"The sixth of the calends of October," The Acts set forth, "the very glorious Theodosius being consul for the twelfth time, and Valentinian Augustus for the second, Augustin the bishop, accompanied by Religianus and Martinianus, his fellow-bishops, having taken his place in the Basilica of Peace at Hippo, and the priests Saturnius, Leporius, Barnaby, Fortunatianus, Lazarus, and Heraclius, being present, with all the clergy and a vast crowd of people -- Augustin the bishop said:
"'Let us without delay look to the business which I declared yesterday to your charity, and for which I desired you to gather here in large numbers, as I see you have done. If I were to talk to you of anything else, you might be less attentive, seeing the expectation you are in.
"'My brothers, we are all mortal in this life, and no man knows his last day. God willed that I should come to dwell in this town in the force of my age. But, as I was a young man then -- see, I am old now, and as I know that at the death of bishops, peace is troubled by rivalry or ambition (this have I often seen and bewailed it) -- I ought, so far as it rests with me, to turn away so great a mischief from your city.... I am going then to tell you that my will, which I believe also to be the will of God, is that I have as successor the priest Heraclius.'
"At these words all the people cried out:
"'Thanks be to God! Praise be to Christ!'
"And this cry they repeated three-and-twenty times.
"'Christ, hear us! Preserve us Augustin!'
"This cry they repeated sixteen times.
"'Be our father! Be our bishop!'
"This cry they repeated eight times.
"When the people became silent, the bishop Augustin spoke again in these words:
"'There is no need for me to praise Heraclius. As much as I do justice to his wisdom, in equal measure should I spare his modesty.... As you perceive, the secretaries of the church gather up what we say and what you say. My words and your shouts do not fall to the ground. To put it briefly, these are ecclesiastical decrees that we are now drawing up, and I desire by these means, as far as it is in the power of man, to confirm what I have declared to you.'
"Here the people cried out:
"'Thanks be to God! Praise be to Christ!'
* * * * *
"'Be our father, and let Heraclius be our bishop!'
"When silence was made again, Augustin the bishop thus spoke:
"'I understand what you would say. But I do not wish that it happen to him as it happened to me. Many of you know what was done at that time.... I was consecrated bishop during the lifetime of my father and bishop, the aged Valerius, of blessed memory, and with him I shared the see. I was ignorant, as he was, that this was forbidden by the Council of Nice. I would not therefore that men should blame in Heraclius, my son, what they blamed in me.'
"With that the people cried out thirteen times:
"'Thanks be to God! Praise be to Christ!'
"After a little silence, Augustin the bishop said again:
"'So he will remain a priest till it shall please God for him to be a bishop. But with the aid and mercy of Christ, I shall do in future what up to now I have not been able to do.... You will remember what I wanted to do some years ago, and you have not allowed me. For a work upon the Holy Scriptures, with which my brothers and my fathers the bishops had deigned to charge me in the two Councils of Numidia and Carthage, I was not to be disturbed by anybody during five days of the week. That was a thing agreed upon between you and me. The act was drawn up, and you all approved of it after hearing it read. But your promise did not last long. I was soon encroached upon and overrun by you all. I am no longer free to study as I desire. Morning and afternoon, I am entangled in your worldly affairs. I beg of you and supplicate you in Christ's name to suffer me to shift the burthen of all these cares upon this young man, the priest Heraclius, whom I signal, in His name, as my successor in the bishopric.'
"Upon this the people cried out six-and-twenty times:
"'We thank thee for thy choice!'
"And the people having become silent, Augustin the bishop said:
"'I thank you for your charity and goodwill, or rather, I thank God for them. So, my brothers, you will address yourselves to Heraclius upon all the points you are used to submit to me. Whenever he needs counsel, my care and my help will not be wanting.... In this way, without any loss to you, I shall be able to devote the remainder of life which it may please God still to leave me, not to laziness and rest, but to the study of the Holy Scriptures. This work will be useful to Heraclius, and hence to yourselves. Let nobody then envy my leisure, for this leisure will be very busy....
"'It only remains for me to ask you, at least those who can, to sign these acts. Your agreement I cannot do without; so kindly let me learn it by your voices.'
"At these words the people shouted:
"'Let it be so! Let it be so!'
