HOME CHAT NAB PRAYERS FORUMS COMMUNITY RCIA MAGAZINE CATECHISM LINKS CONTACT
 CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC SAINTS INDEX  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC DICTIONARY  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Home
 
Bible
 
Catechism
 
Chat
 
Catholic Encyclopedia
 
Church Fathers
 
Classics Library
 
Church Documents
 
Discussion
 
Mysticism
 
Prayer
 
Prayer Requests
 
RCIA
 
Vocations
 
Ray of Hope
 
Saints
 
Social Doctrine
 
Links
 
Contact
 







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

SUCH causes and circumstances beset him on all sides. Unable as he was to sustain the magnitude of the government so undeservedly conferred upon him, in consequence of his own incapacity and deficiency in the qualities of a prudent and imperial mind, he administered his affairs in a foolish and disreputable manner, and yet foolishly elated in all, with a fulsome arrogance and haughtiness, even toward those who participated in the government with him, and who were his superiors both in birth and education, dignity and intelligence, and in that wisdom and that true piety which is the crown of all, he yet dared to boast and proclaim himself the first of all in dignity and honours. Proceeding at length to that degree of madness in his vanity and haughtiness, he broke the league that he had made with Licinius, and undertook an execrable war. After this he soon threw all into confusion; alarming every city, and collecting innumerable armies, he went forth to give him battle, elated with his trust in demons, whom he supposed to be gods, and the vast multitudes of his soldiers. Thus engaging in battle, he was deprived of the interposition and aid of God; the victory being decreed in favour of the emperor Licinius, by the one only and supreme God. And first, he lost the soldiery upon whom he relied so much, and as the guards about him all abandoned and left him destitute, and deserted to the emperor Licinius, he secretly stripped himself as quickly as possible of the imperial robes, which, indeed, he had never deserved, in a cowardly, abject, and effeminate manner, and mingled with the crowd. Then he made his escape, lying concealed in the fields and villages, and with all this caution and vigilance for safety, scarcely escaped the hands of the enemy. Thus showing in facts the reality and truth of the divine oracles, in which it is said: “A king is not saved by the multitude of an host, nor shall a giant in the Greatness of his strength; a horse is a vain thing for safety, and in the greatness of his strength he shall not be saved. Behold, the eyes of the Lord are upon those that fear him, those that trust in his mercy, to rescue their soul from death.”

Thus the tyrant, loaded with disgrace, returned to his own parts; and first, in the rage of his mind, he slew many priests and prophets of those gods whom he admired, and by whose oracles he had been induced to undertake the war; these he slew, as jugglers and impostors, and above all as the betrayers of his own safety. Then, at length giving glory to the God of the Christians, he immediately enacted a full and final decree for their liberty. But, being seized with a violent disease, he died very soon after it was issued. The law enacted was as follows:—

Copy of the tyrant’s ordinance, in regard to the Christians, translated from the Latin into the Greek

“THE Emperor Cæsar Caius Valerius Maximinus Germanicus Sarmaticus Pius Felix Invictus Augustus,—That it behoves us by all means, and with constant endeavours, to promote the good of our provincial subjects, and to wish to bestow upon them such things as are best calculated to establish the advantage of all, and whatever may contribute to their common benefit and utility; also, whatever is adapted to the public advantage and is agreeable to the views and wishes of all; of this no one can be ignorant; and, moreover, we believe every one can refer to past events and know and convince himself of it. When, therefore, before this it was obvious to our mind, that by reason of the law which was enacted under our most sacred parents, Diocletian and Maximian, that the assemblies of the Christians should be abolished, many oppressions and spoliations were made by those in office, and that this evil advanced daily to a great height, to the injury of those of our provincials for whom we are particularly anxious to make the necessary provision; as their property and possessions were thus destroyed on this pretext, letters were given to the respective rulers of the provinces the past year, in which it was enacted, that if any one wished to follow this practice, or this observance of the same religion, that he was at liberty to pursue this his purpose without hindrance, and without obstruction or molestation from any one; and also, that they had full liberty to do, without fear or suspicion, what each one preferred. But even now we could not but perceive that some of our judges have mistaken our injunctions, and caused our subjects to be in doubt as to our ordinances, and have caused them to proceed with too great reluctance to the performance of those religious observances which they prefer. Now, therefore, that all suspicion of duplicity and fear may be removed, we have decreed that this ordinance should be published, that all may clearly understand, whosoever wish to adopt this sect and worship are at liberty to do so, by this privilege granted by us, so that as each one wishes, or as may be agreeable to him, he may observe that religion to which he has been accustomed. And, moreover, liberty is granted to build their churches. That this indulgence of ours may be the greater, we have also thought proper to make further provision by law, that if any houses and lands happened to be justly the property of the Christians before this, and by order of our parents have been transferred to the treasury, or have been confiscated by any city, or at least have been seized and sold or bestowed as presents to any one, all these possessions we have ordered to be returned again to the former possession and control of the Christians, that all persons may also, in this respect, have knowledge of our piety and foresight.”

These are the declarations of the tyrant, that were issued not quite a year after the ordinances against the Christians had been published by him on brazen tablets, and by the same man to whom but a little before, we appeared impious and abandoned wretches, destructive of all society, so that we were not allowed to dwell in a city, or even the country and the desert; by this same man, ordinances and laws were enacted in favour of the Christians. And they who a little before were destroyed by the tyrants with fire and sword, the food of wild beasts and birds of prey in the very eyes of the tyrant, and sustained every kind of punishment and torture, and the most miserable death as infidels and profane persons, these very same were now acknowledged by him as worshippers having religion, and were allowed to rebuild their churches; the tyrant himself confessing and testifying that certain rights belong to them. Having made these confessions, as if he had actually obtained some positive benefit, on this very account he suffered less than was properly his due, and being smitten with a sudden visitation of God, he died in the second campaign of the war. His end was not like that of generals and military commanders, who bravely and heroically expose their lives, and encounter a glorious death for glory and their friends; but as one hostile to God and religion. Whilst his army was drawn up for battle in the field, he himself remained at home, concealing himself, and received the punishment that he deserved, being smitten with a sudden judgment of God over his whole body: so that he was harassed by dreadful pains and torments, and prostrated on the ground, was wasted away by hunger, whilst his whole flesh dissolved by an invisible tire and burning sent from God. So that, thus being wasted away, the whole aspect of his former shape was destroyed, and there was only left of him a kind of image, reduced in course of time to a skeleton of dry bones. Indeed, all present could regard his body as nothing but the tomb of his soul, buried in one that was already dead, and cornpletely dissolved. And as the heart began to burn still more violently in the very recesses of his marrow, his eyes burst forth, and falling from their sockets they left him blind. After this he still continued to breathe, acknowledging many things to the Lord, and invoking death. At length, after confessing that he justly suffered these judgments for his wanton excesses against the Christians, he breathed his last.








Copyright ©1999-2018 e-Catholic2000.com