beaten with scourges of leaded hide. Next—for every method of 'the Holy Office' was anticipated with all the that her amateur remedies were often more efficacious than their own. She, too, in her simplicity, had to go through the same horrors to which Pentadia had been subjected. The loud murmurs of the poor, who loved her, restrained Optatus from the severest measures; but he tyrannously enforced upon her a mulct of nearly all her property. The court liked money. Arcadius was by no means indifferent to the enjoyment of huge fines. The extravagances of Eudoxia required unlimited supplies. So the wealth of Nicarete, which for so many years had 'wandered, Heaven-directed, to the poor,' was now forfeited to Byzantine ostentation. Yet she would not be baulked of her charity. Reducing the expenditure of herself and of her once large household to the barest minimum, she was still enabled to enjoy that luxury of doing good which was the only pleasure towards which she had the smallest inclination. Even so she excited the small jealousies of Arsacius and his ecclesiastics. They knew that in her heart she had not the least respect for any one of them, and remained faithful to the memory of Chrysostom. Subject to incessant annoyances, she too left the scene of her bountiful liberalities, and retired to end her days in her native Bithynia.

So the reign of terror went on, and not only multitudes of men, but of women also—many a monk, and many a virgin, and many a deaconess—were fined, scourged, imprisoned, tortured under eyes that gloated on their sufferings, in order that the dumb dotage of Arsacius might have some shadow of a congregation to listen to his inane platitudes. It was in vain. Men like Severian and Arsacius and Optatus, women like Eudoxia and her looseminded entourage of widows intriguing with sham monks and bad priests, may wield all the powers of an empire, and may arm themselves with the snakes and torches of the Furies, but they cannot subjugate free souls by burning and torturing frail bodies. The friends of Chrysostom would have nothing to do with services rendered abhorrent by guilt and congregations assembled under dread of confiscation, anguish, and ruin. They gathered secretly in unknown houses and distant fields, and worshipped the God of their fathers in solitude, where the feet of wicked priests and more wicked bishops could not intrude.


LVI. — EUTYCHES AND PHILIP IN PROFUNDIS

O death, made proud by pure and princely beauty!
—Shakespeare, King John, IV. 3.

The bishops and metropolitans—Severian, Cyrinus, Antiochus, Arsacius, and tous ces garçonslà—felt a little discouraged. They kept on asseverating that John had set fire to his own cathedral, but not one human being believed them. They asserted in the most savage terms of assurance that, if John had not done it, the Johannites had at least done it at his instigation; but though they had gone down, as it were, to hell to find some means of enforcing evidence, not even the enginery of that slaughterhouse of everlasting vivisection, as they imagined it to be, had sufficed to wring from crushed men and scourged maidens one single incriminating word. Optatus and his myrmidons enjoyed the spectacle of burning flesh, and liked to hear the yells of sufferers whom they hated for their very innocence; but they could not but be sensible that they had gained very little personally by the gratification of their spite and rage, and that the execrations which they had roused against themselves in thousands of hearts, if not loud, were deep.

For a moment they were reduced to a standstill. They might continue to whip, and thumbscrew, and rack, and burn, and torture for months; they might turn Constantinople into shambles, and kindle the unspeakable abhorrence of every noble soul throughout the world; but it was too pitiful to see all their charges break down, and all their lies rebound with tenfold violence on their own guilty heads.

Then a brilliant thought suggested itself to Elpidius, the murderous priest, and Johannes, the adulterous deacon. Why had not Optatus tried his hand on those two young fellows who lived in the Patriarcheion, of whom the exiled John was so fond, who were so entirely devoted to him? Surely, if there was misprision of arson anywhere, they must have been guilty of it. In any case, it was a strange oversight of the bishopinquisitors to have overlooked them. To torture, imprison, and possibly kill them would be a malicious phase of vengeance, because it would bring to the heart of the exile an anguish hardly second to that which they hoped he would have suffered from hearing of the treatment accorded to his beloved deaconesses. Besides this, youths—and Eutyches was little more than a boy—might easily prove more pliant, in the blithe morn of a life unaccustomed to grief and anguish, even than women over whose long years had passed many a wave and storm. So the two ecclesiastics—the murderer and the adulterer—went to Severian, and gave him a hint; which he and Cyrinus seized with rapture. Against Philip, in particular, they had old grudges to wipe off. It would be delightful to see him fainting on the rack, and to hear him screaming under the knife and the scourge; and as for Eutyches, it was little likely that a delicate and beautiful boy would be able to hold out long; and from the anguish of a frame so tender some inculpations against the Patriarch might very probably be wrung.

Philip himself had often wondered why he had not been arrested, for it had never occurred to him as possible that the conspirators would think of arresting an innocent and harmless lad like his loved Eutyches, so modest, so blameless, so inoffensive, so kind to all. Philip himself lived and moved as in a dream. Sometimes it seemed to him—fatherless, motherless, almost friendless; with David gone, and Miriam gone, and his father driven into cruel and calumniated banishment; separated, perhaps for ever, from Kallias and the two young Goths who had been his companions; and with none who dared to advise or help him—it seemed to him as if the bitterness of death were passed. He was so terribly sick at heart that he would not venture into the law-courts, lest some sudden burst of indignation should transport him out of himself, and damage the cause of those he loved. But when it was told him how Tigrius had fared, and Serapion, and Heracleides, and all that had been gone through by Olympias, Pentadia, Nicarete, and the sufferings and ruin of all who were most faithful among the monks, virgins, and presbyters, his heart became like lead. To these sources of misery others were added. For some time he had not heard from the Desposynos Michael, and he had received no line from David, no message from his beloved and lovely Miriam. He knew that communication had become very difficult in that uncertain and troubled epoch; and rumours had reached him of raids of Isaurians, who had swept through Palestine itself from north to south. Not for one moment did he doubt of the faith and love of these dear friends; but what had happened to them? Were they still living? Yes; something told him that they were, they must be, still living; and if so, oh! why did they not send him some line or letter, some words of message and of cheer? And, beyond this incessant disquietude, he had heard of the anguish of Chrysostom's soul in the long, trying journey to Cucusus, and none but Philip could fully realise what his frail frame and delicate health must have suffered in the absence of the barest needs of life in that terrible night at Cæsarea, in those alarmed and hurried journeys through bleak Galatia, in those drear journeys among the robber-haunted crags and gorges of Armenia, and now in the cold imperilled, dreary ugliness of the wretched hamlet which malice had assigned as his prison- house. Yes; surely for Philip the bitterness of death was over. They might arrest him, or not arrest him. If they killed him—so much the better. What was life?—a vapour, and a poisonous one. Already for him every golden dream of youth had vanished with swift wings into the midnight; already the sun of life, which for a time had gleamed so brightly, had become red as blood, and had plunged into a sea of despair and death.

When life has lost all its joys it, happily, has still its duties. Philip had been saved from succumbing utterly to his gloomy fancies by the necessity for bestirring himself in the cause of his beloved master. No sooner had Chrysostom started than he set about collecting his effects, and making arrangements for his servants to return to their old home at Antioch. Although barely ten days had elapsed before Arsacius had entered into the Archbishopric, Philip had already used his time well. The furniture and personal property which had belonged to the true Patriarch were simple, and Arsacius, pompous and purpureal as his luxurious brother had been, was only too glad to give every facility for removing 'all that rubbish,' as he called it. He was eager to reinvest the Patriarcheion with the sumptuous carpets and Tyrian hangings which had adorned it in his brother's days, to renew the old aristocratic banquets, and to make all the dwelling-rooms gleam with choice statuary and gold and silver plate. As for Chrysostom's study, he was not going to abide in such a hole as that. He did not feel the smallest interest in Chrysostom's manuscripts, and could not imagine how any man of position could tolerate having such brown, ugly, dusty things about him. The only books Arsacius possessed, beyond the fashionable current literature, were a few commentaries, catenæ, and such 'loitering gear,' out of which he elaborated his extremely rare and very platitudinous discourses.

So all had been speedily packed, and Philip had sent to Antioch the sadhearted servants, who had all known him from his early boyhood. He had consoled their sorrow by telling them that the Patriarch had assigned to him and Eutyches the dear old house in Singon Street, and that they would come together and live there as soon as their work in Constantinople was over and circumstances permitted. But at present he had a duty to perform in helping to prepare the letters and evidence which Palladius, Germanus, and Cassian were about to take with them to Innocent, the Pope of Rome. From Antioch Philip hoped ere long to make his way to Cucusus, and still to devote his young life to the beloved service of his father and master, rejoining Eutyches when it should be possible, and in any case paying him an occasional visit. Alas! man proposes, God disposes. Yet, why should we say 'alas!'

