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AN ACCOUNT OF THE HOLY BAPTISM
IN THE TENTH CENTURY
SUMMARY OF BAPTISM IN THE TENTH CENTURY
[The corruption of this century, caused by the papal superstitions, is sadly lamented by Jacob Mehrning and P. J. Twisck.
Nevertheless, it is shown thereupon, that in the midst of papal darkness there were still some who, in the matter of holy baptism, did not differ from the institution of Christ and His apostles.
Giselbert teaches, that baptism must be connected with regeneration and a good will.
Then follows Ansbert, who declares that Christ, through preaching and baptism, is still daily bringing unto Himself heirs; that we must be baptized upon the confession of the holy Trinity; and that after baptism we may sin no more.
Smaragdus follows next and says that it is impossible for the body to receive the mystery of baptism aright, if the soul has not previously accepted the truth of the faith; that the excellent ordinance o f the baptism o f Christ commands the apostles first to teach all nations, and then to incorporate them by the baptism of faith.
Then appears Theophilact, who produces very excellent testimonies concerning baptism; as, among others, that the baptized have put on Christ, Gal. 3:27; that the candidates are like the prodigal son when he was converted; that he is not baptized aright, who has not believed;, that in baptism all believers are enlightened by the Holy Ghost; that no one may be recognized as a believer, who is unregenerated or lives after the flesh; that the truly baptized may not drive away the Holy Spirit by wicked works, but must preserve the image of God unspotted; that the good profession of which we read, I Tim. 6:12, must take place at the instruction of those that are to be baptized; that those baptized by John, were delivered by repentance from the bonds of the soul; that the novices repented before baptism; that the Supper was administered to the baptized, etc.
Thereupon it is stated, from D. Vicecomes, that the papists, when infant baptism was introduced among them, abolished the practice of administering the Supper to the baptized. It is furthermore demonstrated, that the Romanists ought to have abolished infant baptism just as well as the infant Supper.
The baptism of Olympius, his wife Exuperia, and his son Theodulus, is adduced, from Simon Metaphrastes; also, of the baptism of Theridates, and Nemesius.
Fulbertus Carnotenses is the last witness respecting holy baptism.]
We now pass over to the tenth century after the birth of Christ, to find in it, as we have done in the preceding times, the marks of the Christian believers, namely, the true baptism with its observance according to the institution of Christ and the practice of His apostles; which, as we shall show in the proper place, obtained and was practiced also at this time, though under great difficulties.
Yet, what shall we say of this century? Many well disposed persons, who loved the truth, abhorred and detested it, because the innumerable human superstitions of the Roman church had risen nigh unto heaven, and the pure commandments of Jesus Christ, without the observance of which men cannot be saved, had been cast almost down into the pit. This was the century concerning which much woful lamentation was made, because papal tyranny, in the matter of worship, had increased so exceedingly. Of these things (after the title), the following is contained in Jacob Mehrning's History of Baptism.
OF THE DEPLORABLE STATE OF THE WORSHIP OF
GOD IN THE TENTH CENTURY
"In the tenth century the dominion of the Roman pope had exceedingly obscured, and taken possession of, nearly all the churches in Europe, so that everything had to be done according to his pleasure, both in spiritual and secular governments; hence, great darkness prevailed at this time, in which but very few learned, virtuous, and celebrated men lived. For fear of the great tyranny, one dared scarcely speak the least word of the adulteration of the doctrine, or the abuses in the false worship, and the increase of the abominable blasphemies; for, as soon as those who knew better, and feared God, uttered the least word of opposition, the pope instantly thundered, with hail and lightning as it were, excommunications from the Roman chair, so that every one was terrified, since also the secular lords were bewitched and controlled by him. Was it to be wondered at, then, that the corruptions with reference to baptism, increased the longer the more?" Bapt. Hist., p. 556, from Magd. Cent. 10, cap. 1.
Touching the abuses in and about baptism, which were then introduced the decree of the pope and the councils, they are noticed by different .writers, as may be seen in Cent. Magd., Cent., 10, cap. 6, 10, 11.
In short, whereas formerly the catechumens had not been baptized until, after proper instruction, they had given an account of their faith, either on Easter or Whitsuntide, it was now ordained, that, when death or peril of life was apprehended, they should be baptized immediately. Metaphr., lib. 2, cap. 5.
