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' ness: yet that no injury may be done to them by any of the inferior officers, I have thought it • needful now by these letters again to remind you, that by fair words and good usage, you
should induce the people of our government to acknowledge the providence of the gods. • Therefore if any of their own accord embrace the worship of the gods, they ought to be
cheerfully received ; but if any will still adhere to their own religion, you are to leave them in • their own power. You are therefore carefully to observe these orders ; nor let any one be
permitted to oppress the people of our government by fines, or other hardships : and that this • our edict may be known to all men in the provinces, you are to publish it with a decree also • set forth by yourself.'
This - edict of Maximin is supposed to have been published before the end of the year 312.
Eusebius having alleged this edict goes on to say : · These borders being published by him • from a kind of compulsion, and not according to the sense of his own mind, he was not ‘reckoned to be sincere or worthy to be trusted; and the rather, because after publishing a like • indulgence, he had shewed himself to be deceitful and perfidious. Therefore none of our ' people dared to assemble together for worship, nor to shew themselves abroad openly. Nor • indeed did the edict in express terms allow of this, but only that we might be secure from * violence and bad treatment : it did not empower us to meet together, nor to build houses for our worship, nor to perform any of those solemn acts of religion which are customary among us; though Constantine and Licinius, those patrons of peace and religion, had particularly signified in their letters to him, that such things had been granted by them, and they were expressed in the laws set forth to the view of all men. But that wicked wretch would not yield yet; nor till at last, when pursued by the divine vengeance, he was compelled to do it against his will.
X. Constantine did not stay long at home after his victory over Maxentius, but before the end of the year 312, or in the beginning of 313, he went thence to Milan, where he gave his sister Constantia in marriage to Licinius : and there these two emperors now set forth a second edict in favour of the Christians; which is preserved in Eusebius in Greek, and is in Cæcilius d in Latin, excepting that he has omitted the introduction, or preamble. I shall, as I did in another instance, translate the Greek of Eusebius, and place the Latin from Cæcilius at the bottom of the pages.
Eusebius, I shall allege the imperial constitutions of Constantine and Licinius, translated from the Latin.'
Having been long since convinced, that the freedom of religion ought not to be restrained, • but that leave should be given to every one to follow the sense of his own mind in things of • religion, we have ordained, that as well all others, as the Christians, should adhere to that sect • and way of worship which they approve. But because in that rescript where this liberty was · granted, many and divers sects are expressly named, some possibly have desisted from such worship. Wherefore 'when I Constantine Augustus, and Î Licinius Augustus, happily met
a Postea refert Eusebius epistolam, quam Maximinus ad tem abnegandam putaremus, qui vel observationi ChristianoSabinum Præfectum Prætorii sui scripsit, quamque currenti rum, vel ei religioni menter suam dederat, quam ipse apanno datam esse, non vero anno insequenti, ut multi eruditi tissimam esse sentiret ; ut possit nobis summa divinitas, cujus credidere, ex dictis liquet. Pagi ann. 312. xv.
religioni liberis mentibus obsequimur, in omnibus solitum • Ibid. p. 362.
CH. E. I. x. cap. 5. p. 388, &c. favorem suum benevolentiamque præstare. Quare scire dicaDe M. P.
tionem tuam convenit, placuisse nobis, ut amotis omnibus € Φερε δε λοιπον και των βασιλικων διατάξεων Κωνςανλινε conditionibus, quæ prius scriptis ad officium tuum datis, super και Λικιννι8 τας εκ Ρωμαιων γραφης μελαληφθείσας ερμηνειας Christianorum nomine videbantur, nunc cavere, ac simpliciter παραθωμεθα. Ιb. p. 388. Α.
