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say, " that Maximian, before he published this edict, confessed his offence to God, and amidst

the pains of his distemper, cried out, that he would make satisfaction for the injuries he had • done to the Christians.” If that be true, he must have acknowledged, that the distemper * under which he laboured, was a just punishment from God for his cruelties against the • Christians. But so far is he from doing so, that, on the contrary, the edict shews, that the

emperor is so far from confessing that he had acted unjustly, that he declares that all his sanc• tions against the Christians were well and wisely ordered. “ His aim,” he says, “ had been, • to effect by his laws, that the Christians, who had forsaken the religion of their ancestors, • should return to a right mind.” In this last act of his life, therefore, he considered the Chris. tians as labouring under distraction, and did not at all doubt, that the religion of the Romans was much better and sounder than the Christian. A little lower he expressly chargeth the • Christians with folly. Nor does one word drop from him, whereby we should be induced to

suppose, that he believed the Christian religion to be true. He assigns a twofold reason of • the change of his mind toward the Christians. First of all, he had observed, that the Chris: tians who had been compelled by force to sacrifice, had thrown off all religion, and wor

shipped neither Christ nor the Gods. And he thought that any religion, though bad, was • better than none; and he had rather that the Christians should follow their own religion, * than be without religion. To this reason he adds another, which is his own clemency: for he · had been accustomed to hold forth pardon to all men. Therefore Maximian would not be

thought to yield to right and justice, but he would display his own clemency. He gave pardon · to men, whom he had called “ fools,” and “ destitute of a sound mind :" but he did not shew • himself just to innocent and good men. I can easily believe,' says Mr. Mosheim, that these

reasons were suggested to the emperor by his friends and counsellors, who were about him. • But the last words of the edict, no doubt, open the true reason which drew it from him, and

at the same time declare his mind concerning the religion of the Christians. “ Wherefore, • agreeably to this our indulgence, the Christians ought to pray to their God for our welfare, and

for that of the public, and for their own, that on all sides the public interest may be safe, and they may live securely in their own habitations.” From these words it appears, 1. That • Maximian believed the Christians had some God. 2. That this God was not the supreme • God, maker of all things, whom all ought to worship, but the God of the Christians only, that • is, the God of some certain people, as many of the Gods were supposed to be. For at that time the Greeks and Romans, and all other people believed that there were Gods proper • and peculiar to every nation. 3. He believed, that this God of one nation had great power, and was able to bestow health, and deliver the publick from many evils. 4. That this God did not bestow such benefits upon any, unless they who worshipped him asked them of him. • Without doubt, therefore, some of those who attended on Maximian in his deplorable sickness, • had informed him that the God of the Christians, when he dwelt on this earth, had given • life to the dead, and health to the sick ; and that this his beneficence had not yet ceased : • and that there were many instances of men who had been healed in a wonderful manner by • the prayers of Christians. It was not impossible, therefore, but that he also might obtain • deliverance from his grieyous malady, if he gave peace to his worshippers, and asked their * prayers for him. The emperor, earnestly desirous of life, had a regard to this adviser, and thereupon, when prayers and sacrifices to the gods of the Romans had failed of success, he at length"fied to the God of the Christians, whom, nevertheless, he himself would not worship. • Tear of death, therefore, and the force of superstition, produced this edict; not anguish of * conscience for the sins which he had been guilty of. However, upon the promulgation of this edict, the persecution against the Christians ceased, the prisoners were set at liberty, the exiles were recalled.'