Whereas baptism had formerly been administered with unblessed or unconsecrated water, it was now blessed and consecrated, yea, the chrism was used, the sign of the cross on the forehead, the oil of chrism. BaÂ¢t. Hist., page 576, num. 13.
But the most ridiculous of all was, that, whereas formerly only human beings bad been baptized, Pope John XIV now commanded that the great bell in the Lateran church should be baptized and named after him. Bapt. Hist., page 577, ex Balaeo Centur. 2. P. J. Twisck, Chron., 10th book, for the year 965, pare 341, col. 1.
These exceeding great errors of the Roman church, and the dreadful darkness in which all nations, with the exception of a few pious people, sat during those dreary times, is described in P. J. Twisck's Chronijk, in the conclusion of the thousandth year, with the following words (after the title)
FURTHER OBSERVATIONS CONCERNING THE DE;
PLORABLE STATE OF THE WORSHIP OF
GOD IN THIS CENTURY
"As far as regards the preceding century, I cannot speak of any improvement, inasmuch as the secular affairs manifested themselves with much commotion, strife, misery, and distress. Papal dominion prevailed more and more. The idolatrous ceremonies were very prolific; the baptismal water was consecrated; the oil was prepared by the bishop alone, two days before Easter, as well as imparted to others; the Supper, or sacrament, was administered nearly every Sunday, at an altar or table prepared for this purpose. Excommunication or the ban of the church was used very frivolously, not only against common people, but also against emperors, kings, and princes. The punishment imposed upon penitents consisted much in abstaining for seven years from certain food, meat and wine, or in the giving of alms, building of churches, founding of cloisters, and other like inventions and burdens, according to the ability and mind of each respective individual.
"It was taught, that the saints must be worshiped; not that they should save the supplicants, but that they should intercede, and ask God for help for them.
"Holy people were presented, who had died before the time of Christ, in the Old Testament, and who, as it was said, had been in hell, yet without pain a strange notion and wicked doctrine respecting the holy fathers.
"It was said that there was a purgatory, where men had to atone after this life, and wash away sin by suffering.
"The canonizing of ecclesiastical persons was very common. The holidays instituted in honor of the saints, were very many, and took away nearly one half of the year. The images and graves of the saints were greatly esteemed. Kings, princes, lords, ecclesiastics, and laymen, made pilgrimages to Rome, St. Jago, Jerusalem, and other places, where the bodies or bones of the saints were buried or preserved, as though dead bones without spirit, could impart life or benefit.
"The sick would confess to the ear of the priest, and thereupon receive the sacrament of the unction; after which they departed in full assurance, though without any good resulting from it.
"The dead were buried with the ringing of bells, with tapers and torches, with much singing, with masses, vigils, and prayers for their souls, etc." P. J. Twisck, Chron., 10th book, page 361.
Thus, the tenth century was utterly corrupted through the superstitions of popery; but, as in the dark midnight the stars still sometimes give their light, so it was also here; for, that the marks of the true church might not be swallowed up entirely in the darkness, some, though but few, manifested themselves, who, in one and the other point, but principally in the matter of baptism, showed, that they, as regards the matter itself, did not differ from the institution of Christ and the practice of His holy apostles; which can be gathered from the writings they have left.
About A. D. 910. Or very close to the beginning of this century, the ancient writers place Giselbert, a man of learning, but accused of strange opinions by his adversaries; whom the emergency of the time compelled to stoop .and hide, under the ravages of popery. He, though others have regarded him as a member of the Roman church, opposed, apparently as much as lay in his power, the pope and the Roman church, .and this not a little in the matter of baptism. For, while the pope and the Roman church generally taught that it was necessary, yea, upon pain of damnation, to baptize the infants, notwithstanding they have not, and cannot have, either true regeneration or a good will [intention], which are nevertheless required of candidates (Matt. 3:7, 8), he taught that it is indeed necessary to salvation, to be baptized, but that said baptism must be connected with regeneration, and a good intention; which things, besides the grace of Christ, he considered the chief means to salvation, so much so, that any one who had these virtues, though he were not baptized (that is, if there had been no opportunity), could nevertheless be saved because of the grace and power of God. Of this, there is, among others, the following annotation in Jacob Mehrning's History o f Baptism, page 567.
