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The Two Republics, or Rome and the United States of America

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    VALERIAN,

    who became emperor in August, 253. At first he was favorable to the Christians. Indeed, Dionysius, as quoted by Eusebius, says that “never was there any of the emperors before him so favorably and benevolently disposed toward them;” that, “in the commencement of his reign” he “plainly received them with excessive civility and friendship;” and that the emperor’s house “was filled with pious persons, and was, indeed, a congregation of the Lord.” 19[Page 132] Eusebius’s “Ecclesiastical History,” book vii, chap. x. This is probably somewhat extravagant, but that the emperor was friendly to the Christians at the beginning of his reign, is very evident.TTR 132.3

    This leniency continued till the year 257, when his conduct toward them was reversed; but, like Decius, he hoped to put an end to Christianity without the employment of violent measures. He endeavored first to compel the church leaders,—the bishops, the presbyters, and the deacons,—to renounce Christianity, expecting that the people would follow their example. This failing, he next forbade their holding meetings; likewise failing in this, an edict was issued in 258 commanding them to be put to death at once. The senators and knights who were Christians, were to be deprived of their rank and property, and if they still persevered, they were to be beheaded. Women of rank who were Christians, were to be deprived of their property and banished. Sixtus, the Roman bishop, and four deacons of the church in Rome were put to death under this edict in August. This persecution came to an end in 260, when Valerian was taken prisoner by the king of Persia. He was succeeded in the empire by his son—TTR 133.1

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