« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
* to cover almost the whole earth with shame and dis* honour.” Then after some other things he adds: “Let men now look into the open fields, and see the flourishing ‘corn waving its full ears: let them see the meadows bedecked with plants and flowers, they having been watered with seasonable rain: let them observe the calm and agreeable temperance of the air. Let all men therefore henceforth rejoice, that by your piety and respect for the sacred rites of religion, the deity of the most valiant and most potent Mars has been appeased; and that they may now securely enjoy the benefits of a profound and delightful peace. And as many as have forsaken that blind error, and intricate maze of vanity, and are returned to a right and sound mind, let them rejoice abundantly, as men delivered from a dangerous tempest, or a grievous disease, and have now before them the prospect of a plea“sant and comfortable life for time to come. But if any still persist in their vain and detestable folly, let them be expelled far away from your city and country as you have desired; that thus, conformably to your laudable care in this matter, your city being purged from all defilement and wickedness, you may, according to your own genuine disposition, with all due veneration and solemnity, perform the sacred rites of the immortal gods. And that you may know how grateful this your petition has been to me, and that without decrees, and without petitions, I am of myself forward to encourage well disposed minds; we permit you to ask the greatest benefit you can ask, as a reward of so religious a purpose. Take care that you ask immediately, and that you receive what you ask, for you shall obtain it without delay. Which benefit bestowed upon your city, shall be henceforward throughout all time a monument of “ your devout piety for the immortal gods, and shall declare ‘to your children and posterity, that you have received ‘ from our hands a recompence of your love and virtue.”” These petitions from the cities to Maximin, Eusebius, in a place before quoted, elegantly calls ‘ embassies to himself,’ they having been solicited by his agents in those cities. Caecilius " also has taken notice of these petitions, and expresseth himself much after the same manner, saying, that these petitions from the cities were procured by himself. Eusebius, having exhibited the above rescript taken from
" In primis indulgentiam christianis communi tutelä datam tollit, subordinatis legationibus civitatum, quae peterent, ne intra civitates suas christianis conventicula extruere liceret, ut quasi coactus et impulsus facere videretur quoderat sponte facturus, De M. P. cap. 36.
the tables at Tyre, goes on : * This " rescript against us was “set up on pillars in every province, and as far as it was in ‘the power of man, shut us out of all comfortable hopes: so ‘ that according to that divine oracle, “if it were possible, ‘ even the elect themselvés would be offended.”” These and other things do certainly show the bitter spirit of heathenism at that time: and these edicts, and the hard usage which the christians met with in consequence of them, are sufficient to satisfy us, that the heathen people did their utmost to extirpate christianity; and if it had been in the power of man, they would have actually destroyed it. The sufferings of christians at that time, in that part of the empire which was subject to Maximin, were then very grievous. Teliverance was very desirable, and it was near at hand. VIII. Constantine overcame Maxentius at Rome on the 28th day of October, in the year 312. “And,’ as Eusebius says, “ soon " after that, Constantine, and Licinius, who was colleague in the empire with him, having first adored and praised God, who had been the author of these successes and of all the good that had happened, did with one mind and consent enact a full and comprehensive edict in favour of the christians; and then sent it to Maximin, who ruled in the eastern parts of the empire, and who pretended friendship for them. Though Maximin was extremely uneasy about it, he could not refuse it : and now first,’ as Eusebius says, “he sent an edict to the presidents in favour ‘ of the christians, and as of his own proper motion, though ‘really out of necessity and against his will.” IX. That edict of Constantine and Licinius, which Euse bius calls a “full and complete law, is not now extant. It was published, as may be supposed, at Rome, in the month of November, 312, and then sent to Maximin, who then immediately published a Letter to Sabinus in favour of the christians, which now follows in Eusebius.
.4% copy of the Translation of the letter of the Emperor
‘Jovius Maximin Augustus to Sabinus. It is, I am per‘suaded, well known to yourself, and to all men, how that
* Ubi supr. p. 354. C.