* * * * *
"When all there became silent, Augustin the bishop made an end, saying:
"'It is well. Now let us fulfil our duty to God. While we offer Him the Sacrifice, and during this hour of supplication, I would urge of your charity to lay aside all business and personal cares, and to pray the Lord God for this church, for me, and for the priest Heraclius.'"
The dryness and official wording of the document do not succeed in stifling the vividness and colour of this crowded scene. Through the piety of the formal cries, it is easy to see that Augustin's hearers were hard to manage. This flock, which he loved and scolded so much, was no easier to lead now than when he first became bishop. Truly it was no sinecure to rule and administrate the diocese of Hippo! The bishop was literally the servant of the faithful. Not only had he to feed and clothe them, to spend his time over their business and quarrels and lawsuits, but he belonged to them body and soul. They kept a jealous eye on the employment of his time; if he went away, they asked for an explanation. Whenever Augustin went to preach at Carthage or Utica, he apologized to his own people. And before he can undertake a commentary on the Scriptures, a commentary, moreover, which he has been asked by two Councils to prepare, he must get their permission, or, at any rate, their agreement.
At last, at seventy-two years old, after he had been a bishop for thirty-one years, he got their leave to take a little rest. But what a rest! He himself said: "This leisure will be very busy" -- this leisure which is going to fill the five holidays in the week. He intends to study and fathom the Scripture, and this, besides, to the profit of his people and clergy and the whole Church. It is the fondest dream of his life -- the plan he was never able to realize. All that, at first sight, astonishes us. We ask ourselves, "What else had he been doing up to this time in his treatises and letters and sermons, in all that sea of words and writings which his enemies threw up at him, if he was not studying and explaining the Holy Scriptures?" The fact is, that in most of these writings and sermons he elucidates the truth only in part, or else he is confuting heresiarchs. What he wanted to do was to study the truth for its own sake, without having to think of and be hindered by the exposure of errors; and above all, to seize it in all its breadth and all its depths, to have done with this blighting and irritating eristic, and to reflect in a vast Mirror the whole and purest light of the sacred dogmas.
He never found the time for it. He had to limit himself to a handbook of practical morals, published under this title before his death, and now lost. Once more the heresiarchs prevented him from leading a life of speculation. During his last years, amid the cruellest anxieties, he had to battle with the enemies of Grace and the enemies of the Trinity, with Arius and Pelagius. Pelagius had found an able disciple in a young Italian bishop, Julian of Eclanum, who was a formidable opponent to the aged Augustin. As for Arianism, which had seemed extinguished in the West, here it was given a new life by the Barbarian invasion.
It was a grave moment for Catholicism, as it was for the Empire. The Goths, the Alani, and the Vandals, after having laid waste Gaul and Spain, were taking measures to pass over into Africa. Should they renew the attempts of Alaric and Radagaisus against Italy, they would soon be masters of the entire Occident. Now these Barbarians were Arians. Supposing (and it seemed more and more likely) that Africa and Italy were vanquished after Gaul and Spain, then it was all over with Western Catholicism. For the invaders carried their religion in their baggage, and forced it on the conquered. Augustin, who had cherished the hope of equalling the earthly kingdom of Christ to that of the Caesars, was going to see the ruin of both. His terrified imagination exaggerated still more the only too real and threatening peril. He must have lived hours of agony, expecting a disaster.
If only the truth might be saved, might swim in this sea of errors which spread like a flood in the wake of the Barbarian onflow! It was from this wish, no doubt, that sprang the tireless persistence which the old bishop put into a last battle with heresy. If he selected Pelagius specially to fall upon with fury, if he forced his principles to their last consequences in his theory of Grace, the dread of the Barbarian peril had perhaps something to do with it. This soul, so mild, so moderate, so tenderly human, promulgated a pitiless doctrine which does not agree with his character. But he reasoned, no doubt, that it was impossible to drive home too hard the need of the Redemption and the divinity of the Redeemer in front of these Arians, these Pelagians, these enemies of Christ, who to-morrow perhaps would be masters of the Empire.
