wyckedlye thynckyng with oure selues, that God neyther regarded nor woulde visit our transgressions, we heaped our iniquities daylye more and more one vpon an other, and they which seemed to be our pastors refusying the rule of piety, were inflamed with mutual contentions one agaynst another. And thys whylest they were geuen onely to the study and heaping vp of contencions, threatninges, emulations, mutual hatred, & discorde, euery man seeking his own ambition, and persecuting one another after the maner of tiranny: Marginalia Christians persecuting one another.Thē, then I say, the Lord according to the voyce of Ieremie tooke away the beuty of the daughter of Sion, and the glory of Israel fel downe from heauen, neyther dyd he remember the footestoole of his feete in the daye of hys wrath. Marginalia The wrath of God toward hys people.And the Lord ouerturned all the comely ornamentes of Israel, and destroyed all her gorgeous buyldings, and according to the saying of the Psalme, hath subuerted and extinguished the Testament of hys seruaunt, and hath prophaned his sanctuary in destruction of his churches, and in laying waste the buyldings therof, and hath put feare in al the munitions thereof, and all passingers spoyling the multitude of the people, furder was made an obloquie to all the dwellers aboute. For he hath exalted the strength of his enemies, & hath turned away the helpe of his sword from her, and hath not ayded hyr in the battayle, but hath seased from the purging of her and her seate. He hath strooken downe to the ground, and hath diminished her dayes, and ouer al this hath poured vpon her confusion. All these things were fulfylled vpon vs, when we saw the temples rased from the top to the ground, and the sacred scriptures to be burnt in the open market place, and the Pastours of the church to hyde themselues, some here, some there, some other taken prisoners with great shame wer mocked of their enemies, whē also according to the saying of the prophet in an other place: Contempt is poured out vpon the Princes, and hath caused them go out of the way, and not to keepe the strayt path.[Back to Top]
The Foxe Project was not able to complete the commentary on this section of text by the date by which this online edition was compiled (23 September 2008).
The tenthe persecutionBY reason and occasion whereof (the wrath of God being kindled against his churche) insued the tenth and last persecution agaynst the Christians, so horrible and greuous, that it maketh the penne almost to tremble to wryte vpon it: so tedious, that neuer was any persecution before or synce comparable to it for the tyme it continued, lasting the space of. x. yeres together. This persecution although it passed throughe the handes of diuers tyrantes and woorkers mo then one or two: yet principally it beareth the name of
Eup. vopisco.Dioclesiā, who was Emperour, as is aboue noted, next after Carus & Numerianus. This Diocletian euer hauing an ambitious mynde, aspired greatlye to bee Emperour. To whom Druas his Concubine said, that first hee shoulde kyll a wylde Bore before he should be Emperour. He taking effect at these wordes, vsed much wyth hand to kil wilde Bores: but seing no successe to come thereof, vsed thys prouerbe: Ego Apros occido, alius pulpamento fruitur, that is, I kyl the Bores, but other do eate the flesh. At length the sayd Dioclesian being nominate to be Emperour, and seyng Marginalia Aper slayne which slew Numerianus.Aper (who had killed Numerianus the Emperour) standing therby, sware to the soldiours that Numerianus was wrongfullye kylled, and forthwith running vpon Aper with his swoorde, slewe him. Vopisc. Marginalia 290.
Maximianus, Herculius now Emperor wyth DioclesianAfter this he being stablished in the Empyre, & seing on euery syde diuers and sundry commotions rising vp against him, which he was not wel able himself to sustayne, in the first beginning of his raygne he chuseth for his Colleage Maximianus surnamed Herculius, father to Maxentius. Which two Emperours, because of diuers warres that rose in manye prouinces, chose to them two other noble men, Galerius, and Constātius, whom they called Cesars. Marginalia Galerius,
Cesars vnder Diocletian and MaximinianOf whom Galerius was sent into the East partes agaynste the Persians. Constantius was sent ouer to Britannie to thys oure country of England, to recouer the tribute. Marginalia Helena daughter of Coil, maried to Constātius.Where he tooke to wyfe Helena the daughter of king Coil, which was a mayden excelling in beuty, and no lesse famously brought vp in the studye of learning, of whom was borne Constantinus the great.
Al this while hitherto no persecution was yet styrred of these. 4. princes agaynst the church of Christ, but quietly and moderatly they gouerned the commō wealth: wherfore accordingly God prospered their doinges, and affayres, and gaue them great victories, Dioclesian in Egipt, Maximinian in Aphrick and in Fraunce, Galorius in Persia, Constantius in England & in Fraunce also. By reason of which victories Dioclesian and Maximinian puft vp in pride, ordayned a solemne triumphe at Rome, after which triumph Dioclesian gaue commaundement that he would be worshipped as God, saying that he was brother to the Sunne and Moone, and adourning his shooes with gold and precious stones cōmaunded the people to kysse hys feete. Marginalia Pryde in Diocletian.[Back to Top]
Cruelty foloweth pryde.
Persecution agaynst the christians.And not long after by the iudgement of God, for certayne enormities vsed in the church, aboue touched, beganne the great and greuous persecution of the Christians, moued by the ragious crueltye of Dioclesian, which was about the. xix. yeare of his raygne, who in the moneth of March, when the feast of Easter was nye at hand, commaunded al the Churches of the Christiās to be spoyled and cast to the earth, and the bookes of holy scriptures to be burned.
Marginalia Christian temples destroyed.Thus most violent edictes and proclamations were set forth, for the ouerthrowing as is sayde, of the Christians temples throughoute all the Romane Empyre. Neither did there want in the officers any cruel execution of the same proclamations. For their temples wer defaced euen when they celebrated the feast of Easter. Euseb. lib. 8. cap. 2. And this was the first edict geuen out by Dioclesian, Marginalia Bookes of the scripture burned.the next proclamation that came forth, was for the burning of the bookes of the holy scripture, which thing was done in the open market place as before. Marginalia Christian Magistrates displacedThen next vnto that were edictes geuen foorth for the displacing of such as were Magistrates, and that with great ignominie, and all other whatsoeuer bare any office. Marginalia Christian subiectes imprisoned.Imprisoning suche as were of the common sort, if they would not abiure Christianitie, & subscribe to the Heathen religion. Euseb. lib. 8. cap. 3. & Nicephorus lib. 7. cap. 4. Zonoras also in his second tome. And these were the beginning of the Christians euils.[Back to Top]
It was not long after, but that new edictes were sēt forth, nothing for their cruelty inferiour to the first: for the cast of the elders and byshops into prison, Marginalia Bishops and Elders cōstrained with torments to sacrifice.and then constrayning them with sundry kindes of punishmentes to offer vnto their idoles. By reason wherof insued a great persecution amongest the gouernoures of the Church, amongest whom many stoode manfullye, passing through many exceeding bytter tormentes, neither were ouercome therwith, being tormented and examined diuers of them diuersly: some scourged, al theyr bodies ouer with whips and scourges: some with racks rasynges of the flesh intollerable were cruciated: some one way, some an other way put to death. Some again violently were drawen to the vnpure sacrifice, and as though they had sacrificed, when in deede they did not, were let go. Other some neyther comming at al to their aulters, nor touching anye peece of their sacrifices, yet were borne in hand of them that stood by, that they had sacrified, and so suffering that false infamatiō of their enemies, quietly went away. Other as dead men were caried and cast away, being but halfe dead. Some they cast downe vpon the pauiment, and trayling them a great space by the legs, made the people beleue that thei[Back to Top]