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123 [123]

Actes and Monumentes of the Churche.

them. MarginaliaThe number of the martyrs that suffered in Persia, were 16. thousand. In summe, the multitude and number of thē whom they are able to recite by name, commeth to the summe of xvi. thousand men and women.

The rumor and noyse of thys so miserable affliction of the Christians in the kyngdome of Persia, commyng to the eares of Constantinus the Emperour, put hym in great heauines, studying and reuoluyng wyth hymselfe, how to helpe the matter, which in deede was very harde for him to do. MarginaliaConstantinus the Emperour writeth to the kyng of Persia in the behalfe of the afflicted Christiās. It so befell the same tyme, that certaine Embassadors were then at Rome from Sapores king of Persia, to whom Constantinus did easely graunt, and consent, satisfiyng all theyr requestes and demaundes, thynking thereby to obtayne the more frendship at the kynges handes, that at hys request, he woulde be good to the Christians, to whom he wryteth hys Epistle in their behalfe, and sendeth the same by hys messengers, begynnyng thus:

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MarginaliaThe copy & effect of the epistle of Constantine to Sapores. Diuinam fidem seruans veritatis lucem sortior. Veritatis luce ductus diuinam fidem cognosco. Per ea igitur quibus illa res agendas confirmat, sanctissimam religionē cognitam reddo, & hunc me cultum doctorem cognitionis sancti dei habere confiteor. &c. Euseb. de vita Constant. lib. 4. The contentes wherof briefly do tend to thys effect. Declaryng vnto hym how he should stand much beholden to hym, if at hys request he would shew some quyet and rest to the Christians. In whose religion there was nothyng which he could iustly blame. For so much as in their sacrifices they vse to kyll nothyng, nor to shedde no bloud, but onely to offer vp vnbloudy sacrifices, & to make their prayers vnto God, who deliteth not in blood shedding, but onely in the soule that loueth vertue, and followeth such doctryne and knowledge, which is agreyng to true piety. And therefore such men as doe leade hym and learne hym so to beleue and to worship God, are more to be cōmended. Moreouer he assureth hym, to finde God more mercifull to hym, if he would embrace the godly pietie and truth of the Christians. And for example thereof, bringeth in the stories of Galienus and Valerianus, MarginaliaOf this Galienus and Valerianus read the pag 75. who so long as they were fauorers of þe Christians, did prosper and florishe. But as soone as they moued any persecution agaynst them, it happened to them, as it did to all other Emperours before them, that all went backward with them, as especially might appeare by Valerianus, who after he had raged so cruelly agaynst the Christians, was eftsoones ouercome of the Persians, (the reuēging hand of God fallyng vpō hym) where he led euer after a miserable lyfe, in wretched captiuitie. Farther also, for the more euidence of the same, inferreth the examples of those Emperours and tyrauntes in hys tyme, whom he vanquished and subdued onely by his faith in Christ, for the which fayth, God was hys helper, and gaue hym the victory in many battayles, & triumph ouer great tyrauntes, whereby also he hath enlarged the dominiō of the Romane monarchie from the west Ocean, to the vttermost partes well neare of all the East. To the doing & working wherof, he neyther called to hym the helpe of any charmer or diuination of any Soothsayer, nor vsed the kyllyng of any sacrifice: but onely the followyng of the crosse, and prayer made to almighty God, without any other bloudy sacrifice, was the armour wherwith he ouercame. &c. And in the end of the Epistle addeth these words: What ioy (saith he) what gladnes would it be to my hart, to heare the state also of the Persians to florishe, as I wishe it to do, by embracing thys sort of men, the Christiās I meane: so that both you wyth them, and they wyth you in long prosperity may enioy much felicity together, as your hartes would desire: and in so doyng, no doubt ye shall. For so shall you haue God, which is the author and creator of all this vniuersall world to be mercifull and gracious to you. These mē therfore I commende vnto you vpon your kyngly honour. And vpon your clemency and piety, wherewith you are indued, I commit them vnto you, desiring you to embrace and receaue them accordyng to your humanitie and benignitye, agreyng and conuenient to your estate: who in so doyng shal now both procure to your selfe grace through your fayth, and also shal declare to me a great pleasure and benefit worthy of much thankes. &c.

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MarginaliaThe generall care of godly Constantinus for all Christians in all places. Thys Epistle wrote Constantinus to kyng Sapores. Such care had this godly Prince for them that beleued in Christ, not only in his own monarchye, but also in al places of the world. Nether is it to be doubted, but this intercessiō of the Emperour did something mitigate the heate of the Persians persecution. although thereof we reade no certayne thinge in our histories.

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MarginaliaOther forraine persecutions in Persia. Of other troubles and persecution we reade of, which happened afterward in the sayd countrey of Persia, vnder Isdigerdes the kyng, but these followed long after about the time of the Emperor Theodosius. At which tyme suffred MarginaliaAndas. Bish.
Martyr.
The story of Hormisda.
Martyr. Ex Theodor. Lib. 5. cap. 9.
Andas their bishop, and Hormisda a great noble mās sonne, and of great reputation among the Persians: whom when the kyng vnderstood to be a Christian, and to deny to turne from his religion, condemned hym to keepe hys Elephants naked. In processe of tyme, the kyng looking out, and seing hym all swarted and tanned in the sunne, commaunded him to haue a shiert put on and to be brought before him. Whom then the kyng asked, if he woulde deny Christ. Hormisda hearyng thys, tare of hys shiert from his body, and cast it from hym, saying: MarginaliaThe faithfull constancie of Hormisda.
Hormisda banished the country of Persia.
If ye thynke that I will deny my fayth to Christ for a shiert, haue here your gyft agayne. &c. And so was vpon that expelled the country. Theodor. lib. 5.

