TO THE POPE And all his MAGISTRATES And the PROTESTANTS, Here they and all Christendom may see the moderation of the Heathen Emperours to the Christians in the 650 years before there was a Pope, signified by their Letters following in the behalf of the Christians Liberty, which will rise up in Judgement against the Popes and their Em­perours, and his Magistrates, and most of the Pro­testants, as here you may see in the reading of their Declarations, and the straitnesse of the Orders of those called Christians now, and the largenesse of the Heathens then, as concerning liberty in the Spirit to worship God, and also here you may see the Heathen were more moderate to the Christians, then the Christians, so called, are one to another. Taken out of the Ten Persecutions.

LONDON, Printed for Thomas Simmons, at the sign of the Bull and Mouth near Aldersgate, 1661.

The Letter of Adrian the Emperor to Minutius Fundanus.

I Have received an Epistle written unto me from Great vol. page 37 in the third persecuti­on, an 140 Serenus Granius our right worthy and welbeloved whose office you do now execute; Therefore I think it not good to leave this matter without further advisement and circumspection to passe, least our Subjects be molested, and malicious Sycophants boldned and supported in their evil; wherefore if the Subjects of our Provinces do bring forth any accusa­tion before the Judge against the Christians, and can prove the thing they object against them, let them do the same and no more, and otherwise for the name onely, not to impeach them, nor to cry out against them; for so, more convenient it is, that if any man will be an accuser, you to take the accusation quietly and judge upon the same; Therefore, if any shall ac­cuse the Christians, and complain of them as Malefa­ctors, doing contrary to the Law, then give you judg­ment according to the quality of the crime; but not­withstanding whosoever upon spight and maliciousnesse shall commence or cavil against them, see you correct and punish that man for his inordinate and malicious dealing.

This was written above 500 years before there was a Pope, or universal Bishop in Rome.

The Epistle of Antonius Pius to the Commons of Asia.

Emperor and Caesar, Aurelius, Antonius, Augustus, Arminius, Pontifix Maximus, Tribune eleven times, Consul thrice,
unto the Commons of Asia, greeting,
page 37. Anno 140 in the 3d. persecuti­on.

I Am very certain that the gods have a care of this, that they which be such shall be known, and not [Page 4] lie hid, for they do punish them that will not worship them more than you, which so sore vex and trouble them, confirming thereby the opinion which they have conceived, and do conceive of you; that is, to be wic­ked men, for this is their joy and desire, that when they are accused, rather they covet to dye for their god then to live, whereby they are victorers, and do over­come you, giving rather their lives then to be obedi­ent to you, in doing that which you require of them; and here it shall not be inconvenient to advertize you of the Earthquakes which have and do happen among us, that when at the sight of them you tremble and are afraid, then confer your case with them, for they upon a sure confidence of their God, are bold and fearlesse, much more then you, who in all the time of this your ignorance, both do worship other gods, and neglect the Religion of Immortality, and such Chri­stians as worship him, them you do drive out and per­secute them unto death; of these and such like mat­ters many Presidents of our Provinces did write to our Father of famous memory heretofore, to whom he directed his answer again, willing them in no case to molest the Christians, except they were found in some trespasse prejudicial against the Empire of Rome; and to me also many there be, which write signifying their mind in like manner, to whom I have answered again to the same effect and manner as my Father did; where­fore if any hereafter shal offer any vexation or trouble to such, having no other cause, but onely for that they are such, let him that is impeached be released, and discharged free; Yea although he be found to be such (that is a Christian and let the accuser sustain the pu­nishment, &c.

This was written about 500 years before there was a Pope, on universal Bishop in Rome.

Marcus Aurelius Antonius, Emperour to the Senate and People of Rome.

