forewarning of God.
Persecution of gods people prefigured and prewarned of GodFor so in the old law by the affliction of the children of Israel, he hath prefigured these persecutions of his Christians. So by the woordes of Christes own mouth in the gospel, he did forewarne his church of these troubles to come. Againe, neither did he suffer these so great afflictions to fall vpon his seruants, before that he had premonished them sufficiently by special reuelation in the Apocalyps of Iohn his seruaunt.
The church prewarned of christ by special reuelations in the Apoc.In the which Apocalips, he declared to his Churche before, not onely what troubles were comming at hande toward them, where, and by whom, they shoulde come, but also in playne number (if the words of the prophecie be wel vnderstode) assigneth the true time, how long the sayd persecutions should continue, and whē they should cease.
The beast of the Apoc. expoundedFor as ther is no doubt, but by the beast wyth. 7. heades, bearing the hoore of Babilon, dronken with the blood of Sayntes, is signified the Citie of Rome:
42. mōthes in the Apol. cap 13. expounded.So in my iudgement, the power of making. 42. monethes (in the. 13. of the Apocalips) is to be expounded, taking euery moneth for a Sabbot of yeres: that is, reckening for. vii. yeares a moneth: so that forty and two such Sabbots of yeares being gathered together, make vppe the yeares iust betwene the yeare of Christes death, to the last yeare of the persecution of Maxentius,
The beaste and power to make. 42 monethes.when Constantinus fighting vnder the banner of Christ ouercame him, and made an ende of al persecution, within the monarchie of Rome.
The persecuting time of the primitiue church vnder the beast lasted. 300. yearesThe number of which yeres by plaine computacion, come to. 294. to the which. 294. yeares, if we adde the other. 6. yeares vnder the persecution of Lincinius in Asia: thē it filleth vp ful the number of. 300 yeares. And so long continued the persecution of Christes people, vnder the Heathen tyrantes and Emperors of the Monarchie of Rome, according to the number of xlij. monethes which the beast had power to make, specified in the. xiij. of the Apocalips. Neither is it without some propheticall signification (as I take it) where as we read in the booke of Genesis, how the stocke of Israel, was 400. yeares in the land of Egypt. During the space of which. 400. yeares, after the death of Ioseph (who beareth a plaine figure of Christ)
The Israelites beyng 400. yeares in Egypt afflicted.
The persecuted Israelites bearyng a fygure of the persecuted church of Christ.they were hardly intreated and cruelly afflicted of the Egyptians, aboute the space of. 300. yeres, reckening from after þe death of Ioseph, to their deliuerāce out of the bondage of Egipt
Thus much by the way I thought to insinuate, least any should muse, or take any offence in him selfe, to see or reade of the church and people of God, so long and so many yeares to be vnder so miserable and extreme afflictions. Wherin neither chaunce nor fortune, nor disposition of man, hath had any place: but onely the forecoūsail and determination of the Lorde hath so gouerned & disposed the same.
From the first persecution of the primitiue church to the last persecution 294. yeares.
Vniuersall persecution ceaseth for a 1000. yeres in the church.
Apo. 20.From the time of Licinius, to Wickleffe 1000. yeres.
Sathā boūd vp for a 1000. yeres.Who not onely did suffer them to fal, & foresee those persecutions before they fel: but also appointed the times and yeares how long they shoulde last, and when to haue an ende. As hath bene reuealed & declared by the. 42. monethes in the. 13. &. 11. cha. of S. Iohns Apocalyps. Which monethes contayning. 294. yeares, if they be rightly gathered, make the full tyme betwene the first yeare of the persecution of Christ vnder the Iewes and Herode, tyl the last yeare of persecution vnder Licinius, which was from the natiuitye of Christ, an. 324. from the first persecution of Christ, an. 294. After the which yeare, according to the preordinate counsayle of God, when his seuerity had bene sufficiently declared vpon his own house, it pleased him to shew mercy agayne, and to bind vp Satan the old Serpent, according to the. xx. chap. of the reuelation, for the space of a thousande yeares, that is, from thys tyme of Licinius, to the tyme of Iohn Wickleffe, & Iohn Husse. During all which tyme, albeit certaine conflicts and tumultes haue bene among Christian Bishops thēselues in the church, yet no vniuersall murdering persecution was styrring, before the preaching of Iohn Wyckleffe,of Husse, and suche other, Marginalia The tyme of Sathnas binding, opened.as in the further processe of this his history (Christ willing and ayding vs) shal more appeare hereafter.
Marginalia Doxologia.Thus hauing at large discoursed these horrible persecutions past, and heauye afflictions of Christian martyrs,
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).
This Constantine was the Sonne of Constantinus the Emperour, a good and vertuous childe, of a good & vertuous father, borne in Britaine, as saith Eutropius of a woman, being his fathers wife, who was named Helena, doughter in dede of king Coilus, although Ambrosius in his funeral oratiō of þe death of Theodosius, saith was an Inholders daughter. Marginalia The good qualities of Constātinus.He was a most boūteful & gracious prince, hauing a desire to nourish learning & good artes, & did often times vse to reade, write, & study himselfe. Marginalia The cause of al hys prosperous success.He had marueilous good succes & prosperous achiuing of al things he tooke in hād, which thē was (and truly) supposed to proceede of this, for that he was so great a fauourer of the christian fayth. Whych fayth when hee had once embraced, hee did euer after moste deuoutlye and religiously reuerence: and commaunded by especiall commission and proclamations, that euery man shoulde professe the same religion thoroughout al the Romane Monarchie. Marginalia Constantine sometyme by meanes of hys wyfe was an Idolater.The worshipping of Idoles, wherunto once he was addict, by the allurement of Fausta his wife: in so muche that he did sacrifice vnto them: after the discomfit of Maxentius in battaile, he vtterly abiured. But baptisme he deferred euen vnto his old age, because hee had determined a iourney into Persia, and thought in Iordan to haue bene baptised. Euseb. lib. 4. de vita Constantini.[Back to Top]
As touching his natural disposition and wit, he was very eloquent, a good Philosopher, and in disputacion sharpe and ingenious. He was accustomed to saye, Marginalia The common sayeng of Cosntantinus.that an Emperour ought to refuse no labour, for the vtilitye of the common weale: yea and that to aduenture the māgling of his body for the remedy therof, but if other wayes it may be holpen, to cherish the same. This, Aurelius Victor, Pomponius Letus, and Ignatius wryte of him. And Aelius Lampridius sayth, writing vpon the life of Heliogabalus, that Constantinus was wont to say, that an Empire was geuen by the determinat purpose of God, and that he to whom it was geuen, shoulde so employ his diligence, as he might be thought worthy of the same at the handes of the geuer. Which same saying also Augustine noteth in his thirde booke agaynste Cresconius, epist. 49. and. 50.[Back to Top]
Marginalia The raigne of Constantinus.He fyrst entred into the Empire, by the mercyfulnes of God, minding after long waues of doleful persecution to restore vnto his church quiet and tranquility an. 311. as Eusebius accompteth in his Chronicle. Hys