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AN ACCOUNT OF THE BAPTISM OF THE
HOLY MARTYRS IN THE SECOND
SUMMARY OF BAPTISM IN THE SECOND CENTURY
The witnesses as regards the ordinance of the baptism of Jesus Christ, who have written in this century, are few, and their accounts are brief, but mostly clear and conclusive. First appears one Dionysius, surnamed Alexandrinus, who writes to his friend Sixtus about a certain brother, who considered the baptism of the heretics no baptism at all, and, therefore requested to be rebaptized.
He is followed by Justinus, who, in his letters written in defense of the Christians, as well as in his disputation with Tryphon, the Jew, speaking of baptism, treats of it throughout as of the,baptism of Christ, which was administered to adults.
Then comes one Gratianus, who declares himself against retaliation; and also another (noticed in the margin), who was censured because he held that the body of Christ was not of the substance of Mary.
Then follows Clemens Alexandrinus, who no . where speaks of infant baptism, though he treats much of baptism, and of its conditions and circumstances.
Then follows a certain testimony, from Walafridus Strabo, proving that in those early times it was not customary to baptize otherwise than in running water, and that only such persons were baptized, who were able to know and understand the benefits to be obtained in baptism.
The conclusion is taken from the 7th chapter of De Ratione Gubernationes Ecclesice, in which we read, that now there were baptized those who had previously been instructed in the principal articles of faith., With this we have concluded this century.
NOTE. Since we have not come across any particular authors as regards the matter of baptism, with the first years of this century, we are compelled to begin with the year 126, and to proceed thence on; which method we shall also pursue in some of the other centuries.
About the year 126. The first place in our account of baptism in the second century, we shall accord to Dionysius Alexandrinus,* of whom it is stated (from his 5th book on Baptism) that he wrote to Sixtus, the bishop at Rome, as follows
There was with us a brother who had been a believer a long time, before ever I or my predecessor Heraclas was ordained bishop. Being present among those who were baptized, and hearing the questions put to them, and their replies, he came to me weeping, fell down at my feet, and began to confess that he had received baptism from the heretics in an entirely different manner, which baptism, since he saw that we administered baptism differ
* As regards the time of this Dionysius we follow the date given by P. J. Twisk, A.D. 126; to distinguish between him and the martyr Dionysius Alexandrinus, who suffered under Valerianus and Galhenus, about A. D. 260.
ently, he did not consider baptism at all. He therefore entreated to be cleansed and purified with the baptism of the Christian church, that he might receive the grace of the Holy Ghost.
Finally he writes these words: He (namely, the man mentioned above, who wished to be rebaptized) ceased not to sigh and to weep, and dared not to come to the Lord's table, and, admonished and constrained by us, would scarcely venture to be present at common prayer.
In regard to this, Eusebius Pamphilius of Caesarea, who has annotated this, writes thus: These and many other such questions concerning rebaptizing are noted by Dionysius throughout his books. Euseb., lib. 7, cap. 8, from. Dionysius.
NOTE. P. J. Twisck discriminates this Dionysius Alexandrius from another Dionysius, who, about A. D. 231, after Origen, was a teacher of the scholars of the faith, at Alexandria. See Chron. 3d Book for the year 231, page 61, col. 1. Also, for the year 253, page 71, eol. 1.
Of the martyrdom of the latter we shall speak in the proper place, under the persecution of Valerianus and Gallienus. Others, however, hold that it was one and the same Dionysius, who wrote this, and suffered martyrdom. But this matters little, since the matters themselves, as stated by these writers, agree in general. We will leave this to the judgment of the intelligent reader.
From the above it is evident, first, that baptism was administered after previous examination, because it is said: "Being present among those who were baptized, and hearing the questions put to them, and their replies;" which agrees with the manner in which Philip proceeded with the Ethiopian, before he baptized him: the one asked, the other answered, and then followed baptism. Acts 8:36-38.
Moreover, since Eusebius states, that Dionysius notes many such questions of rebaptizing throughout his books, it follows incontrovertibly, that rebaptizing, or, at least, baptizing aright, those who had not been rightly baptized, must have been practiced, or at least advocated by some at that time; else it would not have been necessary to note any questions in regard to it; whereas much was written in that day, concerning it, as Eusebius has shown from Dionysius.
About the year 140. Justinus, who was surnamed Philosophus, because, .before his conversion, he was instructed in philosophy, comes next in order after Dionysius Alexandrinus. In his second defence of the Christians, to the Emperors Titus, Aelius, Adrianus, Antonius, Pius, etc. (according to the annotation of H. Montanus Nietigh.z., p. 5), he writes thus: "We shall also relate to you, how we being renewed through Christ, have offered ourselves up to God, lest, this being omitted, it might seem, that in some parts of this statement we have not been faithful. As many, then, as are convinced, and believe that what we teach and say is true, and promise to live 'accordingly, to the best of their ability, are admonished to pray, and to ask God, with fasting, for the forgiveness of past sins, we ourselves praying and fasting with them. After that, we lead them to the water, and they are then born again in the same manner of regeneration in which we ourselves were born again, for then they are washed with water, in the name of God, who is the Father and Lord of us all, and of Jesus Christ, who is the Saviour of us all, and of the Holy Ghost; for Christ says: `Except ye be born again, ye cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.' "
These are certainly clear arguments, which confirm the institution of Christ as regards baptism upon faith; for, when justinus writes: "As many then, as are convinced, and believe," and adds
"are admonished to pray," and finally says: "After that, we lead them to the water, and they are then born again in the same manner of regeneration," that is to say (speaking by way of metonymy), baptized; he certainly gives to understand with this, that the candidates for .baptism, in his day, had to be convinced; namely through the preached word, and had to believe, and, also, that they had to be admonished to pray, before they were led to the water, to be baptized, or, as he calls it, regenerated.
A little further on in the same apology or defense, he writes thus: "This, concerning this matter, we have learned from the apostles; for, since we are ignorant by our first birth, and have been brought up in evil practices and wicked habits; therefore, in order that we may not remain children of ignorance, but become children of free volition and of knowledge, and may obtain the remission of sins committed, there is invoked over those who voluntarily desire to be born again, and who repent of their past sins, the name of God, the Father and Lord of all men; and, invoking Him alone, we lead the one to be baptized to the washing of water; and this washing of water is called an enlightenment, because the understanding of those who learn these things, becomes enlightened. But those who become enlightened, are also washed, that is, baptized, in the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and in the name of the Holy Spirit, who, through the prophets, has foretold all concerning Christ." H. Most. Nietighz., page 6, ex Justino.
From this it is again quite evident, that Justinus has in view, nothing else than to give an account of the true baptism, which Christ and His apostles taught that it should only be administered upon faith and repentance for sins; for, when he says: "Those who voluntarily desire to be baptized again, and who repent of their past sins," and adds: "Invoking the name of God, we lead the one to be baptized to the washing of water," he certainly says nothing else than what was said to those baptized by John. Matt. 3:6: "And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins," and what Peter said to the contrite penitents, who inquired what they must do to be saved. Acts 2:38: "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins." The very same idea is expressed here .by Justinus, as is shown.
Further on in the same apology or defense, Justinus writes these words: "But we, after he who, being convinced, has become of one mind with us, is thus washed, we lead him to those who are called brethren, where they are assembled, ardently offering up the common prayers, for ourselves, for him who is enlightened, and for all other men, wherever they may be; that we may be worthy to be disciples of the truth leading indeed a good conversation, and be found observers of that which is commanded us; in order that we may obtain eternal salvation." H. Most. Nietighz., page 7, ex Justino.
This is the third, citation from Justinus, from which it appears certainly no more, than from the first two, that he mentions any other baptism, than that upon faith and repentance. For, when he says: "After he who, being convinced, has become of one mind with us, is thus washed, we lead him to those who are called brethren," he gives to understand with this, that those who were washed, that is baptized, must first be convinced, and consent to the doctrine, which agrees with Christ's command, Matt. 28:19: "Go ye therefore, and teach (or, make disciples of) all nations, baptizing them," and mark: "Preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved."*
Jacob Mehrning, in his account of baptism in the second century, cites from the Centuries van Mcegdenborg the following words: "The teachers of the church of that time held, that regeneration was effected through baptism and the Word, to both of which together they ascribed a power, namely, the forgiveness of sins, which required repentance from adults." Many clear testimonies concerning this are found in Justinus.
In the disputation with Tryphon, the Jew, he writes: "Through the washing of water of repentance (Wasserbad der Busse), and the knowledge of God, which has been instituted for the forgiveness of the sins of the people, as Isaiah says, we believe and feel assured, that this is the blessed baptism, which was proclaimed in former times, and that this alone can cleanse the penitent, yea, that this is a water of life."
A little further on he calls baptism a spiritual circumcision acceptable to the merciful God. And in conclusion he says: "Through water and faith, the regeneration of the whole human race is effected." Jac. Mehrn., Baptism. Histor., 2d part, on the second century, page 202.
* In the year 141, justinus taught that is matters of controversy we must in ge from tfte apostolic writings. "In the 119th question. Also, that the true church of Christ must not be knows (is not distinguished) by the great number of members, but by the doctrine. "In the answer to the first question." Also, in the "Geslachtregister der Roomscher Successie, second edition, 1649, page 114.
Justinus writes further, in the disputation with Tryphon, the Jew, on the truth of the Christian religion: "Since we, through Christ, are converted to the true God, we are sanctified in baptism, and call upon Him as our helper, and call Him our Redeemer. Before the power of this name, Satan himself must fear and tremble." Jac. Mehrn., page 203. Baptism. Hist., 2d Prt.
