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belief, but especially of his Indian dragons; which he says were as commonly · haunted by the • inhabitants as hares in other countries. But granting that there were so great numbers of • them in his time, though since that they were never seen by any man, it is very hard to • believe, that the mere eating a piece of their hearts should inspire men with such an odd and singular faculty.'
• But the great miracle of all was his vanishing away at his trial before Domitian, in the pre• sence of all the great men of Rome. But then, though our historian be very desirous we • should believe it, yet he faulters afterwards, like a guilty liar, in his confidence. For whereas • at first he positively affirms yozvigon T3 dinesuple, that he quite vanished away; at last he only o • says, atrade, that he went away. I. viii, c. 4. And, this, though he would seem to affirm, that
it was after a wonderful manner, and nobody knows how, is a pitiful abatement to the bigness • of his former expression “ vanishing away.” Though the truth is, if he had stood to it, it • inust unavoidably have proved itself a lie ; for it is utterly, incredible, that so strange a thing as that should have been done in so great a presence, and yet never any notice be taken of it.'
• But in the last place, the historian would fain bid at something of his hero's appearing • after death : yet he does it so faintly, that in the conclusion of all it comes to nothing, especially when he tells us, that the time of his death was altogether unknown, and that the uncertainty of it took in no less than the compass of 'thirty years. And then, they that were so utterly at a loss as to the time of his decease, and that for so long a space, were very likely to give a very wise account of the certain time of any thing that he did after it!'
• But how, or to whom did he appear! Why, to a young man, one of his followers, that • doubted of the immortality of the soul, for ten months together after his death. I. viii. c. 13. • But how, or where ? Why, 4 the young man being tired with watching, and praying to Apol• lonius, that he would appear to him only to satisfy him in this point, one day fell into a dead
sleep in the school, where the young men were performing their several exercises : and on the • sudden he starts up in a great fright, and a great sweat, crying out, WEICOLI 601, I believe thee, · Tyanaeus. And being asked by his companions the meaning of this transport: Why, says · he, do you not see Apollonius? They answer him, no; but they would be glad to give up áll * the world if they could. It is true, says he ; for he only appears to me, and for my satisfac• tion, and is invisible to all others. And then he tells them what he had said to him in his
sleep concerning the state of souls. This poor account of a dream and vision of an over* watched boy, is all that this great story affords to vie with our Saviour's resurrection.'
• And now, upon the review of this whole history, it seems evident to me, that this man was so far from being endowed with any extraordinary divine power, that he does not deserve the reputation of an ordinary conjurer: for though Huetius has taken some pains to prove him so, * yet he gives no evidence of it beside the opinion of the common people ; and if that were
enough to make a conjurer, there is no man of an odd and singular humour (as Apollonius * affected to be) who is not so thought of by the common people. And therefore, when he was
accused for it before Domitian, the emperor upon coming to hear the cause, slighted both him • and his accusers, and dismissed him from the court for an idle and fantastic fellow.'
• And it is manifest from the whole series of his history, that he was a very vain man, and * affected to be thought something extraordinary: and so wandered all the world over in an • odd garb to be gazed at and admired, and made himself considerable in that age by wit, im* pudence, and flattery; of all which he had a competent share. And for his wonder-working
faculty which he would needs pretend to, he fetched that as far off as the East-Indies, that is, - the farthest off, as he thought, from confutation: and yet the account which he has given of
those parts is so grossly · fabulous, that that alone convicts his whole life of imposture and im• pudence.”
. And this may suffice to make good this part of the demonstration of our Saviour's divine • authority, from the certain evidence both of his own and his apostles' miracles, and to set it • above the reach of all manner either of objection or competition.
a See the references at note,
L. viii. cap. 31. p. 370, 371.
That is a just and valuable observation, and is fully verified by the second and third books of Philostratus's Life of Apollonius.
That is the whole of the article of Dr. Parker concerning Apollonius; whence it appears, that the history of him in Philostratus is fabulous, and not to be relied upon : and that Apollonius was not so considerable a person as some have imagined. And I hope I may say, that these observations of Dr. Parker do in a great measure confirm those which have been before proposed by me.
CH A P. XL.
DIOCLESIAN'S PERSECUTION OF THE CHRISTIANS.
