|« Prev||Fourth Century||Next »|
AN ACCOUNT OF THE HOLY BAPTISM
OF THE MARTYRS IN THE FOURTH
BRIEF SUMMARY OF BAPTISM IN THIS CENTURY
At the close of the third century the eminent Arnobius was introduced, and inasmuch as his life extended from one century into the other we refer to him again here in the beginning of the fourth century. He speaks of the virtue and benefit of baptism, as may be seen in the proper place.
Fusca and the handmaid Maura were baptized after previous instruction.
At this time (in the time of Sylvester) there existed such sects as were afterwards called Waldenses, Anabaptists, etc.
One Donates was called an Anabaptist, and his followers, Anabaptists.
Athanasius, while yet a child, indicated, with other children, that at Alexandria they baptized upon confession of faith.
In Canon 12, 13, 15, of the Council of Nice several good things are established with regard to baptism.
Athanasius, having become a man, teaches wholesome doctrine, not only with respect to baptism, but also in regard to other matters of religion.
Soon after him comes Marius Victorinus, who joins together faith, confession, and baptism.
Then appears Hilarius, who wrote very appropriately on baptism, and also opposes antichrist, images, and traditions.
Monica, the mother of Augustine, was baptized in adult years, though she was born of Christian parents.
In the Council of Neocesarea, the candidates for baptism, the baptizing of pregnant women, Christ's baptism, etc., were discussed.
Again sects appear, who were like the Baptists.
St. Martin was instructed from his twelfth to his eighteenth year, and then baptized. He strongly opposed war.
Ambrose was baptized in adult years, at Milan. though his parents were Christians. He advanced sound views on baptism, against war, of the sacraments, etc.
Ephrem, Gregory of Nyssa, the Councils of Laodicea and Elibertum, and also Optatus Milevitanus, give correct views on baptism.
Gregory of Nazianzus, born of Christian parents, was already in his twentieth year when he was baptized. Nectarius was baptized in adult years. Basil, the son of a Christian, and Eubulus, consulted together, and were baptized on their faith, at Jerusalem. Posthumanius made a glorious confession at his baptism. John Chrysostom was suffered by his parents, though they were Christians, to remain unbaptized, not receiving baptism until he was twenty one years old. Also, his views respecting baptism; his teaching against war, confession, etc.
Jerome, also born of Christian parents, was baptized at Syridon, when he was thirty years old.
Augustine, Adeolatus, Alipius, Euodius, Epiphanies, with his sister, all baptized upon faith. Conclusion of baptism. in the fourth century.
That the holy order of the baptism of Jesus Christ was practiced also in the fourth century, appears from various teachings and examples of the fathers, from which, we shall present only a few, but such as are certain and genuine testimonies.
A. D. 301. At the close of the preceding century, for A. D. 300, we introduced the eminent Arnobius, and showed that, speaking of baptism, he says: "That the candidates for baptism, when they are baptized, state before the minister their perfect willingness, and make their confession with their own lips."
This Arnobius follows us also in the beginning of this century, namely through the years 301, 302, 303, 304; and having not abandoned his previous views regarding this matter, he confirms them with the following testimonies.
Speaking against the tenets of the Romanists, who ordain consecrated, or, properly speaking, exorcised water for baptism, he writes thus (in Psalm 74): "It is written: Thou breakest the heads of the dragons in the waters; that is," says he, "the heads of the dragons in baptism;" but by saying, in the 'waters, he means to signify that the same baptism can be administered in all kinds of waters, as, in rivers, lakes, wells, baths, seas, etc. In these the head of the dragon, that is Satan, is broken in all waters. Jacob Mehrn. Ba:Â¢t. Hist., page 323.
Of the virtue and benefit of baptism be teaches as follows, Psalm 32, where the Psalmist says
"In the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him," upon which he remarks: "that men, by the true water of baptism, draw nigh to God, who is a refuge from the fear of Satan that encompasses us." Jacob Mehrn., page 324.
Again, Psalm 32, he says: "Man is redeemed; no angel, nor any other creature, but man alone praises his mercy, says the Lord, whose sins He forgives in baptism." Jacob Mehrn., page 325.
Although these words of Arnobius are somewhat obscure, yet they contain light enough,, to emit rays of divine truth concerning the matter of baptism. For when in the first place he says, that the head of the dragon is broken in baptism. (by dragon meaning Satan), he certainly indicates thereby, that he speaks of persons who, having attained maturer years, become subject to the as , saults of Satan, and that these, in baptism, break the head of the dragon, that is, Satan, by means of the true faith, through Christ; hence he does not speak of children who are ignorant of the assaults of Satan and, consequently, not of infant baptism.
Secondly, when he says that men, by the true waiter of baptism, draw nigh to God, he certainly indicates that he speaks of men who have departed from God through disobedience,. consequently; of persons who have arrived at the years .of discretion; and not of infants; for how can. any one draw nigh to God by baptism, who has not departed from Him? Infants have not departed from God through disobedience; hence they cannot draw nigh to Him by baptism.
Thirdly, when he speaks of man, who praises the mercy of the Lord, and whose sins the Lord forgives in baptism, he certainly indicates .that he, speaks of men who are capable of praising the mercy of the Lord, namely, men possessing under= standing, and who have sinned; for only he that has sinned can have his sins forgiven; but with infants, who have never sinned, no forgiveness can. take place, and consequently, no baptism for the remission of sins. By this the obscure words of Arnobius became clear.
NOTE. P. J. Twisck records, for .the year 306, that Constantine the Great, the son of the believing Helena, was baptized in Jordan, .in the sixtyfifth year of his age, after having been, instructed (Chron. 4th book, page 89, col.,1); from which it is apparent, that at that time Christians left their children unbaptized, in order that they themselves might believe and be baptized.
A. D. 308. Fusca, the pious maiden, conceived a desire for the Christian faith when she was quite young, and, having manifested this desire to the servant maid, Mauro, who also felt an inward drawing toward Christ, they were thoroughly instructed in the Christian f aith at Ravenna, . by the teacher Hermola, and baptized. P. J. Tzerisck, Chron. 4th book, page 90, eol. 1, from Grond. Bew. letter B, Leonh., lib. 2.
A. D. 315. It is stated that already in the time of Sylvester, there was taught and maintained the same doctrine which was afterwards maintained by countless numbers of the baptistic Waldenses, yea, that those churches which in the 11th, 12th; 13th, and in subsequent centuries were styled Waldenses Albigenses, and lastly, Mennonites, or Anabaptists, had existed already at that time, and indeed, long before. Of this a certain celebrated author among the Romanists bitterly complains, in a very old book, saying: "These heretics (the people mentioned above) have always had many sects among them; but of all that ever existed, none was more pernicious to the church of God (understand the Roman church) than the Poor o f Lyons (the Waldenses.orAnabaptists), and this for three reasons: In the.first place, because of their antiquity; some asserting that they existed already in the days of Sylvester, others referring them even to the time of the apostles." Jac.. Mehrn., page 615.
In another place Jacob Mehrning writes thus about the above mentioned people: "This is not a new sect that originated only at that time (that is, in the time of Waldus); for the papistic writers themselves confess that they existed already in the time of Pope Sylvester, nay, long before him, even in the time of the apostles." B. H., page 670. ,
In another place he writes that Flaccius has also recorded the salve, ,from an ancient papistic book, namely, that they existed from the time of Sylvester, yea, from the time of the apostles; and that Thuanus, though he compares them to another people, states that their doctrine has continued through many centuries." Page 682.
The time of the reign of Sylvester, who was the first pope of this name, and on the register of the Roman bishops the 34th, is fixed in the year 315. See P. J. Tze4sck, Chron., 4th book, p. 93, col. l , from Platina, fol. 63. Fasc. Temp., fol. 99, Hist. Georg., lib. 1, Fr. Ala., fol. 22, Chron. Seb. Fr., fol. 13.
A. D. 317. Donatus, an overlearned bishop at Carthage,* who had many adherents in Africa, taught among other things: "That the preaching of the divine Word and the administration of the sacraments by an ungodly minister, were of no avail. They (his followers) held that the church of Christ existed only among them, and hence, they rebaptized all who wished to adopt their religion, saying that the heretics, or the Pope, had no Christian church, and consequently, no baptism, inasmuch as there was only one God, one faith, one Gospel, one church, and one baptism. `They, like the Anabaptists, also held,' says Franck, `that no children, even in the extremity of death, should be baptized, but only believing adults who desired it."
When he was imprisoned he upbraided Augustine, saying that no one ought to be imprisoned on account of his faith, God had given man his free will, to believe as he chose. Concerning all this, see, P. J. Tzvisck, Chron., 4th book, p. 93, c'ol. 2, and page 94, col. 1, from Mertda, fol. 255. Zeg.,
* Seb. Franck notes as the time of the propagation of the doctrine of Donatus the year 334, under the Emperor Constantine, ` He taught," says Franck, "that the Son is less than the Father, and the Holy Spirit less than the Son. This is considered heresy by the Roman church, but when rightly expounded, it may be correct. For Christ Himself with regard to His humanity says: "My Father is greater than I" (John 14:28). And of the Holy Ghost He says: If I depart, I will send him unto you" (John 16:7); as though the Holy Ghost were less than Himself. Franck further says; that Donatus was an overlearned bishop of Carthage, who had come there from Numidia and maintained that the true and only baptism existed exclusively in his church and faith. Chron. Rom. Kett., letter D.
fol. 79. Seb. Franck, Chron. van de Rooansche' Ketters, letter D., fol. 76, printed A. D. 1563.
As regards Donatus, if it be true that he erred in some things, or failed in some matter of faith, we will not defend him therein; however, this much is certain, that owing to the absence of his writings, we have no other information concerning him, than that which comes to us through the mouth and hand of his adversaries.
Concerning this, P. J. Twisck, in a certain place, expresses his regret, saying, that in his Chronijk, for the year 410, he wrote something derogatory to his followers, before he had been properly informed regarding it; which he afterwards, for the year 417, refutes and explains more clearly by quoting from Bullinger: "That the followers of Donatus were simular to the Anabaptists (whom he calls Baptists); that they taught, that no one ought to be compelled to do good or to accept the faith." Again: "that every heretic should be left to follow his particular faith without restraint or compulsion."
On this account, P. J. Twisck, in the same place, relates from another author, that it is quite probable that these people were burdened with many unjust accusations. "It would be desirable," writes he, "to have in our possession their writings, teachings, and deeds; for if it be the case, that they were in all respects like the Anabaptists, and would compel no one in matters of faith, then it is sufficiently apparent, that they are unjustly charged by other writers, with tyranny. I have given this a place here, because the year 410 was already arranged when this reached me." Thus far, P. J. Tzerisck, Chron., 5th book, page 147, col. 2, from H. Bulling. Contra Anbapt., lib. 5, fol. 216, 222.
NOTE. We accept of the writings of Donatus only that which is good and true; for the rest we assume no responsibility.
About A. D. 318. It appears that when Athanasius was yet a boy, at Alexandria also, baptism was not administered otherwise than upon confession of faith; at least, that it was not customary to baptize infants, is evident from the following circumstances of a certain occurrence related by Ruffinus and Zozomenus: "When the day of the martyr Peter was celebrated at Alexandria, by the Bishop Alexander, and he, after the solemn service was over, was awaiting his assistants, or pupils to dine with him, he observed in the distance some children playing on the seashore, who, very probably, not for the first time were imitating the bishop and those things which are generally done in church. But when he observed the children more attentively, he noticed that they were performing some mysterious things. Astonished at this, he summoned his assistants to him, and showed them what he had seen from a distance. Then he commanded them to seize the children and bring them to him. When they came, he asked them, what they had been playing, and what and how they had been doing? They, as was natural for their years, at first were frightened, and denied the matter, but afterwards related it just as it had taken place, and confessed that they, through Athanasius, who in this game had imitated the Bishop, had baptized some catechumens, that is, boys who had not been baptized. Alexander then inquired of those who they said had been baptized, what questions had been put to them, and what they had answered; likewise interrogating him who had put the questions; and found that all was in accordance with the manner of our religion. Jac. Mehrn., 2d part, pp. 356, 357, front Nicephor., lib. 8, cap. 44. Also, H. Montan. Nietigh., pp. 64, 65, from Rufin. Eccl. Hist. 1, cap. 14. Zozom. Eccl. Hist., lib. 3, cap. 16.
From these circumstances it is evident that infant baptism was not customary there. First, when we take into consideration the conduct of these boys, we see that in the Christian church at Alexandria the usual mode of baptizing at that time was this, namely, that the Bishop, or whoever administered baptism, first interrogated the candidates for baptism, and then, after they had answered him, they were baptized.
Secondly, if we consider the boys themselves, who apparently were ten or twelve years old, which probability is increased by the fact that Ruffinus (as H. Montanus shows), calls them catechumens, that is, such as were being instructed in the faith, which is plainly indicated by their performance, since they were able to imitate in every particular such important services. These boys are nevertheless called unbaptized, wherefore Athanasius, though by way of play, baptized them.
Moreover, that these boys were born of Christian parents, appears in various ways, as, for instance, in this, that they diligently attended the Christian assemblies, for without this they could never have represented so completely in all its particulars, the baptism practiced in the church. Likewise, in the fact that Alexander and his assistants (as the account further sets forth), enjoined the parents of these boys, who before were unbaptized, but had now been thus baptized, to bring them up in that vocation, namely, in the Christian religion, which certainly would not have been done, had their parents been heathen and not Christians. It is also stated that this was done with invocation and confession of God's holy name, which certainly would not have been the case with heathen, who worshiped either no god, or many gods.
As to what Alexander held of this performance,' we leave it to its own merits; it suffices us to have shown that at that time the Christians at Alexandria suffered their children to remain unbaptized; inasmuch as they were first instructed, and then baptized upon confession of their faith, which, as has been shown, is clearly indicated by the course of the afore mentioned boys.
A. D. 333. It is recorded that in the first great council at Nice, held against Arius, and various innovations in the church, it was resolved among other things:
"Canon 21. The Paulianists and Photinians shall be rebaptized."
"Canon 12. If any apostatize under persecution, without having been tormented, and sincerely repent, they shall be put among the catechumens for five years, and after two more years, shall be reinstated among the faithful, with prayer."
Canon 13. But they who, for the sake of the confession of the faith, have relinquished the military profession and again return to it, shall do penance for thirteen years, and then be received again; however, if they truly repent, the bishop is authorized to mitigate the term of penance, provided he sees that their repentance is fruitful and devout."
"Canor. 15. Concerning the catechumens who have apostatized, it is decided, that they shall be excluded from the prayers of the catechumens who have not apostatized, for three years, and at the end of that time be received back again." Jac. Mehrn., pages 352, 353, ex Conch. Nicer. Secund. Ruin.
This is the great Council which is extolled as orthodox and Christian by nearly all so called Christians. Be this as it may, we see no reason to praise it so highly, seeing that we must honor the precepts of God's holy Word alone, whereas the rules of that council were made by fallible men. Yet, so far as these men have laid down precepts that accord with the precepts of God's holy Word, or, at least, do not militate against them, so far we accept, or, at least, do not oppose them.*
When it is said, in Canon 21, that the Paulianist and Photinians shall be rebaptized, it establishes, that, according to the Holy Scriptures, not every baptism is a genuine or true baptism, and that consequently there is but one baptism which can in truth be called genuine, namely, that baptism which is administered by the true church, and upon the true faith. This is also established at this day b~ the Anabaptists, and regarded as a precept from t'he holy Word of God.
It is also said in the 15th Canon concerning the catechumens, that if they have fallen, they shall be excluded three years from the prayers of those catechumens who have not fallen. This is an indication of the carefulness exercised by that assembly, to admit to baptism, according to the doctrine of the holy Gospel, no unprepared catechumens before they had truly repented after their fall.
The 12th Canon, speaking of the penance to be performed by those who, under persecution, had apostatized without having been tormented; and the 13th Canon, treating of the very great and long
* In Canon 2, "Concil. Nicer.," we have the following: "No one who has recently been received from heathendom and baptized, shall become an ecclesiastic (that is, a teacher or bishop). unless he have been very carefully examined previously." Bapt. Histor., p. 352, from "Ruffinus"; which quite agrees with Paul's words, I Tim. 3:6, that no novice shall be ordained to the office of a bishop.
penance to be endured by those, who, after having become Christians, had resumed the military profession, and thus become apostates; these precepts we say, militate neither against the holy Scriptures, nor against the views of the Anabaptists, but sufficiently confirm them both.
NOTE. It is recorded that at this time pseudoapostles taught that the church of Rome was rejected of God, and that it was not His church, but Babylon, and the whore mentioned in the Apocalypse, who rides the beast with the seven heads; and that we therefore do not owe obedience to the Pope; that under the New Testament we are in no wise bound to give tithes to the priests; that all manner of swearing is unlawful; that a consecrated church is not better to pray in than a pigsty. Seb. Fr. Chron., fol. 120, col. 3.
A. D. 335. At this time, Athanasius vigorously maintained the cause of such as had been baptized according to order of Christ, against those who, it seems, asserted that baptism might take place without previous instruction, or confession of faith. He says (Sean. 3., Contra Arian.): "Our Saviour did not simply command to baptize, but first said, teach, and then baptize; so that true faith may proceed from the doctrine, and then baptism be perfected with faith." P. J. Twisck, Ch~ron. 4th book, page 99, col. 2; from Grond. Bew., Letter A. Jac. Mehrn., BaQt. Hist., 2d Part, page 370.
NOTE. At this time Athanasius taught that it is the duty of every Christian, to read the holy Scriptures, on the 6th chap. Eph. Again, he prohibited the practice of making a likeness of God for the purpose of worshiping Him thereby, etc., as being an unlawful thing. Contr. Gent. Sam. heltius, in the Geslacht register, page 118.
Notice concerning several writings attributed to Athanairius. The pedobaptists, prone to bring forward everything that seems in anywise to favor their views, were wont to adduce the 114th and the 124th question of a certain book called, Various Questions of Holy Scripture, attributed to Athanasius. But in answer to this we say: that said book is not the work of Athanasius, but of some other author who wrote subsequently to him; as in his 23d question he cites Athanasius as one having lived before him, saying: "This is the testimony of the great Athanasius, a man who was mighty in the divine Scriptures; but we, who are enlightened by him." Moreover, that book contains many opinions foreign to Athanasius, as shown by the Centuriatores Magdenburgenses, Cent. 4, cap. 10, p. 1032. See also, H. Montan. Nietigh., p. 69, and J. M., Bapt. Hist., pages 360, 361.
NOTE. A. D. 320. Lactantius Firmianus taught at this time: 1. "That the sacrifices of the Christian are, a good life, purity, and good works. 2. That there is no religion in a place where there are images. Lib. 2, of the Divine Instruction. Also, Sam, Velti.us, in the Geslacht register., Â¢p. 116;
117. 3. He taught against compulsion of conscience, and revenge, as appears from the following. He writes to the Emperor Constantine (5th book, chap. 20): "The more, the religion. of God is suppressed, the more it breaks forth and grows; hence they should employ reasoning and admonition; it is not necessary to proceed with violence. For religion admits of no compulsion; persuasive words can do more to promote the cause than blows." Again (5th book, chap. 21) he writes
"We Christians do not desire that any one should serve God, the Creator of all, against his will; neither are we angry if he does not serve Him; for we trust His Majesty, who can as easily avenge Himself against those who despise Him, as He does the vexations and injuries inflicted upon His servants. Therefore, when we suffer such shameful things, we say not one word against it, but commit all vengeance to God; not doing as those who would be regarded protectors of their gods, and very cruelly assail those who do not worship them." Korte ontschuldiging, by P. V. K., edition o f 1643, page 47, front Religions Vryheydt, 22 part, Q. 10.