Who does not see clearly from these words of Justinus, in the disputation with Tryphon, in the first as well as in the second citation, that he employs such words and phrases as can by no means be applied otherwise than to the true order of the baptism of Christ and His apostles, namely, baptism which is accompanied with faith and repentance? For in the first citation he certainly says expressly, that baptism is a washing o f water of repentance, and the knowledge of God; also, that it alone can cleanse the penitent; and also, that through water and faith the regeneration of the whole human race is effected. In the second citation he also plainly says: "Since we, through Christ, are converted to the true God, we are sanctified in baptism." How could any one more clearly indicate the true practice of baptism, which must take place with conversion to God? And such baptism, Justinus states here, was practiced in the church of God in his time. O glorious, holy, and most Christian transaction I
NOTICE CONCERNING THE BOOK "QUIESTIONUM
ET RESPONSIONUM," THAT IS, "QUESTIONS
AND ANSWERS," WHICH IS WRONG;
FULLY ATTRIBUTED TO JUSTINUS
In the fifty sixth question and answer of this book some words are employed from which pedobaptists sometimes are wont to conclude, that infant baptism was practiced in the days of Justinus. But to this, various excellent and learned men have replied long since, namely, that this book was never written by Justinus; to prove which, different reasons are adduced, as, far instance: That in the answer to the 115th question mention is made of Irenius, who lived twenty five years after Justinus, but is nevertheless cited by the latter in his writings as his predecessor. Moreover, that in the answer to the twelfth, and also in that to the eightysixth question, Origen is mentioned, who lived a whole century after Justinus. To this must be added, that neither Eusebius nor Jerome, both of whom have each compiled a complete catalogue of all the authentic writings of Justinus, enumerate this book Qu& stionus; whereas they mention the Second Defence of the Christians, and the Disputation with Tryphon, from which we have adduced in full several citations concerning baptism. Hence the aforementioned book is justly rejected, as not being the work of Justinus. See concerning this, De Centuriator. Magdeub., Cent. 2, cap. 10, in the account o f the life o f Justinus. Also, Bellarm. in Tract van de Scribenten der Kerke. Also, Jacob Mehrn., Baptism. Histor., 2nd Part, page 170, 171. Also, A. Montan. Nietighz. van den Kinder dooÂ¢, second edition, A. 1648, page 8, 9.
NOTE. In 152, Valentinus Romanus was censured as a heretic, because he believed that the Son of God, Christus Jesus, assumed neither a human nature, nor flesh and blood from the substance of the virgin Mary. P. 1. Twisck, Chron. for the year 152, 2d Book, page 42, col. 1, frown Herm. Med., fol. 330, Chron. Seb. Fr., 106., Jan. CresÂ¢., fol. 34.
About the year 160. Gratianus quotes the words of the Lord: "When they persecute you in this city flee ye into another;" and say then: "Here Jesus Christ teaches that Christians shall not repel weapon with weapon, but must flee .before weapons." P. J. Twisck, Chron., 2d Book, for the year 160, Â¢. 43, col. 1, 2, from Seb. Fra. in den Krieg des Fredes, fol. 63.
From this explanation of Gratianus appears, how salutarily and rightly he believed and taught with regards to the words of Jesus Christ relative to the forsaking of revenge; from which we may infer his correct views concerning other matters of Holy Scripture and the Christian faith; but since, either through default of the ancient writers, or for some other reason, nothing else has come down to us from him, we shall be content with what we have mentioned, and take our leave of him.*
About the year 200. About this time flourished Clemens Alexandrinus, who, though writing largely on baptism, nowhere mentions infant baptism, but employs throughout such language as sufficiently implies, that he knew nothing of infant baptism, but confined himself solely to the ordinance of Christ and the practice of His apostles, which a baptism that is accompanied with faith and repentance.
In Pcedagog., lib. 1, chap. 6, he writes thus: "This is also done with us, whose example the Lord Christ has become. Being baptized, we become enlightened; being enlightened, we are made children; having been made children, we are brought to perfection; having been brought to perfection, we are made immortal." A little after that he says: "Thus also, when we are baptized, we obtain a free, unobstructed, and clear eye of the Holy Ghost, as an avengement of blindness; having trodden underfoot the sins which hitherto obscured the divine Spirit." Also: "That which was grievously bound by ignorance, is unbound by knowledge, and these bands are loosed through the faith of man and the grace of God, the manifold sins being forgiven through reasonable** baptism as a perfect remedy; thus we are washed from all sins, and are henceforth evil no more; this is the grace of enlightenment, that the manner of life is no longer the same that it was before we were
* A.D. 175, Ireneus taught that the bread of the Supper was of the fruit of the earth, and he also calls the Supper not an offering but a thanksgiving. "Lib 4, contra Valent." See in the "Geslachb register der Roomscher Successie," second edition, 1649, page 114.
** The words, "reasonable baptism," indicate that he speaks of such a baptism as belongs to reasonable or intelligent persons.
baptized." Further: "Teaching or instruction precedes faith, but faith conjointly with baptism is led and directed through the Holy Ghost." And
"Even so we who repent of our former sins separate ourselves from them and are being cleansed through baptism, let us run to the eternal light, as children to their father." See further, concerning these citations, Jac. Mehrn., Bapt. Hist., 2d Part, pages 213, 214. Also, H. Montan. Nietighz van den Kinder loop, pages 26, 27.
What is there in this testimony of Clemens Alexandrinus, that can apply to infant baptism? yea, on the contrary, what is there that does not militate against it? He certainly says expressly: "These bands (namely, of sin) are loosed through the faith of man, and the grace of God, the manifold sins being forgiven through reasonable baptism." This certainly is a clear and obvious joining together of faith and baptism, as things which, through the providence of God, belong together, for the remission of sins. When he further says: "Teaching, or instruction, precedes faith, but faith conjointly with baptism is led and directed through the Holy Ghost," there is expressed, without controversy, the same thing that we have said just now; since here not only faith is joined together with baptism, but also instruction, which precedes faith, and the Holy Ghost, who follows and confirms faith.
It is true, he says soon after this, that those who are baptized are children, or, at least, ought to be. But what kind of children? Not childen in understanding, not infants in the cradle, but, as he further says, children in wickedness, but perfect in the understanding. Children, who, as children of God, have put off the old man, and the garment of wickedness, and have put on the incorruptibility of Christ, in order that, being regenerated, they may become a new and holy people, and keep unspotted the new man. See the treatise cited above.
If at that time it was at all customary in Alexandria to baptize infants, would it not have been appropriate here for him, to speak of irrational infants, or at least to mention with a word or two, that they, too, were entitled to baptism, although, on account of their youth they could not understand the object of it? Truly, according to our opinion he could not well have omitted mentioning it; but, inasmuch as he does not refer to it with a single word, it is good proof, that at that time this abuse was not known there, or, at least, not regarded.
Jacob Mehrning says (Baptism. Hist. concerning the second century, page 213): "Of Clemens Alexandrinus we read that at Alexandria he presided over the school in which the catechumens, that is those who received instruction preparatory to baptism; were taught the principles of the Christian faith." hicecomes, lib. 2, cap. 7.
From this Padag., Clementis Alexandrini, lib. 1, cap. 6, Vicecomes would prove that there was given to those who were baptized, milk and honey to eat, and milk mixed with wine, to drink; likewise, that after baptism, preaching took place and peace was imparted to those baptized.
As regards the statement, that there was given to the baptized, as a sign of God's blessing, milk and honey to eat, and milk mixed with wine, to drink, we leave it to its own merits, it being a matter of small importance, which, if done without superstition, could either be observed or omitted. But the preceding statement, that Clemens Alexandrinus presided over the school in which the catechumens were taught the principles of the Christian faith, certainly implies that the candidates for baptism were first instructed in the school, in the principles of the Christian faith, before they were .baptized; and also, the final remark, that after baptism preaching took place, and peace was imparted to the baptized, certainly also indicates that those who were baptized were not infants, for then they could not have understood the preaching, much less would they have been qualified to receive with attention and according to the requirements of Holy Scripture the peace which was imparted to them.
NOTE. Baudartius writes of Clemens Alexandrinus, that he proclaimed the true religion with his mouth as well as with his pen, saying among other things: "A pious and honorable man is well content with little." Apophth., edit. 1640, lib. 2, page 49.
FURTHER REMARKS CONCERNING BAPTISM IN THIS
From the writings of Walafridus Strabonus we may clearly infer what manner of baptism was practiced at this time, in the first as well as in the second century, and also along afterwards, namely, that no infants, but adults, reasonable, and believing persons were baptized, and this according to the example of Christ a.id His holy apostles. Jac. 1, cap. 4. Walafridus Styabo (in lib. de Rebus Mehrn., Bapt. Hist., p. 524, D. I. Vicecomes, lib. Eccles., cap. 26,) writes: "We must know that originally believers were very simply baptized in streams and springs; for our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, in order to sanctify such washing for us, was baptized of John in Jordan; even we read elsewhere: `John was baptizing in Enon near to Salim, because there was much water there."'
Page 525, from D. hicecomes, lib. 1, cap. 30; also, cap. 26, Strabo speaks thus concerning baptism: We must know that in those first times baptism was administered only to those who, in body as well as in soul, were washed clean and white, so that they could both know and understand, what benefit there was to be obtained in baptism, what was to be confessed and believed, and, finally, what was necessary to be observed by the regenerated in Christ."
He then relates of Augustine, that he was instructed in the faith before he was baptized (of which we shall speak in the proper place); but that subsequently, for the sake of improvement, as it is called, the church, that is, the Roman church, practiced infant baptism, with a view of freeing infants by this means from the punishment of God for original sin. Then the followers of the true faith (thus he wrongly calls the Romanists), in order that the children might not be lost, if they should die without means of regeneration, that is, baptism, resolved that they should .be baptized for the remission of sins. Hence originated, he writes, the custom of having godfathers and godmothers, who stand for the child at (literally, lift the child from) baptism, and answer for them all that they themselves, on account of the weakness of their infancy, are not able to confess. Thus for Strabo.
N. B. Concerning these words, D. Vicecomes writes thus: "Since Walafridus Strabo removes the custom of infant baptism from the primitive church, he also recognizes no older origin of the godfather's than which date from a period subsequent to the time of Augustine." BaÂ¢t. Hist., pp. 525, 526.
Thus, in the first two centuries, and long afterwards, infant baptism was not known by the Romanists even, according to the above mentioned testimony of W. Strabo. Shortening this, we shall conclude with a statement contained in the H. Doophistorie, at the end of the second century, page 211, cap. 7, de Ratione Gubernationis Eccle;sice: "Since also the administration of the Sacrament belongs to the government of the church, we see from the history of the time, that the bishops and teachers did not deem it burdensome to baptize, not bells and altars, but men whom 'they had instructed in the principal articles of the Christian religion; and to them they also administered the holy Supper." We shall now proceed to the martyrs, who, during this time suffered for this same faith.
AN ACCOUNT .OF THOSE WHO SUF
FERED IN THE SECOND CENTURY
SUMMARY OF THE MARTYRS OF THE SECOND
[The two Roman, or, properly speaking, Greek Emperors, Trajan and Marcus Aurelius raised the principal persecutions against the Christians, in this century. This is amply shown in the following account, as well as what persons suffered for the name of Christ in these persecutions.
In the persecutions through Trajan there were slain, after enduring much suffering, Simon Cleophas, who was a hundred and twenty years old, Rufus and Zosimus, the Ethiopian baptized by Philip, Ignatius, Onesimus, Dionysius Areopagita, Publius, Barsimeus, Barbelius and his sister Barba, Justus and Pastor, Phocas, Faustina, Jacobita, Felicitas with her seven sons, and Lucius.