unusquisque eorum, qui eamdem observandæ religioni ChrisCum feliciter tam ego Constantinus Augustus, quam tianorum gerunt voluntatem, citra ullam inquietudinem ac etiam Licinius Augustus apud Mediolanum convenissemus, molestiam sui idipsum observare contendant. Quæ solicituatque universa, quæ ad commoda et securitatem publicam dini tuæ plenissime significanda esse credidimus, quo scires, pertinerent, in tractatu haberemus, hæc inter cætera, quæ nos liberam atque absolutam colendæ religionis suæ faculvidebamus pluribus hominibus profutura, vel in primis ordi- tatem hisdem Christianis dedisse. Quod cum hisdem a panda esse credidimus, quibus divinitatis reverentia contine- nobis indultum esse pervideas, intelligit dicatio tua etiam batur, ut daremus et Christianis, et omnibus, liberam potesta- aliis religionis suæ vel observantiæ potestatem similiter tem sequendi religionem, quam quisque voluisset : quod apertam et liberam pro quiete temporis nostri esse concesquidem divinitas in sede cælesti, nobis atque omnibus, qui sam : ut in colendo quod quisque diligeret, habeat liberam sub potestate nostrå sunt constituti, placatum ac propitium facultatem, quas-honori neque cuiquam religioni aut possit existere. Itaque hoc consilio salubri, ac rectissimâ aliquid a nobis. Atque hoc ipsum in persona Christianorum ratione ineundum esse credidimus, ut nulli omnino faculta- statuendum esse censuimus, quod si eadem loca, ad quæ VOL. IV.
• at Milan, and we consulted together what might be best and most conducive to the benefit of • the public, among other things these following were resolved upon as beneficial for all. And • in the first place it was resolved, that such constitutions should be ordained as might secure • the worship and veneration of the Divine Being : that is, that we should grant both to the • Christians, and to all others, a free choice to follow that way of worship which they judge • best; that · so the Godhead, and whatever is divine and heavenly, may be propitious to us, ' and to all living under our dominion. We publish this therefore as our will and pleasure, and • agreeable to sound and right reason, that leave shall not be denied to any man whatever to • follow and choose the constitution and worship of the Christians : and that leave be given to every one to betake himself to that religion which is most agreeable to him, that so the Divine being [To Elov] may in all things display his usual favour and benignity toward us. Moreover • it is now thought proper to signify to you, that all the restraints concerning the Christians, • which were in the former letter sent to you, should be left out, that whatever is unsuitable “to our benignity may be omitted, and that now for the future every one who chooseth to 'adhere to the Christian religion, may observe it freely without any impediment or molestation. • These things we have thought proper to signify to you, in order to your perceiving, that we • have given free and full liberty to these same Christians to follow their own religion. And you may perceive, that as we have granted this full liberty to them, so in like manner we have granted the same liberty to others to observe their own institution and religion : for, as is • manifest, this is suitable to the tranquillity of our times, that every one should have liberty
to choose and follow the worship of that deity which he approves [o solo d' av Beneleen Elov]. * This we have determined, that it may appear we do not forbid or restrain any religion or way
of worship whatever. And farther, with regard to the Christians we ordain, that the places of 'worship (concerning which in the letter formerly sent to you there was another rule) in which they had been wont to assemble, that if any of them have been adjudged to our treasury or exchequer, or have been purchased by any, they should be restored to the Christians without "price and without delay: and if any by grant have obtained such places, they are to be imme
diately restored to the Christians : and if any of those who have purchased such places, or • have obtained them by grant, are desirous to have an allowance made to them by us, let them apply to the officer who administers justice in the place where they reside, that a proper regard may be had to them according to the benevolence of our disposition. You are to take care, • that all these things be restored to the body of the Christians without failure. And whereas the same Christians, beside the places where they assemble, are well known to have also other possessions, and such as belong not to particular persons separately, but to the community, you are to take care, that such places also be restored to the body to which they appertain without any subterfuge or delay; upon this condition however, that they who restore these things * without price, may expect indemnity from our liberality. In all these things you are to exert