All is best, though we oft doubt
What the unsearchable dispose
Of highest wisdom brings about:—
And ever best found at the close.


So Philip and Eutyches hired a little lodging together in the suburb of the city known as the Peratic deme, on the other side of the Golden Horn. There they lived very quietly, for 467 they thought it best not to thrust themselves wilfully into a danger which was only too imminent; and they wanted to see as little as possible of Arsacius, and not to go near the Church of the Apostles, where he held his dismal and scantily attended services. In a few days they hoped to have made all their arrangements, and to start for Antioch.

In their little room Eutyches was the most delightful of companions; nor could Philip have had anyone with him better adapted to dispel the breadths of everdeepening gloom which were beginning to settle on his own young, ruined life. The life of Eutyches was still in its May, and—

all is joyous then;
The waves speak music, and the flowers breathe odour;
The very breeze has mirth in it.


The trials of life had not yet touched him half so heavily as they had fallen on Philip, and the sorrows which had befallen him were brightened by the invincible faith which shone in a soul of stainless purity. He had an exquisite voice, and had often been asked to sing in St. Sophia when a solo was required. His charm as a singer was so great that if ever it became known that he was to sing there was sure to be a crowd. He now used his skill to soothe the unhappiness of his friend. Every night before they retired to rest they sang a Psalm and a hymn together, and often when they went walks in the wild, distant parts of the lovely shore, Eutyches would raise his voice in some fine lilt or fragment of Greek or Roman song, and charm away the wrath which Philip nurtured against the world of Constantinople.

And though 'the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts,' its sorrows are soon exorcised, and its spirit of hope is inextinguishable. Philip was looking forward to days when even yet he might be comforted by the dawn of brighter circumstances, when suddenly the thunderbolt fell upon them both.

The Bishop of Gabala had obtained an order for their arrest. They were returning from one of their seaside strolls and a bathe in the blue waters of the Bosporus when, as they turned the corner of the street in which they were domiciled, Eutyches suddenly clutched Philip by the arm, and pointed.

Two of the Palatini, in full armour, with their tall spears in their hands, stood before the door of their abode.

To turn and fly was useless. Where could they go? Who would shelter them? Was it not certain that they would be overtaken and arrested? There was no help for it. Clasping each other by the hand, they advanced. The Palatini at once crossed their spears before the entrance, forbade their ingress, and arrested them in the Emperor's name.

'Show me the order of arrest,' said Philip. The soldiers showed it. The charge that they were incendiaries and virulent Johannites was countersigned with the loathly autograph of Severian.

They gave themselves up. Fetters were placed on their wrists, and, with a soldier on either side holding the end of the chain, they were led off to the common prison. As they passed along the streets they were repeatedly seen and recognised. The crowd gave free expression to their pity, and, with their usual license, uttered fierce execrations against Eudoxia, against Optatus, against Severian and his tools. But they did not dare to attempt a rescue, for there were patrols of soldiery in almost every street, through the midst of whom Lucius, their commandant, often strode in full armour, with a threatening scowl upon his hard features.

Flung into prison, with its stifling atmosphere and comfortless foulness, they were left there many days with the express object of weakening their spirits and making them look squalid and haggard, until the bright colour of youth should have faded from their pinched cheeks and the buoyancy of youth from their unflinching hearts. But the base plan did not succeed. There was a certain sense of inspired and inspiring exaltation in the soul of Eutyches, as though, in his innocence, he 'fed on manna dews and drank the milk of Paradise.' And when they were led together before the tribunal—the dark-eyed youth with his high and dauntless bearing, and the fair lad whose face was the face of an angel—not looking squalid and haggard, as their accusers hoped they would, but only pallid, an involuntary murmur of pity and admiration was heard among the throng. This did not improve either the temper of the pagan præfect, or of the Christian bishop whose portly presence seemed to occupy so large a place by his side.

'That boy will be cowed easily enough,' whispered Optatus to the Bishop.

'We will try it, at any rate,' said the pitiless prelate.

'What induced such a young ne'er-do-well as you to set fire to our great church?' said Optatus, bending on Eutyches his most savage frown.

'I would rather cut off my right hand, sir,' said Eutyches modestly, 'than set fire to a church of God.'

'Oh! ay, you talk, you accursed young hypocrite!' said the judge, 'but we know you to be a rebellious Johannite, for all your white, simpering prettiness. Come, let us have no nonsense!' he shouted, 'or we will tear the truth out of you somehow. If you didn't set the church on fire yourself, the court has no manner of doubt that you know who did.'

'I do not know, sir, in the least,' said Eutyches. 'Our hearts ached to see our beloved church in flames, and no one who really loved the Patriarch can have committed such a crime.'

'The Patriarch, you impudent chatterer! Do you mean his Beatitude the Patriarch Arsacius, or the thieving, blaspheming, railing man whom his Eternity the Emperor has sent off to rot at Cucusus?'

'Shame!' shouted some of the auditors.

'Shame!' roared the Præfect. 'I'll have you canaille arrested and flogged wholesale in batches if you speak another word. Answer, prisoner!'

'Sir,' said Eutyches, 'I meant the late Patriarch John, whom I ever reverenced as a most holy man.'

'Oh! that is your line, is it? Now, anathematise the ruffian John, and we will believe that you are innocent, and set you free.'

'Stand firm, my Eutyches,' whispered Philip, who stood beside him in the dock.

The boy's only answer was to turn towards him with a radiant and halfreproving smile. Could Philip imagine for a moment that he would quail?

Optatus did not relish this by-play. 'You other prisoner,' he shouted, 'speak another word before you are questioned, and you shall be whipped with leaded ropes by way of preliminary to your examination! Now, boy, curse the ex-Patriarch John.'

'I cannot, sir,' said Eutyches, 'and I never will. He was my benefactor, almost my father. I was an orphan, and he gave me a home. I owe to him my very soul.'

'Oh! you cannot, cannot you? Look, boy. Do you see those things? Jailer, show him some of those pretty playthings.'

The jailer drew a curtain, touched the boy on the shoulder, and pointed.

There Eutyches saw a collection of the instruments of torture. They scarcely differed in any respect—except that they were not refined by science to such entire perfection—from the instruments which the Papacy so often wielded with such frightful and longcontinued malignity in many lands to coerce the free consciences of men and women and boys who would not sell their souls for a lie. There was a burning brasier, in which various iron instruments were being heated red hot; there were gridirons, like that on which St. Lawrence was martyred; there were pincers and thumbscrews to crush the fingers and tear away the nails; there were racks; there was the wooden horse, with its back cut in sharp ridges, on which prisoners were tied with heavy weights attached to them; there were pincers to twist and rend the limbs; there were strips of rhinoceros-hide weighted with nails and lumps of lead; there were the abhorrent ungulæ, with long handles and sharp claws, with which the executioner carved the flesh into bloody furrows.

Eutyches turned his gaze towards them, and for a moment grew pale.

'Do you see them?' said Optatus; 'pretty, aren't they? Do you want to feel them, too?'

The boy only turned his eyes to heaven and murmured an inaudible prayer; while Philip again murmured, 'Courage, my Eutyches!'

'Strike that impudent scoundrel on the mouth, soldier,' said Optatus, in a fury; 'say one word more, and your tongue shall be torn out.' The Prætorian dealt a fierce buffet on the face of Philip, which grew livid under the blow; while Eutyches, as he saw it, started and uttered a cry. 'And you, you young dog of a prisoner!' shouted the judge, 'don't think to come over us with pretty airs of martyrdom. Once more, anathematise John, or——' His cruel finger pointed to the instruments of hell.

'I cannot,' said Eutyches in his low, sweet voice, which thrilled all hearts. 'I may not! I will not! Lord Jesus, help me!'

'Do not deceive yourself, boy,' said Severian, with unctuous piety; '"though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing."'

Eutyches turned on him his pure glance, while over his face passed an involuntary shade of contempt, and through his body ran an involuntary shudder of aversion.

Eutyches and Philip in Profundis

'We waste time,' said Optatus. 'Strip him bare.'

They tore off his clothes.

'Lash him with the scutica.'

The dread scourge whistled through the air, and made horrible blue wheals as it fell on the boy's white back. But he spoke no word, and there was a lustre as of heaven in his blue eyes.

'Once more, anathematise John.' Eutyches could not speak, but he shook his head.

'If that is not enough to break down his stubbornness, lay him on the rack.'

They laid his swollen and lacerated limbs on the sharp points of the wooden horse.

'Now try the ungulæ on him.'

Philip's heart was full even to bursting; he was sobbing uncontrollably, convulsively, hiding his face in his hands.

