decrees in such a persecution of the church, to Maxentius the Heathen, and most cruell Emperour: how vnlyke it is to be true, and how it serued then to purpose, the reader may soone discerne. And yet these be the epistles and constitutions decretall, whereby (vnder the pretensed title of these fathers) all churches of late tyme, and all Ecclesiastical causes haue bene, MarginaliaThe Church of England gouerned by the popes Canon lawe wythout sufficient ground of antiquitie. and yet are in this realme of England to this day, gouerned, directed, and disposed.[Back to Top]
MarginaliaThe epistles decretall of Eusebius and Miltiades The like discussion and examination, I might also make of the other epistles that follow of Eusebius, and Miltiades: which all tend to the same scope, that no Prelate or Bishop ought to come to his answere (or ad litem cōtestatam, as the words of their writing do terme it) before they be orderly & fully restored agayne to their possessiōs. Who moreouer in þe sayd their epistles still harpe vpon this key of the scripture: Tu es Petrus, & super hanc petram ædificabo ecclesiam meam. Declaring moreouer that thys priuiledge of iudgyng all men, and to be iudged of no man, but onely to be left to the iudgement of the Lord: was geuen to this forsaid holy sea of Rome, from tyme of the Apostles, and chiefly lefte with Peter the holy key keper: so that although the election of all the Apostles was equall, yet this was chieflye graunted to S. Peter, to haue preheminēce aboue the rest. Concluding in the ende hereby: Quod semper maiores causæ, sicut sunt Episcoporum & potiorum curæ negotiorum, ad vnam beati principis Apostolorum Petri sedem confluerēt. MarginaliaEx epist. Decretal. Miltiades That is: that alwayes all greater causes, as be the matters of bishops, and such other cares of waighty importaunce, should be brought to the sea of S. Peter the blessed prince of the Apostles. &c. These be the wordes of Miltiades and Eusebius, wherby it may be partly smelled of hym that hath any nose, what was the meanyng of thē which forged these writinges and letters, vpon these auncient holy martyrs.[Back to Top]
This I cannot but maruell at, in the third Epistle of Eusebius the Bishop of Rome: that where as Marcellinus his late predecessour before, in his owne tyme and remembraunce, did fall so horribly, and was condēned for the same, iustly to be expulsed the Citie by the Councell of. 300. Bishops: yet notwithstandyng, the foresayd Eusebius in his 3. Epistle, alledgyng the place of Tu es Petrus, bringeth in for a profe of the same and sayth: Quia in sede Apostolica extra maculam semper est Catholica seruata religio. &c. MarginaliaA place of the third epistle decretal of Eusebius found vntrue. That is, for in the Apostolicall sea alwayes the Catholicke Religion hath bene preserued without any spot or blemish.[Back to Top]
But how soeuer the forgers of these decretall Epistles haue forgotten themselues, most certaine it is that these holy Byshops, vpon whom they were and are ascribed: lyued perfect good men, and died blessed Martyrs. MarginaliaMiltiades the last Bishop of Rome being in daunger of persecution. Of whom this Miltiades was the last among all the Byshops of Rome here in the West Church of Europe, that euer was in daūger of persecution to be Martyred, yet to this present day.[Back to Top]
And thus haue ye heard the stories and names of such blessed Saintes, whiche suffered in the tyme of persecution from the. xix. yeare of Dioclesian, to the. vij. and last yeare of Maxentius, with the deathes also and plagues described vpō those tormentors and cruell tyrauntes, which were the captaines of the same persecutiō. MarginaliaThe end of thys persecution in all the West Churches. And here commeth in (blessed be Christ) the ende of these persecutions here in these West Churches of Europe, so farre as the dominiō of blessed Constantinus did chiefly extend.[Back to Top]
MarginaliaThe persecution vnder Lucinius. Yet notwithstanding in Asia all persecution as yet ceased not for the space of foure yeares, as aboue is mentioned, by the meanes of wicked Licinius.
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).
MarginaliaPersecution in Persia.
Martyrs. In the same countrey of Persia, about this time suffered vnder Sapores the kyng (as recordeth Symeon Metasthenes) diuers valiaunt and constant Martyrs, as Acindymus, Pegasius, Anempodistus, Epidephorus, also Symeon Archbishop of Seleucia, with Ctesiphon an other Byhosp in Persia, with other ministers and religious men of that region, to the number of. 128 Of this Symeon and Ctesiphō thus writeth Zozomenus Lib. 2. that the Idolatrous Marginalia128. Martis in Persia.Magicians in Persia takyng counsaile together agaynst the Christians, accused Symeon and Ctesiphon, to Sapores the kyng, for that they were grateful and accepted vnto the Romane Emperour, and bewrayed to him, such thinges as were done in the land of Persia. Wherupon Sapores beyng moued, tooke great displeasure agaynst the Christians, oppressing them with taxes and tributes vnto their vtter impouerishing: killyng also their Priests with the sword. MarginaliaThe story of Simeō Archb. of Seleucia.