Under Marcus Aurelius there suffered, Justinus, Polycarpus, and twelve of his beloved disciples, who had come from Philadelphia to Smyrna, and were slain there; Carpus, Papylus, Agathonica and many women, Germanicus, Vetius, Attalus, Alexander of Phrygia, Maturus, Sanctus Blandina and a youth, Photinus, ninety years old, Alcibiades, Epipodius, Alexander the Greek, Leoxides, Plutarchus, Sagaris, Thraseas. All these fought unto blood under the blood stained banner of Jesus Christ; their deaths may be read at large in the following account.]
We shall begin the second century with the third general persecution which was raised against the followers of Jesus Christ, and shall forthwith proceed to give an account of the time, place, persons, and circumstances.
THE THIRD PERSEUNOOF CI THE CHRISTIANS,
COMMENCED UNDER TRAJAN, A. D. 102
With the beginning of the second century, A. D. 102, arose the third heathen persecution against the Christians under Emperor Trajan, who attained to the reign of the Roman monarchy in the year 100.
Being instigated by Mamertinus, the governor of Rome, and Targuinus, the superintendent of the worship of the heathen deities, he persecuted the Christians in an awful manner, and put them to a wretched death.
He was called a good emperor, but very superstitious as regards the heathen worship: .by reason of which he was the more easily induced to undertake this sorry work. It also was no small help to this end, that the heathen priests and idolaters paid great taxes, to extirpate by sufferings and death, as the enemies of God and of man, those who were opposed to their gods, especially the Christians.
Meanwhile we shall show what persons suffered under the bloody reign of Emperor Trajan, for the name of Jesus Christ.
SIMON CLEOPHAS, ONE OF THE SEVENTY DISCI;
PLES OF CHRIST, CRUCIFIED BY ATTICUS,
UNDER TRAJAN, A. D. 109
Simon Cleophas was the son of Cleophas and Mary, and a cousin of our Lord Jesus, because he was the son of the brother of Joseph, the supposed father of Christ. After the death of the apostle James he was chosen, by common consent; bishop of the church at Jerusalem; hence he must be distinguished from Simon surnamed Zelotes, who was one of the apostles, and was crucified in Persia. For, the latter was a son of Alpheus, but the former a son of Cleophas, not one of the twelve, but of the seventy disciples of Christ, as Eusebius admits, saying: "If any one should say that this Simon beheld Christ with his own eyes, and listened to His preaching with his own ears, he would not be beyond reason and truth in this opinion, not only on account of the long duration of his life, being, a hundred and twenty years old, but much more by virtue of the testimony of the holy Gospel, in which mention is made of Mary, the wife of Cleophas, whose son he was, according to the testimony of Egesippus, who was the nearest historian to the time of the apostles." Hist. Eccles. Euseb. Pamphil., lib. 3, cap. 11.
This is the Simon, of whom it is stated that he was an eyewitness to the stoning of James, the holy apostle of the Lord. EQiph. supra, in Sym. Alph.
He was accused by some wicked men before Atticus, the governor of Emperor Trajan, of being a Christian, yea a near relative of Christ, of the generation of David. On this account he was dreadfully beaten for many days with scourges and sharp rods, so that everyone who saw him, had to lament and wonder, the judge himself being astonished, that a man of such a great age, a hundred and twenty years old, was able so long to endure such intolerable torturing.
Finally, as he remained steadfast in his confession, he became conformed in suffering unto his Lord, whom he confessed, and was sentenced by Atticus to be crucified; which death he suffered in the tenth year of Emperor Trajan, which corresponds with the year of Christ 109. Compare the 1st Book of A. Mellinus, printed A. D. 1617, fol. 24, col. 1, 2, with Hist. Mart. Joh. Gysii, recently printed by 1. Braat, A. D. 1657, fol. 15, col. 1.
RUFUS AND ZOSIMUS, TWO PIOUS CHRISTIANS, BE;
HEADED AT PHILIPPI IN MACEDONIA, FOR
THE FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST, A. D. 109
Rufus and Zosimus were disciples of Christ and His apostles, and had also been instrumental in founding and building up the church of God among the Jews and the Gentiles.
Especially conspicuous is Rufus, from the greetings of the apostle Paul to the church at Rome, in which he includes Rufus, not merely as a common member of the same, but as a distinguished, yea chosen person, for he says: "Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine" (Rom. 16:13).
This Rufus and the aforementioned Zosimus, both pious and upright Christians, together with many of their fellow believers, were put to death for the faith, in the city of Philippi in Macedonia, Some write that both were beheaded in the days of Emperor Trajan, A. D. 109. Compare what A. Mellinus adduces in Het groot Christen Martelcers bcek, fol. 19, col. 4, from Polycarpo ad Philippens, with that which J. Gysius has noted in Hist. Mart., fol. 15, col. 3.
THE ETHIOPIAN OR EUNUCH OF QUEEN CANDACE,
WHO WAS BAPTIZED BY PHILIP, PUT TO DEATH
FOR THE NAME OF CHRIST, IN THE ISLAND
OF CAPROBANO, A. D. 110
Immediately after Rufus and Zosimus, A. Mellinus introduces the Ethiopian or eunuch of Queen Candace in Ethiopia, who was converted by Philip to the faith in Jesus Christ, and thereupon baptized, as we read in the Acts of the Apostles.
It is stated of him, from Jerome, that he preached the Gospel of our Lord in Arabia Felia, and also in a certain island of the Red Sea, called Caprobano (some call it Ceylon), where, it is supposed, he suffered death for the testimony of the truth. See above, Mellin. ex Hieron. Catal. in Crescente, in 53, cap. Esad.
IGNATIUS, A DISCIPLE OF THE APOSTLE JOHN, DE;
VOURED BY WILD BEASTS IN A CIRCUS AT ROME,
FOR THE TESTIMONY OF THE SON OF GOD,
A. D. 111
Ignatius, a disciple of the apostle John, and a successor of Peter and Evodius, was in the service of the church of Christ at Antioch in Syria. He was a very God fearing man, and faithful and diligent in his ministrations. He was surnamed Theophorus, that is, The Bearer of God, apparently because he often bore the name of God and his Saviour in his mouth, and led a godly life. He was wont to say frequently: "The life of man is a continual death, unless it be that Christ liveth in us." Likewise: "The crucified Christ is my only and entire love." And: "He that allows himself to be called after any other than Christ, is not God." And again: "As the world hates the Christians, so God loves them." A. Mellin., fol. 15, col. 1, from. Iqnat. in EQist. ad Row. et alibe.
Having learned that the Emperor Trajan, after the victories which he had achieved against the Dacians, Armenians, Assyrians, and other eastern nations, gave thanks at Antioch unto the gods, and offered great sacrifices unto them, as though these victories had proceeded from them, Ignatius, as we are informed by Nicephorus, reproved the Emperor for it, and this openly in the temple.
The Emperor, exceedingly enraged on this account, caused Ignatius to be apprehended, yet, for fear of an uproar, because Ignatius was held in great respect in Antioch, he did not have him punished there but committed him into the hands of ten soldiers, and sent him bound to Rome, there to have him punished.
In the meantime his sentence of death was made known to him in what manner and where he was to die; namely, that he should be torn to pieces by wild beasts at Rome.
On his way thither, he wrote several consolatory epistles to his friends, the faithful in Christ Jesus; and also to different churches, as to those of Smyrna, Ephesus, Philadelphia, Trallis, Magnesia, Tarsus, Philippi, and especially to the church of Christ at Rome; which letter he sent before his arrival there.
It appears that the thought of being torn to pieces by the teeth of wild beasts was constantly on his mind during the journey; yet not as a matter of dread, but of earnest desire. This he mentions in his letter to the church at Rome, writing thus "Journeying from Syria to Rome, by water and by land, by day and by night, I fight with wild beasts, bound between ten leopards, who, the more I stroke, and show myself friendly to them, the more cruel and malignant they become. However, through the cruelties and torments which they daily inflict upon me, I am more and more exercised and instructed; nevertheless, I am not justified thereby. O that I were already with the beasts, which are ready to devour me I I hope that, ere long, I shall find them such as I wish them to be, that is, cruel enough to destroy me speedily. But if they will not fall upon and tear me, I shall kindly allure them, so that they will not spare me, as they have already spared several Christians, but will quickly tear me in pieces, and devour me. Forgive me for speaking thus; I know what I need. Now only I begin to be a disciple of Christ. I regard neither things visible nor invisible, at which the world is amazed. It is sufficient for me if I but become a partaker of Christ. Let the devil and evil men afflict me with all manner of pain and torment, with fire, with cross, with fighting against wild beasts, with scattering of the members and bones of my body; all this I esteem very little, if I but enjoy .Christ. Only pray for me, that inward and outward strength be given me, not only to speak or write this, but also to perform and endure it, so that I may not only be called a Christian, but also be found one in truth." Ignat. in Epist. ad Rom.
Having arrived at Rome, he was delivered by the soldiers to the governor, together with the letters of the Emperor, which contained his sentence of death. He was kept in prison several days, until a certain feast day of the Romans, when the Governor, according to the order of the Emperor, had him brought forth into the amphitheatre. First of all they sought by many torments, to induce him to blaspheme the name of Christ, and offer sacrifice to the gods. But when Ignatius did not weaken in his faith, but was only, the longer, the more strengthened in refusing to offer heathen sacrifices, he was forthwith condemned by the Roman Senate, immediately to be cast before the lions.
As Ignatius was led away from the presence of the Senate, to the innermost enclosure, or pit of the lions, he frequently repeated the name of Jesus in the conversation which he, while on the way, carried on with the believers, as well as in his secret prayer to God. Being asked why he did so, he replied thus: "My dear Jesus, my Saviour, is so deeply written in my heart, that I feel confident, that if my heart were to be cut open and chopped to pieces, the name of Jesus would be found written on every piece." With this the pious man indicated that not only his mouth, but the innermost parts of his heart were filled with the love of Jesus for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. Thus, also Paul, being filled with the love of Jesus Christ, has used, in his letters, as much as two hundred times (as has been counted) the words, "Our Lord Jesus Christ." The name "Jesus" he employs as much as five hundred times.
When the whole multitude of the people were assembled, to witness the death of Ignatius (for the report had spread throughout the whole city, that a bishop had been brought from Syria, who, according to the sentence of the Emperor, was to fight against the wild beast), Ignatius was brought forth and placed in the middle of the amphitheatre. Thereupon Ignatius, with a bold heart, thus addressed the people which stood around: "O ye Romans, all you who have come to witness with your own eyes this combat; know ye, that this punishment has not been laid upon me on account of any misdeed or crime; for such I have in no wise committed, but that I may come to God, for whom I long, and whom to enjoy is my insatiable desire. For, I am the grain of God. I am ground by the teeth of the beast, that I may be found a pure bread of Christ, who is to me the bread of life." These words spake Ignatius, when he stood in the middle of the amphitheatre, and when he heard the lions roar; which the brethren of the church who also stood among the people heard and testified to.