I Give you hereby to understand what I intend to do, as also what successe I have had in my wars in Ger­many, Page 46. Anno 175 in the 4th perse­cution. and with how much difficulty I have victualled my Camp, being compassed about with seventy and four fierce Dragons, whom my Scouts descried to be within nine miles of us, and Pompeianus our Lieutenant hath viewed, as he signified unto us by his Letters; wherefore I thought no lesse, but to be over-run, and all my bands of so great multitude, as well my vaward mainward, as rere-ward, with all my Souldiers of E­phrata, in whose host there were numbred of fighting men, nine hundred seventy and five thousand; But when I saw my self not able to encounter with the e­nemie, I craved aid of our Country gods, at whose hands I finding no comfort, and being driven of the Enemy unto an exigent, I caused to be sent for those men which we call Christians, who being mustered were found a good indifferent number, with whom I was in further rage then I had good cause, as afterwards I had experience, by their marvellous power, who forth­with did their endeavour, but without either weapons munition, armour, or trumpets, as men abhorring such preparations, and furniture, but onely satisfied in trust of their God, whom they carry about with them in their Consciences; It is therefore to be credited, al­though we call them wicked men, that they worship God in their hearts, for they falling prostrate upon the ground, prayed not onely for me, but for the host also which was with me, beseeching their God for help, in that our extremity of victuals and fresh water, for we had been now five dayes without water, and [Page 6] were in our Enemies Land, even in the midst of Germany, who thus falling upon their faces made their Prayer to a God unknown of me; And there fell a­mongst us from Heaven a most pleasant & cold showr, but amongst our Enemies a great storm of hail mixt with lightning, so that immediately we perceived the invincible hand of the most mighty God to be with us; Therefore we gave those men leave to professe Christianity, least perhaps by their Prayer we be pu­nished with the like, and thereby make my self the Author of such hurt as shall be received by the Chri­stian profession; and if any shall apprehend one that is a Christian onely for that cause, I will that he being apprehended, without punishment, may have leave to confesse the same, so that there be no other cause ob­jected against him, more then that he is a Christian, but let his accuser be burned alive, neither will I that he confessing, and being found a Christian, shall be in­forced to alter the same his Opinion by the Governor of any of our Provinces, but left to his own choice; and this decree of mine I will to be ratified in the Senate House, and command the same publiquely to be proclaimed and read in the Court of Trajanus; and that further from thence it may be sent in all our Provinces by the diligence of Varatious Governour of our City of Polione; and further we give leave to all men to use and write out this our Decree, taking the same out of our Copy, publiquely in the common Hall set forth.

This was written about 480 years before there was a Pope, or universal Bishop.

Emperour and Caesar Publius Licinius Galienus Pius Fortu­natus Augustus, unto Dionysius to Pina, and to Deme­trian, and to all other the like Bishops, The bountiful be­nignity of my gift.

I have willed and commanded to be proclaimed Pag. 97. in the eighth persecuti­on of the 10. through the whole World, to the intent that such which are detained in banishment for Discipline sake may safely return home again from whence they came, and for the same cause I have here sent to you Anno 263. Euseb. lib. 7, cap. 13. the example of my Rescript, for you to peruse and to enjoy, so that no man be so hardly to vex or molest you, and this which you may now lawfully enjoy hath been long since by me granted, and therefore for your more warrant in the same, I have committed the ex­emplar hereof to the custody of Aurelianus Cirenius my chief Steward, where you may fet the Copy to see at your pleasure.

This was written in the behalf of the Christians a­bout 390. years before there was a Pope in Rome.
The Copy of an Epistle of Constantinus sent to his Sub­jects inhabiting in the East.

Victor Constantinus Maximus Augustus, to our loving sub­jects inhabiting throughout the East parts sendeth greet­ing.