About A. D. 340. Marius Victorius writes in the fifth book against Arius: "Everyone that is baptized, and says he believes, and accepts the faith, receives the Spirit of truth, that is, the holy Ghost, and is made holier by him." J. Mehrv., Bdpt. Hist., page 325. I find in authentic writers, no other account of baptism by this Marius, so that this seems to be the only thing he has written about baptism, and from this, too, it is obvious that he must have been a stranger to infant baptism, seeing he joins together confession, faith, and baptism, in the one that is to be baptized.
A. D. 350. About this time Hilarius attained, to the faith in Jesus Christ, and having been baptized upon this faith, he proceeded to defend the truth which he had received and accepted, and, for the strengthening of the faith he had ,adopted, and that he might live according to the same, he prayed to God (lib. 12 de Trinit.) as follows: "Dear God, preserve my faith and the testimony of my conscience, that I may ever keep that which I confessed in the sacrament of my regeneration, when I was baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; namely, that I worship Thee, O God our Father, and Thy Son with Thee, and that the Holy Spirit, that proceeds from Thee, may be awakened."
Again Vicecomes (lib. 2, cap. 27.) quotes from Hilarius, on the 15th chapter of Matt: the following: "They that come to baptism confess first, that they believe in the Son of God, and in His suffering and resurrection; and this confession is made or pronounced at the sacrament of baptism:"
Again, Hilarius writes (vol. 2, de Trinitate): "The Lord has commanded to baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; that is, upon the confession of the Author (that is, Him who in the beginning created all things), and the First born, and the Free Gift (that is, the Son and the Holy Ghost)." Jac. Ylehrn. Bapt., Histor., 2d part, pages 371, 372.
HILARIUS ON BAPTISM AND SEVERAL OTHER ARTICLES OF HIS FAITH, ACCORDING TO THE
. ACCOUNT OF P. J. TWISCK
Hilarius; originally a heathen, who subsequently became a Christian, and was baptized at Rome, A. D. 350, was a very learned and eloquent man. He writes (lib. 2): "The Lord has commanded 'to baptize on, or in, the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, that is," etc.
He also defended the truth against the Arians, on account of which he was exiled: and he likewise vigorously opposed the arrogance of the see of Rome, and its dominion over other churches, and said that antichrist would devastate the earth through wars and murder.
To those who concerned themselves more in wondering at the building of the temple, than in the' consideration of the doctrine he says: "You are indeed, unwise, to look with wonder upon these things; for, you must know that antichrist shall once, .set, his throne there.
"The nature of the name antichrist is opposition to Christ, which he effects under a specious semblance of the Gospel. He transforms himself into an angel of light, that he may alienate the Christian mind. He has already, to some extent, commenced his progress, pretending to be Christ, though he is departed very far from Christ.
"They (that is, the Antichristians) ambitiously desire the aid of the secular power, which they draw,to themselves in order to advance their name and honor, and to protect their church; thus working with a worldly ambition, notwithstanding it is folly to employ secular power in defense of the Christian church.
`.`Let me ask you, ye bishops, what aid did the apostles employ in proclaiming the Gospel? by the assistance of what magistracy did they preach Christ, and convert the heathen from idolatry to God?
"Now the church counts the favor of the world, and boasts that the world loves her, who could at no time have been the church of Christ, without being hated by the world."
Again, on the 68th Psalm, he says: "God is now preached, honored, and worshiped in stone, wood, and metal, and the Master builder of the world, the Father of us all, is fashioned in perishable matter, to which they have been brought by the, enticing words of philosophy. With these and like words he greatly censures the abuse practiced by the church of Rome." P. J. Tzvisck, Chron., 4th book, page 104, col. 1, 2, from Socrat., lib. 3. Casp. Swine, epist. 1, fol. 877. Seb. Fr.
Since the above passages from Hilarius are not only excellent, but also plain, so that they require no explanation, we leave them and proceed to others who confessed the same faith.
NOTE. At this time, Hilarius taught that all human traditions, on account of which God's commandments are transgressed, must be rooted out. On Matt. 15, Canon 14. Sam. heltius, Geslnchtregister, page 122. He also writes: "The Father revealed to Peter, who said: 'Thou art the Son of God,' that the church should be built upon this rock of confession." "This faith," he says, "is the foundation of the church; this faith has the keys of heaven." In the same place, as well as in the 6th book of the Trinity.
A. D. 350. In the meantime we find that the parents of Augustine's mother, though they were Christians, did not have their daughter Monica baptized in her infancy; inasmuch as she was not baptized until she had reached the years of understanding, and this at the time when the followers of Cyprian practiced infant baptism to a very great extent. With regard to this, I find the following account: "Moreover, even in Africa, where Cyprian had held the aforesaid council to determine on the precise time for baptizing infants and resolved that baptism should be administered to infants as soon as they were born, it was, about the year 350, not observed by all Christian believers. Of this, we have an example in Monica, Augustine's mother, a very pious woman, born of Christian parents, who also was baptized when she had reached the years of understanding, as Augustine himself testifies." H. Montan. Nietigh., page 71, from Augustine, lib. 2. Confess., cap. 3, and lib. 9, cap. 8 and 13.
A. D. 351. It is recorded that the Christians at Neocesarea declared themselves openly against infant baptism, in a convention or assembly of the ministers, called the council of Neocesarea; so that infant baptism, which then began to prevail in different places, could gain no support there, as appears from the various rules adopted by this body.
In Canon 5, we read: "If a catechumen who is not yet baptized, and has his place among the catechumens in the church, has been seen in a sin, he shall hear the preaching on his bended knees; that he may refrain from the sin he committed; but if he persists in it, he shall be expelled."
In Canon 6, we read: "Pregnant women may be baptized, whenever they desire it; for in this sacrament there is no communication between the mother and the child which is born of her; but everyone must in this confession himself declare his free will and good intention."
Canon 11, after some other words declares: "The Lord was not baptized until He was thirty years old, and thereupon He preached." Jacob Mehrn., Bapt. Hist., 2d part, pages 351, 352.
First, when in Canon 5, mention is made of the catechumens, it certainly indicates that it was customary to instruct the young before baptism, in the articles of the faith, upon which followed the confession of the same, and baptism. This cannot be contradicted.
Secondly, when in Canon 6 it is established that pregnant women may be baptized whenever they desire it, because there is no communication between the mother and the child which is born of her, it clearly confirms that infant baptism had no place whatsoever among them, but, that they were indeed inimical to it. It appears that a difficulty was raised at that time, as to whether pregnant women might be baptized or not; for it was thought or feared that the fruit had such communion with the mother, that the child, too, would become a partaker of the baptism received by the mother; which would have been contrary to the views held by the church, that no one should be baptized except upon his own confession of faith, and consequently, no infants, much less unborn children. But this apprehension or difficulty was removed, when it was declared that in the reception of baptism there is no communication between the mother and the child, and that for this reason the child does not participate in the baptism received by the mother. This is too clear to be refuted.
Thirdly, when in Canon 11, mention is made of Christ being baptized when He was thirty years old, notwithstanding that preaching is here spoken of, and that the same ought .not to be undertaken by one before he is thirty years old, the baptism which is administered upon faith or in adult years, is nevertheless also recommended and deemed necessary. For, as Christ was baptized in adult years, and forthwith began to preach, so that the time of His baptism was also the time of His preaching; even so (the Canon apparently means to say), baptizing, like preaching, may only take place in adult years; for as the one requires understanding, so does the other, according to the example of Christ.
A. D. 360. P. J. Twisck writes: "Notwithstanding that at this time, much bloody cruelty was practiced against the bishop who sided with Arius, so that this party was almost wholly crushed, still, according to history, there remained sects like the Anabaptists, etc. If their books were extant, we might give an account of what they taught concerning all these matters; but as it is, we let it suffice with what others have written." P. J. Twisch, Chron., 4th book, page 106, col. 2, from Jac. P. perm. Onsch., lib. 4, fol. 131.
It is exceedingly to be regretted that so few of the writings of the Anabaptists who lived at that time, are extant; for thereby we are compelled to receive information concerning them from the mouths of their enemies; which information, as we may readily judge, was not dictated by love, but by animosity. However, we owe thanks to God, that even this much has come down to us respecting their history; since Satan, through the instrumentality of his adherents, has always aimed to exterminate, not only their books, but also their lives, yea, their bodies and souls, if possible.
A. D. 362. Saint Martin, born of heathen parents, when he was ten years old, went, contrary to the will of his parents, to the meetings of the Christians, embraced Christianity and was baptized when he was eighteen years old. Being now a Christian, he desired to be discharged from the military profession into which he had been brought by his parents; hence he said to the apostate Emperor, Julian, that it was not lawful for him to fight, because he was a Christian.
But as the Minorite, Thomas van. Heerentaals, in his Mirror of the Ten Commandments and Seven Sacraments, gives a somewhat fuller account concerning St. Martin, and especially of baptism as practiced at that time, we shall make a short extract from it. He says: "In former times it was customary to administer holy baptism but twice a year, namely, on Easter eve and on Pentecost eve; except in cases of necessity, which was fourfold: 1. In a siege. 2. In danger of martyrdom. 3. In peril at sea. 4. In dangerous sickness. In such cases they baptized all, and at all times, that no one might die without baptism. But when these four reasons did not exist, baptism was administered only on the two above mentioned days, and that with great solemnity and dignity, and all who were admitted to baptism, had attained the years of understanding; even St. Martin, that holy man, was a catechumen for six years from the time he was twelve, until he was eighteen years old before he received baptism." P. J. Twisek, Chron., 4th book, page 110, col. 4, 2.
A. D. 363 and 364. In the time of Julian the apostates there lived and shone as bright lights; various excellent men, whose learning and piety it is not necessary to extol, since it is sufficiently known. They gave expression to their orthodox convictions by word and by deed, especially with regard to the matter of baptism, that it ought to be administered after previous instruction, upon faith and repentance.
At the same time, A. D. 363, there lived Ambrose, who is stated to have been born of Christian parents. His father's name was also Ambrose, while that of his mother was Marcellina. He, too, was not baptized until the day on which he was chosen bishop of Milan, after having been instructed in the catechism, that is, in the doctrines of the faith.* See concerning this, Tract van den loop der wereld, by F. H. H., printed 1611, page 47, 48, from Paul. de vita Ambrosii. Naucler. Chron. Generat. 13.
Such a procedure, namely, thus precipitately to elect any one bishop or teacher, as is stated here concerning Ambrose, we do not commend; but we notice here, that Christians at that time had not
* Bullinger says that before the days of Ambrose (A.D. 363), Aurentius rejected infant baptism. See, P. J. Twisck, Chron., page 114, col. 2, in the annotation.
D. Vicecomes (lib. 2, cap. 6) records, from Nolanus, concerning Ambrose that in his time, Frigitil, Queen of the Marcomans, having heard from a Christian man, what good things were said of Ambrose, believed in Christ, and recognized him (Ambrose) as his minister. To her, Ambrose wrote an excellent epistle. See, ' Bapt. Hist.," page 462.
generally adopted infant baptism; nay, that some, notwithstanding the papal power, purposely did not have their children baptized; causing them, when they had reached maturer years, to be instructed first, and then baptized, upon their own confession.
Ambrose (Sean. 61) makes the statement: "It was customary for all people to be baptized at Easter." In Lib. de Jejunio, cap. 10, he says: "Now comes the day of the resurrection; now the elect are baptized." Yet on I Tim. 4, he says that the sick were baptized on any day. Jac. 117ehrn., Bapt. Hist., 2d part, page 334.
These words of Ambrose confirm our preceding assertion; for when he says that at Easter it was customary to baptize all people, he sufficiently declares that at that time infant baptism was not a custom. For not only at Easter, but throughout the whole year, children are born, the baptism of which, because of the danger that they might die, could never have been postponed until Easter, had infant baptism been deemed necessary for salvation. But Ambrose removes all doubt when he says what persons were baptized then, namely, all people; for by the word people there are generally understood adult or rational persons, and not infants in the cradle.
Moreover; when he writes that the sick were baptized on any day, he proves thereby, that infant baptism was not practiced in the church of which he speaks. For, if it had been customary there, to baptize infants, it would not have been necessary to baptize the sick on any day, since they would have been baptized already in their infancy; or our opponents must show that the sick, who were baptized any day, were also baptized in their infancy; which they dare not maintain, seeing these churches would then have to be regarded anabaptists. Nevertheless, one of two things must follow. Either that the sick who were baptized in their infancy were rebaptized, or that the adults baptized had not been baptized in their infancy. If the former is true, then the Anabaptists, as they are called, flourished already in those early times. But if the latter is true, then there were at that time whole churches who rejected infant baptism, or, at least, suffered their children to remain unbaptized. This is so clear that it cannot be refuted.
OF SEVERAL OTHER ARTICLES OF FAITH TAUGHT
BY AMBROSE, ACCORDING TO THE ACCOUNT
OF P. J. TWISCK
"Ambrose (on Rom. 1) ridicules those who say: `We cannot come before God except through the mediation of the saints, just as we come before a king through the mediation of counts.' `Well then,' says he, `is not he guilty of contempt of majesty, who ascribes to counts the honor due to the king? Certainly. Why then, will not they consider themselves sinners, who give God's name and honor to creatures, and, setting aside the Lord, worship His servants? Because kings are not acquainted with the individual wants of every one, interpreters and advocates appear before them; but God, to whom nothing is hid, needs no advocates or informants, but simply an humble heart.'
"Again: `They now bestow such names and honor upon the images, as they would never have dared to give to the living person, namely, divine honor; and this, when they are dead.' Thus Ambrose reproves the image worship of the Roman church, and (on Col. 1) positively asserts that `neither elements, nor saints, nor angels should be honored or worshiped, but Christ alone.'
" `It seems,' says he, `that Ambrose, too, would seek antichrist at Rome;' for he says that `antichrist shall restore to the Romans their freedom, under his name,' and calls the city of antichrist `the city of the devil.' He says further, that `antichrist shall be revealed after the downfall of the Roman Empire, or when the Emperors shall have lost their power;' and history shows that the decline of the Roman Emperors was the augmentation of the power and dominion of the Popes or antichrists.
"Ambrose says , further: `The violence of worldly opponents must not be overcome with worldly, but with spiritual weapons; and heretics must be punished only by exclusion from the church, for the champions of Christ seek neither weapons nor iron balls:
"Again, in regard to marriage he says: `Purity of the body is something to be desired by us, and I commend it by way of advice, but do not enjoin it as a command; for the virgin state may be advised, but not commanded.' Hist. Tripart., lib. 7, cap. 8. Adolphus Tectander Apol., fol. 163. Casp. Swinch, Epist. 1, fol. 877. Hier. Zanc., fol. 65. D. Anth. 1., fol. 116.
"Again: The words of Ambrose clearly indicate that he means that the sacrament (the Lord's Supper), should be received under both forms, that is, with bread and wine. Lib. 9, cap. 30. Seb. Fr., fol. 50.
"Again: `The body of Christ is not material or earthly food, or bread, but a spiritual, eternal bread, which feeds believing souls. Regenerated men belong to this table, of which the ungodly cannot partake.' Chron. Seb. Fr. on Ambrose.
"Again: Ambrose says also: ' We are in duty bound to examine the churches, and if there is one which,rejects the faith, and does not hold to the foundation of the apostolical doctrine, we must leave it."' In Lucam, lib. 6, cap. 9. P. J. Twisck, Chron., 4th book, page 114, col. 2 and 115, col. 1, 2.
A. D. 364. It is recorded that in or about the second year of Julian, the Apostate, there lived and wrote the very learned, yet humble, Ephrem, surnamed Syrus, who, in writing of baptism, relates that in his time it was customary for people, when they were baptized, to renounce with express words the devil and all his works. Jac. Mehrn. in BaÂ¢t. Hist., 2d part, page 328.
Ephrem (Lib. de Poenit., cap. 5) also enumerates the works of Satan which we renounce in baptism, as fornication, adultery, uncleanness, lying, stealing, envy, etc.
Page 336. He also states (Orat. 3, de S. Lavacro) that it is customary for the candidates for baptism to confess their sins. And from his book on Repentance, chap. 5, it appears that those who were thus baptized confessed their faith before many witnesses, and said: "I renounce thee, O Satan, and all thy works."
Page 324. hicecome (Lib. 1, cap. 20) quotes the following from Ephrem Syrus: "This declaration of renunciation, as it is called, which we make in baptism, seems to be a small matter, but it has a deeper meaning, and he that observes it rightly is truly blessed; for with these few words, namely those spoken in baptism, we let go all that is called evil, and is hated of God, and renounce the same; and these things are not one, two, or ten, but everything that can be called evil, for you say: 'I renounce Satan and all his works."' "This," writes Jac. Mehrn., "is certainly not a meaningless or frivolous performance that can be imposed on infants."
A. D. 365, About the beginning of this year, Gregory of Nyssa is mentioned, who, observing, it seems, how some came to baptism, unprepared and with an ungodly mind, wrote the following for their instruction: "When we pass through the sacramental water of baptism, we must mortify in the water all that is evil and vicious, such as unchastity, rapacity, luxury, frivolity, pride, vanity of the mind, envy, and the like. We must also drown and forsake in the water, as much as is possible, not only the gross vices, with their operations, but also the emotions and pollutions of the mind which, in some measure, cleave to human nature." Grey. Nyss., lib. de vita Mosis. Also, Jac. Mehrn., Bapt. Hist., page 328.
When at this time some thought it was needful to be baptized in consecrated water, he declared in a certain sermon, that this was not necessary, but that faith and the blessing of the minister were all that a person needed for baptism; for every place is the Lord's, and all kinds of water may be used for baptism, if God only finds faith, for this He accepts, and the blessing of the minister, which sanctifies. Bapt. Hist., 2d part, page 376, from hicecom., lib. 1, cap. 14, from Greg. Nyss.
In another place he very earnestly admonishes some persons who deferred their baptism, that they should have their names registered among the catechumens, in order that, having been truly examined and instructed in the faith, they might receive baptism. Concerning this, I find the following annotation (Bapt. Hist., page 476, from hicecom., lib. 2, cap. 12): "Gregory of Nyssa says in a sermon,, to those who had long deferred their baptism: `Come, ye who are burdened to your sanctification; give me your names, that I may write them with ink in earthly books; but may God record them on tablets that never perish.' "
Thus, also Gregory of Nyssa, as has been shown, wrote sound and correct doctrine respecting baptism. Besides this we have not been able to find any other testimony from him relative to this subject.
A. D. 366. Infant baptism, as it appears, beginning to gain a foothold in some places, the teachers at Laodicea, in Phrygia Pacatiana, declared themselves decidedly against it, in a public convention or assembly, in which, among other things, it was resolved: "That those whom it was the intention to baptize, should previously be instructed in the faith, and be examined concerning it, on Thursday of the last week of Lent." Compare Seb. Franck, Cons. Laod., with P. 1. Twisck, Chron., p. 112, col. 1, 2.*
It is recorded that about this time, in another convention of ministers, called the Elibertine Council, it was resolved among other things
"That persons who embrace the Christian faith shall, if they lead a pious life, be admitted to baptism, in eighteen months or two years." hicecont., lib. 2, coup. 8, from the 42d Canon of the Elibertine Council, as noted by Jac. Mehrn., Bapt. Hist., pace 372.
Here we cannot but see the uprightness and carefulness of the afore mentioned ministers, who, so as not to act contrary to the command of Christ, and baptize .any without true faith and repentance, deemed it preferable to defer for eighteen months or two years, the baptism of even those catechumens, whose life was well spoken of; in order that, having in the meantime well counted the cost, they might erect a good building, and be built up by baptism as living stones in the Christian temple of the church.
In the meantime, it appears that an abuse obtained in the administration of baptism, namely, that a plate was presented to the candidates, that they might put some money on, it (either for the minister, or for the poor). But this was also abolished at that time, with these words: "It has also seemed proper to us, to ordain that hereafter the candidates for baptism shall not put any money on the plate, as has been the custom." Bapt. Hist., page 372, ex Concilio Elibertino hicecom., lib. 4, cap. 2.
