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

SUCH was the state of things throughout the whole period of the persecution. This, by the goodness of God, had entirely ceased in the tenth year, although it had begun to relax after the eighth. For when the kindness of God’s providence regarded us again with a gracious and merciful eye, then indeed our rulers, and those very persons who were formerly the principal agents of the persecutions, most remarkably changed in their sentiments, began to recant, and attempted to extinguish the blaze of persecution kindled against us by mild proclamations and ordinances. But this was not done by any mere human agency, nor was it, as might perhaps be supposed, by the compassion or the humanity of our rulers; for, so far from this, they were daily devising more and severer measures against us from the beginning of the persecution until then, constantly inventing new tortures from time to time by an increasing variety of machinery and instruments for this purpose. But the evident superintendence of divine Providence, on the one hand, being reconciled to his people, and on the other assailing the author of these miseries, exhibited his anger against him as the ringleader in the horrors of the whole persecution. Though it had been necessary that these things should occur by some divine judgment, yet it is declared, “Woe to him through whom the offence cometh.” Hence he was visited by a judgment sent from God, which beginning in his flesh proceeded to his very soul. For a sudden tumour appeared about the middle of the body, then a spongy fistula in these parts, which continued to extend and penetrate with its ulcerations to the inmost parts of the bowels. Hence sprung an immense multitude of worms, hence also an insufferable death-like effluvia exhaled, as his whole body before his disease, by reason of his gluttony, had been changed into an excessive mass of fat, which then becoming putrid, exhibited a dreadful and intolerable spectacle to those that drew near. Some, indeed, of the physicians, totally unable to endure the excessively offensive smell, were slain; others again, as the swelling had penetrated every where, being unable to give any relief, despaired of safety, and were put to death without mercy.








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