Therefore, Augustin continued to write, and discuss, and disprove. There came a time when he had to think of fighting otherwise than with the pen. His life, the lives of his flock, were threatened. He had to see to the bodily defence of his country and city. The fact was, that some time before the great drive of the Vandals, forerunners of them, in the shape of hordes of African Barbarians, had begun to lay waste the provinces. The Circoncelliones were not dead, nor their good friends the Donatists either. These sectaries, encouraged by the widespread anarchy, came out of their hiding-places and shewed themselves more insolent and aggressive than ever. Possibly they hoped for some effective support against the Roman Church from the Arian Vandals who were drawing near, or at least a recognition of what they believed to be their rights. Day after day, bands of Barbarians were landing from Spain. In the rear of these wandering troops of brigands or irregular soldiers, the old enemies of the Roman peace and civilization, the Nomads of the South, the Moors of the Atlas, the Kabylian mountaineers, flung themselves upon country and town, pillaging, killing, and burning everything that got in their way. All was laid desolate. "Countries but lately prosperous and populated have been changed into solitudes," said Augustin.
At last, in the spring of the year 429, the Vandals and the Alani, having joined forces on the Spanish coast under their King, Genseric, crossed the Straits of Gibraltar. It was devastation on a large scale this time. An army of eighty thousand men set themselves methodically to plunder the African provinces. Cherchell, which had already been sorely tried during the revolt of Firmus the Moor, was captured again and burned. All the towns and fortified places on the coast fell, one after another. Constantine alone, from the height of its rock, kept the invaders at bay. To starve out those who fled from towns and farms and took refuge in the fastnesses of the Atlas, the Barbarians destroyed the harvest, burned the grain-houses, and cut down the vines and fruit trees. And they set fire to the forests which covered the slopes of the mountains, to force the refugees out of their hiding-places.
This stupid ravaging was against the interest of the Vandals themselves, because they were injuring the natural riches of Africa, the report of which had brought them there. Africa was for them the land of plenty, where people could drink more wine than they wanted and eat wheaten bread. It was the country where life was comfortable, easy, and happy. It was the granary of the Mediterranean, the great supply-store of Rome. But their senseless craving for gold led them to ruin provinces, in which, nevertheless, they counted upon settling. They behaved in Africa as they had behaved in Rome under Alaric. By way of tearing gold out of the inhabitants, they tortured them as they had tortured the wealthy Romans. They invented worse ones. Children, before their parents' eyes, were sliced in two like animals in a slaughterhouse. Or else their skulls were smashed against the pavements and walls of houses.
The Church was believed to be very rich; and perhaps, as it had managed to comprise in its domains the greatest part of the landed estates, it was upon it chiefly that the Barbarians flung themselves. The priests and bishops were tortured with unheard-of improvements of cruelty. They were dragged in the rear of the army like slaves, so that heavy ransoms might be extracted from the faithful in exchange for their pastors. They were obliged to carry the baggage like the camels and mules, and when they gave out the Barbarians prodded them with lances. Many sank down beside the road and never rose more. But it is certain that fanaticism added to the covetousness and ferocity of the Vandals. These Arians bore a special grudge against Catholicism, which was, besides, in their eyes, the religion of the Roman domination. This is why they made their chief attacks on basilicas, convents, hospitals, and all the property of the Church. And throughout the country public worship was stopped.
In Hippo, these atrocities were known before the Barbarians arrived. The people must have awaited them and prepared to receive them with gloomy resignation. Africa had not been tranquil for a century. After the risings of Firmus and Gildo, came the lootings of the southern Nomads and the Berber mountaineers. And it was not so long since the Circoncelliones were keeping people constantly on the alert. But this time everybody felt that the great ruin was at hand. They were stunned by the news that some town or fortified place had been captured by the Vandals, or that some farm or villa in the neighbourhood was on fire.
Amid the general dismay, Augustin did his best to keep calm. He, indeed, saw beyond the material destruction, and at every new rumour of massacre or burning he would repeat to his clerics and people the words of the Wise Man:
"Doth the firm of heart grieve to see fall the stones and beams, and death seize the children of men?"
They accused him of being callous. They did not understand him. While all about him mourned the present misfortunes, he was already lamenting over the evil to come, and this clear-sightedness pained him more than the shock of the daily horrors committed by the Barbarians. His disciple Possidius, the Bishop of Guelma, who was with him in these sad days, naively applied to him the saying out of Ecclesiastes: "In much wisdom is much grief." Augustin did really suffer more than others, because he thought more profoundly on the disaster. He foresaw that Africa was going to be lost to the Empire, and consequently to the Church. They were bound together in his mind. What was there to do against brutal strength? All the eloquence and all the charity in the world would be as nothing against that unchained elemental mass of Vandals. It was as impossible to convert the Barbarians as it had been to convert the Donatists. Force was the only resource against force.
