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

GALLUS had not held the government quite two years when he was removed, and Valerian, with his son Gallienus, succeeded in his place. What Dionysius has said respecting him also, may be learned from his epistle to Hermamon, in which he gives the following account: “In like manner it was revealed to John, and there was,” saith he, “a mouth given, him, speaking great things, and blasphemy; and power was given to him (to continue), forty-two months.” It is wonderful that both these things were fulfilled in Valerian, and especially if we consider the behaviour of the man before this, how kind and friendly he was towards the pious. For never had any of the emperors before him been so favourably and benevolently disposed toward them; not even those who were openly said to be Christians, had treated them with such excessive civility and friendship as he did at the commencement of his reign. All his house was likewise filled with pious persons, and was, indeed, a congregation (εκκλησια) of the Lord. But the master and chief ruler of the Egyptian magi (Macrianus), persuaded him to abandon this course, exhorting him to persecute and slay these pure and holy men, as enemies and obstacles to their wicked and detestable incantations. For they were and still are, men who, by their very presence—their aspect—their breath—their voice, are able to dissipate the artifices of wicked demons. He suggested to him to study the rites of initiation, and abominable arts of sorcery, to perform execrable sacrifices, to slay unhappy infants, and to sacrifice the children of wretched fathers, and to search the bowels of new-born babes, and to mutilate and dismember the creatures of God, as if by doing this they should obtain great felicity.” To this account he also subjoins the following: “Macrianus, therefore, presented (to the demons) thank-offerings for his desired accession to the government, who before was generally called the emperor’s steward and receiver-general, yet did nothing that could be pronounced for the public good, or even reasonable; but subjected himself to the prophetic malediction which says, ‘Woe to those that prophesy according to their own hearts, and do not see to the public good;’ for neither did he perceive that Providence that regulates the whole; and neither did he regard the judgment of Him that is before all, and through all, and over all. Hence, he became an enemy to the universal church. He also estranged and excluded himself from the mercy of God, and fled as far as possible from His salvation. In this, indeed, he really expressed the peculiarity of his name.” Again, he says: “Valerian was thus urged by this man to these measures, whilst he exposed himself to insults and reproaches, according to what Isaias has said: ‘And these have chosen their own ways, and their own abominations, which their soul hath desired. And I will choose their derisions, and will repay them their sins.’ But the latter (viz. Macrianus), anxious without any merit to have the government, and yet unable to assume the imperial garb, from the feebleness of his body, appointed his two sons to take upon them, as it were, their father’s crimes. For the declaration of God respecting such, proved its truth when he said, ‘visiting the sins of the fathers upon the children, to the third and fourth generations of them that hate me.’ For heaping his own wicked passions, in the gratification of which he did not succeed, upon the heads of his children, he swept off upon them his own wickedness and hatred of God.” And such is the account which Dionysius has given of Valerian.








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