As soon as he had spoken these words, two dreadful, hungry lions were let out to him from their pits, who instantly tore and devoured him, leaving almost nothing, or, at least, very little, even of his bones. Thus fell asleep, happy in the Lord, this faithful martyr of Jesus Christ, A. D. 111, in the 12th year of Emperor Trajan. Compare Abr. Mell. 1st book of the Hist. der hervolg. en Mart., printed 1619, fol. 25, col. 1-4, and fol. 26, col. 1, with JoR. Gysii Hist. Mart., fol. 15, col. 2, 3. Also, W. Baudart. in Apophth. Christian, printed A. D. 1640. The first book, in the second Apophthegm, on the name Ignatius, pp. 37, 38, from different other authors.
ONESIMUS, A FRIEND OF THE APOSTLE PAUL,
BROUGHT FROM ROME TO EPHESUS, AND
THERE STONED TO DEATH, A. D. .111
Onesimus, a servant of Philemon, by descent a Colossian, had run away from his master, and had come to Rome, where he was recognized by the apostle Paul who was imprisoned there and sent back to his master, with recommendatory letters tending to reconciliation, as may be seen in the epistle of Paul to Philemon, in which Paul calls him his son, whom he had begotten in his bonds. Philemon 10.
He also carried a certain letter of Paul from the prison at Rome to the church at Colossefor in the conclusion of the epistle to the Colossians we read
"Sent from Rome through Tychicus and Onesimus." Col. 4 after verse 18.
It appears therefore, that he was a beloved friend and faithful servant of the apostle Paul, notwithstanding he had left his external service in the house of Philemon. He also, after he was sincerely converted, was not permitted to finish his course without persecution, sufferings, and a violent death; but had to tread after the example of his Saviour, the wine press of suffering. According to the testimony of ancient historians, he was carried away bound from Ephesus to Rome, and there stoned to death, under Trajan, and the judge Tertullus, shortly after the death of Ignatius, A. D. 111. See above, Idem. Ibidem. ex Act. Metaph. Mart., Rom., 16 Febr. Also, Ado.
DIONYSIUS AREOPAGITA, WHO WAS CONVERTED BY
PAUL, MARTYRED FOR CONFESSING JESUS
CHRIST, ABOUT THE YEAR 112
We read in the Acts of the Apostles, chap. 17, verse 34, that among those who clave unto the doctrine of Paul, there was also Dionysius, one of the Athenian council, and a woman named Damaris.
It is testified of this Dionysius, surnamed the Areopagite, that he so increased in the Christian religion, that Paul afterwards appointed him bishop at Athens; yet, that finally, after having made a most glorious confession of faith, and suffered many severe torments, he was crowned, as a victorious hero of Jesus Christ, with the martyr's crown, when he had got to be a very old man, and had commended his spirit into the hands of his heavenly Father. He now accomplished what he was wont to frequently repeat in his life: "The last words of my Lord Jesus, while on the cross, shall also be my last words in this temporal life, namely: `Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit."' Thereupon he was put to death, and thus fell asleep happy in the Lord. Compare A. Mell., 1st book o f the Histor. der vervolg. en Mart., printed A. D. 1619., fol. 26, cot. 2, from Adone in Martyrol. ex Arist. lib. de Relig. Christ and Suida in Dion. Areopag. and Seger., in Chron. 10. Strac. in Pass, Part. S. Homil. 2, with W. Baudart, in Apophthegm Christian, 1st book 7th edition, A. D. 1640, Â¢. 17, on the name Dionysius Areopagita.
NOTE. Touching the manner of the death, or martyrdom, of Dionysius the Areopagite, we find nothing stated in ancient, trustworthy writers; hence we have said nothing about it, though some have written, that he was beheaded at Paris; for which statement we let them be responsible, since their accounts of this event differ in regard to the manner in which, as well as the time when, it is said to have occurred. See in the above mentioned Apophthegm. Baudartii.
PUBLIUS, BARSIMAEUS, BARBELIUS, AND HIS SISTER
BARBA, SLAIN FOR THE NAME OF JESUS
CHRIST ABOUT THE YEAR 112
It is also stated that Publius, bishop of the church at Athens, a good and pious man, was slain for the name of Christ; likewise, Barsimaeus, bishop of the church at Edessa, and with him, Barbelius and his sister Barba, who had been baptized by him; all of whom, steadfastly contending for the truth, obtained the martyrs' crown. Compare Joh. Gysii Hist. Mart., fol. 15, col. 3, with the Introduction to the Martyrs Mirror o f the Defenseless Christians, printed A. D. 1631, fol. 93, col. 1.
JUSTUS AND PASTOR, SLAIN FOR THE FAITH AT
COMPLUTUM, ABOUT THE YEAR 116
That Justus and Pastor were deprived of life at Complutum, a city in Spain, for the same reason for which the aforementioned martyrs were slain, namely, for the testimony of Jesus, the Son of God, this we find stated in different ancient writers. See above.
PHOCAS, BISHOP OF PONTUS, PUT TO DEATH IN A
LIME KILN, AND IN BOILING WATER, FOR
THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST, AT SINOPE,
ABOUT THE YEAR 118
Phocas, a son of Pamphilius, the first bishop of the church in Pontus in the city of Sinope, on being brought, in the time of Trajan, before Africanus, the Governor of Pontus, who urged him to sacrifice upon the alter of Neptune, steadfastly refused to do this; on account of which he was sentenced by the Governor to die for the name of Christ; which death he suffered after many pains and torments, and was thus numbered with his slain fellow brethren. Regarding the death of this man, see A. Mell., 1st book o f the Hist. der vervolg. in Mart., fol. 27, col. 1, ex Adone, in Comment. At. 6. Aster. Orat. de Phoca. Also, concerning the time of his death, for the year 118, see Joh. Gysii Hist. Mart., fol. 15, col. 4.
Touching the manner of his death, P. J. Twisck gives the following account: "Phocas, in Pontus, refusing to sacrifice to the gods, was thrust, according to the command of Emperor Trajan, and for the name of Christ, into a lime kiln full of glowing coals, then cast into boiling water .and thus killed. P. J. Twisck, Chron., 2d book, for the year 118,; p. 37, cot. 2. from, Adon. Vinnens., lib. 6, fol. 166, Tine fol. 519.
FAUSTINA AND JACOBITA PUT TO DEATH, FOR
THE FAITH, AT BRESCIA; AND ELENTHERUS
WITH HIS MOTHER ANTHIA, IN SICILY,
A. D. 120
About this time several persons were put to death for the name of Christ; as Faustina and Jacobita, at Brescia in Italy; Elentherus with his mother Anthia, and others, at Messina in Sicily, etc.; all of whom, contending steadfastly, even unto death, departed with joyful hope. As regards the persecutions of this time, compare Joh. Gysii Hist. Mart., fol. 115, cot. 4, with A. Mellinus, P. J. Twisck, and others.
SEVERE PERSECUTIONS OF THE BELIEVERS ABOUT
THE YEAR 130
About this time, writes P. J. Twisck, the instruments of the devil could not invent punishments severe enough, but what they considered the Christians worthy of. For they were watched in their houses as well as without; men cried out against them in all public places; they were scourged, stoned, and dragged about; their goods were plundered; they were apprehended; red hot iron, plates were applied to their bare bodies; they were placed in a certain instrument made to torture malefactors; they were put into the deepest and darkest places of the prisons, where they were slain, yea, they were afflicted with excruciating torments. P. J. Twisck, Chron., 2d book, for the year 130, page 39, cot. 2, and page 40, cot. 1, from Jan CresQin in den staet der Kerken.
GETULICUS, SYMPHOROSA WITH HER SONS, CERI;
ALUS AND AMANTIUS, PUT TO DEATH FOR
THE FAITH, AT FRIVOLI; AND SAPPHIRA
AND SABINA AT ROME, A. D. 136
Getulicus, a teacher at Frivoli in Italy, Symphorosa with her sons, and Cerialus and Amantius, were put to death in that city for the faith. It is also stated that Sapphira, a maiden from Antioch, and Sabina, the widow of Valentinus, had to lay down their lives, at Rome, for the same reason. Joh. Gysii Hist. Mart., fol. 15, cot. 4.
PTOLOMEUS, A GODFEARING MAN, PUT TO DEATH
AT ALEXANDRIA, IN EGYPT, FOR THE FAITH
IN JESUS CHRIST, ABOUT THE YEAR 144
It is stated that Ptolomeus was a pious and Godfearing man, who had converted his wife from the blindness of heathendom to the faith. He was apprehended for the truth of Christ. Asked, whether he was a Christian, he, as a lover of the truth, immediately confessed that he was. After this confession, he was cast into prison, in which he suffered so long as to become completely emaciated. Finally he was delivered to the judge Urbicius, who shortly afterwards had him put to death; and thus Ptolomeus became a faithful martyr of Jesus Christ. Compare Joh. Gysii Hist. Mart., printed at Dort, 1657, fol. 15, cot. 3, with Abr. Melt., 1st book of the Hist. der vervolg. Mart., also, printed at Dort, A. D. 1619, fol. 32, cot. 2, from Just. Philos. Apol. prima Christian Euseb., lib. 4, cap. 17.
LUCIUS, A PIOUS CHRISTIAN, ALSO PUT TO DEATH
AT ALEXANDRIA, ACCORDING TO THE PRE;
CEDING SENTENCE, TOGETHER WITH AN;
OTHER, WHO MADE THE SAME PRO;
FESSION, ABOUT THE YEAR 144
In Historia Ecclesia Eusebii Pamphilii Ccpsariensis, mention is made of a certain Lucius, who was greatly dissatisfied with the sentence and execution of the aforementioned pious man Ptolomeus, and, therefore demanded a reason for it from the judge, at the same time confessing himself a Christian; which cost him his life, even as it did the man for whom he interceded.
