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AN ACCOUNT OF THE HOLY BAPTISM
OF THE MARTYRS IN THE THIRD
SUMMARY OF BAPTISM IN THIS CENTURY
[Among the witnesses of true baptism we have accorded Tertullian the first place, because it was in the very early part of this century that he flourished and spread abroad the fame of his doctrine. He rebuked those who brought such as were too young to be baptized, justifying his rebuke with conclusive reasons.
Leonilla, a Christian grandmother, had her three grandsons, Sosyphus, Cleosyphus, and Melosyphus, baptized after previous instruction.
Then comes Origen, surnamed Adamantius, who gives very excellent and salutary expositions, not only in regard to baptism, but also with reference to various other religious matters.
Three very learned men, Virian, Marcellinus, and Justin, confer with one another, and are baptized upon their .faith; likewise also Pancratius, the son of the believing Chonius; also, Bazilla, an honorable maiden, who was baptized after having been instructed by Protus and Hiacyntus; and thus also was baptized, after having been instructed in the faith by Pontianus, Pontus, the son of a Christian, called Marcus.
Nemesius instructed and baptized those who attained to the faith.
Cyrillus Hierosolymitanus exhorted those who came to his baptism, that they should first fast forty days on account of their sins.
We conclude with some who in regard to baptism and the Lord's Supper held views different from those of the Catholic (that is, Roman) Church, from which latter they had separated themselves, and with this completes the account of baptism in this country.]
We do not find it stated by a single authentic author, as has been shown, that during the first two centuries any one departed from the foundation of Christ's true order of baptism, that is, from baptism upon faith, by changing this, the true baptism, into a vain or infant baptism; but it appears that in the third century there were men who not only originated, but also put it in practice and administered the same; yet it was adopted only in a few places. J. Mehrn. in Baptism. Hist., page 164, num. 10. H. Montanus, in Nietighz. van den Kinder doop, second edition, p. 17.
It would not be out of order to give a two fold account of this matter: in the first place, by whom, how, and in what manner baptism was then practiced in the true church of God; in the second place, by whom, how, and in what manner, infant baptism originated and was observed by some, at that time. But since it is not our purpose here to refute this error, but simply to show how true baptism, as instituted by Christ, and practiced by the holy apostles, has been observed, taught and preached from century to century; and how the church of God blossomed in that faith, as a rose amidst thorns; therefore we will pass by this question, since it does not properly belong here; however, we shall speak of it in a separate place, but proceed now in our account.
About the year 204. This is the time in which, it is stated, the celebrated Tertullian flourished, who, seeing that baptism was administered to the catechumens (learners) too soon, inasmuch as some began to baptize them while they were yet children, wrote, in order to prevent this, as follows: "It is more expedient to defer baptism, according to the condition, circumstances, and age of each particular individual, than to precipitate it. Again: "It is true, the Lord says: `Forbid them not to come unto me.' Let them come, then, when they increase in years; let them come, when they learn and are taught whereto they come; that they may become Christians; when they can know Christ. Why hasten ye the innocent youths to the forgiveness of sins? We should exercise more prudence in temporal matters, than to entrust with divine things those to whom we do not entrust earthly; that they may know to desire salvation, in order that it may appear that it was given to him, who desired it." Lib. de Baptismo, cap. 18. Also, H. Mont. Nietigheyd, page 17.
These words contain several dissuasions against baptizing too early. The first reason is based on the unprofitableness of hastening with it, and is contained in these words: "It is more profitable to defer baptism, according to the condition, circumstances, and age of each particular individual, than to hasten it." The second reason is founded on the import of the words of Christ: "Forbid them not to come unto me;" with reference to which he says
"Let them come then, when they increase in years." The third reason he bases on the innocence or simplicity of those children, saying: "Why hasten ye the innocent youths?" The fourth reason he founds on the imprudence manifested thereby, saying: "We should exercise more prudence in temporal matters than to trust with divine things those to whom we do not entrust earthly things." The fifth reason, finally, he bases on the desire for salvation which the candidate for baptism must have, saying: "That they may know to desire salvation, in order that it may appear, that it was given to him who desired it."
It appears therefore throughout these words of Tertullian, how greatly he was opposed to having baptism administered too hastily to ignorant and inexperienced young persons; and, on the other hand, how gratifying would it have been to him, if, having reached the years of maturity, and been instructed and taught, they would have been baptized upon their own desire to be saved.
This manner of baptizing he mentions in another place, stating at the same time, how this baptism was administered by him and his own people. He says: "When we go to the water, and first begin with baptism, we confess there, even as we did before in the church, under the hand of the overseer,* that we renounce the devil with all his adherents and angels; after which we are dipped three times, which answers more than the Lord has laid down
* The leader, or minister or bishop. Publishers.
in the Gospel."* In lib. de Corona Militis, cap. 3 and 4. Also, H. Mont. Nietigheyd, page 16.
He states it still more clearly in Lib. de Spectaculis, cap. 4: "When we, having gone into the water, confess the Christian faith upon the words of his law, we testify with our mouth, that we have renounced the devil, his pomp, and his angels."
And that this may be practiced and maintained in truth, he gives, to the candidates for baptism this instruction (Lib. de Baptismo, cap. 20): "Those who are to be baptized, must supplicate with much praying, fasting, bending of knee, and watching, confessing all their former sins, so that they may show forth John's baptism." "They were baptized," says he, "confessing their sins." Matt. 3:6.
Then he shows what baptism is, and what it signifies; from which we can clearly see that at least in his estimation infant baptism was not authorized. He says: "The washing of water is a seal of the faith; which faith begins with, and is known by the penitence of the believer. We are not washed, in order that we may cease to sin; but because we have ceased, and are washed in heart, for this is the first immersion of him that hears."** Lib. de Pwnitentia, cap. 6. Also, J. du Bois, Seckerheyd van, etc., printed A. D. 1648, page 47.
If you wish to learn still more of the views of Tertullian concerning baptism as instituted by Christ,, read lib. de Prescript, adversus Hwreticos, cap. 36, cited by H,. Montanus, in Nietigh., page 23, and by J. du Bois (although he misinterprets this passage), Contra Montanum, page 44, where Tertullian writes thus: "Well, then, ye who would inquire more fully into the matter of your salvation, take a view of the apostolic churches, in which the chairs of the apostles are still occupied by their successors, and where their own authentic epistles are still read, sounding their voices, and calling up their very forms. If Achaia is near you, there is Corinth; are you not far from Macedonia, there is Philippi, and there Thessalonica; can you come into Asia; there is Ephesus; but are you near Italy, there is Rome. Let us see, what she (namely the church there) has said, what she has taught, and in what she has agreed with the African churches. She recognizes one God, the Creator of all things, and Christ Jesus from the virgin Mary, the Son of God the Creator, and the resurrection of the flesh; she unites the ,law and the prophets with the evangelical and apostolical writings, and there
* The above quotations from Tertullian, are given by Van Braght to show that he in no wise sanctioned infant baptism and from the remark at the close of the paragraph "which answers (says) more than the Lord has laid down in the Gospel," it appears that even Tertullian himself, though, as it appears. he practiced it, does not claim Gospel authority for it. The Publishers.
** Tertullian here speaks of repentance and regeneration, showing how that the heart must be changed and cleansed with the "washing of water by the word," and then says: "for this is the first immersion (indoopinge) of him that hears," by which he evidently means to show that this spiritual change of the heart is first in importance. Karl Tauchnitz in his Dutch German Dictionary gives the definition of "Indoopen: Einweihen;" to consecrate or initiate, of which baptism is also a signification. In this sense we might say: This is the first baptism, or the first consecration, or the most important work of him that hears, or of him that would be saved. The Publishers.
from drinks this faith, which she seals with water, clothes with the Holy Ghost, feeds with the eucharist, or Lord's Supper, and confirms by martyrdom; and receives no one contrary to this institution." Thus far, Tertullian.
To this we say: "It is indeed true, that he here speaks against the errors of Valentinus, Marcion, and the like; but since this occasions him to say, that all the churches which he mentions, especially the one at Rome, in which the apostolic doctrine was still sounded at that time, sealed the faith, which he opposes to said errors, with water, and that they received no one contrary to this institution; any one can clearly see, that all the above named churches administered baptism at that time to adults, who could drink that faith from the evangelical and apostolical writings; and not this only, but could also partake of it by the use of the eucharist, and confirm it by martyrdom, which are things that children cannot do." Ergo.
TERTULLIAN'S VIEWS CONCERNING DIFFERENT
OTHER MATTERS, ACCORDING TO THE AC;
COUNT OF P. J. TWISCK
"Tertullian," says Twisck, "exhorts Christian women, in a book written to his wife, not to enter into marriage relations with the heathen, saying that it is impossible for them to live long in peace and friendship. He says: `What must the heathen husband think, when he sees, or hears it said that his wife kisses on the cheek the first Christian whom she happens to meet?"'
"Again, In a book on patience, when speaking of the apostates and of withdrawing from them, he says that patience governs all manner of salutary doctrines, and remarks: `What wonder then, that it also serve to repentance to those who are wont to come to the help of the apostate, whether it be man or wife, when separated one from another, nevertheless by such things as are lawful, to be led to maintain their widow or widowerhood. It is patience that waits for repentance, hopes for it and exhorts to it those who would yet at some time attain to salvation. How great the benefit it confers upon both the one it preserves from adultery, the other it reforms.'* Again he says: `Do you think that it is hard for a Christian to suffer? He would rather die himself, than to kill others; and if you smite a Christian, he glories in it.' 1,
"Again, `As the religion of others does not concern us, and neither profits nor harms us; there;fore, it does not become any one religion to force
* The foregoing quotation from Tertullian is ambiguous in the
Holland language and appears to have been so also in the original.. Dr. Karl Ad. Heinrich Kellner, Prof. of Theol. at Heidelsheim, in his German translation of the "Complete Works of Tertullian" renders this passage as follows, which he says he holds as the correct rendering: "What wonder then that it (patience) also unites itself with repentance and is, aside from separation in the marriage relation, the usual means of relief for the apostate this, however, only for the reason that we, whether it be for the man, or whether it be for the wife, in widowhood may hope for constancy. It is patience that waits for salvation with those who in their own time would seek repentance, that longs for it and prays for it. How .g,lta benefit it works for bothl The one it preserves from adulhe other it purifies.' The Publishers.
itself upon another, since it must be accepted voluntarily, and not by coercion, for what is required is the offering of a willing mind."' (This agrees with Ex. 25, 35 and 36. Chr. Leonh., lib. 1. Seb. Fir. in the Arke fol. 174. Stand der Religie, lib. 4. Grond. Bew. letter B. Menn. Sym. Doop. C., fol. 8. Th. Imbroek, fol. 28.) .
"Again, Tertullian (in his fourth book against Marcion) quoting the words of Christ: This is my body, that is, a figure of my body, says: `It would not have been a figure, had His body not been real; for a phantasm, or mere illusion, cannot have a figure or shadow?' With this he means to prove that Christ had a real body; and what he here calls a figure, he, in the fifth book, calls a sacrament, with the express words: `The bread and the cup.' Still more clearly he says in the first book: `Neither did he despise or reject the bread, by which he represented or typified his body.' "
"He says: `These words of Christ: This is my body, we must understand as though Christ had said: This is the sign and figure of My body. I pass over Dionysius Alexandrinus, and Paulinus, who both treat in the same manner of the above sacrament."' Tertul. Apolog., cap. 39. Euseb. lib. 6 and 9. Daniel Saut., lib. 1, cap. 6.
"Again, Tertullian says: `We must not seek the faith from the persons, but prove the persons by the faith."' De Praescript, lib. 4. P. J. Twisck, Chron. 2d book, page 53, eol. 1, 2.
NOTE. Tertullian taught at this time: "We have the apostles for authors, who established nothing according to their own inclination, but faithfully taught the nations that which they had received from God." Lib. 1, PrTscript.
He writes further that "all churches are apostolic churches, though they may have been founded long after the time of the apostles, if they have but kinship with the doctrine." Lib. 1. PrTsc. See Samuel heltius, in the Geslacht register der Roomscher Successie, second edition, 1649 pages 115, 116.
Tertullian says among other things: "The emperors would have believed in Christ, if the world had not prevented them; for they could not become Christians, because they had to serve the world, and carry on war." See, Grondelijke Verklaringe Danielis ende Johannis, printed at Harlem, 1635, on Tertullian.
Vicecomes, in his first book on baptism, chap. 1, notes the following testimony from Tertullian (lib. 1, cap. 4.): "There is no difference between those whom John baptized in Jordan and those Peter baptized in the Tiber." With this he intends to prove that in the first days of Christianity there were neither baptismal fonts nor churches. J. M., Baptism. Hist., page 276.
Again says Tertullian: "Thus, when we go into the water of baptism, we justly confess our sins and the Christian faith." Vicecom., lib. 4, cap. 7, and J. M., Baptism. Hist., page 277.
These last two passages from Tertullian we have adduced over and above what was necessary, but they are not useless, since they confirm what we have said above about baptism; for by the first the superstition which was wont to be connected with the water, the baptismal font, and the church in which baptism was administered, is removed, or at least (per consequentiam)controverted; and the second states that it is proper to confess our sins, and the Christian faith, at baptism. And therewith he proves that it is not proper to be baptized without confessing one's sins, and the Christian faith. What has been said is sufficient for the intelligent. With this we take our leave of Tertullian.
A. D. 224. Leonilla, a Christian grandmother, had three grandsons, Sosyphus, Cleosyphus, and Melosyphus. She begged Romigius that he would instruct the three lads in the Christian faith, and then baptize them. This was done in a godly manner. P. 1. Twisck, Chron. for the year 224, 3d book, page 60, cot. 1, from Grond. Bew., letter B.. Also, Kort verhal van den loop der werelt, printed 1611, page 47.
From this it will be seen, that at that time and place Christians were not in the habit of having their children or grandchildren baptized, unless these had reached riper years, and been instructed in the faith, which, when they confessed it, they were baptized upon. This should be borne in mind.
A. D. 231. At this time there flourished as a writer the celebrated Origen, surnamed Adamantius, who, treating on baptism, writes thus (Homil. 6, super. Ezechidem) on Ezekiel, 16:4: " `Neither wast thou washed in water to supple thee,' etc.: We, who have received the grace of baptism in the name of Jesus Christ, are washed unto salvation. Simon was washed, and when he had received baptism, continued with Philip; but not being washed unto salvation, he was condemned by him who through the Holy Ghost said to him: 'Thy money perish with thee.' It is a matter of great importance that he who is washed, be washed unto salvation.
"Be very heedful of this, ye catechumens, or learners, and prepare yourselves by what is told you while you are yet under instruction and unbaptized , ano then come to the washing of water, and be washbd unto salvation. But be not washed as some, who are washed, but not unto salvation; like those who receive the water, but not the Holy Ghost.
"He that is washed unto salvation, receives the water and the Holy Ghost.
"Because Simon was not washed unto salvation, he received the water, and not the Holy Ghost; for he thought he could purchase the gift of the Holy Ghost with money, wherein he was not washed unto salvation.
"That which we now read as having been spoken at Jerusalem, is addressed to every sinful soul that seems to believe." Also, H. Mont. Nietigh., pp. 36, 37.
The above words of Origen indicate the manner of baptism which prevailed in his time, namely, that the candidates for baptism were first catechumens, that is, learners, who were instructed in the faith, and had to prepare themselves to this end, before they were baptized. For, when he says
"Be very heedful of this, ye catechumens, or learners, and prepare yourselves by what is told you while you are yet under instruction and unbaptized; and then come to the washing of water," etc., what else is meant by it, than that it confirms what John required of those who came to him to be baptized, saying: "Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance," Matt. 3:8; that is, prepare yourselves by a true reformation of life, so that you may receive baptism worthily.
Then, on the words, Ezek. 16:5: "But thou wast cast out in the open field," etc., he (Origen) comments thus: "If we sin again after the washing of regeneration, we are cast away, according to the Word of God, in the day that we are born: such are frequently found, who, after they have been washed by the washing of regeneration, do not bring forth fruits meet for repentance; nor do they live up to the mystery of baptism, with more fear than they had while they were yet catechumens, or learners; or with more love than they exercised when they were still hearers of the Word; or with holier deeds than they performed before. Beloved, observe what is said in the text: 'Thou wast cast out in the open field, for the wickedness of thy soul, in the day that thou wast born."' H. Mont., same page as above.
By these words he confirms the import of his former declaration, namely, "That those who are to be baptized, must first be catechumens, or learners, and, being baptized, they must be truly regenerated;" and thus he calls baptism "the washing of regeneration," even as Paul, Tit. 3:5.
Moreover, he complains that those who were washed by the washing of regeneration, did not bring forth fruits meet for repentance. By this he certainly means to say, that the baptized person must be truly converted, and bring forth good fruits. But how can he be converted, that is, turn from his error, who never has erred? And how can it be demanded of him to bring forth good fruits, who cannot be accused of ever having brought forth bad fruits? Hence it is evident that he does not say this with reference to the baptisr~ of infants, since these, having never erred, or brought forth bad fruits, cannot, through baptism, be required to turn from error, and bring forth better fruits than they have brought forth before.
That such baptism, accompanied with the mortifying of the flesh, and resurrection unto a new life, is taught and commended by Origen, is clearly expressed in his comments on Rom. 6:3: "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?" where he says: "But it seems to me that the apostle in this chapter does not prefix even the words: `Know ye not,' without a purpose. He thereby proves that at that time, that is, in the days of the apostles, it was not as it is now, that those who were baptized, received only the outward figure of the mysteries,. but that also the power and intent of the same was imparted to them, and this to those who understood it, and had been instructed concerning it: that those who are baptized, are baptized into the death of Christ, and buried with Him by baptism; and that those who are baptized must walk in newness of life, even as Christ rose from the dead, through the glory of the Father." Also, H. Mont. page 37.
This is certainly expressing plainly and unequivocally, of what baptism he is treating,* namely., of such a baptism, of which the power and intent was imparted to those who understood it; by which they were buried into the death; by which they were raised, to walk in newness of life, etc., all of which are things that cannot be comprehended, much less undertaken and carried out, ,by infants. In this manner he speaks also in other places, as, for instance, in Hormilia 5, 4th and 5th chapters o f the book Joshua. Again, Homil. 9, 8th and 9th chapters; Momil. 15, 11th chap. Also, Homil. 7, 15th chap. o f the book o f Judges. B. Hist. p. 291.
NOTICE CONCERNING THE WRITINGS OF GRIGEN
WITH REFERENCE TO BAPTISM
There are a few passages, namely, Homil. 8, on the 12th and 13th chapters of Leviticus; Homil. 14, on the 2d chap. of Luke; Comment. on the 6th chap. of the Epistle to the Romans, from which some who at this day uphold infant baptism suppose they can draw something to show that Origen was not a stranger to their views, but that he sanctioned them. But various eminent writers deny, yea, completely refute this, it being proved that these passages do not belong to Origen, but to Ruf$nus, the priest at Aquileia, who, it is stated, more than one hundred and fifty years.after Origen's time translated the works of the latter from the Greek into Latin, adding from his own, that is, out of his own mind the abovementioned passages, and, on the other hand, leaving out other matters. To this explanation we assent. See Ruflnus' prefatory and concluding remarks on Origen's Commentary to the Epistle to the Romans. Also, Erasmus' account of the life of Origen, prefaced to the works of the latter, according to J. Mehrn., Bapt. Hist., pp. 283 and 291. Also, H. Mont. Nietigheyd van den Kinder loop, pages 29-34, and 42, 43.
Besides this, various gross errors have of old been imputed to Origen, as, for instance, that he believed, that the evil spirits would ultimately be saved. However, he himself desires this in a certain letter written to those of Alexandria, in which he complains of the shamelessness of his adver
* At this time Origen taught that we must appeal to the Holy Scriptures; for without these no credence can be given to what we say. On "Jeremiah, Homil. 1. ' See, Samuel Veltius, in "Geslachtregister der," etc., page 115.
saries, who dared in his life time to defame him with slanders which not even an insane man would utter. What, then, must have been the treatment his writings received after his death!
