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

“THERE were yet living of the family of our Lord, the grandchildren of Judas, called the brother of our Lord, according to the flesh. These were reported as being of the family of David, and were brought to Domitian, by the Evocatus. For this emperor was as much alarmed at the appearance of Christ as Herod. He put the question, whether they were of David’s race, and they confessed that they were. He then asked them what property they had, and how much money they owed. And both of them answered, that they had between them only nine thousand denarii, and this they had not in silver, but in the value of a piece of land containing only thirty-nine acres; from which they raised their taxes and supported themselves by their own labour. Then they also began to show their hands, exhibiting the hardness of their bodies, and the callosity formed by incessant labour on their hands, as evidence of their own labour. When asked also, respecting Christ and his kingdom, what was its nature, and when and where it was to appear, they replied, ‘that it was not a temporal nor an earthly kingdom, but celestial and angelic; that it would appear at the end of the world, when coming in glory he would judge the quick and dead, and give to every one according to his works.’ Upon which, Domitian despising them, made no reply; but treating them with contempt, as simpletons, commanded them to be dismissed, and by a decree ordered the persecution to cease. Thus delivered, they ruled the churches, both as witnesses and relatives of the Lord. When peace was established, they continued living even to the times of Trajan.” Such is the statement of Hegesippus. Tertullian also has mentioned Domitian thus: “Domitian had also once attempted the same against him, who was, in fact, a limb of Nero for cruelty; but I think, because lie had yet some remains of reason, he very soon suppressed the persecution, even recalling those whom he had exiled. But after Domitian had reigned fifteen years, and Nerva succeeded to the government, the Roman senate decreed, that the honours of Domitian should be revoked, and that those who had been unjustly expelled, should return to their homes, and have their goods restored.” This is the statement of the historians of the day. It was then also, that the apostle John returned from his banishment at Patmos, and took up his abode at Ephesus, according to an ancient tradition of the church.








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