« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
nobody knows how, is a pitiful, abatement to the bigness of his former expression “vanishing away.” Though the truth is, if he had stood to it, it must unavoidably have proved itself a lie; for it is utterly incredible, that so strange a thing as that should have been done in so great a presence, and yet never any notice be taken of it.’ “But in the last place, the historian would fain bid at something of his hero's appearing after death : yet he does it so faintly, that in the conclusion of all it comes to nothing, especially when he tells us, that the time of his death was altogether unknown, and that the uncertainty of it took in no less than the compass of thirty years. And then, they that were so utterly at a loss as to the time of his decease, and that for so long a space, were very likely to give a very wise account of the certain time of any thing that he did after it !” “But how, or to whom did he appear? Why, to a young man, one of his followers, that doubted of the immortality of the soul, for ten months together after his death, I. viii. c. 13. But how, or where? Why," the young man being tired with watching, and praying to Apollonius, that he would appear to him only to satisfy him in this point, one day fell into a dead sleep in the school, where the young men were performing their several exercises: and on the sudden he starts up in a great fright, and a great sweat, crying out, Teto'opiat oot, I believe thee, O Tyanaeus. And being asked by his companions the meaning of his transport: Why, says he, do you not see Apollonius 2 They answer him, No ; but they would be glad to give all the world if they could. It is true, says he; for he only appears to me, and for my satisfaction, and he is invisible to all others. And then he tells them what he had said to him in his sleep concerning the state of souls. This pool account of a dream and vision of an over-watched boy, is all that this great story affords to vie with our Saviour's resurrection.” ‘And now, upon the review of this whole history, it seems evident to me, that this man was so far from being endowed with any extraordinary divine power, that he does not deserve the reputation of an ordinary conjurer: for though Huetius has taken some pains to prove him so, yet he gives no evidence of it beside the opinion of the common people; and if that were enough to make a conjurer, there is no man of an odd and singular humour (as Apollonius affected to be) who is not so thought of by P L. viii. cap. 31. p. 370, 371. Y O Le VII. 2 L
‘the common people. And therefore, when he was accused for it before Domitian, the emperor, upon coming to hear the cause, slighted both him and his accusers, and dismissed him from the court for an idle and fantastic fellow.” “And it is manifest from the whole series of his history, that he was a very vain man, and affected to be thought something extraordinary; and so wandered all the world over in an odd garb to be gazed at and admired, and made himself considerable in that age by wit, impudence, and flattery; of all which he had a competent share. And for his wonder-working faculty which he would needs pretend to, he fetched that as far off as the East Indies, that is, the farthest off, as he thought, from confutation: and yet the account which he has given of those parts is so grossly a fabulous, that that alone convicts his whole life of imposture and impudence.” “And this may suffice to make good this part of the demonstration of our Saviour's divine authority, from the certain evidence both of his own and his apostles' miracles, and to set it above the reach of all manner either of ob‘jection or competition.” That is the whole of the article of Dr. Parker concerning Apollonius: whence it appears, that the history of him in Philostratus is fabulous, and not to be relied upon : and that Apollonius was not so considerable a person as some have imagined. And I hope I may say, that these observations of Dr. Parker do in a great measure confirm those which have been before proposed by me.
* That is a just and valuable observation, and is fully verified by the second and third books of Philostratus's Life of Apollonius.
H. An introduction to the history of this persecution. II. The civil state of the empire at that time. III. General accounts of this persecution taken from ancient authors. IV. The date of it, and the several edicts then published against the christians. W. The sufferings of the christians at that time. VI. The edict of Maasimian Galerius in their favour in the year 81 I. VII. How the persecution was still carried on by Maarimin in the East. VIII. How Constantine overcame Maa’entius at Rome in 312, and he and Licinius in the same year published their first edict in favour of the christians. IX. JMaarimian's letter to Sabinus in favour of the christians in 312. X. The second edict of Constantine and Licinius in favour of the christians. XI. JMaarimin is overcome by Licinius, pubIisheth a new edict in favour of the christians, and dies. XII. Two ancient inscriptions concerning Dioclesian's persecution. XIII. Concluding observations upon this persecution.
I. IT is not my intention to write at length a history of the persecution which began in the reign of Dioclesian, or to give an account of all who suffered at that time; but I shall refer to several ancient authors who have given a general account of it, and shall take some remarkable events from Eusebius, and from Lactantius or Caecilius, and whoever is the author of the book concerning the Deaths of Persecutors. I shall likewise take particular notice of the several edicts which were then published against the christians, and the edicts published in their favour by Constantine and Licinius, and others: to all which may be added some remarks.
