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111 [111]

Actes and Monumentes of the Churche.

thyng chiefly to preuent, is our onely indeuour. By our letters sent to the gouernours of euery prouince the yeare past, we ordained that if any mā were disposed to leane vnto the Christian religion, that he myght wythout any iniury done vnto hym, accomplish hys desire, neyther to be of any man eyther let or molested: and that he myght without any feare or suspicion, do whatsoeuer he therein thought good. But now also we vnderstād that there be certayne iudges which haue neglected our commaundement, and haue put our subiectes in doubt, whether that hath bene our plesure or not, which thyng they did, that such men myght be the better aduised, how they entred into such religion: wherein they followed their owne phantasie. To the entent therfore that after this, all suspicion, doubt, and feare may be takē away: we haue thought good to publish thys our edict, whereby it may be made manifest to euery man, that it shall be lawfull for all such as wyll follow that religion, by the benefit of this our graunt and letters patentes, to vse what religion they lyke best. MarginaliaA large graunt of Maximinus to the Christians. And also hereby we graunt vnto them licence to build them Oratories or Temples. And furthermore, that thys our graunt may more amply extende vnto them, we vouchsafe to appoynt and ordayne, that whatsoeuer landes and substaunce, before belongyng and appertayning to the Christians, and by the commaundemēt of our predecessors were transposed to our reuenew and eschecour, or els be in the possession of any Citie, by meanes of the franchises of the same, or els otherwise solde or geuen to any man: all and euery parcell therof we commaund shal be restored vnto the proper vse of the Christians agayne, wherby they may all haue in thys matter more experience, of our godly deuotion and prouidence. Euseb. lib. 9. cap. 10.

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MarginaliaAn. 319. Maximinus thus beyng conquered of Licinius, and also plagued wyth an incurable disease in the guts, sent by the hand of God, was compelled by tormentes and aduersitye to confesse the true God, whom before he regarded not, and to write thys Edicte in the fauour of those Christians, whom before he did persecute. Marginalia God maketh his enemies to confesse him. Thus the Lord doth make many tymes hys enemyes, be they neuer so sterne & stout, at length to stoupe, and mauger their harts, to confesse him, MarginaliaThe end & death of Maximinus. as thys Maximinus here did, who not long after, by the vehemencie of hys disease ended hys lyfe. Whereby no mo tyrauntes now were left alyue, to trouble the Church, but onely Lincinius. Of which Licinius, and of hys persecutions styrred vp in the East partes, agaynst the Saints of God, now remayneth in order of story to prosecute.

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MarginaliaThe persecution of the Church vnder Licinius. This Licinius being a Dane borne, and made first Cæsar by Galerius, as is aboue specified, was afterward ioyned with Contantinus in gouernement of the Empyre, and in settyng forth the Edictes, which before we haue described: although it seemeth all this to be done of him with a dissēblyng mynde. For so is he in all histories described, to be a man passing all other in the desire of vnsatiable riches, geuen to lechery, hasty, stubburne, and furious. MarginaliaAn enemy to learning. To learning he was such an enemy, that he named the same a poyson and a common pestilence, and especially the knowledge of the lawes. He though no vice worse became a Prince, then learning, because he him selfe was vnlearned. Eutropius, Letus, Ignatius, Euseb. Lib. 8. cap. 13.

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There was betwene him and Constantinus in the beginnyng great familiaritie: and such agreement, that Constantinus gaue vnto him his sister Constantia in Matrimony, as Aurelius Victor writeth. Neither would any many haue thought him to haue bene of any other Religion then Constantinus was of, he seemed in all thynges so well to agree with him. Wherupon he made a decree with Constantinus in the behalfe of the Christians, as we haue shewed. Eusebius. Lib. 9. cap. 9. And such was Licinius in the begynning. But after armyng him selfe with tyranny, began to conspire agaynst the person of Constantinus, of whō he had receaued so great benefites, neither fauourable to the law of nature, nor mindefull of his othes, his bloud, nor promises. MarginaliaLicinius an Apostata. But when he considered that in his cōspiracies he nothyng preuailed, for that he saw Constantinus was preserued and safely defended of God:. MarginaliaThe fountaine of Apostacie. And partly beyng puffed vp with the victory agaynst Maximinus, he began vehmētly to hate him, and not onely to reiect the Christian Religion, but also deadly to hate the same. He sayd he would become an enemy vnto the Christians, for that in their assemblies & meetyngs they prayed not for him, but for Constantinus. Therfore, first by litle and litle and that secretly, he went about to wrong and hurt the Christians, and banished them his Court, which neuer were by any meanes preiudiciall to his kingdome. MarginaliaKnightes of the order depriued for not doyng sacrifice. Then he commaūded that all those should be depriued which were knightes of the honorable order, vnlesse they would do sacrifice to deuils. Euseb. Lib. 10. cap. 8. The same persecution afterwardes stretched he from his court, into all his prouinces, which with most wicked and deuised lawes he set forth. First, that for no cause the Byshoppes should in any matter communicate together: neither that any man should come at the Churches next vnto them, or to call any assemblies, and consult for the necessary matters and vtilitie of the Church.