" Kal &m stri Tetouc avrog rs Køv-avruvoc kat ovv avtop Baqi)\evç Atkivvuog 6sov Tow Tov ayaôov &Travrov avroug atrion, evpswigavrég apopo, pug 38Xy kau yvoup, wouov Útsp Xpt=tavov TsAstorarov TAmpsoara &larvTavrat. K. A. H. E.
l. ix. cap. 9. p. 360. * Ibid. p. 360, 361.
our lords and fathers Dioclesian and Maximian, when they saw that almost all mankind were forsaking the worship of the gods, and going over to the sect of the christians, did rightly ordain, that y all men who had forsaken the worship of their immortal gods, should be called back again to the worship of the gods by public pains and penalties. But when I first of all happily came into the East, and perceived that great numbers of men who might be useful to the public, were for the fore-mentioned cause banished by the judges into several places, I gave orders, that for the future none of them should be severe toward the people of their province, but rather endeavour to reduce them to the worship of the gods by fair words and good usage. So long therefore as my orders were obeyed by the judges, no men in the eastern parts were banished or otherwise ill treated : and by reason of the mildness of the treatment given to them, they were the more disposed to return to the worship of the gods. But after that, when I the last year happily entered into Nicomedia, the citizens of that place came to me with the images of the gods, earnestly entreating me, that by all means none of that sect might be at all permitted to dwell in their country. But as I knew that a great many of that religion were in those parts, I returned them this answer: That I willingly granted their petition, but I did not perceive that the thing was desired by all: if therefore there were any who persisted in their superstition, every one should, according to his own discretion, choose as he saw fit; and if they would embrace the worship of the gods they might. At the same time I was under a necessity to give a favourable answer to the citizens of Nicomedia, and to the other cities, who also had presented to me the like petitions, that none of the christians might live in their cities, the rather because this had never been allowed by the former emperors; and moreover it was pleasing to the gods themselves, by whom all men and the public weal subsist. Upon all these accounts, I was under a necessity to grant their request in behalf of the worship of the gods. Wherefore, though I have often before, both by letters, and by word of mouth, recommended to you, that nothing grievous should be done to this sect in the provinces, but that they should be treated with mildness and gentleness: yet ‘ that no injury may be done to them by any of the inferior
* -opowcôtarstaxevat, travrag av000Treg Tag atro Tng Tov avrov Sewy Tow a0avarov Špmokstag avaxopjgavrac. Tooën Xq, KoMagst rat ripwpig sig Tnv Spmokétav row 0sov avakxj9mvat. p. 360.
officers, I have thought it needful now by these letters again to remind you, that by fair words and good usage, you should induce the people of our government to acknowledge the providence of the gods. Therefore if any of their own accord embrace the worship of the gods, they ought to be cheerfully received; but if any will still adhere to their own religion, you are to leave them in their own power. You are therefore carefully to observe these orders; nor let any one be permitted to oppress the people of our government by fines, or other hardships: and that this our edict may be known to all men in the provinces, you are to publish it with a decree also set forth ‘ by yourself.” This edict of Maximin is supposed to have been published before the end of the year 312. Eusebius having alleged, this edict goes on to say: “These * orders being published by him from a kind of compulsion, and not according to the sense of his own mind, he was not reckoned to be sincere or worthy to be trusted; and the rather, because after publishing a like indulgence, he had showed himself to be deceitful and perfidious. Therefore none of our people dared to assemble together for worship, nor to show themselves abroad openly. Nor indeed did the edict in express terms allow of this, but only that we might be secure from violence and bad treatment: it did not empower us to meet together, nor to build houses for our worship, nor to perform any of those solemn acts of religion which are customary among us; though Constantine and Licinius, those patrons of peace and religion, had particularly signified in their letters to him, that such things had been granted by them, and they were expressed in the laws set forth to the view of all men. But that wicked wretch would not yield yet; nor till at last, when, pursued by the divine vengeance, he was compelled ‘to do it against his will.” X. Constantine did not stay long at home after his victory over Maxentius, but before the end of the year 312, or in the beginning of 313, he went thence to Milan, where he gave his sister Constantia in marriage to Licinius: and there these two emperors now set forth a second edict in favour of the christians; which is preserved in Eusebius" in Greek, and is in Caecilius" in Latin, excepting that he has omitted
* Postea refert Eusebius epistolam quam Maximinusad Sabinum Praefectum Praetorii Sui scripsit, quamdue currenti anno datam esse, non vero anno insequenti, ut multi eruditi credidere, ex dictis liquet. Pagi ann. 312. xv.