yourself with the utmost care and vigour, in behalf of the aforesaid body of the Christians, • that our appointment may be performed with all speed: that by this means, agreeably to our
gracious intention, provision may be made for the common and public tranquillity without • delay. Hereby, as before said, the divine favour, of which we have already had great ex
antea convenire consueverant, de quibus etiam datis ad offi- servata, ut ii qui eadem sine pretio, sicut diximus, restituerint, cium literis certa antehac forma fuerat comprehensa, priore indemnitatem de nostrà benevolentiâ sperent. In quibus tempore aliquid vel fisco nostro, vel ab alio quocumque omnibus supradicto corpori Christianorum intercessionem videntur esse mercati, eadem Christianis, sine pecuniâ, et sine tuam efficacissimam exhibere debebis ; ut præceptum nosullà pretii petitione, postposità omni frustratione atque ambi- trum quantocyus compleatur : quo etiam in hoc per clemenguitate restituantur. Qui etiam dono fuerant consecuti, tiam nostram quieti publicæ consulatur. Hactenus fiet, ut eadem similiter hisdem Christianis quantocyus reddant etiam sicut superius comprehensum est, divinus juxta nos favor, vel tui qui emerunt, vel qui dono erant consecuti, si putaverint quem in tantis sumus rebus experti, per omne tempus prosde nostrà benevolentiâ aliquid, Vicarium postulent, quo et pere successibus nostris cum beatitudine nostrâ publicâ perseipsis per nostram clementiam consulatur. Quæ omnia cor- veret. Ut autem hujus sanctionis benevolentiæ nostræ forma pori Christianorum protinus per intercessionem tuam, ac sine ad omnium possit pervenire notitiam, prolato programmate tuo morà tradi oportebit. Et quoniam iidem Christiani non in ea hæc scripta et ubique proponere, et ad omnium scientiam te loca tantum, ad quæ convenire consueverunt, sed alia etiam perferre conveniet, ut hujus benevolentiæ nostræ sanctio latere habuisse noscuntur, ad jus corporis eorum, id est, ecclesiarum, non possit. De M. P. cap. 48. non hominum singulorum, pertinentia, ea omnia lege quâ 2 “Όπως ό, τι σοιε εσι θειολης και ερανια τραύματος, ημιν και superius comprehendimus, citra ullam prorsus ambiguitatem πασι τοις υπο την ημετεραν εξασιαν διαψεσιν ευμενες ειναι δυνηθη. . vel controversiam hisdem Christianis, id est, corpori et con. Ap. Euseb. H E. p: 388. D. venticulis eorum, reddi jubebis, supradictà scilicet ratione
*perience, will be secured to us for ever. And that the design of this our law and our gracious • indulgence may come to the knowledge of all, you are to take care, that this our letter be set • up every where to public view, that none may be ignorant of this appointment of our gracious indulgence.
This constitution or edict was signed and published at Milan in the former part of the year 313, in the month of March, as it seems, by the joint authority of Constantine and Licinius.
In the mean time Maximin, who had sided with Maxentius, took this opportunity, whilst Constantine and Licinius were at Milan, and in the depth of winter, marched with his army from Syria into Bithynia, and crossed the Hellespont into Thrace. Licinius left Milan, and went to meet him, and in a pitched battle overcame him near Adrianople on the 30th day of April in the year 313, and pursued him into Bithynia. Maximin fled to mount Taurus, and thence to Tarsus, where he took poison, and died miserably about the month of August in the same year, 313.
When Licinius came to Nicomedia, having offered up his thanksgivings to God for the victory vouchsafed to him, “as · Cæcilius says, he set up the forementioned edict in favour of the • Christians at Nicomedia on the 13th day of June. So that,' as the same writer says, from • the time of the edict which proclaimed the persecution, to the restoring of peace to the • churches, was the space of ten years and about four months :' or in other words, from the 23d day of February in the year 303, to the 13th day of the month of June in 313, was the space of ten years, three months, and nineteen days.
In the first edict published by Constantine and Licinius there were some defects or faults, which were supplied, or corrected and rectified in the second edict. What those faults or defects were cannot be perceived with certainty, as the expressions in this new edict relating to that matter are obscure. Various things have been proposed by learned men d in the way of conjecture; but I do not think it needful to take particular notice of them here.
