of if it had bene true, therfore I referre the same to the free iudgement of the Reader to fynde suche credite as it may. This Claudius raygned but two yeares, MarginaliaQuintilianus Emperour.after whom came Quintilianus his brother next Emperour and a quiet Prince, who cōtinued but onely. xvij. daies, and had to his successor Aurelianus, vnder whom Orosius in his seuenth booke doth number the nynth persecution against the Christians.[Back to Top]
The Foxe Project was not able to complete the commentary on this section of text by the date by which this online edition was compiled (23 September 2008).
MarginaliaThe. ix. persecution.
Aurelianus Emperour.HEtherto from the captiuity of Valerian the church of Christ was in some quietnes, til þe death of Quintilianus, as hath bene declared: After whō Aurelianus the next successor possessed the crowne, who in the fyrst beginning of his raygne (after the common maner of al princes) shewed him selfe a Prince moderate and discrete, much worthie of commendation, if his good begynning had continued in a constant course agreing to the same. Of nature he was seuere and rigorous in correcting dissolute maners, in somuch that it was sayd of him by a vulgar prouerbe, MarginaliaA prouerbe
A good phisicion, but he geueth to bytter medicines.that he was a good Phisition, sauing that he gaue to bytter medicines. Thys Emperour being sycke, neuer sent for Phisicion, but cured hym selfe with abstinence. MarginaliaAbstinence the best phisicke.And as hys beginning was not vnfruitful to the common wealth: so neyther was he any great disturber of the Christians, whom he did not onely tolerate in their religion, but also in their councel, MarginaliaThe councel of Antioche.
The good beginnyng of Aurelianbeing the same time assembled at Antioch, seemed not to be against them. Notwithstanding in continuaunce of tyme, throughe sinister motion and instigation of certayne about him (as cōmonly such are neuer absent in al places from the eares of Princes) his nature somwhat inclinable to seueritie, MarginaliaThe emperor altered by wicked counsayle.was altered to a plaine tyranny, which tyranny first he shewed beginning with the murder of his own sisters sonne, as wytnesseth Eutropius. After that he proceeded either to moue, or at least to purpose persecution agaynste the Christians. Albeit that wicked purpose of the Emperour, the mercyful working of God his hand dyd soone ouerthrowe. MarginaliaA notable example of Gods hand stopping persecutiō.For as the edict or proclamation shoulde haue bene denounced for the persecuting of the Christians, and the Emperour now readye to subscribe the edict wyth hys hand, the mightye stroke of the hande of the Lorde sodenlye from aboue did stoppe his purpose, binding as a man might saye, the Emperours handes behinde hym: declaring (as Eusebius sayth) MarginaliaEx euseb. lib. 7. c. 30
No power against the people of god, except God geue leaue.to all men, how there is no power to worke anye violence against þe seruaunts of God, vnles his permission do suffer thē, and geue them leaue. Euseb, lib. 7. cap. 30. Eutropius and Vopiscus affirme, that as the sayde Aurelianus was purposing to rayse persecution agaynste vs, he was sodenly terrified with lightning, and so stopped from hys wicked tyrannie. MarginaliaThe death of Aurelianus.
278.Not long after about the fift or syxt yeare of his raynge, he was slayne betwene Byzance and Hieraclea. an. 278. Thus Aurelianus rather intended then moued persecution. Neither is ther anye more then this found concerning this persecution in aunciēt histories and recordes of the church. Wherfore I maruayle the more, that Vincentius collecting out of the Martyrologes, hath comprehended such a great Cataloge of so many Martyrs, which in Fraunce and in Italye (sayth he) suffered death and tormentes vnder this Emperour Aurelianus. Whereunto Orosius also seemeth to agree, in numbring this to be the nynth persecution vnder the sayd Aurelian.
Florianus Emperour.Next after Aurelianus the succession of the impery fell to Publius Annius Tacitus, who raygned but. vj. monethes. Hym succeded his brother Florianus, who raygned but. lx. daies. And after him followed Marcus Aurelius, surnamed Probus. Of whom more hereafter (God wylling) shal appeare.