I. An introduction to the history of this persecution. II. The civil state of the empire at that lime.
III. General accounts of this persecution taken from ancient authors. IV. The date of it, and the several edicts then published against the Christians. V. The sufferings of the Christians at that time. VI. The edict of Maximian Galerius in their favour in the year 311. VII. How the persecution was still carried on by Maximin in the East. VIII. How Constantine overcame Maxentius at Rome in 312, and he and Licinius in the same year published their first edict in favour of the Christians. IX. Maximin's letter to Sabinus in favour of the Christians in 312. X. The second edict of Constantine and Licinius in favour of the Christians. XI. Maximin is overcome by Licinius, publisheth a new edict in favour of the Christians and dies. XII. Two ancient inscriptions concerning Dioclesian's persecution. XIII. Concluding obser. vations upon this persecution.
1. It is not my intention to write at length a history of the persecution which began in the reign of Dioclesian, or to give an account of all who suffered at that time: but I shall refer to several ancient authors who have given a general account of it, and shall take some remarkable events from Eusebius, and from Lactantius or Cæcilius, and whoever is the author of the book concerning the Deaths of Persecutors. I shall likewise take particular notice of the several edicts which were then published against the Christians, and the edicts published in their favour by Constantine and Licinius, and others : to all which may be added some remarks.
Eusebius begins the eighth book of his Ecclesiastical History in this manner: · It is beyond our abilities fully to declare how great credit the doctrine concerning the worship of the God
over all, which had been published to the world by Christ, was in with all men, both Greeks • and barbarians, before the persecution which happened in our time. However there are * these evidences of it: for such was the favour of the emperors toward our people, that some of
them were intrusted by them with the government of provinces, at the same time excusing • them from the necessity of offering sacrifices, out of respect to our religion. What need have • I to mention the many who were in the palaces of the emperors ? by whom not only they, but • likewise their wives, and children, and servants, were allowed to live openly according to the * principles of their religion ; and who were preferred to others for their fidelity. Among these • I may particularly mention • Dorotheus, who was advanced above the most honourable • magistrates and governors of provinces : to whom I might add the excellent Gorgonius, and
divers others, who attained to the like glory, and who, like them, strictly adhered to the • doctrine of the word of God. And great respect was shewn to the presidents of the churches, • not only by private persons, but also by procurators and governors of provinces. Great mul• titudes of men daily embraced the faith of Christ : assemblies in the places of prayer were * numerous : and not contented with the old edifices, they erected from the foundation in every city spacious buildings. Thus they went on continually increasing till they had provoked the
· Euseb. H. E. 1. viii. cap. 1. p. 291, 292.
b Those to
great men had the honour to suffer martyrdom in the beginning of this persecution, being put to death by strang ng. Euseb. H. E. 1. viii. cap. 6. p. 297
divine displeasure. For, as he goes on to acknowledge, this liberty and prosperity had produced looseness of manners and carelessness about their conduct: and there were contentions among the presidents of the churches, and the people were divided into factions.
Thus writes Eusebius, somewhat oratorically as must be owned: nevertheless, I believe, very truly. And I have thought fit to take this his preface for my Introduction to the account of this persecution : for it is a testimony to the great progress of the Christian religion, and shews what was at that time the state of things among the professors of it.
II. And as it is needful to have some notion of the civil state of the empire at that time, I shall here briefly rehearse some things, which were formerly shewn more at large in another *
Dioclesian, born at Dioclea, an obscure town in Dalmatia, was proclaimed emperor on the 17th day of September, in the year of Christ 284. On the first day of April in 286, Maximian, called Herculius, born near Sirmium in Pannonia, who had been Cæsar some while before, was declared Augustus, and joint emperor with Dioclesian.
On the first day of March 292, Constantius Chlorus and Galerius Maximian were created Cæsars by the two forementioned emperors : and the better to secure the fidelity of the Cæsars, new marriages were concluded for them. Constantius, dismissing Helena, mother of Constan. tine, married Claudia Theodora, daughter-in-law of Maximian Herculius ; and Galerius Maximian married Valeria, daughter of Dioclesian.
Constantius, the first of the two Cæsars, is highly commended by Eusebius ; and has likewise a good character in heathen authors. By Claudia Theodora, whom he now married, he had several sons and daughters.
Under those two emperors and their two Cæsars, in the year 303, began what is called Dio. clesian's persecution, which lasted ten years or more, in some parts of the empire, before it was extinguished.