The torturer drew the ungulæ down the side of Eutyches, tearing the flesh into deep gashes.

'Philip! Philip!' he moaned under the anguish, and stretched out his hand. Philip grasped it, and pressed it, till the executioner tore his hand away and smote it hard on the knuckles. But Eutyches had been thinking more of his friend's anguish than of his own, and now his soul passed into a sort of trance of exaltation. He felt as though white angels were standing by him; as though Christ Himself were now holding and pressing his hand. When the executioner rasped the horrible ungulæ down the other side he was scarcely conscious of it; a sea of light seemed to encompass and roll over the sea of darkness; agony was merged in an ecstatic and pain-obliterating rapture. He uttered not a word.

'Pretty creature!' said Optatus. 'Executioner, you must spoil his beauty a little. Try the ungulæ on the forehead.'

The man tore off the skin of the lad's forehead, tearing off the eyebrows with it. The blood deluged and blinded his eyes, and clotted the curls of his fair hair. But he spoke no word.

'Speak you shall!' said Optatus.

'Hold a torch for half a minute to the wounds on his side,' whispered Severian, mad with impotent spite; 'he will speak then.'

It was only said in a whisper, but Philip, whose senses were strained by excitement and horror to intense acuteness, heard it, and was swept away by a mighty storm of passion.

'Oh, you fell dog!' he cried, leaping to his feet and uplifting his hands, on which the fetters clanked. 'Oh, monster of wickedness and cruelty! A bishop—you? Nay, surely the very devils must blush for you! God be judge between you and us! God smite thee and curse thee, thou whited wall, and may this mystery of iniquity haunt thee till thou art a magor-missabib, a terror to thyself on every side.'

The words of Philip's curse smote like hail on the ear of the guilty Bishop. He visibly recoiled and trembled before them, and for all his rubicund portliness seemed to shrink into nothing, and held up his hand between himself and Philip's avenging glance. But Optatus only turned on the youth his lurid smile, and said, 'It will be your turn next, young man. But we have not done with the other yet. Executioner, hold the torch to his side.' The fire touched him. He half-raised himself, and then cried in a voice of thrilling joy, 'I see Cherubim and Seraphim!—and—Thine own self—Oh, Lord Jesus!' He fell back. The man held the torch to the wounds, but Eutyches winced not, moved not, spoke no word more. They looked at him with amazement. He lay there unconscious; his torn skin hung over his features; his beauty was defaced; his bright hair was dabbled and clotted with blood; his white skin was covered with crimson stains. They unbound him. He was dead.

An awful hush of horror fell on the assembly, and in that hush many afterwards averred—for they were intensely excited—that they had distinctly seen the flashing of angels' wings, that they had distinctly heard the melody of angel-harps.

The hush was broken by the hoarse tones of Optatus. 'Take that carrion away! Now for the second prisoner. He seems likely to give us sport.'

Ah! let us drop the curtain on these deeds of hell, commuted by men who called themselves Christians, and in the name of religion!—for some of the clergy sat with Severian, as assessors, in the interest of Arsacius, abetting, as such men have often done, the vilest works of the devil in the holy name of Christ.

Philip was stripped of his clothes; he was beaten with the leaded thongs; his sides were torn with the ungulæ. Then he was laid upon the rack and his arms were, joint by joint, dislocated till they left but his right hand which was not out of joint; and that for the same reason as they did it in the case of Savonarola—that he might be forced to sign some incriminating statement later on.

But their malice wholly failed. They could not wring from Philip one single word of any kind. It would have been a relief and a delight to them if only he would have moaned, or unpacked his heart in curses. But he spoke neither good nor bad, and it became monotonously horrible to hear in silence the clank of his fetters, the scraping of the ungulæ, and the grinding of the rack, while the sufferer did not so much as emit a single groan.

They were proceeding to still worse extremities, which could not have left him with his life, when there rose among the spectators so savage and wrathful a murmur that the very executioners trembled, and hesitated in their task. Even the judges by this time had supped full of horrors; and it became manifest that the multitude, sickened, enraged, maddened by the fate of the innocent Eutyches, might break at any moment into furious riot, might slay the torturers, and the Præfect, and wreck the entire building. So there was an involuntary pause. Philip still lay on the rack as one dead. He did not hear that hoarse hum of the multitude, as of a sea murmuring under the first rush of the cyclone; and he said afterwards—long afterwards, in happy days, when he could bear for once just to allude to these things—that he doubted whether he was really sensible of the anguish. There are states of tension in which the soul has become unconscious of the body, just as the soldier is often unconscious of the throbbing of his wounds, or even that he has been wounded at all, till the battle is over. And Philip's mind had been so excited, so maddened, and then so stupefied, by watching the atrocities inflicted upon Eutyches, and afterwards so wafted into the seventh heaven by what he himself believed that he had seen—a vision of seraphs and a sound of their heavenly harps—that every other sense was deadened. They might have tortured him till he, too, sank dead; but finding themselves hopelessly and finally foiled, and no longer able to overlook the cries of fierce menace which rose from every part of the hall of justice, they adjourned the session of the court.

'Unbind him,' said Optatus, sullenly. 'Toss him back into the prison.'

'He has long been unconscious, you vile murderer and impure demon!' shouted a youth from the crowd who had known Philip, and had often delighted in his bright smile of welcome and genial words of greeting.

'Who was that?' roared the Præfect. 'Bring him here; scourge him; stretch him on the rack; tear him with the ungulæ. What! you can't tell which of the crowd it was? Liars, you want scourging yourselves! Soldiers, clear the court! Use your swords, if you like. I will be your warrant.'

But the very soldiers had by this time grown utterly disgusted. They did not even pretend to use force, and the people, as they dispersed, greeted the Præfect and his assessors with yells of 'Demons' and 'Murderers.' Severian was the special mark of their abhorrence. They insulted him in spite of his escort of soldiers, who, indeed, loathed him so much themselves that they hardly took the trouble to defend him. They yelled at him; they hissed at him, and spat upon him on all sides; they pelted him; they hit him on the head with stones; they aimed blows at him with staves and clubs, and the soldiers only laughed. He began to think that, even with the Empress to protect his iniquities, he had made Constantinople too hot to hold him. He slunk away by night, to fill up the cup of his iniquities at Antioch and elsewhere. But never again thereafter was he anything but a terribly haunted man. He seemed ever to hear footsteps behind him. It was to him as though the earth was made of glass, as though the very stars looked down upon him like burning and innumerable witnesses. He constantly started, as at voices prophesying woe. He heard the howls as of bandogs following him. The face of Eutyches looked in upon him; and sometimes, if he sat alone—

There came wandering by
A shadow like an angel, with bright hair
Dabbled in blood;

—and sometimes at night he woke up with a scream, and saw the angel pointing him out to Megæra faces, which glared at him and shook torches before his bloodshot eyes. And all the time the brand of Cain became more and more visible upon him. When he slunk back to his deserted sheep in the wilderness in the wild gorges which enclosed the wretched Galilean village of Gabala it was as a foiled, hated, disgraced, haunted, beaten man—a man who had sold himself for futile and unfulfilled ambitions—a man who had entangled himself in hateful and intolerable crimes. The fate of Ananias of Bethel, the fate of Pashur of Jerusalem fell on him, and hunted him pitilessly down the vale of his remaining years.

When the jailers had carried the body of Eutyches out of the court they did not feel quite sure that he was dead; but by the time they had passed into the open air it became plain that they were only carrying the crimson spoils of his martyrdom.

'What is to be done with him?' said one. 'We cannot take a corpse back to the crowded prison.'

'Those fellows had better take care,' said his comrade, pointing back with his thumb over his shoulder to the place where the clerics sat. 'A good many in the city knew this young lad, and if they saw him as he is now some persons' lives would not be too safe.'

'Best let the priests know,' said the first.

'A message was sent to the judges' bench, and several presbyters hurried out. 'We must bury him ourselves,' they said. 'Quick, somebody, fetch a sheet, and throw it over his face.'

No sheet was at hand, but one of them, glad to hide a spectacle which pained even their eyes, flung his upper robe over the boy's remains, and then they hurried with the bier to a burial-place. They attempted to say some words of prayer over the shallow and hasty grave. But their tongues stuttered and stumbled, and they felt as if angel voices rang in their ears, which said in words like those of the modern poet:

How shall the funeral rite be said, the funeral song be sung
By you—by yours, the evil eye, by yours, the slanderous tongue
Which did to death the innocence which died, and died so young?


