The Good Count of the East
Nor did he change, but kept in lofty place

The virtues which adversity had bred. -- Wordsworth.

Philip had left the Imperial presence with his heart so tremblingly full of gratitude to God that he did not at once open the document by which the Emperor had promoted him to the highest rank of the nobility. He was too much absorbed in other thoughts to attend to it. How good had God been! In what unsearchable ways had He manifested His eternal purposes! The Patriarch John had suffered, as so many of God's best saints have been called upon to suffer, and to be purged like fine gold in the furnace, by God's mysterious plan. But how had the Eternal Mercy vindicated itself in the slow development of circumstances! Were the brief sufferings of the Patriarch's life to be compared to the exceeding and eternal weight of glory into which he now had entered? Were they not the conditions of his luminous and worldwide example? In spite of the all but universal corruption of the Eastern Church, his rectitude and his innocence had been conspicuously vindicated. His name had been restored to its honoured place in the diptychs of the cathedral. Philip had seen him lowered into his lowly grave in the far-off, humble martyry; now he had seen his golden coffin inhumed beside the Imperial tombs. John had been exiled and martyred by an Emperor and an Empress; now their son and successor, accompanied by his sister, had knelt over his remains with tears of penitence and prayers for pardon. Philip's mind was full of the confession extorted from the malevolent wickedness of the persecutors of God's saints in the Book of Wisdom: '

We fools counted his life madness, and his end to be without honour. How is he set among the children of God, and his lot among the saints!'

It was not strange that Philip should lose himself in these thoughts, for where was he? He was enjoying the hospitality of the Patriarcheion, now the palace of Proclus, who not only loved Chrysostom, but whom Philip could well remember as a young reader in the service of his master. Nay, more, Philip had asked to be accommodated in the dear old anteroom, next to the Patriarch's study, and close by the bedroom in which Eutyches had nursed the wounded Walamir. Memories crowded upon him, and he sank into a dreaming reverie. As he lay there, with closed eyes, he saw, or seemed to see, first Chrysostom, and then Eutyches, each in the glory of their immortality, come on either side, and take his hand, and look upon him with blessings and with smiles.

He awoke and saw the Emperor's missive lying before him. He opened it, and there read, with a start of intense surprise, that Theodosius II. had not only made him a Clarissimus, but had actually appointed him Count of the East!

It was a position of almost royal dignity. But Philip did not shrink from it. He had not sought it. It had been bestowed upon him in the Providence of God. He sought Count Anthemius, who was now a Patrician, and chief Minister of the Empire. Anthemius was already in the secret. He rose, with a broad smile on his handsome face, and bowing low, said, All happiness to the most illustrious, Count Philip!'

What am I to do?' asked Philip.

You are to start for Antioch in two days. You will be sent thither in an Imperial chariot, with an escort of Palatini, and you must remember that your position now requires every adjunct of state dignity which must surround the chief ruler in the East.'

So Philip returned in magnificent state along the old well-known road which he had first traversed riding on the horse of a prætorian, beside the chariot which was conveying Chrysostom to his glory and his doom.

He was received at Antioch with the rapturous acclamations of the assembled multitude, and he -- the son of the humble tradesman -- took official possession of the palace of the mighty and luxurious Seleucid kings. He gave up the house and grounds on the bank of the Orontes for a leper-hospital as a thank-offering to God.

He ruled Antioch and the Præfecture of the East in honour, with inflexible integrity, in merciful justice, with wise tact and universal acceptance. He held his high office for many years. His children grew to manhood in the stately palace, and were a source of blessing and happiness to him. He was universally known as The Good Count of the East. He did not attain a great age, but died in the unbroken fulness of his powers. The admiring people would fain have honoured him with gorgeous obsequies, but he desired a simple funeral, and was more than happy in the thought that he was descending to the grave amid the benedictions of the poor.'

They wanted to erect to his memory a splendid mausoleum, but he had ordered that his tombstone should only be a simple alabaster slab in the Church of St. Babylas. At each corner was a small mosaic. At the top the three fishes in circle, which typified at once the Lord Jesus and the Trinity: and the famous monogram of Christ from the Labarum of Constantine. Below were carved ungulæ and a leaden scourge -- for had not Philip, too, been a confessor, almost a martyr, for the truth? -- and a dove bearing in her beak a green leaf as from the Tree of Life. And the inscription was:

In Peace,

In Christ,


Count of the East.

In Christ he died,

In Christ he lives.


chapter lxxii the great reparation
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