It is, however, manifest, that this second edict is full and comprehensive, giving liberty to all men to worship God according to the best of their own judgment, and in the way that each one should choose. At the same time, as I apprehend, there is special regard had to Christians; and the places of worship, of which they had been deprived, are restored to them, and likewise some other possessions which belonged to their religious societies, in a body.
XI. Maximin, after his arrival at Tarsus, beside the shame and disappointment of his defeat by Licinius, was afflicted with a grievous distemper, and violent pains, described at large by Cæcilius; who also says, that now Maximin confessed his fault, and implored the forgiveness of Christ, and relief from him under his distemper; soon after which he expired.
Eusebius says, that after the forementioned defeat, Maximin • gave' glory to the God of
• Literæ de restituendà Ecclesiâ ad Præsidem missæ, die anni 303)' usque ad restitutam' (usque ad diem videlicet xiii. quidem Iduum Juniarum Nicomediæ propositæ, ut testatur mensis Junii anni 313, quâ propositum est Nicomediæ edicLactantius, sed datæ fuerant Mediolani eodem anno, Christi tum de restaurandis ecclesiis,) · fuerunt anni decem, menses 313, circa mensem Martium, ut Constantinus et Licinius in plus minus quatuor :' nempe menses tres, dies novemdecim. iisdem diserte asserunt. Pagi ann. 314. num. viii.
Ideoque pax universæ Ecclesiæ anno tantum cccxiii. reddita. • Constantinus rebus in urbe compositis, hieme proxima Pagi ann. 314. num. vi, Mediolanum contendit. Eodem Licinius advenit, ut acci- Vales. in Euseb. loc. Basnag. ann. 313. num. xi. xii. peret uxorem. Maximinus, ubi eos intellexit nuptiarum so. Moshem. de Reb. Christianorum. p. 973, &c. lennibus occupatos, exercitum movit e Syriâ, hieme quam
- Tarsum postremo confugit. Ibi cum jam terrå maxime sæviente, et mansionibus geminatis, in Bithyniam marique perterreretur, nec ullum speraret refugium, angore concurrit debilitato agmine, &c. De M. P. cap. 45. Vid. et animi ac metu confugit ad mortem, quasi ad remedium macap. 46, 47.
lorum, quæ Deus in caput suum congessit. Sed prius cibo © Tum cap. 48. ' Licinius vero, acceptâ exercitûs parte se infersit, ac vino ingurgitavilet sic hausit venenum. ac distributà, trajecit exercitum in Bithyniam paucis post -Deinde post multos gravesque cruciatus, cum caput
pugnam diebus : et Nicomedianı ingressus, gratiam Deo, suum parietibus infligeret, exsilierunt oculi ejus de cavernis. ' cujus auxilio vicerat, retulit, ac die Iduum Juniarum Con- Tunc demum, amisso visu, Deum videre cæpit candidatis 'stantino atque ipso ter Consulibus' (anno nempe Christi ministris se judicantem. Exclamabat ergo sicut ii, qui tor313,). ' de restituendâ Ecclesiâ hujusmodi literas ad Præsi- queri solent, et non se, sed alios, fecisse dicebat. Deinde,
dem datas proponi jussit.' Tum literas refert, quas Euse- quasi tormentis adactus, fatebator, Christum subinde deprebius, lib. x. cap. 5, describit e linguâ Latina, quâ primum cans, et plorans, ut șuimet misereretur. Sic inter gemitus, editæ sunt, ut ipsemet docet. Postea Lactantius (al. Cæ- quos, tamquam cremaretur, edebat, nocentem spiritum detescilius) ait : ‘His literis propositis, etiam verbo hortatus est' tabili genere mortis efflavit. De M. P. cap. 49. (nempe Licinius) ut conventicula in statum pristinum red- f Eιτα δη δες δοξαν τω των Χρισιανων Θεω, νομον τε τον • derentur. Sic ab eversâ Ecclesiâ ' (a die sc. xxiii. Februarii υπερ ελευθεριας αυτων τελεωτατα και πληρεςατα διαταξα
• the Christians, and enacted a full and complete law for their liberty; and then being struck • with a mortal distemper, he expired, no longer respite being granted to him. The law issued • by him is to this purpose.'
