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108 [87]

Actes and Monumentes of the Churche.

Wherfore many were eaten of dogges, for which cause they that liued fell to the killyng of dogs, least they runnyng mad, should fall vpon them, and kill them.

MarginaliaPestilence among the persecutors. In like maner the pestilence scatteryng through all houses & ages of men, did no lesse consume them, especially those which through plētie of vitaile escaped famine. Wherfore the rich Princes, Presidentes and other innumerable of the Magistrates, beyng the more apt to receiue the infection, by reason of their plentie, were quickly dispatched, and turned vp their heeles. Thus the miserable multitude being consumed with famine and with pestilence, all places was full of mournyng, neither was there any thyng els seene, but waylyng and weepyng in euery corner. So that death, what for famine and pestilence in short tyme brake vp and consumed whole housholdes, two or three dead bodies being borne out together from one house to one funerall.

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These were the rewards of the vayne bragges of Maximinus and his Edictes, which he did publish in all townes and Cities agaynst vs, when it was euident to all mē, how diligent and charitable the Christians were to them all in this their miserable extremitie. MarginaliaThe charity of the Christians to the enemyes. For they onely in all this tyme of distres, shewyng compassion vpon them, traueled euery day, some in curing the sicke, and some in burying the dead, which otherwise of their owne sort were forsaken. Other some of the Christians calling and gathering the multitude together, which were in ieopardy of famine, distributed bread to them, wherby they ministred occasion to all mē to glorifie the God of þe Christians, and to confesse thē to be the true worshippers of God, as appeared by their works. MarginaliaLet your lyght so shine among men, that they may see your good workes, and glorifie your father which is in heauen. By the meanes and reason hereof, the great God and defēder of the Christians, who before had shewed his anger and indignation agaynst all men, for their wrongfull afflictyng of vs, opened agayne vnto vs the comfortable light of his prouidence, so that by meanes thereof peace fell vnto vs, as light to them that sit in darknes, to the great admiration of all men, which easely perceiue God himselfe to bee a perpetuall director of our doyngs, who many tymes chasteneth hys people wyth calamityes for a tyme to exercise them, but after sufficient correction, agayne sheweth himselfe mercifull and fauorable to them that with trust call vpon him.

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By the narration of these thynges heretofore premised, taken out of the story of Eusebius, like as it is manifest to see, so is it wonderfull to marke and note, how those counsailes and rages of the Gentiles, atchiued agaynst Christ & his Christians, when they seemed most sure agaynst them, were most agaynst them selues. And wherby they thought most to confound the Church and Religion of Christ, the same turned most to their owne confusion, MarginaliaThe wisdom and policie of man ouerthrowne in his own turne
Qui comprehendit sapientes in astutia.
and to the profite & prayse of the Christians, (God of his marueilous wisedome so orderyng and disposyng the end of thynges). For where the brasen Edict of the Emperour promised temperate weather, God sent drought, where it promised plenty, God immediatly sent vpō them famine and penurie: where it promised health, God stroke them euen vpon the same, with greuous pestilence, and with other mo calamities, in such sorte, that the most relief they had, was chiefly by the Christians, to the great prayse both of them, and to the honour of our God.

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MarginaliaThe promise of Christ verified. Mat. 6. the gates of hell shall not preuayle agaynst the church builded vpon the fayth of Christ. Thus most playnly and euidently was then verified the true promise of Christ to his Church, affirmyng and assuryng vs, that the gates of hell shall not preuaile agaynst his Church builded vpon his fayth: as sufficiently may appeare by these x. persecutions aboue specified and described. Wherin as no man can deny, but that Sathan and this malignaunt world haue assayed the vttermost of their power and might to ouerthrow the Church of Iesus: so must all men needes graunt, that read these stories, that when Sathan and the gates of hell haue done their worst, yet haue they not preuailed agaynst this mount of Sion, nor neuer shall. For els what was here to be thought, where so many Emperours and tyraunts together, Dioclesian, Maximinin, Galerius, Maximinus, Seuerus, Maxētius, Licinius with their Captaines and officers, were let loose, like so many Lyons, vpon a scattered and vnarmed flocke of sheepe, intendyng nothyng els, but the vtter subuersion of all Christianitie, and especially also when lawes also were set vp in brasse agaynst the Christiās, as a thing perpetually to stād: what was here to be looked for, but a finall desolation of the name and Religion of Christiās? But what folowed, partly ye haue heard, partly more is to be marked, as in the story foloweth.

