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Eusebius/Earliest Biblical Historian besides Josephus/Tells the story of how the churchcame2be



  • luke1733luke1733 Posts: 1,490 ✭✭✭✭
    He and his army were wiped out by the Armenians,l while people in the cities under his rule were so ravaged by famine and plague that 2,500 Attic drachmas were given for a single measure of wheat. Countless numbers died in the cites and even more in the villages and countryside. rural registers that were once full of names now were all but obliterated, since lack of food and disease destroyed almost the entire pop'l at the same time. Some bartered their most precious possessions for the smallest scrap of food from those better supplied, while others sold their things little by little until they were reduced to desperation. Still others ruined their health and died from chewing wisps of hay and rashly eating poisonous herbs. As for the women, some ladies of the urban aristocracy were forced to beg shamelessly in the marketplaces, their embarrassment and their clothing revealing a noble upbringing.
    Some, shriveled like ghosts of the departed, staggered about until they fell down, and as they lay in the middle of the streets they would beg for a small scrap of bread and, with their last gasp, cry out that they were hungry-anyhthing more than this anguished cry was beyond them. The wealthier classes, astonished at themass of beggars they were helping, changed to a hard and merciless attitude, since they assumed that before long they would be no better off. In the middle of the city squares and narrow lanes, naked bodies lay scattered about unburied for days on end. Some were eaten by dogs, for which reason the living began killing dogs, for fear they might go mad and start devouring people. No less horrible was the plague that infected every house, especially those that had survived the famine b/c they were well stocked with food. The affluent, rulers, governors, and numerous officials, as if intentionally left by the famine for the plague, suffered a sudden, bitter death. Moaning was heard everywher, and funeral processions were seen in every lane, square, and street, with the usual flute playing and breast beating. Death, waging war with the two weapons of plague and famine, quickly devoured whole families, so that two or three bodies might be removed for burial in a single funeral procession.
    Such was the recompense for Maximin's arrogant boasting and the cities' petitions against us, while the zeal and piety of the Christians were obvious to the heathen. In this awful adversity they alone gave practical proof of their sympathy and humanity. All day long some of the Christians tended to the dying and to their burial, countless numbers with no one to care for them. Others gathered together from all parts of the city a multitude of those withered from famine and distributed bread to them all, so that their deeds were on everyone's lips, and they glorified the God of the Christians. Such actions convinced them that they alone were pious and truly reverent to God.

    *I think this began to give Christians credibility. For some reason the turn the other cheek verse comes to mind.*

    Sometimes God scourged his people and in due time corrected them through trials, but after enough chastening he showed mercy and kindness to those who had hope in him.

  • luke1733luke1733 Posts: 1,490 ✭✭✭✭
    Constantine declared war on Maxentius and Licinius declared war on Maximin.
    Constantine prayed to Jesus. He attacked the 1st,2nd,and 3rd of Maxentius forces and easily defeated them, and then advanced across Italy into Rome.What was once deemed mythical and unbelievable by most but credible to believers happened. The Christian drove the tyrants out of Rome and flung them to the sea.
    [Ex.15:4-5] the chariots of Pharaoh and his forces he cst into the sea; His chosen horsemen, his captains were sunk in the Red Sea; The sea covered them.
    In the same way, Maxentius and his armed guards and pikemen went down into the depths like a stone [Ex.15:5] when he turned back in the face of Constantine's God-given power and was crossing the river Tiber in his path, which he himself had well spanned by lashing boats together, and in so doing prepared a device for his own destruction. So it might be said:
    [Ps.7:15-16] He made a pit and dug it and shall fall into the ditch he made. His effort shall rebound onto his own head, and his wickedness shall come down on his own crown.

    Similarly, when the bridge of boats broke up, the crossing of the river collapsed, and the boats, men, and all went down into the deep at once, first Maxentius, the the shield bearers around him sank like lead in the mighty waters.

    After this, Constantine and the emperor Licinius, whose mind was not yet deranged by the madness that later possessed him, acknowledging God as the Author of all their success, drew up a most precise ordinance in the most complete terms in behalf of the Christians. Then they sent a report of the magnificent things that God had done for them, of their victory over the tyrant, and the ordinance itself to Maximin, who still ruled the eastern provinces and pretended to be their friend.