Of the necessity of baptism. Giselbert (Alter. 1) , says: "It is true, God can save; yet, man cannot be saved without baptism; (that is, that baptism which is accompanied with regeneration, as the following words declare), for thus says the author of this sacrament himself: `Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot see the kingdom of God.' It is, however, not in the power of man, to reject this way, and to choose to salvation another. However, it is in God's power, if man cannot obtain this means (baptism), to accept graciously His good will." Cent. Magd. X., cap. 4.
Hence, when he here speaks of the good will of man, it is quite evident, that he treats neither of infants nor of infant baptism, seeing infants have no knowledge of either a good or a bad will, nor of baptism, nor of regeneration, to which said passage of Giselbert also has reference; much less have they the ability to worthily begin and execute all this, for the proper reception of baptism. He intends simply to say, that baptism is indeed necessary, yet not without regeneration; which regeneration he regards as the most important of all, according to John 3:5, 7, from which he concludes that it is not in the power of man to reject this way, namely, to separate regeneration from baptism, or baptism from regeneration, which is a stricture upon those who were wont to reject the baptism of the regenerated or penitent, and to go another way, as did the Pharisees in the days of John the Baptist; who, rejecting the counsel of God against themselves (namely, the:baptism of John), were not baptized of him. Luke 7:30.
But, in order that no one need sorrow, who, having attained to regeneration, could not receive baptism, on account of serious obstacles or the want of a fitting opportunity, and, hence, might imagine that there was no grace or mercy of God for him, he adds this consolation, namely: ."That it is in God's power, if man cannot obtain the means (baptism), to accept graciously His good will."
Whatever others, especially papistic writers, may have recorded of Giselbert's belief, detrimental to, or, at least, against the point in view, we let them be responsible for it; this is certain, that we have not as yet been able to find anything to the contrary, in any authentic writer.:
About A. D. 925. Shortly after, or very near the time of Giselbert, Ansbert is mentioned, who, writing on several matters of faith, or articles of religion, also makes mention of baptism, approaching herein very closely the language, or, at, least, the sense of the holy apostles, which appears from the following testimonies
"Which were born not of blood . . . but of God." "Of God, that is, through the preached Word and the washing of regeneration, by which mysteries (namely, preaching and the washing of regeneration, that is, baptism) Christ still daily begets and brings forth unto Himself heirs.
He here connects the Word of God, or preaching, with the washing of regeneration, or baptism, and says that by them Christ begets and brings forth unto Himself heirs.. How could anybody more plainly declare: 1. what true baptism is; 2, what belongs to it; and 3. what fruit proceeds from it. For, firstly, what true baptism is, he expresses by these words: Washing of regeneration, according, to Tit. 3:5, indicating thereby, that true baptism is peculiar only to the regenerate; that is, to the penitent. Secondly, what belongs to baptism he expresses by these words: The preached word; for, as the apostle declares, "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Rom. 10:17). The preached word is therefore the means by which to attain to the faith, and faith is the foundation upon which truly to receive baptism. As necessary, then, as faith is, in order to be truly baptized, upon it, so necessary also is the preached word, in order to truly believe; consequently, Ansbert has justly joined the preached word to baptism, as a proof that it belongs to it, according to the words of Christ (Mark 16:15, 16): "Preach the Gospel . . . he that believeth and is baptized." Thirdly, what fruit proceeds from such baptism, when it is accompanied with regeneration and the preached Word of God, he expresses with these words: "By which mysteries Christ still daily be= gets and brings forth unto Himself heirs," which well agrees with the words of Paul, Gal. 3:26, 27
"Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." These, then; who by this means become children of God, also become His heirs and joint heirs with Christ. Rom. 8:17. Hence, said words of Ansbert are conformable to the Holy Scriptures, and speak of the baptism of the regenerate, but in no wise of infant baptism.
Page 569. Ansbert (on Rev. 21) teaches: "The trinity of the Godhead we dare not, and shall not pass by unnoticed, especially when we are baptized upon the confession' of the holy Trinity, and are saved in the faith of the unity of the same."