They tried to say no more; but they confidently affirmed to others, when the name of Eutyches was added to the Martyrology, that they had heard celestial music, which floated and hovered above the lowly resting-place where his beautiful body mingled with the unremembered dust.

But Philip's unconscious and cruelly mangled form was hurried back into the prison—for he still lived—and was flung down, carelessly, in the corner of the dungeon, on a heap of rotten straw, which formed his only bed. It was there that the charitable wife of Aurelian found him; for a voice seemed ever to ring in her ears: 'I was sick, and in prison, and ye did not visit me.' Her heart ached to see the unhappy youth, of whom in the bright days of Chrysostom's first arrival at Antioch her noble husband had so often spoken to her as his lively and modest companion. There he lay, among the crowded, despairing prisoners—each daily expecting the same or a similar fate—untended, though the fluttering remains of what poor life was left to him seemed to require such careful and loving tendance night and day.

'Poor, poor youth!' exclaimed Aurelian with a sigh when she had told in what condition she had found him. 'These are dreary and terrible days, my Claudia. I remember how gay, how modest, how faithful that dark-haired youth was when he almost forced Amantius and me, against our wills, to let him accompany his master to this evil city; and I remember with what blythe cheerfulness, often with happy songs upon their lips, he and that other dear lad, Eutyches, the chorister, whom I hear they brutally tortured to death to-day, used to traverse the city streets on errands of service and of mercy.'

'Could you not plead with the Emperor for him?'

'Dear Claudia, Arcadius, as you know, means Eudoxia, and what Eudoxia is, when her hate is aroused, you also know.'

'Yet, surely even she would not object to the effort to snatch from death one cruelly tortured youth. Oh, Aurelian! risk something and try to save him.'

'I will go, and that instantly,' said the Prætorian Præfect. 'What is life, after all, but service?'

He put on his purple mandye and went at once. His high rank secured him an immediate audience, and Arcadius, who sincerely honoured him, was glad to see him. He briefly mentioned his request, while the Emperor shifted about uneasily in his chair.

'I wish these days were over,' said Arcadius in a peevish tone. 'I am naturally kindhearted, yet one seems to be listening all day long to the whistle of scourges, and the sullen people scowl at me even on my way to the churches. The very Amphitheatre is affected with elements of wrath and regret.'

'Can you not end this persecution of the Johannites, sire?' said the Præfect, falling on one knee.

'What can I do?' answered the miserable ruler of the world. 'I wish I had never listened to the plot of those bad bishops—for they are bad bishops, and the Patriarch was a holy man. And now the whole horizon looks black. God will be sending us another earthquake. But what can I do? Here is that old dotard of a Patriarch, on one side, urging me to find congregations for him; and on the other side is Eudoxia, goading me to fresh banishments and fresh executions. I wish——' The wish, whatever it was, died away unspoken.

'I am sure that if your Eternity would but express a strong desire, this cruel persecution of the innocent Johannites would cease. It is a shame to your beneficence that men should be daily stretched on the rack, and women scourged, and boys torn to death.'

'Express a desire? Ah! you little know. But this youth's life, at any rate, shall be saved, if it can be done. I will write an order for his release, and sign it here and now.'

He sat down, and, dipping the stylus into his great golden inkstand, wrote the order in the clear, beautiful handwriting which was his sole accomplishment.

Aurelian hurried home exulting; and when Claudia had ordered her easiest litter to be got ready and filled with the softest cushions, Aurelian accompanied her to the prison with the best physician in Constantinople. The body of Philip was lifted with the utmost care and tenderness upon a bank of cushions, and he was carried to the sedan. Then the physician did all that skill could do to set his wrenched arms, and he was gently conveyed to the palace of Aurelian. There, in a large and airy room which caught the breeze of the sea and tempered the burning heat of midsummer, he was laid on a princely couch, and tended with every service which skill and solicitude could render.

He lay unconscious, hovering between life and death, for many weary days.


LVII. — GLEAMS OF RETURNING DAWN

The grey secret lingering in the East.
—Coventry Patmore.

For many weary days—but youth triumphed, and life won the supremacy, aided by the sound influence of a pure and healthy frame.

Hitherto, since the cruelty to which he had been subjected, he had never awakened to clear thought. It was as if a red mist had ever been floating before his eyes, and for some time nothing but his feeble breath and slight movements had proved that he was alive. But now he began to show signs that he would recover.

One day Aurelian and his wife, Claudia, stood by his bedside with the physician, who was a kindly Christian man. Aurelian was looking at Philip somewhat sadly. 'How changed,' he said, 'from the bright youth of six years ago! Will the colour ever return to that pale cheek, or the old strength and swiftness to those suffering limbs?'

'Yes,' said the physician, 'I have expended my best skill upon him, and, with God's blessing, it has not been in vain. But when he awakes to full consciousness there may be a reaction of despair and mental agony, which I greatly dread.'

'What do you advise?'

'He would be better in the country. When he is able to think and to remember, the tramp of soldiers in your courtyard below will trouble him, Præfect; and, assiduous as the Lady Claudia has been in her kindnesses, he will need someone to tend him day and night.'

'Olympias would gladly nurse him till his recovery,' said Claudia. 'She came to see him, not without danger to herself, a few days since. She often used to talk to him in the house of the Patriarch.'

'Nothing could be better,' said the physician. 'In the islandcity of Cyzicus, where Olympias now lives, he would breathe the pure air of the Propontis. The Lady Olympias is 480

a skilled and devoted nurse, and it will be good for her, as well as for him, that he should be under her care, and help to dispel her overwhelming melancholy by the pressure of kindly duties to be done.'

The next day Philip woke sane. Claudia was sitting by his bedside. He did not recognise her. His eye wandered round the unfamiliar chamber. He could hardly recall who he was, or form any distinct recollection of the past. Claudia laid her hand on his forehead. 'What place is this?' he asked in a low voice. 'It does not look like the prison.'

'You are in the house of Aurelian, the Prætorian Præfect.'

'And you, lady?'

'I am Claudia, the Patrician's wife. We have been nursing you.'

A long pause followed.

'And he? Is he alive? Where is he?'

'Do you mean the Consular Aurelian? He is in the next room.'

'No! He—the Patriarch John.'

'He is well; he is at Cucusus.'

'Oh! I remember; I remember all. And Eutych——?'

His voice was choked as he tried to utter the word.

'Do not talk or think now, Philip. All you have to do is to get well.'

'But does he live?'

'Yes, Philip—he lives in that land where God wipes all tears from off all faces.'

'He will never wipe them from mine,' said Philip in a faint whisper; and, indeed, the silent tears which he was too weak to wipe away were coursing each other down his hollow cheeks.

'Shall I ever rise from this sick-bed?'

'Yes, Philip, and be strong again, and well, and happy.'

'Never happy,' he said, with a low moan.

'Yes, happy, dear youth,' said the physician, who entered at that moment—'if only you 481 will now dismiss all trouble from your mind, and rest.'

For a week after that time he talked little; but it was so evident that his mind was working, and that he was sinking deep into a sea of gloom, that they thought it advisable to remove him, with the utmost care and caution, to the villa of Olympias. Accompanied by the physician, and proceeding by easy stages, amid every comfort, he gained rather than suffered by the journey to Cyzicus. In the course of a few days he could lie on his couch in the open air, amid the gardens and groves and orchards which embowered the villa of Olympias; and before long he could walk again, and the tide of youthful life began once more to pour through his veins.

But, as the physician dreaded, the frightful memory of his recent experiences weighed on him like lead. Was it not a hopelessly unaccountable thing that wickedness, and lies, and mean intrigues, and sham religion, could have triumphed, and that the reward of innocence and righteousness should have been defeat, humiliation, exile, torture? Chrysostom was in a bleak and frightful Armenian village, harassed by the raids of brigands, overwhelmed with hatred and victorious calumny; Olympias, Pentadia, Nicarete, exiled, fined, humiliated; the faithful Johannites beaten, imprisoned, tortured; Eutyches barbarously murdered; Michael, David, Miriam absent and silent; he himself racked, buffeted, all but killed, every hope frustrated, every gleam of happiness for ever dead. No one was triumphant but Eudoxia, and Severian, and Theophilus of Alexandria. Had God removed into His infinite blue heaven, far away from the wickedness of the hypocrites and the misery of the good? Did Christ, after all, hear prayer? or—— And there Philip seemed to drown in a subterranean Erebus of doubt and despondency, and did not so much as wish to live.

Slowly but surely hope came back, and God's consolations increased upon his soul 'with the gentleness of a sea that caresses the shore it covers.'

He had become very taciturn; and Olympias herself had been so crushed by calamities that her mind, too, was all darkened with clouds, through which no star looked. But one day he asked her: 'Has he inquired after me? Does he know? Has he written?'