Eusebius, begins the eighth book of his Ecclesiastical History in this manner: “It is beyond our abilities fully “to declare how great credit the doctrine concerning the “worship of the God over all, which had been published to “ the world by Christ, was in with all men, both Greeks and “barbarians, before the persecution which happened in our
* Euseb. H. E. l. viii. cap. 1. p. 291,292.
‘time. However there are these evidences of it; for such ‘ was the favour of the emperors toward our people, that “some of them were intrusted by them with the government of provinces, at the same time excusing them from the necessity of offering sacrifices, out of respect to our religion. What need have I to mention the many who were in the palaces of the emperors? by whom not only they, but likewise their wives, and children, and servants, were allowed to live openly according to the principles of their religion ; and who were preferred to others for their fidelity. Among these I may particularly mention" Dorotheus, who was advanced above the most honourable magistrates and governors of provinces: to whom I might add the excellent Gorgonius, and divers others, who attained to the like glory, and who, like them, strictly adhered to the doctrine of the word of God. And great respect was shown to the presidents of the churches, not only by private persons, but also by procurators and governors of provinces. Great multitudes of men daily embraced the faith of Christ: assemblies in the places of prayer were numerous: and not contented with the old edifices, they erected from the foundation in every city spacious buildings. Thus they went on continually increasing till they had provoked the divine displeasure.” For, as he goes on to acknowledge, this liberty and prosperity had produced looseness of manners and carelessness about their conduct: and there were contentions among the presidents of the churches, and the people were divided into factions. Thus writes Eusebius, somewhat oratorically as must be owned : nevertheless, I believe, very truly. And I have thought fit to take this his preface for my Introduction to the account of this persecution: for it is a testimony to the great progress of the christian religion, and shows what was at that time the state of things among the professors of it. II. And as it is needful to have some notion of the civil state of the empire at that time, I shall here briefly rehearse some things, which were formerly shown more at large in another" place. Dioclesian, born at Dioclea, an obscure town in Dalmatia, was proclaimed emperor on the 17th day of September, in
the year of Christ 284. On the first day of April, in 286,
." Those two great men had the honour to suffer martyrdom in the beginning of this persecution, being put to death by strangling. Euseb. H. E. l. viii, cap. 6. p. 297. * See Vol. iv. p. 7–14.
Maximian, called Herculius, born near Sirmium in Pannonia, who had been Caesar some while before, was declared Augustus, and joint emperor with Dioclesian. On the first day of March 292, Constantius Chlorus and Galerius Maximian were created Caesars by the two forementioned emperors: and the better to secure the fidelity of the Caesars, new marriages were concluded for them. Constantius, dismissing Helena, mother of Constantine, married Claudia Theodora, daughter-in-law of Maximian Herculius; and Galerius Maximian married Valeria, daughter of Dioclesian. Constantius, the first of the two Caesars, is highly commended by Eusebius; and has likewise a good character in heathen authors. By Claudia Theodora, whom he now married, he had several sons and daughters. Under those two emperors and their two Caesars, in the year 303, began what is called Dioclesian's persecution, which lasted ten years or more, in some parts of the empire, before it was extinguished. In the year 305 Dioclesian and Maximian Herculius resigned the empire, both" on the same day, the first of May; the former at a place near Nicomedia, the other at Milan. At the same time Constantius Chlorus and Galerius Maximian were declared august and emperors, and Maximin and Severus Caesars. Dioclesian after that spent the remainder of his days near Salonae in Dalmatia, and died in 313. Maximian Herculius retired for the present into that part of Italy which was called Lucania. The empire was then divided between Constantius and Galerius and their Caesars: Constantius had for his part Italy, Gaul, Britain, Africa, and the other provinces of the western part of the empire: Galerius had Illyricum, Thrace, Asia, and the East, with Egypt. Constantius soon quitted Italy, and the other provinces belonging to him, and gave them to Severus, contenting himself with Gaul and Britain. Galerius too kept only Illyricum, Thrace, and Asia, yielding to Maximin the East, that is, Syria, with the provinces depending upon it, together with Egypt. to Constantius died at York in Britain on July 25, in the year 306: and upon his death-bed appointed his son Constantine, who was with him, his heir and successor, with the
* Utergue ună die privato habitu imperii insigne mutavit, Nicomediae Diocletianus, Herculius Mediolani. Concesserunt autem Salonas unus, alter in Lucaniam. Diocletianus in villá, quae haud procul a Salonis est, præclaro otio Senuit, inusitatà virtute usus, &c. Eutrop. l. ix. cap. 27, et 28, Conf. Victor. de Caesar. cap. 39. et Victor. Epit. cap. 39.