Here he again connects baptism with confession and faith, yea, he says that we are baptized upon confession, and saved in faith. Certainly, there is not a letter in the above passage, which savors of infant baptism, but every word denies, yea, opposes it, inasmuch as here such a baptism only is spoken of, as is received with faith and the confession of the same; but that this can be done by infants, militates not only against the holy Scriptures, but also against nature.
Page 574. Ansbert (on Rev. 1) says: "He that has been' washed in baptism from dead works, and, after such washing, again commits sins unto death, it avails him nothing that he was washed; hence, the Lord, through Isaiah (chap. 1, verse 16), admonishes thus: `Wash ye, make you clean.' He washes and cleanses himself, who commits no new sins after baptism. But he that conducts himself thus that after such washing, he again pollutes the white robe with sin, let him still not despair of remission, if he desires to be washed again; for there is yet another baptism, with which publicans and harlots are always baptized and what other is it but the well spring of tears? in which Mary Magdalene, polluted with many a stain of vice, and Peter, when he had thrice denied the Lord, washed themselves."
This whole passage is a warning to those who, having committed sins unto death, were baptized for the remission of the same, that they should not rely upon this, otherwise they might be deceived; hence, against such, there are spoken these words
"He that, after such washing again commits sins unto death, it avails him nothing that he was washed." Then follows an admonition, not to fall into new sins after baptism; yet that any who had fallen into them, should still not despair. But to such there is pointed out another baptism, naively, the baptism of tears, that is, weeping and sorrowing for committed sins. Then it is told what persons were once baptized with this baptism of tears, namely, publicans and harlots, Mary Magdalene, and Peter, for denying Christ.
Judge now, whether the above stated things can be done by infants, or whether they are peculiar only to the adult and intelligent, and we are fully confident, that, if you are impartial, you will choose the latter, and reject the former.
About A. D. 938. Very near the time of Ansbert, a place is accorded, in this century, to Smaragdus, who, having, it seems, at some time previous to his conversion, or, at least, to his enlightenment, maintained infant baptism, now gave such testimony concerning baptism as completely excludes infant baptism, inasmuch as he, writing, of the nature, virtue, practice, and benefit of baptism, very closely follows the language of Christ and His holy apostles.*
This appears from his exposition of the institution of Christ respecting baptism.
"First," he writes "all nations were taught, and then they were baptized with water; for it is impossible for the body to receive the mystery of baptism aright, if the soul has not previously accepted the truth of the faith; for they were baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost." Again: "This excellent ordinance of baptism commands the apostles; first to teach all nations, then to incorporate them by the baptism of faith, and then, after faith and baptism, to teach them what they were to observe." Smarag;dus, on Matt. 28.
N. B. "Thus," says the writer who has recorded this, "the light of truth must shine forth in the midst of darkness; for, where did Christ institute another ordinance of baptism, for infants?" B. H., page 570, num,, 7.
Though this last passage is very acceptable and worthy of being considered, and confirms in no small measure the point we have in view we will nevertheless let the writer keep it to himself, it being only a comment on the aforementioned matter.
We will, therefore, return to the matter itself, namely, to the words of Smaragdus, and we shall soon find that his aim was, to connect faith with baptism, yea, to admit no other baptism than that which is accompanied with the truth of the faith. For, what else does he intend to say with these words: "For it is impossible for the body to receive the mystery of baptism aright, if the soul has not previously accepted the truth of the faith?" May we not firmly conclude from this, that this man knew nothing of infant baptism, or, at least, that he, when he wrote this, utterly denied and rejected it? Certainly, no one could oppose, or reject, infant baptism more flatly and plainly; for if it is impossible, as he says, to receive baptism aright without having previously accepted the truth of the faith, etc., he establishes that it is impossible to baptize infants aright, seeing they, because of their disqualification in regard to power as well as knowledge, cannot previously accept the truth of
* What Smaragdua has written on I Pet. 2, saying: "Such holy, pure, and innocent childhood, the mother, the church of Christ, gains through the gr ace of bapism " gave cause to consider whether by the word "childhood" he meant infants of the cradle, and by the words "grace of baptism," infant baptism; but it is also interpreted as having reference to the believing children of God, according to Gal. 3:26, and to the baptism of believers, according to Mark 16: 16. As to the exposition, however, which he is stated to have made on John 13, it is held tat it took place before his enlightenment.
