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dictions of the Empire, the congregations were molested with persecutiō, as Sozomenus declareth lib. 1. cap. 6. he onely gaue licence vnto the Christiās to liue after their accustomed maner. This wonderfull acte of his folowing besides others doth shewe, that he was a sincere worshipper of the Christian Religion.

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Those which bare the chief offices among the Ethnickes, draue out of the Emperours court al the godly Christians: wherupon this insued, that the Emperours them selues at the last were destitute of helpe: when suche were driuen awaye, whiche dwellyng in their courtes, and lyuing a godly lyfe, poured out their prayers vnto God for the prosperous estate and health, both of the Empire & Emperour. MarginaliaConstātius proueth who were the Christians in hys court and who were not.Constantius therfore, minding at a certayne tyme to trye what sincere and good Christians he had yet in his courte, called together all his officers and seruaunts in the same, fayning himself to chuse out, such as would do sacrifice to deuils, & that those onely should dwell there and keepe their offices, & that those whiche would refuse to do the same, should be thrust out and banished the courte. At this appointmēt, all the courtiars deuided thēselues into companies: MarginaliaEx Euseb. in vita Cōstan. lib. 1.
Ex Sozomeno. lib. 1. cap. 6.
False Christians dyscerned frō true.
The Emperour marked, whiche were the most constantest & godliest frō the rest: And when some sayd þt they would willingly do sacrifice: other some openly and boldly denied to do the same: Then the Emperour sharply rebuked those whiche were so ready to do sacrifice, and iudged them as false traitors vnto God, accoumpting thē vnworthy to be in his court, which were such traitours to God, & forthwith commaūded that they onely should be banished the same. But greatly he commended them, whiche refused to do sacrifice and confessed God, affirming that they onely were worthy to be about a prince, forthwith cōmaunding thē that thenceforth they should be the trusty counsellors and defendours both of his person and kyngdome, sayeng thus much more, that they onely were worthy to bee in office, whō he might make accoumpt of, as his assured frendes, and that he ment to haue them in more estimation, then the substance he had in his treasurie. Eusebius maketh mention hereof in his fyrst booke of the lyfe of Constantius, and also Sozomenus in his fyrst booke, and. vi. chap.

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MarginaliaMaximinus an enemye of the Christians.With this Constantius was ioyned (as hath bene aforesayd) Galerius Maximinus, a man as Eutropius affirmeth, very ciuil, and a passing good soldiour, furthermore a fauourer of wyse and learned mē, of a quiet disposition, not rigorous, but in his dronkennes, wherof he would soone after repent him, as Victor writeth, whether he meaneth Maximinus the father, or Maximinus hys Sonne, it is vncertayne. But Eusebius farre otherwise describeth the conditions of him in his eyght booke and fyrst chapter. MarginaliaThe wyckednes of Maximinus described.For the sayth that hee was of a tyrannicall disposition: The fearfullest man that might be, and curious in all magicall superstition, in so much that without the diuinations & answers of deuils he durst do nothyng at all: and therfore he gaue great offices & dignities to inchaunters. Furthermore that he was an exactor, and extorcioner of his Citizens, Liberal to those that were flatterers giuen to surfeting and riote, a great drinker of wyne, and in hys furious dronkennes most like a mad man, a Ribaud, an adulterer, whiche came to no Citie but hee rauished virgins & defiled mēs wiues. To conclude he was so great an idolater, that he built vp Tēples in euery Citie, and repayred those that were fallen in great decay: & he chose out the most worthiest of his political Magistrates to be the Idols Priests, & deuised that they should execute þt their office with great auctoritie & dignitie, & also with warlike pompe. But to Christian piety and religion he was most insensiue, & in the East Churches exercised cruell persecution, and vsed as executioners of the same Pencetius, Quintianus, and Theotechnus, besides others.

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MarginaliaA terrible plage sent by God to Maximinus.Notwithstanding he was at length reuoked from that his crueltie by the iust iudgement and punishmēt of God. For he was sodenly vexed with a fatall disease most filthy and desperate, which disease to describe was very straunge, taking the first beginning in hys fleshe outwardly, from thence it proceeded more and more to the inward partes of his body. For in the priuye members of his body there happened vnto him a sodayn putrifaction, and after in the bottom of the same a botchie corrupt byle, wyth a Fistula, consuming and eating vp his intrals, out of the which came swarming foorth an innumerable multitude of life, with suche a pestiferous stynche, that no man could abide him, and somuch more, for that al the grosenes of his body by aboundāce of meate before he fell sicke, was turned all into fatte: which fat now putrified and stincking was so vgsome and horrible, that none that came to him coulde abyde the sight therof. MarginaliaMaximinus killeth his phisitions.By reason wherof the Phisitiōs which had him in cure, some of them not able to abyde the intollerable stinche, were cōmaunded to be slayn. Others some because they could not heale him, being so swollē and past hope of cure, were also cruelly put to death. At length being put in remembraūce that his disease was sent of God, he began to forethinck the wickednes that he had done against the sayntes of God, and so cōming agayne to hym selfe, first confesseth vnto God al hys offences, then calling them vnto him which were aboute him, forthwith commaunded all men to cease from the persecutions of the Christians. Requiryng moreouer that they should set vp his Imperiall proclamatiōs, for the restoring and reedifieng of their Temples: and that they would obtayne this of the Christians, in their assēbles (whiche without all feare and doubt they might be bolde to make) that they would deuoutly praye to theyr God for the Emperour. Then forthwith was the persecution stayed, and the Imperial proclamations in euery Citie were set vp, contayning the retraction or countermaund of those thinges whiche agaynst the Christians were before decreed, the copie wherof insueth.

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MarginaliaMaximinus countermaund in the behalfe of the Christians. Amongest other thinges whiche for the benefite and commoditie of the common weale we established: we cōmaunded to reforme all thinges accordyng to the auncient lawes and publike discipline of the Romanes, and also to vse this pollicie, that the Christians whiche had forsaken the Religion of theyr forefathers shoulde bee brought agayne to the right way. For such fantasticall singularitie was amongest thē, that those things which theyr elders had receaued and allowed, they reiected and disalowed, deuising euery man suche lawes as they thought good and obserued the same, assemblyng in diuers places great multitude of people.

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Therfore when our foresayd decree was proclaimed, many there were that felt the penaltie therof, and many beyng troubled therfore suffered sūdry kindes of death. And bycause we see yet that there be many whiche perseuere in the same, which neither giue due worship vnto the Celestial gods, neither receaue the God of the Christians: we hauing respect to our accustomed benignitie wherwith we are wonte to shewe fauour vnto al men, thinke good in this cause also to extende our clemencie, þt the Christians may be agayn tollerated, and appoynt them places where agayne they maye meete together, so that they do nothyng contrarie to publike order & discipline. By an other Epistle we meane to prescribe vnto the iudges, what shalbe conuenient for them to doo. Wherfore accordyng as this our bountifull clemencie deserueth, let them make intercession to God for our health, commō weale, and for themselues, that in al places the state of the commō weale may be preserued, and that they them selues, may be able safely to liue within their bondes. Euseb Lib. 8. cap. vltimo.

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But one of his inferior officers whose name was al-

so Max-
k.iiij.
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