In the meane time, within the compasse of these Emperours falleth in a storye recorded of Eusebius, andnot vnworthy here to be noted, whereby to vnderstand the faythful diligence of good Ministers, what good it may doo in a common wealth.
MarginaliaEusebius Deacon of Alexandria.Mention is made before, pag. 103. of Eusebius the Deacon of Dionysius, whom God styrred vp to vyset and comfort the saintes that were in prison and bands, and to bury the bodies of the blessed Martyrs departed, not without great peril of his own lyfe, and after was made bishop (as is said) of Laodicea. But before he cam to Laodicea to be bishop ther, it chaunced the saide Eusebius remayning as yet at Alexandria, the Citie to be besieged of the Romanes, Pyruchius being there captayne. In the which siege halfe of the citie did hold with the Romanes, the other halfe withstoode them. In that part which went with the Romane captayne was Eusebius, being also in great fauour with the captaine for his worth fidelity and seruice shewed. With the other halfe that resisted the Romanes, was MarginaliaAnatholius rector of the vniuersity of Alexandria.Anatholius, Gouernour or moderator then of the schole of Alexandria, who also was bishop after the sayd Eusebius, of Laodicea. This Anatholius perceauing the citizens to be in miserable distresse of famine and destruction by reason of penurie and lacke of sustinance, sendeth to Eusebius being then with the Romains, and certifieth him of the lamentable penury & peryll of the city, instructing him moreouer, what to do in the matter. Eusebius vnderstanding the case, repayreth to the captayne, desiring of him so much fauour, that so many as woulde flee out of the citie frō their enemies, might be licensed to escape, and freely to passe, which was to him eftsones graunted. MarginaliaThe piety of Anatholius and Eusebius to their countrye.As Eusebius was thus laboring with the captain, on the other side Anatholius for his part laboured with the Citizens, mouing them to assemble together, & persuading them to geue them selues ouer in yelding to the force and might of the Romanes. But when the Cityzens could not abide the hearing therof: yet (sayde Anatholius) this I trust you wyl be contented, if I shal coūsail you, in this miserable lacke of thinges to auoid out of your Citie all such superfluities and vnnecessary impedimentes vnto you, as old women, yong children, aged men, with such other as be feable and impotent, & not to suffer them here to perish with famine, whose presence can do no stede to you if they dye, and lesse if they lyue, for spending the victuals, which otherwyse might serue them that be more able to defend the Citie. The Senate hearing this sentence, and vnderstāding moreouer the graunt of the Captaine, promising them theyr safety, were well consenting therunto. Then Anatholius, hauing a special care to them that belonged to the Church of Christ, calleth them together, with the rest of the multitude, and so persuading thē, what they should do, and what hath bene obtained for them, caused them to voyde the Citie, and not onely them, but also a great number of other moe, who persuaded by hym, vnder that pretence, chaunging them selues in womens apparell, or fayning some impotency, so escaped out of the Citie. At whose comming out Eusebius on the other side was ready to receaue them, and refreshed their hūgry and pined bodies, whereby not onelye they, but the whole City of Alexandria was preserued from destruction. Eusebius lib. 7. cap. 32.[Back to Top]
By this litle historye of Eusebius and Anatholius, described in the seuenth booke of Eusebius. cap. 32. and briefly here set forth to thee (gentle Reader) thou mayest partly vnderstande the practise of the Prelates what it was in those dayes in the church: MarginaliaThe Prelats of Rome ar clean cōtrary to these good prelates.which was then onely employed in sauing of lyfe, and succoring the common weales wherin they lyued, as by these two godlye persons Eusebius and Anatholius may well appeare. Vnto the which practise if we compare þe practise of our latter Prelates of the Churche of Rome, I suppose no litle diuersitie wyll appeare.[Back to Top]