Ex Sozomeno. lib. 2. cap. 8. 9. 10. After that calleth for Symeon the Archbishop, who there before the kyng declared him selfe a worthy and a valiant captaine of Christes Churche. For when Sapores had commaūded him to be led to suffer torments, he neither shronke for any feare, nor shewed any great humble sute or submission for any pardon: whereat the kyng partly marueilyng, partly offended, asked why he dyd not kneele downe, as he was wont before to do? Symeon to this aūswered, for that sayth he, MarginaliaThe worthy answere of Simeon to the kyng. before this tyme I was not brought vnto you in bondes to betray the true God, as I am now, and so long I refused not to accomplish that which the order and custome of the Realme of me required: but now it is not lawfull for me so to do, for now I come to stand in defence of our Religion and true doctrine. When Symeon thus had aunswered, the kyng persisting in his purpose, offereth vnto hym the choyse, either to worship with him after his maner (promising to hym many great giftes, if he would so do) or if he would not, threatneth to him, and to all the other Christiās within his lād, destructiō. MarginaliaThe constācie of Simeon. But Simeō neither allured with his promises, nor terrified with his threatnynges, cōtinued constaunt in his doctrine professed, so that neither he could be induced to Idolatrous worshyp, nor yet to betray the truth of his Religion. For the which cause he was cōmited into bandes, and there commaunded to be kept to the kynges pleasure further knowen.
It befel in the way as he was going to the prison, there was sittyng at the kynges gate a certaine Eunuch, an old Tutor or scholemaister of þe kings, named MarginaliaThe fall of Vsthazares. Vsthazares, who had bene once a Christian, and afterward fallyng from hys profession, fell with the Heathen multitude to their Idolatrie. This Vsthazares sittyng at the doore of the kyngs palace, and seyng Symeon passyng by led to the prison, rose vp and reuerenced the Byshop. Symeon agayne with sharpe wordes (as the tyme would suffer) rebuked him, & in great anger cryed out against him: which beyng once a Christiā, would so cowardly reuolt from his professiō, and returne agayne to the Heathnish Idolatrie. MarginaliaThe fruite of ecclesiasticall discipline & chastisment. At the hearyng of these wordes the Eunuche forthwith brastyng out in teares, laying away his courtly apparell, which was sumptuous and costly, and puttyng vpō him a blacke and mournyng weede, sitteth before the Court gates weepyng & bewayling, thus saying with him selfe: MarginaliaThe repentaunce of Vsthazares. Wo is me, with what hope, with what face, shall I loke hereafter for my God, which haue denied my God: whē as this Symeon my familiar acquaintaunce, thus passing by me, so much disdaineth me, that he refuseth with one gentle word to salute me.[Back to Top]
These thynges beyng brought to the eares of the kyng (as such tale cariers neuer lacke in Princes courtes) procured agaynst him no litle indignation. Wherupon Sapores the king sending for him, first with gentle wordes & courtly promises began to speake him fayre, askyng hym what cause he had so to mourne, & whether there was any thyng in his house, which was denyed him, or whiche he had not at his owne will and askyng. Whereunto Vsthazares aunsweryng agayne, sayd: MarginaliaThe answere of Vsthazares to the kyng. That there was nothyng in that earthly house, which was to him lackyng, or wherunto his desire stode. Yea would god (said he) O king, any other grief or calamitie in all the world, what soeuer it were, had happened vnto me, rather thē this, for þe which I do most iustly mourne and sorrow. For this soroweth me, that I am this day aliue, who should rather haue dyed long since, and that I see this sunne, which agaynst my hart and mynde, for your pleasure dissēblingly I appeared to worshyp. For which cause doublewise I am worthy of death. First, for þt I haue denyed Christ. Secondly, because I did dissemble with you. And incontinent vpon these wordes, swearing by him that made both heauen and earth, affirmed most certainely, that although he had played þe foole before, he would neuer be so mad agayne, as in steede of the creator and maker of all thynges, to worshyp the creatures, which he had made and created. Sapores the kyng beyng astonyed at the so sodaine alteration of this man, and doubtyng with hym selfe, whether to be angry with those Inchaūters, or with him: whether to intreate hym with gentlenes, or with rigour, MarginaliaVsthazares the kynges tutor condemned to be beheaded. at length in this moode commaunded the sayd Vsthazares his old auncient seruaunt, and first Tutor & brynger vp of his youth, to be had away, and to be beheaded. As he was goyng to the place of execution, he desired of the ex-[Back to Top]