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AN

ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY.

BOOK THE FIRST.

CONTAINING

THE HISTORY OF THE CHURCH,

FROM

THE BIRTH OF CHRIST

TO CONSTANTINE THE GREAT.

AN

ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY.

BOOK I.

CONTAINING THE HISTORY OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH FROM ITS FIRST RISE TO THE TIME
OF CONSTANTINE THE GREAT.

PART I.

COMPREHENDING THE EXTERNAL HISTORY OF THE CHURCH.

CHAPTER I.

CONCERNING THE CIVIL AND RELIGIOUS STATE OF THE WORLD AT
THE BIRTH OF CHRIST.

PART I.

The state of

L. A GREAT part of the world was become subject CENT. I. to the Roman empire, when Jesus Christ made his The remoter nations the Roman appearance upon earth. which had submitted to the yoke of this mighty empire. empire, were ruled, either by Roman governors invested with temporary commissions, or by their own princes and laws, in subordination to the republic, whose sovereignty was to be acknowledged, and from which the conquered kings that were continued in their dominions, derived their borrowed majesty. At the same time the Roman people and their venerable senate, though they had not lost all shadow of liberty, were yet, in reality, reduced to a state of servile submission to Augustus Cesar, who, by artifice, perfidy, and bloodshed, had proceeded to an enormous degree of power, and united in his own person the pompous

PART I.

CENT. 1. titles of emperor, sovereign, pontiff, censor, tribune of the people, proconsul; in a word, all the great offices of the state."

The inconve

niences which

from the cor

tration of its

II. The Roman government, considered both proceed with respect to its form, and its laws, was certainrupt admini ly mild and equitable. But the injustice and avmagistrates. arice of the pretors and proconsuls, and the ambitious lust of conquest and dominion, which was the predominant passion of the Roman people, together with the rapacious proceedings of the publicans, by whom the taxes of the empire were levied, were the occasions of perpetual tumults and unsupportable grievances. And among the many evils that arose from thence we justly reckon the formidable armies, that were necessary to support these extortions in the provinces, and the civil wars which frequently broke out between the oppressed nations and their haughty conquerors.

The advanta

a

rose from its extent.

IL It must, at the same time, be acknowledged, ges which, that this supreme dominion of one people, or rather of one man, over so many kingdoms, was attended with many considerable advantages to mankind in general, and to the propagation and advancement of Christianity in particular. For, by the means of this almost universal empire, many nations, different in their language and in their manners, were united more intimately together in social intercourse. Hence a passage was opened to the remotest countries, by the communications which the Romans formed between the conquered provinces. Hence also the nations, whose man

a See for this purpose the learned work of Augustin Campianus, entitled, De officio et potestate Magistratuum Romanorum et jurisdictione, lib. i. cap. i. p. 3, 4, &c. Geneva, 1725, in 4to.

b See Moyle's Essay on the Constitution of the Roman Government, in the posthumous works of that author, vol. i. p. 1-48, as also Scip. Maffaei Verona illustrata, lib. ii. p. 65.

See, for a further illustration of this matter, Histoire des grands chemins de l'Empire Romain, par Nicol. Bergier, printed in the year

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