From this custom of presenting a plate to the candidates, that they might put money on it, and from its abolishment, the plain inference is, that the candidates were not little children, and that the decree enacted concerning them, did not concern little children, for these have neither the knowledge nor the ability to do it, or voluntarily to omit it.
About A. D. 370. We are informed that about this time there taught and wrote Opatatus Milevitanus, a. catechist, who, it is stated, by virtue of
* P. J. Twisck fixes this council of 1.aodicea in the year 364, while Seb. Franck states that it occurred in the year 368, but we follow a middle course, and assign the year 366 as its date.
his office instructed the young in the articles of the faith, in order that after previous instruction, they might be baptized upon their own confession. Speaking of the things that are to be observed in and about baptism, he says: "We know that in the observance of holy baptism there are three essentials. The first relates to the Holy Trinity, the second to the believer, and the third to the baptizer; but they must not all be weighed in the same balance." Bapt. Hist., page 327, from Opt. Mil., lib. 3.
Although these words seem somewhat obscure, they nevertheless contain enough light for us to perceive clearly, of what baptism, and of what matter he speaks. As regards the matter of which he here treats, it apparently is the dignity of baptism, in order to prove which, he alleges that in baptism there are three very worthy things. Mentioning the most worthy first, he says that it is God or the Holy Trinity. As the second, he mentions the believer, namely, him who stands ready to be baptized; for he is very worthy in the sight of God, since Christ says: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" (Mark 16:16). As the third, he mentions the baptizer, namely, him who has received so worthy an office from God. From these three worthy circumstances he justly concludes the dignity of baptism.
From this it is clear as sunlight, of what baptism he speaks, for in mentioning the believer, in connection with baptism, and speaking of him as the one to be baptized, he certainly indicates that he does not speak of children, or of infant baptism, but of the baptism bf believers. Moreover, a little after the preceding words, he says concerning the candidate for baptism, of whom he speaks: "He follows the faith of the believers."
Vicecomes (lib. 2, cap. 4), cites Optatus Milevitanus, and says that in the 5th book against Parmes he expounds the words of St. Paul, I Cor. 3:6, on this wise: " `I have planted, Apollos watered,' that is: O ye heathen, I have made you disciples of Christ; Apollos has baptized these disciples."
Likewise in the 2nd book, 7th chapter, Vicecomes writes: "Optatus was a catechist at Carthage." Also, Bapt. Hist., page 375.
These things confirm our. previous declaration; for, when he calls unbelieving and unbaptized persons heathen, and, on the other hand, pronounces those who had been instructed in the faith, and baptized upon it, disciples of Christ, without remarking whether they were born of Christian, or of heathen parents, he declares thereby, that it is not birth, but unbelief and absence of baptism, which constitutes one a heathen, and that not Christian parentage, but faith and baptism, make one a Christian; which well accords with the words of Paul, Gal. 3:26-28: "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is 'neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."
Again, the fact that Opa.tatus, as Vicecomes writes, was a catechist, indicates that at the place where he was teacher it was the custom, to teach the candidates for baptism the catechism, that is, to instruct them in the faith, before they were baptized; hence these candidates were called catechumens.
NOTE. Damascenus writes that "at this time, A. D. 370, the Gospel was preached in all the world, not by the force of arms, nor by subjugating its adversaries through war, but by a handful of poor, naked, and martyred people, that is, by patience and faith. For, how could the church have martyrs, if she made martyrs?" Damusc., 3 Cent., cap. 33. P. J. Twisck, Chron., 4th book, Page 116, cal. 2.
A. D. 380. Gregory of Nazianzus, in Cappadocia, born of Christian parents, was not baptized until he was in his twentieth year; concerning which, Jacob Mehrning gives the following account: "His father, Bishop at Nazianzus, and also called Gregory, and his mother Nonna, a pious woman of Christian parentage, knew nothing of infant baptism, for they did not have their son (Gregory) baptized in his infancy. His baptism, according to history, did not take place until he was in his twentieth year. Bapt. Hist., Page 354. Also, H. Mont. Nietigh., page 62.
In order to show still further, how vain and useless infant baptism was deemed at that time, by various pious and learned men, and how baptism was even deferred till late in life, we will adduce one or two brief examples.*
A. D. 381. It is stated that in this year there was baptized at. Constantinople, Nectarius, after he had attained his full understanding, yea, such an advanced age and penetrating knowledge, that he was at the same time elected bishop or teacher of that place, the like of which occurred previously, as stated concerning Ambrose, in the year 363. See P. J. Twisck,:Chron. 4th book, page 122, from Histor. Tripart., lib. 9, cap. 13. Adolph. Apol., fol. 163. Leonh., lib. 2. Merula, fol. 312.
As regards the statement how precipitately and unexpectedly Nectarius was elected bishop or teacher of that place, even as was related of Ambrose, it is not our purpose to defend or advocate it; but simply to show that he deferred baptism in his youth, and was not baptized until he had attained to quite an advanced age.
NOTE. In A. D. 382, Theodosius, born and bred by Christian parents, was baptized at Thessalonica, by Bishop Ascholius. Hist. Eccl., lib. 5, cap. 6, Socrates. Also, H. Montan., page 70.
A. D. 383. Basilius* and Eubulus, said to each
* About this time (A.D. 380), Ambrose taught that the heathen worshiped wood, because they judged it to be the image of God; but, says he, 'God's image is invisible." Tom. 4 in Psal. 118, Sex. 10. Stamuel Veltius, in Geslacht register, page 119.
other: "Let us sell all our goods, and distribute to the poor, and then journey to the holy city, that we may behold for ourselves the wonderful works of God, and thereby awaken within us a confidence towards God." Having done this, and taken with them the clothes necessary for baptism, they journeyed to Jerusalem. Vicecom., lib. 3, cap. 4, from Amphilochius. Jac. Mehrn., Bapt. Hist., 2d part, page 389.
Amphilochius writes of a baptized Jewish physician, who distributed the money he had gained by his profession, among the hospitals, and gave the rest to other poor people. Vicecom., lib. 5, cap. 46. Bapt. Hist., see above.
We mentioned Basilius and Eubulus, who journeyed to Jerusalem, taking with them the clothes necessary for baptism, in order to be baptized. From this it appears that it was the custom at that time in Jerusalem and one that remained in use long afterwards in many warm countries to baptize the candidates in or at rivers, and that they went partly or with the whole body down into the water, and then came up again; to which end they divested themselves of their own clothes, usually had on a white or linen garment. This is the kind of clothes that Basilius and Eubulus appear to have taken with them, in order to be baptized therein.
Now, compare this with the baptism of infants in the cradle, and you will at once see that this mode of baptism cannot take place with infants, since they have neither the ability nor the understanding necessary for the observance of such a mode of baptism.
We will now proceed to .the views of Basilius with regard to baptism, and what he, according to the testimony of ancient writiers, has taught and written concerning it. First, it is stated of him, that in writing of baptism, he in no wise mentions infant baptism but, on the other hand, the baptism of catechumens, ,that is, persons receiving instruction in the faith.
Concerning this, H. Montanus and Jacob Mehrning unanimously give the following testimony: "The afore mentioned Basilius who was bishop of Caesarea, in Cappadocia, A. D. 386, exhorts only the catechumens to baptism, without once mentioning infants, yea, he sufficiently indicates that infant baptism was not the custom there at his time, saying: 'Ye who haye been evangelized by the apostles, repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."'
True, he exhorts also the young to baptism, yet not such as are altogether destitute of understanding, but those who can hear the words by which he admonishes them to baptism, that is, adults, and not infants. He uses such expressions throughout this entire exhortation, and also in
' That this Basilius was the son of Christian parents, appears from "Bapt. Hist." page 365. Instances of this kind, it is stated there, occurred at that time also in other places; we mention Basilius, Jerome, Ambrose, etc., all of whom were born of Christian parents, and baptized upon confession of their faith.
some of his other writings, as in the book of the "Holy Spirit," chap. 12, 14, and 27; but nowhere does he mention infant baptism. H. Montan. Nietigh, page 73. Jac. Mehrn., Bapt. Hist., .page 365.
Moreover, the words of Basilius, whenever he treats of baptism, clearly express that they cannot be applied to infants. For, showing the nature of baptism, and what it is, he says (Lib. 3, Contra Eunom.): "Baptism is a seal of faith." Again (Exhort. ad Baapt.): "Baptism is the mark of the Christian champion." Again (de Instr. ad Bapt. hen.): "Baptism is a likeness of death, burial, and the resurrection of the dead." Bapt. Hist., p. 322.
These things are so clear that they require no explanation, and we shall therefore proceed to what he says further. As regards the form of baptism, according to the institution of Christ, he writes (Lib. 3, Contra Eunom.): "Our baptism is administered according to the institution of the Lord, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost."
Again, concerning the faith which must accompany such baptism, he says (Lib. de Sp. S., cap. 12): "When we believe on the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, we are also baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost." Bapt. Hist., page 323.
Respecting the words of the candidates, and what manner of conduct they observed at baptism, he says, in the last named book, that the candidates for baptism renounced Satan and all his angels. Again (Exhort. ad Bapt.) he states that they lifted up their hands towards heaven; that they kneeled down in prayer. Bapt. Hist., page 336.
He makes mention, moreover, in many places, of various other circumstances and matters pertaining to baptism; of which we will present the following to the reader.
Basilius the Great writes (Contra Eunom., lib. 3): "Faith must precede, if the believer is to be sealed by baptism."
D. Vicecomes adduces from Basilius, book 1, chap. 23, of his Exhortation to Baptism the following: "When wilt thou become a Christian? When shall we recognize thee as one of our number? Last year thou deferredst it till the present Easter; and now thou wilt wait till the next. Take heed, lest thou be deceived in thy expectation of a long life."
Again, chap. 31, Basilius, in the 128th epistle, commends C. Posthumanius, and wishes that he had been his godfather, since the same had made such a glorious confession at his baptism; and this with great contrition, pain, and anguish of spirit; and had evinced in his life and conversation the moderation which the confession of the Christian name demands.
Again, chap. 33, Vicecomes writes: "Basilius is greatly astonished (in the 23d epistle to Boniface), at infant baptism and godfathership, saying `Since you cannot promise anything certain, either with regard to the child's future faith, or its present thoughts, I pray thee, beloved, what then does it signify that, when the children are brought to baptism, the parents, as sureties, answer in their stead, and say that the children do that which at that age they cannot even think, or, which if they can, is hid from us? But those who bring the child are asked: Does it believe in God? and, for this age, which knows not whether there is a God, the parents answer: It believes. Thus also the other questions are responded to. I am astonished that in such matters the parents answer so presumptuously for the child: " Bapt. Hist., pages 390, 391.
This can certainly be called a candid rejection of infant baptism, and not only of infant baptism, but of all the absurd questions and answers which customarily occurred at the baptism of children, and upon which infant baptism was founded. He accuses the children of ignorance, saying that they do not know whether there is a God; the parents he accuses of presumption because they thus boldly dare answer in their stead, and say: "The child believes." The priests who baptize such children, he accuses of folly, because they presented such improper and unfounded questions respecting the ignorant infants, and demanded that they should be answered in the child's name. Infant baptism itself he charges with worthlessness and falsity, seeing, as Vicecomes says, he, in his 23d epistle to Boniface, is greatly astonished at infant baptism.
Basilius, in order to still more fully state his views concerning this matter, adduces various passages, which effectually overthrow infant baptism, and establish baptism upon faith.
D. Vicecomes (Lib. 2, cap. 3) writes thus: "Basilius calls the catechumens nurtured ones, since they were fed and nurtured with instruction in the Christian faith."
Again (cap. 4, Basilius Serm. 1, de Bapt.) he says: "We must know that we must first teach and instruct, and ultimately administer holy baptism to those thus rightly instructed." And, a little after this: "Instruction must precede baptism, and first of all everything which stands in the way of teaching and instruction, must be removed."
Again, in book 3, chapter 4, of the Exhortation to Baptism, he writes: "Examine thy conscience; go into the secret chamber of thy heart; awaken within thee for a time the remembrance of former things."
Again, chapter 5: "As soon as any one came to John, and confessed his sins, however great and heinous they were, he was baptized in Jordan's floods, and immediately received remission of sins." Bapt. Hist., page 392.
All these passages of Basilius as cited by D. Vicecomes, himself a pedobaptist, and noted by J. M. in Bapt. Hist., are so clearly opposed to infant baptism, that further comment is unnecessary. We will therefore let this suffice, and proceed to the testimony of several other persons in the fourth century.
A. D. 390. John Chrysostom, born of Christian parents, was at this time baptized upon his faith by Bishop Melitius being twenty one years old. Episcopii. Antew. op de proeve des Remonstr. Catechism., page 359.
CHRYSOSTOM'S VIEWS RESPECTING BAPTISM
Chrysostom, though he lived in and under the Roman church, and was not fully enlightened in all respects, nevertheless wrote soundly and correctly on the subject of baptism, as is shown by the following extracts from his writings.
Jacob Mehrning, in Bapt. Hist., following the Centurice Magdeburgenses, says, page 403: "How baptism must be received, St. Chrysostom reminds us (Hom. 14, in Marc.): `Thus ye who desire to receive baptism, since we are all under the dominion of sin, lay hold first of the feet of your Saviour; wash them with your tears; dry them with your hair; and, this done, you may approach His head. When you then descend with your Saviour into the fountain of life, that is, the water of baptism, you may learn how the head of your Redeemer was anointed.'"
Moreover, he explains still further; how one must prepare himself for baptism, and this with such affectionate words as should move every soul.
In Bapt. Hist., page 445, Homil. 13, Mare., Chrysostom says: "Will you come to baptism? Oh how happy are you when you shall be regenerated in Christ! when you shall put on Christ; when you are buried with Christ, that you may also rise with Him. At another day you shall be made acquainted in proper order with the things that are expedient for this mystery. In the meantime I tell you this, that you may know it, and may prepare yourselves for the coming day (namely, for baptism). But may the Almighty God strengthen your hearts, and make you worthy of His baptism. May He Himself come into you, at baptism. May He Himself hallow the water wherewith you are sanctified. Let no one go there with a doubting heart. Let no one say: Do you indeed think that my sins will be forgiven? He that goeth there thus, his sins shall not be forgiven. It is better, not to go there at all, than in this manner. Remember this, especially you who thus receive baptism, that you may serve God."
I beg you, dear reader, to observe attentively these words of Chrysostom. Does he say anything at all different from what the Anabaptist teachers of the present day say? O no! he follows the same course. For, first he says: "Will you come to baptism?" He does not say: Will you carry your infants to baptism? How could he speak more plainly? For, to come oneself, and to desire to come, is certainly no child's work.
Then he says: "Oh, how happy are you, when you shall be regenerated in Christ? when you shall put on Christ?" (namely, in or through baptism). But what else is there said by this, than what the apostle Paul declares of believers, namely, that they are saved. by the washing of regeneration, that is, baptism, Tit. 3:3; and that they put on Christ by baptism, Gal. 3:27.
Then he says: "At ,another day you shall be made acquainted in proper order with the things that are expedient for this mystery" (that is, baptism). In like manner, Christ teaches to instruct the candidates for baptism before they axe baptized. Matt. 28.:19; Mark 16:15, 16. John likewise first instructed those whom he baptized. Matt. 3:7, 8. Peter first instructed the Jews. Acts 2:38. Philip first instructed the Ethiopian. Acts 8:34, 35. Ananias first.taught Saul the faith: Acts 9:17, 18.
He further ,adds this wish: "May the Almighty God strengthen your hearts, and make you worthy of His baptism." But who knows not, that newborn infants can not be strengthened in their hearts before baptism? and that, consequently, they cannot receive baptism worthily (that is, with a holy purpose and believing hearts), since they know neither good nor evil. Deut. 1:39; nor their right hand from their left, Jonah 4:11; .and do as children do, I Cor. .13:11. Hence, this wish of Chrysostom, respecting baptism, cannot apply to them.
Finally, having declared, with what heart and purpose we must go to baptism, namely not with a doubting heart, he says: "You who thus receive baptism that you may serve God." These are certainly plain words, which prove manifestly, that the baptism of which he speaks is far different from the baptism of infants, since these are incapable, not only of going to baptism with an undoubting or assured heart, but also of going there at all; not less incapable are they of receiving baptism with the purpose of serving God. Compare this with the words of Chrysostom, and you will find that they are as different from infant baptism as heaven is from the earth.
Bdpt. Hist., page 461. Palladius, in the Life o f Chrysostom, speaks of an uproar which the Emperor Theophilus* raised against bishop Chrysostom, persecuting him; which occurred shortly before Easter. There was no other alternative for those who sided with the bishop, and fasted with him, than to go to the Emperor and the Empress, in the week of confession, and to entreat them with tears, that they would spare the church of Christ, especially on account of the feast, and for the sake of those who were to be baptized, having received sufficient instruction for this purpose; therefore, they should release their bishop.
Here again are several items from which we may perceive that in the church of which Chrysos
It is evident here that either the author is mistaken in the name, or that a typographical error occurred. Theophilus was the name of the Patriarch of Alexandria, through whose instigation, with that of the Empress Eudoria, the Emperor in question, whose name was Arcadius, was induced to persecute Chrysostom.;Translator.
tom was bishop or teacher, baptism was administered after previous instruction, and upon faith. For, in the first place, mention is made of the time in which this took place, namely, shortly before Easter, in the week of confession. Any one who has but a little experience, will find that that was the time and week in which it was customary to instruct the candidates before baptism, hear the confession of their faith, and properly examine them, in order to baptize them on the following Easter day. In the second place, mention is made of those who were to be baptized, and had received sufficient instruction for it; which so plainly illustrates what we have aimed to show, namely, that baptism at that time was administered after previous instruction, that we deem it unnecessary to add anything further with regard to it, and, hence, let it suffice.
OF THE BENEFIT, VIRTUE, AND OPERATION OF
Chrysostom on Phil., chap. 3, page 405, says: "Christ has given or ordained baptism as a purgative, and thus we have spewed out all wickedness, and by it have been made free from all our sins. The heat has abated, the fever is checked, all impurities have departed, and through the Spirit all other evil things have been purged out those springing from fornication as well as those having their origin in the vanity of the mind."
Again, on Heb. 7: "Therefore God gives baptism, that it may wash away sin, and not increase it.
Again, on Col. 3: "Truly, before baptism we were very impure, but after it we become golden."*
Again, on Heb. 11: "What then constitutes brotherhood, if not the washing of regeneration (that is, baptism)?"
Who does not perceive by these passages of Chrysostom, that the baptism of which he speaks, applies in no wise to infants, but only and exclusively to rational persons; for, when he first says to those who wished to receive baptism, that they should (spiritually) take hold of the feet of Christ, and wash them with their tears, and then say that Christ has given or ordained baptism for a purgative, and that they had thus spewed out all wickedness (that is, sin), he sufficiently indicates thereby that he is not speaking of the baptism of infants, since, these cannot do the things which he describes as being connected with baptism.
All these things are still more clearly established by the following passages from his writings, as we shall show.
In Bdpt. Hist., page 406, Chrysostom, on I Cor. 10, says: "The passage of the Jews through the Red Sea was a type of the future baptism." A little further on, he explains this, saying: "For there it was water, here it is also water; yea, here it is the washing, and there it was the sea; here they
* Pure as precious metal. Pub.
all go into the water, there they did likewise. But would you know the truth of the matter? There they were delivered from Egypt, but here from idolatry; there Pharaoh was drowned, but here the devil; there Egyptians perished, but here the old man of sin is buried."