Then in despair the man of God turned once more to Caesar. The monk appealed to the soldier. He charged Boniface, Count of Africa, to save Rome and the Church.
This Boniface, a rather ambiguous personage, was a fine type of the swashbuckler and official of the Lower-Empire. Thracian by origin, he joined the trickery of the Oriental to all the vices of the Barbarian. He was strong, clever in all bodily exercises like the soldiers of those days, overflowing with vigour and health, and even brave at times. In addition, he was fond of wine and women, and ate and drank like a true pagan. He was married twice, and after his second marriage he kept in the sight and knowledge of everybody a harem of concubines. He was sent, first of all, to Africa as a Tribune -- that is to say, as Commissioner of the Imperial Government, probably to carry out the decrees of Honorius against the Donatists; and ere long he was made commander of the military forces of the province, with the title of Count.
In reality, while seeming to protect the country, he set himself to plunder it, as the tradition was among the Roman officials. His officium, still more grasping than himself, persuaded him to deeds which the Bishop of Hippo, who was, however, anxious to remain on the right side of him, protested against by hints. Boniface was obliged to overlook much robbery and pillage on the part of his subordinates so as to keep them faithful. Moreover, he himself stole. He was bound to close his eyes to the depredations of others, that his own might be winked at. Once become the accomplice of this band of robbers, he had no longer the authority to control them.
How did Augustin ever believe in the goodwill and good faith of this adventurer full of coarse passions, so far as to put his final hopes in him? Augustin knew men very well; he could detect low and hypocritical natures at a distance. How came it that he was taken in by Boniface?
Well, Augustin wanted his support, first of all, when he came as Imperial Commissioner to Carthage to bring the Donatists into line. Generally, we see only the good points of people who do us good turns. Besides, in order to propitiate the bishop, and the devout Court at Ravenna, the Tribune advertised his great zeal in favour of Catholicism. His first wife, a very pious woman whom he seems to have loved much, encouraged him in this. When she died, he was so overcome by despair that he took refuge in the extremest practices of religion -- and in this, perhaps, he was quite sincere. It is also possible that he was becoming discredited at Ravenna, where they must have known about his oppressions and suspected his ambitious intrigues. Anyhow, whether he was really disgusted with the world, or whether he deemed it prudent to throw a little oblivion over himself just then, he spoke on all hands of resigning his post and living in retreat like a monk. It was just at this moment that Augustin and Alypius begged him not to desert the African army.
They met the Commander-in-Chief at Thubunae, in Southern Numidia, where, no doubt, he was reducing the Nomads. We must remark once more Augustin's energy in travelling, to the very eve of his death. It was a long and dangerous road from Hippo to Thubunae. Before making up his mind to so much fatigue, the old bishop must have judged the situation to be very serious. At Thubunae, was Boniface playing a game, or was he, indeed, so crushed by his grief that the world had become unbearable and he pondered genuine thoughts of changing his way of life? What is sure is, that he gave the two prelates the most edifying talk. When they heard the Count of Africa speaking with unction of the cloister and of his desire to retire there, they were a little astonished at so much piety in a soldier. Besides, these excellent resolutions were most inconvenient for their plans. They remonstrated with him that it was quite possible to save one's soul in the army, and quoted the example of David, the warrior king. They ended by telling him all the expectations they founded upon his resource and firmness. They begged him to protect the churches and convents against fresh attacks of the Donatists, and especially against the Barbarians of Africa. These were at this moment breaking down all the old defence lines and laying waste the territories of the Empire.
Boniface allowed himself to be easily convinced -- promised whatever he was asked. But he never budged. From now on, his conduct becomes most singular. He is in command of all the military strength of the province, and he takes no steps to suppress the African looters. It would seem as if he only thought of filling the coffers of himself and his friends. The country was so systematically scoured by them that, as Augustin said, there was nothing more left to take.