"We may plainly see," says Jacob Mehrning, "from what we still have of the writings of Origen, that many ignorant and grossly erring spirits have sought to palm off to the simple minded, their own whims under the name of this eminent man, who by Jerome (in Prefatione ante Ezechidem) is called the second master of the church after the apostles." Bapt. Hist. pp. 288 and 289. Also, H. Mont. Nietigh., pages 35, 36.
TOUCHING DIFFERENT POINTS OF THE DOCTRINE
OF ORIGEN, ACCORDING TO THE ACCOUNT
OF P. J. TWISCK
A. D. 231. "Origen, a man who abounds in spiritual allegories, and who practiced himself what he taught others, as church history testifies of him, began at this time to write his books, and says to the catechumens: `Repent, that ye may receive baptism for the remission of sins.' Also: `He that has resolved to come and be baptized, but is not willing to forsake his evil practices and habits, but continues in his former condition, does not come to baptism in the proper way.' With reference to this, you may read, George hicelius, in his Form en Aenteekening, en Welke Gestalte en form. de Kerk duysent jaer stond, fol. 127.
"Again: Origen was appointed by Demetrius, at Alexandria, catechist, that is, teacher of the pupils of the faith, which office was filled before him (after the apostles) by Plautinus and'Clement. Of his pupils, Plutarch, Serenus, Heraclides, Heron, and a woman, were martyred for Christ, before they were baptized, thus obtaining the baptism of fire.
"After Origen, Heracles, and after Heracles, Dionysius had charge at Alexandria of the schools of the catechumens, that is, of those who received instruction in the Christian doctrine, preparatory to baptism.
"Again: Origen says, that no one should be persecuted for his faith, and that he who would live according to the Gospel must not drive or compel his brother to an oath, nor swear such an one himself, though it be demanded of him.
"Again: On Matt. 23 he says: The Lord reprehends those teachers who not only do not practice what they teach, but also, tyrannously and unmercifully, without considering the strength of their hearers, lay upon them burdens greater than they can bear, namely, forbid them to marry, and over and above what is expedient, would constrain them to an impossible chastity.
"Again: He says that it is altogether a letter that killeth, that John should be understood literally and carnally. Hence he insists strongly upon it, that the natural eating, of Christ's body avails nothing, and that it must therefore be spiritually understood and eaten. Euseb., lib. 6. Chron. Seb Frank, fol. 101 Leonh., lib. 1. Joh. Anast., fol. 313.
"Again: In his 12th, 15th, and 18th Homily on the Book of Joshua., Origen writes thus: 'If the natural war of Joshua and his people were not a figure and antitype of the spiritual war of Christ and the Christians, the apostles, as peace proclaimers, would never have accepted, nor sanctioned the reading of the books of Joshua in the heavenly Jerusalem of the peaceful church and the peaceloving children of God.' And he further proves by many arguments, that Christ, the Prince of Peace, teaches peace, and not war; and that we are not to fight with external, but only with spiritual weapons, against the devil, the world, flesh, sin, and death.
"Again: Speaking of the destruction of Ai, and the extermination of the king and the people, he says: `By this we must not understand that the saints, at this day in the new Testament, may shed blood, and kill with the natural sword: these and like events are full of mysteries.' He explains further, that we must utterly destroy Ai, that is, the kingdom of darkness and sin, through the spiritual Joshua, Christ Jesus. Col. 1; Eph. 6.
"Again: Origen (Homil in Mattheo 7) says: `The text in Luke 22, about buying a sword, is pernicious (namely, for the wicked) if understood literally, and not allegorically: for he that should regard the letter, and not understand the will and intent of God, but sell his garment, and buy a sword, would understand the word of Christ contrary to His will.'
"Again: In the book against Celsus the Second, he says that `war has been abolished by the only God:
"Again: Of antichrist he says, from II Thess. 2, that he sitteth in the temple of God, and, a little further on, he says: `Antichrist assumes merely the name of Christ, but does not do His works; nor does he teach the words of truth. Christ is the truth; antichrist is the spurious truth. He shows himself here, as though he were Christ and the Word of God, but is nevertheless the abomination of desolation."' P. J. Twisck, Chron. 3d book, p. 61, from Chron. Seb. Fr., fol. 65, 78. Hieron. Zauch., fol. 56. Joh. H.eyden Ncemb., fol. 226, 227.
A. D. 251. It is recorded at this time, Virian, Marcellinus, and Justin, learned men, in the reign of Emporer Decius, conferred with one another about matters concerning the Christians, and were well pleased with this holy religion; and hearing that Christian believers were baptized, they sent for a teacher* called Justin, and asked him to baptize them.
Justin rejoiced that such learned men wished to take upon themselves the yoke of Christ. He began to instruct them, and then had water brought, and baptized them on confession of their faith. P. J. Twisck, Chron. 3d book, page 68, cot. 2, from
* The author employs the word "priest;" but priest is derived mn the word "presbyter," that is, elder. We say teacher.
Wicel. in Choro Sanctoruni, Grond. Bew., letter B.
A. D. 253. For this year, we read in ancient authors, that Pancratius, the son of the believing Clionius, was baptized at Mount Celius, when he was fifteen years old, after he had been under instruction twenty days. Compare this with P. J. Twisck, Chron. 3d book, page 71, cot. 1, from Wicel. Grond. Bew. letter B. Leonh., lib., 1.
Touching the circumstances of this matter, that is, of Dionysius, who traveled with him, and the bishop Cornelius who baptized him, to whom some have erroneously ascribed another office, we leave it in its own merit and mention it no further. It suffices us that it is evident from this, that at that time the believers did not have their children bapized, till they, having attained to understanding and riper years, themselves desired to be baptized on their faith.
Same year as above. Basilla, an honorable and discreet maiden, at Rome, in the reign of Emperor Galien, learned the Christian faith from the eunuch Protus, and Hiacynthus, and was also baptized by the above mentioned bishop Cornelius. Grond. Bew. van den Doop, printed 1581, letter B., ij.
A. D. 257. Pontus, the son of Marcus, a Christian, was orally instructed in the Christian religion, by the bishop, or teacher, Pontian, and then baptized. P. J. Tzeissck, Chron. 3d book, p. 73, cot. 1, from Grond. Bezv. letter B. Chron. Mich., fol 163. Also, Loop der Werelt, by F. H. H., printed 1611, page 47.
Here notice again that the afore mentioned Pontus was not of Jewish or heathenish, but of Christian descent; for he is called the son of Marcus, a Christian; from which, as in the case of Pancratius, it appears that the Christians suffered their children to grow up unbaptized, till they attained to the years of understanding.
A. D. 264. At Rome, under the Emperors Valerian and Galien, Nemesius and some others catechised; and, according to the custom of the church, when they had held a fast, he baptized all who believed. P. J. Twisck, Chron. 3d book, p. 57, cal. 1; word for word.
NOTE. In the tract, Grondig Bezvijs, en onderrechting van den Doop, printed A. D. 1581, letter B., ij.; ex Codice Mariano, the name Nernesius is not put in the nominative, but in the accusative (objective) case; so that in this place it seems that Nemesius was not the one who baptized, but one of those who were baptized.
About A. D. 2.90. The above cited examples of those who were baptized on their faith, after having been instructed, are confirmed by various teachings of Cyril of Jerusalem, who then showed how those who were baptized should conduct themselves before as well as after baptism. Jacob Mehrning introduces him about the end of this century, or about A. D. 290, and adduces from his writing various passages which apply in no wise to infant baptism, but very appropriately to'the baptism which is administered upon faith and repentance.
In Baptism Hist., pages 317 and 318, he has this annotation (cap. 8, ibid): "Cyril himself exhorts some catechumens who before had spent several years in sensuality and lewdness, that they should not think it grievous to do penance for forty days, saying: `Beloved, forsake that which is present, and believe in the things to come. So many years you have spent, and served the world in vain; will you not, then, begin, and for the sake of your souls, abstain for forty days?"'
In Baptism Hist., page 318, we read (Cyril in Catech. 2, Mijstag.): "Repent, O man, and the grace of baptism shall not be withheld from thee."
"Again: Cyril strenuously exhorts such newly planted ones unto godliness, so that when they go to receive baptism, they will not be rejected, like the guest spoken of in the Gospel, who did not have on a wedding garment. Therefore he says: `Far be it, that any of those who have given in their names for baptism, and have been entered on the lists, should hear: Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment?"' From Vicecom., lib. 2, cap. 12, on Cyril.
"Again he says (Cyril in Catech. 3, Mijstag) `Begin to wash your garments by repentance, that, being called to the marriage of the Lamb, you may be found worthy."'
"Again (Baptism. Hist., page 319, Cyril Catech. 1, Mijstag): `Say to those who are to be baptized: Hear the voice of the prophet that saith
Wash ye, make you clean; put away from your souls the evils of your doings before mine eyes; that the assembly of the angels may call unto you
Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.' "
"Again cap. 6 (hicec.), Cyril admonishes the newly baptized: `As you have put off the old garments, and put on those that are according to the Spirit, you shall henceforth always walk in white garments.' By this we do not mean to say that it is necessary for you always to have on white garments, but that you are to clothe yourselves in such garments as are white, bright, and spiritual before God. And in cap. 10, he says: `Would to God, that we could all of a truth say: My soul is joyful in the Lord; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, and with the robe of gladness.' "
Then he shows how holy, divine, and blessed a thing it is, to have joined one's self by baptism to the nobility of Christ, that is, to His church. It is truly wonderful, how affectionately, sweetly, and comfortingly he addresses them, saying: "You have now given in your names to the nobility of Christ, and have received the bridal torches, the desire for the kingdom of heaven, the good purpose, hope, etc." And, cap. 38, he thus addresses the baptized: "Now the odor of salvation is on you, O ye enlightened I Gather you heavenly flowers, to make heavenly crowns of them. Now, now! the odor of the Holy Spirit smells sweetly on you. You have been at the gate of the King's palace. Would to God, that you were already led before the King Himself. The blossoms have now appeared on the trees; but, oh I that the fruit also were conceivedl" Jac. Mehrn. Baptism. Hist. on the third century, page 320.
How could it be possible that Cyril of Jerusalem should have taught differently concerning baptism, than the Anabaptists today teach, namely, that it must be accompanied by faith and repentance; seeing he, as has been shown, employs throughout such manner of speech as cannot be applied otherwise than to this baptism, and by no means to infant baptism.
For instance, in the first passage he admonishes the catechumens who had spent several years in voluptuousness, not to think it grievous, to do penance before baptism for forty days; which well accords with what was said to those who were not prepared for baptism. Matt. 3:7, 8.
This he confirms in the five subsequent passages, using these arguments: That they must not neglect to repent, so that the grace of baptism may not be withheld from them. Again, that they would not have to hear it said to them, as the unprepared guest in the Gospel: "Friend, how camest thou in hither?" Again, that they, being called to the marriage of the Lamb, might be found worthy. Again, that to this end they should hear the voice of the prophet, that saith: "Wash ye, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings."
In the sixth passage he admonishes the newly baptized: As you have put off the old garments (that is, forsaken the old life) and put on those that are according to the Spirit (that is, put on a new life), you shall henceforth always walk in white garments, that is, henceforth you shall live a holy life and pay unto God your vows made unto Him when you were baptized. This is certainly a scriptural exposition, and is not obscurely expressed in Cyril's words.
We now come to the seventh or last passage, of which we shall say but little, as it contains not a single word which does not clearly indicate that he speaks of the baptism of the believers and penitent; for he there says to the baptized, that being enlightened they now had on them the odor of salvation, and admonishes them, to gather heavenly flowers with which to make heavenly crowns, adding this wish: "The blossoms have now appeared on the trees; but oh! that also the fruit were conceived!"
Any one with only a little understanding can easily see that these words of Cyril do not pertain to infants, and that he therefore does not speak to infants or of infant baptism, but is speaking to reasonable persons, and of the baptism that is administered to such. Moreover, from his having previously mentioned the catechumens, it is evident that it was customary at that time in the church where he was teacher, first to instruct the youth in the faith, and then, when they had accepted it, to baptize them upon confession of it. Without contradiction, it was a scriptural and holy custom, which proceeded not from human reason like infant baptism, but from the mind of Christ and the understanding of the holy apostles. With this we take our leave from Cyril.
A. D. 300. Arnobius, an old teacher says (in Psalms 146): "You are not first baptized, and then apprehend the faith, and rejoice in it; but when you are about to be baptized, you state before the teacher your perfect willingness, and make your confession with your own mouth." P. J. Twisck, Chron., 3d book, page 82, col. 1, 2, from Grond. Bew., letter B.
These words of Arnobius are very excellent, and show that at his time they did not first baptize, and then apprehend faith; but that the one to be baptized had to state his willingness before baptism, and then to make confession of faith with his own mouth. However, we shall speak more fully of Arnobius in the succeeding century.
Same year as above. It is recorded that at this time there were several persons who had separated from the catholic* (Roman) church, namely: Dadoes, Sabas, Adelphius, Hermas and Simeones, who were accused of heresy by the Roman church, and, among other things, were charged with holding erroneous views concerning the divine meat (that is, the sacrament of the Lord's Supper), and of baptism (that is, infant baptism). As regards the divine meat they were charged with holding the opinion, that it neither profited nor injured; that is, that the sacrament of the Lord's Supper had no intrinsic virtue or value; and of baptism it was said that they maintained, that those baptized were not benefited by baptism, but that fervent prayer alone must expel the indwelling Satan.
Concerning these and other matters with which they were charged, whether justly or unjustly, see Hist. Eccles. Tripart., lib. 7, cap. 11. S. Fr., Chron. Rom. Kett., printed A. D. 1563, fol. 96, letter E, under the name Eraclit. Epulius.
Hence, when they said that those baptized were not benefited by baptism, they thereby sufficiently rejected infant baptism, since the Roman church in general recognized no other than infant baptism. That this rejection of baptism, or deeming it useless, has respect to infant baptism, is clearly evident from what is added, namely, that they held that not baptism, but fervent prayer must expel the indwelling Satan; for those of the Roman church entertained the contrary view, namely, that Satan must certainly be expelled from the infants by baptism. However, we let every one judge for himself in this matter.
Jacob Mehrning in concluding the third century, says: "All these are beautiful reminders, which were administered to the catechumens before as well as after baptism, and which can certainly not
* ilsca in the sense of general.
have place with infants. And thus it has been shown in this, the third chapter, that in these three centuries infant baptism cannot be proven by a single consistent and authentic testimony from the fathers and church historians." Baptism. Hist., pp. 320 and 321.
But this is further elucidated by the remark of P. J. Twisck, who, quite at the close of the third century, says: "Although infant baptism had been originated by some individuals, or by the church (that is, the Roman), as they themselves state, there were, nevertheless, many who devoutly received baptism upon faith and with a penitent life." Chron., 3d book, conclusion, pages 83 and 84.
With this we close our account of baptism as practiced in the third century, and proceed to the martyrs who suffered during this same time for the truth and their upright faith.
AN ACCOUNT OF THE PIOUS MARTYRS
AND WITNESSES OF JESUS CHRIST
WHO SUFFERED IN THE THIRD
SUMMARY OF THE MARTYRS OF THE THIRD
[There never was a time in the church of Jesus Christ, in which so many and ,great tyrants arose to destroy and extirpate the people of God, as in this century; for scarcely had one ceased, when another began; excepting a short cessation under the Emperors Caracalla and Geta.
The principal ones of those who tyrannized over, and put to death, the believers, were Severus, Maximinus, Decius, Valerianus, Gallienus, and Aurelianus, who, though the world hailed them as "Gracious Emperors," were in deed nothing less than unmerciful, cruel, and bloodthirsty tyrants.
Under Severus suffered Rutulius, Manilius, Perpetua, Felicitas, Leonides, five God fearing disciples of Origen, and two of his female disciples, also Origen himself, and Basilides.
Under Maximinus suffered, in different meetingplaces, several thousand Christians, besides about seventy others.
Under Decius suffered Cointha, Apollonia, an old man called Julianus, with his companion Eunus, Amonaria, Mercuria, Dionysia, Heron, Ater, Isidoris, a youth of fifteen years, Nemesius, Babylas, the three youths, Urbanus, Philidianus, and Epilonius, also Maximus, Origenes.
Under Valerianus and Gallienus suffered Dionysius, Fructuosus, Augurius, Eulogius, Marinus, the three peasants who sought heavenly crowns, namely, Priscus, Malchus, and Alexander, and also, Philippus, Privatus, Florentinus and Pontius.
Under Aurelian suffered, and were put to death Privatus of Gevauldan, Mamas, a shepherd and Symphorianus.
Under Diocletian (in the preparatory period of his persecutions) were miserably put to death the three brothers, Claudius, Asterius, and Neon; also Donuina, and Theonilla, Zenobius with his sister Zenobia, the three dear friends Tharacus, Probus and Andronicus. That all these suffered, and shed their blood for the name of Jesus Christ, is abundantly testified in the following account.]
The third century began with the fifth persecution of the Christians, hence we shall also begin with the same and show in what a distressing condition the church of God was during those times.
OF THE FIFTH PERSECUTIONS OF THE CHRISTIANS,
UNDER THE EMPEROR L. SEPTIMUS SEVERUS,
COMMENCED ABOUT THE YEAR 201
Touching the cause which induced Severus to persecute and put to death the Christians, ancient authors differ. Some write that Severus was instigated to kill and persecute the Christians, in the tenth year of his reign, by Philip, the Governor of Egypt. Others think that in the time of Severus there were many cruel and bloodthirsty governors in the provinces of the Romans; as Lethus and Aquila, at Alexandria, in Egypt; Saturninus and Scapula, at Carthage, in Africa.; Claudius Herminianus, in Cappadocia; Cecilius Capella, at Byzanthium; who, at Rome, as well as elsewhere, were most pernicious firebrands in these persecutions, inasmuch as they instigated the Emperor and the Roman Senate against the Christians, in order that through this means they might seize on the possessions of the Christians.
It is stated, that to this persecution and slaving of the Christians, contributed at that time, not a little, some jurists, who, through false interpretations of the Roman laws, or at least through their selfdevised decrees, ruled nearly the whole Empire; as Emelius, Papinianus, Ulpianus, Paulus, Messius, Martianus, Rufinus, Mauritianus, Tryphonius, Menander, Macer, Callistratus, Florentinus, Hermogenes, Saturminus, Modestinus, Furius, and Anthianus.
It was one of these jurist, namely Ulpianus, one of the chief senators, next to Papianus, who hunted up and collected the bloody edicts of the former ,tyrants, in order that the Emperors, incited thereby, might institute new persecutions against the Christians. See concerning this, A. Mell. Hist., fol. 52, col. 4, from Euseb., 6, cap. 1, 2, and Chron. Hieron. Catal. in Origen. Also, Oros., lib. 7, cap. 11, 18. Also, Baron., A. D. 204. Also, Dio. Hist. Rom., lib. 51. Also, Tert. ad. Scup., cap. 1-3. Tertul. de Fuga, cap. 5, ex Libris Jurist. Also, Spart. Caracal. and Sever. Also, Lactant., lib. 5. Just., cap. 11, 12, 19.
Very credibly, however, is the cause of this persecution accounted for in the Introduction to the Martyrs' Mirror, Ed. 1631, fol. 38, col. 2, from Baronius. The words are as follows: "In the year 201 was commenced the fifth persecution of the Christians, under the Emeeror Severus, in the seventh year of his reign. It originated thus: The emperor having come forth victorious from a civil war, and the Christians having remained passive with regard to this, not manifesting any signs of joy by way of celebrating, hanging out of garlands, and other tokens of triumph, according to the manner of the heathen; the latter, out of envy, accused the Christians of despising and hating the Emperor; and the more so, because they would not swear by the Emperor's fortune. Besides this, they reported of the Christians, that in their evening assemblies they extinguished the lights; and then allowed themselves improper intercourse with each other, and in this manner it came that every one hated the Christians. See in the above citations. Others spread the report that the Christians were child murderers and eaters of human flesh, that is, people who slew their children and ate them; also, that they honored the head of an ass as their god; worshiped the sun, and other like palpable and wicked falsehoods. Compare J. Gys. Hist., fol. 18, col. 2, for the year 201, ex Tertullian ad Scap;ulwn and in Apal. Cypr. de Bono Pascient. Also, P. J. Twisck, Chron. 2d book, for the year 124, page 51, col. 2.