Again, on John 3, Hom. 27: "We have committed many and grievous sins, and, from youth to old age, have not refrained from staining our souls therewith; yet God does not require an account from us, but absolves us therefrom, through the washing of regeneration (that is, baptism), and has freely given us righteousness and holiness:"
How could any one speak more plainly and clearly of the true baptism of believers? For, when in the first passage he says that in being baptized we are delivered from idolatry, and that in or through baptism the old man of sin is buried; and in the second passage declares that they, having committed many and grievous sins, from youth to old age, are absolved therefrom through the washing of regeneration, that is, baptism, it again is very evident that this does not at all apply to children, since they, never having lived in idolatry, cannot forsake idolatry; neither can they, who, being yet in their infancy, have never lived according to the old man, much less have died unto it, bury the old man of sin in or through baptism; finally, they who being still infants, have not attained to old age, cannot or need not be absolved through the washing of regeneration (that is, by baptism), from the sins which they have not committed in this life.
Bapt. Hist., page 410. That baptism ought not to be deferred, Chrysostom (Hom. 1, on Acts) expounds with these words: "If any one say: I am afraid, I answer: If thou art afraid, thou shouldst have received and observed baptism. But thou wilt say: Even therefore I do not receive it, because I am afraid. But art thou not afraid to die in this condition? Thou sayest: Ahl God is gracious. Well then, therefore receive baptism, seeing He is so gracious, and helps thee." He says finally: "It is impossible. I say impossible, that he, who on such a hope defers baptism, can do anything good or commendable."
Bapt. Hist., page 420. The teachers of the church sometimes call baptism a consecration; regarding this Chrysostom says (Hom. 1, on Acts)
"Who will fully believe me, how it pains me to the heart, when someone dies, who has not been consecrated," that is, baptized. And, a little further on he writes: "What anguish of soul I experience, when I see how others do not hasten to baptism till their breath is about to leave them," that is, when they must die.
These passages of Chrysostom indicate how exceedingly sorry he was, that some deferred their baptism to the end of life, who ought to have received it in time; yet not before the time of faith or repentance, much less in infancy, since he speaks only of those persons who had voluntarily, and not less presumptuously, neglected their baptism. Hence it sometimes occurred that persons desired to be baptized in their sickness, yea, on their deathbed, which this good man opposed with conclusive arguments. Bapt. Hist, page 412, Chrysostom says: "The mysteries are glorious and greatly to be desired, but let no soul that is about to die, receive the washing; for that is not the time for the mysteries (baptism), but to make a will; the time for the mysteries (baptism) is when the mind is sound, and the soul purified."
Finally, Chrysostom here again produces two things which do not apply to infant baptism. First, his saying that "the mysteries" (namely, of baptism), "are glorious and greatly to be desired;" for such a desire cannot exist in infants. Secondly, his declaration, that "the time for the mysteries (or, for baptism), is when the mind is sound, and the soul purified;" for infants neither have nor know unsoundness of mind or impurity of soul. Hence neither the soundness of their minds nor the purification of their souls can be promoted or had in view, and baptism can, for this very reason, have no place with them.
CHRYSOSTOM'S VIEWS RESPECTING SEVERAL OTHER
ARTICLES OF FAITH, ACCORDING TO THE AC;
COUNT OF P. J. TWISCK, IN HIS,CHRONIJK
VAN DEN ONDERGANK DER TYRAN;
NEN, 5th BOOK, PP. 136 AND 137
"John Chrysostom," he writes, "a celebrated, zealous, and eloquent teacher or bishop at Constantinople, was expelled from his bishopric, and relegated into misery; much ignominy and suffering were inflicted on him, and he died in banishment.
"His adherents and people were greatly persecuted by imperial edicts commanding them also to attend church and hear their enemies (namely, those of the Roman church), which they would not do, but held their own meetings in the farthest outskirts of the city. When this was reported to the Emperor by the bishop, a squad of soldiers was immediately sent to the place, who with sticks and stones dispersed the meeting, robbed those who had assembled of their goods, and apprehended such as could not make their escape. Finding it impossible to meet in public, they chose voluntary banishment, and forthwith departed, each his own way. Besides this, the adherents of Chrysostom were unjustly accused of having caused a conflagration, which the common people, out of spite towards Chrysostom, had kindled in the temple in which he had taught; on account of which they had to suffer much; the cruelty practiced being as great as that of the first persecutions.
"Again, the aforesaid John Chrysostom, also called, John Goldenmouth,* on account of his golden or excellent teachings, and his eloquent tongue taught from Matt. 5, that we ought not to
* Although the Papists sometimes have this Goldenmouth in their mouth, they nevertheless regard his teachings as heresies.
swear at all, neither rightly nor falsely, and concludes very forcibly, with many words from the passage, Matt. 5:34: `Swear. not at all,' that it is not lawful for a Christian to swear. He conclusively refutes all objections, and maintains that now we ought not to swear. Read yourselves his full exposition of said passages."
Prior to him, likewise Haimus, on Rev. 10, writes, saying, That all swearing is now prohibited unto men, it being lawful only for God and the angels, who neither deceive, nor can be deceived.
Seb. Franck notes the following concerning this Haimus: "Haimus, the teacher also wrote a great deal against the pope and the Roman church; among other things, that swearing is lawful only for God and the angels, but to men all swearing is forbidden. On Rev. 10, Chron., Roman. Kett., letter H.
NOTE. This view (that we ought not to swear), is also ascribed to Isiodorus. Tract. Loop der Werelt, page 99.
We return to the account of P. J. Twisck, concerning Chrysostom, page 136, col. 2. He writes
"This GOldenmouth, John Chrysostom, taught also mightily against cruelty, tyranny, war, and bloodshed, maintaining that it is altogether improper for Christians to wage war, and that peace and quiet are to be taught in the kingdom of Christ. Christ," he says, "compels not, drives not away, oppresses not, but accords to each His free will, saying: `If any man will."'
Read also, on Matt. 13, how he explains that the tares (to which the heretics are compared) are not to be rooted out, which, he says, Christ spoke for the purpose of preventing and forbidding war and bloodshed. No violence is to be employed in heavenly things; the wicked teachings which have proceeded from heretics, are to be reprehended and anathematized; but the men we must spare
Again, he is also greatly opposed to the worshiping of the saints, saying that God is not like the tyrants, with whom intercession is necessary; and that we are not to confess our sins to any one except to God alone. "Thou must confess thy sins," he says, "that thou mayest eradicate them. If thou art ashamed to confess to any one, confess them daily in thy soul. I say not, that thou shalt confess them to thy fellow servant, that he may curse them and upbraid thee; but tell them to God, who alone can heal thee from them, and follow herein the prophet, who says: `Commit thy way unto the Lord . . . and he shall bring it to pass"' (Ps. 37:5).
And on Matt. 23, he says with many excellent words: That with human doctrines, we serve God in vain, and that there is no other testimony of the truth, no other certain test of heresy, than the Holy Scriptures, and no other way by which we may know which is the Christian church.
Again, Chrysostom says: "When the Roman Empire shall be put down, then shall antichrist come." On Matt. 24, he says: "He speaks not unreasonably, who by the abomination of desolation understands antichrist, who, it is thought, will shortly afterwards rise, and will occupy the holy place of the church, under the name of Christ." Also, on II Thess. 2: "When the Empire shall be waste and vacant, then antichrist shall occupy it, and endeavor to draw to him the kingdom of God and men."
Further, on Matt. 24: "Beloved, be not moved, when antichrist does the works of Christ, and in the sight of Christians, performs all the offices of Christ; for Satan himself can transform himself into an angel of light. What wonder then, that his servants assume the garb of servants of righteousness, and a semblance of Christianity.
"The Jewish abomination is to be understood as having reference not only to the Jewish war, but, in a spiritual sense, also to antichrist, who in the last time, shall sit in the holy place, occupying the chief places of the church, and leading the souls of men away from God. This is very likely the one of whom Paul says that he shall oppose and exalt himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. He, standing in the holy place, has laid waste the church of God with multitudes of heresies."
Then he says: "Since the Lord Jesus knew what great destruction would come in the last days, He commanded that the Christians who are in Christendom, if they would always continue in the true faith, should resort only to the Holy Scriptures; for, if they would look to other things, they would be offended and corrupted, and not understand what the true church is, and, in that way, fall into this horrible abomination, which sitteth in the holy place of the church."
"Thus," writes. Twisck, "Chrysostom, Augustine, Gregory, Ambrose, Jerome,:and most of the ancient teachers, though the Papists esteem them greatly with their mouths, would be nothing better than Roman heretics, and if they were still alive, and would teach these doctrines, they would have to expect nothing but fire and sword."
"Finally, in the year 408 Chrysostom was released from his life of vexation and exile, in which he suffered much, and fell asleep in peace." P. J. Twisck, Chron., 5th book, pages 137 and 138, eol. 1, from Chron. Sebastian Franck, fol. 56, 92. Tob. Fari, fol. 73. Merula, fol. 338. Joan. Wales, fol. 166. Cornelius Hillenius, fol. 41.
A. D. 390. Jerome, born of Christian parents at Syridon, in Illyria, or Dalmatia, and instructed in the Christian doctrine from his youth, was baptized at Rome, yet not before he was in the thirtieth year of his age. Bdpt. Hist., pages 841, 365, 366, 373, 593. P. J. Twisek, Chron., 4th book, page 29, col. 1. Tract, van den loop der Werelt, page 47, from Erasmus and Wicelius, in the life of Jerome.
In Bapt. Hist., page 374, we read the following: "Jerome writes in the 78th epistle, that he received his baptism and white garment at Rome, though we know that he was born of Christian parents, at Syridon, in Dalmatia. Hence, says the author, the Christians of that age must not have hastened so much with infant baptism, as is the case in the present time." This Jerome, though some pedobaptists, yea, the Papists themselves, declare him a good and upright teacher, nevertheless wrote several things of such a nature, that at the present day they would be pronounced heresy by many of these same pedobaptists, especially by the Roman church; hence he is classed among the Roman heretics, that is, among those whose views are at this day pronounced heresy by the Roman church. Chron. Seb. Franck, letter H; P. J. Twisck, Chron., 5th book, page 138, col. 11.
Touching as to how it stood with baptism at the time of Jerome, I find, in substance, this annotation, Bapt. Hist., page 335: "It is certain, that in the time of Jerome adults were still baptized in the occidental churches, as may be seen in his epistle against the errors of John of Jerusalem.
He, in Epist. ad Pammach, and Ambrose, in Epistle 83, testify that those who desired baptism were called fellow desirers.
H. Montanus writes thus: "Jerome, who also lived about that time, and, as some say, was an elder at Rome, or, much earlier, as others suppose, at Jerusalem, also testifies that in his time it was a prevailing custom, to baptize adults who had been brought up in the Christian faith, when they desired baptism, for which reason they were called Competents, as Jerome states in his letter to Pammaehius." H. Montan. Nietigh., pages 74,75.
Having now shown how it stood with baptism at the time of Jerome, and that the same was administered in the occidental churches to adults, we shall proceed to Jerome's individual views and what he has written on this subject, according to ancient writers.
In Bapt. Hist., page 373, Jerome writes to Pammachius: "It is customary with us, publicly to instruct for forty days, those who are to be baptized, and enjoin them to pray to the Holy Trinity."
D. Vicecomes finally shows, page 375, chap. 41 and 44, that Jerome wrote, that in his time they gave those who were baptized, milk and honey to eat, which, the annotator remarks, is no food for new born infants. Moreover, he shows what is required for true baptism; namely, regeneration, consisting in the mortifying of the old, and resurrection of the new man. This he expresses in the following two passages
Jerome further writes, page 323, lib. 12, Comment. in Ezechiel.: "We need not only the first birth, but also the second, in order that we, who are born in the flesh, may be born again after the Spirit."
Again, page 328, Apol. Contr. Ruin.: "We say that the old man entirely dies in baptism, and that the new man is raised with Christ in baptism; that the earthly perishes, and the heavenly is born."
Then he admonishes the candidates for baptism, how they should conduct themselves before and at baptism; as well as how those who had already been baptized before many witnesses, and had made a good confession, ought to manifest themselves.
Again, page 374, Epist. 83, ad Ocean, he writes: "The catechumens who are learning the Christian faith must observe not to have carnal intercourse with women before baptism."
Again the words of Paul, I Tim. 6:12, he expounds as follows: "Thou hast professed a good profession before many witnesses; which was done through thy baptism, when thou didst renounce the world and its pomp, before the elders* or teachers, before the ministers, and before the heavenly hosts."
In the tract called, Klare en Grondige Bewijsing van den Doop, printed 1581, it is stated, letter A, Jerome on Matthew: "The Lord commanded His apostles, that they should first instruct and teach all nations, and then baptize those instructed, in the sacrament of faith; for it is not possible for the body to receive the sacrament of baptism, unless the soul have previously received the true faith."
Who could ever believe that this man at any time defended, or at least, not opposed but admitted infant baptism, seeing he opposes it in the places mentioned with such abundant clearness and explicitness. We note only the last mentioned passage, where he certainly says, without the least dissimulation or exception, that it is not possible for the body to receive the sacrament of baptism, unless the soul have previously received the true faith. How can, may, or shall this be explained otherwise than that there cannot be or consist any other baptism than that which is received with true faith? for this is the very idea expressed by his words.
Nevertheless, there are men who ascribe to Jerome a certain dialogue against Pelagius, in which one Critobulus interrogates, and one Atticus answers, in this wise: Critobulus asks: "Why are children baptized?" Atticus replies: "That their sins may .be forgiven them in baptism." "Why, what sins have they committed?" asks Critobulus. Atticus answers: "Dost thou ask me this? let the evangelic trumpet answer thee."
But in order to prove that Jerome defended infant baptism, it would first have to be shown incontrovertibly, that this dialogue is Jerome's own production, which we have great reason to doubt, since the style as well as the matter of the same do not accord with his other writings, especially those in which he treats of baptism; moreover, there have of old been forgers, who, in order to gain greater renown for their own productions, have ascribed them to celebrated men, or have interpolated their own opinions into their writings; thus, it has been proved that the writings of Justin have been interpolated. BaÂ¢t. Hist., page 170. H. Montan.,
* The translator says "priests," namely, such priests as John speaks of, Rev. 1:6: 'And hath made us kings and priests," etc.
pages 7, 8, 9. Also, the writings o f Origen. Bapt. Hist., pages 283 and 291. H. Mont., pages 29-34, 42, 43.
Yea, in this manner, a whole book, also touching on infant baptism, has been falsely ascribed to Dionysius, the Areopagite, who, it is testified, lived in the time of the apostles; this the Magdeburg pedobaptists themselves show. Centur. 1, cap. 2. Also, Jac. Mehrning, Bapt. Hist., 177, 293, 341.
Again, even if it could be shown, which is by no means certain, that this dialogue is Jerome's own production, it could nevertheless not be proved thereby, that Jerome himself held the views maintained by one party in the dialogue, namely, that infants may be baptized. For, why should we not, with equal justice, ascribe to him the views of the other party, which demands reasons and proof why they may be baptized? For one would certainly be his work as much as the other.
Moreover, every intelligent person knows that books that are written in the form of dialogues, do not always express the author's individual views, but that frequently the views and debates of others are handled in them, either to censure them, expose their errors, or correct them.
Finally, how could it be possible, that any one endowed with reason and sound judgment should do such contrary things at one and the same time? We have shown how clearly and correctly he speaks of baptism of ,adults, yea, recommends it, and not only this, but how he, though he was born of Christian parents, remained unbaptized until he was in his thirtieth year how then could he admit infant baptism, seeing he decisively opposed it by doctrine and example? unless it be shown that Jerome wrote this article on infant baptism before his conversion, or that he subsequently apostatized from his adopted views, to infant baptism; but as I can find no account of either we will hold to our previous declaration.
JEROME'S VIEWS TOUCHING SEVERAL OTHER MAT;
TERS OF FAITH, ACCORDING TO P. J. TWISCK'S
CHRONIJK, ETC., PAGE 129, COL. 1, 2
"Jerome, born of Christian parents, and brought up and instructed in the Christian doctrine, was baptized at Rome, in the thirtieth year of his age." Erasmus, Grondig Bewijs, letter A., Mart. Ball., fol. 102.
"Again, Jerome plainly says, respecting the words of the Supper, that with this bread Christ intended to prefigure, represent, and show the truth of His body, and in many places He calls the cup a figure of the blood.
"Again, he teaches, on Matt. 16, that the priests have no more, or just as little, power, to bind or to loose, than the priests of the Old Testament had, to pronounce the lepers clean or unclean. The words of the priest made them neither clean nor unclean, but simply indicated who, according to the law of Moses, was leprous or not leprous; so now the bishop according to the law of Christ, pronounces, whose sins are retained, and whose are forgiven.
"Again, he also maintains that all days should be esteemed alike, and that man should constantly keep Easter and Sabbath.
"He would likewise have that men should fast daily, `for, what avails it,' says he, `if you carry around an empty stomach, for two or three days, and then overload it? Daily you must hunger, and daily you must cat; you must fast so as not to injure the body, but to subdue and break the desires.'
"Again: `The Roman church is not to be esteemed more highly than the church of the whole world, whether of France, or of Britannia, etc. But to worship one Christ, and to have one Ruler, or teacher, of the truth, this constitutes a church.' Chron. Fra., fol. 65, 86.
"Again, of antichrist he says: `And do we not know that the coming of antichrist is nigh at hand? He shall sit in the temple of God, that is to say, in Jerusalem, or in the church, as I apprehended with more truth. Antichrist shall war against the heathen and overcome them.'
"Again: `While man lives here, he may be justified, but after death he has no more opportunity to do good works, though some controvert this, saying that man may increase or decrease even after they have died. While we are in this present life, we may help one another by prayer or deeds; but when we come before the judgment seat of God, neither Job, nor Daniel, nor Noah, can pray for any one; then every one must bear his own burden.' halent. hanius, fol. 112.
"Again, Jerome says: `He that is spiritual never persecutes him that is carnal. I have learned from the command of the apostles, to avoid a heretic, but not to burn him. Christ came not to smite, but to be smitten. He that is smitten, follows Christ; but he that smites, follows antichrist.'
" `Again, the Lord commanded His apostles that they should first instruct and teach all nations, and then baptize those instructed, in the sacrament of faith; for it is not possible for the body to receive the sacrament of baptism, unless the soul have previously received the true faith."' P. J. Twisck, Chron., 4th book, page 129.
That also in Thessalia infant baptism was not much practiced at this time, A. D. 390, is shown by Socrates, BaÂ¢t. Hist., Â¢. 363, book 5, chap. 21, with these words: "Besides, I also know of another custom in Thessalia, namely, that there they baptize only on Easter days; hence nearly all, few excepted, die without baptism." See also, H. Montan. Nietigheyd, page 71.
But someone may ask: With what words is it expressed in the passage cited, that also in Thessalia infant baptism was not much practiced in A. D. 390, which the writer so confidently asserts. I answer: He expresses two reasons whereby he proves it; in the first place, because, as he says that it was the custom there, to baptize only on Easter days, which indicates that said baptism was not, as Cyprian and his followers had commanded, administered to new born infants, for these were not born just on Easter days, and, hence, could not be baptized on Easter days, from which it follows that the custom of baptizing on Easter days, was not instituted for new born infants, but for adult persons, who could prepare themselves for that time. In the second place, when he says that therefore nearly all, few excepted, died without baptism, it is certainly obvious from this, that all who died without baptism, had not been baptized in their infancy, and that, consequently, many persons were found at this time, who allowed their children to remain unbaptized.
A. D. 391. It is stated that Augustine (notwithstanding he afterwards became infected with the doctrine of infant baptism), though born of a Christian mother, and the descendant of Christian ancestors, was not baptized before he was in his thirtieth year (Nauclerus, book 14, Generat., says, in his thirty third year, by bishop Ambrose, at Milan, on Easter).
