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SermonIndex.net : Christian Books : Chapter XIII.--The Epistle of Antoninus to the Common Assembly of Asia in Regard to our Doctrine.

Church History by Eusebius Pamphilius

Chapter XIII.--The Epistle of Antoninus to the Common Assembly of Asia in Regard to our Doctrine.

1. The Emperor Cæsar Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus, Armenicus, Pontifex Maximus, for the fifteenth time Tribune, for the third time Consul, to the Common Assembly of Asia, Greeting.

2. I know that the gods also take care that such persons do not escape detection. For they would much rather punish those who will not worship them than you would.

3. But you throw them into confusion, and while you accuse them of atheism you only confirm them in the opinion which they hold. It would indeed be more desirable for them, when accused, to appear to die for their God, than to live. Wherefore also they come off victorious when they give up their lives rather than yield obedience to your commands.

4. And in regard to the earthquakes which have been and are still taking place, it is not improper to admonish you who lose heart whenever they occur, and nevertheless are accustomed to compare your conduct with theirs.

5. They indeed become the more confident in God, while you, during the whole time, neglect, in apparent ignorance, the other gods and the worship of the Immortal, and oppress and persecute even unto death the Christians who worship him.

6. But in regard to these persons, many of the governors of the provinces wrote also to our most divine father, to whom he wrote in reply that they should not trouble these people unless it should appear that they were attempting something affecting the Roman government. And to me also many have sent communications concerning these men, but I have replied to them in the same way that my father did.

7. But if any one still persists in bringing accusations against any of these people as such, the person who is accused shall be acquitted of the charge, even if it appear that he is one of them, but the accuser shall be punished. Published in Ephesus in the Common Assembly of Asia.|

8. To these things Melito, bishop of the church of Sardis, and a man well known at that time, is a witness, as is clear from his words in the Apology which he addressed to the Emperor Verus in behalf of our doctrine.

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