However, though these false accusations were brought against the Christians, their death was nevertheless owing entirely to the testimony and confession of Jesus Christ that He was the Son of God, and the Saviour of the human family.
The most violent persecution of this time, according to Eusebius and Tertullian, was in Egypt and Africa. From Egypt the Christians were brought in great multitudes to Alexandria, where they were put to death in manifold ways, for the name of Christ. Among the principal martyrs of this time were the following:
RUTILIUS, AFTER MANY ESCAPES, TORN ASUNDER,
AND THEN BURNT, FOR THE TESTIMONY OF
JESUS CHRIST, ABOUT THE YEAR 210
"Rutilius, the holy martyr," says Tertullian, "after having so often escaped persecution by fleeing from one place to another, and having purchased his freedom, as he supposed, from the danger of death, and after having provided himself with all safe conduct, and, feeling easy, and free from anxiety, was nevertheless unexpectedly apprehended, and brought before the President, yea, torn asunder with manifold torments, and then committed to the fire; and thus, thanking the mercy of God for it, he endured the suffering which he had sought to escape." "This Rutilius was martyred somewhere in Africa," writes A. Mellinus, 1st book of the Hist., fol 55, col. 1, from Tertullian. de Fuga, in Persecutione, cap. 5, at the end.
MAVILUS, A PIOUS CHRISTIAN OF ADRUMELEN, TORN BY THE WILD BEASTS, AT CARTHAGE,
ABOUT THE YEAR 201
Tertullian writes a very candid admonition and warning concerning the impending wrath of God over all the persecutors of the Christians, to Scapula, the Governor of Carthage, who, having succeeded in the place of Vigellius Saturninus (who, on account of the persecution he had exercised against the Christians, had been struck with blindness, through the righteous judgment of God), also followed in his footsteps as regards cruelty. For at his accession to the Governorship, he immediately very cruelly sentenced Mavilus, a very pious Christian of Adrumelen, a city in Africa, to be torn by the beasts; who, though through a severe death, attained to a blessed end: Immediately after his death great plagues were sent by the Lord over the city of Carthage, where the Governor resided; as, great rains, high floods, terrible thunders, fiery signs in the air, etc. IdemIbidem, eol. e, ex Tertullian. ad Scapulam, cap. 3.
PERPETUA AND FELICITAS, OF T,UBURBI IN MAURITANIA, AND OTHERS, VIOLENTLY PUT TO
DEATH,, FOR THE FAITH OF THE SON
OF GOD, ABOUT THE YEAR 201 ,
Perpetua and Felicitas were two very pious and honorable Christian women, at Tuburbi, a city in Mauritania, a province of Africa. Both were very untimely apprehended, to suffer for the name of Christ, as Felicitas was very far advanced in pregnancy, and Perpetua had recently given birth to a child, which she was nursing. But this did not make them fainthearted, nor so surprise them that they forsook Christ, nor did it prevent them from going on in the way of godliness; but they remained equally faithful disciples of Christ, and became steadfast martyrs.
According to the Roman laws, they waited with the pregnant woman, until she was delivered, before they sentenced her and put her to death. When the pains of labor seized her in prison, and she cried aloud for fear and anguish, the jailer said to her
"Thou art so much afraid and distressed now, and criest aloud for pain; how then wilt thou behave, when, tomorrow, or the day after, thou wilt be led to death?" Felicitas replied thus: "Now I suffer as a poor woman the punishment which God on account of sin has laid upon the female sex; but tomorrow I shall suffer as a Christian woman for the faith and the confession of Jesus Christ." ,By these words she sufficiently indicated that she had firmly and immovably founded her faith upon Christ, who never forsakes His own, even though they be in the midst of the fire, and are consumed, God also specially strengthened her, that she might be able to endure her sufferings. With reference to this, Tertullian says: "Perpetua, the very strong and steadfast martyr, had a revelation or vision of the heavenly paradise, on the day of her sufferings, in the which she saw none but her fellow martyrs. And why no others? Because the fiery sword which guards the door of paradise gives way to none but those who die for Christ." In the meantime these two pious heroines of Jesus Christ were martyred, that is, they died a violent death, for the name of their Saviour; for which they will afterwards be crowned with the unfading wreath of immortality, as a triumpth over the foes they overcame, namely, the cruelties and pains of death.
The names of their fellow martyrs are Revocatus, Satyrus, Saturninus, and Serundulus. It is supposed that the last mentioned one of these died in prison from extreme hardship, but that the others were all thrown before the wild beasts, such as, bulls, lions, bears, leopards, etc., to be torn by them. Thus these exchanged their dear lives for death, for Christ's sake. Idem., fol. 26, col. 3, 4, ex August. in Psal. 74, and de Tempore Barbdrieo, cap. 5, Beda Usuard. Ado Martirol. Rom. 7. Martii. Also, 1. Pregnatis de Pen. Also, in Antiquo Lectionario. Also, Tertull. de anima, cap. 5. That the dead bodies of the two afore mentioned women were brought to Carthage, and were buried there is testified to by Victor Uticensis, Pers. Vandal., lib. 1.
LEONIDES, THE FATHER OF ORIGEN, BEHEADED AT
ALEXANDRIA, IN EGYPT, FOR THE TESTIMONY
OF JESUS CHRIST, ABOUT THE YEAR 202
Leonides, the father of Origen, was according to the testimony of Suidas, a bishop of the church of Christ, and also became a martyr, at Alexandria in Egypt. His imprisonment, suffering, and death occurred on this wise: When from nearly all the cities and villages of Egypt and Thebes, Christian champions, that is, martyrs, were brought, to fight and suffer for the name of Jesus Christ, Leonides was also one of those who were brought prisoners to Alexandria, the capital of Egypt.
When he had been imprisoned for some time, his son Origen, then but seventeen years old, sent him a very comforting letter, in which he exhorted him to constancy, writing, among other things
"Be strong in the Lord, my father, and endure valiantly the suffering which awaits thee. Let not regard for us induce thee to do otherwise." He means to say: " (3 father! do not grieve too much for thy wife, or dear mother, or for us, thy seven beloved children, of whom I am the oldest; or become so wavering, that through desire to usward thou shouldest forsake thy faithful God and Saviour." This was in brief the import of the letter which Origen wrote to his father. It acted as a healing medicine in the wounds of the sorrowful mind of his father, so that he resolved to patiently suffer death for .the honor of his Saviour. He was finally sentenced to be beheaded, and all his property was confiscated for the treasury of the Roman Empire. This happened in the time of Emperor, Severus, about the year 201. Compare Euseb., lib. 6, cap. 2, with Abr. Mell., 1st book o f the Hist., fol. 57, col. 1, ex Hieron. Catal. in Orag. Also, P. J. Twisek, Chron., Zd book, for the year 195, page 51, col. 2. Also, Introduction to the Martyrs' Mirror, edition
1631, fol. 38, Col. 2. Also, Joh. Gys. Hist. Mart., edition 1657, fol. 3.
FIVE OF THE DISCIPLES OF ORIGEN, NAMELY, PLU;
TARCH, HERACLIDES, HERO, AND TWO OTHER
MEN, BOTH CALLED SERENUS, PUT TO
DEATH FOR THE FAITH, AT ALEX;
ANDRIA IN EGYPT, ABOUT THE
At this time, Origen, though but eighteen years old, was a teacher of the faith, at Alexandria, in Egypt, where he taught with such excellence, not only to begin with Christ, but also to die with Him, that many of his disciples laid down their lives for the truth of Christ. Among these are mentioned, by name, Plutarch, Heraclides, Hero, and two other men, both called Serenus. Their suffering and death happened in this manner: Origen, the teacher of these pious people, was in the habit of going into the prison to the martyrs who suffered for the name of Jesus Christ, to strengthen them in the faith. Yea, even when they had already received their sentence of death, and were making their last defense, he stood by them, and, at parting, gave them the kiss of peace, as a token of his sincere love.
When Plutarch, his beloved disciple, was led forth to death, he, according to his custom, comforted him, for which the raging multitude would have killed him, had not divine Providence protected him. This having happened, Plutarch was put to death for the name of Jesus Christ, and died as a martyr.
After the death of Plutarch, the first of the two men named Serenus, was brought forth and burned. His faith, as is stated, was tried with fire, notwithstanding he was still a catechumen, that is, one who, though he had been instructed, had not yet received baptism.
The third of these martyrs is called Heraclides, and of him the same is stated that is recorded of Serenus, concerning his faith, namely, that he too was still under instruction, and had not yet been baptized, but was preparing for it. And thus he sealed his faith not with water, but with his blood. He was beheaded with the ax.
The fourth that was put to death for the same faith, was Hero, who is called a novice in the faith, that is one who had only lately accepted the faith with baptism. Having commended his soul into the hands of God, he was likewise beheaded with the ax.
Besides these four martyrs, there is mentioned a fifth, who was the second of the aforementioned men named Serenus. Refusing to apostatize, he, after many severe torments, was beheaded, like the last mentioned two; and thus attained to a blessed end, together with his slain fellow brethren. Compare Euseb., lib. 6, cap. 4, with Abr. Mell., lst book, fol. 57, Col. 2, 3. Also, Joh. Gys. Hist., fol. 18, Col. 3, after Leonides, the father of Origen. Also, Introduction, fol. 39, Col. 1, from Eusebius.
TWO FEMALE DISCIPLES OF ORIGEN, NAMELY, RHAIS
AND MARCELLA, BURNED ALIVE AT ALEX;
ANDRIA, FOR THE FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST,
ABOUT THE YEAR 204
Among the disciples of Origen, who became martyrs, there are also mentioned several women as faithful martyrs. However, we shall only refer to two of these, one called Rhais, the other Marcella, who suffered their faith and lives to be tried with fire, like gold that is refined.
Rhais was a catechumen, that is, one that was receiving instruction preparatory to baptism, and hence, had not yet sealed her faith with water; however, as Origen himself declares, she was baptized with fire, that is, burned alive.
Marcella was the mother of Potamiena (of whom the ancients speak in such commendatory terms, as having also laid down her life for the faith; but whom we pass over, on account of certain remarks which she addressed to Basilides, her executioner.) After insufferable and dreadful torments, she was burned by degrees, in great constancy, until she was reduced to ashes; and thus she exchanged this temporal for an eternal life. See the above mentioned authors, as compared with Mellinus, fol. 57, Col. 4.
BASILIDES, WHO, FROM AN EXECUTIONER BECAME
A CHRISTIAN, BEHEADED FOR THE NAME OF
CHRIST, AT ALEXANDRIA, ABOUT THE
Not long after the death of Potamiena, who had died with the above mentioned Rhais and Marcella, one of the executioners, named Basilides, who had brought her to death, was converted to the faith in Christ. Eusebius writes: "Being among his companions, and an oath being demanded of him on some special matter, he said, that he dared not swear at all, because he was a Christian, and did openly confess it before them. When they heard this, they thought at first, that he was joking; but when he persistently asserted it, and showed that he was in earnest, he was seized and cast into prison. When some of the brethren came to visit him, and inquired how it happened that he had become changed so suddenly, he fully satisfied them in regard to the. matter. Having heard this, they gave him the sign of the Lord, that is (as A. Mellinus explains it), he was baptized in the name of Christ. The following day he was beheaded for the confession of the Lord. Compare the preceding accounts concerning the disciples of Origen, with Eusebius, lib. 6, cap. 5, fol. 107, cot. 1, 2. Also, A, Mellinus, lst book, fol. 58, Col. 1, 2. Also, P. J, Twisck, Chron., 3d book, for the year 204, fol. 55; Col. 2, above. .Also, Introduction M. Sp., fol. 39; Col. 1.
IRENEUS, AN ANCIENT TEACHER, AFTER MANY
TORMENTS, PUT TO DEATH FOR THE NAME OF
JESUS CHRIST, AT LYONS, IN FRANCE,
ABOUT THE YEAR 210
Ireneus, by descent an Asiatic, was born at Smyrna. In his youth he attended school, and was a disciple of Polycarp, who was appointed by the apostle John bishop of the church at Smyrna, and afterwards became a martyr, as we have already shown in the proper place. On account of his (Ireneus') special fitness, he subsequently became bishop of the church at Lyons in France, in the place of Photinus. His erudition was so great, that Eusebius extols him more than any of the learned who lived before and in his time. Tertullian called him "the most remarkable investigator of all manner of learning." Jerome said that he was "an apostolic man, who lived next to the time of the apostles." Epiphanius gave him the title of a "holy and ancient divine," yea, a "successor of the apostles." In his ministry he was so faithful a servant in the house of the Lord, that he had the oversight not only of the church at Lyons, where he was bishop, and other churches in France, but even of some churches in Asia and Phrygia.
Concerning his death, the ancient historians have left us but little information of the time as well as of the manner of his martyrdom. We find, however, in regard to it the following words: "That, when the persecution of the Christians, under Severus, had been instituted in all the countries of the Romans, the city of Lyons, too, pursuant to the command of the Emperor, was surrounded with soldiers, and all the Christians in it put to death with the sword, or beheaded; but that Ireneus, the shepherd of them all, was sought with special diligence, and, when found, was put to death with manifold tortures, and was buried by Zacharia, his elder." Ex actis Procons. Perditis hoc Tantum extat. Adr. Martyrol. 28 Jun. Abr. Mell., fol. 59, cot. 3, and fol. 60, cot. 1, ex Hieron. Catal, Iren. idem Hieron. epist. 84 ad Magnum, and 29 ad Theodorum Euseb., lib. 4, cap. 20. Tertull. lib. Contra Valentin., cap.,5. Hieron. epist. 29. ad Theodorum and in Catal. Epiph. Haer. 24 and 31. Also, Joh. Gys.,1657, fol. 18, cot. 3, 4. Also, P. J. Twisck, 3d book, for the year 210, 28th June, p. 56, cot. 1. He adds these words: "On the 28th of June, A. D. 210, in the fifth persecution, Bishop Irenus (he means to say: Ireneus) was put to death, together with many citizens, for the confession of Christ."
He says of the Lord's Supper: "There is something heavenly and something earthly; the earthly is bread, which is for the nourishment of the body, and points us to the heavenly, that is, Christ with His merits, which is the food of the soul."
In the Revelation of John he writes that "antichrist will arise in the Latin, that is, the Roman church, and will be a Roman." Also: "Antichrist, who is a thief and apostate, would be worshiped as God, and, though being but a servant, would be proclaimed king." From Histor. Georg., lib. 2. hinc. Cal., fol. 352. P. P. Cock, fol. 59.
HOW SEPTIMIUS FLORENS TERTULLIAN, THROUGH
A CERTAIN APOLOGY, DEFENDED THE CHRIS;
TIANS, AND SOUGHT TO HAVE THEM
SPARED, ABOUT THE YEAR 204
When the persecution of the true Christians would not cease, but increased the longer the more, the pious man Septimius Florens Tertullian wrote an apology in defense of the Christians against the heathen, in which he refuted all the slanders with which they were assailed at that time; showing that they were innocent, and were persecuted not on account of any evil deeds, as the heathen pretended, but simply on account of their name; and that nevertheless their religion was not weakened or injured by the bitterness of the persecution, but much rather helped and strengthened by it.
Among other things he writes: "We are increased, and grow, when we are mowed down by you. The blood of the Christians is the seed (of the church). For who is there among you who, seeing these things, is not constrained to examine what there may be inside of this matter? Who, having examined it, does not join them, and, having joined himself to them, does not wish to suffer with them?"
After this he said these words, or at least words to this import: "This sect (so he calls the Christians, according to the view of the heathen) will never perish or be extirpated; which, rest assured, when it seems to be cut down is built up. For everyone, seeing their great patience, when they are beaten and goaded, is incited to inquire into the cause of this; and when he has come to the knowledge of the truth, he instantly follows." Compare Joh. Gys., fol. 18, cot. 4, ex Tertulliano, ad Scapulam. Also, P. J. Twisck, 2d book, for the year 200, page 53, cot. 1, from Chronol. Leonh., lib. 1.
CESSATION OF THIS PERSECUTION, UNDER ANTO;
NINUS CARACALLA AND SEPTIMUS GETA, THE
SONS OF SEVERUS, ABOUT THE YEAR 213
Septimus Severus having reigned eighteen years as Roman Emperor, his sons, Antoninus Caracalla and Septimus Geta, succeeded him as Emperors. about A. D. 213. These, although they were very unmerciful, cruel, and bloodthirsty, especially Caracalla, did not, to any extent, molest the Christians, so that during their reign very little, indeed, almost no blood of the Christians was shed in the countries over which their dominion extended; which continued until about the year 219. Some write that the cessation of the persecution continued for about thirty eight years, during which time, however, Maximin the Giant greatly vexed many bishops, elders, and deacons, (that is, the overseers over some churches); but whether they were punished with death, will be shown in the proper place. However, it is stated, that this fifth persecution, which had just commenced, did not cease entirely, though it was a desirable time, as Tertullian writes, when compared with the preceding severe and very bloody persecutions. See A. Mell., lst book fol. 60, cot. 1, as compared with Herod. Sever. Ejusd. Antonin., and Geta Spartian de Eisdem.
REINSTITUTION OF THIS PERSECUTION, UNDER
ALEXANDER SEVERUS, THE SON OF ANTIO;
NINUS AND MAMMEA, ABOUT THE YEAR
The followers of Jesus Christ having enjoyed some respite during this time and a few years previous, the envy and hatred of some against the Christians increased to such an extent that even Alexander Severus, who otherwise favored the Christians, yea, had built them a church, and, according to the manner of the heathen, had placed Christ among the number of the so called gods, commenced a persecution against them, or at least continued the one begun under Septimus Severus. This was occasioned principally, as Lactantius Firmianus states, by some of the Roman jurists, who, through wrong interpretation of the laws, but especially through a deadly hatred against the Christians, incited and urged on the Emperor to persecute them.
Among those who instigated the Emperor, there is chiefly mentioned Ulpianus, who was not only a senator, but also a master of requests, and the Emperor's tutor, so that the latter considered him as his Father; hence the accusations of Ulpianus against the Christians found the more easily a willing ear with the Emperor. Lactantius Firma= nius calls this Ulpianus and his adherents murderers, because they made wicked laws against the godly. He says: "For we read of blasphemous laws and unjust disputes of the jurists against the Christians."
Domitius, surnamed Ulpianus (mentioned above), in his seventh book of the office of the Governors of the Roman provinces, hunted out and collected the edicts and decrees of the princes, as of Nero, Domitian, Trajan, etc., in order to send therefrom instructions, how they should punish the Christians who served and confessed the true God. Thus far, Lactantius, according to the annotation of Mellinus, in the lst book, fol. 61, cot. 1, 2, ex Lamprid. Herodian, in Alex. Severo. Lactana. Firmian. Institut., lib. 5, cap. 11, 12, 19. Also, in Corras., lib. 1, Missel., cap. 10, although D. P. Pers calls this Emperor a pious and excellent prince: Roomschen Adelaer, printed 1642, page 154, on the name Severus Alexander, A. D. 224. On the other hand P. J. Twisck states, that in the beginning of his reign he was not favorable to the Christians, so that, through misinformation, he caused some of them to be put to death for the name of Jesus Christ. Third book, for the year 223, page 60, col. 1, from Chron. Mich., fol. 141, Merula.
