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Actes and Monumentes of the Church.

many, and with how much difficultye I haue vitled my campe, beinge compassed aboute with lxxiiii. fierce Dragons, whome my Scootes discryed to bee within nyne miles of vs. & Pompeianus our liefetenant hath vewed as hee signified vnto vs by his letters: Wherefore I thought no lesse but to be ouer ronne and all my bands of so great a multitude, as wel my vaward, mayne ward as reare ward, with all my Soldyers of Ephrata In whose hoste there were nombred of fightinge men nyne hundreth seuentye and fiue thousand. But when I sawe my selfe not able to encounter with the enemy, I craued ayde of our countrye gods, at whose hands I findinge no comfort, and being driuen of the enemie vnto an exegent, I caused to be sent for those mē which we cal christians who being mustred were found a good indiffrent nomber, with whom I was in farder rage, then I had good cause, as afterwardes I hadde experience by their marueilous power, who forthwith did their indeuour, but without either weapon, munytion armur, or trumpets, as men abhorring such preparation and furniture, but onelie satisifed in trust of their God, whom they carye about with them in their consciences. It is therfore to be credited, although we call them wicked men, that they woorship god in their harts. For they falling prostrate vpon the ground, prayed not onely for me, but for the host also which was with me, beseching their god for help in that our extremitye of vittels and freshewater. For we had ben now fiue dayes without water, & were in our enemies land, euē in the midst of Germany, who thus falling vpon their faces, & made their prayers to a god vnknowen of me: and there fell amongest vs from heauen a most pleasant and colde shower, but a mongest our enemies a great storme of hail mixt with lightning, so that imediatly we perceiued the inuincible aide of the most mighty god to be with vs. Therfore we geue those men leaue to professe christianity, least perhappe by their prayer, we be punished witth the like, and therby make my selfe the autour of suche hurte as shall bee receaued by the Christian profession. And if any shall apprehende one that is a christian, onely for that cause: I will that he being aprehended without punishment, maie haue leaue to confesse the same, so that there be none other cause obiected against him, more then that he is a Christian: But let his accuser be burned aliue. Neither will I that hee confessing and beinge founde a christian, shalbe enforced to alter the same his opinion by the gouernor of anye of our prouinces, but left to his own choise. And this decree of mine I wyll to be ratified in the Senate house, and commaund the same publikelie to bee proclaimed & read in the courte of Traianus, and that farder frome thence it maye be sent into all our prouinces by the dilygence of Veratius gouernor of our citye Polione. And furder wee geue leaue to all men to vse and write out thys our decree, taking the same oute of our copye publiquelye in the common hall set forth.

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Thus the tempestious rage of persecution agaynst the Christians began for a time to asswage, partly by the occasion hereof, partly also vpon other causes incident, compelling the enemies to surcease their persecution, as great plages and pestilence lying vpon the coūtrie of Italy: likewise great warres, as wel in the East partes, as also in Italye and Fraunce, terrible earthquakes, great floods, noysome swarmes of Flies and vermine deuouring their corne fieldes. &c. MarginaliaAntoninus Verus, M. Aurelius Cōmodus Emperours.And thus much of thinges done vnder Antoninus Verus, whych Antoninus in the beginning of his raigne ioyned with him in the gouernmēt of the Empire, his brother Marcus Aurelius Cōmodus, who also was with hym at the miraculous victory gotten by the Christians, as Euse-sebius cap. 5. lib. 5. recordeth. MarginaliaThe discrepāce betwene Eusebius & Platina.Contrary Platina in vita Soteris, and the booke intituled Flores Historiarum, referre the same to the time of Antoninus Verus, and hys sōne Lucius Antoninus Cōmodus, & not of M. Aurel. Cōmodus his brother. But how so euer the truth of yeres and time doo stande, certayne it is, that after the death of Antoninus Verus, and of Aurelius Cōmodus, Marginalia175.succeeded Lucius Antoninus Cōmod9 the sōne of Verus, who raigned. 13. yeares. In the time of this Cōmodus, althoughe he was an incōmodious Prince to the Senatours of Rome, yet notwithstanding there was some quietnesvniuersally, through the whole church of Christ, from persecution, by what occasion it is not certayne. MarginaliaQuietnes geuē to the church.Some thinke (of whom is Xiphilinus) that it came throughe Marcia the Emperours Concubine, whyche fauoured the Christians: but how soeuer it came, sayth Eusebius, the fury of the raging enemies was then somwhat mitigated, and peace was geuen, by the grace of Christe, vnto the Churche, throughe the whole worlde. At what tyme the wholesome doctrine of the Gospel allured and reduced the hartes of all sortes of people, vnto the true religion of God, in so much that manye both riche and noble personages of Rome, wyth their whole famelies and householdes to their saluation, adioyned them to the Church of Christ.