Olympias knew whom he meant, and said: 'Yes, the Patriarch has again and again inquired about you. For his own dear sake we concealed from him all we could; but a sword pierced his heart when we could not but tell him that Eutyches had been martyred, and that you were lying between life and death. He might say, with David, " All thy waves and storms have gone over me." But he has written to you, and now that you are well enough to read his letter, I will hand it to you.'

Philip took the letter with a trembling hand, and retired into the garden to read it by himself.


'My heart bleeds for you, my Philip,' so the letter ran. 'I have heard from Olympias what shame and agony God has called on you to endure for my poor sake—let me say, rather, for the sake of truth and duty. When I heard of your sufferings, and of the death of our beloved Eutyches, I wept as if my heart would break, and I found no comfort till I had poured out my soul before God. I cannot weep any more for him, though it is sad to think that we shall see his face and hear his sweet voice no more. But why should we weep for one whom the world can never more stain or torment, and who is now a happy spirit in the nearer presence of his God? For you, whom I have ever loved as a son, I have never ceased to grieve, and no day passes that you are not mentioned in my prayers. Never, never shall I forget you, and all your goodness and love to me—first, in those dear days at Antioch, and then amid the troubles of Constantinople.

'Olympias tells me, dear Philip, that your recovery might be complete if it were not retarded by the oppression of sorrow. Your sorrow is most natural. Nevertheless, trust thou still upon God, and hope in Him, for He is, and will be, the light of thy countenance, and thy God. You have often seen the black clouds roll up from the Euxine and obliterate the azure; but did you not always know that they were only the clouds of earth and of our lower atmosphere—that they were themselves created by the sun itself, and that, behind them, the sun was still flaming, though for the time he was hidden? My Philip! God is that sun; and He knows no setting; He is for ever in the zenith. For He is light, and with Him is no darkness at all.

'So cheer up, my Philip; God will never leave you nor forsake you, if you put your trust in Him. Write and tell me that your heart is not overwhelmed. Write to me, if you can, in that happy mood which has helped to brighten so many years. Of myself I will say nothing now, for our beloved Olympias knows my concerns, and she will tell you how I fare in this far-distant place of exile.'


The letter comforted him, though he could not yet embrace its deeper topics of consolation. And as the messenger would start the next day with many letters to the banished Patriarch from his friends in Constantinople, Philip entrusted to him a few lines.


'My father,' he wrote, 'I am still too weak, and my right hand shaken too much, to write more than this greeting. Oh! we have gone through dark and cruel times. Pray for me, father, that my faith fail not. By the time that your next letter reaches me I hope to be well again. Bid me come to you to Cucusus, and I will fly as on the wings of the wind. It would be joy indeed to hear your voice once more, to sit at your feet, and serve you, and devote my life to you.'


Another comfort helped to dispel Philip's gloom. As yet the one horror which constantly overcame him was the thought of Eutyches—first, the memory of so many mirthful and innocent hours spent with him and David in the dear anteroom of the Patriarcheion; and then the indelible spectacle of that face and figure on the bloodstained rack. It was this vision which Philip sometimes thought would drive him mad. One day it had specially tormented him, and had seemed to push him back into drowning whirlpools. He was sitting on a grey, lichened rock under the trees. The tears burst again and again through the fingers of his hands, on which he rested his weary head. And then, in his anguish, he cried to God to exorcise this phantom, and enable him only to think of his lost friend as he was before that cruel scene. As again and again he repeated the cry a sudden conviction came over him that his prayer had been heard. That night he sank to peaceful sleep; and, while he slept, happy dreams waved their light mugs over his head. He seemed to see the golden ladder between heaven and earth, and angels ascending and descending upon it, and over it the face of the Son of Man. He seemed to see the midnight sky bursting open to its depths, and bright spirits, amid the glory, carolling as they carolled on the first Christmas night. He seemed to see the Elders and the Immortalities, the lucent Seraphim of knowledge, the burning Cherubim of Love, casting their cravens of amaranth before the sapphire-coloured throne. And amid all these radiances he saw always the face of Eutyches innocent, beautiful, happy—more innocent, more beautiful, more happy than he had ever seen it in his most joyous hours. Then he thought he had raised his outstretched hands, yearning to speak to him; and in white robes, a palm-branch in his hand, the boy had stood by his bedside, and said to him, 'Philip, why should you grieve so much for me? I am often very near you; and eye hath not seen nor ear heard the blessings of heaven, our home. Grieve no more for me, Philip, and so live that we may all meet in this land, where there are no more tears.'

With these words still sounding like music in his ears Philip woke, and it seemed to him as if the room were still full of light and peace. His prayer had been heard. He never mentioned the dream to anyone but Olympias, but he was inwardly convinced that it was something more than an illusion of the night. Thenceforth, whenever the image of Eutyches recurred to his thoughts, it was as an image, not of horror, but of beauty and of peace.

And then one more blessing exorcised the incubus of his despair.

What, he often thought, was to be his future? As to his means of living he was spared all anxiety, for he was well provided for. Chrysostom had handed over to him and Eutyches his property in Antioch, and that alone would suffice him. A friend of Chrysostom, the good priest Constantius at Antioch, saw that this heredity was duly administered, and had also taken charge of the house and money left by Hermas, Philip's father. To these two sources of maintenance there had been a gratifying addition from a very exalted quarter.

Ever since Aurelian, the Prætorian Præfect, had interceded with Arcadius for Philip, the Emperor, whose impulses were far from unkindly when he was left to himself, had felt an unwonted interest in the youth. He had encouraged Aurelian to talk about him when Eudoxia was not present, and so had learnt the story of the way in which the quick resource of Philip and Eutyches had devised the masque which terrified the marauding Goths of Gaïnas, who would otherwise, beyond all doubt, have sacked his Palace, and perhaps have sacrificed his own life and that of his Empress, and even have changed the destinies of the Empire. For this service he could not but feel intensely indebted, and he was struck with the nobly modest reticence which had never even mentioned so memorable a proof of loyalty. With what frightful ingratitude had the poor youth been requited, when so many of the corrupt, the worthless, and the disloyal had been crowned with honours which they did but abuse! Arcadius sent for his Count of the Imperial Largesses, and ordered him to see that privately, but without fail, Philip was supplied with a yearly pension of a hundred aurei. He further desired the Count, without mentioning the fact to anyone, to keep an eye on Philip, and to use any opportunity which might occur to further his interests. In case of his complete recovery the Emperor commanded that the young man should be summoned to a private audience.

This was communicated to Philip, and he was now at ease as regards his future sustenance. God, who tempers the wind to the shorn lamb, was beginning to show mercy upon him after such heavy strokes of calamity. But, even now, what was a future without friends and without love? Oh! if he could but hope that one day the lot of Miriam would be linked with his!

The return of perfect health was still retarded by these thoughts, when one day one of the slaves of Olympias came to tell him that a friend was asking for him, and awaited him in the tablinum.

'A friend!' said Philip, with a sigh. 'What friend is left me in Constantinople? All whom I loved are dead, or in prison, or in exile.'

'But the friend, sir, told me to tell you that he came from Palestine.'

'From Palestine!' Philip's heart gave a great leap, and he followed the slave to the room.

A tall, graceful youth was standing with his back to the door, gazing on the boats which furrowed the blue Propontis.

He turned round as Philip entered.

'David!' exclaimed Philip; and in one moment their arms were round each other's neck, their heads on each other's shoulders.

Philip was the first who found voice to speak.

'Oh, David!' he sobbed for joy. 'Is all well? Is Miriam well—but your smile and your happy face have already told me that all is well.'

'Yes, Philip, with us all is well, thank God!'

'Your father? Miriam? Oh, David! does she love me still?'

'She loves you, Philip, with a love as strong, as pure, as faithful as your own.'

'David! David! why did none of you write to me?'

'You cannot think that we did not, Philip. We have written at every opportunity in our power; but you had left no message at the Patriarcheion. I traced you to your lodging by the Chrysoceras; I traced you to the prison. There I learnt that you had been set free by the Emperor's order, and only from Aurelian did I learn the secret that you were here.'

'Oh, David! we have gone through awful times and awful scenes. Eutyches——'

'I know all,' said David, tears in his voice and in his eyes. 'Before letting you know that I was here I had seen the Lady Olympias. Ah! God!——'

Philip hung his head. 'God's ways are strange,' he said. 'We have been scattered as with hot thunderbolts. The happy days are over for ever.'

'For ever is a very long word, my Philip. But oh! how pinched, how haggard you look—in no wise less beloved, but more tenderly beloved—but oh! how unlike that old, beloved Philip.'