The words in the book mentioned above are as follows: "When Lucius, who was also a Christian, perceived that so presumptuous a sentence was pronounced against Ptolomeus, he said to Urbicius (the judge): `Pray, tell me, for what reason do you sentence this man so hastily, and cause him to be led to execution, merely on account of one word, because he confesses himself to be a Christian? If there were another, who would confess all manner of sin, such as murder, adultery, or any other crime, would you also act so hastily, and sentence him to death immediately? This is not proper, O Urbicius! it does not become a good emperor, a wise bachelor, the son of the emperor, or the senators to act thus.' Then said Urbicius to Lucius
`It appears to me that thou also art a Christian.' When Lucius replied: `It is true, I am one.' Then Urbicius commanded that he should be led forth to death. Thereupon Lucius said: `I thank thee, for releasing me from these wicked lords, and sending me to the kind and best of fathers, the king of all things, namely, our God.' Another who also boldly confessed that he was a Christian, was put to death by virtue of the same sentence." Thus far, Eusebius in the 4th book o f his Church History, in the 17th chapter, Dort edition, A.D. 1588, fol. 72, cot. 1, compared with A. Mellinus and Joh. Gysius, in the passages quoted concerning Ptolomeus.
FELICITAS WITH HER SEVEN SONS, JANUARIUS,
FELIX, PHILIPPUS, SYLVANUS, ALEXANDER,
VITALIS, AND MARTIALIS, PUT TO DEATH
FOR THE FAITH, AT ROME, A. D. 164
Felicitas was a Christian widow at Rome, and had seven sons, whose names were Januarius, Felix, Philippus, Sylvanus, Alexander, Vitalis, and Martialis. These lived together with their mother in one house, as an entire Christian church. Of the mother it is stated, that by her Christian communion, (conversation) which she had with the Roman women, she converted many to Christ. The sons, on their part, also acquitted themselves well by winning many men to Christ.
Now, when the heathen priests complained of this to Antonius, the Emperor who had resumed the persecution which had begun with Trajan, but had subsided saying, that there were not only men, but also women, who blasphemed the gods, despised their images, trampled under foot the Emperor's worship of the gods, yea, turned away many from the old religion of the Romans; that this was principally done by a certain widow, named Felicitas, and her seven sons, and that, therefore, in order to prevent this, they must be compelled to give up Christ, and sacrifice to the gods, or, in case they should refuse to do so, be put to death, the Emperor, prompted or instigated hereby, gave . to Publius, the provost, or chief magistrate of Rome, full authority over them.
Publius, willing to spare Felicitas, as being a highly respectable woman, first secretly summoned her and her sons into his own house, where he entreated them with fair words and promises, but afterwards threatened to punish them with severe tortures, unless they would forsake the Christian religion, and readopt the old Roman worship of the gods. Felicitas, remembering the words of Christ, "Whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven," did not seek to evade the issue by using dissimulating or indirect words, but answered briefly thus: "I am neither moved by thy flatteries and entreaties, nor am I intimidated by thy threats; for I experience in my heart the working of the Holy Ghost, which gives me a living power, and prepares me for the conflict of suffering, to endure all that thou mayest lay upon me, for the confession of my faith."
When Publius could not move the mother from her steadfast purpose, he said to her: "Very well; if it seems pleasant to thee , to die, die alone, but have pity and a mother's compassion for thy sons, and command them, to ransom their own lives at least, by sacrificing to the gods."
Thereupon Felicitas said to the judge: "Thy compassion is pure wickedness, and thy admonition is nothing but cruelty, for, if my sons should sacrifice to the gods, they would not ransom 'their lives, but sell them to the hellish fiend, whose slaves, yea, whose serfs in soul and body, they would become, and be reserved by him, in chains of darkness, for everlasting fire."
Then, turning away from the judge, to her sons, she said: "Remain steadfast in the faith, and in the confession of Christ; for Christ and His saints are waiting for you. Behold, heaven is open before you; therefore fight valiantly for your souls, and show, that you are faithful in the love of Christ, wherewith He loves you, and you Him."
This filled the judge with rage against her, and he commanded them to smite her on the cheek, while he at the same time upbraided her vehemently, saying: "How darest thou thus impudently exhort thy sons in my presence, and make them obstinate to disobey the commands of the Emperor; whereas it would be far more proper for thee to incite them to obedience toward him?"
Felicitas, notwithstanding that death had been threatened her, answered with more than manly courage, saying: "If thou, O judge, didst know our Saviour Jesus Christ, and the power of His Godhead and majesty, thou wouldst undoubtedly desist from persecuting the Christians, and wouldst not seek to draw us away from the Christian religion by blaspheming His holy name; for whoever curses (or blasphemes) Christ and His faithful ones, curses (or blasphemes) God Himself, who, by faith, dwells in their hearts."
Thereupon, though they struck her in the face with their fists, in order to silence her, she did not cease to admonish her sons to remain steadfast, and to fear neither tortures nor rack, nor even death itself, but to die willingly for the name of Christ.
Therefore, Publius the judge took each of her sons separately, and talked first to one and then to the other, hoping by this last resort to draw away from the faith, by promises as well as by threats, some of them at least, if not all. But as he could not prevail upon them, he sent a message to the Emperor, stating that they all remained obstinate, and that he could in no wise induce them to sacrifice to the gods. Thereupon the Emperor sentenced the mother together with her seven sons, that they should be delivered into the hands of different executioners, and be tortured and put to death in various ways; yet, that the mother was first to see all her sons die, before she herself should be put to death.
In accordance with this sentence, they first scourged Januarius, the first born, to death, in the presence of his mother. The scourges were made of cords or ropes, to the ends of which balls of lead were attached. Those who had to undergo this mode of torture were scourged with them on their necks, backs, sides, and other tender parts of their bodies, either to torture them, or in order to martyr them to death as was the case in this instance. Felix and Philippus, the two brothers next (in age), were beaten to death with rods. Sylvanus, also called Syllanus, was cast down from a height. Alexander, Vitalis, and Martialis were beheaded. Last of all, the mother was beheaded or put to death with the sword. This took place under Emperor Antonius Pius. A. Mell. 1st book of the Hist., fol. 33, col. 4 and fol. 34, col. 1-3, ex Prudent. in hincentio. Also, Acto. Adon. Mart., 23 Novemb. Greg. P. in Natali. S. Felic. Homil. 3, in Eu. Bet. Chrysol. Serm. 134. Arta apud Mombrit.
tom 1. Beda Usuard. 23 Nov. Heur. Er$ord. Chron., Mart. Rom. Touching the time when this took place, see P. J. Twisck, Chron. 2d book, for the year 164, page 45, col. 1, front hincentio, in Cal., fol. 35.
OF THE FOURTH PERSECUTION OF THE CHRIS;
TIANS, UNDER MARCUS AURELIUS AND
Lucius VERUS, WHICH WAS COM
MENCED ABOUT THE YEAR 166
P. J. Twisck, in his Chronicle, gives as the beginning of the fourth persecution, the year A. D. 162; the writers of the Introduction to the Martyrs' Mirror o f the Defenseless Christian, fix the beginning in the year 164 (page 37, col. 2); J. Gysius, in Hist. Mart., fol. 16, col. 2, places it in the year 168, and A. Mellinus makes no mention at all as to the exact time of that persecution. However, all these writers abound with accounts of the inhuman tortures, which the faithful martyrs had to suffer at that time.*
We, in order to pursue a middle course between the abovementioned writers, have noted the year 166 as the beginning of said persecution. However, there is but little difference between the above writers; for it is probable, that the decrees for the persecution of the Christians were first issued about the year 162; that about the year 164 they were carried into effect; and that about the year 168 they exhibited their full force, insomuch that the persecution was then at the height of its fierceness. However, we shall proceed to see, how atrociously the pious witnesses of Jesus Christ were then treated.
HOW ATROCIOUSLY THE SINCERE CHRISTIANS WERE
TREATED DURING THIS PERSECUTION
Everywhere, in all the cities, writes P. J. Twisck, the imperial edicts and decrees against the Christians were posted up; by reason of which the magistrates and officers proceeded very cruelly against them, persecuting them even unto death, with great atrocity and fury. For, no mode of torture, punishment, or death, however great, severe, and unmerciful, could be devised, produced, or planned, by these wicked men, these tyrants, and instruments of the devil, but what it was thought, that the Christians, as accursed, as enemies of the Kingdom, and as the cause of all misfortune, deserved a thousand times more. To be publicly mocked, eternally imprisoned, exiled, scourged, stoned, strangled, hanged, beheaded, and burned, was deemed far too little.
They began, at this time, to ply the poor people with red hot plates until they were dead; to tear the flesh from their bones with red hot tongues; to place them upon iron stools over a slow fire; to
* Although P. J. Twisck has placed the fourth persecution, together with the beginning of the reign of 114. Aurelius, in the year 162, he, nevertheless, gives to understand in the sequel of his account, that this persecution reached its climax in the year 168. Compare this with the time which the writers of the aforementioned Introduction, and 'Joh. Gysius" have recorded.
fry them in iron frying pans; to roast them on gridirons at a slow fire; to cast them, enveloped in close netting, before wild bulls, to serve as sport for them, and be tossed into the air by their horns.
All this was accompanied with still another cruelty. The bodies of the slain were thrown before the dogs, and guards placed beside them, to prevent the Christians from taking away and burying these bodies. In short, the misery was so great, that at Lyons alone Bishop Irenus with nineteen thousand of his sheep were cruelly butchered. Thus far P. J. Twisck, in his Chronicle, 2d book, for the year 162, page 43, col. 2, from Chron. Mich. Sac. fol. 103. Chron. Sebast. Fra. Also, T yd. Thresor P. Mernla.
JUSTINUS, FIRST SCOURGED, AND THEN BEHEADED,
FOR THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS CHRIST, A. D.
Justinus was called a son of Priscus Bacchus, and was born of Greek parents, at Neapolis in Palestine.
In its proper place we have spoken of the views of Justinus concerning baptism on faith, and have shown that he was sound and correct in them. Now, however, it is proper for us to speak of his spiritual birth, of his heavenly fatherland, and how conclusively he showed that he was a child of God, and a citizen of the heavenly city, filled with all good things; which appeared not only in the beginning and progress of his faith, but especially in the end, when he testified to its power with his death, and sealed it with his blood.
In the daps of his youth he was instructed in the Platonic philosophy, in which he acquitted himself so meritoriously, that he received the name Philosopher, yea, he had been led to believe, that his learning would soon enable him to see God, which was the ultimate object of the Platonic philosophy. But it happened one day, as he was going toward the sea, in order to meditate in solitude upon what he had learned, that (as he himself has confessed) there followed him a very grave and gentle old man, who, having entered in a discourse with him, respecting the Platonic philosophy, taught him, in what true philosophy and happiness consisted, namely in the saving knowledge of the only, eternal, and alone immortal God.