the faith. Unless some one would say that he held, that there is a certain faith or germ of faith, as others call it, in infants from their birth (as was afterwards advanced by the Lutherans), upon which, some were wont to assert, they ought to'be baptized. But this is easily refuted; for; besides this, that in the time of Smaragdus, as far as can be seen, they knew nothing of this hidden faith, or germ of faith, in infants, much less baptized them upon it, he plainly indicates that he is speaking of another faith, which he calls the truth of the faith, that is, a true and genuine faith; which true and genuine faith no one ever, to our knowledge, not even to the present day, claimed for infants, in order to establish infant baptism upon it.
Moreover,' Smaragdus required of the candidates for baptism, not only the truth of the faith, but also regeneration, as appears from his comments on John 3, where he says: "He that is regenerated through water and the Spirit, is invisibly changed into a new man, and from a carnal lean is made a spiritual man; and he is therefore rightly called, not only spiritual, but also spirit." B. H., p. 573, nuln. 11.
In this passage again there are several things mentioned, which indicate nothing else than that he is speaking of the baptism of adults. For, besides that the.words, John 3, were not spoken to an infant but to Nicodemus, a master in Israel, the circumstances adduced by Smaragdus in regard to it also indicate, that it is to be understood of none but adult persons. For, what else does he mean to say by the word regenerated, than that the baptized person who has previously truly prepared himself for baptism, gives up. his old, earthly birth, and becomes a new creature? Thus also, when he says that the baptized person is changed into a new man; for, how shall any one be changed into a new man, who was not an old man before? And also, When he adds, that such an one, from a carnal man is made spiritual; for, how is it possible, from a carnal man to become spiritual, if one has not previously been carnal or lived after the flesh? Therefore, to become spiritual, does not simply 'mean, to receive the Spirit of God, but to live after the Spirit, in the fear of God, and in all the Christian virtues. Gal. 5:21-24.
This being.,so, we will leave the testimony of Smaragdus and proceed to others of hi's contemporaries, who held the same belief and left it to us in their writings.
A. D. 952. It is stated that in the time of the. Emperor Otho the Great there lived and wrote, in Greece, a very virtuous and learned man called Theophilact, who, writing on various matters of faith, also makes mention of baptism, not differing herein, as far as we have been able to ascertain, from the Anabaptists of the present day, but agreeing with them very well on the subject of baptism upon faith.
Bdpt. Hist., page 571, Theophilact on Luke 15,
says: "As many of us as have been baptized have put on Christ."
These are the words of Paul, Gal. 3:27, which the apostle does not speak to infants, but to the believing saints of the Galatian church, namely, "that they had indeed, become children of God by faith, but had put on Christ by baptism."
Continuing he says: "Then he puts on our hand (namely, to us who through baptism have put on Christ) the ring, the seal of Christianity, which works in us." Again "Everyone that is baptized, is also made a child of God, yea, readopted as such; he is also, when he is washed from sin, made a partaker of the fatted calf, and becomes the joy of the Father and His servants, the holy angels and men, even as one that. has arisen from the dead, and who was lost, and i's found."
He here compares the candidates to the prodigal son who, repenting of his evil life, arose to go to his father, to seek grace, and was received by him with outstretched arms. Thus, he would say, it is also in baptism: The sinner seeks grace, confesses his sins, manifests sorrow for them, yea, prays' and supplicates for forgiveness. God, the Lord, who is the true Father of all men by reason of creation, meets him, embraces him with the' arms of His grace, yea, pardons all his past sins, and, in token thereof, commands one of His servants to baptize him. This he compares to the putting on of the ring, saying: "Then he puts on our hand the ring, the seal of Christianity." What he further says concerning the killing of the fatted calf; and the joy of the Father and His servants, has regard to the joy that is in heaven over the repentance of such a pentitent (and thereupon baptized) sinner, which is greater than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. Luke 15:7.
Hence, when Theophilact compares the candidate for baptism to the prodigal son, in the manner shown above, it is evident enough, yea, as clear as midday, that he is treating of no other baptism than the baptism of adults, and this of such adults as manifest sorrow for their past sins.