'I have been cruelly tortured, David; I am but a wreck of my former self. All mirth is quenched, all health gone. Miriam can never wed me now——' And the poor youth burst into uncontrollable weeping.

'Nay, nay, my Philip. Cheer up!' said David. 'My sister is yours, your betrothed; yours in sickness and in health, in life and in death. Fear not!'

But as Philip would not be comforted, he led him gently by the hand into the garden, and sat down with him under one of the great trees.

'Listen, Philip,' he said; you know my father. You know that, perhaps from the holy purity of his faith, God sometimes vouchsafes to him to see what shall be. You will remember that he foresaw these days of anguish. He seemed to be suffering with you in spirit while he prayed for you. His last words to me were, "David, my son, you will find Philip. Tell him that all will yet be well with him. He will recover perfect health. Miriam, by the traditions always kept among us, is too young to marry, and I would fain have the blessing and the sunlight of her presence a little longer. But Philip is her betrothed, and in two years, if he will come to us, he shall wed Miriam and take her to his home."'

'God grant it! God grant it!' murmured Philip; and hope seemed already to have rekindled a lustre in his eye and a faint flush of colour on his wan cheek.

Olympias invited David to stay at her villa; but duty and work recalled him home, and he could only stay for ten days. Those were Philip's first happy days since the great disasters, and every day seemed to bring him more of strength and life, as he strolled about or sailed on the Propontis with Miriam's brother, the friend of his own age whom he loved most on earth. The winter of his life began to melt into the promise of a new spring.

LVIII. — THE RETURN OF KALLIAS

As on the sun-scorched lily's bell
The silver dew descends,
So on my weary spirit fell
The sympathy of friends.

Two letters, together with the course of circumstances, indicated for Philip the immediate direction of his life.

If Chrysostom would allow him to come to Cucusus he felt that he should go there as soon as it was possible for him to travel. It might look like the obliteration of all pleasure and of all youthful ambition to make his home in that squalid Armenian hamlet, and in due time to ask Miriam to share with him its dangers and privations. But Chrysostom was his father, and his more than father, and, where duty summoned him, there would God bless his life.

But before David took his departure the Patriarch's answer came to him.

'It was a deep pleasure to hear from you, my beloved Philip,' he wrote, 'and to see one more proof of the depth of your love towards me. And indeed, dear son, no earthly pleasure would be greater to me than to enjoy as in the old days the support of your youthful strength, the cheer of your youthful brightness. But it would be utter selfishness in me to doom you to years, perhaps, of dreary inactivity in this chill, wild place, so dull, so poverty-stricken, so liable to perpetual alarms. I was ever so constituted that, while I could bear whatever God sent to me, and thank Him for all things, my sorrows were beyond measure intensified if I felt that through me others were brought to suffering. And therefore, my Philip, you must not come. My love for you would make it a torment for me to see you dragged down into my misery. No! your life is before you. Think of me; write very often to me; pray for me; do all that you can for me, your poor father, in other ways—but I cannot accept the sacrifice of your young life. It is adapted for larger and nobler ends—which in due time God will make plain to you—than the service of one infirm old man. And even in my exile God has not forsaken me. I have found unexpected alleviations here. The humble Bishop of Cucusus has been very kind. He even wished to resign his see in my favour. The chief burgher of this little town has entirely given up to me the use of his own house. My relative, the Deaconess Sabiniana, is with me, and looks after my wants. And you must not think that I am idle. My correspondence is large. Oh! how I sometimes long for you and David, and Eutyches and Kallias, again! But it may not be. I am trying to establish missions among the Goths, among the Phœnicians, among the Persians. Even here and now God suffers me to be in some sense a guide and leader of His Church.

'What, then, are you to do? I can think of nothing better than that you should go to Antioch, and live in our old house. It is, as you know, a delightful city. There are many there who know and love you, or will soon learn to know and love you; and there, if it be God's will, you can serve Him for many years in Church and State. God bless you, and restore you to perfect health, and keep you in His faith and fear, my own Philip, until—if we meet no more on earth—we meet in His many mansions beyond the grave!'


Philip talked over this letter with Olympias, and she concurred in its advice. She knew that Chrysostom had prevented many other friends from joining him at Cucusus, where the sight of their life, surrounded by troubles and hardships, would only aggravate his sufferings. Antioch was the home of Philip's early years. It would be best for him to go there, and he would now be soon quite well.

'I knew that your health would return, Philip,' she said, 'when some of your happiness returned. Since that dream of which you told me, and still more since David's visit, you have made amazing progress. You will soon look like the happy Philip whom I first saw with our saintly Patriarch, and with your young companions, six years and more ago.'

But Philip soon found that his departure to Antioch had better for the present be delayed.

For the good old Bishop Flavian had died, full of years and full of honours. The wish of all the city and of every good man throughout the East was that the excellent Presbyter Constantius should be elected in his place. But this would not at all suit the plots and purposes of Severian of Gabala and his episcopal allies. For Constantius had been for years the ardent friend and admirer of the true Patriarch of Constantinople. This cabal of alien bishops not only interfered with the election, but did so in the most monstrous manner, which ended in intruding upon that long-afflicted see a man no less pernicious, if possible, than themselves.

This was an ambitious ecclesiastic named Porphyry. He first intrigued and bribed to get Constantius banished, and then tricked the Christians by going to the church with a handful of bishops and people when the vast mass of the citizens were at some Olympian games at Daphne. The doors were locked, and Porphyry was hurriedly ordained with a mutilated service by Acacius, Severian, and Antiochus, who, knowing that their gross trick would awaken the vengeance of the inhabitants, fled from the city with precipitation. But the mischief had been done, however infamously, and it was vain for the people to threaten to burn Porphyry's house over his head. He obtained from Constantinople the assistance of a body of troops, seized the church by violence, and furnished one more instance of the mad greed of episcopal ambition in those corrupted days.

Such being the state of things at Antioch, Philip saw that it would be unwise for him to face once more, and in vain, the horrors of sacerdotal wickedness which had wrought such havoc at Constantinople. He must postpone his settlement in the home of his childhood until there had been such subsidence of the storms of persecution in the Christian community as might promise him a reasonable safety. All was uncertain. Whither could he turn during the two years which must elapse before he could make Miriam his own?

God usually makes the way of His children plain before their face, and Philip's plans for the present were decided by a letter from Kallias.

Kallias, it will be remembered, had been sent by Chrysostom, before his exile, with despatches to the Bishops of Aquileia, Milan, and Rome, informing them of the terrible condition to which the Church at Constantinople had been reduced, and entreating their sympathy and assistance. He had written several letters; but in the troubled state of Italy and Illyricum, and the recent changes and excitements, his letters had failed to find their destination, and no answer had come to him in return. But now a few lines from him reached the hands of Philip. They were written from Rome, and briefly stated that he had delivered the various documents entrusted to him by Chrysostom into the hands of Pope Innocent, and had been sent back by him with letters to Aurelian, Briso, Amantius, Anthemius, who was now Consul, and other powerful friends of the exiled Patriarch. He was requested to procure further evidence and to secure their co-operation in the endeavour to obtain the Patriarch's recall. Kallias said that he hoped to see Philip very soon after the day when the letter would reach him, and that he would then tell him all further news.

Philip eagerly awaited his arrival, and was standing to receive him with warm welcome on the little quay at Cyzicus, from which he had recognised him as his boat drew near. So much had passed since they last met that at first they could only grasp each other's hands in silence as they walked to the villa of Olympias. After supper Philip, in broken words, told his friend of the course of events in Constantinople, of which he had only heard the vaguest rumours. The tears of Kallias flowed fast as Philip told him of the banishment of the Patriarch, the conflagration, the cruel persecution which followed, the martyrdom of Eutyches, and his own sufferings. But Kallias could impart the good news that the great bishops of the West were heart and soul opposed to the lies and brutalities of Theophilus and his myrmidons. He had been most kindly received. Chromatius, the venerable Bishop of Aquileia, the friend of Ambrose, of Rufinus, and of Jerome, had given him a cordial welcome there. He had gone to Venerius, Bishop of Milan, who had shown him the very basilica in which the people had watched over Ambrose, and in which, on that occasion, Ambrose had first introduced the antiphonal chanting of the West; the font in which he had baptised Augustine; the gates from which he had repelled Theodosius when he came with his conscience burning with the guilt of the massacre of Thessalonica; the pulpit in which he had preached the funeral sermons of the young murdered Emperors Gratian and Valentinian III. Lastly, he had seen the smoke, and wealth, and tumult of Rome; and there the great Pope Innocent had expressed himself in private with almost passionate indignation against the wicked, intriguing Patriarch of Alexandria and in favour of the saintly exile. More than this, Innocent needed a secretary for his vast correspondence, and, struck with the tachygraphy of Kallias, had asked him to return to Rome after he had delivered his missives, and to take a permanent place in his household.