• The copy of the edict of Maximin in favour of the Christians, translated out of the Roman • into the Greek language.'
• The · emperor Cæsar Caius Valerius Maximin Germanicus Sarmaticus Pius Happy Invincible Augustus. It is notorious to all, that by all means, and at all times, we have consulted • the welfare of our subjects in the provinces, and have endeavoured to procure for them what
might be most for the good and benefit of the public in general, and for the comfort and satis• faction of every one in particular; and we trust that all who shall look back upon our past * proceedings and administration of affairs, will be convinced in their own minds of this. For • when formerly it came to our knowledge, that upon occasion of the law enacted by our deified • fathers, Dioclesian and Maximian, which forbade the assemblies of Christians, many injuries • and extortions have been committed by the officers, and that these mischiefs increased among
our people, and the goods and estates of our subjects were wasted, for whose welfare we are • always earnestly concerned : we the last year sent letters to the governors of every province,
by which it was enacted, that if any one would adhere to such custom, and the observance of • their own religion, he should be at liberty to follow his own judgment and inclination, without i obstruction or hinderance from any man: and that they should be permitted freely to do, with
out fear or distrust, whatever in this matter they approved of. Nevertheless, at the same time, • it could not be concealed from our knowledge, that some of the judges have misunderstood our orders, and have endeavoured to make our people distrust the sincerity of our intentions, and have made them afraid to perform the worship agreeable to them. Wherefore, that for • the time to come, all fear and suspicion of ambiguity may be removed, we have ordered this edict to be published, that it may be known to all
, that by this our grant, it is lawful for those • who choose this religion and worship, to act therein as they see best, and to perform worship • in the way to which they have been accustomed. And it is granted to them that they may • repair their dominical houses. And that our beneficence may be the more conspicuous, we • have thought fit farther to enact, that if any buildings or lands, aforetime belonging to the • Christians, have by virtue of the edict of our fathers been confiscated, and brought into our
treasury, or have been seized and occupied by any city, or have been sold, or given in grant * to any, we have ordered, that all these should be returned to the former right and possession
of the Christians; that all men may be fully persuaded of our piety and provident concern in • this matter.'
Eusebius said, as quoted above, that now Maximin 'gave full and complete liberty to the • Christians.' And, indeed, this edict, so far as it relates to the Christians, is conformable to the edict of Constantine and Licinius, before exhibited.
I have nothing farther to add here, but that according to the computation of learned critics, Maximin died, as already hinted, in the month of August, in the year 313.
XII. I have now recited at length all the edicts concerning the persecution of Dioclesian.
There are two inscriptions in ^ Gruter, relating to it, in which it is intimated, that in the times of Dioclesian, and Maximian Herculius, and Galerius, the name of the Christians, who • had overthrown the republic, was extirpated.' And again, that the superstition of the • Christians was every where extirpated, and the worship of the gods restored.'
I shall put down those two inscriptions at length, in the Latin original. They are said to have been found in Spain, at a place called Clunia, which was a Roman colony.
μενος, δυσθανατησας αυτικα, μη δε μιας αυτω χρονο δοθεισης c Baluzius recte in Notis observat non statim mortuum προθεσμιας, τελευτα τον βιον. Η. Ε. 1. ix. cap. 10. p. 363. D. esse Maximinum ac Tarsum pervenit, sed aliquanto tempore Ap. Euseb. ib. p. 363, 364.
gravissimos dolores sustinuisse, sicque non videri, eum ante b Upon this place Valesius rightly observes : · He intends mensem Augustum periisse. Vide quæ ibidem sequuntur. • his epistle sent to Sabinus, Præfect of the Prætorium, wbich Pagi ann. 314. num. viii. • Eusebius had alleged before. Maximin here says, he had Il mourut, vers le mois d'Août à Tarse en Cilicie. Tillem. • written that letter in the preceding year, meaning the year
Persécution de Dioclétien art. 48. Mem. E. T. v. p. 117. • of Christ 312. It follows, therefore, that this last edict of Paris.