AGAPITUS, CALAPODIUS, TIBURTIUS, VALERIANUS,
QUIRITIUS, JULIA, CECILIA, MARTINA, AND
OTHERS, PUT TO DEATH FOR THE NAME
OF CHRIST, ABOUT THE YEAR 223
It is stated that in the last persecution resumed under Alexandrinus Severus there were put to death among different other persons, for the name of Jesus Christ and the testimony of the evangelical truth, Agapitus, a youth of fifteen years; Calapodius, an elder (of whom P. J. Twisck writes, though two years earlier than J. Gysius, that he was apprehended for the doctrine of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and, refusing to sacrifice to the heathen gods, was dragged with great ignominy through the city of Rome, and drowned in the Tiber. 3d book, page 59, cot. 2, from Bergomens, lib. 8.); Tiburtius and Valerianus, two brothers were likewise put to death, as well as Quiritius and his mother Julia, and Cecilia and Martina, both of them virgins; all of whom were put to death for the name of Jesus Christ, either in the water, or in the fire, or by the sword, or in some other manner. See, Joh. Gys., fol. 19, cot. 1.
HENRICUS, NARCISSUS, JULIUS, EUSEBIUS, AND
OTHERS, PUT TO DEATH FOR THE FAITH, DUR;
ING THIS PERSECUTION
Besides those whom we have mentioned as having been slain in the fifth persecution, Seb. Franck names several very virtuous believers who suffered and were deprived of life for the same cause, namely, Henricus, bishop of the church at Lyons; Narcissus, a patriarch at Jerusalem; Julius and Eusebius. Sebast. Fra. Keysers Chron. en Wereltlijke Hist. van Christi geboorte tot op Car. h., printed 1563, fol. 20, cot. 2.
OF THE SIXTH 'PERSECUTION OF THE CHRISTIANS,
COMMENCED UNDER MAXIMIN, A. D. 237
The sixth persecution of the Christians, writes J. Gysius, arose under the Emperor Maximin, a naturally cruel man, and was directed against persons of respectability (since he was of low origin), as well as against the Christians, but especially against the ministers of the Word. Fortunately for the Christians, this persecution was brief, since he reigned but two years; and as he was a violent enemy of the ministers of the church, the persecution commenced on them, as the teachers and authors, it is said, of the Christian religion; for it was thought that if they were removed, the common people could easily be drawn away from it. Then, Origen, a teacher of the church, in order to exhort the Christians to steadfastness, wrote a book on martyrdom, dedicating it to Ambrose, overseer of the church at Milan, and
Proctotus, learned men of that time. J. Gys., fol. 19, cot. 1, 2, from Euseb., lib. 6, cap. 20, Oros. lib. 7, cap. 19.
Touching the cause of these persecutions, the author of the Introduction, etc., writes thus: The heathen had such hatred for the Christians at that time, that, whenever an earthquake, a storm, or the like, occurred, they laid it to the charge of the Christians, saying that their gods were offended, because their honor was waning on account of the Christians; from which it is to be inferred that they treated the Christians in an awful manner. Fol. 39, cot. 2, from! Baronius, in Chron., A. D. 237, num. 3, and A. D. 256, num. 5.
SEVERAL THOUSAND PERSONS BURNED IN THEIR
MEETING PLACES FOR THE EVANGELICAL
TRUTH, ON DIFFERENT OCCASIONS, BY THE
COMMAND OF MAXIMIN, ABOUT THE
In the new Keysers Chronijk there is related a cruel and iniquitous deed perpetrated by Emperor Maximin on the Christians. The author says: The Christians were assembled in their churches or meeting places, praising their Saviour, when the Emperor sent forth his soldiers, and had all the churches or meeting places locked up, and then wood placed around them and set on fire, in order to burn all the Christians within. But before the wood was ignited, he caused it to be proclaimed, that whoever would come out and sacrifice to the god Jupiter, should be secure of his life, and, moreover, be rewarded by the Emperor. They replied that they knew nothing of Jupiter; that Christ was their Lord and God, by the honor of His name, and calling upon the same they would live and die. It is to be regarded as a special miracle, that among so many thousand Christians there was not found one who desired to go out, in order to save his life by denying Christ; for all remained together with one accord, singing, and praising Christ, as long as the smoke and vapor permitted them to use their tongues. P. J. Twisck, 3d book, page 64, cot. 1, from Chron. Mich. Sach., fol. 146, Niceph., lib. 7, cap. 6. Hast. Mandri, fol. 10.
ABOUT SIXTY NOTED, PIOUS MARTYRS PUT TO
DEATH FOR THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST,
ABOUT THE YEAR 239
In the preceding number of several thousand martyrs who laid down their lives under Maximin, in the sixth persecution, none of them are mentioned by name, doubtless because in the estimation of the world they were mostly lowly and obscure people; but Sebastian Franck relates from some ancient writers that about sixty noted martyrs received the crown of martyrdom under this tyrant; which would be too long to recount. Chron. des Keysers, fol. 21, cot. 3.
ALEXANDER OF JERUSALEM, AFTER MANY TOR;
MENTS, PUT TO DEATH FOR THE TESTIMONY
OF JESUS CHRIST, AT JERUSALEM, AND
OTHERS AT DIFFERENT PLACES, A. D.
Alexander of Jerusalem, who was a bishop of the church of Christ in that place, had to suffer much for the Christian truth. Eusebius Pamphilius of Cesarea writes, that for confessing Christ he was brought before the judge, bound with chains, and cast into prison. And he also writes, that when they had, time and again, drawn this venerable old man from the prison to the tribunal, and from the tribunal back to his chains, he continually, in his suffering and pain, thanked God, and finally, through unspeakable torments, offered up his spirit. Histor. Eccles., lib. 6, cap. 29.
P. J. Twisck fixes this occurrence in the year 247, and adds these words: "About this time there were many martyrs in Alexandria, Judea, at Cesarea, Antioch, and elsewhere, who testified to the Christian faith with their blood and death." Third book, page 66, cot. 1, from Euseb. Also, Hist. Adri., fol. 32, Jan. Cresp., fol. 48.
NOTE. Although it is stated that the aforementioned Alexander was put to death after the seven years' reign of Philippus, by the Emperor Decius, A. D. 247, we have nevertheless included him in the sixth persecution, since he, as it appears, was apprehended long before the commencement of the seventh general persecution, which did not begin until A. D. 251, and was in full force in 253.
OF THE SEVENTH PERSECUTION OF THE CHRIS;
TIANS, UNDER DECIUS, BEGUN ABOUT THE
Sebastian Frank, P. J. Twisck, and Job. Gysius place the beginning of this persecution under Decius in A. D. 251, while Abraham Mellinus and the author of the Introduction to the Martyrs' Mirror begin it with the year 253; which difference can easily be reconciled in this manner: namely, that the decrees against the Christians were sent out and published about the year 251, but that they were not actually put in force until about A. D. 253. Compare Seb. Frank, etc., fol. 21, cot. 3, with P. J. Twisck, 3d book, page 67, cot. 2. Also, Joh. Gys., fol. 19, cot. 2. Also, A. Mell., 1st book, fol. 65, cot. 4. Also, Introduction, fol. 40, cot. 1.
OF THE CRUELTY AND MISERY OF THIS PERSECUTION
P. J. Twisck, after narrating something in commendation of this Emperor, begins immediately to give an account of 'the tyranny which he employed against the Christians, saying: "He caused public mandates and decrees to be issued and posted up, that if they would not apostatize from Christ, to persecute the Christians everywhere, and to execute them without mercy with every. kind of torture that could be devised. The torments with which the poor Christians were put to death in that day were very severe, as we may read in Dionysius, Gregory, Cyprian, Eusebius, Vincentius, and others. They were exiled, spoiled of their goods, sentenced to the mines, scourged, beaten. Beheading and hanging were. thought far too insignificant, yea, no punishment at all for them. Hot tar was most invariably poured over them, roasted at a slow fire, stoned, pricked in the face, eyes, and the whole body with sharp .pointed instruments, dragged through the streets over hard pebbles and rough stones, dashed against rocks, cast down from steep places, their limbs broken in pieces, torn asunder with hooks, rolled about on sharp potsherds, given as a prey and food to the wild beasts, stakes driven through their loins, etc.
There was scarcely a place where persecution was not in vogue; Africa, and Alexandria especially could be called the school of the martyrs. In short, Nicephorus says in his 5th book, chap. 29, that to count the martyrs of this time would be as easy as to undertake to count the sands of the seashore. See, P. J. Tzefisck, 3d book, for the year 251, p. 67, cot. 2, and page 68, cot. 1, from Euseb., lib. 7, cap. 1. Chron. Mich., fol. 154. Chron. Carionis, lib. 3. Seb. Fr., fol. 17 Hist Andrw, fol. 177, 2d part, fol. 174. Paul Merul., fol. 212-214. Leonh. Krentz. Chronologiae, fol. 16, 17. Chron. Car., fol. 236. Jan Crespin., fol. 53.
We shall begin with the persecution which at this time took place at Alexandria against the pious and defenseless Christians; for which reason this place was called by the ancients the "Scaffold of all tyranny."
METRAS, A GOD FEARING OLD MAN, PIERCED WITH
REEDS, AND STONED TO DEATH, FOR THE NAME
OF JESUS CHRIST, AT ALEXANDRIA, A. D.
Metras, also called Metranus, a God fearing old man, was now apprehended by the riotous people at Alexandria, and commanded to utter blasphemous words against God; that is, to blaspheme the name of God, and to forsake the Saviour, Jesus. But as he refused to do so, they beat him on his whole body with sticks, pricked and pierced his face and eyes with sharp reeds, and, martyred thus, led him out of the city, and stoned him to death in the suburbs. Euseb., lib. 6, cap. 41, fol. 122, letter O, taken from the letter of Dionys. Alexandrinus to Fabian, concerning the martyrs in Alexandria. Compared with A. Mell., 1st book, fol. 67, col. 1. Also, Joh. Gys., fol. 19, col. 4. Also, Introduction, fol. 40, col. 1.
COINTHA, A BELIEVING WOMAN, DRAGGED
THROUGH THE STREETS OF ALEXANDRIA, AND
STONED FOR THE TESTIMONY OF THE
SON OF GOD, A. D. 252
Afterwards, an honorable believing woman, called Cointha, or, as others call her, Quinta, was seized and brought into a temple of idols, and placed before these, in order to compel her to worship them. But when she recoiled with abhorrence from the idols, they tied her feet together, and dragged her through all the streets of the city of Alexandria, beat her with rods, and as some writers have recorded, rubbed her naked body against mill stones. When they had dragged, beaten, and rubbed her long enough, so that her body was completely lacerated, they at last dragged her into the suburbs, and there pelted her with stones until she was covered with them. Compare Euseb. with Abr. Mell. and loh. Gys. in the places referred to above concerning the martyr Metras.
APOLLONIA, AN AGED VIRGIN, AFTER MANY TOR;
MENTS BURNED ALIVE FOR THE EVANGELICAL
TRUTH, AT ALEXANDRIA, A. D. 252
Apollonia was an aged virgin, whom the enemies of the truth apprehended, and with their fists and blows in the face, knocked every tooth out of her head. In the meantime a large fire of wood was kindled, and they threatened to burn her alive, if she would not worship the gods, and forsake Christ. But notwithstanding this miserable death, she would rather go into the fire, .and lose her temporal life, than save it by abandoning Christ and losing her soul.
Touching the manner of her death, and her great willingness to die, A. Mellinus makes this statement: "This virgin was sentenced to be burned, or to blaspheme the name of Christ; but as she abhorred the latter, she wished to show that she was ready and willing to die for Christ." See Eusebius, Mellinus, and Gysius, in the books and on the pages referred to in connection with the martyrdom of Metras and Cointha.
SERAPION OF EPHESUS, A PIOUS MAN, TORN LIMB
FROM LIMB, THROWN OUT OF THE WINDOW,
AND KILLED, FOR THE TESTIMONY OF
JESUS CHRIST, AT ALEXANDRIA,
A. D. 252
As the afore mentioned bloodthirstiness of the heathen at Alexandria did not abate, but increased more and more, against those who confessed the name of Jesus Christ, it came to pass that they laid their hands on a pious Christian, called Serapion, an Ephesian by birth. They dragged him out of his house, tore him almost limb from limb, and finally threw him out of a window; in consequence of which, after many torments, and having commended his soul to God, he tasted death, and thus was counted among the number of the steadfast and blessed martyrs. See the books cited above.
JULIAN, AN OLD MAN, WITH HIS FRIEND EUNUS,
LED ABOUT SEATED ON CAMELS, SEVERELY
SCOURGED, AND FINALLY BURNED ALIVE,
AT ALEXANDRIA, ABOUT A. D. 253
There was at this time and place also an old man, who, on account of great pain caused by gout, could not walk, but had to be carried. His name was Julian, and the ancients greeted him as a very venerable man, on account of his virtue. In pursuance of the imperial decree published against the Christians, he was brought by two carriers before the judge, to give an account of his faith.
Forthwith one of those who had carried him, fearing the severe examination, or the rack, apostatized from the faith; for which reason we deem his name unworthy of a place here; but the other, called Eunus, continued very constant in the faith, together with the old man Julian, who was his dear friend; hence both made a grand confession of it; notwithstanding their many severe torments.
Both were then seated naked upon camels, and led about the whole city of Alexandria, which is very large; scourged with many severe stripes, and finally brought before a great, high flaming fire, into which both were cast, and burned alive, in the sight of a great multitude of people that stood about. Compare Euseb., lib. 5, cap. 31, fol. 123, col. 1, letter B., from the letter of Dionys. to Fabius, bishop of Antioch. Also, A. Mell., fol. 67, col. 4. Also, Joh. Gys., fol. 20, col.1.
MACAR, EPIMACHUS, AND ALEXANDER, AFTER
MANY TORMENTS, BURNED ALIVE, AT ALEX;
ANDRIA, ABOUT THE YEAR 253
There was yet another pious Christian, called Macar, or Macarius, a native of Lybia, whom the judge advised with many words, to forsake Christ; but he continued only the more steadfastly to confess his faith. Finally the judge commanded that he should be burned alive; which was done.
Epimachus and Alexander did not remain prisoners very long after Macar's death; but, after suffering much pain, having been cut and slashed with razors, lacerated with scourges, and wounded on the most sensitive parts of their bodies, they were finally burned alive with flaming fire. See the authors cited above.
FOUR GOD FEARING WOMEN, NAMELY, TWO CALLED
AMMONARIA, AND MERCURIA AND DIONYSIA,
BEHEADED AT ALEXANDRIA FOR THE
CONFESSION OF JESUS CHRIST, ABOUT
THE YEAR 253
At this time, God also wonderfully manifested His power in certain women, among whom four are mentioned by name, two called Ammonaria, and Mercuria and Dionysia. The last named two were aged women, one of them being the mother of many children, all of whom she nevertheless had forsaken, for Christ's sake. The other two, as it appears, were unmarried persons or young maidens, who loved their heavenly bridegroom, Jesus Christ, too much, to look for an earthly one. Of all these it is stated that they remained so steadfast in the confession of Jesus Christ, that the judge felt ashamed on this account, and, in order to put an end to the matter had them beheaded. See the authors and books cited above. Also, A. Melt., fol. 68, cot. 1.
HERON, ATER, AND ISIDORE, BURNED FOR THE
FAITH; AND DIOSCORUS, A YOUTH OF FIFTEEN
YEARS SET FREE AFTER HAVING BEEN
GREATLY TORMENTED; AT ALEXAN;
DRIA, ABOUT THE YEAR 253
Heron, Ater, and Isidore, Egyptians by birth, and a youth of fifteen years, called Dioscorus, were committed to the. Judge of Alexandria, at the same time. The judge examined the youth first, supposing it a very easy matter to persuade him, or deceive him by fair words, or, if not on this wise, to move him by torments (of which, as Eusebius says, many were inflicted upon him), to deny the Christian faith. But this excellent youth, Dioscorus, could be induced neither by fair words nor by the force of torments, to obey the judge.
The three men, namely Heron, Ater, and Isidore, the judge had most cruelly scourged, and examined with all manner of stripes, intending to draw them away from the faith; but when he saw that because of their faith in Jesus Christ they valiantly endured all the torments, he delivered them to the executioners to be burned alive; except the youth Dioscorus, whom he released, on account of his courage as well as the astonishingly discreet answers which he gave to every one of his questions; saying that in consideration of his youth he would wink at his perverseness for the present, so that, in the meantime he might reflect upon the matter, and repent. But the ancient writers state, that, coming to the church of Jesus Christ, God ordained him to be a bulwark and consolation of His people; awaiting a longer and severer conflict, and a greater and fuller reward; on account of which, as well as because of his previous sufferings, he was reckoned among the pious martyrs. See the above mentioned authors and books.
NEMESIUS, A PIOUS CHRISTIAN, BURNED FOR HIS
FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST, TOGETHER WITH SEV;
ERAL MALEFACTORS, AT ALEXANDRIA,
ABOUT THE YEAR 253
The malignity of the tyrants had now become so great that they called the defenseless lambs of Christ murderers, and sought to put them to death under this name. Among those thus accused was a pious follower of Christ, called Nemesius, or, also, Nemesis, who, being accused of the same crime, first of all candidly and clearly vindicated himself from it. Thereupon his accuser charged him with being a Christian, and, therefore, nevertheless guilty. of death. Eusebius writes, that in this point the judge observed no moderation, but caused him first to be tortured with twofold torments, and then commanded that he should be burned with the murderers, unconscious of the fact that through his cruelty he made this holy martyr resemble our Saviour, who, for the salvation of mankind, was crucified between murderers. In regard to this, A. Mellinus says: "The judge made this martyr like unto his .Lord Christ, and, according to his example, had him placed between highwaymen, and then burned alive." A. Melt., 1st book, fol. 68, cot. 2, from Euseb., lib. 6, cap. 41. Also, P. .l. Twisck, 3d book, for the year 252, page 70, cot. 1, on the name Nemesion.
BABYLAS, BISHOP OF THE CHURCH AT ANTIOCH,
AND THREE YOUTHS, URBAN, PHILIDIAN, AND
EPOLONIUS, BEHEADED AT ANTIOCH, FOR
THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST, ABOUT
THE YEAR 254
Biabylas, bishop of the church of Antioch, the capital of Syria, situated on the river Orontes, was a very godly and faithful shepherd of the flock of Christ. Knowing beforehand that this severe persecution was threatening the church of Christ, he very diligently instructed not only men and women, but also children in the principles of the Christian faith, and constantly admonished them in his preaching, not only to believe in Christ, but also to suffer for His name. Touching the cause of his imprisonment, the ancients have briefly described it thus: namely, that the Emperor Decius came to one of the congregations of the Christians, and requested to be admitted; but that the shepherd of that congregation or church, namely Babylas, in order to spare the congregations, opposed him boldly, saying, that it was not lawful for him thus audaciously to enter the house of the living God, and to view the mysteries of the Lord with his polluted eyes, or to .touch them with his murderous hands still covered with blood. The Emperor, unable to bear this, had Babylas, together with several others, seized, bound with chains, and placed in severe confinement.
Those who were apprehended with him, and were finally put to death, were, as appears from the records, three young men, brothers, and were called, Urban, Philidian, and Epolonius; who, as some suppose, were his bodily, but according to others, his spiritual children, because he had won them for Christ through the doctrine of the truth.
When the hour of his departure began to draw near, that he was to be offered, and his disciples or other good friends came to visit him in prison, he earnestly ,asked, as a last request of them, to bury him with his fetters, chains, and bonds.
Concerning his death, Eusebius Pamphilius writes: "Bishop Babylas fell asleep in the Lord, in prison, at Antioch, after having made his confession, in all things like Alexander." Hist. Eccl. Edit. A. D. 1588, lib. 6, cap. 39, fol. 121, letters F, G.
But as all the other fathers who have written of Babylas speak of him as a martyr, they also state that he was executed with the sword. The records of his death, faithfully collected by Suidas and others from the most ancient writers, read thus: "When Babylas was sentenced by the Emperor Decius to be beheaded, together with the aforementioned three young men, he sang the comforting words of the 116th psalm, on his way to the place of execution: `Return unto thy rest, O! my soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee. He hath delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living."'