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MarginaliaSuenes Martyr. An other there was the same tyme, named Suenes, which had vnder hym an hundreth seruauntes. The kyng taking displeasure with hym, for that he would not alter from his religion and godly truth, asked who was the worst of all hys seruauntes. And hym the kyng made ruler of all the rest, and couplyng hym with his maysters wyfe, brought also Suenes vnder hys subiection, thinkyng thereby to subdue also the fayth of Suenes, MarginaliaThe constancie of Suenes. but it was builded vpon a sure foundation.

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MarginaliaThe story of Beniamin Deacon and Martyr. Of Beniamin the Deacon thus writeth the sayd Theodoret in hys fift booke, that after two yeares of his imprisonment, as the request of the Romaine Legate he was deliuered, who afterward because contrary to the kings commaundemēt he preached and taught the Gospell of Christ, was most miserably excarnificate, hauyng xx. sharpe pricks of reedes thrust vnder hys nayles, but when he dyd laughe at that, then in his priuy yarde had a sharpe reede thruste in with horrible payne. MarginaliaBeniamin tormented After that a certayne long stalke ragged & thorny being thrust into his body by the neather part, was forced into [illegible text] with the horriblenes of the payne wherof, MarginaliaThe martyrdme of Beniamin. the valiant [illegible text] inuincible soldiour of the Lord, gaue ouer hys lyfe. Theodor. ibid. And thus much cōcernyng the martyrs & persecutiōs amōg the Persians, although these persecutiōs belōg not to this time, which came (as is sayd) lōg after þe dayes of Cōstātinus, about þe yeare of our L. 425.

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MarginaliaThe martirs vnder Iulianus Apostata.
Aemilianus
Domitius
Martyrs.
Likewise vnder Iulianus the wicked Apostata, certayne there were which constantly suffered martyrdome by the Heathen idolatours, as Emylianus, who was burned in Thracia, and Domitius, which was slayne in hys caue. MarginaliaThe story of Theodorus Martyr. Theodorus also for singing of a Psalme at the remouyng of the body of Babylas (wherof mentiō is made before pag 61.) beyng apprehended, was so examined with exquisite tormentes, and so cruelly excruciate from morning almost to noone, that hardly he scaped wyth lyfe. Who beyng asked afterward of hys friendes, how he could abyde so sharpe torments, said that at the first beginning he felt some payne, but afterwarde there stoode by hym a young man, who as he was sweatyng, wyped of hys sweate, and refreshed hym wyth colde water oft tymes: MarginaliaA myracle to be noted. wherwith he was so delyted, that when he was let downe from the engine, it greued him more then before. Ruff. lib. 1. cap. 36. Theodor. lib. 3. cap. 11. Zozom. lib. 5. cap. 10.

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MarginaliaArtemius
Martyr.
Artemius also the captayne of the Egiptian soldiours the same tyme, lost his head for hys religiō in deede, although other causes were pretended agaynst hym. Theod. Niceph. lib. 10. cap. 11.

MarginaliaEusebius,
Nestabus,
brethren.
Nestor,
Martyrs.
Adde to these moreouer, Eusebius and Nestabus two brethren, wyth Nestor also, which for their Christianitie were dragged through the streetes, and murdred of the idolatrous people of Gaza. Sozom. lib. 5. cap. 9.

MarginaliaEupsychius,
wyth other men of Cesarea
Martyr
Among them of Cæsarea, wherof some were slayne, some were banished of Iulianus, for pullyng downe the temple of Fortune, Eupsichius a noble man of that countrey, dyed also with them a Martyr. Sozo. Lib. eod. cap. 11.

MarginaliaMiserable cruelltie against the Christian virgyns of Arethusia. But especially the cruelltie of the Arethusians, a people of Syria, exceeded agaynst those Christian virgines, whom they set out naked before the multitude to be scorned, after that beyng shauen, they couered them with swill and draffe, wont to be geuen to their hogs, and so caused their bowels and flesh to be deuoured of the hungrey swyne. MarginaliaThe people mad to be pluckt from their olde customes, though it be neuer so wicked. This rage & fury of the wicked Arethusians, Sozomenus supposeth to come of this, because that Constantinus before had broken them from their countrey maner, of settyng forth and exposing their virgins, filthely to whom soeuer lusted, and destroyed the Temple of Venus in Heliopolis: restrayning the people there from their filthynesse and vile whoredom. Sozom. Lib. 5. cap. 10.

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Of the lamentable story or rather Tragedy of Marcus Arethusius their Byshop, thus writeth the sayd Sozomenus, & also Theodoretus in his thyrd booke, in these wordes as follow.

MarginaliaThe story of Marcus Arethusius. This Tragedy (sayth he) of Marcus Arethusius, doth require the eloquence and worthynes of Æeschilus and Sophocles, which may, as the matter deserueth, set forth and

beautifie
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