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19. The Saints courageous in their flight, and divinely favoured.

These things both prove that their previous flight was not the effect of cowardice; and testify that their after conduct also was of no ordinary character: and they loudly proclaim that they possessed in a high degree the virtue of fortitude. For neither did they withdraw themselves on account of a slothful timidity, on the contrary, they were at such times under the practice of a severer discipline than at others; nor were they con262demned for their flight, or charged with cowardice, by such as are now so fond of criminating others. Nay they were blessed through that declaration of our Lord, ‘Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake.14761476    Matt. v. 10.’ Nor yet were these their sufferings without profit to themselves; for having tried them as ‘gold in the furnace,’ as Wisdom has said, God found them worthy of Himself14771477    Wisd. iii. 57.. And then they shone the more ‘like sparks,’ being saved from them that persecuted them, and delivered from the designs of their enemies, and preserved to the end that they might teach the people; so that their flight and escape from the rage of them that sought after them, was according to the dispensation of the Lord. And so they became dear in the sight of God, and had the most glorious testimony to their fortitude.


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