* Ibid. p. 362. "H. E. l. x. cap. 5. p. 388, &c. * De M. P. cap. 48.
the introduction, or preamble. I shaJI, as I did in amother instance, translate the Greek of Eusebius, and place the Latin from Cæcilius at the bottom of the pages. * Now,' says ' Eusebius, * I shall allege the imperial con* stitutions of Constantine and Licinius, translated from the * Latin.' * * Having been long since convinced, that the freedom of * religion ought not to be restrained, but that leave should * be givem to every one to follow the sense of his own mind * in things of religion, we have ordained, that as well all * others, as the christians, should adhere to that sect and * way of worship which they approve. But because in that * rescript where this liberty was gramted, many and divers * sects are expressly mamed, some possibly have desisted * from such worship. Wherefore,* when I Constantine Au
“ φερε δε λοιττον και των βaoi)\ικων διara&eov Ko/vsavruve και Atkivvvè tac εκ 'Pwpatwv ypa@mc pera\nq)0sto ac ἐρμηνετας ταραθωμεθα. lb. p. 388. A.
* Cum feliciter tam ego Constantinus Augustus, quam etiam Licinius Augustus apud Mediolanum convenissemus, atque universa, quæ ad commoda et securitatem publicam pertinerent, in tractu haberemus, hæc inter cætera, quæ videbamus pluribus hominibus profutura, vel in primis ordinanda esse credidimus, quibus divinitatis reverentia continebatur, ut daremus et christianis, et omnibus, liberam potestatem sequendi religionem, quam quisque voluisset: quod quidem divinitas in sede cœlesti, nobis atque omnibus, qui sub potestate nostrâ sunt constituti, placatum ac propitium possit existere. Itaque hoc consilio salubri, ac rectissimâ ratione ineundum esse credidimus, ut nulli omnino facultatem abnegandam putaremus, qui vel observationi christianorum, vel ei religioni mentem suam dederat, quam ipse aptissimam esse sentiret ; ut possit nobis summa divinitas, cujus religioni liberis mentibus obsequimur, in omnibus solitum favorem suum benevolentiamque præstare. Quare scire dicationem tuam convenit, placuisse nobis, ut amotis omnibus conditionibus, quæ prius scriptis ad officium tuum datis, super christianorum momine videbantur, nunc cavere, ac simpliciter unusquisque eorum, qui eandem observandæ religioni christianorum gerunt voluntatem, citra ullam inquietudinem ac molestiam sui idipsum observare contendant. Quæ solicitudini tuæ plenissime significanda esse credidimus, quo scires, nos liberam atque absolutam colendæ religionis suæ facultatem hisdem christianis dedisse. Quod cum hisdem a nobis indultum esse pervideas, intelligit dicatio tua etiam aliis religionis suæ vel observantiæ potestatem similiter apertam et liberam pro quiete temporis mostri esse concessam : ut in colenda quod quisque diligeret, habeat liberam facultatem, quas——honori neque cuiquam religioni aut aliquid a nobis. Atque hoc ipsum in personâ christianorum statuendum esse censuimus, quod si eadem loca, ad quæ antea convenire consueverant, de quibus etiam datis ad officium literis certa antehac forma fuerat comprehensa, priore tempore aliquid vel fisco nostro, vel ab alio quocumque videntur esse mercati, eadem christianis, sine pecuniâ, et sine ullâ pretii petitione, propositâ omni frustratione atque ambiguitate restituantur. Qui etiam dono fuerant consecuti, eadem similiter hisdem christianis quantocyus reddant etiam vel tui qui emerunt, vel qui dono erant consecuti, si putaverint de nostrâ benevolentiâ aliquid, Vicarium postulent, quo et ipsis per nostram clementiam consulatur. Quæ omnia corpori christianorum protinus per intercessionem tuam, ac sine morâ tradi oportebit. Et quomiam iidem christiani non in ea loca tantum, ad quæ convenire consueverunt,