This inactivity lent colour to the rumours of treason. Nor is it impossible that he had cherished a plan from the beginning of his command to cut out an independent principality for himself in Africa. Was this the reason that he dealt softly with the native tribes, so as to make certain of their help in case of a conflict with the Imperial army? However that may be, his behaviour was not frank. Some years later, he landed on the Spanish coast to war against the Vandals under the command of the Prefect Castinus, and there he married a Barbarian princess who was by religion an Arian. It is true that the new Countess of Africa became a convert to Catholicism. But her first child was baptized by Arian priests, who rebaptized, at the same time, the Catholic slaves of Boniface's household. This marriage with a Vandal, these concessions to Arianism, gave immense scandal to the orthodox. Rumours of treason began to float about again.
No doubt Boniface took great advantage of his fidelity to the Empress Placidia. But he was standing between the all-powerful Barbarians and the undermined Empire. He wanted to remain on good terms with both, and then, when the hour came, to go over to the stronger. This double-faced diplomacy caused his downfall. His rival Aetius accused him of high treason before Placidia. The Court of Ravenna declared him an enemy of the Empire, and an army was sent against him. Boniface did not hesitate; he went into open rebellion against Rome.
Augustin was thunderstruck by his desertion. But what way was there to make this violent man listen to reason, who had at least the appearances of right on his side, since there was a chance they had slandered him to the Empress, and who thought it quite natural to take vengeance on his enemies? His recent successes had still more intoxicated him. He had just defeated the two generals who had been sent to reduce him, and he was accordingly master of the situation in Africa. What was he going to do? The worst resolutions were to be feared from this conqueror, all smarting, and hungry for revenge.... Nevertheless, Augustin resolved to write to him. His letter is a masterpiece of tact, of prudence, and also of Christian and episcopal firmness.
It would have been dangerous to declare to this triumphant rebel: "You are in the wrong. Your duty is to submit to the Emperor, your master." Boniface was quite capable of answering: "What are you interfering for? Politics are no business of yours. Look after your Church!" This is why Augustin very cleverly speaks to him from beginning to end of his letter simply as a bishop, eager for the salvation of a very dear son in Jesus Christ. And so, by keeping strictly to his office of spiritual director, he gained his end more surely and entirely; and, as a doctor of souls, he ventured to remind Boniface of certain truths which he would never have dared to mention as counsellor.
According to Augustin, the disgrace of the Count, and the evils which this event had brought on Africa, came principally from his attachment to worldly benefits. It was the ambition and covetousness of himself and his followers which had done all the harm. Let him free himself from perishable things, let him prevent the thefts and plundering of those under him. Let him, who some time ago wished to live in perfect celibacy, now keep at least to his wife and no other. Finally, let him remember his sworn allegiance. Augustin did not mean to go into the quarrel between Boniface and Placidia, and he gave no opinion as to the grievances of either. He confined himself to saying to the general in rebellion: "If you have received so many benefits from the Roman Empire, do not render evil for good. If, on the other hand, you have received evil, do not render evil for evil."
It is clear that the Bishop of Hippo could scarcely have given any other advice to the Count of Africa. To play the part of political counsellor in the very entangled state of affairs was extremely risky. How was it possible to exhort a victorious general to lay down his arms before the conquered? And yet, in estimating the situation from the Christian standpoint alone, Augustin had found a way to say everything essential, all that could profitably be said at the moment.
How did Boniface take a letter which was, in the circumstances, so courageous? What we know is that he did not alter his plans. It would indeed have been very difficult for him to withdraw and yield; and more than ever since a new army under Sigisvultus had been sent against him in all haste. A real fatality compelled him to remain in revolt against Rome. Did he believe he was ruined, as has been stated, or else, through his family connections -- let us remember that his wife was a Barbarian -- had he been for a long time plotting with Genseric to divide Africa? He has been accused of that. What comes out is, that as soon as he heard of the arrival of Sigisvultus and the new expeditionary force, he called in the Vandals to his aid. This was the great invasion of 429.
Ere long, the Barbarians entered Numidia. The borderlands about Hippo were threatened. Stricken with terror, the inhabitants in a mass fled before the enemy, leaving the towns empty. Those who were caught in them rushed into the churches, imploring the bishops and priests to help them. Or else, giving up all hope of life, they cried out to be baptized, confessed, did penance in public. The Vandals, as we have seen, aimed specially at the clergy; they believed that the Catholic priests were the soul of the resistance. Should not these priests, then, in the very interest of the Church, save themselves for quieter times, and escape the persecution by flight? Many sheltered themselves behind the words of Christ: "When they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another."