THe thing it self which in the sure and most firm Page 91. about An. 350 in the 10th per­secution. Law of Nature is contained, doth give unto all men (even as God hath ordained the same) suffici­ent perseverance and understanding, both of such things as man ought to foresee, as also what things presently he ought to meditate, neither is there any thing therein to be doubted, of such which have their [Page 8] minds directed to the scope or work of perfect un­derstanding; so that the perfect comprehending of sound reason, and the perseverance thereof, be com­pared with the Knowledge of God, being the True and Perfect Virtue; whereof let no wise man be trou­bled, although be sees divers men of divers dispositi­ons; for Wisdom which springeth of Virtue, cannot abide or acquaint her self with fond Idiots, unlesse that (on the other side) the malice of perverse lither­ness prolong her daies, and cause the same Idiocy to survive; wherefore assuredly the Crown and Price of Virtue lyeth open unto all men, and the most Migh­ty God ordereth the judgement of the same: I un­doubtedly (as manifestly as possible is) will endea­vour my self to testifie and confess unto you, all the hope which is in me; I think verily that the Empe­rours which before this time have lately been, even for their Tiranny had the Empire taken from them, and my Father onely exercising and used all meek­ness and lenity in his affairs, calling upon God the Father with great devotion and humility, hath been exalted to the same, and all the rest as men wanting their wits, and in comparison as savige Beasts, rather did give themselves to like cruelty, then unto any lenity and gentleness towards their Subjects, in which Tiranny every one for his time being nosuled, utterly subverted the True and Unfallible Doctrine, and so great malice was there kindled in their Breasts, that when all things were in peaceable tranquality, they made and raised most cruel and bloody intestine or civil Warrs; it is credibly informed us, that in those dayes Apollo gave Answers, but not by any mans Mouth, but out of a certain Cave and dark place, (saying) that he was much disquietted by those that were the just men and livers upon the Earth, so that [Page 9] he could or would not for them declare a truth of such things as others demanded, and hereby it came to passe that such false divinations were given from the golden Tables in Apollo's Tem­ple, and in this thing did his Prophetical Priest complain of, when he took up again the hair of his head that others had con­temptuously cast down? And that the neglecting of his divina­tion was the cause of so many evils amongst men; but let us see what was the end hereof; we now boldly and without all fear invocate and worship the omnipotent God. When I was a Child I heard that he which then was chief Emperour of Rome, unhap­py, yea most unhappy man, being seduced and brought into errour by his Souldiers, curiously enquired who were those just men upon the earth that Apollo meant, and one of his Priests which was near about him, made answer that they were the Christians; this answer hereupon unto him being as delectable as honey unto the mouth, drew the sword given unto him to be revenged upon evil doers and malefactors, against the Professors of the irreprehensible Sanctimony and Religion, and straight­way he gave forth a Commission (to bloudy homicides as I may well call them) and gave commandment to all the Judges, that they should endeavour themselves with all the cunning they had, to the devising of more grievous and sharper punishment against the poor Christians; then, then I say, a man might have seen how greatly the honest professors of that Religion were mo­lested with cruelty, and daily suffered no small injuries and contumelies, and that also they suffered and sustained the same with such temperance, as though they had had no injuries done unto them at all, which temperance and patience of theirs was the cause why the furious Citizens were the more mad and ra­ging against them; what fires, what tortures, what kind of tor­ments were there, but they without respect either of age or sex were inforced to feel?

