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tians had been unsuccessful in most of their undertakings, and had perished miserably, whilst his father, who had protected them, had been uncommonly successful, and had died in the arms of his children ; he resolved to place his confidence in the God whom the Christians adored, and earnestly prayed to him to prosper his affairs. His prayers were answered; for as he was marching at the head of his troops, in the open fields, there suddenly appeared to him and the whole army, á pillar of light, in the form of a cross, with this inscription, “ IN THIS CONQUER !” He accordingly sent for some ingenious workmen, and caused them to form in gold and precious stones
a representation of the sign which he had seen. This was placed upon the imperial standard, and afterwards carried before him instead of the figure of the Heathen God. From that time Constantine did all in his power to establish the true religion in his empire, by making laws in favour of it; amongst others he made one forbidding all kinds of work to be done on Sundays, and caused all the Heathen temples to be shut up.
CONSTANTINE was learned, and he preached, as well as composed, many sermons, one of which remains. He died, A. D. 337, at Nicomedia, now called Is-nikmid, aged 66 years, after a reign of 31 years of the greatest glory and success.
OF THE DEATHS
OF THE ROMAN EMPERORS
WHO PERSECUTED THE FOLLOWERS
Ye judges of the earth, be wise,
Tertullian observes, that it was the glory of the Christian religion that the first Emperor that drew his sword against it was Nero, the
sworn enemy of all virtue. This tyrant, four
years after he had begun, A. D. 64, to exert his rage against the Christians, in his extreme distress attempted to kill himself, but wanting resolution, he prevailed over another to help him to take away his life, and perished under the public resentment of the whole empire, and the universal detestation of mankind for his execrable cruelties and abominations. Domitian persecuted the Church in 95, and was murdered by his own servants the year following. Trajan, Adrian, Titus, Antoninus, and Marcus Aurelius, rather tolerated than raised persecutions, and escaped violent deaths. Severus, after he began in 202 to oppress
the Christians, fell into disasters, and died weary of life, leaving behind him a most profligate son, who had attempted to take away the life of his father, and afterwards killed his brother; and “his whole family perished miserably. Decius, after a short reign, died in battle. Gallus was killed the year after he commenced persecutor. Valerian was a cruel enemy to the Christians, and died in a miserable captivity in Persia. Aurelian was killed in 274. Maximus I. was slain, after a reign of three years. Nothing prospered with Dioclesian after he began his war against the Church ; out of cowardice he abdicated the empire, and at length put an end to his