Jacob Mehrning and H. Montanus thus relate this, namely, that Monica, Augustine's mother, who, though born of Christian parents, was not baptized until she had reached adult years, likewise did not have her son Augustine baptized in his infancy; but that he was baptized when he was already thirty three, others say, thirty, years old. It is true, we read, say they, that, having become a youth, and fallen very sick, he desires to be baptized; and also, that his mother was engaged then in preparing him for baptism. But when he suddenly recovered from his sickness, his baptism was deferred. Augustine was at that time of such an age, that if he had been baptized, it would really not have been infant baptism, but a baptism which might have been counted with the baptism of adults, had it sprung from voluntary resolution, for it should have been connected, as Augustine himself declares with his faith and the confession of the name of Christ, which cannot be the case in the baptism of infants.
Augustine there also relates why his mother at that time deferred his baptism, namely, because she, foreseeing the many and great billows of temptation which would roll over his head in his youthful years, feared that the guilt of his sins, after the washing of baptism, would be the greater and more dangerous, which he himself and the whole family, with the exception of his father, then believed. He also tells us, that there were others, too, at that time, who put off or omitted the baptism of their children, from such considerations. Bapt. Hut., pages 363, 364. H. Montan. Nietigh., pages 71, 72.
It appears, moreover, that on that occasion not only Augustine was baptized upon the confession of his faith, but also his son Adeodatus, and his friend Alipius, concerning which we find this notice. Bapt. Hist., page 444, Augustine, bishop of
Hippon, in Africa, when he was thirty three years old, was baptized at Milan, by bishop Ambrose, together with Alipius, and Adeodatus, his natural son, who was fifteen years old at the time. Of this, Augustine, in the 9th book, 6th chap., of his Confessions, says: "When the time had come, that I was to have my name entered on the register of the candidates for baptism, I left the country, and again journeyed to Milan. My dear friend Alipius desired to be baptized with me. Alipius, who was qualified for it, on account of his humility, and the dominion he had over his body, so that in case of emergency, he would have traveled barefoot in winter through the snow in Italy, accompanied me. We took with us the child (that is, the youth) Adeodatus, begotten by me in sin. Thou, O Lord, didst form him well, according to both soul and body. He was now about fifteen years old, and excelled many worthy and learned men." A little further on, he says: "We have made him our equal, O Lord, in the reception of Thy grace, in order to be further trained up in Thy law and school; we are baptized, and the care of our old life has been taken away from us. I could not be satisfied in those days, with the wonderful sweetness which I experienced in the contemplation of the mysteriousness of Thy counsel, O Lord, with regard to the salvation of the human race. O how I wept, amidst songs of praise. The tears ran down my cheeks." Thus far, Augustine.
NOTE. A. D. 392. The Apollinarians, who derived their origin from Apollinaris, denied that Christ adopted His humanity from the virgin Mary, saying that the word became flesh. P. J. Tzuisck, Chron., 4th book, page 130, from Tripart., lib. 9. Vincent. Hist., cap. 44. Zeg., fol. 189.
A. D. 393. Valentinian, or Valens, the son of Christian parents (Valentinian and Justina), was induced to journey to Milan, to be baptized by Ambrose, but was treacherously murdered on the way by one Arbogastes. H. Montan., page 70, from Socrat., lib. 4, cap. 9, 26. H. Montanus, however, erroneously, fixes the date of this occurrence about A. D. 380.
My dear friends, is it not a sad thing, that this man, namely Augustine, who thus defended baptism upon faith, yea confirmed it with his own example, and the example of his son Adeodatus. and his friend Alipius, whom he had admonished thereto, should ultimately fall so far as to admit, yea to become a defender of infant baptism I Surely, it is a lamentable matter. For, no one can deny, that in the beginning right after his baptism, he was exceedingly zealous in defense of the true baptism, which is received with a penitent heart; but, that in, the course of time he apostatized to infant baptism, can likewise not ,be denied by any lover of truth. Still, the example of Augustine, his son Adeodatus, and his friend Alipius, serves to confirm our faith, inasmuch as we see that in Augustine's time the principal Christians allowed their children to remain unbaptized, until they were grown up and, of their own accord desired baptism; for, thus did Monica with her son Augustine, and Augustine with his son Adeodatus, and his friend Alipius, which is a clear proof of the matter in question, namely, that not infant baptism, but baptism upon faith, was practiced among the chief Christians.
THE CONVERSION OF EUVODIUS, WHO FROM A
WORLDLY WARRIOR BECAME A SOLDIER
OF CHRIST, IN THE TIME OF
In the 8th chapter of the 9th book of his Confessions, Augustine, after speaking of his own baptism, makes the following confession to the Lord, in regard to the baptism of 8uvodius: "Thou, O Lord, who causest those that are of the same mind, to dwell in one house, hast joined to us a companion, a young nobleman, called Euvodius, a native of our city. He, who, when following war, commanded the legions of the Empire, was, before us, converted unto Thee, and baptized, and, having abandoned secular war, has betaken himself to Thy war. We were together; together we had one will to serve Thee, and considered in what place we might best do this." These are his own words, which we read at the place indicated above, and from them we may see how the church increased at that time not through the addition of infants, but through the conversion and baptism of adult and rational persons. With this we leave Augustine, and the baptism of his companion Euvodius.
About A. D. 397. About A. D. 397, it is stated that Epiphanius,* who subsequently became bishop of Cyprus, was baptized, together with his sister, as it appears, in the presence of his friend and spiritual father Lucian. Of this, D. Vicecomes gives the following account, from Simon Metaphrastes, Bapt. Hist., page 578. hicecom., lib. 1, cap. 30: "When the Gospel had been read, the bishop, after the baptism, went and commanded Epiphanius and his sister to go in, and with them also Lucian, who became Epiphanius' spiritual father in holy baptism.
In Bdpt. Hist., page 580, lib. 5, cap. 34, Metaphrastes writes of Epiphanius, that immediately upon receiving the doctrine and baptism, the latter, together with an hundred and eight.other persons, received the holy Supper, from Bishop Stephen.
NOTE. In the time of Arcadius and Honorius, about A. D. 397, it was resolved, at Toledo, among other things: "That if any one, after baptism, engages in war, though he have committed nothing special in the war, he shall never be ordained a deacon." Seb. Franck, Chron. Rom. Concil., fol. 73, Col. 1.
As to the person who baptized Epiphanius and
* P. J. Twisck places this Epiphanius in the year 377, but this may be a typographical error; the figure 7 having been substituted for the figure 9.
his sister, as well as administered the Supper to them, we pass by; it suffices us, that this mode of baptism still obtained at that time and in the church where this took place; and that persons were found who administered it, as well as such who were willing to have it administered unto them. Notwithstanding infant baptism had already made great inroads at that time into many places, this baptism was nevertheless administered to persons born of Christian parents, as has been sufficiently shown previously.
A. D. 400. About this time there flourished, as a writer, the afore mentioned Epiphanius, who, by his writings, has shed much light on the subject of baptism, it being sufficiently apparent from all the circumstances relating to him, that he held sound views with regard to the same. Of this, Jacob Mehrning and H. Montanus have given the following account: "Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamina, in Cyprus, A. D. 400, or thereabouts, in speaking of baptism, which he frequently does in his writings, always speak of it in such a manner that it does not include infantsand although occasion often presents itself to him, to speak of infant baptism, yet he never does so; from which we may readily conclude that he did not esteem it much, or that in his time, it was not yet customary in that island." In' Auchoratus he says: "You must not admit everyone who is instructed in the faith and desires to come to holy baptism, to this ordinance, simply because he has told your children, that he believes in the Lord; but he must also, with express words, even as the church, our common mother, ours as well as yours, has received it, learn and say: `I believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty.' etc."
Again, in another place (Contra Haereses, lib. 1, Tom. 1, Haeresi. 8): "This great circumcision, baptism, circumcises us from sin, and seals us in the name of God." Bapt. Hist., page 366. Nietigh., page 74.
When, therefore, Epiphanius, in the first passage, says: "You must not admit everyone who is instructed ii the faith, and desires to come to baptism, to this ordinance," and then adds that he must. also confess, saying: "I believe," he plainly indictes that such baptism can certainly not be administered to infants, because they are not only unable to confess the faith, but have not even the capability or qualification to believe, upon which faith and confession alone he' admits baptism.
When, in the second passage, he says: "This great circumcision, baptism, circumcises us from sin," he does not mean to say thereby, as our opponents at this day assert, that baptism has come in the place of circumcision, so that, even as in the time of the Old Testament, the male infants were circumcised, so now, in the time of the New Testament, the infants must be baptized. O no! for this appears by no means. But he says that baptism is a great circumcision, which circumcises us from sin, which certainly does not apply to infants, that have never sinned, and, consequently, cannot be circumcised from their sins by baptism. With this we leave the views of Epiphanius on the subject of baptism, and proceed to what is related of his reproving image worship, according to the account of P. J. Twisck. "Epiphanius," he says, "an ancient teacher, flourished in this time, who greatly opposed the worshiping of images, of Mary, or of any other creature. He said: `Beloved children, be mindful not to bring any images in the church, or to erect them over the graves of the saints; but bear God constantly in your hearts."'
Once, when he went into a Christian church, and observed a painted curtain at the door, bearing the picture of Christ or of some saint, he tore it down, because it was contrary to Scripture, and advised the sexton to bury the corpse of some poor person in it; and when he had sent another curtain in its place, he commanded that they should no more hang up curtains like the former, in the church, "Which," said he, "is contrary to our religion and faith." P. J. Twisck, Citron., 4th book, page 119, eol. 2, and page 120, col. 1, from Socrat., 'lib. 6. Tripart., lib. 10. Leonh., lib. 2. Citron. Seb. Franck, '135. Tob. Fabr., fol. 66, 67. Fransch. Ala., fol. 22. Dani. Saut., lib. 1.
NOTE. In regard to his teaching against image worship, see Samuel heltius, in Geslacht register, page 120. Epiphanius taught at this time that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are to be worshiped, but that no one should worship Mary, or any other woman, or human being, since this honor belongs to God alone, and must not be accorded even to angels. Again, that the women should not say
We honor the queen of heaven. Tom. 2. Haeres., lib. 3. Haeres. 79, in. Geslacht register, page 29.
Concluding the fourth century, as also we will do, P. J. Twisck says: "Baptism was administered twice a year, at Easter and at Pentecost and this, to a great extent is still done to adult believers and catechumens." Citron., page 134.
NOTE. Besides this, that the true order of the baptism of Jesus Christ was practiced in this century by the orthodox believers, many who belonged to the Roman church deferred (though erring in other matters) the baptism of their children till they came to aduft years, as is evident, for instance, in the case of Constantine the Great, whom Helena, his Christian mother, kept from baptism, but afterwards admonished to it; of Theodosius, who, being born of Christian parents, was baptized at Milan, upon his faith; of Valens who was mentioned above. With regard to the baptism of Constantine, see Rom, Adelaer, edition 1642, page 211, from Eusebius and Socrat. Of the baptism of Theodosius, see tract van den loop der Wereldt, printed 1611, in the article on baptism; also De gantsch Klare en Grondige Bewijsinge, nopende het doopsel.
AN ACCOUNT OF THOSE WHO
IN THE FOURTH CENTURY
SUMMARY OF THE MARTYRS OF THE FOURTH
[This lamentable time commenced with the Tenth General Persecution, instituted by Diocletian, and prosecuted by Maximian, his associate; which caused a very severe, and distressing state of affairs, with respect to the violence as well as the long 'duration of the persecution.
In order to proceed systematically, we have presented separately each year with its respective martyrs. In the first year of this persecution Anthimus and many others at Nicomedia; Phileas, Cassianus; Eulalia and Eucratis, aged virgins, laid down their lives for the evangelical truth.
In the second year, Euplius, Pancratius, a youth of fourteen years; Justus; Felix of Thibaris; the two brothers, Primus and Felicianus, suffered martyrdom.
In the third year: Apphianus, Ulpianus, Aedesius, Agathopius and Theodulus; Julitta of Iconia; forty youths, laid down their lives.
In the fourth year Sylvanus, Januarius, Sosius, Proculus, Pelagia, Theonas, Cyrenia, and Juliana, were martyred.
In the fifth year Theodosia, a virgin of Tyre, Pamphilius, a friend of Eusebius, at Caesarea, were put to death.
In the sixth year Ennathas, a virgin from the city of Scythopolis; Catharina, of Alexandria, suffered death.
In the seventh year Ares, Promus, and Elias, at Askalon; Peter Abselamus; the three sisters, Biblis, Aquilina, and Fortunata, poured out their blood.
In the eighth year two sisters from Antioch; Irene, with her two sisters, Peter Nilus and P. Mythius; forty who were beheaded; Martionilla, Euphratesia, seven brothers and others were compelled to die.
In the ninth year Lucian, elder at Antioch, Peter, Faustus, Didius, and Ammonius, Anysia, a girl of Thessalonica, and Demetrius, suffered death.
In the tenth year Eugenius Auxentius, Maodatius, and many others were put to death.
Then follow two other persecutions, one under Lucinius, the other under Julian, which are called the eleventh and the twelfth persecutions.
Under Lucinius suffered Basileus, Ammon; the two brothers, Donatian and Rogatian, of whom the one was baptized, and the other not.
Under Julian were slain John and Paul, who opposed war; and some were killed under the Emperor Valens.
After these details we conclude the account of this century.]
A. D. 301. "At this time," writes P. J. Twisck, "the persecution was very severe; for when the Emperor, namely, Diocletian would divert himself in the theater, the whole multitude of the people called to him ten times, that the Christians should not be tolerated, and twelve times, that they should be exterminated." Chron., 4th book, Â¢. 85, col. 1, from Merul., fol. 237. Leonh. lib. 1.
In the preceding century, in the year 284, we mentioned, in connection with the beginning of the reign of Diocletian, the first bloody edict, issued by this Emperor against the pious and steadfast Christians, upon which followed the death of some of them, as may be seen in the cases of Claudius, Asterius, Neon, Zenobius, and the pious Christian women, Nuina, Theonilla, Zenobia, sister of the afore mentioned Zenobius, etc., most of whom died at Tarsus, in Cilicia, the birthplace of the apostle Paul, for the testimony of Jesus, their Saviour. This continued from the aforesaid year until the close of that century, as we have related in the proper place.
But in the same place we have also made mention of a second edict by the same Emperor, which, about nineteen years afterwards, was followed by the most violent persecution of the Christians. Of this we promised to speak more fully, and now purpose to do so, having come to the very time in which commenced this, the severest and most grievous persecution, which is called the tenth.
OF THE TENTH GENERAL PERSECUTION OF THE
CHRISTIANS, UNDER DIOCLETIAN, COM;
MENCED A. D. 302
Various eminent writers have made mention of this awful and lamentable deed of the Emperor Diocletian, and they cannot sufficiently wonder at two things: In the first place, that any one who is at all a human being could commit such great cruelties on his fellow men, as Diocletian inflicted upon the Christians. In the second place, that the Christians, frail men as they were, could endure all this, and not only this, but that many of them, from love to Jesus Christ, and because of the certain hope of their reward, manifested great joy in their sufferings. We shall first speak of the former, and then of the latter as follows.
THE CAUSE AND SEVERITY OF THIS PERSECUTION,
ACCORDING TO THE ACCOUNT OF P. J. TWISCK,
FROM VARIOUS ANCIENT AND CELEBRATED
These two Emperors (namely, Diocletian and Maximian) jointly governed the empire, in harmony and constancy, and remained undivided. However, when they had reigned about ten years, they took counsel together, and resolved to exterminate the Christians, because the discord of religion caused great dissensions, both in the households and in the Roman Empire.
"The apostate Christians played the part of instigators and firebrands in the rising of this persecution, holding out to the Emperors the hope, that the Christians could be exterminated. The persecution which ensued thereupon, is considered the most grievous."
Then he writes: "But the enemies of the truth took the occasion to incite the Emperor Diocletian against the Christians, from a certain conflagration in the city of Nicomedia at that time the place where the Emperors were wont to reside by which the palace of the Emperor was totally destroyed. With this calamity they charged the Christians. The Emperor, enraged beyond measure on this account, easily believed the slanderers, thinking he had sufficient reason for it. He accordingly, in the nineteenth year of his reign, which coincides with A. D. 302, issued a public decree (as was done in the days of Antiochus), that everyone, in every place, should sacrifice to the gods of the Emperors; and that he who should refuse to do so, should be punished with death; also, that the churches or meeting places, and the books of the Christians should be utterly destroyed. Yea, there was scarcely a large city in the empire, in which not daily a hundred Christians, or thereabouts, were slain. It is also recorded that in one month seventeen thousand Christians were put to death in different parts of the empire, so that the blood which was shed colored red many rivers. Some were hanged, others beheaded, some burned, and some sunk by whole shiploads in the depths of the sea."
As touching the fearful tortures inflicted, he then writes thus: "These tyrants had some of them dragged through the streets, tied to the tails of horses, and after they were mangled and bruised, they had them put back into prison, and placed upon beds of potsherds, so that rest might be more excruciating for them than actual torment. Sometimes they bent down with great force the branches of trees, and tied one leg to one branch, and the other to another, and then let the branches spring back into their natural position, so that their limbs were shockingly rent in pieces. They cut off the cars, noses, lips, hands, and the toes of many, leaving them only the eyes, to inflict still more pain upon them. They sharpened wooden pegs, which they inserted between the flesh and the nails; and had lead or tin melted, and poured as hot as possible over their bare backs." Chron., 3d book, p. 78, col. 1, 2, and page 79, col. 1, froth Euseb., lib. 8, cap. 2, 3, 16, 17, 18. Fasc. Temp., fol. 96. Chron. Mich., fol. 196. Chron. Carionis, fol. 248, 249. Chron. Seb. Fr., fol. 19. Paid. Mertd., fol. 232, 238, 239. Pieter Messiw, fol. 148. Chron. Leonh., lib. 1. Hist. Andra, fol. 175, 176. Jan Crcsp., fol. 66, 67, 68, 70. A. Schri., lib. 13, fol. 349. 350. Hist. D. Matth. Jud., lib. 4, cap. 3.
FURTHER STATEMENT OF THE CAUSE AND SEVERITY
OF THIS PERSECUTION, ACCORDING TO THE AC;
COUNT IN THE INTRODUCTION TO THE
In A. D. 302, commenced the tenth persecution of the Christions, namely, in the 19th year of the reign of Emperor Diocletian; for although it had been smouldering previously already, it was in this year, that through the edicts, it was caused to break forth in flames. It was so great as to exceed, not only in cruelty, but also in duration, all the former ones, for under the tyrannous Emperors, Diocletian, Maximian, Maxentius, and Maximin, it lasted twelve years, and this principally in the east.
"Eusebius, who lived to see this persecution, gives a full description of it. How awful it was, we may read in his church history, book 8. He writes that the cause of it was the great liberty enjoyed by the Christians, who had attained to great distinction. Thus it occurred, says the author of the Introduction, that Diocletian first issued decrees commanding that all the churches or meeting places of the Christians should be demolished, and the Holy Scriptures burned. Then another decree followed, to the effect, that the leaders, that is, the teachers and ministers of the churches, should be compelled to sacrifice to the gods, or be put to death. Then the tormenting and putting to death was extended also over the common people of the Christians.* Some were torn with sharp irons, others lacerated with hooks, some burned with red hot plates; some were compelled to sacrifice, and even though they did not sacrifice, it was nevertheless proclaimed that they had sacrificed:" Introduction, fol. 42, col. 1, 2, from Baronius, in Chron., A. D. 302, num. 1.