When Babylas and the three young men had arrived at the place where they were to be beheaded, Babylas begged, that they would first put to death before his eyes, the three youths (whether they were his bodily or his spiritual children) so that they might not be deterred or discouraged by his death from dying for the name of Christ.
While the executioners were busy executing the children, he prayed to the Lord, saying: "Here am I, Lord, and the children whom thou hast given me." And thus he encouraged the children, steadfastly to suffer for the Lord.
After this, Babylas also fell asleep very peacefully in the Lord, having commended his soul into the hands of the Lord, to bring it to the eternal rest of which he had spoken immediately before his death.
The mother of these children, and the brethren of the church of Antioch buried the dead bodies of these martyrs in a decent manner, together with the chains and fetters with which Babylas had been bound during his life.
Thus, this good father and his dear children took an honorable departure from this world together on the same day, and are awaiting now the blessed hope and the revelation of the great God, and their Saviour, Jesus Christ, for whose honor and glory they suffered these things. Abr. Mell., 1st book, fol. 68, Col. 4, and fol. 69, Col. 1, 2, from Euseb., lib. 6, cap. 29. EpiÂ¢han. lib. de Mens. and Pond. Hieron. Catal. in Origene. Chrysost. Eunt. Gent. and Homed. 9 ad Ephes. Suidas in Babyla. acta ex Patribus Collecta. Suid in Hist. sub. nom. Babylm.
NOTE. P. J. Twisck, who begins this persecution by Decius, with the year 251, fixes the death of this man, Babylas, in the second year of his reign, namely, A. D. 252. Chron. 3d book, Q. 70, Col. 1, from Hist. Andr., fol. 21. But Abr. Mellinus, who begins the persecution with the year 253, fixes his death in A. D. 254, (although the printer has erroneously made it A. D. 264; for Decius reigned only two years), and this is consequently the second year of Decius. We have followed the latter author.
PIONIUS, BISHOP OF THE CHURCH AT SMYRNA,
NAILED TO A PIECE OF WOOD AND BURNED
ALIVE, IN THE CITY OF SMYRNA, FOR
THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS CHRIST,
A. D. 254
Mention is made in this time of a certain pious Christian, called Pionius, a man greatly noted on account of his remarkable virtue, who always stood fearlessly before the judges, and, as Eusebius declares, steadfastly replied to all their questions, yea, taught and disputed in the court, so that those who wavered on account of the persecution, were thereby strengthened and encouraged. While in prison, he strengthened the brethren, and encouraged them, to fight steadfastly even unto the end, in the faith, for the Lord, in which he preceded them as a good leader. For, according to the testimony of Eusebius, he was finally nailed on a piece of wood, and cast into a flaming fire, and thus died a blessed death. Euseb., lib. 4, cap. 15, taken from the letter of those of Smyrna, concerning the death of Polycarp and some of the martyrs who followed him.
FURTHER PARTICULARS CONCERNING THE DEATH
OF PIONIUS, ACCORDING TO THE ACCOUNTS
GIVEN BY DIFFERENT AUTHORS
We shall endeavor to be as brief as possible, and, instead of relating all that pertains to this, present only the last acts of his death.
When the Governor, after much had been said on both sides, said to Pionius: "Why dost thou make such great haste to meet death?" Pionius answered: "I do not make haste to meet death, but life." Then said the Governor: "Thou dost not act wisely thus to hasten to meet death. Thou art like those who, despising death, for the sake of a little gain offer themselves to fight with the beasts. But since thou despisest death so much, thou shalt be burned alive."
This sentence of death was read to him from a tablet inscribed with Roman letters: "We have sentenced Pionius to be burned alive, because he has confessed that he is a Christian."
Having thus been sentenced, Pionius was brought to the place where he was to be burned. There he divested himself of his clothes, and, having looked at his naked body, he cast up his eyes to heaven, praising and thanking God for having kept him to this hour free and unspotted from the idols.
With this, he voluntarily went and lay down on the firewood, stretched himself over it, and delivered himself to the soldiers, to be nailed to the wood.
When he was fastened to the wood, the servant said to him: "Be converted and alter your views; and we shall remove the nails." Pionius answered
"I feel that they are in already." And reflecting a little, he said to God: "Therefore, O Lord, do I hasten to death, that I may rise the sooner (or the more glorious)."
Having been nailed on the cross, he was raised up with his face towards the east. When a great heap of wood had been collected with which to burn him, he closed his eyes for some time, so that the people thought that he had already died. However, he prayed secretly in his heart; for when he had finished his prayer, he opened his eyes, and all at once the flame shot up to a great height, just as with a glad countenance he uttered the last word of his trust, saying: "Amen, O Lord, receive my soul," and calmly and without manifesting the least sign of pain, he gave his spirit over into the hands of God.
This happened when Julius Proculus Quintilianus was Proconsul of Asia, and Emperor M. Q. T. Decius was Consul for the third, and Gratus for the second time, at Rome, in A. D. 254, by virtue of the seventh persecution under Emperor Decius, at Smyrna, in Asia Minor. Abr. Mell., 1st book, fol. 71, col. 3, 4, from Euseb., lib. 4. Also, Acta per Sym. Metaph. Genuma, and here pro Consularia.
MAXIMUS, A PIOUS CHRISTIAN, AFTER MANY TOR;
MENTS STONED TO DEATH, AT EPHESUS,
ABOUT THE YEAR 255
It is stated that shortly after the death of Pionius and the preceding martyrs, there suffered a certain pious Christian, called Maximus, a citizen of Ephesus; concerning whom, we, in order to present the matter in the briefest, clearest and plainest manner, shall, (instead of the testimony of the fathers) copy the records themselves, which were approved by the Proconsul, and written by the clerk of the court. They read thus: "Maximus, a citizen of Ephesus, having been apprehended and brought before Optimus, the Proconsul of Asia, the latter asked him: `What is thy name?'
"He answered: `My name is Maximus.'
"The Proconsul asked: `What is thy estate?' which meant, whether he was free born, or a servant.
"Maximus said: `I belong to myself, and am free born. Nevertheless, I am a servant of Christ, and manage my own affairs.'
"The Proconsul said: `Art thou a Christian?'
"Maximus replied: `Notwithstanding I am a sinner, I am nevertheless a servant of Christ.'
"The Proconsul questioned: 'Knowest thou not the decrees of the invincible Princes, which have now been brought hither?'
"Maximus asked back: `What are they?'
"The Proconsul answered: `That all the Christians are to forsake their superstitions, acknowledge the only true Prince, to whose power all things are subject, and worship his gods.'
"Maximus said: `Yea, I have heard the unjust decree of this Prince or Emperor, and hence have come, openly to declare myself against it.'
"The Proconsul spoke: `Then sacrifice to the gods.'
"Maximus said: `I sacrifice to none, except to God; and I rejoice that from my childhood's days I have offered myself only to God.'
"The Proconsul again said: `Sacrifice, lest I cause thee to be tormented in divers manners.'
"Maximus said: `This is just what I have always longed for: to be deprived of this temporal and frail life, and thereby attain life eternal.'
"The Proconsul then commanded his soldiers to beat Maximus with sticks. While he was being beaten, the Proconsul said to him: `Sacrifice, Maximus, that you may be released from these torments.'
"Maximus said: `These torments, which I gladly and willingly receive for the name of my Lord Jesus Christ, are no torments at all; but if I apostatize from Christ, I must expect the real and everlasting torments.'
"The Proconsul therefore had him suspended on the torture stake, and dreadfully tormented; and said to him: `See, now, where thou hast come to by thy folly; sacrifice, therefore, that thou mayest save thy life.'
"Maximus replied: `If I sacrifice not, I shall save my life; but if I do, I shall lose it. For neither thy sticks, hooks, claws, pincers, nor thy fire hurt me; nor do I feel any pain through it, because the grace of Christ abides in me.'
"Then the proconsul pronounced the sentence of death, which was as follows: `I command, that Maximus be stoned to death, as an example and terror to other Christians; because he would not submit to the laws, and sacrifice to the great Diana of Ephesus! Acta Proconsuluria." Thus far extend the words which the clerk of the court himself wrote.
The Christian who copied these records, adds the following: "And presently this faithful champion of Christ was taken away by the servants of Satan, brought without the city walls, and stoned. While he was being led away, and stoned, he thanked God with all his heart, who had made him worthy to overcome the devil in the conflict; and thus committed his soul into the hands of his Lord Jesus Christ."
Thus this pious witness of Jesus laid down his life amidst a volley of stones, for the honor of his
Saviour, and thus was registered among the holy and steadfast martyrs. A. Melt., 1st book, fol 72, cot. 3, 4, from Acta Procons. Also, Aug., lib. 2, de Doctr. Christ., cap. 26, Idem. contra Donatist. super alia acta citat.
ORIGEN, A SON OF LEONIDES THE MARTYR, GREATLY
TORMENTED AT ALEXANDRIA, FOR THE TES;
TIMONY OF JESUS CHRIST, AND BANISHED
TO CESAREA STATONIS, ABOUT THE
In our account of baptism in the third century, with special reference to the year 231, we have spoken of the views of Origen and shown that he has left us very excellent and salutary teachings concerning baptism upon faith; and also, that in his teaching he opposed the swearing of oaths, war, compulsory celibacy, the literal view of the Lord's Supper, those who taught something, and did not practice it themselves, the antichrist, etc.
We have likewise shown there, that some very peculiar things were laid to his charge as his views, from which, however, the principal ancient writers, as well as later authors, have vindicated him; all of which may be examined at the place indicated, and considered with Christian discretion. This we leave to the judgment of the judicious. We shall therefore proceed to treat of his martyrdom, and how much he had to suffer for the name of the Lord Jesus.
From the very beginning of his knowledge he placed himself in great danger of being apprehended or put to death for the testimony of the Son of God. For when he was but seventeen years old, and his father, whom he affectionately loved, had been apprehended for the Christian religion, and had nothing to expect but death (as we have noted for the year 202), he did not only comfort him by letter, but, as other writers state, desired to follow him into prison, yea even unto death; which he would have done, had not his mother prevented it by withholding or taking away his clothes. Introduction, fol. 38, cot. 2, from Euseb.
Besides this he often exposed himself to danger for the Christian martyrs, because of his extraordinary love for them. He would station himself near the tribunal, where the apprehended Christians were making their last defense, or were to receive their sentence of death, and when they were becoming weak he would strengthen and encourage them; he went with them to death, even to the place of execution; he gave them the last kiss of peace, as a friendly and fraternal farewell; so that frequently he would have lost his life, had not God remarkably and miraculously preserved him. Soldiers who were hired for the purpose by the enemies of the truth, lay in ambush for his person and for the house in which he lived, in order to apprehend or kill him; so that on account of the fierce persecution he could remain no longer in Alexandria, the place where he had been brought up; and this the more, because the believers there, on account of his conspicuousness, could no longer conceal him.
His beloved disciples, whom he had faithfully taught the ways of God, had nearly all been put to death for the name of Jesus Christ, among whom were, Plutarch, Heraclides, Hero, the two pious men called Serenus, Rhais, Marcella, and others; whom we have mentioned in the years A. D. 203 and 204.
It may therefore be considered a miracle that Origenes lived so long in the midst of deadly persecutions, namely, from his seventh to his seventieth year, which is more than fifty years.
But finally, sufferings beyond measure came upon him; he was cast into the deepest prison, his neck loaded with iron chains, his feet placed in the stocks, and stretched so that four holes were between them.* There he was tortured with fire and divers other means of torment; but he bore it all with utmost patience. Nevertheless, it appears from ancient writers, that he was not put to death judicially, but, as Epiphanius writes, was banished to Cesarea Statonis; and that finally, having moved to Tyre, he died and was buried there, under Gallus and Valusianus. Compare the account of A. Melt., 1st book, fol. 57, cot. 1, 2, under the name Leonides, but especially fol. 77, cot. 3, 4, under the name Origen, from Euseb., lib. 6, cap. 2. Hieron. Apol. Rufin. Suid. in Origene EÂ¢iphan. de Mensuris. Hieron. Catal. in Origene. Also, Euseb., lib. 6. Also, P. J. Twisck, 3d book, for the year 231, page 61, cot. 1, 2, from Georgius hicelius. Also, Introduction, fol. 38, cot. 2. Also, Joh. Gys., fol. 18, cot. 3, about Leonides.
There are some who accuse Origen of apostasy; but different excellent authors have acquitted him of this charge; though in point of knowledge he had his weaknesses and failings.
Eusebius Pamphilius of Cesarea praises his virtue above measure, saying that Origen wished to have no communion with Paulus Antiochenus, because the latter was tainted with error. Of Origen it was said: "This is he who lives as he teaches, and teaches as he lives. He sold his books of heathen philosophy, on condition that four pence a day should be given him for his daily needs, so that he would not be a burden to any one. He set all his disciples an example of poverty, that they should forsake whatever they possessed; hence he was beloved by everyone, because he contended with none about temporal goods, except that some were dissatisfied because he refused to accept what they offered to impart to him for the sustenance of his body." Eusebius further says: "It is said that for many years he went barefoot, using neither wine nor such like, but only the absolute necessaries of life, until disease in the breast, which endangered his life, compelled him to it." Lib. 6,
* The number of holes reached indicated the degree of torture to which the prisoner was subjected. Translator.
cap. 1, 2, 3. Also, Baudart. in Apophthegm. Christian., lib. 3, page 100.
In refutation of those who accused Origen of apostasy, A. Mellinus writes (though he does not wish to defend his misconceptions or errors, as he calls them): "If this account of the apostasy of Origen were true, Porphyrius, who wrote at this time against the Christians, and was especially bitter against Origen, would very probably have mentioned it in his writings, and this the more so, as he dared unjustly to accuse Ammonius, Origen's teacher, of Apostasy: how much more then, would he have exerted himself against Origen, if the latter had really apostatized; whereas he acknowledges that Origen lived as a Christian to the end." A little further on he writes: "As regards his Christian life and steadfast confession of the name of Christ, we have no reason to call it in question, since even his enemies bear him a good testimony in this respect." Abr. Mell., 1st book, fol. 78, Col. 1, from. Porphyry.
OF THE EIGHTH PERSECUTION OF THE CHRIS;
TIANS, UNDER VALERIAN AND HIS SON GAL;
LIEN, WHICH COMMENCED ABOUT THE
After the death of the Emperor Volusian, the son of Decius, Aemilian, an Ethiopian, ascended the imperial throne; but since it is stated that he reigned only three months, and that Valerian had previously already been declared Emperor, his reign is not taken into account. It follows, therefore, that Valerian was acknowledged Emperor; who, together with his son Gallien, began to reign about the year 255, as set forth by Seb. Frank; but the persecution, according to the testimony of different authors, did not begin until the year 259.
OF THE ORIGINATOR AND THE CAUSE OF THIS
The author of the Introduction to the Martyrs Mirror writes, concerning this, as follows: "In A. D. 259 the eighth persecution against the Christians arose under the Emperor Valerian. He issued an edict against the Christians, in which he commanded that the Christians were not to assemble themselves; and as this was not observed, a great persecution arose everywhere." Fol. 41, Col. 1.
FURTHER PARTICULARS ABOUT THE ORIGINATOR
AND CAUSE OF THIS PERSECUTION
Concerning this, J. Gysius records the following: "Valerian and Gallien, who in the beginning of their reign, were favorable to the Christians, soon afterwards changed their course, being misled by an Egyptian sorcerer, and by divers torments compelled the Christians to idolatry." Fol. 20, Col. 3, 4.
FURTHER AMPLIFICATION OF THE CAUSE AND CIRCUMSTANCES OF THIS PERSECUTION
P. J. Twisck, speaking (for the year 255) of the beginning of the reign of Emperor Valerian, says
"Truly, this Emperor, as history tells us, was in the beginning a very pious and praiseworthy Prince, a censor, who excelled all others; in regard to which many commendatory passages may be read in the Tijdthresoor by Paul Merula. But, what of it? Although at first he was very favorable to the Christians, and so honored their ministers, that his house was considered a church of the Lord, he was nevertheless afterwards corrupted by a doctor, a wicked lord and prince of all the sorcerers of Egypt; who made the Emperor believe that fortune would not be on his side as long as he tolerated the Christians at his court, or in the land. Then the Emperor commanded that these holy and just men should be persecuted and put to death as such who were opposed to the sorcery with which he was polluted.
This sorcerer also prevailed upon the Emperor to slaughter and sacrifice children and human beings in honor of the devil. He accordingly commanded that little children should be put to death, so that he could perform his unclean ceremonies and abominable sacrifices; and thus robbed parents of their children, and became such a despiser and oppressor of the Christian faith, that he, spared neither old nor young, men nor women, nor any state and condition, but most miserably murdered all that were brought to him, in Alexandria and other places too numerous to mention. At Rome also there was much innocent blood shed at this time, even as this city has ever been a place of slaughter for the poor ,Christians." Third book, for the year 255, page 71, Col. 2.
OF THE CRUELTY AND VIOLENCE OF THIS PERSE;
P. J. Twisck, having concluded his account of the aforementioned matter, proceeds immediately to show how cruelly and lamentably the innocent Christians were treated at that time. "The martyrdoms," he writes, "were manifold: they were cast before wild beasts; they were beaten, wounded, executed with the sword, burned, torn limb from limb, rent asunder, pinched with red hot tongs; red hot nails were driven in their fingers and nerves. Some were hung up by their arms, and heavy weights tied to their feet, and thus were torn asunder gradually and with great pain. Others, whose wounded bodies had been smeared over with honey, were placed naked on the earth in the hot sun, to be tormented and stung to death by flies, bees, and other insects. Others were beaten with clubs, and cast into prison, until they miserably perished."
"Under the reign of the afore mentioned cruel and tyrannical Emperors," he writes a little further on, "many Christians had to wander and roam about in foreign countries, in secluded places, along shores, in caverns, on mountains, in caves, amidst want and poverty; leaving comfort, honor, prosperity, peace, friends, money, and property." Among many others, there is an account given in the Keyser's Chronijk, of a youth of sixteen years, called Paul, well versed in different languages, and the son of a rich man, who, in order to escape the persecution, went out into a village to live with his sister. But his brother in law was moved by avarice to betray him, that thus he might obtain possession of his property. His sister having warned him of his danger, he fled into the mountains, gladly leaving behind him all his possessions. However, God prepared him there a secret cave, where he could quench his thirst with pure water, and satisfy his hunger with roots, herbs, and the fruits of the trees. Idem. Ibidem, from Euseb. Fasc. Temp., fol. 94. Chron. Mich., fol. 161. Chron. Seb. Franc., fol. 18, HisE. Andr., fol. 177, 178, 2d part, fol. 174. Paul Merula, fol. 217, 218, 221, Jan. Crespin, fol. 65.
DIONYSIUS, BISHOP OF THE CHURCH AT ALEXAN;
DRIA, WITH TWO OF HIS FELLOW BELIEVERS,
GAIUS AND PETER, AFTER MUCH SUFFERING,
EXILED INTO A DESERT PLACE OF LYBIA,
THREE DAYS JOURNEY FROM PARAE;
TONIUM, FOR THE TESTIMONY OF
JESUS CHRIST, ABOUT THE YEAR
After different letters of Dionysius, bishop at Alexandria (recorded by Abr. Mellinus from Eusebius), concerning the persecution he suffered, there follows one which Dionysius wrote to Domitius and Didymus, about the oppression of the Christians under Valerian, as well as how he himself was oppressed at that time. Among other statements, it contains these words: "It is not necessary to mention all the names of the Christian martyrs, because their number is very great, and you do not know them; but know ye of this persecution, in general, that innumerably many men and women, old and young people, old women and young girls, of every state and condition, were, some scourged, some burned, some beheaded, or made martyrs in some other manner; and still the proconsul continues in his cruelty; putting to death those that were made known to him, causing some to be rent asunder by divers torments, holding others in bonds and severe confinement, and letting them perish through hunger and thirst, forbidding all to come to them, yea closely watching those who but endeavor to get near them.