'Did you see Alaric? did you see my friends Thorismund and Walamir? did you see Stilico? did you see the Emperor Honorius?' asked Philip eagerly. 'I am sick of the East. How much I should like to see that Western world!'

'I saw them all,' said Kallias, 'and the beautiful, stately Serena, wife of Stilico; and, if the Lady Olympias permits me, I will give you some little account of my journey.'

'Yes, but that had better be to-morrow,' said Olympias, 'for Philip is still far from strong, and it is time for him to go to rest.'


LIX. — WALAMIR AND ST. TELEMACHUS

Ah me! how stern and terrible he looks!
He hath a princely countenance.

—Philip von Artevelde.

Olympias at this time was subject to fits of overwhelming depression, in which the wheels of life seemed to stand still. She did not leave her room the next day, and asked Philip and Kallias to excuse her absence.

'It is a lovely day,' said Philip, 'and I know, Kallias, that you are fond of fishing. Let us take one of the boats. While you fish I will lie lazily in the stern, and then we can talk to our hearts' content. The fish won't matter much,' he added, with one of his old smiles.

'Ah!' said Kallias, 'I see you still pretend to be sceptical about my skill as a fisherman. Well, I shall refute your chaff by bringing home a big basketful of thunnies for the Lady Olympias, and you shall not have one.'

'Then I shall talk loud, and drive the thunnies away,' said Philip, as he took his place at the helm, while Kallias rowed the painted shallop over the bright blue waters, which flashed in the morning sunlight.

'Did you ever see "the unnumbered laughter of the sea" to greater perfection?' said Philip. 'Now, here is a delightful spot to anchor, under this wooded hill; so fish away, Kallias, and talk at the same time. Where did you make your first resting-place after you left us?'

'I travelled as fast as I could to the Court of Alaric at Æmona, and there I saw——'

'Thorismund and Walamir,' said Philip. 'I want very much to hear about them.'

'Thorismund,' said Kallias, 'but, alas! not Walamir.'

'Alas? Why alas? Are there more miseries to tell? What a world it is!'

'You shall hear. Thorismund's first question—for he had seen me at the Patriarcheion 494 in old days, and recognised me—was about you. He has always loved and admired you since that old wrestling-bout at Antioch, when you both were boys. As I told him the state of things in Constantinople he fretted and fumed with indignation. He loathes the very name of Constantinople. His eyes flash with anger when he speaks of it. Then he asked after Eutyches, and I did not disguise from him the gloomy aspect of our affairs. "But where," I asked, "is your brother Walamir? His soul was knit to that of Eutyches in one of the closest friendships I have ever seen." He bent his eyes down, and said, "We none of us know where my beloved brother is. We were both with King Alaric when he invaded Italy, and when he retreated from Pollentia and reached Verona. But at Verona we were surprised by the forces of Stilico, and his Alan auxiliaries fell on us so furiously that Alaric himself was nearly taken. He escaped by the swiftness of his warhorse, and I was with him. We were not really defeated; all our forces retreated in perfect order beyond the Alps. But, alas! my brother Walamir was taken captive, perhaps slain. We have not heard of him since."

'A pang shot through my heart as I heard this, Philip, for I thought how deeply it would grieve Eutyches; but I murmured to Thorismund some words of hope.

'"Yes," he answered, "he may still be alive; but if so, it is in slavery, and that is worse than death."

'"Would he not have written to you?" I asked.

'"No; the boy's proud spirit would prevent him from writing, even if it were possible, from amid the degradation of slavery."

'I had no more to say, but promised that, as I was on my way to Italy, I would make every possible inquiry, and might perhaps be able to secure the ransom of Walamir if he still lived.

'"If not," said Thorismund, passionately, "there is still revenge."

'Alaric had heard that there was a messenger from the Patriarcheion at Constantinople, and sent to ask me to his evening banquet. He is a splendid young king, a far finer type of Goth than Gaïnas. He has an air of natural nobleness, and the Visigoths say that when they elevated him on their shields no chieftain ever looked braver and worthier; but he keeps no state, and talked with me familiarly about the Patriarch, whom he greatly reveres, and about himself. He is convinced that he shall live to sack the Eternal City. He told me, as he told his long-haired chiefs, that before his first invasion of Italy he had heard the voice, as of an Archangel, cry to him from the depths of a grove, "Speed! Speed, Alaric! Thou shalt penetrate to the City."

'I suppose that the warrior read the doubt in my face, for he smiled and said, "And I did penetrate, ad Urbem; not, indeed, this time to the Eternal Urbs, but to the river Urbis, on which Pollentia stands! Tell them at Constantinople that, in spite of the brag of Stilico's bard, Claudian, we were not beaten at Pollentia. The dwarfish Alan, Saulus—whom God destroy!—burst on us upon Good Friday—the ugly heathen Tartar! They seized some plunder, and recovered the old purple robe stained with the blood of the Emperor Valens at Adrianople; but we were unbroken, and Stilico made a treaty with us."

'I never saw anyone so swift to read thoughts as Alaric, Philip. I suppose he read the word "Verona" in my face, for he added, "No, nor were we beaten at Verona either. And the prophecy to me will be fulfilled. Italy has not yet heard the name of Rhadagais. They will hear it next year; and whether I shall help him to ravage Italy, or not, depends on circumstances; and," he added in a low voice, "on Stilico and Honorius."

'Then he began to talk with imprudent frankness, as I thought, of Stilico and of both the Emperors. For Stilico he has an immense admiration, and more than half shares his view that the best thing the Goths can do is to amalgamate faithfully with the Romans as one nation, and found a nobler race. He thinks that Stilico is a born king among a nation of intriguers and drivellers, besotted with a superstition which is but the caricature of genuine Christianity, and slaves to abject despots. He feels unbounded scorn for both their Sublimities, Arcadius and Honorius. He regards them both as pale-blooded weaklings, the puppets of their own eunuchs. He calls Arcadius a devotee only fit to grovel over sham relics, and be led by the nose; and he regards the impotent Honorius as a mixture of timidity, cruelty, and slyness. These Goths rarely conceal their opinions. He actually showed at his table—and with me, an unknown reporter, present—a coin which had been struck as a caricature of Honorius, which represents, not the old Roman she-wolf suckling the immortal twins, but a she- ass suckling a hen! It is meant partly, perhaps, as an insult against the Christians under the old calumny of their being asinarii, but chiefly to ridicule Honorius's paltry propensity to make pets of hens, in feeding which he spends half his time. "It is the only thing the phantom is fit for," said Alaric.

'I left Æmona the next day, and, amid various adventures, of which we may talk another time, I made my way in the course of two or three months to Aquileia, Milan, and Rome. I found Rome in a state of anxiety and alarm. You know how full the air is of rumours when communications are interrupted. There had been a long drought, and the Romans, who fancied that Alaric would soon be on his way against them, had placed their chief hope in his inability to cross the swollen rivers of Lombardy. One day vast clouds of dust proclaimed the approach of an armed band. The Romans cowered behind their newbuilt walls, and not even a scout would venture to reconnoitre. Then, as the poet Claudian has since described it, the people, gazing from the walls, saw amid the dust the good white head which all men knew—the noble face of Stilico, shining like a star out of the storm. You can imagine how they shouted. With Stilico among them they felt that Rome was free.'

'Were you present at the great triumph one has heard of?' asked Philip.

'Yes, and I never saw, or hope to see, anything so magnificent. Honorius came on purpose to celebrate the triumph, with Stilico, his father-in- law. They had raised a triumphal arch for the occasion, on which they spoke of "The Goths subjugated for ever." I am told that Alaric and his chiefs roared with laughing when this was reported to them. Honorius was made Consul for the sixth time, and as Rome had only three times seen an emperor during the century, they made the most sumptuous preparations.'

'What did they think of their Emperor?'

'Stilico had given him his cue, and he laid himself out to win their hearts. He would not allow the senators to walk before his triumphal car. He looked unusually well, for a flush was on his sallow cheek, and he wore the diadem, and a jewelled trabea, and strings of Arabian emeralds round his neck. But there were some old Romans who rather despised his jewellery. "Cincinnatus, and Marius, and Julius Cæsar did not ride in that bedizenment; all that pernicious rubbish came in with Constantine," I heard one old officer mutter to the Senator Lampridius, who stood by him; and Lampridius murmured in reply two savage lines of Sidonius on Constantine:

'Saturni aurea sæcla quis requiret?
Sunt hæc gemmea, sed Neroniana.'

