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

ALL this has been fulfilled in our day, when we saw, with our own eyes, our houses of worship thrown down from their elevation, the sacred Scriptures of inspiration committed to the flames in the midst of the markets, the shepherds of the people basely concealed here and there, some of them ignominiously captured, and the sport of their enemies; when, also, according to another prophetic declaration, “contempt was poured out upon their rulers, and he has made them to err in a trackless bypath, and where there is no road.”

But it is not for me to describe fully the sorrowful calamities which they endured, since neither does it belong to me to record the dissensions and follies which they exercised against each other before the persecution. Hence, also, we have purposed not to extend our narration beyond the events in which we perceive the just judgment of God. Hence, also, we shall not make mention of those that were shaken by the persecution, nor of those that suffered shipwreck in their salvation, and of their own accord were sunk into the depths of the watery gulph. But we shall only, upon the whole, introduce those events in our history that may be profitable first to us of the present day, and hereafter to posterity. Now let us proceed to describe, in a condensed account, the holy conflicts of the witnesses of divine truth.

It was the nineteenth year of the reign of Diocletian, and the month of Dystrus, called by the Romans March, in which the festival of our Saviour’s passion was at hand, when the imperial edicts were every where published, to tear down the churches to the foundation, and to destroy the sacred Scriptures by fire, and which commanded, also, that those who were in honourable stations should be degraded, but those who were freedmen should be deprived of their liberty, if they persevered in their adherence to Christianity. The first edict against us was of this nature; but it was not long before other edicts were also issued, in which it was ordered that all the prelates in every place, should first be committed to prison, and then, by every artifice, constrained to offer sacrifice to the gods.








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