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157 [144]

Actes and Monuments of the Church.

had belonged to the Pope, and so did many other Emperours after hym?

Marginalia8.8. The phrase of this decree being conferred wyth the phrase and style of Constantine, in his other edictes and letters aboue specified doth nothing agree.

Marginalia9.9. Seing the Papistes themselues confesse that the decree of this donation was wrytten in Greeke, how agreeth that with truth: when as both it was written not to the Grecians, but to the Romanes, and also Cōstantine himselfe for lacke of the Greeke toung was fayne to vse the latine toung in the councel of Nice?

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Marginalia10.10 The contentes of this donation (whosoeuer was the forger therof) doth bewrai it self. For if it be true which there is confessed, that he was baptised at Rome of Siluester, and the fourth day after his baptisme this patrimonie was geuen (which was before his battail against Maximinus, an. 317. as Nicephorus recordeth) how thē doth this accord with that which followeth in the donation, for him to haue iurisdiction geuen ouer the other foure principal seas of Antioche, Alexandria, Constantinople, and Hierusalem: when as the citie of Constantinople was not yet begun, before the death of Maximin9, and was not finished, before the. xxviij. yere of the raign of Constantine, an. 339. or if it be true, as Hierom counteth, it was finished the. xxiij. yeare of hys raigne, which was the yeare of our Lord. 334. long after this donation by their own accompt.

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Marginalia11.11 Furthermore, where in the sayd constitution is said that Constantine was baptised at Rome of Siluester, & therby was purged of leprosy: the fable therof agreeth not with the truth of history: for so much as Eusebius, lib 4. De vita Constantini, Hieronymus in Chron. Ruffin. lib. 1. cap. 11. Socrates, lib. 1. cap. 39. Theodor. lib. 1. cap. 31. Sozomenus lib. 2. cap. 34. doo all together consent that he was baptised not at Rome, but at Nicomedia: & that moreouer, as by their testimony doth appeare, not of syluester but of Eusebius bishop of Nicomedia, not before hys battayle agaynst Maximinus, but in the. xxxj. yeare of hys raygne, a litle before his death.

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Marginalia12.12 Agayn, where as Constantine in this donation appoynted hym to haue the principalitie ouer the other. 4 Patriarchal seas: that maketh Constantine contrary to himselfe. Who in the councel of Nice afterward agreed with other bishops, that all the foure patriarchall seas should haue equal iurisdiction, euery one ouer his owne territory and precinct.

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Marginalia13.13 In summe, briefly to conclude: who so desireth more aboūdantly to be satisifed touching this matter, let him reade the bookes of Marsilius Patauinus, intituled: defensor pacis, an. 1324. of Laurentius Valla, an. 1440. of Antoninus archbishop of Florence, who in his history, playnly denieth the tenor of this donation to be founde in the old bookes of the decrees. Of Cusanus Cardinalis. lib. 3. cap. 2. writing to the Coūcel of Basil an. 1460 Of Eneas Syluius in Dialogo, of Hier. Paulus Cattalanus, an. 1496. of Raphael Volateranus, an. 1500. of Lutherus, an. 1537. &c. al which by many and euidēt probations, dispute and proue this donation taken out of a booke De gestis Siluestri, & translated (as they faine) by one Bartholomeus Picernus out of Greeke into latine: not to proceede frō Constantinus, but to be a thing vntruely pretensed, or rather a fable imagined, or els to be the deede of Pipinus or Charles, or some such other,if it were euer the deede of any.

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MarginaliaCōmendacion of Cōstātine the Emperour.And thus has thou (beloued Reader) briefly collected the narration of the noble actes and heauenlye vertues of this most famous Emperour Constātine the great: a singular spectacle for all christian Princes to beholde & immitate, and worthy of perpetual memory in al cōgregations of Christian saynctes. Whose feruent zeale and piety in general, to al congregations, and to all the seruantes of Christ was notable: but especially the affection and reuerence of his hart toward them was admirable, which had suffred any thing for the confession of Christ, in the persecutions before: MarginaliaConstātine kyssed the wounds of them that suffered for Christ.them had he principally in price and veneration, in so much that he embraced & kissed their woūds and stripes, & their eyes, being put out. And if anye such Bishops or anye other ministers brought to him any complaintes one against an other, (as many times they did) MarginaliaConstātine burneth the bils of complaintes, breaketh strife & amōg the bishopshe would take their bils of cōplaynt, and burne them before their faces: so studious & zealeful was his minde to haue them agree, whose discord was to him more griefe, then it was to themselues. All the vertuous actes and memorable doinges of thys diuine and renowmed Emperour to comprehend or cōmit to historye: it were the matter alone of a great volume: wherfore contented with these aboue premised, bicause nothing of him can be sayd inough, I cease to discourse of him any farther.

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MarginaliaNote, that the oration ad conuentū sanctorū is wrongly ascribed to Eusebius whiche in deede is the oration of ConstātineOne thing yet remayneth not to be omitted (wherin as by the way of a note) I thought to admonish the learned reader, such as loue to be conuersant in reading of auncient autors: that in the ecclesiastical history of Eusebius, where in the latter end of the booke, is added a certaine Oration, Ad conuentum Sanctorum, vnder the name of Eusebius Pamphilus, here is to be vnderstād, that the sayd Oration is wronglye intituled vpon the name of Eusebius, which in very truth is the oration of Constantinus himselfe. For the probation whereof, besyde the style and matter therein contained, and tractation heroycall (liuelye declaring the religious vayne of Constantine) I alledge the very testimony of Eusebius himselfe in his fourth booke De vita Constant. where he in expresse wordes not onely declareth that Constantine wrote such an oration intituled Ad Conuentum Sanctorum, but also promiseth in the end of his booke, to annex the same: declaring moreouer what difficultie the interpreters hadde, to translate the same from the Romane speeche, to their Grecian toung. Eusebius de vita Constantini, lib. 4. pag. 211.

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And here an ende of these lamentable & dolefull persecutions of the primitiue Churche, during the space of þe. 300. yeares from the passion of our sauiour Christ, til the cōming of this Constantinus, by whom, as by the elect instrument of God, it hath so pleased his almighty maiestye, by his determinate purpose, to geue rest after long trouble to his church, according to that S. Cyprian declareth before pag. 98. MarginaliaLooke aboue pag. 98 col. 1. lin. 39to be reuealed of God vnto his church: that after darknes and stormy tempest should come peaceable calme, and stable quietnes to his church, meaning this tyme of Constantine now presēt. At which tyme it so pleased the almighty, MarginaliaSatan boūd vp for a M. yeres.that the murdering malice of Satan should at length be restrayned, and he him selfe to bee tyed vp for a thousande yeares, through his great mercy in Christ, to whom therfore be thankes and prayse now and for euer. Amen.

[Back to Top]¶ The ende of the fyrst booke.
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