Now, when Justinus inquired for the teachers from whom he might learn this divine philosophy, the old man referred him to the writings of the prophets, who did not write according to the argumentation of human reason, but, as certain and infallible witnesses, left behind what they had seen and heard of the words of truth, and the wonderful signs and works of God among His people; and that all their prophecies concerning the promised Messiah and Son of God, were fulfilled in the advent of Jesus Christ, who was born in the reign of Emperor Augustus. He therefore admonished him, to pray to God, that He would enlighten his heart to this saving doctrine, through Jesus Christ, without whom it would not be possible for him to attain to this saving knowledge.
"This and many more such discourses [writes Justinus] this old man had with me, showing me also, how I should further increase, and how I might obtain the things necessary to salvation. Then he went away, and I saw him no more. Immediately a burning desire was kindled in my heart, and a love for the Scriptures of the prophets and those men who had been dear friends of Christ, namely the apostles. Then only I became a true philosopher."
As to how and by whom, beside the instruction of the .aforesaid old man, he was first instructed and baptized, or from what cause he left his native land, and came from Syria, Palestine, or Samaria, to Rome, of this we find no account.
He afterwards had a disputation with Tryphon, a Jew. Of this he himself has written an account, in which may be seen his correct views in regard to different matters of faith, especially to baptism. Of this we have spoken in another place.
But finally, having entered into a controversy with Crescens, a Cynic philosopher, and having vanquished and confounded him, by the power of divine arguments, his uncertain life began to draw to a close, and his certain death to approach. For, by reason of this, this Cynic (that is, canine) philosopher, conceived such a deadly hatred for Justinus, that he swore to avenge it with his death; and from that time on did not cease to lay snares for him, and accuse him as a Christian, until he had quenched his thirst for blood with the blood of Justinus. This, Tatianus, the disciple of Justinus, gives to understand in his oration against the Greeks, in language not at all obscure, namely, that the above mentioned Crescens did not only seek the life of Justinus, but also that of himself. Moreover, Photius states that he tasted a joyful and worthy death, by the hands of Crescens Cynicus, the person whom we have just mentioned.
Touching the manner of his death: When Justinus had been apprehended, on the accusation of Crescens, and boldly refused to abandon his faith, or sacrifice to the gods, he was sentenced to death by Rusticus, the President, and, after having been scourged, he was beheaded with the ax, about A. D. 168, in the time of the reign of the Emperors Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Virus, and of the President Rusticus, as is annotated from Epiphanius. Cor, pare Abr. Mell. 1st book of the Hist. der, fol. 37, c. 1. 1-4, and fol. 38, col. 1-4, from Just. Apol. 2, pro. Christi., concerning his descent and name; Dialog. cum Tryphone Jod. Photius in Biblioth, and Jos. Scal. animad. Chron. Euseb., concerning his life and conversion; Iren., lib. 1, in Bibliotheca de Vita Justini Chron. Eus. A. D. 154, touching his end and death; Epiph. Hares. 26 and 46 touching the t' ne when this occurred. Also J. Gysii in Hist. M rt., fol. 16, col. 3, 4. Also, P. J. Twisck, Chron. 2d book, for the year 154, page 42, col. 2, from Johan. Barl., fol. 7. Grond. bew, letter A.
POLYCARP, A DISCIPLE OF THE APOSTLE JOHN, AND
BISHOP OF THE CHURCH AT SMYRNA, PUT TO
DEATH WITH FIRE AND SWORD, FOR HIS
FAITH IN THE SON OF GOD, A. D. 168
We read in the Revelation of John, that the Lord commanded His servant John, that he should write a few things to the angel (that is, the bishop or teacher) of the church at Smyrna, for the admonition of the teacher as well as for the service of the church, saying: "Unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty
. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life" (Rev. 2:8-10). These words of the Lord Jesus indicate that the believers at Smyrna, and their teacher, were in tribulation and poverty, and that still more suffering was appoaching them; whereupon he exhorted them to constancy, and promised to give them the crown of life.
As regards the teacher of this church, most of the ancient writers call him Polycarp, and say, that he was a disciple of the apostle John, inasmuch as he had heard John preach the Word of God, and had associated with those who had known the Lord Jesus Christ personally, and had had intercourse with him; and that John had appointed him bishop or overseer of the church at Smyrna.
Touching the sufferings which the Lord said would befall him and the church of which he was teacher, this began some time afterwards; in such manner that this good shepherd preceded, and many of the sheep of his flock faithfully followed him. However, we intend to speak here only of the shepherd, Polycarp.
It is stated, that three days before he was apprehended and sentenced to death, he was suddenly overcome by sleep, in the midst of his prayer, and while dreaming, had a vision, in which he saw the pillow on which he lay with his head, suddenly taking fire and was consumed. Instantly awakened thereby, he concluded that he was to be burnt for the name of Christ.
When those who sought to apprehend him, had approached very close, his friends endeavored to conceal him, and, therefore, brought him to another country seat, where he was nevertheless shortly afterwards discovered by his persecutors. For they had seized two lads, whom they, by scourging them, compelled to say where Polycarp was; and although, from the chamber in which he was, he might easily have made his escape into another house near by, he would not do it, but said "The will of the Lord be done." He therefore descended the stairs, to meet his persecutors, whom he received so kindly, that those who had not known him before, regretfully said, "What need had we to make so great haste, to apprehend such an old man."
Polycarp immediately had a table spread for his captors, .and affectionately urged them to eat; begging of them to allow him an hour's time in which to pray undisturbedly in quiet, while they were eating; which they granted him. When he had finished his prayer, and the hour was up, in which he had reflected upon his life, and commended the church of which he was teacher, unto God and his Saviour, the bailiffs placed him upon an ass, and led him to the city, on the Sabbath of the great feast.
Nicetes and his son Herod, called the prince of peace, rode out to meet him, took him from the ass, and made him sit with them in their carriage, seeking in this manner to induce him to apostatize from Christ, saying: "What matters it for you to say, Lord Emperor, and to offer sacrifice or incense before him, to save your life." At first, Polycarp made no reply at all, but when they persisted in asking him, and demanded an answer, he finally said: "I shall never do what you request and counsel me to do." When they saw that he was immovable in his faith, they commenced to revile him, and, at the same time, thrust him out of the carriage, so that in falling he severely injured his leg. He never showed, however, that he had been inured by the fall, but, as soon as he had risen, willingly surrendered himself again into the hands of the bailiffs, to be led further to the place of execution, walking as rapidly as though nothing hindered him.
As soon as Polycarp had entered the circus or amphitheatre, where he was to be executed, a voice came to him from heaven, saying, "Be strong, O Polycarp! and valiant in thy confession, and in the suffering which awaits thee." No person saw the one from whom this voice proceeded, but many of the Christians that stood around heard it; however, on account of the great commotion, the greater part of the people could not hear it. It nevertheless tended to strengthen Polycarp and those who had heard it.
The Stadtholder admonished him to have .compassion for his great age, and, by swearing by the Emperor's fortune, to deny Christ. Thereupon Polycarp gave the following candid reply, "I have now served my Lord Christ Jesus eighty six years, and He has never done me any harm. How can I deny my King, who hath hitherto preserved me from all evil, and so faithfully redeemed me?"
Thereupon the Stadtholder threatened to have him torn by wild beasts, if he would not desist from his purpose, saying: "I have the beasts ready, before whom I shall cast thee, unless thou become converted betimes." Polycarp answered unterrified: "Let them come, for my purpose is unchangeable. We cannot be converted or perverted from good to evil by affliction; but it would be better, if they (the evildoers) who persist in their wickedness would become converted to that which is good." The Stadtholder replied: "If thou art not yet sorry, and despisest the wild beasts, I shall have thee burned with fire." Once more Polycarp answered, saying: "Thou threatenest me with a fire, which will perhaps burn for an hour, and then soon go out; but thou knowest not the fire of the future judgment of God, which is prepared and reserved for the everlasting punishment and torment of the ungodly. But why delayest thou? Bring on the beasts, or the fire, or whatever thou mayest choose: thou shalt not, by either of them, move me to deny Christ, my Lord and Saviour."
Finally, when the people demanded his death, he was delivered by the Stadtholder to be burned. Instantly there was brought together a great heap of wood, fagots, and shavings. When Polycarp saw this, he undressed himself, and took off his shoes, in order to be laid on the wood without any clothes. This being done, the executioners were about to lay their hands on him, to nail him on the wood; but he said: "Let it be so; He that hath given me strength to endure the pain of the fire, will also strengthen me to remain still in the fire, though you nail me not to the firewood. They, accordingly, did not fasten him with nails, but simply with a rope, tied his hands behind his back. Thus, prepared for a burnt offering, and placed upon the wood like a sacrificial lamb, he prayed to God, saying, "O Father of Thy beloved and blessed Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have received the saving knowledge of Thy holy name; God of angels and powers, and of all creatures, but especially of all the righteous who live in Thy sight, I thank Thee that Thou didst call me to this day and hour, and hast counted me worthy; that I may have my part and place among the number of the holy martyrs, and in the cup of the suffering of Christ, so I suffer with Him, and thus partake of His pains. I pray Thee, O Lord, that Thou wouldst this day receive me, as a fat offer ing among the number of Thy holy martyrs, ever as Thou alone, O God of truth, who canst not lie didst prepare me thereto, and didst make it known unto me, yea, hast now ultimately fulfilled it Therefore I thank and praise Thee, above other men, and honour Thy holy name, through Jesus Christ, Thy well beloved Son, the eternal Higl Priest, unto whom, with Thee and the Holy Ghost be the glory, now and forever. Amen."
As soon as he had uttered the last word of hi: prayer (the word "Amen"), the executioners ig nited the wood upon which he was placed; an( when the flames circled high above the body o Polycarp, it was found, to the astonishment o everyone that the fire injured him but little, or no at all. The executioner was therefore commander to pierce him with a sword, which was instantly done, so that the blood, either through the heat of the fire, or from some other reason, issued so copiously from the wound that the fire was almost extinguished thereby; and thus this faithful witness of Jesus Christ, having died both by fire and the sword, entered into the rest of the saints, about A. D. 168. Compare Euseb., 4th book, 15 chap., printed A. D. 1588, page 66-70 with Aby. Mell., 1st book of the Hist., fol. 40, 41, col. 1-4, from Iren., lib. 3, cap. 3. Hares. Hieron. Catal. in Polycarp, Euseb., lib. 4, cap. 13, and lib. 5, cap. 19. Also, loh. Gysii Hist. Mart. for the year 168, fol. 17, col. 2. Also, P. I. Twisck, Chron. 2d book, A. D. 168, page 45, col. 2.
