Chapter LXIII.—How he displayed his Zeal for the Extirpation of Heresies.
Such were the exhortations to do all things to the honor of the divine religion which the emperor addressed to the rulers of the churches. Having by these means banished dissension, and p. 539 reduced the Church of God to a state of uniform harmony, he next proceeded to a different duty, feeling it incumbent on him to extirpate another sort of impious persons, as pernicious enemies of the human race. These were pests of society, who ruined whole cities under the specious garb of religious decorum; men whom our Saviours warning voice somewhere terms false prophets and ravenous wolves: “Beware of false prophets, which will come to you in sheeps clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves. By their fruits ye shall know them.” 3303 Accordingly, by an order transmitted to the governors of the several provinces, he effectually banished all such offenders. In addition to this ordinance he addressed to them personally a severely awakening admonition, exhorting them to an earnest repentance, that they might still find a haven of safety in the true Church of God. Hear, then, in what manner he addressed them in this letter.
[Matt. 7:15, 16.] Quoted perhaps from memory, or else this text is defective, for this reads, “will come” where all N.T. mss. have “come.”