Ap. Gruter. p. 280. • Maximin was written in the year of Christ 313. And see • Vide Cellarii Geogr. Antiq. 1. ii. cap. 1. Pagi ann. 314. num. viii.
Cluniæ in Hisp. in pulchra columna.
DIOCLETIANUS. JOVIUS. ET
XIII. I think it may not be improper to add some concluding observations upon this persecution. Mr. Mosheim will furnish me with some ; after which I may subjoin others of my own.
Obs. 1. This persecution might as properly, or more properly be called Maximian’s as Dioclesian's It is evident from Cæcilius, and from Eusebius, that Maximian Galerius was the first mover in this design. He seems to own as much himself, at the beginning of the edict published by him in favour of the Christians, a short time before his death. Cæcilius, in his book Of the Deaths of Persecutors, has largely related, how · Galerius urged Dioclesian to it: who' for some while objected to it, alleging the great disturbances which it might occasion in the empire. And it is allowed, that the persecution did not begin till the 19th year of Dioclesian's reign, before which time many Christians were admitted to posts of honour, near the emperor's person, and in the provinces. Moreover, in the third
Moreover, in the third year of the persecution, Dioclesian resigned, and concerned himself no longer in the affairs of the empire. However, it must be acknowledged, that he joined and concurred in the several edicts against the Christians, which were published in the first two years of the persecution. Nor% do we aim to acquit him of all guilt in this affair ; but only to mitigate the reflections which have been cast upon him both in former and later times. Dioclesian was timorous and superstitious; but it does not appear that he delighted in cruelty.
Obs. 2. In the first edict for the persecution, as we learn from “ Eusebius, the sacred scriptures were ordered to be burnt; and, so far as we know, this is the first imperial edict of that
. Quæ a Diocletiano nomen habet decennis, et omnium dos Christianos instigaret senem vanum, qui jam principium atrocissima Christianorum vexatio, rectius Maximiana vocanda fecerat. De M. P. cap. 10. esset, Etsi enim Diocletianus, fraudibus sacerdotum decep- | Ergo habito inter se per totam hiemem consilio, cum tus, injuriarum aliquid Christianis in aulâ degentibus, et castra nemo admitteretur diu senex furori ejus repugnavit, ossequentibus, intulit, leges etiam deinde in eos rogavit; cer- tendens, quam perniciosum esset inquietari orbem terræ, fundi tum tamen est, præcipuum hujus calamitatis auctorem gene- sanguinem multorum; illos libenter mori solere; satis esse, si rum ejus, Maximianum Galerium, fuisse. De Reb. Christian. palatinos tantum et milites ab eâ religione prohiberet. Nec
tamen deflectere potuit præcipitis hominis insaniam. Ibid. • De M. P. cap. 10, 11, 12. C H. E. I. viii. cap. 16. p. 314. D.
8 Quocirca multum, meo quidem judicio, de contumeliis # Vid. De M. P. cap. 34. in. Euseb. H. E. 1. viii. cap. 17. et querimoniis detrahi debet, quibus et veteres et recentiores
Imperatorem hunc obruunt. Peccabat fateor, levitate, supere Deinde, interjecto aliquanto tempore, in Bithyniain venit stitione, timiditate: at multo tamen, quam vulgaris opinio hiematum [Diocletianus :) eodemque tempore Maximianus fert, tolerabilius peccabat. Moshem. ubi supr. p. 922. M. quoque Cæsar inflammatus scelere advenit, ut ad persequen
# H. E. I. viii. cap. 2. p. 294 B..