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An Ecclesiastical History To The 20th Year Of The Reign Of Constantine by Eusebius

SOTER, bishop of Rome, died, after having held the episcopate eight years. He was succeeded by Elcutherus, the twelfth in order from the apostles. It was in the seventeenth year of the reign of the emperor Antoninus Verus, when a more violent persecution having broken out against our brethren, in certain parts, occasioned by insurrections in the cities, that it seems, from the events that happened in a single province, innumerable martyrs obtained the crown. These, as worthy of imperishable remembrance, were also handed down to posterity in historical records. The full account of these is given in our history of martyrs, comprising both historical narrative and that which may contribute to edification; but whatsoever may have a reference to our present purpose, I shall select for insertion here. Others, indeed, that compose historical narratives, would record nothing but victories in battle, the trophies of enemies, the war-like achievements of generals, the bravery of soldiers, sullied with blood and innumerable murders, for the sake of children and country and property; but our narrative embraces that conversation and conduct which is acceptable to God,—the wars and conflicts of a most pacific character, whose ultimate tendency is to establish the peace of the soul: those, also, that have manfully contended for the truth, rather than for their country, and who have struggled for piety rather than their dearest friends. Such as these our narrative would engrave on imperishable monuments. The firmness of the champions for the true religion, their fortitude in the endurance of innumerable trials, their trophies erected over dæmoniacal agency, and their victories over their invisible antagonists, and the crowns that have been placed upon all these, we would proclaim and perpetuate by an everlasting remembrance.








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