FURTHER ACCOUNT OF THE CAUSE AND SEVERI;
TIES OF THE ABOVE MENTIONED PERSECU;
TION, ACCORDING TO THE ACCOUNT OF
He writes: "In A. D. 302, in the 19th year of his reign, the Emperor Diocletian instituted a great and unmerciful persecution against the Christians, which is called the Tenth Persecution. Of this persecution, Salpitius Severus, speaks thus: `About fifty years after Valerian, under the reign of Diocletian and Maximian, there arose the most bitter persecution, which for ten consecutive years ravaged God's people. At this time the whole world was stained with the holy blood of the martyrs; for men hastened emulously to these glorious and famous contests, that is, to martyrdom, for the name of the Lord; and to obtain, through a worthy and honorable death, the honor which belongs to a martyr was then sought with more eagerness, than at the present time, through a false ambition,
* The author writes: "In Egypt they were beheaded in such eat numbers, that the executioners grew tired, and their swords came dull from cutting. The Christians went unto death gladly, without being bound, fearing lest they should not be there in time to die as martyrs. ' Fol. 41.
men seek after a bishopric. Never was the world so greatly depopulated as through this persecution, and never were greater triumphs gained by us, than when by these ten years of slaughter we could not be conquered.' " Salpit. Sever. Hist. Sacr.
"In this persecution, Diocletian also employed his associate, Maximian Herculeus, a man hard, cruel, faithless, and licentious by nature, who in all things obeyed Diocletian's behests. In this persecution Diocletian raged against those in the East, and Maximian against those in the West."
The same author then mentions different causes for this persecution, one of which he describes in the following manner: "The Emperor Diocletian, determined to restore the Roman Empire to its ancient flourishing condition, and being desirous therefore, to re establish all the customs which seemed to be trampled upon, endeavored also to prevent and abolish the difference which he found to exist in the matter of worship, seeking first of all to exterminate the Christian religion as one which cursed and rejected all idolatry. There were very many philosophers and sophists who instigated the Emperor to this, and confirmed him in his purpose. By violent and satiric writings they incited the Emperor and all the princes and judges, ridiculed the Christian religion and charged it with being an innovation, falsehood, and wicked superstition. On the other hand, they extolled the heathen religion as the most ancient, together with the worship of the gods, who as they said, ruled the world by their power and majesty.
"Among these instigators, besides Apollinius, were Porphyry, a philosopher, who from a Jew had become a Christian, and from a Christian an apostate; and Hierocles, a man of great popularity. Against Porphyry wrote, Methodius, bishop of Tyre, Eusebius, and Apollinaris; and against Hierocles wrote this same Eusebius. Lactantius wrote against both, and all others of the same stamp.
Touching the torments, he writes among other things the following: "It would take too long to recount in writing, all the different manners in which, through the instigation of the devil, the Christians were put to death at this particular time. Beating, scourging, and lacerating the skin with all manner of sharp instruments, were simply preparatories for severer torments that brought on death. Over some, molten lead was poured; some were roasted before glowing coals, with longcontinued torments (as we have shown in another place); others had the fingers of both hands pierced with sharp awls and needles, which were inserted between the flesh and the nails; of others we read that after having been beaten on the bare body for a long time with thin rods and leaden plates, they were cast as food before bears, lions, leopards, and other beasts." A little further on he says
"Some were suffocated with smoke of a slow fire of moistened combustibles; others, whose noses, ears, and hands had been cut off, were suf fered to roam in misery about the country, as a terror to other, unknown Christians."
As touching the places where these cruelities were inflicted upon the defenseless and innocent Christians, the afore mentioned author writes
"This persecution extended over the whole world Asia, Africa, Europe, and all the islands, especially Cecilia, Lesbos, and Sonnus."
Then, after having related the destruction of several cities, he says: "Many other cities had to taste in their whole body the bitter cup of this persecution; especially, Thebes and Antino, in Egypt; Nicopolis, in Thracia; Aquileia, in Italy, where all the Christian believers were slain; Florence, Bergamo, Verona, Naples, Beneventum, and Venusia; in Gallia, Marseilles and Treves, where Rictionarus proceeded with such violence and cruelty, in this matter, that the blood which was shed, colored many rivers; in Germany, the city of Augusta, and even Spain, Britannia, Rhetia, and other provinces were not exempt." loh. Gys. Hist., fol. 22, col. 2-4, and fol. 23, col. 1, 2, from Euseb., lib. 7. Oros., lib. 7, cap. 26, 27. Nic., lib. 7. Idem, lib. 7. Multis. cap. Vinc., in SQeculo, lib. 12. Sabell. Ennead, lib. 7 and 8.
NOTICE TO THE READER
Before we proceed to give a special account of the martyrs who were put to death in this persecution, we deem it necessary to call the attention of the reader to the following points: 1. That after A. D. 300, that is, in the beginning of this century, many errors began to arise among some of those who were called Christians, especially among those who belonged under the Roman dominion. Yea, they went so far as to resort to carnal weapons (which, however, had already previously been done by some); through which the defenseless and meek lambs of Christ suffered not a little distress, fear, and sorrow.
2. That, besides the martyrs of the true faith, some of the aforesaid class suffered themselves to be killed for their opinions; whereby the death and the glorious martyrdom of the true Christian believers were not a little obscured.
3. That, in order to distinguish these from the former, we have exerted our utmost diligence, so that as far as we know, there are not found among the martyrs of whom we have given, or may yet give, an account, any who can be shown to have been guilty of gross errors, much less of the shedding of blood. At least we have not been able to detect it in any of them, and hence in accordance with the spirit of love, we must judge and believe the best of them.
As this persecution under Diocletian and Maximian was not only very severe, but also of long duration, we have deemed it well to present its years separately in consecutive order, and to show what the pious martyrs suffered in each year, steadfastly confessing with their blood the truth of God.
FIRST YEAR OF THE PERSECUTION COMMENCED
A. D. 302
The sword of Diocletian had now been drawn from its sheath, and there remained nothing but the shedding of blood, and murdering and burning in manifold ways, all directed against the innocent and defenseless lambs.of Christ; of which we shall directly give some examples.
ANTHIMUS; BISHOP OF THE CHURCH OF CHRIST,
AT NICOMEDIA, AS ALSO MANY MEMBERS OF
HIS CHURCH, BEHEADED IN THAT CITY,
FOR THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS
CHRIST, A. D. 302
Among the first martyrs of the Tenth Persecution is counted Anthimus, who was bishop of the church of Christ at Nicomedia. It is stated .that he was beheaded in that city for the testimony of Jesus Christ; as also a great number of that church, all of whom obtained with him, in great steadfastness, 1st book, fol. 100, col. 1. Acta per Metaphr., 27 the crown of martyrdom. See Abr. Mell. Hist., April. Niceph. Hist., lib. 7, cap. 6. Also, Acta super Euphrasiam. P. J. Tzvisck, for the year 204, in Chr., lib. 4.
FULLER ACCOUNT OF THE MARTYRDOM AND DEATH
OF ANTHIMUS, AS RECORDED BY J. GYSIUS
He writes: "At this time there was also beheaded, after a glorious confession, Anthimus, bishop of Nicomedia, together with a great number of the faithful. Nicephorus writes that he was first most cruelly beaten; that they then bored his heels through with burning pins, threw him on potsherds, put red hot slippers on his feet, tore the skin and flesh from his body, burned him with torches, stoned him, and finally beheaded him." The same way trod Tyrannion, bishop of the church of Tyre, Zenobius of Sidon, Sylvanus of Gaza, and Pamphilius, concerning whom Eusebius wrote a special book." Joh. Gys., fol. 23, col. 3, from Euseb., lib. 8, cap. 6. Cyprian., lib. 7, cap. 6.
PHILEAS, BISHOP OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST,
AT THUMIS, IN EGYPT, BEHEADED AT THAT
PLACE, FOR THE EVANGELICAL TRUTH,
A. D. 302
It is related that after the death of the aforementioned martyrs, Phileas, Bishop of the Church of Thumis, in Egypt, was sentenced to death, and beheaded, by virtue of the edict of the Emperor, on account of his faith in Jesus Christ, and because he would not give honor to the gods, nor sacrifice to them. Jerome has written of him that after he became bishop, he wrote a very excellent book in praise of the martyrs. In Catalogo.
The author of the Introduction, has left on record these words concerning him: "Phileas, Bishop at Thumis, who was entreated by the judge to have regard for his wife and children, remaining steadfast, nevertheless, was beheaded." Introduction, fol. 43, col. 1, compared with Mellinus, 1st book, fol. 101, from Euseb.
AN EXTRACT. FROM THE LETTERS WHICH TH9
AFORE MENTIONED MARTYR PHILEAS WROTE
CONCERNING THE PERSECUTION AT ALEXAN;
DRIA, TO THE CHURCH OF CHRIST AT
THUMUS, AND LEFT FOR THE ADMONI;
TION AND CONSOLATION OF ALL BE;
LIEVERS; CONTAINING THE AW;
FULNESS OF THE TORMENTS IN;
MICTED ON THE BELIEVERS, AND
HOW STEADFASTLY THEY BORE
UP UNDER THEM
Note. The first part of the letter of bishop Phileas is translated thus by Eusebius in his "Church History, 8th book, 10th chapter."
Phileas writes: "The holy martyrs who fought with us, have left us good examples. Being taught out of the divine Scriptures; they fixed the eyes of their hearts on God, and voluntarily, without the least fear, apprehended death for the sake of the truth. For they constantly bore in mind that our Lord Jesus Christ became man for our sakes; and that He has taught us, to fight against sin even unto death. For, being equal with God, He thought it not robbery, but made Himself of no 'reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant. And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself unto death, even the death of the cross. The holy martyrs followed His example, enduring all pain and torment, that they might not stain the conscience of their faith; for the perfect love which was in them cast out all fear. It is impossible for me to describe the power, patience, and steadfastness of the martyrs, yea, it is scarcely credible except for those who have seen it with their own eyes; for they were exposed, and every one was at liberty to inflict upon them whatever contumely or torment he pleased, and if any invented a new mode of torture, he was permitted to torment them with it himself."
Thus far tusebius' translation; what now follows, is thus related by Mellinus, from the above letter of Phileas.
"As every heathen had been given full power over the Christians, to inflict upon them all manner of vexation, mockery, and ignominy, yea, to put them to death in every way; they beat some with sticks, others with rods, scourges, whips, thongs, ropes, or whatever they could the most readily lay hold of; which spectacle was changed now and then by new kinds of torture and beating which the Christians had to undergo. Some of them had their hands tied behind their backs, and were suspended from a gibbet, and then all their members were stretched apart by executioner's instruments. They were then, through the command of the magistrate, scourged with iron rods on the whole body, not only on their sides, as was customary to do with murderers, but even on the belly, the shins, buttocks, and some on all the most sensitive parts of the body. Others were suspended by one hand to the ceiling of a gallery, and thus stretched limb from limb, which exceeds every other torture. Others were tied back to back to pillars or columns, but so that their feet did not touch the ground; and the more the executioners or their assistants tightened the ropes, the more were the martyrs tormented by the weight of their own bodies. And this cruel torment lasted not only while the President was engaged in examining them, but he often let them hang a whole day in this torment. While the President or criminal judge would go from one to the other to examine them on the rack, he had his servants closely observe the first ones, to see whether any of them, overcome by the intensity of the torments, were ready to yield. He also commanded his executioners that they should tighten the ropes on them the longer the more. But if they should see that the martyrs were almost ready to die, then they should take them down, and drag them over the ground, over stones, shells, potsherds, and caltrops. For they had no other consideration for the Christians, than how they might subject them, if it were possible, to a thousand deaths just as though they were not human beings.
"Over and above all the tortures mentioned, the enemies of Christ invented still another mode of torment for his anointed, or holy martyrs; for after they had tormented them, they placed some with their feet in the block, and violently stretched apart their legs, as far as they possibly could, even to the fourth hole, and there fastened them, so that the bodies of the martyrs must of necessity lie backwards over the block, yea, that they, on account of their many wounds, could neither move nor stir. Others, who had been taken down from the racks or torture stakes, were thrown half dead upon the bare ground, which was far more horrible to behold than when they were still being tormented. Of these some died under the executioner's hands, while they were being tormented; others, in whom life was not yet extinct, were thrown half dead back into prison, and in a few days perished of pain; others, again, who triumphed over their long imprisonment, were healed and restored. These became much stronger in the faith than they had been before, and when it was left to the free choice of each of them, either to touch the shameful heathen sacrifices, and thereby be delivered from all trouble, yea, from death itself, and be invested with the former freedom; or to refuse to sacrifice, and receive sentence of death, they without the least deliberation chose the latter, and boldly went unto death, knowing full well, that it is written in the Word of God: `He that sacrificeth unto strange gods shall be cut off from the people.' Again 'Thou shalt have no other gods before me."'
Thus far the words of the martyr Phileas, which he wrote in a letter to the brethren of the church of Thumis, of which he was pastor, while he was still in prison, and before he had received his sentence of death; by which letter he wished to inform his church of his condition in prison, as well as to admonish them in the true godliness in Christ, and that they should steadfastly continue therein after his death, which was soon to follow. Compare Eusebius, concerning the death of Phileas, with A. Mellinus, 1st book, fol. 101, col. 2, 3.
CASSIAN, A CHRISTIAN SCHOOLTEACHER, BY THE
ORDER OF THE MAGISTRATE PUT TO DEATH
BY HIS HEATHEN SCHOLARS, FOR THE
TESTIMONY OF JESUS CHRIST, AT
FORUM CORNELII, A. D. 302
It is stated that in this persecution Cassian, Bishop of the church at Brescia, in Italy, being compelled to flee on account of the violent persecution, settled in the city of Forum Cornelii (at present called Imola), where he established a school for children. However, the persecution, which also there broke forth, did not spare him; for shortly afterwards he was denounced as a Christian, and apprehended. When the judges asked him what profession or trade he had, he replied that he was a schoolteacher, and taught children to read and write. He was also examined concerning his faith, and as he would not abandon it, or sacrifice to the gods, the judges sentenced him to a very unusual death, for this was his sentence: "Let the scourger, that is, the schoolteacher, be pricked, cut, and stabbed to death by his own scholars, with styles, awls, pens, penknives, and other sharp instruments such as children make use of in school."
Thereupon Cassian was stripped naked; his hands were tied behind his back, and he was thus delivered unto his scholars, to be maltreated by them in the aforesaid manner. Some of these then stoned him, some beat him with school boards and wax tablets, others stabbed him with styles, pens, penknives, and other sharp school utensils, till, after unspeakable torments, death ensued, and he having commended his soul unto God was thus released from this vale of sorrows. Compare A. Mell., lst book, fol. 104, col. 3, 4, with J. Gys., fol. 24, col. 1, ex Prudent., in Hymno; Steph. Hym., 9. Petr. de Nat., lib. 7.
EULALIA, A CHRISTIAN MAIDEN, BURNED WITH
LAMPS AND TORCHES, AND SUFFOCATED THERE;
BY, FOR THE FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST, AT
EMERITA IN LUSITANIA, A. D. 302
At this time there was a Christian maiden, called Eulalia, not more than twelve or thirteen years old, who was filled with such a desire and ardor of the spirit, to die for the name of Christ, that her parents had to take her out of the city of Merida, to some distant country seat, and closely confine her there. But this place could not extinguish the fire of her spirit, or long confine her body; for, having escaped on a certain night, she went very early the following day before the tribunal, and with a loud voice said to the judge and the whole magistracy: "Are you not ashamed to cast your own souls and those of others at once into eternal perdition by denying the only true God, the Father of us all, and the Creator of all things? O ye wretched men! do you seek the Christians, that you may put them to death? Behold, here am I, an adversary of your satanical sacrifices. I confess with heart and mouth God alone; but Isis, Apollo, and Venus are vain idols."
The judge before whose tribunal Eulalia spoke thus boldly, was filled with rage, and called the executioner, commanding him to take her away speedily, strip her, and inflict various punishments on her; so that she, said he, may feel the gods of our fathers, through the punishment, and may learn that it will be hard for her, to despise the command of our Prince (that is, of Maximian).
But before he allowed matters to proceed so far, he addressed her with these soft words : "How gladly would I spare thee! O that thou mightest renounce before thy death thy perverse views of the Christian religion? Reflect once, what great joy awaits thee, which thou mayest expect in the honorable state of matrimony. Behold, all thy friends weep for thee, and thy sorrow striken, well born kindred sigh aver thee, that thou art to die in the tender bloom of thy young life. See, the servants stand ready to torture thee to death with all sorts of torments; for thou shaft either be beheaded with the sword, or torn by the wild beasts, or singed with torches, which will cause thee to howl and wail, because thou wilt not be able to endure the pain; or, lastly be burned with fire. Thou canst escape all these tortures with little trouble, if thou wilt only take a few grains of salt and incense on the tips of thy fingers, and sacrifice it. Daughter, consent to this, and thou shaft thereby escape all these severe punishments."
This faithful martyr did not think it worth the trouble to reply either to the entreating or the threatening words of the judge, but, to say it briefly, pushed far away from her and upset* the images, the altar, censor, sacrificial book, etc.
Instantly two executioners came forward, who tore her tender limbs, and with cutting hooks or claws cut open her sides to the very ribs.
* A certain author:peaks of her having spit into the face of the
tyrant; which is to be under stood of the image or idol.
Eulalia, counting and recounting the gashes on her body, said: "Behold, Lord Jesus Christ! Thy name is being written on my body; what great delight it affords me to read these letters, because they are signs of Thy victory I Behold, my purple blood confesses Thy holy name."
This she spoke with an undaunted and happy countenance, evincing not the least sign of distress, though the blood flowed like a fountain from her body. After she had been pierced through to her ribs with pincers, they applied burning lamps and torches to the wounds in her sides, and to her abdomen. Finally the hair of her head was ignited by flames, and taking it in her mouth, she was suffocated by it. This was the end of this heroine; young in years, but old in Christ, who loved the doctrine of her Saviour more than her own life. A. Mell., 1st book, fol. 105, col. 4, and fol. 106, col. 1, 2, compared with 1. Gys., fol. 23, col. 3, ex Prudent. Steph. Hym. 3.
This happened in Lusitania, at Emerita, now called Merida or Medina del Rio Sacco, in the uttermost or lowest part of Spain, under the Emperor Maximian and the Proconsul Dacian, as may clearly be seen in ancient writers, and also in the afore mentioned authors.
EUCRATIS, A VIRTUOUS:MAIDEN, DIED IN PRISON,
AT C)ESAR AUGUSTA, AFTER RECEIVING MANY
STRIPES AND WOUNDS, FOR THE TESTI;
MONY OF JESUS, HER SAVIOUR, A. D.
After the death of Eulalia an account is given (from Prudentius) of another Christian maiden, called Eucratis, who by her steadfastness in suffering, and the violence with which she took the kingdom of heaven, put to shame the spirit of this world, at Caesar Augusta. The ancients tell us in what manner this heroine of Jesus Christ was martyred, namely, that she was not only tormented on her sides with rods and other iron instruments, but that her breasts were cut off, so that her liver could be seen; hence, having been put back into prison, she very miserably died (yet with a glad hope), in consequence of the putrefaction of: the wounds, which she had received for the name of Jesus Christ. See Mell. as cited above, from Steph. Hym. 4. Flos. Sanct. His(. Mart. Rom., 16 April.
THE SECOND YEAR OF THIS PERSECUTION BEGAN
A. D. 303
EUPLIUS, A PIOUS CHRISTIAN, BEHEADED IN THE
CITY OF CATANA IN SICILY, FOR. THE TESTI;
MONY OF JESUS.CHRIST, A. D. 303
On the 12th of August, A. D. 303, a certain pious Christian, called Euplius, was surprised by the inquisitors of the Romans, in the city of. Catana in Sicily, as he was engaged in reading the Gospel, and instructing other Christians. They apprehended him and brought him near the tribunal, in which sat the clerk of the criminal court and the judge.
Meanwhile Euplius cried aloud: "I am a Christian, and wish to die for the name of Christ."