consiliarios suggessisse, quibus utebatur. Sed ultima edicti miano aderant, subjecerat, Deum Christianorum, his in terris serba veram sine dubio causanı aperiunt, quæ ipsi hoc edictum agentem, mortuis vitam, ægrotantibus sanitatem reddidisse ; expressit, et mentem simul ejus de religione Christianorum banc ejus beneficentiam non desiisse : multa exempla extare declarant : Unde juxta hanc indulgentiam nostram debebunt hominum Christianorum precibus mirabili modo sanatorum. * Deum suum orare pro salute, nostrâ et reipublicæ, ac suâ, ut Fieri ergo posse, ut ipse quoque ejus ope atrocem illum mor' undiqueversum respublica restet incolumis, et sccuri vivere bum, a quo consumebatur, superaret, si cultoribus illius pacem ' in sedibus suis possint.' Ex his verbis manifestum est, 1. daret, precesque eorum expeteret. Fidem Imperator, vitæ Maximianum credidisse, habere Christianos Deum quemdam. cupidissimus, monitori huic habebat, et eâ re, quum omnia deAtqui, 2. Deum hunc non esse supremum rerum omnium sperata essent, frustraque Dii Romanorum precibus et sacrific conditorem, quem omnes homines colere debent, sed Deum ciis fatigati essent, postremo ad Christianorum Deum, quem tanium Christianorum, id est, certæ cujusdam gentis Deum, tamen ipse colere nolebat, confugiebat. Metus ergo mortis, quales multi Dii videbantur esse. Suos cnim cuique genii visque superstitionis, non vero angor conscientiæ adınissa sceDeos esse proprios et peculiares, Romani Græcique, omnesque lera detestantis, edictum illud pariebat. Promulgato vero eo, illâ ætate populi arbitrabantur. 3. Huic ceriæ gentis Deo statim ubique bellum in Christianos cessabat; captivi dimitie. magnam esse potentiam, ut bonam valetudinem largiri, peri- bantur; exules revocabantur ; conventus ubique, nemine reculaque a republicà depellere possit. 4. Beneficia vero hæc pugnante, habebantur. Moshem. De Reb. Christian. &c. sua non erogare Deum illum, nisi a cultoribus suis exoretur. p. 956-958. Sine dubio igitur aliquis eorum, qui misere ægrotanti Maxi

These observations of Mr. Mosheiin are uncommon, and, as seems to me, curious. I therefore have transcribed them here, supposing that my readers may be willing to see them.

VII. At the beginning of the ninth book of his Ecclesiastical History, Eusebius says: • The • revocation contained in the foresaid imperial edict was published throughout Asia, and in : all its provinces. But Maximin, who ruled in the provinces of the East, an impious man, if * ever there was one, and a bitter enemy to the worship of the God of the universe, being much

displeased with it, instead of publishing the edict itself, only sent orders by word of mouth • to the governors, directing, that they should forbear to give us any disturbance, and no • longer persecute us : which ordinance the governors of provinces were to communicate to * each other. And Sabinus, who had the præfeeture of the prætorium, which is the highesť • office in the empire, made known the emperor's mind to the governors of the several provinces • in a letter written in the Roman language, which we have translated into Greek, and is to * this purpose: « The majesty of our most sacred lords the emperors, influenced by the pious

nd devout principle with which their minds are filled, have long since designed to bring all men to the true and right way of living; and that they who have embraced different • usages from the Romans, should be induced to give due reverence to the immortal gods. • But such is the obstinacy and perverseness of some men, that neither the justice of the impe

rial edicts, nor the imminent danger of punishment could prevail upon them. Forasmuch . therefore, as by this means it has happened, that many have brought themselves into great

dangers, our most sacred and powerful lords the emperors, agreeable to their innate piety and • clemency, considering it to be far from their intention, that upon this account many should be • exposed to danger; have commanded us to write this letter to you, and to direct you, that if any of the Christians should be found practising the worship of their sect, you should not bring him into any danger, nor give him any trouble, nor appoint any punishment to him upon that account. Forasmuch as it has been manifestly found, by the experience of a long ..course of time, that they cannot by any means whatever be induced to depart from this • obstinacy of disposition, you are therefore to write to the curators, and other magistrates, and 4 to the governors of the villages of every city, that they are no longer to concern themselves in « this affair.'

Here is a remarkable testimony, from enemies, to the patience and fortitude of the Christians at that time: they were not induced to renounce their religion through fear of sufferings : if some yielded, as undoubtedly some did, many persevered, and were faithful to death.

Eusebius goes on : · Hereupon the presidents of provinces thought that to be the real mind of the emperor, which had been communicated to them in the letter of Sabinus. And they accordingly wrote to the officers and magistrates in country places: nor did they only write * these things in their letters, but by their actions also they endeavoured to secure a regard to · those orders of the emperor. They therefore presently set at liberty all whom they had

confined in prisons for the confession of their faith in God. A like liberty was granted to such • as had been condemned to the mines : for they really thought that to be the mind of • their prince, though it was quite otherwise. However, upon this occasion our places of worship were opened, and the congregations of the faithful were numerous—And many were seen returning to their habitations, singing hymns of praise to God as they travelled along the • roads.

b

# H. E. I. ix. cap. 1. p. 346. &c.

λούω προς αττει τους υπ' αυτον αρχεσι, τον καθ' ημων «ανειναι πολεμον-αγραφω προσαυμαζι τους υπ' αυτον αρχεσαι

τον καθ' ημων διω/μον ανειναι προς ατλει. Ιb. p. 347. Α. Β.