Page 572. Theophilact on John 8, says: "Since Christ came to take away the sins of the world, we can obtain remission of sins in no other way than, by means of baptism (however properly speaking the blood of Christ is the effective cause of the remission and taking away of sins), yet it is impossible that he ,that has not believed; be baptized (aright); hence, the unbeliever must afterwards die in his sins, for he has not put off the old man, because he has not been baptized."
Though several things are said here, which confirm our preceding explanation of the words of Theophilact, we shall nevertheless notice only these words: "It is impossible that he that has not believed, be baptized (aright);" for here certainly every baptism which is not received with faith is denied; hence, infant baptism cannot be admitted here, because it is without all faith, yea, it is utterly denied here. And thus, the words of Theophilact concerning baptism, are not only clear, but also Christian like and apostolical.
Page 572. Theophilact on II Cor. 3, says: "Even as silver, exposed to the sun, does itself emit rays, because the sun shines upon it; so also we, when we are purified in baptism,. by the Holy Ghost, and illumined by His rays, emit a spiritual radiance, perceived only in the soul, and are changed into the same image, by the Spirit of the Lord, to our glory." And, a little further on: "All believers are illumined in baptism by the Holy Ghost, that their souls shine (or, emit radiance) thereby." Again: "As we are all dead by one sinner, even so we are all made alive, and are risen through Christ, in baptism; and we justly recognize no one as believing, who lives after the flesh, that is, who leads the old, carnal life; but all who are regenerated by the Spirit, begin a new, spiritual life."
The words which Theophilact speaks from or on II Cor. 3, concerning the candidates, Paul speaks of believers; and the simile borrowed by the aforementioned writer from the silver, which, when the sun shines upon it, reflects his rays, which he applies to the candidates, who become illumined by the Holy Ghost, and reflect a spiritual radiance of virtues, confirms, in a good degree, that he is speaking of such candidates as can be illumined by the Holy Ghost, and live virtuously, to the honor of God, the edification of their neighbor, and to the salvation of their own souls. What he says after that, fully confirms our opinion, namely, that he is speaking of believing candidates; for, this he clearly expresses with these words: "All believers are illumined in baptism by the Holy Ghost." What he adds finally, tends in the same direction, for he says that, "As we are all dead by one sinner (Adam), even so we are all made alive and are risen, through Christ, in baptism." Who does not see that this making alive and rising (in baptism) has respect to the renewing of the old life; according to the teaching of Paul (Rom. 6:4): "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." That this is his meaning, be indicates by the following words, when he calls those whom he has previously termed candidates, believers and regenerated persons, saying
"We justly recognize no one as believing, who lives after the flesh; but all who are regenerated (thus he calls the candidates or the baptized) by the Spirit, begin a new, spiritual life."
Page 573. Theophilact on II Tim. 1, says: "The Holy Ghost hovers over us at baptism; now, if we keep this Spirit, and do not drive Him away by wicked works, He keeps us and what we have received from God; therefore, use all diligence, that you keep the Holy Ghost, and He, who has been given you, will also keep you."
It seems that in the days of Theophilact there was a failing among some of the candidates, or. at least, among the unbaptized Christians, that, instead of stirring up the grace of the Spirit of God, which had been given them (after baptism), and thereby increasing and proceeding in virtues, they decreased and retrograded, yea, fell into wicked works. This, Theophilact opposed, warning them to be careful not to drive the good Spirit of God away from them by wicked works, seeing He will not dwell in a malicious soul, nor in a body that is subject unto sin. Wisdom of Sol. 1:4.
Secondly, he admonishes them affectionately and consolingly, to keep the gift of the Holy Ghost (after baptism), pointing out also, the means by which this could be done, namely, by avoiding wicked works, and using diligence, that is, such diligence by which the worship of God and the common edification could be promoted. The consolation which he, for such, adds to his admonition, is expressed in these words: "Therefore, use all diligence, that you keep the Holy Ghost, and He . . . will also keep you." But what fruit his warning, and consoling admonition had on those persons, is not stated there; hence we will take our leave, and proceed to other writings which he has left.