Calvisianus, the Proconsul, hearing this, said "Bring him in here, who cried thus."
When Euplius had entered the tribunal, carrying with him the Gospel books, one of the Proconsul's friends said: ' It is not right for him to carry such papers with him contrary to the prohibition of the Emperors."
The Proconsul asked Euplius, whence he had these writings? Whether he brought them from his house?
Euplius answered: "I have no house. My Lord
Jesus Christ knows that I have no house."
Then the Proconsul commanded him with a loud voice, to read something out of the writings.
Euplius, having opened the book, read these words: "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Also: "Whosover will come after me, let him deny himself, etc.
When he had read these and like passages, the Proconsul said.: "What does all this mean?"
Euplius replied: "This is the law of my Lord, of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God."
The 'Proconsul, having heard this confession of Christ, said: "Let him be delivered unto the executioners, put to the rack, and thus examined."
He was then very grievously, yea, inhumanly tormented, and commanded to deliver up the Scriptures he had with him, and to have them burned to the dishonor of Jesus Christ. All of this he steadfastly refused to do; moreover, he openly invoked the name of Jesus Christ, because he had been found worthy to suffer for His name's sake.
Thereupon he was again led to the rack and dreadfully tormented in the same manner as before. But he suffered it patiently, and called upon the Lord, saying: "I thank Thee, O Christ! help me, O Christ! for Thy sake I suffer all this, O Christ I"
In short, the Proconsul, still more enraged by this, went into the tribunal, and gave the sentence of. death to the clerk of the criminal court, that he might write it out against this good man. Then, coming out again from the tribunal, and bringing with him the tablet containing the death sentence, he read the latter aloud, as follows: "I command that Euplius, the Christian, be slain with the sword, because he despises the gods of the Emperors, blasphemes the other gods, and does not repent." He further said: "Lead him away."
This sentence having been read, the Gospel book which he had with him when he was apprehended, was forthwith suspended to his neck, and the crier went before him, crying thus: "Euplius, the enemy of the gods and the Emperors, is led to death." Euplius went joyfully to the place where he was to be put to death, continually thanking Christ for His grace. Having arrived at the place of execution, he with ,great reverence bowed his knees, and prayed to the Lord his God. As soon as he had finished, he offered his neck to the sword, and poured out his blood as a drink offering unto the Lord. His dead body was afterwards removed by the Christians and buried. This happened at Catana, in Sicily, A. D. 303, after the twelfth day of the month of August had passed. Arta M. S. Proconsular. Baron., edit. in Annal 1, 2, A. D. 303. Alia per Metaphrastem, compared with A. Mell., 1st book, fol. 117, col. 2-4.
PANCRATIUS, A YOUTH OF FOURTEEN YEARS, BE;
HEADED FOR THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS CHRIST,
WITHOUT THE CITY OF ROME, A. D. 303
There was at that time a Christian youth of fourteen years, called Pancratius, who, when he was brought before the Emperor Diocletian found such special favor in the eyes of the latter, that he promised to adopt him as his son, if he would abandon Christ, and show honor to the gods of the Romans. But this youth, who was old in the knowledge and love of his Saviour, showed such steadfastness in defending his faith and despising the gods, that the Emperor, filled with rage, commanded that he should be decapitated, on the Aurelian way, just out of the city of Rome. Thus this youth loved the honor of his Saviour more than his own life, and hence he is justly reckoned among the number of the pious martyrs. Aeta per Sicrium, bona fide edita, secundum Mellinum, in Tract super, fol. 139, col. 4.
JUSTUS, A PIOUS AND GOD FEARING YOUTH OF
AUXERRE, IN BURGUNDY, DECAPITATED FOR
THE FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST, NEAR LUPE;
RAM, A. D. 303
When the soldiers of the Emperor Diocletian were engaged in apprehending the Christians, a certain father, called Mattheus, and his two sons, Justinian and Justus, were journeying toward Auxerre, in Burgundy, their place of residence. But having been denounced, in the meantime, by some evil informers, they were pursued by the aforesaid soldiers and four horsemen sent by the Emperor's Proconsul. The younger son, Justus, perceiving this, communicated it to his father and his brother, who hid themselves in a cave, but Justus kept watch without. When he saw the horsemen, he went to meet them. Being asked by them, who he was, and where his companions were, he replied: "I am called Justus, and I freely confess that I am also a Christian; but since I regard you as persecutors of the Christians, it is not lawful for me to betray my companions."
When they drew their swords, and threatened him with them, he answered: "Truly, I shall consider myself happy, if I may be permitted to suffer all manner of punishment, nay, death itself, for the name of Christ; for I am ready to lose my soul in this world that I may keep it unto life eternal."
Thereupon one of the soldiers drew his sword, and struck off his head. His father and his brother buried his dead body at Luperam, which place was near by. This occurred A. D. 303. Abr. Mell., ex Acta per Surimn edita, ut apparet ex Bede, Acris Rit. Micis de Sumpta.
FELIX, BISHOP OF THE CHURCH AT THIBARIS, IN
AFRICA, PUT TO DEATH WITH THE SWORD,
IN THAT CITY, FOR DEFENDING THE EVAN;
GELICAL TRUTH, A. D. 303
When Constantinus Chlorus and Galerius Maximianus were Caesars for the fourth time, the Emperors Diocletian and Maximian issued an edict to the whole world, which was transmitted to the authorities of all the colonies or free cities of the Romans, and read to this effect: that they should demand the divine books and laws of the Christians at the hands of their bishops and teachers. A copy of this edict, among others, was posted up in the city of Thibaris, in Africa, on the fifth day of the month of June.
Now when it came to pass that the fiscal Procurator of that place demanded of Felix the divine and Christian books, in order to burn them, Felix answered: "It were better, that I should be burned, than the divine Scriptures, because we must obey God rather than men."
The Procurator said: "Nevertheless, the command of the Emperors must have the precedence to thy word."
Felix replied: "God's command comes before the commands of men."
The Procurator said: "Consider well, what thou doest."
NOTE. Here we might produce the whole of the court proceedings as believed to have been recorded by the clerk of the criminal court; but in order to avoid prolixity, we shall present to the kind reader, word for word, only the last and principal part of those proceedings.
Having arrived there, the Proconsul or General commanded them to loose Felix, and ask him, saying: "O Felix, why wilt thou not deliver up the books of the Lord thy God? Or perhaps, thou dost not have any?"
Felix answered: "Indeed, I have them, but I do not wish to give them to you."
The Proconsul said: "Put Felix to death with the sword."
When Felix had received the sentence of death, he said with a loud voice: "I thank Thee, O Lord, that Thou hast redeemed me!" He was immediately led to the place where he was to die; at which time the moon was changed as into blood. .This happened on the 30th of August.
Having arrived at the place of execution, Felix lifted up his eyes toward heaven, and said with a loud voice: "O Lord God, I thank Thee, that I have lived to be fifty six years old. I have kept myself pure; have kept the Gospels or evangelical books; and have preached the faith and truth in their purity. O Lord God of heaven and earth, Jesus Christ I I bow my neck to the sword, as do offering unto Thee, who abidest in eternity, with whom there is and abideth glory and majesty forever and ever, Amen."
Thus far the account of the martyrdom of Felix has been translated word for word from the Acta Proconsularia, that is, the records of the proceedings which were approved by the heathen judges and proconsuls. Compare Abr. Mell., 1st book, fol. 117, col. 1, 2, with Act. Proconsul. extant sur tom 5, Octob. 24.
PRIMUS AND FELICIAN, TWO BROTHERS, AFTER
MANY TORMENTS, THROWN BEFORE LIONS
AND BEARS, TO BE TORN BY THEM, BUT
FINALLY BEHEADED, AT NUMENTA,
IN ITALY, A. D. .303
In the year 303 two brothers, Primus and Felician, were brought prisoners before the criminal judge of the city of Numenta, in Italy. He =first examined Felician, and asked him, whether he would rather sacrifice to the gods, and live in honors, and see good days, or be tortured unto death with all manner of torments?
Felician answered: "How canst thou speak to me of pleasant days? I am now eighty years old, and have been enlightened with the saving knowledge of Christ for about thirty years; yea, I,am still finding the greatest joy of my heart in His service. And thou wouldst persuade me to forsake my Saviour, and accept instead of Him the vain lusts of this world! Far be it from me; for I have resolved to cleave to Christ, my Lord and my God, to the very last breath of my life."
Thereupon this good old man was put in prison, and his brother Primus brought forth, whom the judge endeavored to persuade that Felician, his dear old brother, had apostatized. But Primus was confident that the contrary was true; therefore he said that it was a lie. Upon this he was beaten with sticks, and burned on his loins with lamps. But he sang with the prophet David: "O Lord, Thou hast proved us with fire, as silver is tried."
Then both were tormented, in different ways. Molten lead was poured down Primus' throat, while Felician was beaten with leaded scourges, nailed with his hands and feet to a stake, and inhumanly tortured. Both were cast before the lions and bears; but as these would not harm them the judge caused the martyrs to be beheaded and their dead bodies laid on the ground for the dogs and the birds of the air. However, they were buried by the Christians. Acta per eundem. Also, A. Mell., 1st book, fol. 114, col. 2.
THE THIRD YEAR OF THE PERSECUTION, COMMENCED A. D. 304
In the third year of the persecution, the obdurate heart of the bloodthirsty Emperor Diocletian had not yet softened, seeing he and his associate Maximian steadily went on putting to death the poor Christian believers, as appears from the death of the following persons.
APPHIAN, A GOD FEARING YOUTH, DROWNED IN
THE SEA AT C2ESAREA, IN 'PALESTINE, BE;
CAUSE HE DEFENDED THE HONOR OF,
JESUS CHRIST, AND REPROVED IDOL
ATRY, A. D. 304
When the third year of the afore mentioned persecution had begun; the second oppression of the Christians arose in Palestine, through letters which had been sent in the Emperor's name to Urbanus, the Proconsul; whereby the magistrates of every city were commanded: to exert the utmost diligence, that all Christians, men and women, old and young, would sacrifice to the gods; and that the criers should call together in the city of Caesarea, men, women, and children, to assemble in the temples of the idols; and also that the chief men of every quarter of the city should read off from their lists, the name of every citizen, so as to make it impossible for any one to conceal himself. This caused great misery and distress throughout the whole city.
When it came to pass, on the first day of the goddess Hecate, that the Proconsul of Palestine was engaged in offering his sacrifice, Apphian, who was not yet twenty years old, went undauntedly to the Proconsul, and reproved him for his wicked idolatry, admonishing him to desist from it. Instantly the youth was frightfully torn as by wild beasts by the bodygards of the Proconsul, suffering stripes without number from them, which he endured with great steadfastness. Thereupon he was imprisoned for awhile, but was then brought forth again, and dreadfully tormented. He was beaten so inhumanly in his face and on his neck, that owing to the wounds and the swelling of his face he was so disfigured, that those who formerly knew him well, now no longer recognized him. At the command of the Proconsul they also took linen cloths, which they had saturated with oil, wound them around his bare legs, and then set them on fire, so that the flames leaped up high, consuming not only the flesh off the bones, but even melting the marrow within them, causing it to trickle down; which must have caused a pain beyond all comparison. But in all this he remained steadfast. Three days after this he was again brought before the judge, and received sentence of death, namely, that he should be drowned in the sea; which sentence was executed on the second of April, A. D. 304. Compare Abr. Mell., 1st book, fol. 123, col. 1, 2, with Eus., lib. 8, cap. 14.
ULPIAN, A PIOUS YOUNG MAN, CAST INTO THE SEA,
AND DROWNED, NEAR THE CITY OF TYRE, FOR
THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS CHRIST, A. D.
About that time, almost in those very days, another youth, named Ulpian, was brought forth in the city of Tyre, who, after having been long and very severely tormented, was finally sentenced to an unusual death, for the testimony of Jesus Christ, namely: to be wrapped stark naked, together with a dog and an adder, in the fresh hide of an ox or cow and thus thrown into the sea. This sentence was executed near the city of Tyre.; but the sea shall give up its dead, and then shall this pious witness of Jesus Christ, and his fellow brethren be rewarded and crowned by the Lord with the crown of immortality. Vide supra Mellin., ex Euseb. Hist., lib. 8, cap. 15.
AEDESIUS, BROTHER OF THE AFORE MENTIONED
APPHIAN, FIRST BANISHED TO THE MINES OF
PALESTINE, AND AFTERWARDS DROWNED
IN THE SEA, AT ALEXANDRIA, FOR
THE TESTIMONY OF THE LORD,
A. D. 304
Shortly after the death of the martyrs Apphian and Ulpian, the enemies of the divine and .Christian truth laid their hands on Aedesius, the brother of Apphian. After making many excellent confessions for the name of the Lord, he was sentenced to be sent as a slave to the mines of Palestine.
Finally, when he happened to see, in the city of Alexandria, how the Proconsul pronounced sentence of death upon the Christians, and sometimes caused manifold indignities to be heaped upon aged persons, together with other wickednesses practiced by him, he boldly went into the court to the judge, and openly eproved him on account of the unjust and wicked sentences he pronounced upon the innocent Christians. For this he was most unmercifully tormented, which pains he meekly and not less steadfastly endured. He was then thrown into the sea, and drowned, even as had been done with his brother. See the above cited books.
AGATHOPUS, A DEACON, AND THEODULUS, A
LECTOR, OF THE THESSALONIAN CHURCH,
DROWNED NEAR THESSALONICA, FOR
THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS CHRIST,
A. D. 304
In that same year, two pious Christians of Thessalonica, Agathopus, a deacon, and Theodulus, a lector, of the Thessalonian church, were apprehended for the testimony of Jesus Christ, and brought before Faustin, the Governor of the city. He first took up Theodulus, the younger, to torment him, causing him to be stripped and bound. While Theodulus was being tormented, the crier called to him: "Sacrifice, and thou shalt be released." Theodulus answered: "You may strip my body, but you shall never turn my heart and mind from the faith in God."
As they both went to hear their sentence of death, their friends cried and wailed most bitterly, so that the sound of it seemed to ascend to heaven; but Theodulus said to them, with a happy countenance
"If you weep for our friendship's sake, I tell you, that you ought rather to rejoice, because we are tried in so honorable a conflict; but if you envy us this happiness, and are sad because you are not partakers of it, the door of blessedness stands open for you, too, and the proclamation of faith calls: Come ye all to Christ; but it gives the crown of eternal life only to those who are drawn back neither by riches, nor by voluptuousness, nor by the honor of this world."
Finally, the judge gave sentence, that their hands should be tied behind their backs, and heavy stones be fastened to their necks, and that they should thus be drowned; which they steadfastly endured,. and are therefore reckoned among the number of the holy martyrs. A. M. fol. 140, col. 1, ex Act. per Metaph.
JULITTA OF ICONIA, AN HONORABLE WIDOW, AFTER
MUCH FLEEING FINALLY BEHEADED FOR THE
NAME OF THE LORD, AT TARSUS, IN
CILICIA, A. D. 304
When Diocletian's persecution was at its highest, a certain widow of Iconia tried to flee from it; wherefore she went with her child, which was three ,ears old, from Lyconia to Seleucia, and from there to Tarsus, in Cilicia. But she could not remain concealed there from the heat of the persecution; for Alexander, the Proconsul who had jurisdiction there, apprehended her. After many vain efforts to persuade her to renounce the Christian faith, lie caused her to be scourged with tough cowhides.
In the meantime he endeavored to quiet the frightened child, called Quiricus, by many pleasant and coaxing words; but the child resisted with hands and feet, refusing to be caressed by the tyrant, and finally ran to his mother. However, the tyrant caught him up again; but this did not turn out very peacefully or pleasantly, for the child scratched his face, and kicked his sides, so that the pain quite enraged him. He therefore took the child by his legs and pitched him head foremost down the stone stairs. The mother, seeing this, thus addressed the tyrant: "Thou needest not think that I am so timid as to be conquered by thy cruelties; for the tearing of my body shall not intimidate me, nor the racking of my members move my spirit; neither shall the threats of the fire, nor death itself be able to separate me from the love of Christ.
The greater the torments are with which you threaten me, the more acceptable they are to me; for I hope thereby the sooner to come to my dear son, and to receive with him the crown of righteousness at the hand of Christ."
Upon this confession, the Proconsul had her suspended to the torture stake, her flesh torn with iron combs, melted pitch poured over her naked body and fresh wounds, and finally caused her to be beheaded. Acta Fidelia, per Metaphrastem, compared with A. Mell., 1st book, fol. 140, col. 1, 2.
FORTY YOUTHS, WHO CONFESSED CHRIST THEIR
SAVIOUR, THROWN INTO A COLD POOL, AND
BURNED ALIVE THE FOLLOWING DAY, AT
ANTIOCH, A. D. 304
When the East as well as the West was exceedingly disturbed on account of the violence of the persecution, there manifested themselves in the East, namely at Antioch, forty pious youths, as valiant champions of Jesus Christ, inasmuch as they openly and boldly confessed the Son of God, Jesus Christ, as their Saviour. Thereupon, the Governor of that place, after they had been apprehended, strenuously exerted himself to move them from the faith; but when all his efforts proved unsuccessful, he had them stripped naked, in the coldest part of the winter, and cast into a very cold pool. But as they were still alive the next day, he caused them to be burned to powder.
One of them, who in consideration of his extreme youthfulness had, through compassion, been restored to his mother, was placed by the latter with her own hands upon the wagon in which the others lay, and exhorted, to finish this blessed course with his fellow brethren. This happened in the third year of the persecution, A. D. 304. Joh. Gys., fol. 23, col. 3, ex Bas. de 40 Martyr.
FOURTH YEAR OF THE PERSECUTION, COMMENCED
A. D. 305
Galerius Maximian, continuing in the persecution which had been begun, and carried into execution, with great bitterness, by Diocletian and Maximian, exercised much cruelty, through Peucetius, Quintinian, Theotecnus, and other Proconsuls, against the poor Christians; burning them alive; throwing them before wild beasts, to be torn by them; nailing them to crosses; drowning multitudes of them in the sea; starving them to death in the prisons; beheading them; cutting off their hands and feet, and then giving them their life; but when they would make use of the favor granted them, spoiling them of all:their goods, and driving them away into misery.
Touching those who were slain there, the following, among others, are mentioned by name.
SYLVANUS, JANUARIUS, SOSIUS, PROCULUS, PELA;
GIA, THEONAS, CYRENIA, AND JULIANA, ALL
OF WHOM LAID DOWN THEIR LIVES
FOR THE EVANGELICAL TRUTH,
A. D. 305
Sylvanus, Bishop of the church of Emissa, a city of Apamea, in Syria, was, with many others, thrown before the wild beasts, to be devoured by them.
Januarius, Bishop of the church of Beneventum; Sosius, a. deacon of the church of Misenum; Proculus, deacon, at Pussolis, and others, were beheaded together.
Pelagia was suffocated in a red hot ox.
Theonas, with his companions, Cyrenia and Juliana, were deprived of life by other methods. Joh. Gys., about the death of Januarius and Sosius: Abr. Mell., fol. 141, ex Act. per Johdnnem Januarii Diaconum conscripta per surium edita.
THE FIFTH YEAR OF THE PERSECUTION, COM;
MENCED A. D. 306)
In this year the persecution was not so severe as in some of the preceding ones; wherefore there were not many martyrs at this time. However, the ancients have recorded a few, whom we shall presently mention.
THEODOSIA, A GOD FEARING MAIDEN OF THE CITY
OF TYRE, WHO CAME TO COMFORT THE BOUND
MARTYRS, DROWNED IN THE SEA AT C)ESA;
REA, A. D. 306)
When the fifth year of the tenth persecution had come, on the second day of the month of April, the Sunday of the resurrection of our Saviour, Theodosia, a God fearing maiden of the city of Tyre, about eighteen years old, came to some bound martyrs at Caesarea, as they were standing before the tribunal, to receive their sentence of death. Her reason in doing so was affectionately to greet them, and to comfort them in their extremity.