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After, that the men and womē together should not come in companies to pray, nor that the women should come in those places where they vsed to preach and read the word of God, neither that they should be after that instructed any more of the Byshops, but should chuse out such women amongest thē as should instruct them. MarginaliaA straight charge against the releuing of the imprisoned Christians. The third most cruell and wickedest of all was, that none should helpe & succour those that were cast in prison, nor should bestow any almes or charitie vpon them, though they should dye for hunger: and they which shewed any cōpassion vpon those that were condemned to death, should be as greatly punished, as they to whō they shewed the same should be: Eusebius libro primo de vita Constantini. These were the most horrible constitutions of Lincinius, whiche went beyond and passed the boundes of nature.

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MarginaliaSecret persecution for feare of Constantinus. After this he vsed violence against the Byshops, but yet not openly, for feare of Constantinus, but priuely & by cōspiracie: by which meanes he slew those þt were the worthyest men amongest the Doctours and Prelates. And about Amasea and other Cities of Pontus, he razed the Churches euen to the grounde. Other some he shut vp, that no man should come after their accustomed maner to pray and worshyp God: and therfore as we sayd before, his conscience accusing him, all this he did, for that he suspected they prayed for Constantinus, and not at all for him. And from this place in the East parties vnto the Libians, which bordered vpon the Egiptians, the Christians durst not assemble and come together for the displeasure of Licinius, which he had conceaued agaynst them. Zozom. Lib. 1. cap. 2.

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Furthermore, the flatteryng officers that were vnder him, thinkyng by this meanes to please him, slew and made out of the way many Byshops, and without any cause put them to death, as though they had bene homicides and haynous offenders: and such rigorousnes vsed they towardes some of them, that they cut their bodies into gobbetes and small peeces in maner of a Boucher, and after that threw them into the Sea to feede the fishes. Euseb. Lib. 10. cap. 8. What shall we speake of the exiles and confiscations of good and vertuous men? MarginaliaThe violent wronges of Licinius. For he tooke by violence euery mans substaunce, and cared not by what meanes he came by the same: But threatned them with death, vnlesse they would forgoe the same. He banished those which had committed none euill at all. He commaunded that both gentlemen and men of honour, should be made out of the way, neither yet herewith content, but gaue their daughters that were vnmaried, to varlets and wicked ones to be defloured. And Lincinius himselfe (although that by reason of his yeares, his body was spent) yet shamefully did he vitiate many womē, mens wiues and maydes. Euseb. Lib. 1. de vita Constantini. MarginaliaThe Christians flee into the wildernes. Which cruell outrage of him caused many godly men of their owne accorde to forsake their houses: and it was also seene that the woodes, fieldes, desert places, and mountaynes, were fayne to be the habitations, and resting places of the poore and miserable Christians. Euseb. Lib. 10. cap. 14. MarginaliaHote persecution renued.
Theodorus.
Of those worthy men and famous Martyrs, whiche in this persecution founde the way to heauen, Nicephorus Lib. 7. cap. 14. first speaketh of Theodorus who first beyng hanged vpon a crosse, had nawles thrust into his arme pyts, and after that his head strickē of. MarginaliaAnother Theodorus Bishop of Tyrus. Also of an other Theodorus beyng the Byshop of Tyre, MarginaliaA man of Perga. the third was a man of Perga. Basilius also the Byshop of Amasenus, MarginaliaNicholaus Byshop of Mirorus.
Gregorius Byshop of Armenia.
Paulus Byshop of Neocæsarea.
wtth xl. other martyrs.
Nicholaus, the Byshop of Mirorus, Gregorius, of Armenia the great: After that Paule of Neocæsaria, which by the impious commaūdemēt of Licinius had both his hands cut of with a searyng yron. MarginaliaXl. good mē and theyr wyues martyrs. Besides these were in the Citie of Sebastia, xl. worthy men, and Christiā souldiours in the vehement cold time of winter, soused and drowned in a horse pond, when Locias as yet, of whom we spake before, and Agricolaus executing the Shrieues office vnder Licinius in the East partes, were aliue: and were in great estimation, for inuentyng of new and straunge tormētes agaynst the Christians. MarginaliaAmones with xl. wiues of the. xl. men Martyrs. The wiues of those. 40. good men, were caried to Heraclea a Citie in Thracia, and there, with a certaine Deacon whose name was Amones, were (after innumerable tormentes by them most constauntly indured) slayne with the sword. These thinges writeth Nicephorus. Also Zozomenus in his ix. booke and. 2. chapter maketh mētion of the same Martyrs. And Basilius in a certaine Oration seemeth to intreate of their history, sauing that in the circumstaunces he somwhat varieth. And surely Licinius was determined, for that the

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