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MarginaliaApollonius martyrAmong whom there was one Apollonius, a noble man, and a Senatour of Rome, mencioned in Eusebius lib. 5. cap. 21. MarginaliaApollonius accused by hys own seruauntwho being maliciously accused vnto the Senate by one, whom Ierome writeth to be the seruaunt of the sayd Apollonius, and nameth him Seuerus: but whose seruant so euer he was, the wretched man came soone inough before the iudge, being condignly rewarded, for that his malicious diligēce. For by a law which the Emperour made, that no man vpon payne of death should falsly accuse the Christians, he was put to execution, and had his legs broken forthwith, by the sentence of Perennius the Iudge, which being an heathen man, he pronounced against him. MarginaliaApollonius exhibiteth an Apologi of his faith to the Senate.But the beloued martyr of God, when the Iudge with much a do had obtayned of him to render an accompt before the honorable Senate of his fayth, vnder whose defence and warrant of lyfe he did the same, deliuered vnto them an eloquent Apologie of the Christian beliefe. But the former warrant notwithstanding, he by the decree of the Senate, was beheaded, and so ended his life: MarginaliaAn old wicked law of the Romāsfor that ther was an aūcient law among them decreed, that none that professed Christ, and therfore araigned, should be released wythout recantacion, or altering his opinion.

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This Cōmodus is said in stories to be so sure & steddie handed in casting the dart, that in the open Theatre before the people, he woulde encounter with the wylde beastes, and be sure to hit them in the place where he apointed. MarginaliaThe ridiculous pryde of the Emperour.Among diuers other his vicious & wilde partes he was so farre surpressed in pride and arrogancy, that he would be called Hercules, and manye times woulde shew him selfe to the people in the skyn of a Lyon, to be counted therby the king of men, like as the Lyon is of the beastes.

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Vpon a certayne time being his birth day, this Cōmodus, calling the people of Rome together, in a great royalty, hauing his Lions skyn vpon him, made sacrifice to Hercules and Iupiter, causing it to be cried thorough the citie that Hercules was the patrone and defender of the City. MarginaliaVincenti9
Eusebius
Peregrin9
Portentian9
Martyrs.
Ther were the same tyme at Rome, Vincentius, Eusebius, Peregrinus, Potentianus, learned men, and instructers of the people, who folowing the steps of the Apostles, went about from place to place where the Gospel was not yet preached, conuerting the Gentiles to the fayth of Christ. These hearing the madnes of the Emperour and of the people, beganne to reproue their idolatrous blindnes, teaching in villages & townes all that heard them, to beleue vpon the true and onely God, and to come away from suche worshipping of diuels, & to geue honor to God alone, which onely is to be worshipped, willing them to repent, & to be baptised, least they perished wt Cōmod9. MarginaliaIulius a Senator conuerted to Christ
Ex Vincē. lib. 10 cap. 119. Henr. de Erford.
With this their preaching they conuerted one Iulius a Senator and other to the religion of Christ. The Emperour hearing therof, caused them to be apprehended of Vitellus his captayne, and to be compelled to sacrifice vnto Hercules, which when they stoutly refused, after diuers greuous tormentes, and great miracles by them done, at last they were pressed wyth leaden waightes to death. Vin-

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