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The Epistle of Theonas, Bishop of Alexandria, to Lucianus, the Chief Chamberlain.12861286    In Dacherii Spicilegium, iii. pp. 297–299.


Bishop Theonas to Lucianus, the Chief Chamberlain of Our Most Invincible Emperor.


I give thanks to Almighty God and our Lord Jesus Christ, who has not given over the manifesting of His faith throughout the whole world, as the sole specific for our salvation,12871287    In salutis nostræ unicum remedium. and the extending of it even in the course of the persecutions of despots. Yea, like gold reduced in the furnace, it has only been made to shine the more under the storms of persecution, and its truth and grandeur have only become always the more and more illustrious, so that now, peace being granted to the churches by our gracious prince, the works of Christians are shining even in sight of the unbelieving, and God your Father, who is in heaven, is glorified thereby;12881288    Matt. v. 16. a thing which, if we desire to be Christians in deed rather than in word, we ought to seek and aspire after as our first object on account of our salvation. For if we seek our own glory, we set our desire upon a vain and perishing object, and one which leads ourselves on to death. But the glory of the Father and of the Son, who for our salvation was nailed to the cross, makes us safe for the everlasting redemption; and that is the greatest hope of Christians.

Wherefore, my Lucianus, I neither suppose nor desire that you should make it a matter of boasting, that by your means many persons belonging to the palace of the emperor have been brought to the knowledge of the truth; but rather does it become us to give the thanks to our God who has made thee a good instrument for a good work, and has raised thee to great honour with the emperor, that you might diffuse the sweet savour of the Christian name to His own glory and to the salvation of many. For just the more completely that the emperor himself, though not yet attached12891289    Ascriptus. to the Christian religion, has entrusted the care of his life and person to these same Christians as his more faithful servants, so much the more careful ought ye to be, and the more diligent and watchful in seeing to his safety and in attending upon him, so that the name of Christ may be greatly glorified thereby, and His 159faith extended daily through you who wait upon the emperor. For in old times some former princes thought us malevolent and filled with all manner of crime; but now, seeing your good works, they should not be able to avoid glorifying Christ Himself.12901290    [A beautiful concern of our author for the honour of the Master seems to have dictated this noble letter. Matt. v. 16.]

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