• Και τους καθ' αυρες επίλεθαμενοις. p. 348. Α.

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• But,' says 'Eusebius, 'that enemy of good men, and of all goodness, who ruled in the East, * could not endure this, nor suffer this state of things to last more than six months : and trying • all manner of ways to subvert the peace, upon some pretence or other he forbade our meet•ing in the cæmeteries. Then he took care to send embassies to himself from the Antiochians, * and the people of other cities, in which they ask it of him as the greatest benefit, that no • Christians might be allowed to live in their cities. The author of this contrivance at An• tioch was Theotecnus, a subtle and wicked impostor, who then had the office of Curator in • that city'

• This man forged against us many injurious reports and calumnies, that we might be treated • as thieves and the worst of malefactors. At length he erected an image to Jupiter Philius, and • consecrated it with magic charms; and in honour of it instituted many vain and impure cere* monies of initiation, and detestable rites of expiation ; and sent some of the oracles of his god • to the emperor himself: and the better to flatter and please the emperor, he stirred up his • dæmon against the Christians; and gave out, “ that the god commanded, that the Christians

should be expelled out of the city and the territories belonging to it, as being enemies to • him.”

In the next chapter Eusebius says, that the like things were practised in some other places; and the magistrates and people in general, in the countries subject to this emperor, behaved very uncivilly and injuriously to the Christians.

• Then having composed some Acts and Memoirs of Pilate and our Saviour, filled with all · manner of blasphemy against Christ, by the authority of the emperor they were sent abroad every where into cities and country places, and published all over the empire: and it was com. • manded, that they should be set up every where in country places and cities to be read by all

men; and that they should be delivered by schoolmasters to the boys to get them by heart, and • to declaim upon them instead of other themes. Whilst these things were doing, a military • officer, whom the Romans call Dux, at Damascus in Phoenicia, fetched some infamous wo

men from the market-place, whom by threatenings he compelled to declare, and testify in • writing, that they formerly had been Christians, and that they were acquainted with their wor

ship, and that in their places of worship they practised obscene actions, and every thing else • which he required them to say for defaming our religion. Having inserted the testimonies of • those women into the Acts, he sent them to the emperor; and by his command, those Acts were • published in every city, and other place.'

In another place ' 'Eusebius has observed, that the falshood of those pretended Acts of Pilate was manifest from the date of them; for they placed the sufferings of our Saviour under Pilate in the seventh year of the reign of Tiberius: whereas, says he, it is certain from Josephus, that Pilate was not then come into Judea, and that he was made procurator of Judea in the twelfth year of that emperor's reign.

• Moreover,' says 5 Eusebius, • in the midst of the cities, which never was done before, • decrees of cities and imperial rescripts against us were set up to public view, engraven on • tables of brass : and the boys in the schools had nothing in their mouths all the day long, but • Jesus and Pilate, and the Acts which had been forged to our prejudice. I think it proper

for * me here to insert the very resçript of Maximin, which was engraven on tables of brass. It was * conceived in these very words: “ A copy of the translation of Maximin's rescript in answer to * the decrees of the cities against us, transcribed from the brass table set up at Tyre. Now at * length,' says he, “the impudent confidence of men, having once shaken off the dark mists of • error and ignorance, which for a while blinded the minds of men rather miserable than wicked,

discern, that the world is governed by the indulgent providence of the immortal gods. • It is impossible to say, how grateful, how delightful, how acceptable, your pious resolution for • the honour of the gods has been to us : nor was it before unknown to any, how great is your * respect and veneration for the gods, which have been manifested not by vain words only, but * also by great works : upon which account your city may be deservedly styled the seat and

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may

& H. E. I. ix. cap. 2. p. 349.