But Augustin strongly condemned the cowardliness of the deserters. In a letter addressed to his fellow-bishop, Honoratus, and intended to be read by all the clergy in Africa, he declares that bishops and priests should not abandon their churches and dioceses, but stay at their post till the end -- till death and till martyrdom -- to fulfil the duties of their ministry. If the faithful were able to withdraw into a safe place, their pastors might accompany them; if not, they should die in the midst of them. Thus they would have at least the consolation of lending aid to the dying in their last moments, and especially of preventing the apostasies which readily took place under the shock of the terror. For Augustin, who foresaw the future, the essential thing was that later, when the Vandal wave had swept away, Catholicism might flourish again in Africa. To this end, the Catholics must be made to remain in the country, and the greatest possible number be strengthened in their faith. Otherwise, the work of three centuries would have to be done all over again.
We must admire this courage and clear-mindedness in an old man of seventy-five, who was being continually harassed by the complaints and lamentations of a crowd of demoralized fugitives. The position became more and more critical. The siege lines were drawing closer. But in the midst of all this dread, Augustin was given a gleam of hope: Boniface made his peace with the Empire. Henceforward, his army, turning against the Barbarians, might protect Hippo and perhaps save Africa.
Had Augustin a hand in this reconciliation? There is not the least doubt that he desired it most earnestly. In a letter to Count Darius, the special envoy sent from Ravenna to treat with the rebel general, he warmly congratulates the Imperial plenipotentiary on his mission of peace. "You are sent," he said to him, "to stop the shedding of blood. Therefore rejoice, illustrious and very dear son in Jesus Christ, rejoice in this great and real blessing, and rejoice upon it in the Lord, Who has made you what you are, and entrusted to you a task so beautiful and important. May God seal the good work He has done for us through you!" ... And Darius answered: "May you be spared to pray such prayers for the Empire and the Roman State a long time yet, my Father."
But the Empire was lost in Africa. If the reconciliation of the rebellious Count had given some illusions to Augustin, they did not last long. Boniface, having failed in his endeavours to negotiate the retreat of the Vandals, was defeated by Genseric, and obliged to fall back into Hippo with an army of mercenary Goths. Thus it came about that Barbarians held against other Barbarians one of the last Roman citadels in Africa. From the end of May, 430, Hippo was blockaded on the land side and on the side of the sea.
In great tribulation, Augustin resigned himself to this supreme humiliation, and to all the horrors which would have to be endured if the city were captured. As a Christian, he left all to the will of God, and he would repeat to those about him the words of the Psalm: "Righteous art Thou, O Lord, and upright are Thy judgments." A number of fugitive priests, and among them Possidius, Bishop of Guelma, had taken refuge in the episcopal residence. One day, when he lost heart, Augustin, who was at table with them, said:
"In front of all these disasters, I ask God to deliver this city from the siege, or, if that be not His decree, to give His servants the necessary strength to do His will, or at least to take me from this world and receive me into His bosom."
But it is more than probable that discouragement of that kind was only momentary with him, and that in his sermons, as well as in his conversations with Boniface, he did his utmost to stimulate the courage of the people and the general. His correspondence includes a series of letters written about this time to the Count of Africa, which manifest here and there a very warlike spirit. These letters are most certainly apocryphal. Yet they do reveal something of what must have been the sentiments just then of the people of Hippo and of Augustin himself. One of these letters emphatically congratulates Boniface upon an advantage gained over the Barbarians.
"Your Excellency knows, I believe, that I am stretched upon my bed, and that I long for my last day to come. I am overjoyed at your victory. I urge you to save the Roman city. Rule your soldiers like a good Count. Do not trust too much to your own strength. Put your glory in Him Who gives courage, and you will never fear any enemy. Farewell!"
The words do not matter much. Whatever may have been Augustin's last farewell to the defender of Hippo, it was no doubt couched in language not unlike this. In any case, posterity has wished to believe that the dying bishop maintained to the end his unyielding demeanour face to face with the Barbarians. It would be a misuse of words to represent him as a patriot in the present sense of the term. It is no less true that this African, this Christian, was an admirable servant of Rome. Until his death he kept his respect for it, because in his eyes the Empire meant order, peace, civilization, the unity of faith in the unity of rule.