In the year 305 Dioclesian and Maximian Herculius resigned the empire, both on the same day, the first of May; the former at a place near Nicomedia, the other at Milan. At the same time Constantius Chlorus and Galerius Maximian were declared august and emperors, and Maximin and Severus Cæsars. Dioclesian after that spent the remainder of his days near Salonæ in Dalmatia, and died in 313. Maximian Herculius retired for the present into that part of Italy which was called Lucania.
The empire was then divided between Constantius and Galerius and their Cæsars : Con. stantius had for his part Italy, Gaul, Britain, Africa, and the other provinces of the western part of the empire: Galerius had Illyricum, Thrace, Asia, and the East, with Egypt. Constantius soon quitted Italy, and the other provinces belonging to him, and gave them to Severus, contenting himself with Gaul and Britain. Galerius too kept only Illyricum, Thrace, and Asia, yielding to Maximin the East, that is, Syria, with the provinces depending upon it, together with Egypt.
Constantius died at York in Britain on July 25, in the year 306: and upon his death bed appointed his son Constantine, who was with him, his heir and successor, with the stile and title, as it seems, of Emperor and Augustus. Immediately upon the death of his father, Constantine was so proclaimed by the soldiers in Britain : but Galerius Maximian would allow him no higher title than that of Cæsar: which Constantine accepted of for the present. So, as Eusebius says in his Chronicle, Constantine began to reign in the fourth year of the persecution.
On the 27th day of October in 806, Maxentius, son of Maximian Herculius, who had married the daughter of Galerius, assumed the title of emperor and Augustus at Rome: and being sensible that this would displease Galerius, he sends for his father Maximian Herculius, who thereupon resumed the purple. And in this year, or the following, 307, Severus, who, as Cæsar, had for his share Italy and Africa, was overcome and put to death.
Maximian and his son Maxentius did not long agree together; Maximian therefore, the better to strengthen his interest, and carry on his own views, goes to Constantine in Gaul :
a See Vol. ii. p. 323–327.
virtute usus, &c. Eutrop. I. ix. cap. 27.et 28. Conf. Victor. b Uterque unâ die privato habitu imperii insigne mutavit, de Cæsar. cap. 39. et Victor. Epit. cap. 39. Nicomediæ Diocletianus, Herculius Mediolani. Concesserunt Quarto persecutionis anno Constantinus regnare pit, autem Salonas unus, alter in Lucaniam. Diocletianus in villa, Chr. p. 180. quæ haud procul a Salonis est, præclaro otio senuit, inusitata
and some time in this year, 307, gives to him in marriage his daughter Fausta : Minervina his former wife, by whom he had his eldest son Crispus, being dead, as is supposed : and now, as it seems, Constantine receives the title of Augustus from Maximian.
About this time Galerius makes Licinius, his old acquaintance, a man of mean extraction, Augustış : and now there were in effect six emperors; Maximian, who, as before said, had res sumed the purple, Galerius, Constantine, Maximin, Maxentius, and Licinius.
Maximian Herculius, after a base and unsteady conduct, was condemned and put to death by Constantine's order in 310. Galerius died in 311, of a long and grievous distemper, supposed to have been inflicted upon him as a judgment from heaven for his inhuman treatment of the Christians. Maxentius was overcome by Constantine, and drowned in the river Tiber on the 27th day of October in 312. Maximin died in 313: the manner of his death is particularly described in the book of the Deaths of Persecutors, and in Eusebius. I just add here, though it was mentioned before, that Dioclesian also died in the
But before the death of Maximin in the same year 313, Constantine married his sister Constantia to Licinius: and, as from that time their interests were united, so, upon the death of Maximin the whole empire was in their power, and was divided between them.
But their friendship did not long subsist without interruption : for in the year 314 the animosity between them broke out into an open war, and two battles were fought: after the last of which, peace was concluded, and a new partition was made of the empire.
A second war between them began in 823, and was concluded in 324, with the entire defeat of Licinius, who was then reduced to a private condition: and though his life was then given him, at the intercession of Constantia, he was put to death in the year 324 or 325.
That was the end of those civil wars in the empire; and Constantine now became sole emperor of the East and the West : and having reigned above thirty years from the death of his father Constantius, he died on the day of Pentecost, May 22, 937.