είδα δια τινων πονηρων ανδρων αυλος εαυτω καθ' ημων πρεσβευελαι. p. 349. Β.

'c Ibid. cap. 3. p. 349.

d Cap. 4. p. 350.
e H. E. 1. ix. cap. 5.
" H. E. 1. i. cap. 9. p. 27.
& H. E. 1. ix, cap. 7. p. 352.

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• habitation of the inimortal gods. And it is evident by many proofs, that she flourisheth by the • advent and presence of the heavenly deities. And now your city, negligent of your own par* ticular interests, and no longer sending to me the requests which you formerly were wont to • send, conducive to your own prosperity, when it perceived, that the promoters of the detestable

vanity began to creep abroad again ; and like fire carelessly raked up, it broke out again with * redoubled violence : immediately, without delay, you had recourse to our piety, as the metro• polis of all religion, requesting redress and assistance. Nor can it be doubted, that this whole• some design has been put into your minds by the immortal gods, for the sake of your pious

regard for them. The most high and most mighty Jupiter has suggested this petition to you, • who presides in your famous city: who preserveth your country gods, your wives, your • children, your families and houses, from destruction. 'He it is who has breathed into your • minds this salutary resolution ; evidently shewing, how excellent, and noble, and profitable it • is to worship him, and to perform the sacred rites and ceremonies of the immortal gods with • due veneration. Who can be so void of all sense and reason as not to know, that it is owing

to the propitious favour and bounty of the gods towards us, that the earth does not neglect to • restore to us the seeds committed to it, and that the hope of the husbandman is not disappointed; . and that the aspect of destructive war is not immovably fixed on the earth ; and that our • bodies are not destroyed by the intemperance of the air, and that the sea is not perpetually • tossed, and made to overflow with stormy winds; and that the earth, the mother and nurse of • all things, is not rent asunder by agitations within its own bowels, and mountains swallowed up by vast and unexpected scissures ? There is no man that does not know, that all these and worse calamities have heretofore often happened : and they have befallen us, because of • the pernicious error and empty vanity of those execrable men, which has so spread as to • cover almost the whole earth with shame and dishonour.' Then after some other things he adds: • Let men now look into the open fields, and see the flourishing corn waving its full • ears : let them see the meadows bedecked with plants and flowers, they having been watered • with seasonable rain : let them observe the calm and agreeable temperance of the air. Let all • men therefore henceforth rejoice, that by your piety and respect for the sacred rites of religion,

the deity of the most valiant and most potent Mars has been appeased; and that they may • now securely enjoy the benefits of a profound and delightful peace. And as many as have for. “saken that blind error, and intricate maze of vanity, and are returned to a right and sound

mind, let them rejoice abundantly, as men delivered from a dangerous tempest, or a grievous • disease, and have now before them the prospect of a pleasant and comfortable life for time « to come. But if any still persist in their vain and detestable folly, let them be expelled far • away from your city and country as you have desired; that thus, conformable to your laudable • care in this matter, your city being purged from all defilement and wickedness, you may, ac: • cording to your own genuine disposition, with all due veneration and solemnity, perform the • sacred rites of the immortal gods. And that you may know how grateful this your petition • has been to me, and that without decrees, and without petitions, I am of myself forward to • encourage well disposed minds; we permit you to ask the grcatest benefit you can ask, as a • reward of so religious a purpose. Take care that you ask immediately, and that you receive • what you ask; for you shall obtain it without delay. Which benefit bestowed upon your city, • shall be henceforward throughout all time a monument of your devout piety for the immortal gods, and shall declare to your children and posterity, that you have received from our hands a recompence of your love and virtue.'

These petitions from the cities to Maximin, Eusebius, in a place before quoted, elegantly calls embassies to himself,' they having been solicited by his agents in those cities. Cæcilius; also has taken notice of these petitions, and expresseth himself much after the same manner, saying, that these petitions from the cities were procured by himself.

Eusebius, having exhibited the above rescript taken from the tables at Tyre, goes on : • This ' rescript against us was set up on pillars in every province, and as far as it was in the power of

man, shut us out of all comfortable hopes : so that, according to that divine oracle, “ if it were ' possible, even the elect themselves would be offended.”

b

. In primis indulgentiam Christianis communi tutela datam coactus et impulsus facere videretur quod erat sponte facturus. tollit, subornatis legationibus civitatum, quæ peterent, ne intra De M. P. cap. 36. civitates suas Christianis conventicula extruere liceret, ut quasi • Ubi supr. p. 354. C.

year 312.