    Jovius Maximinus Augustus to Sabinus. It must be obvious to Your Firmness and to everyone that our masters Diocletian and Maximian, our fathers, when they noted that almost everyone had abandoned the worship of the gods and affiliated with the tribe of the Christians, justifiably ordered that all who deserted the worship of the immortal gods should be called back to the worship of the gods by public correction and punishment.
    **basically this is his attempt to say he tried to change his citizens minds from turning to christianity by giving them the choice to turn from christianity and don't be nice to christians or be put to death and tortured to death* *He goes on to lie about what he told the judges*
    I returned so boldly to the East for the first time and learned that at certain places many Christians who could serve the public were being exiled by judges for their faith, I ordered each of the judges that henceforth none was to deal harshly with the provincials but instead to recall them to the worship of the gods through cajolery and persuasion. The judges followed my directives, and no one in the eastern sectors was either exiled or insulted but rather recalled to the worship of the gods, since no harsh treatment was accorded them.
    **He goes on to blame the erecting of statues and images on the people begging him not to allow Christianity to flourish. The truth is what was written above, which is that he set forth an edict stating he would reward and set up statues to honor people who tortured Christians and turned Christians in to the gov't to be killed**
    Last year, however, when I had gone boldly to Nicomedia, citizens there approached me with images of the gods and a plea that under no circumstances should such people be allowed to live in their city. But when I learned that many of this religion lived in that very district, I replied that I was pleased and thanked them for their request but noted that it was not unanimous.Therefore, if some persisted in this superstition of Christianity, let each do as he wished and acknowledge the worship of the gods if they so desired. Nevertheless, to the Nicomedians and the other cities that have so earnestly pleaded that no Christian live in their cities, I was obliged to give a friendly reply, because the emperors of old had observed this principle and it pleased the gods themselves, by whom all people and state gov't itself exist, that I should confirm such a request made in behalf of the worship of their deity.
    Therefore, if anyone resolves to worship the gods, welcome such people; but if some wish to follow their won worship, you should leave it up to them. Your Dedication should carefully accede to these orders and give no one authority to harass our provincials with insults and blackmail, since, as stated, it is better to coax and persuade them back to the worship of the gods. And so that our provincials may learn of our mandate, you must publish wheat we have commanded in an edict of your own.
  • luke1733luke1733 Posts: 1,490 ✭✭✭✭
    *Eusebius writes*
    pg.333Since he issued these orders under compulsion and not of his own free will, it ws now clear to all that he ws neither truthful nor trustworthy, for after making a similar concession on a former occasion, he had proven to be a changeable hypocrite. So none of our people dared to convene a meeting or appear in public, since the letter did not permit even this, stipulating only that we be shielded from harsh treatment but with no directives regarding meetings, building churches, or performing any of our regular activities. And yet the defenders of peace and piety, Constantine and Licinius, had written him to permit these very things and granted them to all their subjects through edicts and laws. Indeed, this irreverent wretch had determined not to give in on this issue-until divine justice forced him to do so against his will.
    *Here is what happened to Maximin*
    He was unable to manage the vast gov't. He was arrogant among his own colleagues in the empire. He proclaimed himself publicly first in rank. He broke the treaty he had with Licinius and brought on war. He created confusion, threw every city into turmoil, formed an immense army and marched out to fight Licinius; his hopes placed in demons (whom he regarded as gods!).
    When the armies clashed, he lost to Licinius. The heavy infantry in which he had trusted was destroyed first, and when his bodyguard deserted him and went over to his conqueror, the wretched man quickly discarded the imperial insignia that so ill suited him, and in cowardly and unmanly fashion slipped into the crowd. He fled this way and that hiding in villages.
    When Maximin returned to his own territory he continued his rage. First, he executed many priests and prophets of the gods whom he had once revered and whose oracles had induced him to declare war, on the ground that they were charlatans and impostors and betrayers of his safety. Next, he gave glory to the God of the Christians and drew up a decree granting them full and final liberty. Shortly afterward, his life ended in a painful death. Before he died he enacted a law on behalf of Christians.
    This is the ordinance of Maximin:
    So that in the future all suspicion or doubt due to fear may be eliminated, we have decreed that this ordinance be promulgated, clarifying to all that those who wish to follow this sect and worship are free to do so as each wishes and desires, in accordance with this our boon, and to join in the religious rites he was accustomed and desired to practice. Permission to build "the Lord's houses" has also been granted them. In addition, so that our bounty may be still greater, we decree this also: if any houses or lands that once belonged to the Christians have through command of our predecessors been added to the public treasury or been confiscated by any city-whether these have been sold off or conferred on anyone as a gift-all these shall through our command be restored to the Christians as the former legal owners, so that all may appreciate our piety and concern here also.