TWELVE PIOUS CHRISTIANS, WHO HAD COME FROM
PHILADELPHIA TO SMYRNA, PUT TO DEATH'
ON THE SAME DAY, WITH .POLYCARP, THE
AFOREMENTIONED MARTYR, A. D. 168
In the letter which the Holy Ghost directed John to write to the angel of the church at Smyrna, which we mentioned'above, it is indicated, that not only the teacher, who is called an angel, namely Polycarp, but also some of the church, would have to suffer for the name of Jesus Christ. We read: "Behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried" (Rev. 2,:10). This was also fulfilled in truth. For it is stated, that not only Polycarp, the leader of the church at Smyrna, but with him also twelve members of the church, who had come from Philadelphia, were put to death for the same reason and in the same manner.
The words of Eusebius concerning these martyrs from Philadelphia, taken from the Smyrna letter, are, according to A. Mellinus, as follows: "These ,are the particulars of the martyrdom of Polycarp, who had come from Philadelphia to Smyrna, together with twelve others, who willingly suffered death in the same manner with him; whose names are not mentioned, that of Polycarp alone being given, because, not only among the Christians, but even among the Jews and the heathen, he was famous far and wide for his extraordinary godliness. These testimonies are finished and sealed with the precious blood of the Christians. At the time of the fourth persecution; under the Emperors Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Virus, about in the seventeenth year of their reign, coinciding with the 168th year of our Saviour."
This is what we have found concerning these twelve pious witnesses of Jesus. Christ, who, as the twelve celestial signs; shone forth in faith as well as in virtue, but especially in steadfastness; wherefore the Lord, who is a rewarder unto His faithful servants, will hereafter crown and reward them' with the unfading crown of glory. See, concerning this, Abr. Mell. 1st book of the Hist., fol. 42, col. 2, from Euseb., lib. 4.
CARPUS. PAPYLUS, AGATHONICA AND MANY OTHER
WOMEN, PUT TO DEATH AT PERGAMOS, IN ASIA
MINOR, FOR THE CONFESSION OF THE
TRUE FAITH, ABOUT THE YEAR 168
It is recorded that about the same time that the aforementioned Christians were martyred, several other pious persons suffered death for the name of Jesus Christ, and the confession of the Son of God; among whom are mentioned by name, three very eminent persons, namely, Carpus, Papylus, and a woman called Agathonica, together with many other women; who were all crowned with the crown of the holy martyrs at Pergamos, in Asia Minor, for the saving confession of the true faith. Euseb., 4th book, cap. 15, fol. 70, col. 2. A. Mell., 1st book, fol. 42, col. 1, 2.
GERMANICUS, AN EMINENTLY PIOUS MAN, DE;
VOURED BY THE BEASTS, AT SMYRNA IN ASIA
MINOR, FOR THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS
CHRIST, A. D. 170
In P. T. Twisck's Chronicle is found the following account for the year A. D. 170: Germanicus, with other dear friends of God, had to suffer severe persecution and torture for the name of Christ, and was finally, cast before the wild beasts, and thus willingly ended his life." 2d book, van den undergang, page 46, col. 1, from Euseb., lib. 4.
Concerning the cause of his conversion, suffering and death, other authors write thus: "When the bystanders (while the Christians were being miserably put to death) beheld with their eyes, that the flesh of the martyrs of Christ, by many scourgings and stripes, was lacerated and torn loose even to the inmost veins and deepest sinews, so that their entrails and the most secret parts could be seen moving; and that the torturers then strewed potsherds,, sea shells, and even caltrops on the ground, over which they rolled, dragged; and on which they pressed the Christians thus. tormented, with their naked bodies; and that at last, when they, on account of the previous torments, could scarcely live or draw breath any longer, they cast them before the wild beasts, to be devoured by them; I 'say, when the spectators of.these tragedies saw, how inhumanly these people were treated, and, on the other hand, how patiently the suffering Christians endured the tortures, they were greatly amazed, yea terrified.
"Among these was the aforementioned Germanicus, who, being strengthened through the grace of God," so powerfully overcame the natural and innate weakness of the mind, which so much dreads the bodily death, that, on account of his singular steadfastness, he could well be considered one of the most eminent martyrs. For, when the Stadtholder sought to persuade him, and to move him, and to move him by soft words, to spare the bloom of his youth, and to have mercy upon himself, he despised his counsel, and, for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ did not count his youthful life precious."
"After that, it is stated by the ancient writers, how the wild beasts were let out to him, and how greatly he desired to be devoured by them, that he might be delivered from this body of sin and death; so that both Jews and heathen who stood by, were exceedingly astonished at him. Thus this pious witness of the Son of God departed this life with an immovable heart, and became united with Christ, his blood bridegroom and Saviour." Compare Abr. Mell., 1st book, of the Hist., fol. 39, col. 1, 2, with Joh. Gysii Hist., fol. 16, col. 4, and fol. 17, col. 1, from Euseb., lib. 4.
VETIUS, SURNAMED PAGATHUS, PUT TO DEATH ON
THE RIVER RHONE IN FRANCE, ABOUT THE
When the persecution of the Christians on the River Rhone, at Lyons and Vienne, in France, did not cease, but increased the longer the more, so that those who confessed the name of Christ, were forbidden, first their houses, then their bath rooms, and afterwards all public places, so that they could stay neither in the house, nor in the city, nor without, which was a cause of much suffering to them, it happened, that, some of the brethren of the church of God there, having been apprehended and brought before the President for examination, a certain brother, called Vetius, and surnamed Pagathus, young in years, but old and strong in the faith, went boldly before the judge, and made himself known as a defender of the apprehended Christians, whose cause he undertook to vindicate. The judge, when he had heard his defense, refused it, and asked him, whether he also was a Christian, or believer in Christ, upon which he candidly confessed that he was. Immediately he was enrolled among the Christian martyrs, and was called the Advocate of the Christians.
He was so pious .and virtuous in his life that Eusebius Pamphilius calls him: "Filled with ardent and divine love of the Spirit; yea, testifies, that he had a perfect love to God, and was upright towards all men; and that his life, though he was a youth, was so tried and acceptable, that he excelled many old persons, since he lived justly and unblamably, being ever ready to minister to the servants of God."
It is finally stated that he followed the holy teacher Zacharia, who had shown perfect love towards the holy martyrs, and assisted and supported them; .and also, that, according to the example of Jesus, his Saviour; he laid down his life for his sheep and friends; that is, gave his life for the truth, from love to the church of God, and to be a pattern of constancy to them. Compare Euseb., 5th book, cap. 1, fol. 80, eol. 1, 2, with Abr. Mell., 1st book, fol. 43, col. 1, 2, on the title Vetius. Also, Joh. Gys., fol. 17, col. 3, though he differs with the others in regard to the time.
* J. Gysius fixes the beginning of this persecution of the Christians, at Lyons and Vienne, on the river Rhone, in the year 179; but other authentic writers commence it with the ear 172.
ATTALUS, ROASTED IN AN IRON CHAIR, CAST
BEFORE THE WILD BEASTS, HIS THROAT
CUT, AND BEHEADED, ON THE RIVER
RHONE, ABOUT THE YEAR 172
At the time ,that this awful pressure of conscience continued under the Emperors Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, ceasing not until those who endeavored to live a Christian life according to their faith, had ended their lives under many torments, it came to pass that a certain pious Christian, called Attalus, who had been apprehended for the name of Jesus, his Saviour, was most inhumanly tortured, to the extent even, that he was placed over the fire in an iron chair, and roasted. When he was asked, what name the God of the Christians had, he answered: "Where there are many gods, they are distinguished by names; but where there is but one God, no name is necessary." He was finally brought into the amphitheatre, to be devoured by the wild beasts. But when these, either providentially, or because they were already sated, did not touch him, neither with their claws, nor with their teeth, he, together with other pious martyrs, was stabbed through the throat. Some write that he was then beheaded. Compare loh. Gys., fol. 17, col. 4, and fol., 18, col. 1, with P. J. Twisck, Chron. 2d book, for the year 172, page 46, col. 1, from Hist. Andr. fol. 19. Also, Introduction to, etc., fol. 38, col. 1, taken from Euseb., lib. 5, cap. 2 and 3.
ALEXANDER OF PHRYGIA, FIRST DREADFULLY TOR;
TURED, AND THEN EXECUTED WITH THE SWORD,
FOR THE CONFESSION OF THE SON OF GOD, ON
THE RIVER RHONE, ABOUT THE YEAR 172
The ancient writers mention also a certain pious man, called Alexander, a physician, and native of Phrygia, who was put to death on the same day and place when and where the abovementioned Attalus laid down his life. Concerning the cause of his imprisonment and death, it is stated, that, when At= talus and other Christians were being examined, this Alexander of Phrygia stood near the judgment seat, and considerably strengthened and encouraged, by motions and signs, the Christians who were making their defense and confession before the judge, to the end that they should continue steadfast in the truth once received: When the people that stood around, murmured on this account, he was apprehended, and, being interrogated in regard to his views, he answered: "I am a Christian," and made the same confession that Attalus and the others who had been apprehended and were standing before the tribunal, had made. He was therefore immediately sentenced to the amphitheatre, there, together with others, to be forthwith torn or devoured by the beasts. Thither he was then taken. but the execution was deferred until the following day. The next day he was brought forth, to fight with the beasts; however, he was first exceedingly tortured with all sorts of executioner's instruments. In this he bore himself with such fortitude, that he was not once heard to sigh, or to utter the least word of complaint; yea, he was not seen to manifest a single sign of distress or pain; only that he spoke to God in his heart. Finally, instead of fighting with the wild beasts, he was executed with the sword, and thus sealed with his blood the truth of the Son of God, which he had maintained. Compare with the authors who have been adduced above in regard to the death of Attalus, Abr. Mellin., 1st book, f ot. 43, cot. 4, and fol. 44, cot. 1.
MATURUS, SANCTUS, BLANDINA, AND A YOUTH
FROM PONTUS, MOST MISERABLY
TORMENTED, ON THE RIVER,
RHONE, ABOUT THE YEAR 172
It is manifest from the ancient writers, that in and about the time that Attalus was slain, various other martyrs were likewise put to death for the sake of Jesus Christ, almost in the same manner, or, at least, with equally great torments. Some of these martyrs are not mentioned, while others are, namely, Maturus, Sanctus, Blandina, and a youth of fifteen years, from Pontus. Touching the circumstances of their suffering and death, we find that, in substance, it occurred, in the following manner
First, three of the aforementioned persons, namely, Maturus, Sanctus, and Blandina, were exceedingly and dreadfully tormented, especially Blandina, for whom the others stood in great fear, that, not being able to endure the pain, she might be in danger of denying Christ. But she was so steadfast in all her sufferings that the hands of the executioners grew tired before her heart would faint. It is a cause of great astonishment, what Eusebius Pamphilius has written concerning her, namely, that the executioners began early in the morning, and continued tormenting her all day until evening, so that they were much surprised, how it could be possible that life was not yet extinct in her. However, he explains this by saying that as often ,as she repeated her confession, crying
"I am a Christian," her heart was stengthened, so that shef was again enabled to endure the pain.