These and other things do certainly shew the bitter spirit of heathenism at that time: and these edicts, and the hard usage which the Christians met with in consequence of them, are sufficient to satisfy us, that the heathen people did their utmost to extirpate Christianity; and if it had been in the power of man, they would have actually destroyed it.

The sufferings of Christians at that time, in that part of the empire which was subject to Maximin, were then very grievous. Deliverance was very desirable, and it was near at hand. VIII. Constantine overcame Maxentius at Rome on the 28th day of October, in the

• And,' as Eusebius says, “soon after that, Constantine, and Licinius, who was colleague in the empire with him, having first adored and praised God, who had been the • author of these successes and of all the good that had happened, did with one mind and * consent enact a full and comprehensive edict in favour of the Christians; and then sent it * to Maximin, who ruled in the eastern parts of the empire, and who pretended friendship • for them. Though Maximin was extremely uneasy about it, he could not refuse it : and • now first,' as Eusebius says, • be sent an edict to the presidents in favour of the Christians, • and as of his own proper motion, though really out of necessity and against his will.'

IX. That edict of Constantine and Licinius, which Eusebius calls a full and complete law, is not now extant. It was published, as may be supposed, at Rome, in the month of November $12, and then sent to Maximin, who then immediately published a Letter to Sabinus in favour of the Christians, which now follows in Eusebius.

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A Copy of the Translation of the Letter of the Emperor Maximin.

• Jovius Maximin Augustus to Sabinus. It is, I am persuaded, well known to yourself, and * to all men, how that our lords and fathers Dioclesian and Maximian, when they saw that • almost all mankind were forsaking the worship of the gods, and going over to the sect of the • Christians, did rightly ordain, that all men who had forsaken the worship of their immortal * gods, should be called back again to the worship of the gods by public pains and penalties. • But when I first of all happily came into the East, and perceived that great numbers of men * who might be useful to the public, were for the forementioned cause banished by the judges • into several places, I gave orders, that for the future none of them should be severe toward the • people of their province, but rather endeavour to reduce them to the worship of the gods by • fair words and good usage. So long therefore as my orders were obeyed by the judges, no * men in the eastern parts were banished or otherwise ill treated : and by reason of the mild

ness of the treatment given to them, they were the more disposed to return to the worship of • the gods. But after that, when I the last year happily entered into Nicomedia, the citizens of • that place came to me with the images of the gods, earnestly entreating me, that by all means * none of that sect might be at all permitted to dwell in their country. But as I knew that a * great many of that religion were in those parts, I returned them this answer : That I willingly

granted their petition, but I did not perceive that the thing was desired by all : if therefore • there were any who persisted in their superstition, every one should, according to his own discretion, choose as he saw fit; and if they would embrace the worship of the gods they might. At the same time I was under a necessity to give a favourable answer to the citizens of Nicomedia, and to the other cities, who also had presented to me the like petitions, that none of the Christians might live in their cities, the rather because this had never been allowed • by the former emperors; and moreover it was pleasing to the gods themselves, by whom all * men and the public weal subsist. Upon all these accounts I was under a necessity to grant ' their request in behalf of the worship of the gods. Wherefore, though I have often before, • both by letters, and by word of mouth, recommended to you, that nothing grievous should be • done to this sect in the provinces, but that they should be treated with mildness and gentle

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* Και δη επι τετοις αυτος τε Κωνςανθινος και συν αυθω βασι- -ορθως διαλελαχεναι, σανίας ανθρωπος τες απο της των λευς Λικιννιος- -Θεον τον των απαθων απανlων αυθοις αίλιον αυλων θεων των αθαναίων θρησκειας αναχωρησανίας, πρoδηλω ευμενισαν7ες αμφω, μια βελη και γνωμη, νομον υπερ Χριςιανων κολασει και τιμωρια εις την θρησκειαν των θεων ανακληθηναι. τελευταίον πληρεσαία διαλυπενθαι. κ. λ. Η. Ε. 1. ix, cap. 9. p. 36ο. C.

Ibid. p. 360, 361,

p.360.

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