    *Eusebius writes*
    PG.335Yet his death was not that of generals who fight bravely for virtue and friends before fearlessly meeting a glorious end in battle but as an impious enemy of God, hiding at home while his army still held the field. All at once God's scourge struck his entire body, and he fell prone in terrible pain and agony. He withered from hunger, his flesh was consumed by an invisible fire, and his bodily shape dissolved into an assortment of dry bones, like some phantom reduced over time to a skeleton, so that attendants could only think that his body had become the tomb of his soul, interred in what was now a corpse. As his fever burned hotter, his eyes protruded and fell from their sockets, leaving him blind. Even in this condition he still breathed and made confession to the Lord, pleading for death. After acknowledging that he justly suffered for his ferocity against Christ, he breathed his last.
    All partisans of Maximin were executed in particular those high in gov't who had violently persecuted our teaching to coddle him. All the statues that had been erected in his honor were similarly toppled and shattered.
    Justice also summoned Theotecnus, determined that what he did to the Christians should never be forgotten. After he had et up the idol at Antioch, he seemed to enjoy great success and, indeed, was awarded a governorship by Maximin. But when Licinius came to Antioch, he made a search for impostors and tortured the prophets and priests of the new idol to find out how they contrived their frauds. When, under torture, they revealed that the entire mystery was a deception contrived by Theotecnus, Licinius inflicted a long series of tortures on them and put them to death, first THeotecnus and then his partners in fraud.
    To these were added the sons of Maximin.
    When the impious were thus removed, the rule that belonged to them was preserved secure and undisputed for Constantine and Licinius alone. They had made it their priority to purge the world of hostility to God, and, acknowledging the blessings he had conferred on them, they showed their love of virtue and of God, their devotion and gratitude to the Deity, through their edict in behalf of the Christians.
    *Below are the words of the commentator in Eusebius's book*
    pg.339 After the great victory of Constantine at the Milvian Bridge, north of Rome, the edict of toleration in 313 stood as the usual popular benchmark for the end of persecution.
    In the summer of 312, Constantine invaded Italy with an army inferior in number to Maxentius's but with better training. And in probably the most pivotal decision in Roman history, Constantine placed himself and his forces under the protection of the Christian God. Eusebius claims that he was responding to the vision of a cross of light that he and his army had seen one afternoon on the march, followed by a dream in which Christ appeared to him.
    When the city populace rioted against Maxentius, Maxentius trusted a pagan oracle predicting that "the enemy of the Romans would perish" and marched his forces out of the city to meet Constantine, crossing the Tiber by means of a bridge of boats. And so, on October 28,312, they fought the battle of the Milvian Bridge, one of the most momentous events in church or secular history. Maxentius's forces were losing to Constantine and his troops tried fleeing back toward the severed Milvian Bridge in disarray, so many of them crowding onto the bridge of boats that it collapsed and thousands drowned, including Maxentius. The victor, probably a convert to Christianity even before the battle but certainly after it, deemed himself the servant that God had chosen to convert the Roman Empire to the Christian faith.
  • luke1733luke1733 Posts: 1,490 ✭✭✭✭
    PG.343 Written by narrator
    Now only a dyarchy was left: Constantine supreme in the West and Licinius in the East, a truce that persisted for the next eleven years. Their relations, however, deteriorated when Licinius became devoted to the cult of Sol Invictus (**This is the cult that the video game Assassin's Creed mentions, and I think the one that many people try to claim to the Illluminati- which has become a modern day spectacle of folly to those who wish to believe in it its existence. Basically those that believe in it think every secret organization that does exist also is in bed with the Illuminati which does not exist; but others can waste their time on believing that to the point of making it exist.) and began persecuting Christians again, claiming that he was unsure of their loyalty. Constantine attacked Licinius victoriously at Adrianople in July,324 and again in September at Chrysopolis. Honoring the pleas of his sister who married Licinius, Constantine spared Licinius's life and exiled him to Thessalonica, but the following year he was executed on a charge of rebellion. Constantine now ruled as sole Augustus of a reunited Roman Empire until his death in 337.
    pg. 350- Written by Eusebius
    Thus Jesus Christ our Savior is the only person in history to be acknowledged-even by earth's most exalted-not as an ordinary human king but worshipped as the true Son of the God of the universe and as himself God.