"Nevertheless, the Lord has thus strengthened the hearts of the brethren, that they, for the name of Christ, have constantly visited these oppressed prisoners, notwithstanding it was interdicted under penalty of death. And although this persecution has lasted for a considerable length of time, there have still been some whom God did not deem worthy to take to Himself as martyrs. Among whom, says Dionysius, I myself yet remain, until the Lord will otherwise dispose of me; since He doubtless preserves me for some other time, which appears to Him more suitable. At present I, together with Gaius and Peter, am separated from all the rest of the brethren, confined in a desert place of Lybia, three days' journey from Paraetonium." Compare A. Melt., 1st book, fol. 79, cot. 2, from Euseb., lib. 7.
We selected this letter of Dionysius from all the rest, because there is stated in it, on the .one hand, the severity of this persecution in general, and, on the other hand, the oppression which this friend of God himself suffered; inasmuch as he, after much wandering, was separated, together with his two dear friends, Gaius and Peter, from all the rest of his brethren, and confined in a desert place of Lybia, there expecting death for the name of the Lord.
Of Dionysius P. J. Twisck states, that he as well as Tertullian held a figurative or spiritual view of the Lord's Supper, i.e., that the words of Christ
"This is my body," signify: "This is a figure of my body." Second book, for the year 200, page 53, cot. 1, concerning Tertullian.
The same author, speaking of Origen, says among other things of Dionysius, that after Origen and Heracles he presided over the schools of the catechumens (that is, those who were instructed in the Christian doctrine, before baptism) at Alexandria. Third book, for the year 231, page 61, cot. 1.
In another place the afore mentioned author states that Dionysius, whom he calls a catechetical preacher, accompanied Pancratius, when the latter was baptized at Mount Celinus. In. the same book, for the year 253, page 71, cot. 1, from Wicelius, in Chorosanctorum. Grond. Bew., letter B., Leonhard, lib. 1.
In the second book, 13th chapter, D. Vicecomes cites Dionysius (from Eusebius) as saying: "Many heathen adopted at their baptism the name of the apostle John, from special love and admiration for him, as well as because of the zeal which animated them, to follow him, and because they desired to be loved by the Lord, as he was. For the same reason the names of Peter and Paul became prevalent among the believing children of God.
"All these," says the writer who has recorded this, "are beautiful reminders, which were administered to the catechumens before and after baptism; which certainly cannot apply to infants." Baptism. Hist., printed at Dortmund, A. D. 1646, and 1647, 2d part, concerning the third century, page 320.
FRUCTUOSUS, BISHOP OF THE CHURCH OF TARRA;
GONA, WITH AUGURIUS AND EULOGIUS, HIS
DEACONS, BURNED ALIVE FOR THE TESTI;
MONY OF JESUS CHRIST, AT TARRA;
GONA, ABOUT THE YEAR 261
It is stated that at this time, Fxuctuosus, bishop of the church of Tarragona in Spain, and Agurius and Eulogius, his deacons, were apprehended at the command of Aemilian, the Proconsul, and held in prison six days, before they were brought before the tribunal of the Proconsul. When they were standing before the judgment seat, Aemilian commanded them to kneel before the altars, and worship the gods standing thereon, and sacrifice to them, saying to Fructuosus: "I understand that thou art a teacher of a new devised religion, and that thou incitest giddy young women, no longer to:go to the groves, where the gods are worshiped, yea, to forsake Jupiter himself. Go on, then, despising our religion, but know thou, that the Emperor Gallien has, with his own lips, issued a decree by which he binds all his subjects, to serve the same gods which the prince, that is, the Emperor, serves or honors."
Thereupon Bishop Fructuosus answered: "I worship the eternal Prince, who has created the days and the gods, and is Lord even over the Emperor Gallien; and Christ, who is begotten of the eternal Father Himself, whose servant, and the shepherd of whose flock I am."
The Proconsul derisively said: "Yea, who bast been it till now; but thou art so no longer." With this, he sentenced Fructuosus and his two deacons, Augurius and Eulogius, to be burned alive.
These faithful martyrs, having received the sentence of death, for the name of Christ, rejoiced in their impending martyrdom, and when they saw the people weep, as they were led to death, they forbade them to weep. When some offered Fructuosus a drink on the way, that he might refresh his heart, he refused it, according to the example of Christ, saying: "Now is our fast day. I do not wish to drink; it is not yet the ninth hour of the day (that is three o'clock in the afternoon, before which time those who fasted did not eat); and death itself shall not break my fast day."
When they arrived in the arena, where the executioner had been ordered to build a great fire in which to burn these pious martyrs, a dispute (proceeding, however, from heartfelt love) arose among the faithful Christians, as to who should first untie the latchets of the shoes of the bishop, their beloved shepherd and teacher. But Fructuosus would not permit it, saying: "I shall untie them myself from my feet, so that I can go unhindered into the fire." And perceiving that they wept, he said: "Why weep ye? and why do you ask me to remember you? I shall pray for all of Christ's people."
Standing with his bare feet by the fire, he said to all the people: "Believe me! what you see before your eyes is no punishment; it passes away in a moment of time, and does not take away life, but restores it. O happy souls! who through this temporal ascend into heaven unto God, and who on the last day, shall be saved from everlasting fire."
All at once they hastened towards the fire, which indeed burned off in a moment the bands with which their hands had been fastened on their backs, thus freeing these; but their bodies remained intact in this great heat, so that with outstretched hands they prayed God to suffer the flames speedily to deliver them from the agony of death. Their prayer having been heard, they, leaving their frail bodies here as pledges, committed their souls unto God, and the three martyrs fell calmly asleep in the Lord, from whom, on the day of judgment, they will receive, in reward of their faithful services and steadfast testimonies, the martyr's crown, and white robes in token of their victory. Abr. Mell., 1st book, fol. 81, col. 4, and fol. 82, col. 1, 2, from Prudent. Stephan. Hym.. 6, ex Actis Proconsul.
MARINUS, OF NOBLE DESCENT, BUT PREFERRING
THE GOSPEL TO THE SWORD, BEHEADED AT
JERUSALEM FOR THE TESTIMONY OF
JESUS CHRIST, ABOUT THE YEAR 262
In the ancient records of the pious witnesses of Jesus Christ, an account is given of Marinus, a citizen of Jerusalem, of noble descent, who, although he belonged to the nobility, entertained a sincere affection far the true Christians, who at that time were oppressed beyond measure. On this account his enviers, who were jealous of the honor of his nobility, severely accused and charged him with being a Christian; which he also confessed, when he was brought before the judge; yea, he declared with a loud and clear voice, that he was certainly rn Christian. The Judge then gave him three hours' respite to consider, whether he would die as a Christian, or whether he would sacrifice to the gods and the Emperor.
As he went away from the tribunal, Theotecnes, the bishop of the church in that city, took him by the hand, and led him to the meeting, in the meeting place, strengthened him with many words in the faith, and, placing before him the sword which he was wont to carry at his side, and also the Gospel [book], he asked him which of the two he would choose?
When Marinus, with a firm faith, stretched forth his hand for the Gospel, choosing it instead of the sword, Theotecnes said to him: "O my son I keep that which thou host chosen, and, despising this present life, hope for the eternal. Depart in good confidence, and receive the crown which the Lord has prepared for thee."
Marinus accordingly returned to the tribunal, and was forthwith called by the lord's servant, for the appointed time had come; he did not delay or wait until he was asked, but said of his own accord: that he had considered the matter, and that it was established by the law of the fathers, that God must be obeyed rather than men. Eusebius Pamphilius writes, that when Marinus had answered thus, the judge immediately gave sentence that he should be beheaded. Lib. 7, cap. 15.
P. J. Twisck gives the following account of this Marinus: "When Marinus confessed .that he was a Christian, and chose the Bible in preference to the sword, he was called before the tribunal, sentenced, and beheaded." Third book, for the year 262, page 73, col. 2; from Euseb. Compare this with the Introduction, fol. 41, col. 2.
THREE PIOUS PEASANTS, PRISCUS, MALCHUS,
AND ALEXANDER, WHO SOUGHT HEAVENLY
CROWNS, TORN BY THE WILD BEASTS,
AT CESAREA, IN PALESTINE, ABOUT
THE YEAR 263
In this persecution under Valerian there were three very noted and God fearing martyrs at Cesarea, in Palestine, who nevertheless were but simple peasants, the first called Priscus, the second Malchus, the third Alexander. Eusebius writes, that, as they lived near the suburbs of Cesarea, a divine zeal for the faith was kindled within them, and they accused each other (and each himself, says Mellinus), of slothfulness, since heavenly crowns of martyrdom were distributed, or at least offered, in the city, and they were so little inclined to ask for them, notwithstanding our Lord and Saviour had said that the kingdom of heaven must be taken by violence, and therefore it did not become them to remain so earthly and slothful. Having exhorted one another with such words, they went into the city, and addressed and reproved that cruel tyrant, the criminal judge, demanding of him, why he shed so much Christian blood. The tyrant instantly replied saying: "They shall be thrown before wild beasts, to be torn by them, who do not like to see the blood of the Christians shed; which, it is stated, was done to them." Compare Eu ~eb., lib. 7, cap. 12, fol. 131, col. 1, 2, letter Fa G, with the Introduction, fol. 4, col. 2. Also, loh. Gys., fol. 21, col. 2.
A. Mellinus, writing in defense of the aforementioned three peasants, against those who would pronounce them too bold, says after other remarks: "Who are you that judge your brethren? How do you know of what spirit they were? No one has courage of himself; but it is the gift of God, not only to believe in Christ, but also to suffer for His name: hence, neither is of ourselves. They also did not seek their own honor, but to magnify the name of Christ by their death; to which, no doubt, they were impelled by divine zeal, since their zeal was not without knowledge, but proceeded from the power of faith; whereby they were prepared through the divine Spirit to proclaim the honor of God through their death; for this was their sole object." First book, fol. 79, col. 4.
PHILIP, PRIVATUS, FLORENTIN, PONTIUS, AND MANY
OTHERS, PUT TO DEATH FOR THE TESTIMONY
OF JESUS CHRIST, IN DIFFERENT PLACES,
DURING THIS PERSECUTION, TILL
ABOUT A. D. 270
Besides the afore mentioned martyrs who were put to death in this persecution, certain other authors have noted various other pious witnesses of Jesus Christ, who, loving the honor of God more than their own lives, were put to death at that time, and under that same Emperor; which we shall presently relate. Besides the three hundred Christians whom P. J. Twisck places in the year 264, as having been burned in a limekiln, because they would not throw incense on the coals, for a sacrifice in honor of Jupiter, as may be seen in the 3d book, page 75, col. 1, from Histor. Adr., fol. 30, several names are mentioned, as, Philip, bishop of the church at Alexandria, who was put to death with the sword in this persecution, for the testimony of Jesus Christ. J. Gys., fol. 21, col. 2, from Vinc. Spec. Hist., lib. 11, cap. 23. Henr. d' Oxf., lib. 6; cap. 21. Also, Florentin and Pontius, pious men, are stated to have been put to death in France, for the name of the Lord, together with others, who are also mentioned. Introduction, fol. 41, col. 2, Seb. Franck, fol. 22, col. 4.
OF THE NINTH PERSECUTION OF THE CHRISTIANS,
UNDER AURELIAN, COMMENCED ABOUT
A. D. 273
CONCERNING THE CRUELTY AND BLOODTHIRSTT;
NESS OF THE EMPEROR AURELIAN AGAINST
THE CHRISTIANS, AND HOW HE WAS
PREVENTED THEREIN BY GOD
A. Mellinus writes: "Aurelian was a stern, cruel, and bloodthirsty Emperor by nature, and although at first he had a good opinion of the Christians, he nevertheless afterwards became averse to, and estranged from them: and having, undoubtedly, by some talebearers, been instigated against the Christians, he allowed himself to be seduced so far, as to raise the ninth general persecution of the Roman monarchy against them, which persecution .he, however, did not carry out. For at the very moment in which the decrees written against the Christians, were laid before him by his secretary, that he might sign them, and when he was about to take the pen in hand, the hand of God suddenly touched him, smiting his hand with lameness, and thus preventing him in his purpose, so that he could not sign them." First book, fol. 87, col. 3; from hopisc. Victor. Eus., lib. 7. Post. Literal, Aug. de Civit. Dei., lib. 18, cap. 52. Oral.. lib. 7, cap. 16. Theodoret. Hilt., lib. 4, cap. 17.
A MORE PARTICULAR ACCOUNT OF THIS PERSE;
CUTION, ACCORDING TO P, J. TWISCK
He writes: "Emperor Aurelian commenced the ninth persecution against the Christians. He was by nature inclined to tyranny, and was a furious bloodhound, as Eutropius writes, so that he did not hesitate to kill his sister's son, and finally, through the atrocity of his own wicked nature, and evil counsel suggested to him, he became an enemy and persecutor of the Christians. He sent letters to the Governors of the Roman country, that they should vex the Christians; but when he was about actually to carry the persecution into effect, he could not sign the decrees which were to be issued against the Christians, because God smote him, so that his hand was paralyzed. Through divine judgment he was terrified by thunder, lightning, and fire darts, at the time that he was constantly meditating how. he might slay and exterminate the Christians; and shortly after was himself killed by his notary." Third book, for the year 270, page 76, col. 2, from Chron. Mich. Sac., fol. 178. Euseb., lib. 7. Chron. Seb. Fr., fol. 18. Chron. Carionis, lib. 3, Hist. Andrew, fol. 178, Zd part, fol. 175. Paul. Mer., fol. 226. Jan. Crespin., fol. 62. Chron. Andrew, lib. 13, fol. 343.
WHAT THE AUTHOR OF THE INTRODUCTION, ETC.,
HAS WRITTEN ABOUT THIS PERSECUTION
In A. D. 273 arose the ninth persecution of the Christians, under the Emperor Aurelian; but it was not as great as the former, because death suddenly overtook him as he proposed to himself, to begin it. Under him were killed . . . and many others, concerning whom no special accounts are extant. Fol. 41, col. 2.
Notwithstanding Emperor Aurelian could not himself sign the above mentioned decrees against the Christians, the persecution nevertheless proceeded in some places, so .that here and there some laid down their lives for the testimony of Jesus Christ; of whom we shall mention only a few, whom we have selected as true martyrs.
PRIVATUS, BISHOP OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS
CHRIST AT GEVAULDAN, BEATEN TO DEATH
WITH STICKS FOR THE TRUE FAITH,
ABOUT A. D. 274
When Chorus, the king of the Germans, in the time of Valerian and Aurelian, yea, up to the time of Probus, devastated France, he found among other martyrs who dwelt separated from men in deserts and mountains, a certain pious man, called Privatus, Bishop of the church at Gevauldan. This man, sojourning in the mountains, fasting and praying, was taken prisoner by the Germans, and because he, as behooves a good shepherd, would not deliver his lambs into the claws of the wolves, by himself sacrificing to Satan, which he would in no wise do, he was beaten with sticks by them for a very long time, till they left him lie for dead; in consequence of which treatment he also died a few days after. This happened, as some have supposed, under Valerian and Gallien, but in reality, under Aurelian. Compare A. Mell., 1st book, fol. 89, col. 1, from Greg. Turon. Hist., lib. 1, cap. 34, with Introduction, fol. 41, col. 2, where he is called Privatus, Bishop of Gablen.
MAMAS, A SHEPHERD, THRUST THROUGH WITH A
THREE PRONGED SPEAR, FOR THE TESTIMONY
OF JESUS CHRIST, AT CAESAREA IN CAPPA;
DOCIA, ABOUT A. D. 274
Mamas, a shepherd, who pastured his sheep upon the mountains and in the wildernesses of Cappadocia, lived very poorly, without a hut, dwelling under the blue heavens, and subsisting on the milk and cheese of his flock, as Basilius testifies. Nazianzenus adds, that the hinds also suffered themselves to be milked by him daily, and that he was thus fed by them.
Basilius says, that from the course of the heavenly bodies he learned to know the wonderful works of God, his Creator, and thus His eternal power and wisdom. However, the accounts written concerning him state that he had the Word of God with him in the desert, and that he read in it daily.
It is quite probable, writes Mellinus, that this Mamas, in order to escape the persecution in the time of Decius and Valerian, went into the wilderness, and remained there till the time of Aurelian, whose proconsul of Cappadocia, Alexander, caused him to be brought out of the wilderness, and to appear before him, at Caesarea, the capital of Cappadocia.
The proconsul called him a sorcerer or conjurer, because the wild animals of the wilderness so tamely submitted to him.
Mamas answered: "I am a servant of Christ, and know nothing about sorcery; but would rather live among the wild animals, than among you for they feel the power of their Creator in and through me; but ye will not know God. I cannot sufficiently wonder that you, who have attained to gray hairs, are still in such gross darkness of ignorance, as to forsake the true and living God, and give divine honor to deaf and dumb idols."
When he was requested to say at least with his lips, that he would sacrifice to the gods, so 'as to escape punishment, Mamas replied: "I shall never, either with my lips, or with my heart, deny the true God and King, Jesus Christ. So far am I from seeking to escape suffering for the name of Christ, that I, on the contrary, consider it the highest honor, the greatest gain, and the utmost benefit, which you can confer upon me."
Upon this confession, the proconsul had him placed on the rack, cruelly scourged, tormented with pincers, burnt on his sides with lamps and torches, and tortured in various other ways. But seeing that in all these and other torments he remained steadfast, he finally had him thrust through with a three pronged spear; and thus Mamas became a faithful .martyr for his Saviour, under Emperor Aurelian, at Caesarea in Cappadocia. A. Mell., 1st book, fol. 89, col. 2, 3, ex Basilii Concio, in Mart. Mamant. Nazianz. Orat. 43. Act. per Metaphrast.
SYMPHORIAN, A PIOUS CHRISTIAN, BEHEADED FOR
THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS, AT AUGUSTO;
DUNUM, NOW CALLED AUTUM, ABOUT
A. D. 275
It is stated that at this time, as the heathen at Augustodunum, now called Autum, in Burgundy, on a feast day of the goddess Cybele, whom they called the mother of the gods, carried around her image on a wagon, in procession, a certain pious Christian, called Symphorianus, met this image, and refused to worship it; in consequence of which he was apprehended as an impious person, or despiser of the gods, and brought before Heraclius, the Proconsul, who, in that city, exercised the strictest vigilance over the Christians. When he stood:before the judgment seat, the Proconsul asked him for his name. Symphorian replied that he was a Christian by religion, was born of Christian parents, and had received the name Symphorian.
The Judge said: "Why didst thou not honor the mother of the gods, or worship her image?"
Symphorian answered: "Because, I am a Christian, and call only upon the living God, who reigns in heaven. But as to the image of Satan I not only do not worship it,:but, if you will let me, I will break it in pieces with a hammer."
The Judge said: "This man is not only sacrilegious at heart, but also obstinate and a rebel; but perhaps he knows nothing of the ordinances or decrees of the Emperor. Let the officer, therefore, read to him the decrees of the Emperors."
The decrees having been read to him, Symphorian said: "I shall notwithstanding never confess that this image is anything but a worthless idol of Satan, by which he persuades men that he is a god; while it is an evident demonstration of their eternal destruction for all those who put their trust in it:"
Upon this confession; the judge caused him to be scourged and cast into prison, to keep him for some other day. Some time after, he had him brought again before his judgment seat, and addressed him with kind words, saying: "Symphorian, sacrifice to the gods, that thou mayest be promoted to the highest honor and state at court. If not, I ,call the gods to witness that I am compelled this day, after various tortures, to sentence thee to death."
Symphorian answered: "What matters it, if we deliver up this life to Christ, since, by reason of debt, in any event we must pay it to Him? Your gifts and presents are mingled with the sweetness of the adulterated honey, with which you poisor the minds of the unbelieving. But our treasure; and riches are ever in Christ, our Lord, alone; and do not perish through age or length Of time whereas your desire is insatiable, and you posses nothing, even though you have everything in abundance. The joy and mirth which you enjoy in this world, is like fine glass, which, if placed in the radiance and heat of the sun, cracks and breaks in two; but God alone is our supreme happiness."