III. I shall now. observe some general accounts of this persecution, which are to be found in divers ancient authors.
Says Orosius : • The tenth persecution was ordered by Dioclesian and Maximian Herculius, the one ruling in the East, and the other in the West; which persecution was longer and more • grievous than any of the former: it was carried on for ten years without ceasing, with burning
down the churches, proscriptions of innocent men, and slaughters of martyrs. sently after says, that in the second year of the persecution Dioclesian and Herculius resigned the empire, leaving the government to Galerius and Constantius.
Sulpicius Severus says, “ that in the reign of Dioclesian and Maximian began that severe persecution which for ten whole years afflicted the people of God. At which time almost the • whole world was stained with the precious blood of martyrs ; for then glorious martyrdoms « were as earnestly contended for, as bishoprics are now sought by ambitious men.
Never was • the world more wasted by any war; nor ever had we a more glorious victory, than when we
could not be overcome by the slaughters of ten years. After the end of that persecution ! there began to be Christian emperors, which have continued to this time."
Theodoret says, this persecution lasted nine years: the author of The Deaths of Persecutors
But he pre
a De M. P. cap. 49.
e Post eum (Valerianum) interjectis annis fere quinquaginta; b H. E. I. ix. cap. 10. p. 363. C. D. 364. A.
Diocletiano et Maximiano imperantibus, acerbissima perse. c Interea Diocletianus in Oriente, Maximianus Herculius cutio exorta, quæ per decem continuos annos plebem Dei in Occidente vastari ecclesias, adfligi interficique Christianos, depopulata est
: quâ tempestate omnis fere sacro martyrum decimo post Neronem loco, præceperunt. Quæ persecutio cruore orbis infectus est : quippe certatim gloriosa in certaomnibns fere ante actis diuturnior et immanior fuit. Nam mina ruebatur, multoque avidius tum martyria gloriosis morper decem annos incendiis ecclesiarum, proscriptionibus inno- tibus quærebantur, quam nunc episcopatus pravis ambitionicentum, cædibus martyrum, incessabiliter acta est. Oros. bus adpetuntur. Nullis unquam magis bellis mundus exlib. vii. cap. 25.
haustus est; neque majore unquam triumpho vicimus, quam Per apnos decem eversæ sunt ecclesiæ vestræ, ut etiam tu cum decem annorum stragibus vinci non potuimus. Sed finis fateris : dilacerati cruciatibus, exinaniti mortibus toto orbe persecutionis illius fuit abhine annos ix. et lxxx. A quo temChristiani. Tenemos evidens testimonium tuum, nullam su- pore Christiani imperatores esse cæperunt. Namqne tum periorem persecutionem adeo vel gravem vel diuturnam fuisse. Constantinus rerum potiebatur, qui primus omnium RomanoId. lib. vii. cap. 26.
rum principum Christianus fuit. &c. Sul. Sever. Hist. lib. ij. Secundo persecutionis anno Diocletianus ab invito exegit cap. 47. al. cap. 32. et 33. Maximiano, ut simul purpuram imperiumque deponerent- * Theod. H. E. I. viii. cap. 39. p. 248. B. &c. Id. ibid.
says, ten years and about four months, making his computation from the first beginning of it at Nicomedia, to the edicts of Constantine and Licinius, which restored full peace to the churches.
· IV. These are only general accounts of this persecution : the particulars of it, the time, the events and circumstances of it, and the several edicts then published against the Christians, or in their favour, may be seen in Eusebius, and in the Author of The Deaths of Persecutors, who by many has been supposed to be Firmianus Lactantius, but I rather think to be Lucius Cæcilius, as was formerly - shewn at large, and has often been hinted again in several places.
There had been before a persecution in the army, which began, as some think, in the year 298, others 4 in the year 301. It is taken notice of by Eusebius in his Chronicle, and by the Author of The Deaths of Persecutors. In his Ecclesiastical History Eusebius says,
iany military men embraced a private life, rather than renounce the worship of the great creator of all: and that some of them not only resigned their honours, but also suffered death for their resolution in professing the truth.