Thereupon she was instantly seized by the soldiers, and brought before the Proconsul, who forthwith caused her to be maltreated as though he had been bereft of reason; for he did not have her tortured with all manner of dreadful torments, on her sides only, as was generally the custom, but he also caused her breasts to be torn open to the very bones, and then cut off. All this she suffered steadfastly and with a happy countenance; but when by reason of the intensity of the pain she could scarcely draw her breath any longer, so that it seemed that she would soon cease to live, the Proconsul had her thrown into the sea; and thus this faithful heroine of Jesus Christ was numbered among her slain fellow brethren and sisters. See A. Mell., 1st book, fol. 124, col. 2, 3, from Euseb., lib. 8. Also, J. Gys. on the name Theodosia.
PAMPHILIUS, AN ELDER OF THE CHURCH AT CXS;
AREA IN PALESTINE, MOST MISERABLY MAR;
TYRED THERE, FOR THE NAME OF JESUS
CHRIST, A. D. 306
This Pamphilius was an elder of the church at Caesarea, and a very eloquent, learned and godly man. It is stated of him that after much suffering and tribulation he underwent the conflict of martyrdom, for the name of Christ, and was thus numbered among the heroes of the bloody banner of Jesus Christ. It appears that he was a special friend of Eusebius Parnphilius, so that some are of the opinion, that the latter took his surname Pamphilius from him. This much is certain, that he wrote the following concerning him, as ancient authors have informed us: "Among those who were variously afflicted and vexed, and kept in chains and bonds at Caesarea, by Urban, the Proconsul of Palestine, was also Pamphilius, my most faithful friend, who probably was the chiefest martyr of our time, and the most celebrated in all manner of virtue and godliness." A. Mill., 1st book, fol. 124, col. 3, 4, from Eusebius and Jerome, compare with J. Gys., fol. 26, col. 4.
THE SIXTH YEAR OF THE PERSECUTION, COU;
MENCED A. D. 307
From among those who were put to death in the sixth year of Diocletian's persecution, we have selected the following.
ENNATHAS, A CHRISTIAN MAIDEN FROM THE CITY
OF SCYTHOPOLIS, BURNED ALIVE IN PALES;
TINE, FOR THE, CONFESSION OF THE
CHRISTIAN FAITH, A. D. 307
When some Christians, in their zeal . for the truth, had reproved Firmilian, the Proconsul of Palestine, . for his great idolatry, and were: put to death on this account, on the thirteenth of November, A. D. 307, a certain young maiden, named Ennathas, a native of the city of Scythopolis, came there on:the same day, not of her own accord, however, but through compulsion, and, together with the others, boldly laid down her life for the name of Jesus Christ. She was at first most unmercifully treated, nay, in a manner too shameful and horrible for description. Finally, when she remained steadfast nevertheless, in the confession of her faith, the judge pronounced sentence of death upon her, namely, that she should be burnt alive; and thus this pious martyr pressed through the strait gate, leaving her flesh on the posts; which the Lord shall afterwards crown and reward with glory and majesty. See A. Mell., 1st book, fol. 125, col. 4, from Euseb., J. Gys., fol. 26, col, 4.
CATHARINA, AN HONORABLE MAIDEN OF ALEXAN;
DRIA, BEHEADED AFTER MANY TORMENTS,
FOR THE FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST,
A. D. 307
It is stated that on the 25th of November of the same year, Catharina, an honorable maiden of Alexandria, was beheaded, for the faith in Jesus Christ, after having suffered many torments. J. Gys.; fol. 26, col. 4.
THE SEVENTH YEAR OF THE PERSECUTION, COM;
MENCED A. D. 308
It is stated that in the seventh year of the persecution the following persons were slain for the confession of the evangelical truth.
SOME PIOUS CHRISTIANS WHO WENT TO VISIT
THEIR CONFINED FELLOW. BRETHREN, APPRE;
HENDED.AT CESAREA, AND BANISHED TO
THE MINES; BUT THREE OF THEM,
NAMELY, . ARES, PROMUS, AND
ELIAS, PUT TO DEATH AT
ASKALON, A. D. 308
About the beginning of the year 308, some Godfearing Christians left Egypt, with the intention of journeying to Cilicia, to supply those, who for the confession of the faith had been banished to the mines there, with some needful things in their misery and poverty. They were apprehended at Caesarea by the guard at the gate of the city. Some of them were sent into misery and slavery through the same sentence, which consisted of this, that the right eye was to be put out, and the left kneepan cut away, and the wound seared; and thus with one eye and one leg they were compelled to labor in this hard slavery.
Three of their number were apprehended at Askalon, in Palestine, and were tormented in various ways, because they steadfastly confessed their faith. One of them, named Ares, was burnt alive; the other two, Promus and Elias, were beheaded, and thus departed this life in a godly manner. A. Melt., 1st book, fol. 126, eol. 1, from Euseb.
PETER APSELAMUS, A YOUNG MAN, BURNED ALIVE
AT CIESAREA FOR THE NAME OF JESUS
CHRIST, A. D. 308
Shortly afterwards (on the 11th of January), a pious man called Peter, and surnamed Apselamus, was apprehended. He was a native of Amea., a village in the neighborhood of Elentheropolis. For some time he led the life of a recluse, having retired into solitude to give himself over to divine meditations.
Though the judge and the other members of the tribunal had begged him again and again, to have compassion upon himself and his youth (for he was yet in the bloom of life), he disregarded it all, putting his entire confidence in the living and true God, whom he loved more than all this world contains, yea, than his own life. Finally he suffered his confidence in Christ, his Saviour, to be tried, as precious gold, by fire, and was burned alive at Caesarea, for the. name of Jesus Christ, having commended his soul into the hands of God. Idem, Ibidem, ex Euseb., lib. 8.
BIBLIS, AQUILINA, AND FORTUNATA, THREE GOD;
FEARING CHRISTIAN WOMEN, PUT TO DEATH
FOR THE DIVINE TRUTH, IN PALESTINE,
A. n. 308
Among various other martyrs who suffered for the testimony of Jesus Christ in the seventh year of Diocletian's persecution, we have noticed that there were also several honorable Christian women who, from love to their Saviour, did not hesitate to give their lives for the truth. They were called Biblis, Aquilina, a girl of twelve years, and Fortunata, a maiden of Caesarea; who together laid down their lives .for the truth, in Palestine. 1. Gys., fol. 26, cot. 3, compared with A. M., fol. 131, cot. 3, ex Mart. Rom. Memol. Grec. MetaQhrast. 13 Junii.
THE EIGHTH YEAR OF THE PERSECUTION, COM;
MENCED A. D. 309
It is related that at this time the modes of torture and of putting to death were various. Some were beheaded with the axe, as was mostly done with the martyrs in Arabia. Some had their legs broken on the wheel, as was the case with those who confessed the name of Christ in Cappadocia. Others were hung up by their heels, with the head close to the ground, and then suffocated by a small fire, as was the case in Mesopotamia. Some had their noses, ears, hands, feet, and other members, cut off, as was done to those at Alexandria. At Antioch some were roasted on frying pans, not unto death, but to intensify the pain. But the sufferings inflicted upon the poor martyrs in Pontus are horrible to relate; for some had sharp splints of reed thrust between the nails and the flesh of their fingers; others had melted lead poured over their naked bodies; some had their secret parts singed and seared, in the invention of which tortures the judges and proconsuls vied with one another, even as though they wished thereby to manifest their great ingenuity, and their tyranny against the Christians. See concerning this, A. Mell., fol. 128, cot. 1, 2.
TWO SISTERS AT ANTIOCH DROWNED IN THE SEA,
BECAUSE THEY WOULD NOT RENOUNCE CHRIST
THEIR SAVIOUR, A. D. 309
In the eighth year of Diocletian's persecution, that is A. D. 309, there were at Antioch two sisters, young maidens, of modest manners and pious life, intelligent and well informed in the way of godliness; so that the world was not worthy, to contain them any longer. They were apprehended and examined, and, clinging steadfastly to Christ, cast into the depths of the sea, and drowned, by the servants of Satan. See the above named author, in the same book, fol. 129, cot. 1, from Euseb.
IRENE AND HER TWO SISTERS, BURNED ALIVE FOR
THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS CHRIST, A. D. 309
In the records written, through the clerk of the criminal court, by the Proconsul Dulcetius, concerning some pious martyrs, there is pronounced, at the close, a certain sentence of death over three sisters, who steadfastly continued in the truth of Christ. The last part of the afore mentioned records contain, in regard to this, the following words: "And when he (Dulcetius) had demanded paper, he wrote this sentence of death.: `Whereas Irene would not obey the decree of the Emperors, and sacrifice to the gods, and does still remain a Christian, therefore I command that she be burned alive, as her two sisters were.' "
When the criminal judge had pronounced this sentence upon Irene, the soldiers took her and brought her upon an elevated place, where her sisters had died; and when they had built a great fire of wood, they made her climb upon it; and there, after singing sweet psalms and hymns of praise to the honor of God, she was consumed by the flames. A. Mell., fol. 130 and 131, cot. 1, ex Act. Tier. Proconsular. aped Metaph. Also, Actca cognitionis novissime diei.
PETER, NILUS, AND P. MYTHIUS, BURNED IN EGYPT;
FORTY BEHEADED; MARTIONILLA, EUPHRA;
TESIA, SEVEN BROTHERS, AND OTHERS,
PUT TO DEATH AT ANTIOCH,
A. D. 309
It is stated that besides the afore mentioned martyrs there were put to death by fire in Egypt, for the name of the Lord, three pious Christians, named Peter, Nilus, and P. Mythius; forty others were beheaded; and for the same reason, Martionilla, Euphratesia, seven brothers, and various others, also laid down their lives for the truth. J. Gys., fol. 27, cot. 1.
THE NINTH YEAR OF THE PERSECUTION, COM;
MENCED A. D. 310
The ancients tell us that Maximinus Jovius instituted at this time a special persecution at Antioch, through the instrumentality of one Theotecnus; to which end he caused an image to be erected, in honor of Jupiter Philius (the god of friendship), by which whether through Satan or through jugglery certain oracles were uttered, to the effect, that God had commanded that the Christians, as His special enemies, should be driven out of every country, city, and field, and be exterminated, the sooner the better. A. Mell., fol. 134, from Euseb.
It is easy to judge that this false and bloodthirsty voice, having fallen as a true oracle into the hearts of the heathen, caused not a little shedding of blood, oppression, and burning among the innocent and defenseless lambs of Christ, as we shall presently in some measure show.
LUCIAN, AN ELDER OF THE CHURCH OF CHRIST AT ANTIOCH, AFTER HAVING CONFESSED THE FAITH, CAST INTO PRISON, AND PUT TO
DEATH THERE, A. D. 310
Among the many pious witnesses of Jesus Christ, who laid down their lives for the truth, Lucian, who was an elder of the church at Antioch, was not one of the least; for it is stated of him, that he was a very godly, wise, and eloquent man, well versed in the Scriptures, but above all, that he boldly sealed all this with his blood and death, to the honor of God.
The judge asked him as he stood before his judgment seat, saying: "O Lucian, how does it come that thou, who art such a wise man, dost follow this sect, for which thou canst give no reason at all? Or, if thou hast any, let us hear it."
Having obtained permission to speak, he made a very excellent and glorious profession of his faith; which would well reserve a place here, were we not, in order to avoid prolixity, compelled to omit it. As soon as he had ended his confession, and the people had in some measure, been drawn over to his views, the judge commanded them to lock him up again in prison, and to put him to death there; which, as the ancient writers relate, was accordingly done. But God shall reveal it all on the last day, and reward every one according to his works. Compare with A. M., fol. 135, cot. 1-4, ex Eusebio and Ruffino, in Hist., Eccles. Hier. Cataal. in Luciano.
NOTE. Some place this Lucian in the tenth year of the persecution, namely, in A. D. 311.
PETER, FAUSTUS, DIDIUS, AND AMMONIUS, WHO
MINISTERED TO THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST
AT ALEXANDRIA, PUT TO DEATH FOR
THE FAITH IN THE SON OF GOD,
A. D. 310
At this time there were persecuted, by virtue of the bloody decree of Maximian, a number of Godfearing and learned men, who adhered to Christ by a true confession; of whom we shall briefly present a few, mentioning also the place and time of their death. Peter, bishop of the church of Christ at Alexandria, and Faustus, Didius, and Ammonius, all three elders, were put to death for the faith in Jesus Christ, on the 28th day of November, A. D. 310. There were also several other bishops in Egypt, who laid down their lives for the same reason. Compare J. Gys., fol. 27, cot. 1, with A. Mell., 1st book, fol. 136, cot. 4, from Eusebius, Epiphanius, Athanasius.
ANYSIA, A YOUNG GIRL OF THESSALONICA, SLAIN
IN THE TEMPLE, AT ALEXANDRIA, BECAUSE
OF HER CHRISTIAN FAITH, A. D. 310
Anysia, a girl of Thessalonica, born of wealthy Christian parents, was slain in the temple at Alexandria, because of her Christian faith, at the time when Maximian had issued a decree authorizing everyone to kill the Christians wherever they might be found. J. Gys., fol. 27, cot. 2.
DEMETRIUS, A CHRISTIAN TEACHER, PUT TO DEATH
FOR THE TRUE CHRISTIAN TRUTH, AT ALEX;
ANDRIA, A. D. 310
At the same time and place, also Demetrius, a remarkably virtuous and zealous teacher, sealed the genuine, divine and Christian truth with his blood. Idem, Ibidem.
THEODORUS, PHILEMON, AND CYRILLA, PUT TO
DEATH FOR THEIR LOVE TO THEIR SAVIOUR,
A. D. 310
Besides the preceding ones, we find that there were put to death, for the name of the Lord, and their love to their Saviour, Theodorus, a bishop of the church of Christ, Philemon, and Cyrilla. See the above mentioned author, in the same book, fol. 27, cot. 3, ex hinc., lib. 12, cap. 149.
THE TENTH OR LAST YEAR OF THIS PERSECUTION,
COMMENCED A. D. 311
We shall speak but briefly of the last year of this persecution, since ancient writers have left us little information in regard to it. Nevertheless, there were some at that time, who laid down their lives for the truth; among whom the following are mentioned.
EUGENIUS, AUXENTIUS, MAODATIUS, AND MANY
OTHERS, AFTER MANY TORMENTS PUT '1'O
DEATH IN VARIOUS WAYS, FOR THE
TESTIMONY OF JESUS CHRIST,
A. D. 311
Eugenius, because he confessed Christ, and had reproved the wickedness of the heathen, had his tongue cut out, and his arms and legs broken, and thus departed this life, steadfastly continuing in the Lord.
Auxentius, a deacon of the Christian church at Auracea, in Asia, was beheaded for the same reason for the faith in Christ.
Maodatius was hung up by his toes, and, having been pierced with red hot awls, and burned with torches, was deprived of life, for the testimony of Jesus.
Besides these, many others were put to death for the faith, whose name cannot be given; hence we shall content ourselves with those already mentioned. See J. Gys., fol. 27, cot. 4, at the foot, and fol. 28, cot. 1.
In the Introduction to the Martyrs' Mirror, fol. 44 and 45, there are mentioned, besides the ten general persecutions, which we have described, two others, there called the eleventh and the twelfth persecutions; of which the former is said to have begun, A. D. 316, under Lucinius, who, together with Constantine the Great, reigned in' the east; and the second, A. D. 362, under Julian the Apostate. But since other eminent writers do not pronounce these persecutions as general ones, we shall give no special account of them; however, if any true martyrs were put to death at that time, We hope to mention each in his proper place. Under Lucinius, there laid down their lives for the faith in the Son of God, according to the testimony of the ancients, the following persons.
BASILEUS, BISHOP AT PONTUS; AMMON, A DEACON;
ABOUT FORTY WOMEN; AND OTHERS, PUT TO
DEATH BY FIRE, WATER, AND ICE,
A. D. 316
When it was thought that the previous persecutions, especially that under Diocletian and Maximian, should have quenched the bloodthirstiness of the great, Lucinius, who occupied the imperial throne in the east, was still not content therewith. For when the winds of blood, fanned on by Satan, blew through his head, he caused to be put to death without mercy, various pious Christians, namely
Basileus, bishop of the church of Christ at Amasen, in Pontus; Ammon, a deacon; and about forty women, whom he had killed, some by fire, and some by water; as well as various other pious martyrs, whom he had put in the cold ice, thus causing their death. This happened about the tenth year of the reign of Lucianius, which agrees with A. D. 316. Introd., fol. 44, col. 1, 2.
TWO BROTHERS, DONOTIAN AND ROGATIAN, BE;
HEADED FOR THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS
CHRIST, A. D. 360
Thefe were two brothers, Donotian and Rogation, tines of Italy; one of whom, Donotian, had accepted the true Christian faith, and been baptized upon it; but the other, Rogatian, had not yet received baptism, was, however, a neophyte or catechumen, having been brought to the knowledge of the Christian truth through the instrurnentality of his brother. Both were apprehended. Then Rogation wished greatly that he had been baptized, for he knew that he would have to die; but that could not be, as there was no opportunity. His brother, Donotian, therefore prayed to God, that his blood might be accounted to him for the sacrament of baptism. The next day both were beheaded, A. D. 360. P. J. Tuasck, Chron., 4th book, fol. 106, col. 2, front the tract, Grondig Bewijs van den Heyligen Doop, letter B. Also, Leowlt, in tract., lib. 2. These authors must be compared with each other.
The persecution which took place under Julian, the Apostate, did not destroy the bodies as much as the souls. For since he was a very crafty man, and had an eloquent, yet deceitful, tongue, he did more harm to the church of God by his flattery, than by tyranny. Nevertheless, several of the true Christians were martyred under his reign; who would rather through the way of death enter life eternal, than through the way of temporal life, by flattery, fall into eternal death and damnation; as shall presently be shown.
JOHN AND PAUL, WHO OPPOSED WAR, PUT TO
DEATH AS HERETICS, UNDER JULIAN THE
APOSTATE, ABOUT A. D. 363
There were two special friends, John and Paul, who opposed war and bloodshed. They were called to war, and urged to engage in it, but as they would not consent to it, they were therefore, as well as because of their true Christian confession, put to death as heretics. Concerning this, different authors write thus: "John and Paul had to die, because they would not engage in warfare, but replied to the Apostate: `We are Christians; it is not lawful for us to engage in war."' In Grondelijke Verklaringe Danielis, en Johannis OQenbaringe, printed by Harlem, A. D. 1635, page 56, from various other authors.
SOME PIOUS PEOPLE, WHO, IN ACCORDANCE WITH
THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST, REFUSED TO
ENGAGE IN WARFARE, VERY CRUELLY
PUT TO DEATH BY THE EMPEROR
VALENS, A. D. 368
After the death of the Emperor Julian, Jovian reigned, and after the death of the latter, the empire devolved on Valentinian, who is commonly called Valens. He, too, stained his hands with the blood of the Christians, yet not so excessively as some of his predecessors. Nevertheless, he cannot be excused, seeing he caused some pious people who observed the doctrine of Christ to be put to a very cruel death, because they, like the above mentioned John and Paul, refused to perform military service. Compare P. J. Twisck, Chron., 4th book, p. 114, col. 1, with Jan. Crespin, in his tract, treating of the oppressions, fol. 114.
We might have adduced more martyrs for this century, but since that which the ancients have written with respect to their lives, as well as their faith and religion is doubtful, we have not deemed it well to proceed further, and shall, therefore, content ourselves with the true martyrs of whom we have already given account, and those of whom we hope to give an account in the following centuries.
|« Prev||Fourth Century||Next »|