After Symphorian had said these and like things before the judge, Heraclius, the Proconsul, pronounced sentence of death upon him, saying: "Symphorian, having openly been found guilty of death, because he hath blasphemed against the holy altars, shall be executed with the sword."
When this godly confessor was led to death, to be offered up to Christ, his mother called down to him from the wall of the city this comforting admonition: "Symphorian, my son! my son! remember the living God; let thy heart be steadfast and valiant. We can surely not fear death, which beyond doubt leads us into the true life. Lift up thy heart to heaven, my son, and behold Him who reigns in heaven I Today thy life will not be taken from thee, but be changed into a better one. If thou remainest steadfast today, thou shalt make a happy exchange: leaving this earthly house, thou shalt go to dwell in the tabernacle not made with hands."
Symphorian, having been thus strengthened by his mother, was taken out of the city, and beheaded there, having commended his soul into the hands of God, in the time of Emperor Aurelian, and Herachus, the Proconsul, at Autum in Burgundy. His dead body was buried by certain Christians. 'Compare A. Mell., lst book, fol. 19, col: 4, and fol. 90, col. 1, ex Actis Proconsul. Greg. Turan. Degl. Confess., cap. 77, and Hist., lib. 2, cap. 15, with different other authors concerning Symphorian.
SEVERAL YEARS AFTER THE DEATH OF THE PRE;
CEDING MARTYRS, A. D. 284, DIOCLETIAN AT;
TAINED TO. THE REIGN OF THE ROMAN
EMPIRE, AND SHORTLY AFTERWARDS
ISSUED HIS FIRST EDICT AGAINST
THE CHRISTIANS, WHICH
WAS FOLLOWED BY A SEC;
OND IN 302, CALLED
TENTH PERSECUTION OF THE CHRISTIANS
Before the tenth general and severe persecution of the Christians began, A. D. 302, many Christians were put to death in different places, and throughout this whole period, by virtue of the first edict of Diocletian. Of these we shall present a few, and then, with the beginning of'the next century, proceed to the tenth and severest persecution.
CLAUDIUS, ASTERIUS, AND NEON, THREE BROTH;
ERS, CRUCIFIED FOR THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS
CHRIST; ALSO TWO WOMEN, DONUINA AND
THEONILLA, TORMENTED TO DEATH
FOR THE SAME TESTIMONY, AT
AEGlEA IN CILICIA, A. D.
It is stated that in the second year of the reign of Emperor Diocletian, which coincides with the year 285, three pious Christians, spiritual as well as natural brothers, called Claudius, Asterius, and Neon, were accused to the judge of the City of Aegaea, in Cilicia, of being Christians, by their stepmother, who, as it seems, was a heathen woman.
Two God fearing Christian women, named Donuina, and Theonilla, were also accused with them. They were all imprisoned till the arrival of Lysias, the Proconsul, who, on his tour through the provinces of Cilicia, also came to Aegxa, and there held criminal court against the Christians.
How Claudius was examined first. Claudius being first brought before his judgment seat, Lysias asked him for his name, and admonished him, not thus rashly to throw away the bloom of his youth, but to sacrifice to the gods, and thus obey the command of the Emperor, that he might escape the ready penalty.
Claudius answered: "Our God does not need these sacrifices; He has more pleasure in works of love and mercy towards our fellow men, and in holiness of life; but your gods are unclean evil spirits, and delight in such sacrifices, by which they bring eternal punishment upon those who offer them. You shall therefore never be able to persuade me to honor them."
Lysias said: "Bind him, and scourge him with rods; for there is no other way to tame his folly."
Claudius said: "By these severe tortures thou shalt not harm me, but wilt bring down upon thyself eternal punishment."
Lysias said: "Our lords, the Emperors, have commanded that the Christians shall sacrifice to the gods. It is their will, that the disobedient be punished; while to them who obey their commandment they promise honor and office."
Claudius replied: "These gifts and benefits endure but a short time, but the confession of Christ imparts eternal glory."
Lysias commanded that they should suspend him on the torture stake, put fire under his feet, and cut off pieces from his heels.
Claudius said: "They who fear God with all their hearts cannot be overcome either by fire or by other torments; for they know that even these things are serviceable to them unto eternal life."
Lysias commanded: "Let him be tormented with pincers, scraped or cut with potsherds, and burned with torches."
Claudius said: "I say nevertheless, that thou doest all this for Satan, and that it conduces to myn welfare, but tends to thy eternal perdition. Yea, thy fire and all these torments promote my salvation. Such is our condition, that those who thus suffer for the name of Christ, obtain eternal life."
Lysias then commanded: "Desist from him; lead him back into prison, and bring forth another."
Asterius examined. When Asterius, the second brother, stood before the Proconsul, Lysias said: "Obey me, Asterius! sacrifice to the gods, and thus escape punishment."
Asterius answered: "I shall not do it; for I worship the only true God, who has created heaven and earth, and who shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
Lysias said: "Throw him on the rack, tear his flesh from his sides with pincers, and say to him
`Believe now at least, and sacrifice to the gods."' Asterius replied: "I am a brother of him who was tormented just now, and we hold the same confession of faith in Christ. Do what thou mayest; my body is in thy power, but not my soul."
Lysias commanded: "Bind him hand and foot, stretch him out, and torture him; take the pincers, throw hot coals under his feet, scourge him with rods and thongs."
Asterius said to the Proconsul: "Thou doest foolishly, since thou art preparing, not for me, but for thyself, much severer torments. Do thy best, for aught I care. I can stand it, if not one member of my body remains untormented."
Lysias said: "Loose him, and keep him in custody with the other; and let the third one be brought forth." This was done.
Neon examined. When Neon stood before the judgment seat, Lysias said to him: "Son, listen to me, and sacrifice to the gods, so that thou needst not suffer all this."
Neon said: "There are no gods, neither have they any power. You worship idols, but I honor the God of heaven."
Lysias said: "Take him by the throat and let the crier announce to him, to desist blaspheming the gods."
Neon answered: "He that speaks does not blaspheme the truth."
Lysias commanded: "Stretch him out on the rack; put coals under him; beat and cut him."
Neon said: "I know what is needful for me. Whatever, then, is profitable to my soul, that shall I do; but I cannot be moved from my faith."
Lysias having gone within to the other members of the tribunal, and having drawn the cover over the court, determined with them upon the sentence of death for the three brothers. When he came out, he read from a tablet their sentence, which was as follows: "Claudius, Asterius, and Neon, brothers, who are Christians, who blaspheme the gods, and refuse to sacrifice, shall be crucified before the forum, and their bodies be given to the birds of heaven as food, to be devoured by them; and this shall be executed by Eulalius, the jailer, and Archelaus, the executioner."
However, before they were led forth to death, they were taken back to prison. Then Eulalius, the jailer, brought out Donuina, one of the women imprisoned, to whom Lysias, the Proconsul, said: "See, woman, this fire and these torments are ready for you. If you desire to escape unhurt by them, sacrifice before the gods."
Donuina replied: "I shall not do it, lest I fall into the everlasting pains of hell. I serve God and His anointed Christ, who has created heaven and earth, and all that is therein: Your gods are of wood and stone, and are made by human hands."
Donuina examined on the rack. Lysias said: "Strip her stark naked, stretch her, and lacerate all her members with rods." While they were beating her she died. Then said Archelaus, the executioner, to the Proconsul: "Your highness, Donuina has died." Lysias commanded: "Let her dead body be thrown into the river."
Eulalius, the jailer, then said: "Here is Theonilla." Lysias said to her: "Woman, thou hast seen, what punishment they who were disobedient have suffered, and how they have been tormented: Honor the gods, therefore, and sacrifice, so that thou mayest be delivered from these punishments."
Theonilla answered: "I fear Him who has power to cast both soul and body into the fire of hell; and who will burn with it all those who depart from God, and give honor to Satan."
Lysias said: "Smite her on the cheeks, throw her down, bind her feet, and torment her greatly."
Theonilla answered: "Does it seem to thee, to be right and proper, thus to maltreat a well born woman? Thou knowest, that thou canst not conceal from God what thou doest to me."
Lysias commanded: "Hang her up by the braids of her hair, and smite her on the cheeks."
Theonilla severely examined on the rack. Having been stripped naked, Theonilla said: "Art thou not ashamed to uncover my nakedness seeing that through me, thou puttest to like shame thy mother and thy wife, who are also women?"
Lysias asked whether she had a husband, or whether she was a widow?
Theonilla replied: "I have been a widow now for over twenty three years, and have remained thus single, in order to more zealously serve God with fasting, watching and praying; which God I did not know until after I had renounced the world and the idols.
Lysias commanded them, in order to disgrace her the more, to shave the hair from her head, put bundles of thorns around her body, and stretch her out between four stakes, then, to beat her over her whole body, and put hot coals upon her, that she might be consumed. When Eulalius, the jailer, and Archelaus, the executioner, had done all this, death ensued, and they said to Lysias: "Sir, she is dead now." Lysias commanded that her dead body should be sewed up in a leathern bag, and thrown into the water; which was done. Thus did these holy martyrs suffer, under Lysias, the Proconsul of Cilicia, in Aegaea, on the 23d of August, in the second year of Diocletian, when he was Burgomaster with Aristobulus, A. D. 285. These acts have for the most part been taken from the records of the clerk of the criminal court of the city of Aegaea, and were gathered by the ancient Christians. These court documents were called Acta Proconsularia. Compare this with A. Mell., lst book, fol. 92, eol. 3, 4, and fol. 93, col. 1.
ZENOBIUS AND HIS SISTER ZENOBIA, BEHEADED
AFTER MANY TORMENTS, FOR THE TESTI;
MONY OF JESUS CHRIST, AT AEGEA
IN CILICIA, A. D. 285
Not long afterwards, under the same Emperor and Proconsul, and in the same year, Zenobius, Bishop of the church of Aegxa in Cilicia, and his sister, were apprehended; and when there were held out to him on the one hand, great wealth, honor, and position, if, in accordance with the command of the Emperor, he would serve the gods, but on the other hand, manifold torments, Zenobius answered: "I love Jesus Christ more than all the riches and honor of this world. Death and the torments with which you threaten me, I do not consider a disadvantage, but my greatest gain."
Having received this answer from the martyr, Lysias caused him to be suspended on the rack, and inhumanly tormented on his whole body.
While the executioners were busy with Zenobius, his sister Zenobia, having learned of it, came running, crying with a loud voice: "Thou tyrant, what villainy has my brother committed, that thou dost thus cruelly torment him?"
Having thus addressed Lysias, and set at naught his entreating as well as his threatening words, she, too, was seized by the servants, stripped naked, and stretched out, and roasted beside her brother on a red hot iron bed, or roasting pan. The tyrant, deriding the martyrs, said: "Now let Christ come and help you, seeing you suffer these torments for Him."
Zenobius replied: "See, He is already with us, and cools, with His heavenly dew the flames of fire on our bodies; though thou, surrounded as thou art with the thick darkness of wickedness, canst not perceive it on us."
Lysias, almost beside himself, commanded that they should be put naked into boiling caldrons. But seeing that the boiling water did not injure them, or at least, that they could not thereby be made to apostatize, he had them taken out of the city and beheaded. Their dead bodies were buried by Caius and Hermogenes in the nearest cave. This happened A. D. 285, on the 30th day of October, in the city of Aegaea in Cilicia. Idem. Ibideire. ex Actis Zenobii pracons. per Metaphorast.
THARACUS, PROBUS, AND ANDRONICUS, THREE
PIOUS CHRISTIANS, FIRST VERY DREADFULLY
TORMENTED, THEN THROWN BEFORE THE
WILD BEASTS, AND FINALLY THRUST
THROUGH, FOR THE FAITH OF THE
SON OF GOD, AT TARSUS IN CI;
LICIA, A. D. 290
At Tarsus in Cilicia, the birthplace of the apostle Paul, there were imprisoned, A. D. 290, three pious Christians, namely, Tharacus, Probus; and Andronicus; who, having been brought to prison, before the tribunal, and to the rack, and having suffered beyond measure for the name of the Lord and the faith in Jesus Christ, were finally put to death, concerning which we shall notice and present to the reader the judicial proceedings, as we have found them in ancient authors. From Act. Procons.
When Diocletian was Emperor for the fourth, and Maximian for the third time, Tharacus, Probus, and Andronicus were brought by the captain Demetrius before Maximus, the President, at Pompeiopolis.
First examination of Tharacus. Makimus first asked Tharacus his name, because the latter was the oldest. Tharacus answered: "I am a Christian."
Maximus said: "Be silent about this ungodly name, and tell me your name."
Tharacus again replied: "I am a Christian."
Maximus said to his beadles: "Break his jaws, and tell him not to answer me thus any more."
Tharacus responded: "I have told thee my best name; but if thou desirest to know how my parents called me, my name is Tharacus, and when I followed war, I was called Victor."
The President asked him: "Of what nation art thou, Tharacus?"
He answered: "Of the noble nation of the Romans, and was born at Claudianopolis, a city in Syria; but being a Christian I have abandoned war."
The Proconsul said: "Thou art not worthy of the pay, but how didst thou leave the service?"
Tharacus replied: "I asked Publius, our General, for permission, and he discharged .me:"
The President said: "Have regard for thy age, thenffor I desire thee , too, to be one of those who obey the commands of our lords, the emperors; so that thou mayest be promoted by me to great honors. Come hither, therefore, and sacrifice to our gods, for the princes themselves, who are the monarchs of the whole world, honor the gods."
Tharacus answered: "They err grossly; however, they are seduced by Satan."
The President said: "Smite him on the cheek, because he has said that the emperors err."
Tharacus replied: ".`Yes, I have said it, and say it still, that they as men are liable to err."
The President said: "Sacrifice to our .gods, and forsake thy folly."
Tharacus answered: "I serve my God, and sacrifice to Him: not with blood, but with a pure heart; for these sacrifices (namely such as are stained with blood) are unnecessary."
The President said: "I, have pity for thy age; therefore I admonish thee, to forsake this folly, and sacrifice to the gods."
Tharacus replied: "I will not depart from the law of the Lord; and because I honor the law of Cod, I shall beware of such wickedness."
The President said: "Is there, then, another law besides this, thou wicked wretch?"
Tharacus answered: "Your law commands to worship wood, stone, and the work of man."
Tharacus put to the rack. The Proconsul or President then said to his hangmen: "Smite him on the neck, and tell him not to speak such folly."
While they were beating Tharacus, he said: "I shall by no means abandon this confession, which saves me."
The Proconsul said: "I shall make thee forsake this folly, and be more prudent."
Tharacus answered: "Do what thou wilt; thou hast full power over my body."
Maximus, the Proconsul, said to his servants "Strip him, and scourge him with rods."
Tharacus answered, as he was scourged: "Truly, thou hast made me more prudent, since by these stripes thou strengthenest me more and more in my confidence in God and His Anointed, Jesus Christ, who is His Son."
The President said: "Thou accursed and unrighteous fellow! how canst thou serve two gods at once? See, now thou dost certainly confess more than one god. Why then, deniest thou those whom we worship? Dost thou not confess Christ and the Lord?"
Tharacus answered: "Yea, I do; for He is the Son of God, the hope of all Christians, for whose sake we are wounded, and healed."
The President said: "Leave off this useless babbling; come hither, and sacrifice."
"I do not say much," replied Tharacus, "but I speak the truth; for I am now sixty five years old, and have believed thus, and do not desire to depart from the truth."
Demetrius, the Centurion, said: " wretched man! spare thyself, sacrifice, and follow my advice."
Tharacus answered: "Depart from me, thou servant of Satan, with thy advice."
Maximus commanded them, to put heavy iron chains on him, and take him back to prison, and to bring forth another.
Probus, examined. Demetrius, the Captain said: "Lord, here is one already."
Thereupon the President said to Probus: "Tell me first thy name."
Probus . answered: "In the first place, my noblest name is, that I am a Christian; secondly, men call me Probus. "
The Proconsul asked again: "Of what nation and descent art thou?"
Probus replied: "My father was from Thracia, a citizen, born at Pergamus, in Pamphilia; but I am a Christian."
The Proconsul said: "Thou shalt not gain much by this name; but listen to me, and sacrifice to the gods; that thou mayest be honored by the princes, and be our friend."
Probus answered: "I desire neither honor from the emperors nor thy friendship; for not small was the wealth which I forsook, in order faithfully to serve the living God."
The Proconsul commanded them, to take his cloak off him, strip him, rack .him, and scourge him with raw thongs. While they scourged him, Demetrius, the captain, said: "O wretched man! behold, how thy blood is spilled upon the earth."
Probus replied: "My body is in your hands; but all these torments are a precious balm to me."
After he was scourged, the Proconsul said to him: "Thou wretch I wilt thou not yet cease from thy folly? and dost thou still persist in thy obstinacy?"
Probus answered: "I am not vain, but more courageous in the Lord, than you people are."
The President said to his servants: "Turn him over, and scourge him on his stomach."
Probus prayed, saying: "O Lord, come and succor thy servant."
Maximus, the Proconsul, said to the executioners: "While you scourge him, ask him, saying: `Where is thy .helper?"'
Probus replied as they scourged him: "He has helped me, and shall still help me."
The President said: "Thou wretched man! do spare thine own body; for the earth is soaked with thy blood."
Probus answered: "Be assured, the more my body suffers for the name of Christ, the more my soul is healed and quickened."
After he had been thus scourged and tortured, the Proconsul commanded them to fetter his hands and feet with irons, and thus keep him in prison; however to bring before him another.
Andyonicus examined. Demetrius, the Centurion, placed Andronicus before Maximus' judgment seat, saying: "Sir, here is the third one."
The Proconsul said: "What is thy name?"
Andronicus answered: "Wouldst thou openly know who I am? I am a Christian."
Maximus said: "Those who have preceded thee have gained nothing by this name; therefore thou must answer me aright."
Andronicus replied: "Men generally call me Andronicus."
Maximus asked him of what nationality he was.
Andronicus answered: "Of noble blood."
Maximus said: "Spare thyself, and hearken to me, as to thy father; for those who have prated such nonsense before thee have gained nothing by it. But honor thou the princes and the fathers, and be obedient to our gods."
Andronicus replied: "Thou didst well call them fathers; for thou art of the father, the devil, and, having become one of his children, thou doest his works."
Maximus said: "Wilt thou, a stripling, despise and mock me? Knowest thou not, what torments are ready for thee?"
Andronicus said: "Dost thou think I am a fool, that I should be willing to be found inferior to my predecessors, in suffering? I stand prepared to endure all thy torments."
The Proconsul commanded that he should be stripped, ungirded, and suspended to the torturestake. Demetrius, the Captain, moved by pity, said: "Listen to me, wretched man, before thy body be racked."
Andronicus answered: "It is better that my body perish, than that thou shouldst do with my soul according to thy pleasure."
Maximus said: "Take advice, and sacrifice, before thou be tortured to death."
Andronicus replied: "Never from my youth up did I sacrifice, and do still not wish to do so, though thou constrain me."
Maximus said: "Lay on and rack him well."
Anaximus, the horn blower, who was to execute the sentence, spoke to Andronicus, saying: "I am old enough to be thy father; I advise thee to the best: do what the Proconsul commands thee."
Andronicus replied: "Because thou art older, and hast no understanding, therefore thou advisest me to sacrifice to stones and evil spirits.
While he was being tormented, the Proconsul said: "Thou wretched man I Dost thou not feel any torments, seeing thou hast no compassion upon thyself, and dost not forsake thy folly, which cannot save thee?"
Andronicus answered: "My sincere confession, which thou callest a vain folly, is perfectly good, as putting all hope and confidence upon the Lord our God; but thy temporal wisdom shall die forever."
The President asked: "Who is it that has taught thee this folly?"
Andronicus replied: "The quickening word, by which we are quickened, teaches us that our Lord is in heaven, who works in our hearts the living hope of our blessed resurrection from the dead."