    pg. 353
    [Prov.3:12] "for whom the Lord loves, he chastens, and he whips every son whom he acknowledges."
    pg. 361
    Imperial Ordinance/Decree from Constantine and Licinius:
    We have decided to explain this very thoroughly to Your Diligence, so that you may know that we have granted to these same Christians free and limitless permission to practice their own form of worship. And when you note that we have granted them this permission unrestrictedly, Your Dedication will understand that permission has also been given to others who wish to follow their own observance and form of worship-something clearly in accord with the tranquility of our times-so that everyone may have authority to choose and practice whatever form he wishes. This we have done so that we might not appear to have belittled any rite or form of worship in any way.
    pg. 361
    Imperial Ordinance/Decree from Constantine and Licinius:
    We have decided to explain this very thoroughly to Your Diligence, so that you may know that we have granted to these same Christians free and limitless permission to practice their own form of worship. And when you note that we have granted them this permission unrestrictedly, Your Dedication will understand that permission has also been given to others who wish to follow their own observance and form of worship-something clearly in accord with the tranquility of our times-so that everyone may have authority to choose and practice whatever form he wishes. This we have done so that we might not appear to have belittled any rite or form of worship in any way
    Copy of another imperial statute: Showing that the favor was granted only to the catholic church.
    Greetings, our most honored Anulinus. In keeping with our benevolence, we desire that whatever belongs by right to another should not only suffer no harm but even be restored. Therefore it is our wish that when you receive this letter you will arrange that if any of the property that belonged to the catholic church of the Christians in any city or place is now in the possession either of citizens or any others, that these should be restored immediately to these same churches, inasmuch as we have determined that whatever belonged to these same churches should rightfully be restored to them. Since, therefore, Your Loyalty notes that the intention of this our command is perfectly clear, you must earnestly se to it that e/thing-gardens, buildings, or whatever-that rightfully belonged to these same churches be restored to them as soon as possible, so that we may learn of your most careful compliance with this our command. Farewell, most honored and
    esteemed Anulinus.
  • luke1733luke1733 Posts: 1,490 ✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2013
    *Words of Eusebius
    Licinius was honored with emperorship at a time of prosperity, second to the great Constantine, and had become related through marriage to Constantine’s sister. Yet he abandoned the example of good men and imitated the wicked folly of impious tyrants, preferring to follow those whose end he had seen with his own eyes rather than remain in friendship and esteem with his superior. He waged an unholy and total war, paying no respect to the laws of nature, sworn treaties, ties of blood, or pledges. Constantine, did not begrudge him kinship or refuse giving his sister over to him. He, thought Licinius worthy to be joint emperor and conferred with him as a brother-in-law and shared in sovereign power and equal rule over lands under Roman control.
    Licinius dismayed every Christian from his household. Next, he ordered that city by city, soldiers be singled out and stripped of their rank if they failed to sacrifice to demons. He decreed that no one should treat humanely those suffering in prison by giving them food or take pity on those in chains who were starving to death. Those who showed pity should suffer the same punishment as those whom they pitied, and those who provided human assistance should be chained and imprisoned to share the punishment of those enduring it. Such were the ordinances of Licinius.
    He separated wedded wives and handed them over to vile members of his household for insult and humiliation. He satisfied his lusts with them.
    He took action against bishops by plotting against them and secretly putting them to death. Some of the churches were torn down again while others were locked up to prevent any of the worshipers from meeting and giving God the service due him.
    The reason he did this was because he did not think their prayers were offered on his behalf-the reasoning of a guilty conscience. Convinced that they were doing what Licinius wanted, sycophants among the governors arrested entirely innocent bishops as if they were criminals and executed them, without pretext, like murderers. Some suffered more novel form of death: their bodies were cut into many pieces by a sword, and then, after this brutal, horrifying spectacle, they were thrown into the depths of the sea as fish food. This caused the men of God to flee again, and once more the fields, deserts, valleys, and mountains welcomed the servants of Christ.
    Constantine saw Licinius’s declaration of war and rushed in to conquer his army and did so with his son Crispus. People now lost all fear of their former oppressors and celebrated brilliant festivals-light was everywhere-and men who once were dejected greeted each other with smiling faces and sparkling eyes.
    And so all tyranny was eradicated, and the kingdom that was theirs was preserved, secure and undisputed, for Constantine and his sons alone. They, having first cleansed the world of hatred to God and knowing all the good He had conferred on them, showed their love of virtue and of God, their devotion and gratitude to the Almighty, by their actions for all to see.