Sanctus, who was a deacon, or one who ministered to the poor, was tormented with red hot plates of copper, which were applied to his belly. Being questioned, in the meantime, in regard to his name, parentage, and native country, he named neither of these, but simply said: "I am a Christian; that is my name, my parentage, and my country; indeed, I am altogether nothing else than a Christian." This inflamed the tyrants with unspeakable rage against him, and they continued to torment him on his whole body, to such an extent, that it was but one wound. But he remained fearless and undaunted; for the heat of the fire was tempered by the heavenly consolations of Jesus Christ, which he experienced in his soul.
Maturus was treated almost in the same manner, and remained equally steadfast. Having been thus dreadfully tormented, the aforementioned three persons were again cast into prison. Then they were again taken from the prison, and tormented once more; first Blandina, and then Maturus and Sanctus. The mode of torture was, according to Eusebius, by many stripes; but Abr. Mellinus states, "That they were scourged a second or third time, with all kinds of rods, as well as beaten with sticks, cudgels, and three cornered and barbed splinters; and also, pinched, cut, carved and torn, with all sorts of hooks, cutting knives, claws, pincers, and iron combs." Finally, when many thousands had collected about the amphitheatre, Maturus and Sanctus were placed, in the same manner as the aforementioned Attalus, on iron chairs, under which a great fire was kindled, so that their flesh, lacerated by many stripes, was forthwith consumed by virtue of the fire; however, when the enemies of the truth saw that their spirit was immovable, they beheaded both of them.
Of Blandina it is stated that she was stretched out cross wise, and tied to a stake, to be cast as food before the wild beasts; however, she was taken away again, and led into prison. But afterwards, on the last day of the games, she was again brought forth, together with a youth from Pontus (whom we have mentioned above), and who, by the command of the judge, had witnessed the suffering and death of the preceding martyrs, that it might strike terror into his heart. Being placed in the middle of the place of execution, before the judge, they were commanded to swear by the gods, which they refused to do, reproving at the same time, the idolatry of the heathen. At this the heathen were much incensed, and again tormented them greatly, yea, so much so, that the youth, unable to endure it, gave up the ghost. Blandina rejoiced so greatly in the steadfastness of the departed youth, whom she had adopted as her son, as well as in the death of her faithful friends, who had already gone through the conflict, that, being beaten by the tyrants, she leaped for joy. Touching her death, it is stated, that she was roasted upon a gridiron, and afterwards wound in a net, thrown before bulls, which tossed her many a time high up with their horns, and then let her fall down again. She, however, not being dead yet, the judge commanded that her throat be cut, which was done; though others say that she was thrust through with a sword. Thus did this pious martyress, and the other three martyrs of Jesus end their lives, and are now awaiting the blessed reward which the Lord will give on the great day of recompense to all those who have suffered and fought even unto death, for His name's sake. Compare Euseb., lib. 5, cap. 1-3, edit. Dord., 1588, fol. 81-86 with Abr. Mell., 1st book, fol. 43, cot. 2-4, about Blandina and Ponticus; also, fol. 44, cot. 1, 2, about Sanctus and Maturus. Also, Introduction, etc., fol. 38, cot, 1, 2. Also, J. Gys., 1657, fol. 17, cot. 3, 4.
AN OLD MAN OF NINETY YEARS, CALLED PHOTINUS,
MISERABLY MALTREATED FOR THE TESTIMONY
OF JESUS CHRIST, BEFORE THE TRIBUNAL,
AT LYONS, IN FRANCE; WHO AFTER;
WARDS DIED IN THE PRISON,
ABOUT THE YEAR 179
In Eusebius' Church History, as well as in several other ancient writers, mention is made of a certain old man, of more than ninety years, called Photinus, a teacher of the church at Lyons, in France. It is stated of him, that on account of his great age he could not walk, but, having such a burning desire to die for the name of Christ, he, as A. Mellinus has recorded, had himself carried before the judgment seat, in order to be sentenced to death with the other martyrs. When he was brought to the tribunal by the soldiers, the magistracy of the city of Lyons, and the whole multitude of the people followed him, and began to cry out, that he was a Christian, together with much calumniating and abusive language. Eusebius says, that, as this old man stood before the judge at the tribunal, the common people began to cry "This is Christ Himself."
When the judge thereupon asked him, who the God of the Christians was, he answered with remarkable candor: "If thou art worthy of it, thou shalt know." This displeased the judge so greatly, that he commanded that this pious witness of Jesus should be struck in his face with fists. Upon this, he was most unmercifully pushed, kicked, pulled, and knocked by the by standers, and thrown at with whatever they could get hold of, without regard to the feebleness of his age; yea, they considered those accomplices with him, who did not show enough diligence in assaulting and every way abusing this aged man.
Photinus, having been thus maltreated, yea, nearly beaten to death, so that life seemed almost extinct, was taken from the tribunal back into prison, where, after two days of great misery, having commended his soul into the hands of God, he died, and thus attained to a blessed end. Compare Euseb., 5th book, 2d chapter, fol. 83, col. 1, 2 with Joh. Gys., fol. 17, col. 1, on the name Photinus. Also, A. Mell., 1st book, fol. 46, col. 2, from various other authors. Also, Introduction, fol. 38, col. 1, erroneously called Photimus.
ALCIBIADES, A PIOUS CHRISTIAN, MARTYRED AT
LYONS IN FRANCE, ABOUT THE YEAR 179
In the letter of the church at Lyons and Vienne, there is mentioned, among various pious martyrs who suffered for the name of Jesus Christ, Alcibiades, of whom it is stated that he held a very retired and austere life, his diet consisting of nothing but salt, bread and water. This manner of life he also wished to continue in prison, but being instructed by the pious man Attalus, that thereby he would leave to his brethren and fellow martyrs a.seeming reproach for luxuriousness of life, if they would not do likewise, he thenceforth partook also of other food, with thankfulness. However, this did not last long, since he was soon deprived, not only of food, but of life itself; for in the aforementioned letter he is called a martyr, which was generally understood to mean one of those who suffered a violent death for the name of Jesus, the Son of God, and had valiantly passed through the conflict. Compare Euseb., 5th book, cap. 3, with Abr. Mell., 1st book, fol. 49, col. 3, 4.
EPIPODIUS OF LYONS, AND ALEXANDER, THE GREEK,
MARTYRED FOR THE TESTIMONY OF THE EVAN;
GELICAL TRUTH, AT LYONS IN FRANCE;
THE ONE BEHEADED, AND THE OTHER
CRUCIFIED, ABOUT THE YEAR 179
In the seventeenth year of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, there were slain, among other pious martyrs at Lyons in France, Epipodius, a citizen of Lyons, and Alexander, a Greek by birth; whose imprisonment, suffering, and death occurred in this wise: When the heathen thought that the Christian name was entirely extirpated at Lyons and Vienne, and that no person who confessed it was remaining, these two, as the remainder of the Christians there, were betrayed, accused, and, three days afterwards, placed before the tribunal of the Governor. There they were interrogated in regard to their name and confession of faith, to which questions they candidly replied. Their answers enraged the judge beyond measure, and he commanded that Epipodius, who was the principal speaker, should be smitten on the cheek, which was done in such a manner that be bled from his nose and mouth. But this made this champion of Christ, though he was still young, only the bolder and firmer, and he said: "I confess that Christ, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, is the only true God; and I deem it right, that I should pour out my soul (that is, my life) for Him who is my Creator and Redeemer; for thus, my life will not be taken from me, but changed into a better one. Besides, it matters but little, how and in what manner this weak body is released and separated from the soul, only so that the soul be returned to God, its Creator."
When Epipodius had, in steadfastness, finished this confession, he was suspended, at the command of the judge, on a stake, on both sides of which the executioners stood, drawing deep gashes with cutting hooks or claws into his sides. In the meantime the raging multitude cried, that he should be stoned to death, or torn limb from limb; for the judge was much too slow in pronouncing his sentence of death. Then the judge had him brought out with great haste, and beheaded, and thus this pious witness of the Son of God attained to a blessed end.
Alexander, the above ment'ioned Greek, was brought out of prison, two days after the death of his beloved brother Epipodius, and placed before the tribunal, where he defended himself most cheerfully, manifesting, at the same time, his great desire to be counted among the number of his slain brethren and sisters. The judge immediately commanded that Alexander should be stripped, and beaten by three executioners, with sticks, cudgels, etc.; but in all these torments he steadfastly called upon God for help and succor. In short, the sentence of death was pronounced upon him, namely, that he should die on the cross. The executioners then tied him on the cross; but having previously been wounded, by many stripes, to such a degree that his bones or bare ribs were visible, as well as the vital parts of his viscera, namely, the lungs, the liver, the heart, etc., which could be observed moving, he gave up the ghost, before the executioners could inflict further tortures upon him; and thus, in steadfastness he died a blessed death. When this had taken place, he was buried with his friend Epipodius, who had been beheaded, on the 24th of April 179. Abr. Mell., 1st book, fol. 48, col. 1-4. ex act. Proconsular. Homil. Eucherii Episc. Lugd. sub nomine Eus., Emisseni de Blandina and ahis Ado hienn., Mart. 22 April.
LEONIDES, PLUTARCHUS, AND OTHERS, PUT TO
DEATH FOR THE NAME OF CHRIST, ABOUT
THE YEAR 180
Leonides, Plutarchus, and others, who had attained to the Christian faith, were now visited with many torments, and put to death for the name of Christ. P. J. Twisck, Chron. 2d book, for the year 180, pig. 47, col. 1.
WHAT TRANSPIRED WITH THE CHRISTIANS DURING
THE FOURTH PERSECUTION
This persecution caused an unexpected and terrible pestilence, which devastated countries and inhabitants, especially Italy, so that the Christians were forgotten; for there were villages that had been ravaged to such an extent, that they became entirely depopulated, and lay there waste and without inhabitants. Keyser's Chronijk, van Christi Geboorte tot op Carolus V., printed A. D. 1563, fol. 17, col. 1, for the year o f the beginning o f this persecution, 164.
Likewise, that besides the preceding martyrs whom we have mentioned by name, there were also put to death, during the preceding persecutions, the two pious men Sagaris and Thraseas, together with other believing Christians, is shown from Eusebius Pamphilius, by A: Mellinus, in the first book o f his history, fol. 42, col. 2.
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