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I shewed before how Maxentius the sonne of Maximinian, was set vp at Rome by the Pretorian souldiours to be Emperour. Wherunto the Senate, although they were not consentyng, yet for feare they were not resistyng. Maximinian his father, who had before depriued him selfe with Diocletian, hearing of this, tooke hart agayne to him, to resume his dignitie, and so laboured to perswade Diocletian also to do the same: but when he could not moue him therunto, he repaireth to Rome, thinkyng to wrast the Empyre out of his sonnes hand but when the souldiours would not suffer that, of a craftie purpose he flyth to Constantinus in Fraunce, vnder pretense to complayne of Maxentius hys sonne, but in very deede to kill Constantinus. Notwithstādyng that conspiracie beyng detected by Fausta the daughter of Maximinian, whom Constantinus had maryed, so was Constantinus through the grace of god preserued, and Maximinian retyred backe. In the which his MarginaliaThe death & ende of Maximinian. flight by the way he was apprehended, and so put to death. And this is the ende of Maximinian.

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MarginaliaThe wickednes of Maxentius described. Now let vs returne to Maxentius agayne, who all this whyle raigned at Rome, with tiranny and wyckednes intollerable, much lyke to an other Pharao or Nero. 

Commentary  *  Close
Maxentius, Licentius and Constantine

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).

For hee slew the most part of hys noble men, and tooke from them theyr goodes. And sometyme in hys rage he would destroy great multitudes of the people of Rome by hys souldiors, as Eusebius declareth. lib. 8. cap. 14. Also he left no mischieuous nor lasciuious acte vnattempted, but was the vtter enemy of all womanly chastity, which vsed to send the honest wyues whom he had adulterated with shame and dishonesty vnto their husbands (beyng worthy Senators) after that he had rauished them. He abstained from no adulterous acte, but was inflamed wyth the inquenchable lust of deflouryng of women. MarginaliaA shamefull acte of incontinency. Letus declareth that he beyng at a tyme far in loue with a noble and chaste gentlewoman of Rome, sent vnto her such courtiers of hys, as were mete for that purpose, whom also he had in greater estimation then any others, and with such was wont to consult about matters for the common weale. These first fell vpon her husbande and murdred hym within hys owne house, then when they coulde by no meanes neyther with feare of the tyrant, not wyth threatning of death pull her away from him: At length she beyng a Christian desired leaue of them to go into her chamber, and after her prayers she would accomplish that which they requested. MarginaliaA Christian matron slayeth her selfe to auoyde the lust of Maxentius And when she had gotten into her chamber, vnder this pretence, she kylled her selfe. But the courtiers when they saw that the womā taried so long, they beyng displeased therwith, brake open the doores, and found her there lying dead. Then returned they and declared thys matter to the Emperour, who was so far past shame, that in stede of repentance, he was the more set on fire in attemptyng the lyke.

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MarginaliaA monster in the likelyhoode of an Emperour He was also much addict to the arte Magicall, which to execute, he was more fit then the imperiall dignitie. Also sometyme he would rip women when they were in labour, and would search the place where the infant lay, being borne a litle before. Often he would inuocate diuels in a secrete maner, and by the answers of them he sought to breake the warres, which he knew Constātinus and Licinus prepared agaynst him. MarginaliaA lyuely paterne of an hypocrite. And to the end he might the rather perpetrate hys mischieuous and wycked attemptes, which in his vngracious mynde he had conceyued, accordyng to hys purpose, in the beginnyng of hys raigne he fained hymself to be a fauourer of the Christians. In which thing doing, thinkyng to make the people of Rome his friendes, he cōmaunded that they should cease from persecuting of the Christians, and he hymselfe in the meane season abstained from no contumelious vexation of them, tyll that he began at last to shew hymselfe an open persecutor of them: at which tyme as Zonaras writeth he most cruelly raged agaynst all the Christians thereabouts, vexyng them with all maner of iniuries. Which thyng he in no lesse wise dyd, then Maximinus, as Eusebius in hys. 8. booke and. 15. chap. seemeth to affirme. And Platina declareth in the lyfe of Marcellus the bishop, that he banished a certayne noble woman of Rome, because she gaue her goods to the church.

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MarginaliaThe Romaines send to Constautine for succour. Thus by the greiuous tyranny and vnspeakeable wickednes of this Maxentius, the citizens and Senatours of Rome, beyng much grieued and oppressed, sent theyr complaintes wyth letters vnto Constantinus, with much sute and most harty petitions, desiryng hym to helpe and release theyr countrey and citie of Rome: who hearyng and vnderstādyng theyr miserable and pitiful state, and grieued therwyth not a little, first sendeth by letters to Maxentius, desiring and exhortyng hym to refrayne hys corrupt doynges, and great cruelty. But when no letters nor exhortations would preuayle, at length pityng the wofull case of the Romaynes, gathered together his power and armye

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in
H.i