Maximus said: "Desist from this folly before we torture thee still more severely."
Andronicus answered: "My body is before thee; thou hast full power over it; do as it pleaseth thee."
The Proconsul said: "Torture him exceedingly on the mouth."
Andronicus replied: "The Lord sees that you punish me even as a murderer."
The President said: "Dost thou still despise the commands of the princes? and thinkest thou my tribunal is without power?"
Andronicus answered: "I trust in the mercy and truth of God's promise, and therefore i suffer all this patiently."
Maximus asked: "Have, then, the princes transgressed, thou wretched man?"
Andronicus replied: "Yes, according as I understand it, they have; for it is a transgression to sacrifice to idols."
While he was being tormented, the Proconsul said: "Turn him over, and torment him on his sides."
Andronicus said: "I am before you. Torment me as you please."
The President said to the executioners: "Take potsherds, and scrape open the old wounds."
When they had done this, Andranicus said: "You have strengthened my body by these torments."
Maximus said: "Ere long I shall exterminate thee; ere long I shall kill thee."
Andronicus answered: "I do not fear thy threats; my sentiments are better than all thy wicked thoughts."
Then the Proconsul commanded that irons should be put on his neck and feet, and he be kept with the others until the second examination.
SECOND EXAMINATION OF THE THREE AFORE;
When Maximus held court the second time over these faithful witnesses of Jesus Christ, and sat upon his judgment seat, he said: "Call in the ungodly Christians." Demetrius the captain, answered: "Here I am, my lord!" Then said the Proconsul to Tharacus: "Knowest thou not, that age is honored in many respects? Hast thou, then, not considered it, whether thou wilt still persist in thy first intention? Yea, advise with thyself, and sacrifice to the gods, for the prosperity of the princes; that thou mayest attain to honor."
Tharacus answered: "If the princes and others who are of the same opinion with you, knew what there is in this honor, they themselves would turn away from the blindness of their'vain conversation."
Tharacus put on the rack the second time. The Proconsul said to his beadles: "Strike him on the mouth with stones, and say to him: Desist from thy folly." Tharacus answered: "If I did not exercise more care for my salvation than you people do, I would be as foolish as you are."
The President said to him: "See, they have knocked thy teeth out; do have compassion upon thyself."
Tharacus replied: "Do not imagine this; for though thou shouldest cause everyone of my members to be crushed, I could still remain strong and steadfast in Him who strengthens me."
The President said: "Believe me, it is better for thee, that thou sacrifice."
Tharacus answered: "If I knew that it were better for me, I would not wait for this advice from thee."
When Tharacus ceased to speak, the Proconsul said to his hangmen: "Smite him on the mouth and make him speak."
Tharacus replied: "My cheeks are knocked to pieces; how can I answer any longer?"
Maximus said: "And wilt thou, madman, not yet consent to worship, and sacrifice to the gods?"
Tharacus answered: "Although thou hast deprived me of my voice, so that I cannot cry aloud, thou shalt nevertheless not injure my soul; but thou hast in this hour greatly strengthened me in my opinion."
Maximus said to his servants: "Bring fire! stretch out his hands, and put fire on them."
Tharacus replied: "I do not fear thy temporal fire; but I would have to fear eternal fire, if I should obey thee."
When the glowing fire was laid upon his hands, the President said: "See, the fire is consuming thy hands; desist, therefore, from thy folly and sacrifice to the gods."
Tharacus answered: "Thou speakest to me, as though because of thy cruelty I had already yielded to thy wish; however, but through the grace of God I am, in all my sufferings, as strong as ever."
The Proconsul said: "Tie his feet together, and hang him up by his heels, and make a thick smoke under his face."
Tharacus replied: "I neither regard thy fire, nor do I fear thy smoke."
When he was hung up, Maximus said to him
"There shalt thou hang, until thou consentest to sacrifice to the gods."
Tharacus answered: "Thou mayest sacrifice; for thou art accustomed to sacrifice human beings; but for me it is not lawful."
Maximus said to his servants: "Bring vinegar mixed with salt, and pour it into his nostrils."
NOTE. Here a whole leaf is wanting in the original, namely, of the tortures which Tharacus, Probus, and Andronicus suffered in the second examination on the rack; however, concerning Andronicus the following additional was found.
The Proconsul said (namely, to Andronicus): "All this nonsense can avail thee nothing. But come, and sacrifice to the gods, that thou mayest not perish under the punishment."
Andronicus replied: "It is the same that thou hast heard the first and the second time; for I am not a child, to be moved or turned by words."
The President said: "You shall nevertheless neither conquer me, nor despise my tribunal."
Andronicus answered: "We do not conquer thee, but our Lord Jesus Christ strengthens us."
The President said: "The next time we hold court over these men, let other modes of torture be put in practice. In the meantime put him (Andronicus) in irons, and keep him in prison until tomorrow, and let no one see him."
THE THREE MARTYRS EXAMINED ON THE RACK
THE THIRD TIME
The President said: "Call the ungodly Christians in." Demetrius, the centurion, answered
"Here I am."
Tharacus brought forth first. When he had brought forth Tharacus, the Proconsul said: "Dost thou still despise imprisonment, bonds, punishments, and tortures? Follow my advice, O Tharacus, and abandon this confession, which profits thee nothing. Rather sacrifice to the gods, by whom all things exist."
Tharacus answered: "Woe shall come upon them. Thou thinkest that the world is governed by them; whereas they are destined for eternal fire; and not they only, but all those also who serve them."
The President said: "And dost thou not yet desist, thou impious blasphemerl or thinkest thou not that for thy rash words I should cause thee to be instantly beheaded?"
Tharacus replied: "Then I would not die a lingering death, but a short one. But let me have a long conflict, that in the meantime my faith in the Lord may grow and increase."
The President said: "Thou and thy fellow prisoners must die according to the laws."
Tharacus answered: "What thou sayest is an evidence of thy ignorance; for those who do evil die justly; but we who know of no evil, that is, who have committed nothing worthy of death before men, but suffer for the Lord, expect with confident hope the heavenly reward from the Lord."
The Proconsul said: "Thou accursed miscreant! what reward have ye to expect, seeing you die for your wickedness?"
Tharacus replied: "It is not lawful for thee to inquire into, or to ask, what reward the Lord has laid up for us in heaven; and therefore we patiently suffer the wrath of thy madness."
The President said: "Direst thou thus address me, thou accursed [one], as though thou wert mine equal?"
Tharacus answered: "I am not thine equal; but it is lawful for me to speak, and no one can silence me, for the sake of Him who strengthens me, namely, .the Lord."
The Proconsul said: "Thou miscreant, I shall deprive thee of the power."
Tharacus answered: "No one can take away the power from me, neither thou, nor your princes, nor Satan, the father of you all."
Tharacus put to the rack. The President said: "Now, seeing thou .art bound and suspended, in order that you may be .tortured, sacrifice in time, before I cause thee to be punished according to thy deserts."
Tharacus replied: "That thou mayest do; but since I was formerly a soldier, thou mayest not torment me with all manner of punishment. Yet, lest thou think, I might yield to thy perverseness, go on and devise and inflict upon me all sorts of punishment."
The President said: "Do not think that I shall sentence thee at once. I shall cause thee to be put to death by degrees."
Tharacus answered: "Whatever thou intendest to do, do at once, and do not threaten."
The President said: "If thou think, that some women will come and embalm thy body, thou art greatly mistaken, for it is my intention that nothing shall remain of thee."
Tharacus replied: "Do with my body as pleaseth thee, now as well as after my death."
"Maximian," said the Proconsul, "break his jaws, and tear his lips."
Tharacus answered: "True, thou hast crushed and marred my face; but thou hast quickened my soul."
The President said: "Thou wretched man! Desist f rom thy vain thoughts, and sacrifice; that thou mayest be delivered from these pangs."
Tharacus replied: "Dost thou .think I am a fool or a madman, and that I, who trust in the Lord, shall not live in heaven? Thou mayest deprive me of this temporal life for a little while; but thou wilt thereby cast thine own soul into eternal damnation."
The President said to the executioners: "Put the branding irons into the fire, and brand him on his cheeks or shoulders."
Tharacus answered: "Though thou inflict many more torments than these upon me, thou shalt nevertheless not turn the servant of God to the shameful idolatry of devils, to worship them."
The President said: "Bring a razor; cut off his skin; shave his head bald, and put burning coals upon it."
Tharacus replied: "And though thou cause my whole body to be flayed, I shall still not depart from my God., who strengthens me, to endure all the weapons of your torturing."
The President said: "Get the branding irons; let them get still hotter, and apply them to all his members and joints."
Tharacus, as he suffered this, cried out. "May the Lord look down from heaven, and judge!"
The President said: "What lord dost thou call upon, thou accursed fellow?"
Tharacus answered: "The Lord whom thou dost not know, and who recompenses every one according to his works."
The President said: "And shall I not exterminate thee, as I have told thee? Yea, even thy remains I shall burn, and scatter thy ashes to the wind; that the women may not come, and wind thy dead body in cloth to embalm it with precious ointments and spices."
Tharacus replied: "I have said it, and say so still, do what thou wilt: thou hast full power over my body in this world."
The President said: "Put him back into prison, and keep him until the next time for the wild beasts. Let another be brought before the tribunal."
Probus brought foward. Demetrius, the captain, said to the Proconsul: "Sir, here he is already, namely, Probus."
The President said to Probus: "Advise with thyself, Probus, that thou mayest not fall again into the same punishment; for others, who on thy account have persisted in their obstinacy have rued it. Sacrifice now, therefore, that thou mayest be honored by us and the gods."
Probus answered: "We are all of one mind, serving God with one heart and soul. Think not, therefore, that thou wilt hear anything different from us; for thou hast ere this heard and seen enough to convince thee, that thou canst not turn us. Here I stand before thee the third time, and do not yet regard thy threats. What dost thou wait for, then?"
The President said: "Ye have conspired together to deny the gods. Bind him, and hang him up by his heels."
Probus replied: "Dost thou not yet cease to fight for Satan?"
Maximus said: "Believe me, before thou be tortured; have compassion upon thine own body. See, what dreadful torments are being prepared for thee."
Probus answered: "All that thou mayest do unto me, shall conduce to the comfort of my soul; therefore, do what thou wilt."
The President said: "Heat the branding irons red hot, and apply them, to his sides, so that he may desist from his folly."
Probus replied: "The more foolish I appear to thee, the wiser I shall be in the law of the Lord."
The President said: "Press the branding irons on his back."
Probus answered as he was suffering: "My body is subject to thy power; but God will behold from heaven my humility and patience."
In the meantime the President commanded that meat and wine should be brought, which had been sacrificed .to the idols, saying to the executioners
"Pour wine down his throat, and take meat, and force it into his mouth."
While they were busy doing this, Probus said: "The Lord behold from His high throne the violence ye do to me, and judge my cause."
The President said: "Thou wretched manl thou hast suffered so much, and, behold I thou hast thyself received the sacrifice."
Probus replied: "Ye have not accomplished much, by doing me violence. The Lord knoweth my intentions."
The President said: "Thou hast eaten and drank what was sacrificed to the gods."
Probus answered: "The Lord knoweth it, and hath seen the violence I have suffered."
The President said to the executioners: "Apply the branding irons to the calves of his legs: '
Probus replied: "Neither the fire, nor the torments, nor thy father, Satan, can turn the servant of God from his confession."
The President said to his servants: "Let sharp nails be heated, and put them into his hands."
Probus answered as he suffered this: "I thank Thee, O Lord, that Thou hast made my hands worthy, to suffer for Thy name."
The President said: "The many torments have deprived thee of thy mind."
Probus replied: "The great power which thou hast, has not only made thee a fool, but also blind; for thou knowest not what thou art doing."
The President said: "Thou who hast been tormented on thy whole body excepting the eyes, darest thou speak thus to me?" "Pinch his eyes," said he to the executioners, "that he may gradually become blind."
When this had been done, Probus said: "Behold, thou hast also deprived me of my bodily eyes, but thou shalt never be permitted to destroy the eyes of my faith."
The President said: "Dost thou think thou wilt survive all these torments, or that thus thou shalt die happy?"
Probus answered: "Fighting thus, I gradually approach the end, so that I may finish my good and perfect confession, and be put to death by you without mercy."
The President said: "Take him away, bind him, put him in pr~on, and let none of his companions come near hind, to praise him for having continued so steadfast in his wickedness. He, too, shall be cast before the wild beasts at the next show."
Andronicus put to the rack. Then said the President: "Let Andronicus come forth."
Demetrius, the captain, said: "He is already here."
The President said to Andronicus: "Have at least compassion on thy youth, if thou hast prudently advised with thyself to reverence the gods consent and sacrifice to the gods, that thou mayest be released.
Andronicus answered: "May God never suffer thee, O tyrant, that I do aught against the law of God. Thou shalt never shake my good confession, which I have founded upon my Lord. Here I stand ready, for thee to make manifest on me thy hardness."
The President said: "Methinks, thou art raving, and possessed of the devil."
Andronicus replied: "If I had the devil in me, I should obey thee; but because I confess the Lord, I do not submit to ,the commands of the devil. But hast not thou the devil in thee? For, being deceived by the devil, thou doest the works of the devil."
The President said to the Executioners: "Make bundles of: paper, and put fire upon his body."
When this was done, Andronicus said: "Though I burn from head to foot, the spirit nevertheless is alive in me. Thou shalt not conquer me; for the Lord, whom I serve is with me."
The President said: "Thou madman! how long wilt thou remain thus obstinate? Seek at least to die upon thy bed."
Andronicus answered: "As long as I live, I shall overcome thy wickedness."
The President said: "Heat the branding irons red hot again, and put them between his fingers."
Andronicus replied: "O foolish despiser of God I Thou art full of the wicked thoughts of Satan. Scest thou not that my body is almost consumed through the manifold torments thou hast inflicted upon me. Thinkest thou that now at .the last I shall begin to fear thy devices? I have Christ dwelling in my heart, and despise thy torments."
The President said: "Thou miscreant! knowest thou not that this Christ, whom thou worshipest became man, and was punished under the judge Pontius Pilate?"
Andronicus answered: "Be silent, for it is not lawful for thee to speak evil of Him."
The President said: "What gainest thou by thy faith and hope in this man whom thou callest Christ?"
Andronicus replied: "I have thereby in expectation a great reward and gain; hence I endure all this so patiently."
The President said: "Break open his mouth, and take meat that has been sacrificed, from the altar, and force it into his mouth, and pour in wine also."
Andronicus called God to witness, saying: "O Lord I Lord I behold, what violence I suffer!"
The President said: "How long wilt thou thus obstinately endure the punishment? See, thou hast certainly eaten of that which has been sacrificed to the gods."
Andronicus answered: "Cursed be all who honor the idols, thou and thy princes."
The President said: "Thou miscreant, cursest thou the princes, who have obtained for us so lasting and tranquil peace?"
Andronicus replied: "They are cursed, who, as the pestilence, and as bloodhounds, turn the whole world upside down; whom the Lord by His mighty arm shall confound and destroy."
The President commanded the executioners: "Put an iron into his mouth, and with it break out all his teeth, and cut out his blasphemous tongue, that he may learn no more to blaspheme the princes. Take away his teeth, and burn his tongue to ashes, and scatter the latter all about, lest his fellow Christians, or some women, gather his remains, and keep them as precious relics. Take him away from here, and put him into prison, that at the next show he, together with his companions, Tharacus and Probus may be thrown before the wild beasts." Acta Procons. per Metaph. and alios.
It is declared that the above account concerning the examination of the three afore mentioned Christians was written entirely by the heathen themselves, who put them to death; only a few words having been altered, to make the sense clearer. A certain celebrated author mentioning this, writes as follows: "Herewith ends the third examination or inquisition on the rack, and thus far these proceedings with the martyrs have been recorded by the heathen clerk of the criminal court himself, and were doubtless afterwards bought for money by the Christians."
Beloved reader I I could not forbear to translate these records, just as they were, for the most part word for word; not only because I have found them to be true and genuine in every respect; but also, because we can very clearly see therefrom, what form of inquisition or examination the heathen employed against the Christians; as well as with what manifold torments the obdurate heathen sought to compel the Christians to apostatize from the faith, and how remarkably God preserved His own against the devices and wiles of the devil.
It need not seem strange to the reader, that the proconsul or criminal judges so frequently put to the rack the same Christians, to cause them to apostatize from the faith; for Lactantius tells us of a president in Bithynia, who for two years endeavored by all manner of torments to compel a Christian to apostatize, and who, when this Christian finally seemed to yield, boasted of it just as though he had conquered a whole province of a barbaric country.
As touching the rest of the matter, that is, how and when the sentence of the Proconsul was executed, the heathen have not recorded it; but some Christian brethren, namely, Macarius, Felix, and Verus, probably bought those records from the clerk of the criminal court, and added from their own observation what was wanting, since they had been eyewitnesses of it at the theatrical drama the following day.
AN ACCOUNT OF THE DEATH OF THE AFOREMEN;
TIONED MARTYRS, WRITTEN BY SOME
CHRISTIAN BRETHREN WHO
Numerius Maximus, Proconsul of Cilicia, summoning Terentian, the provider of public sacrifices and theatrical performances which were held in Cilicia, commanded him to provide for the dramas for the next day. The following day a great number of men and women assembled in the amphitheatre, which was situated about a mile or one thousand paces from the city. When the amphitheatre was filled with people, Maximus also came to witness the play, and in the first act of it, when many wild beasts were let out at the same time, many human bodies were devoured. We Christians kept ourselves concealed and waited with great fear for the bringing forth of the martyrs. Suddenly the Proconsul commanded the soldiers to bring in the Christian martyrs, namely, Tharacus, Probus, and Andronicus. The soldiers compelled some to carry the Christian martyrs on their shoulders, for they were torn and lacerated to such a degree, that they could not walk. We then saw them carried thus disfigured into the amphitheatre, and seeing how they had been maltreated, we turned our faces, and cried bitterly. Thus the martyrs were thrown down into the middle of the arena, as the ofiscouring or refuse of this world; and when the multitude beheld them, they were all frightened, and the people murmured greatly against Maximus for having thus tormented them, and then yet sentencing them to be thrown to the beasts; yea, many went away from the amphitheatre, censuring Maximus for his inhuman cruelty. When Maximus saw this, he commanded the soldiers who stood near him, to note those who murmured against him, and were leaving; so that he might afterwards examine them in regard to it. In the meantime he commanded that the wild beasts should be let out, to rend the martyrs. In Scriptura Christianorum Fratrum.
In order to avoid prolixity, we shall sum up what follows here in the afore mentioned account of the Christian brethren, in these words: "The wild beasts were let out, especially a frightful bear, and then a lioness; both of which indeed, by roaring terribly, made a dreadful noise, so that also the spectators were frightened by it; but they did not harm the martyrs, much less tear or devour them. The Proconsul in his rage commanded the spearmen, to thrust the bear through; the lioness, however, on account of the fear oÂ£ the people, was let out by a back door, which was broken in pieces. Then Maximus ordered Terentian, to let in the gladiators, who should first kill the Christians, and then fight with each other for life. These, when they came in, first thrust through the martyrs; which happened on the 11th day of October, A. D. 290, at Tarsus in Cilicia." When the drama was over, and the Proconsul was about to go home, he left ten soldiers in the amphitheatre, charging them, to mingle the dead bodies of the martyrs with those of the heathen gladiators, that the Christians might not be able to distinguish them. However, it is stated in the above account, that the Christians removed their dead bodies, and buried them in a cave in a rock.
In regard to this, A. Mellinus, who has referred to it, has the following remark: "They who did this, also wrote the conclusion of this history; hence we have not the least reason to doubt the veracity of this account of the proceedings against the martyrs." First book of the Mart. 1619, fol. 96, col. 1; but with reference to the previous proceedings against the martyrs, see fol. 93, col. 3, and fol. 94, col. 1-4, fol. 95, col. 1-3.
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