Then did the earth without doubt her self bewail her Chil­dren, and the round world which containeth all things, being sprinkled and imbrued with their bloud, made doleful lamen­tation for them, and the day it self provoked for to mourn was made amazed for them, but what is this to purpose? Now the very barbarous Nations rejoyce for their sakes, which received and harboured them when they were afraid and fled from us, keeping them as it were in most loving and amiable Captivity, [Page 10] and they saved not onely their lives, but also were a defence for their Religion; and now also the Roman Nation remembreth, and hath before their eyes this blame and spot, which the Chri­stians that were of that time worthily gave unto them, when they by them were banished (as unfit members of their Common wealth) amongst the barbarous people; what needeth to make further rehearsal of the mourning lamentation which the Hea­then people themselves throughout all the world made for the pitiful murder and slaughter of them? After that it came to passe, that they which were Authors of all these mischiefs died also, and were committed for their reward to the most filthy and horrible Dungeon of Hell, they being so intangled with in­testine and civil wars, left alive neither name nor kinsman of their own, which thing undoubtedly had not chanced, unlesse the wicked devinations of Apollo's Oracles had deceived and be­witched them; To thee therefore now I pray, Oh most mighty God, that thou wilt vouchsafe to be merciful, and pardon all the East parts, and Inhabitants of the same, being oppressed with calamity, and that by me thy Servant thou wilt of thy goodnesse help and relieve the same; and these things rashly crave I not at thy hands, Oh Lord most mighty, and holiest God of all, for I being perswaded by the onely Oracles, have both begun and also finished wholesom and profitable things; and further, by the bearing and shewing of thine Ensign, have over­come a mighty and strong Host, and when any necessity of the Common-weal (to my charge committed) requireth thereunto (following those signs and tokens of thy vertues) I boldly go forth and fight against mine Enemies; and for this cause have I sacrificed my-soul unto thee, purified and cleansed both with thy love and fear; Yea truly, thy Name do I sincerely love, and thy power do I reverence, which by many tokens and wonders hath shewed and confirmed thereby my belief and faith; There­fore will I do my endeavour, and bend my self thereunto, that I may re-edifie thy most holy House, which those wicked and ungodly Emperors, have with so great ruine laid waste; thy peo­ple do I desire to bring and establish in firm peace and tran­quillity, and that for the publick utility of all the Inhabitants of the earth, those which yet erre, and are out of the way, en­joy the benefit of peace and quietnesse with and amongst the number of the faithful sort, for I trust the restitution of the [Page 11] like society and participation may be a means to bring them also that erre into the perfect way of verity; Let no man there­fore be grievous one unto another, but whatever man thinketh best, that let him do, for such as are wise ought throughly to be perswaded, that they onely mean to live holily, and as they should do, whom the Spirit of God moveth to take their delight and recreation in reading his holy will; and if others wilfully will go out of the way, cleaving to the Synagogues of false do­ctrîne, they may at their own peril; as for us we have the most worthy house, or congregation of Gods verity, which he accor­ding to his own goodnesse and nature hath given us; and this also we wish unto them, that with like participation and com­mon consent, they may feel with us the same delectation of mind; for this our Religion is neither new nor newly invented, but is as old as we believe the Creation of the world to be, and which God hath commanded to be celebrated with such worship as both seemed and pleased him; but all living men are Lyars, and are deceived with divers and sundry delusions; Thou O God for Christ thy Sons sake, suffer not this wickednesse again to root, thou hast set up a clear and burning Light, that thereby as many as thou hast chosen may come unto thee, these thy mi­racles approved the same, it is thy power that keepeth us in innocency and fidelity, the Sun and the Moon run their ap­pointed course, neither yet in ranging wise wander the Stars to what place of the world they list themselves, the dayes, years, months and times keep their appointed turns, the earth abi­deth firm and unremovable at thy word, and the wind at the time (by thee directed) stormeth and bloweth, the streaming watering flouds ebb in time according as they flow, the raging Sea abideth within her bounds and limits, and for that the O­cean Sea stretcheth out her self in equal length and breadth with the whole earth, this must needs be wrought with some marvellous workmanship of thine own hand, which thing un­lesse it were at thy will made and disposed, without all doubt so great difference and partition between would ere this time have brought utter ruine and destruction both to the life of man, as to all that belongeth to man beside, which for that they have such great and huge conflicts amongst themselves, as also the in­visible Spirits have; We give thee thanks O Lord most mighty, God of all Gods, that all mankind hath not been destroyed [Page 12] thereby; Surely even as greatly as thy benignity and gentleness is manifested by divers and sundry benefits bestowed upon us, so much also is the same set forth and declared in the discipline of thy eternal Word to those that be heavenly wise, and apply themselves to the attainment of sincere and true vertue; but if any such there be that little regard, or have but small respect unto the consideration thereof, let them not blame or lay a fault in others that do the same; for that Physick whereby health is obtained, is manifestly offered unto all men; Now therefore let no man go about to subvert that which experience it self doth shew (of necessity) to be pure and good; Let us therefore altogether use the participation of this benefit bestowed upon us, that is to say, the benefit of peace and tranquillity, setting apart all controversie, and let no man hurt or be prejudicial to his fellow for that thing wherein he thinketh himself to have done well, if by that which any man knoweth and hath expe­rience of, he thinketh he may profit his neighbour, let him do the same, if not let him give over, and remit it till another time, for there is a great diversity betwixt the willing and the volun­tary embracing of Religion, and that when a man is thereunto informed, & counseled; of these things have I made a more large discourse, than indeed the scope & mediocrity requireth, especi­ally because I would not have my faith (touching the verity) to be hid, for that I hear there be some which complain the old accustomed haunting of their Temples, and that the power of such darknesse is cut off and taken away, which thing surely I would take in better part, were it not that the violent rebelli­on of flagitious errour were so fixed in many mens hearts, where­by they thirst after the utter subversion of the Common-weal and Empire.

