Chapter III.—How God honors Pious Princes, but destroys Tyrants.
Having given assurance that those who glorify and honor him will meet with an abundant recompense at his hands, while those who set themselves against him as enemies and adversaries will compass the ruin of their own souls, he has already established the truth of these his own declarations, having shown on the one hand the fearful end of those tyrants who denied and opposed him, 3058 and at the same time having made it manifest that even the death of his servant, as well as his life, is worthy of admiration and praise, and justly claims the memorial, not merely of perishable, but of immortal monuments.
Mankind, devising some consolation for the frail and precarious duration of human life, have thought by the erection of monuments to glorify the memories of their ancestors with immortal honors. Some have employed the vivid delineations and colors of painting 3059 ; some have carved statues from lifeless blocks of wood; while others, by engraving their inscriptions deep on tablets 3060 and monuments, have thought to transmit the virtues of those whom they honored to perpetual remembrance. All these indeed are perishable, and consumed by the lapse of time, being representations of the corruptible body, and not expressing the image of the immortal soul. And yet these seemed sufficient to those who had no well-grounded hope of happiness after the termination of this mortal life. But God, that God, I say, who is the common Saviour of all, having treasured up with himself, for those who love godliness, greater blessings than human thought has conceived, gives the earnest and first-fruits of future rewards even here, assuring in some sort immortal hopes to mortal eyes. The ancient oracles of the prophets, delivered to us in the Scripture, declare this; the lives of pious men, who shone in old time with every virtue, bear witness to posterity of the same; and our own days prove it to be true, wherein Constantine, who alone of all that ever wielded the Roman power was the friend of God the Sovereign of all, has appeared to all mankind so clear an example of a godly life.
Compare Lactantius, De mortibus persecutorum, which doubtless the author had in mind.482:3059
[Κηροχύτου γραφῆς, properly encaustic painting, by means of melted wax.—Bag] Compare admirable description of the process in the Century Dictionary, ed. Whitney, N.Y. 1889, v. 2.482:3060
Κύβεις, at first used of triangular tablets of wood, brass, or stone, but afterwards of any inscribed “pillars or tablets.” Cf. Lexicons.