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A History Of The Church In Nine Books by Sozomen

AFTER this battle, Licinius, who had previously respected the Christians, withdrew his favour from them, and ill-treated many of the priests who lived under his government; he also persecuted several other persons, but especially the soldiers. He was deeply incensed against the Christians on account of his disagreement with Constantine, and thought to wound him by their sufferings; and, besides, he suspected that they earnestly desired that Constantine alone should enjoy the sovereign rule. In addition to all this, we may mention that, when on the eve of another war with Constantine, Licinius, in order to prepare his mind for the event of the contest, had recourse to sacrifices and oracles, and that, deceived by promises of power, he returned to the religion of the Greeks. The Greeks themselves, too, relate that, about this period, he consulted the oracle of Apollo Didymus at Miletus, concerning the result of the war, and received an answer from the demon, couched in the following words of Homer:—

O old man, much do the youths distress thee, warring with thee!

Thy strength has become enfeebled, but thy old age shall be hard.

It has often appeared to me that the Christian religion is supported, and its advancement secured, by the superintendence of Divine Providence; but never was I more fully convinced of this truth, than by the circumstances which occurred at this period; for, at the very moment that Licinius was about to persecute all the churches in his dominions, the war in Bithynia broke out, which ended in a war between him and Constantine, and in which Constantine was so strengthened by Divine assistance, that he was victorious by land and by sea. On the destruction of his fleet and army, Licinius retired to Nicomedia, and resided for some time at Thessaloniea as a private individual, but was eventually killed. Such was the end of one who, at the beginning of his reign, had distinguished himself in war and in peace, and who had been honoured by receiving the sister of Constantine in marriage.








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