This was written about 300 years before there was a Pope, or universal Bishop in Rome.

The Copy of the Emperial Constitution of Constantinus, and Licini­us, for the establishing of the free worshipping of God after the Chri­stian Religion.

NOt long agone we weighing with our selves, that the li­berty page 77. about An. 319. in the tenth persecuti­on. and freedom of Religion, ought not in any case to be prohibited, but that free leave ought to be given to every man to do therein, according to his will and mind; [Page 13] We have given commandment to all men to qualifie matters of Religion as they themselves thought good, and that also the Christians should keep the opinions and Faith of their Religi­on; but because that many and sundry opinions by the same our first Licence spring and increase through such liberty gran­ted, We thought good manifestly to add thereunto, and make plain such things whereby perchance some of them in time to come may from such their observance be let or hindred; When therefore by prosperous successe, I Constantinus Augustus; and I Linicius Augustus came to Mediliolanum, and there sat in Coun­cil upon such things as served for the utility and profit of the Common-Weal, these things amongst others we thought would be beneficial to all men, yea and before all other things we purposed to establish those things wherein the true Reverence and Worship of God is comprehended, that is, to give unto the Christians free choice to follow what Religion they think good, and whereby the same sincerity and celestial grace, which is in every place received, may also be embraced and accepted of all our loving Subjects; according therefore unto this our pleasure upon good advisement and sound judgement, we have Decreed, that no man so hardy be denied to chuse and follow the Christian observance or Religion, but that this liberty be given to every man, that he may apply his mind to what Re­ligion he thinketh meet himself, whereby God may perform upon us all his accustomed care and goodnesse; To the intent therefore you might know that this is our pleasure, We thought it necessary this to write unto you, whereby all such errors and opinions being removed, which in our former Letters being sent unto you in the behalf of the Christians are contained, and which seem very undescreet and contrary to our clemency may be made frustrate and annihilate; Now therefore firmly and freely We will and command, that every man have a free liberty to observe the Christian Religion, and that without any grief or molestation he may be suffered to do the same. These things have we thought good to signifie unto you by as plain words as we may, that we have given to the Christians, free and absolute power to keep and use their Religion; and for so much as this liberty is absolutely given of us unto them, to use and exercise their former observance, if any be disposed, it is manifest that the same helpeth much to establish the publique [Page 14] tranquillity of our time, every man to have License and liberty to use and chuse what kind of worshipping he list himself; and this is done of us onely for the intent that we would have no man to be enforced to one Religion more than another; and this thing also amongst others we have provided for the Chri­stians, that they may have again the possession of such places in which heretofore they have been accustomed to make their As­semblies; so that if any have bought or purchased the same ei­ther of us or of any other, the same places without either mo­ney or other recompence forthwith and without delay We will to be restored again unto the said Christians; And if any man have obtained the same by gift from us, and shall require any recompence to be made to them in that behalf, then let the Christians repair to the President, being the Judge appointed for that place, that consideration may be had of those men by our benignity; all which things we Will and Command that you see to be given and restored freely, and with diligence unto the society of the Christians, all delay set apart; And because the Christians themselves are understood to have had not only those places wherein they were accustomed to resort together, but certain other peculiar places also, not being private to any one man, but belonging to the right of their Congregation and Society; You shall see also all those to be restored unto the Christians, that is to say, to every Fellowship and Company of them, according to the Decree whereof we have made men­tion, all delay set apart; Provided that the order we have ta­ken in the mean time be observed, that if any, taking no re­compence, shall restore the same Lands and Possessions, they shall not mistrust, but be sure to be saved harmlesse by us. In all these things it shall be your part to employ your diligence in the behalf of the foresaid company of Christians, wherby this our commandment may speedily be accomplished, and also in this case by our clemency the common and publick peace may be preserved; for undoubtedly by this means, as before we have said, the good will and favour of God towards us (whereof in many cases we have had good experience) shall alwayes conti­nue with us; And to the intent that this our Constitution may be notified to all men, it shall be requisite that the copy of these our Letters be set up in all places, that men may read and know the same, least any should be ignorant thereof.

