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4.27. A further discourse of the forenamed Constantius and Helen, hs regiment ouer this Iland, his behauiour and talke to his sonne and councellors as he lay on his death-bed, a de|uise that he put in practise to vnderstand what true Christians he had in his court, his commen|dable vertues, that the Britains in his time imbraced the christian faith is prooued. The xxvij. Chapter.

A further discourse of the forenamed Constantius and Helen, hs regiment ouer this Iland, his behauiour and talke to his sonne and councellors as he lay on his death-bed, a de|uise that he put in practise to vnderstand what true Christians he had in his court, his commen|dable vertues, that the Britains in his time imbraced the christian faith is prooued. The xxvij. Chapter.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 _COnstantius a senatour of Rome began to reigne ouer the Britains,Constan|tius. in the yeere of our Lord 289, as our histo|ries report.Matth. West. saith 302. 289 This Constan|tius (as before ye haue heard) had to wife Helen the daugh|ter of the foresaid king Coel, of whome he begat a sonne named Constantinus, which after was emperour, and for his woorthie doo|ings surnamed Constantine the great. S. Ambrose following the common report,Orofius. Beda. writeth that this He|len was a maid in an inne: and some againe write, that she was concubine to Constantius, and not his wife. But whatsoeuer she was, it appeareth by the writers of the Romane histories, that Constan|tius being the daughters sonne of one Crispus, that was brother to the emperour Claudius,Cuspin [...]an. came into Britaine, and quieted the troubles that were raised by the Britains,Fabian. and there (as some write) maried the foresaid Helen, being a woman of an excellent beautie, whom yet [after] he was constreined to for|sake, and to marrie The odora the daughter in law of Herculeus Maximianus, by whome he had six sonnes, and finallie was created emperour, togither with the said Galerius Maximianus, at what time Dioclesianus and his fellow Herculeus Maximia|nus renounced the rule of the empire, and commit|ted the same vnto them. The empire was then di|uided betwixt them, so that to Constantius the regi|ons of Italie, Affrike, France, Spaine and Bri|taine were assigned; & to Galerius, Illyricum, Gre|cia, and all the east parts. But Constantine being a man void of ambition, was contented to leaue Ita|lie and Affrike, supposing his charge to be great i|nough to haue the gouernement in his hands of France, Spaine, and Britaine (as Eutropius saith.)

Compare 1577 edition: 1 2 But as touching his reigne ouer the Britains, we haue not to say further than as we find in our owne writers recorded: as for his gouernement in the empire, it is to be considered, that first he was ad|mitted to rule as an assistant to Maximian vnder the title of Cesar: and so from that time if you shall account his reigne, it maie comprehend 11, 12, or 13 yeeres, yea more or lesse, according to the diuersitie found in writers. Howbeit, if we shall reckon his reigne from the time onelie that Dioclesian and Maximian resigned their title vnto the empire, we shall find that he reigned not fullie thrée yéeres. For whereas betwéene the slaughter of Alectus, and the comming of Constantius, are accounted 8 yéeres and od moneths, not onelie those eight yéeres, but al|so some space of time before maie be ascribed vnto EEBO page image 63 Constantius: for although before his comming ouer into Britaine now this last time (for he had béene here afore, as it well appéereth) Asclepiodotus gouer|ning as legat, albeit vnder Constantius, who had a great portion of the west parts of the empire vn|der his regiment, by the title, as I haue said, of Ce|sar, yet he was not said to reigne absolutelie, till Dioclesian and Maximian resigned. But now to conclude with the dooings of Constantius, at length he fell sicke at Yorke, and there died, about the yeere of our Lord 306.306.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 2 This is not to be forgotten, that whilest he laie on his death-bed, somewhat before he departed this life, hearing that his sonne Constantine was come, and escaped from the emperours Dioclesian and Maxi|mian, with whom he remained as a pledge (as af|ter shall be partlie touched) he receiued him with all ioy, and raising himselfe vp in his bed, in presence of his other sonnes & counsellours, with a great num|ber of other people and strangers that were come to visit him, he set the crowne vpon his sonnes head, and adorned him with other imperiall robes and garments,Niceph. executing as it were him selfe the office of an herald, and withall spake these woords vnto his said sonne, and to his counsellours there about him: Now is my death to me more welcome, and my de|parture hence more pleasant;Tripartit. histo.

I haue heere a large e|pitaph and monument of buriall, to wit, mine owne sonne, and one whome in earth I leaue to be empe|rour in my place, which by Gods good helpe shall wipe away the teares of the Christians, and reuenge the crueltie exercised by tyrants. This I reckon to chance vnto me in stéed of most felicitie.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 2 After this, turning himselfe to the multitude, he commanded them all to be of good comfort, meaning those that had not forsaken true vertue and godli|nesse in Christ, which Christ he vndertooke should con|tinue with his sonne Constantine in all enterprises, which in warres or otherwise he should take in hand. That deuise also is woorthie to be had in memorie, which he put in practise in his life time, to vnderstand what true and sincere Christians were remaining in his court. For whereas he had béene first a persecu|ter, and after was conuerted, it was a matter easie to persuade the world, that he was no earnest Chri|stian: and so the policie which he thought to worke, was the sooner brought to passe, which was this.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 2 He called togither all his officers and seruants, feining himselfe to choose out such as would doo sa|crifice to diuels, and that those onelie should remaine with him and kéepe their office, and the rest that re|fused so to doo, should be thrust out, and banished the court. Héervpon all the courtiers diuided themselues into companies: and when some offered willinglie to doo sacrifice, and other some boldlie refused: the emperour marking their dealings, sharpelie rebu|ked those which were so readie to dishonour the li|uing God, accounting them as traitours of his di|uine maiestie, and not woorthie to remaine within the court gates: but those that constantlie stood in the profession of the christian faith, he greatlie com|mended, as men woorthie to be about a prince: and withall declared, that from thencefoorth they should be as chiefe counsellours and defenders both of his person and kingdome, estéeming more of them than of all the treasure he had in his coffers.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 To conclude, he was a graue prince, sober, vp|right, courteous and liberall, as he which kept his mind euer frée from couetous desire of great riches: insomuch that when he should make anie great feast to his friends, he was not ashamed to borow plate and siluer vessell to serue his turne,Pomponius Laetus. and to furnish his cupbord for the time, being contented for himselfe to be serued in cruses & earthen vessels. He was woont to haue this saieng in his mouth, that better it was that the subiects should haue store of monie and ri|ches, than the prince to kéepe if close in his treasurie, where it serued to no vse. By such courteous dealing the prouinces which were in his charge flourished in great wealth and quietnesse. He was a verie wise and politike prince in the ordering of all weightie matters, and verie skillfull in the practise of warres,He died in the yéere 306. as Matt. West. hath noted, and reigned ouer the Bri|tains but 11. yéeres as Galf. saith. so that he stood the Romane empire in great stéed, and was therefore highlie beloued of the souldiers, insomuch that immediatlie after his deceasse, they proclaimed his some Constantine emperour.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 That The christian faith was imbraced of the Bri|tains in this season, it maie appéere, in that Hilarius bishop of Poictiers writeth to his brethren in Bri|taine, and Constantine in an epistle (as Theodore|tus saith in his first booke and tenth chapter) maketh mtention of the churches in Britaine: which also So|zomenus dooth affirme. For the Britains after they had receiued the faith, defended the same euen with the shedding of their bloud, as Amphibalus, who in this Constantius daies being apprehended, suffered at Redburne neere to Werlamchester,291. Iohn Bale. about 15 yéeres after the martyrdome of his host S. Albane.

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