In the year 303 h the persecution became general ; for 'on the 23d day of February in that year, the church of the Christians at Nicomedia in Bithynia was demolished, Dioclesian and Galerius being then both in that city : on the next day, Feb. 24, thek edict against the Christians was published. According to the Author of The Deaths of Persecutors, and“ Eusebius likewise, Galerius was the chief author of this persecution. When the edict had been published at Nicomedia, it " was sent to Herculius and Constantius, to be put in execution by them in those parts of the empire which were particularly under their care. Maximian Herculius o in Italy readily complied; but Constantius, though he did not dare openly to oppose his colleagues, moderated the persecution within the extent of his government.
When the prætorian and other soldiers, who were appointed to demolish the church at Ni. comedia, had broken open the doors, they searched for the image of the God of the Christians, but found none : however, they found their scriptures, which they burnt.
When the edict was set up the next day, a Christian of uncommon zeal took it down, and tore it to pieces, not rightly, as Cæcilius acknowledgeth: for which he was put to death, after having suffered great torments; all which he endured with great fortitude. This particular is mentioned both by ' Cæcilius and · Eusebius.
By that' edict, as Cæcilius says, whom I consider as author of the book of the Deaths of Persecutors, it was ordained, that all men of the Christian religion should be deprived of all • honours and dignities; that of whatever rank or degree they were they should be liable to
Sic ab eversâ ecclesiâ usque ad restitutam fuerunt anni verant, ut eadem facerent. Eorum sententia in tantis rebus decem, menses plus minus quatuor. De M. P. cap. 48. ad fin. non expectata erat. De M. P. cap. 15. b. See Vol. ii. p. 264–266.
• Et quidem senex Maximianus libens per Italiam paruit, © Pagi 298. num. ii. et ann. 302. ii.
homo non adeo clemens. Id. ib. d Itaque ab anno 298, particularis militum vexatio incipere p Nam Constantius, ne dissentire a majorum præceptis potuit. Ab anno 301, generalis exorsa est. Basnag. ann. videretur, conventicula, id est, parietes, qui restitui poterant, 301. num. ii.
dirui passus est; verum autem Dei templum, quod est in e Veturius, magister militiæ, Christianos milites persequi- liominibus, incolume servavit De M. F. cap. 15. tur, paullatim ex illo jam tempore persecutione adversum Vexabatur ergo universa terra, et præter Gallias, ab nos incipiente. Chr. p. 179. Ei Conf. Vales. ann. in H. E. oriente usque ad occasum tres acerbissimæ bestiæ sæviebant. 1. viii. cap. iv. Vid. et Basnag, ann. 301. n. ii. iii. iv. Id. cap. 16. Vid. et Euseb. H. E. I. vii. cap. 13. p. 309
I--- datisque ad Præpositos literis, etiam milites cogi ad D. et p. 317. D. Vit. Const. 1. i. cap. 13. p. 413. D. et cap. nefanda sacrificia præcepit, ut qui non paruissent, militiâ sol
16. et 17. verentur. De M. P. cap. 10.
et revulsis foribus, simulacrum Dei quæritur. 8 L, viii.
Scripturæ repertæ incenduntur ; datur omnibus præda. Rah Vide Pagi 302. num. iii. v. Basnag. 303. num. v. pitur, trepidatur, discurritur. De M. P. cap. 12.
i Terminalia deliguntur, quæ sunt ad septimum Calendas I Quod edictum quidam, etsi non recte, magno tamen Martias ; w.quasi terminus imponeretur huic religioni-- animo diripuit et conscidit. Statimque provluctus, non Qui dies cum illuxisset--ad ecclesiam profectus cum duci- mudo extortus, sed etiam legitime coctus, cum admirabili bus, et tribunis, et rationalibus venit---Veniebant igitur patientiâ postremo exustus. De M. P. cap. 13. prætoriani, acie structâ, cum securibus--et immissi undique, SHE I. viii. cap. 5. tamen illud editissimum paucis horis solo adæquatur. De | Postridie propositum est edictum, quo cavebatur, ut reM. P. cap. 12.
ligionis illius homines carerent omni honore et dignitate, tor* De M P. cap. 13. in.
mentis subjecti essent ex quocumque ordine aut gradu venia i De M P. cap. 10, 11, 12.
rent, adversus eos omnis actio valeret : ipsi non de injurià, 2 Euseb. H. E. I. viii. c. 16. p. 314. D.
non de adulterio, non de rebus ablatis agere possent, liberta* Et jam literæ ad Maxin ianum et Constantium commea- tem denique ac vocem non haberent. De M. P. cap. 13.