[Page 15] This was written about 330 years before there was a Pope or uni­versal Bishop at Rome.

Maximinus the Emperor in the behalf of the Christians.

AMongst other things, which for the benefit and commo­dity pag. 74: in the tenth persecuti­on. Anno 318. of the Common-wealth we established, we command­ed to reform all things according to the ancient Laws and pub­lique Discipline of the Romans; And also to use this policy, that the Christians, which had forsaken the Religion of their Forefathers, should be brought again to the right way, for such phantastical singularity was amongst them, that those things which their Elders had received and allowed, they rejected and disallowed, devising every man such Laws as they thought good, and observed the same, assembling in divers places great mul­titudes of people; Therefore when our foresaid Decree was Proclaimed, many there were that felt the penalty thereof, and many being troubled therefore suffered many kinds of death; And because we see yet that there be many which per­severe in the same which neither give due worship unto the ce­lestal Gods, neither receive the God of the Christians, we ha­ving respect to our accustomed benignity, wherewith we are wont to shew favour unto all men, think good in this case also to extend our clemency, that the Christians may be again to­lerated, and appoint them places where again they may meet together, so that they do nothing contrary to publick order and discipline; By another Epistle we mean to prescribe unto the Judges, what shall be convenient for them to do; Where­fore according as this our bountiful clemency deserveth, let them make Intercession to God for our Health, Common-weal, and for themselves, that in all places the state of the Com­mon-weal may be preserved, and that they themselves may be able safely to live within their bounds. Euseb. lib. 6. cap. ult.

This was written about 340 years before there was a Pope or uni­versal Bishop in Rome.

Sabinus the Emperors chief Officer wrote his pleasure in this wise. pag. 74: a­bout anno 318. in the tenth per­secution,

THe Majesty of our most gratious and Soveraign Lords the Emperours hath lately decreed with special diligence and [Page 16] devotion, to induce all men to a uniform life, that they which seemed to dissent from the Roman custom by a straying manner of living, should exhibit to the immortal Gods their due and proper worship; but the wilful and obstinate mind of divers so much and so continually resisted the same, that by no lawful means they might be revoked from their purpose, neither made affraid by any terror or punishment; because therefore it so came to passe, that by this means many put themselves in pe­ril and in jeopardy; the Majesty of our Soveraign Lords the Em­perors, according to their noble piety, considering that it was far from their Princely Majesties, that such things should be, whereby so many men and much people should be destroyed, gave me in charge that with diligence I should write unto you, that, if any of the Christians from henceforth fortune to be ta­ken in the exercise of their Religion, that in no no wise you molest the same, neither for that cause do you judge any man worthy of punishment, for that in all this time it hath evident­ly appeared, that by no means they might be allured from such wilfulnesse; It is therefore requisite that your wisdom write unto the Questor, Captains and Constables of every City and Village, that they may know it not to be Lawful for them to do contrary to the prescript of this commandment, neither that they presume to attempt the same, Euseb lib. 9. cap.

This was written about three hundred and thirty years before there was a Pope or chief Bishop at Rome.

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