'Where were you?'

'Pope Innocent had kindly secured me a place on the steps of the Julian Basilici, so that I saw the procession wind all along the Sacred Way, and up the Capitoline Hill, amid all those temples and palaces. Every roof was densely crowded, and there fell a perfect snow of roses and garlands before the horses' feet.'

'Was the Emperor alone in the chariot?'

'No; Stilico was by his side in plain armour, but looking every inch a hero; and more than half the enthusiasm of the Romans was for him. Behind them rode the young Empress Maria, daughter of Stilico—a virgin wife, they say—looking like a flower of perfect loveliness; and beside her, in a very simple attire, her noble brother, Eucherius, who has a great future before him.'

'I say, Kallias,' said Philip; 'you see it is high noon. How about those thunny fish for Olympias?'

'You scamp!' said Kallias; 'I should have caught two dozen at least if you had not frightened them away by making me talk so much. We'll have some lunch now, and then I won't tell you a word more till I've caught enough. And, to punish you, I assure you that what I have still in store will surprise and interest you immensely.'

'Oh! I say, that is too bad!' said Philip; 'I have a great mind to give you no lunch at all till you have told me.'

They opened the basket which the slaves of Olympias had put into the boat, and found it full of delicious grapes and figs, cakes, and a bottle of rich Thasian wine—for though she was herself abstemious to the utmost austerity, their hostess insisted on dieting Philip in the way which she regarded as most likely to restore his strength.

After their refreshment Kallias told Philip that he had the orders of Olympias to make him rest awhile and take a siesta, and Philip reluctantly obeyed. While he slept Kallias steadily fished on, often glancing at his slumbering features, sometimes with sorrow to see how wasted they were, but with more hope, because he was gradually returning to his normal strength and brightness.

By the time Philip awoke, Kallias had caught as many fish as would serve the whole household of Olympias, and triumphantly showed them to his companion, who at first declared that he must have bought them of some fisherman on the sly, until Kallias punished him by making him wait for the rest of his story till he had caught half a dozen more.

Then he laid his rod and net aside, and proposed that they should row in, and finish his narrative at home, as there were things which perhaps Olympias would like to hear.

They found the lady a little less dejected, and Kallias was glad to help in diverting her melancholy thoughts.

Resuming his account of the triumph of Honorius, he said: 'Philip, I have kept back from you what interested me more deeply than all the imperial pageantry. I told you that Honorius exempted the senators from pacing before him; but immediately behind his chariot walked, two-and-two, a long line of Gothic captives; and first in the row, showing that he was of noble birth, I saw——'

Philip started up and grasped the hand of Kallias.

'You saw—— Oh! I guess it.'

'Yes,' said Kallias, 'I saw young Walamir, the friend of our Eutyches. He was walking with his looks cast on the ground, in the deepest dejection. But as he passed the steps of the 499 Basilica I attracted his attention. He recognised me; for one instant his face brightened, and then the light faded from it, as though he were ashamed to be seen in the guise of a captive and a slave. But I determined not to lose sight of him, and threaded my way through the crowds which closed behind the procession. I once more got close to him on the summit of the Capitol. I asked where I could see him, but he only shook his head; he did not know.

'Several days passed, and I sought for him in vain. At the close of a week of pageants, thanksgivings, pæans, and festivities there was to be a splendid gladiatorial show, at which Honorius himself was to preside, with Stilico beside him. Constantine had discouraged gladiatorial shows, and many of our great Christian saints and Fathers had indignantly denounced the butchery of human beings for amusement in the presence of a gloating multitude. But Rome is still a half-pagan, or more than half-pagan, city, and the Flavian Amphitheatre has perpetuated the bad tradition. Honorius, half-curious to see so world-famed a spectacle, offered but a languid resistance to what was deemed a politic concession; and, worst of all, a gladiatorial show afforded the easiest means of getting rid of many of the Gothic captives.

'Of course, Philip, you and the Lady Olympias will believe me when I say that I had not the least intention to be present, lest I, like the young Alypius whose story is told by Augustine, should be brutalised and carried away by the horrible excitement. I stood by the Arch of Titus to watch the motley, eager crowd rolling its vast volume into the many doors of that colossal amphitheatre. Then a strange thing happened.

'An Eastern monk in the sheepskin of a hermit passed me, attracting many eyes; for hermits are a far rarer sight in Rome than in our East. He was tall and gaunt, and his hair was grey, and his sheepskin mantle was squalid and tattered. He saw me standing by the Arch, not hurrying forward with the crowd, and, fixing on me his eyes, which seemed to burn with an inspired lustre, he said in Syriac, "Youth, I see that thou art a Christian, who wilt not follow the multitude to do evil; yet I bid thee come with me into yon revel of demons; it may be that thou shalt see strange things to-day."

'"Who art thou, Father?" I asked.

'"Men call me Telemachus," he said. "I am a hermit from Zagba. Few in this city speak Syriac; none know me. If any seek to know my name hereafter, thou canst tell them who I am and whence I came."

'I could not help accompanying him, for his words seemed to have in them a Divine command. We entered the Amphitheatre, which was already so densely crowded that we could only get places among the slaves and the poorest of the people at the summit. I confess it was a splendid sight. The sun shone down on that vast building and the 80,000 people whom it held. The vast silken awning flapped against its straining cords overhead. The galadress of multitudes of women variegated the scene, and they looked like beds of flowers among the white togas of the men. The great area of the floor was strewn with dazzling sand. In the podium, in their richest pomp, sat the Emperor and Empress, with Stilico, and Eucherius, and the Princesses Serena and Thermantia, arrayed in pearls and precious stones, which flashed as they moved. All the senators and aristocracy of Rome were there. I saw, and blushed to see, many even of the clergy present. One chief element of expectation was the news that the general contests after the single combats were to be sine missione—that is, that they were only to be terminated by the death of the combatants; and that a young and beautiful Goth of the noble family of the Amalings would fight among the captives. My heart was sick with fear, for I knew that this must be no other than Walamir.'

Here Philip, in his excitement, seized the arm of Kallias, and gazed openmouthed on his face.

'The first part of the show was harmlessly magnificent. Some of the Palatini had a sham cavalry fight, and went through manœuvres on their pawing steeds. There were allegorical scenes and processions. Then wild beasts—lions, tigers, ostriches, even camelopards—were exhibited, and I, who had never seen these strange and beautiful creatures, was intensely interested.

'But then began the wickedness to which the huge mass of spectators had been looking forward with a sort of unspoken passion. The first of the gladiatorial fights was proclaimed by the herald's voice:

'"Satyrus, the gladiator, will now be matched against Walamir, the young Gothic Amal, each with swords and in full armour."

'As I heard the herald's sonorous tones my heart burned within me with hot indignation; for Walamir was little more than a boy, and it was monstrous to match him, as they had done, against the most renowned and most successful gladiator of Italy, who had been trained in the schools of the lanistæ from his earliest years, and had gained many crowns.

'I looked at the hermit, but he seemed to be lost in prayer, and utterly oblivious to everything around him.

'The two marched round the arena. They saluted the Emperor with uplifted swords. I thought that I detected a note of defiance and despair in Walamir's voice, as he joined in the heroic customary chant, "Ave Cæsar, morituri te salutamus."

'Then they stood nearly in the centre, and all those eighty thousand eyes were bent upon them, and the clash of swords began. And still Telemachus neither spoke nor moved.

'The strength, courage, and agility displayed by Walamir would have stirred the heart of Alaric himself with pride; but I saw from the first that he neither was nor could be an equal antagonist to the cool, trained giant of mature age, consummate skill, and herculean strength against whom he had been pitted. The only marvel to me, as I sat there sick with dread, trembling with excitement, and thinking of you and Eutyches, was that he sustained so long the unequal struggle.

'Then rose the indescribable panting shriek of "Habet" as Satyrus inflicted his first wound, and the red stream rushed over Walamir's armour. That shout seemed to awaken Telemachus. He sprang up, flung one glance around him, and then stalked with swift strides down the ambulatories. I did not know at first what he intended to do; and the spectators were far too intent on the combat to notice him, for Satyrus had only inflicted a flesh wound, and Walamir, with undaunted spirit, was renewing the hopeless strife.

'But just as Telemachus had nearly reached the cancelli—the gilded barriers erected to prevent any wild beast from leaping up among the people, as had once occurred—a blow on Walamir's helmet smote him to the ground, and instantly Satyrus was striding over him with uplifted sword, and looked up at the spectators as he awaited