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Church History by Eusebius Pamphilius

Chapter XVI.--The Change of Affairs for the Better.

1. Such was the state of affairs during the entire persecution. But in the tenth year, through the grace of God, it ceased altogether, having begun to decrease after the eighth year. For when the divine and heavenly grace showed us favorable and propitious oversight, then truly our rulers, and the very persons by whom the war against us had been earnestly prosecuted, most remarkably changed their minds, and issued a revocation, and quenched the great fire of persecution which had been kindled, by merciful proclamations and ordinances concerning us.

2. But this was not due to any human agency; nor was it the result, as one might say, of the compassion or philanthropy of our rulers; -- far from it, for daily from the beginning until that time they were devising more and more severe measures against us, and continually inventing outrages by a greater variety of instruments; -- but it was manifestly due to the oversight of Divine Providence, on the one hand becoming reconciled to his people, and on the other, attacking him who instigated these evils, and showing anger toward him as the author of the cruelties of the entire persecution.

3. For though it was necessary that these things should take place, according to the divine judgment, yet the Word saith, |Woe to him through whom the offense cometh.| Therefore punishment from God came upon him, beginning with his flesh, and proceeding to his soul.

4. For an abscess suddenly appeared in the midst of the secret parts of his body, and from it a deeply perforated sore, which spread irresistibly into his inmost bowels. An indescribable multitude of worms sprang from them, and a deathly odor arose, as the entire bulk of his body had, through his gluttony, been changed, before his sickness, into an excessive mass of soft fat, which became putrid, and thus presented an awful and intolerable sight to those who came near.

5. Some of the physicians, being wholly unable to endure the exceeding offensiveness of the odor, were slain; others, as the entire mass had swollen and passed beyond hope of restoration, and they were unable to render any help, were put to death without mercy.

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