    Pg.373*The narrator/commentator states the criticisms against Constantine that Eusebius does not mention*
    Constantine according to Jacob Burckhardt used Christianity not because he was a convicted Christian but as a strategy for partisan support to serve his personal ambitions. Constantine retained pontifex maximus of Roman paganism, the Sol Invictus emblem on his coinage, his public subsidies to the cults of ancient paganism at Rome, the executions in his own household, and the delay in his baptism until his deathbed.
    *Back to the commentator’s commentary:*
    Most historians conclude that Constantine’s conversion was genuine. Constantine felt that he had to be emperor for all Roman citizens, including the pagan majority, and he put no stock in his role as high priest. Pagan emblems on his coinage ceased after several years. The execution of his son Crispus and the suicide of his wife, Fausta, are mysterious tragedies that have never been solved. Constantine’s personal and domestic life did not always reflect Christian ideals, but not more so than we might expect from a ruler involved in a transition from paganism to Christianity. And delaying one’s baptism until the end of life in order to purge all previous sins was a convention at that time, however mistaken theologically.
    Constantine gave Christian clergy dramtic legal advantages, immunities, and exemptions in the Roman state, while bishops regularly dined at his table and accompanied his entourages. He built and restored churches, restored property. He supported Christian charities, prescribed Sunday as a holy day.
    Constantine founded Constantinople.
    Pg.378In 1972, Professor Schlomo Pines of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem announced his discovery of an Arabic manuscript of Josephus written by the 10thcentury Melkite historian Agapius, in which the passage in question translates as follows:
    At this time there was a wise man called Jesus, and his conduct was good, and he was known to be virtuous. Many people among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. But those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them 3 days after his crucifixion and that he was alive. Accordingly, he was perhaps the Messiah, concerning whom the prophets have reported wonders. And the tribe of the Christians, so named after him, has not disappeared to this day.
  • luke1733luke1733 Posts: 1,490 ✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2013
    whew! Finished. That was a lot of typing. I'm not gonna do anymore threads on Christianity to this degree again, but I just wanted to show the history, documentation from thousands of years ago, and the facts about what Christianity stands for and how it came into being according to the second to oldest historian who wrote about it and whom included over 100 references from his day of living rulers, priests, and citizens. This isn't written to convince anyone of being a Christian. That's the spirit's job and not mine. If you think it was written for that purpose, then please reread the sentence before the previous sentence again.It is a source of information that shows only one thing continuously....and that is that Christianity was not a made up religion and that these people did EXIST. The rest is up to the reader, but denying Martin Luther King died or that the Holocaust happened just because a lot of time passed is ignorance beyond evil when so many died the way you've read about to do nothing more than die, die, die so that others would only be able to say this-Christianity happened and it was based on hundreds of thousands of people dying for it to be taken seriously as the truth. Many other religions and their people die before they'd curse their God or they die for their religion itself as martyrs. It is one thing to die to protect your leader or die fighting to defend yourself against people murdering those of your religion, but very few people die when presented a question of "Was [insert name of any religion here] brought back from the dead?" Then hundreds of thousands and some witnesses lay their life to this claim. It's the weirdness of that question--that is posed to a person of any intelligence that is concerning. Religious people lay lives down for beliefs in a virtue system believed to be divine, but not, not, ever in history recorded for an individual that was said to die.....then after everyone stopped believing in him as a prophet--and still not being willing to die for that individual's NAME---then turn around and wait until he is seen by many after his death and public crucifixion; and then those people who formerly would never have died for him under the lie that he came back from the dead (a belief nobody before his death knew would happen) all of a sudden on a whim take on the conviction of spreading the word that he came back from the dead only due to the fact that they walked with him and ate with him and spoke to him; and after his death Jesus had other teachings he taught. Then after this was done, then, then, and only then did the people truly understand who he was and take on the desire to be willing to die for the fact that they saw and stated they saw him come back from the dead and spent days with him and the threat of death and all the horrors of how they died could not convince them to say anything other than what they saw or a loved-one saw. This was due to an individual; an individual that more than any other former person [or anybody in the present 2013] termed Christ became world-renowned for having the title Christ attached to his name. Some of these Christian witnesses did not die for faith, but they died for the one who died for them simply because they would not refute saying that they believed in what they or their ancestors saw which was the resurrection. This later turned into the faith, religion (as people wrote what they saw and heard from him and his apostles as Jesus was living, dead, and resurrected)--Christianity.
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