Same page as above. Theophilaet on John 3, says: "It is not enough for the preservation of purity, to be baptized; but one must also use. great diligence, that the image of the sonship of God, which is represented in baptism, is kept unspotted. There are many who have received, in baptism, the grace of adoption as children of God, but who, through negligence, have not remained children of God unto the end.
Here he greatly laments the apostasy of the children of God, namely, of those who, having been baptized, and having received the grace of adoption as children of God, but through negligence had apostatized so that they, as he calls it, had not remained children of God. Certainly, this was a sad matter; but notwithstanding we rejoice that in those times people were baptized upon faith (as has been shown above), that they might receive the grace of adoption as children of God; and that there were yet persons (as appears from Theophilact) who taught this doctrine and reproved the. opposing abuses; to which, has been our sole aim.
Page 575. Theophilact (on I Tim. 6, where the apostle says: "Thou hast professed a good profession before many witnesses"), writes: "This profession takes place at the instruction of those who are to be baptized; and we profess by it that we will forsake Satan, and pitch our tent with Christ, that we may fully adhere to Him."
How could any one speak more clearly and truly of baptism according to _ the institution of Christ and the practice of the apostles? He says here, that the good profession of which Paul writes (I Tim. 6:12), took place at the instruction of those who were to be baptized; by which he indicates that in his time the candidates were not only instructed at and before baptism, namely, in the Christian faith, but that they were also required to make a profession of what they believed, which consisted (as can be gleaned not only from Theophilact, but also from other writers of that time) of two parts firstly, in the confession of faith in God and in His Son Jesus Christ; and secondly, in the renunciation of Satan, the world, the flesh, and all its lusts.
Same page as above. Theophilact on Mark 1, says: "All who came to be baptized by John, were delivered through repentance from the bond of their souls, if they believed on Christ."
He says of those who came to John's baptism, that they were delivered through repentance from the bond of their souls (that is, from sin), if they believed on Christ; by which he indicates that two things were required of those candidates, in order that they might be delivered from sin; 1. repentance; 2. faith in Christ. Which things, since he adduces them for the instruction of his contemporaries, were also required of the candidates of his time, namely, that they had to repent and believe on Christ. For, to what purpose should he otherwise, by way of instruction, have adduced them?
Page 581. D. J. Vicecomes (lib. 3, cap. 3, on Heb. 6), quotes from Theophilact: "When you were to be baptized, you repented of dead works, that is, rejected the works of Satan."
In Lib. 5, cap. 37. Vicecomes expresses the opinion, that in the time of Theophilact the holy Supper was still administered to the baptized, after baptism.
Whether we cast our eyes upon the words of Theophilact, or upon those of Vicecomes, we see that both tend in the same direction. As regards the words of Theophilact, he informs us concerning the candidates of his time, that they, before baptism, or, at least, when they were about to be baptized, repented of dead works, which, as everyone knows, can only be done by adults, and not at all by infants; for, one that is to desist from dead works, and repent, must first have committed dead works; this is incontrovertible.
As to the words of Vicecomes, they confirm the foregoing; for, if the holy Supper was then administered to the baptized after baptism; which Supper, as is taught in I Cor. 11:27, had to be received with proper examination, and qualification, as, according to history, was then still done, it follows that the baptism of infants could not have been maintained among those who practiced this, seeing infants are unfit for such examination and qualification, and, consequently; also unfit to become partakers of the holy Supper, which Vicecomes also notices; for, referring, in the same place, to some among the Romanists; he says: "But when the baptism of infants was introduced, they [the infants] did not understand the virtue of the heavenly food, the church abolished this custom (namely, of administering the Supper to the baptized), that this holy sacrament might not be dishonored thereby."
From this it is quite evident, that at that time, not only some who had separated from the Roman church, but even some who belonged to the Roman church (perhaps, whole churches of .the Romanists), still had the custom of administering the holy Supper to all that had been baptized, and this with all proper devotion; so that in those churches, it seems, nothing was known, even as late as that time, of infant baptism, or, at least, that it was not observed there, until the pope, or some council ordained otherwise; for this is clearly expressed in the 'words:. "But when the baptism of infants was introduced, the church abolished this custom."
Touching what is adduced (B. H., p. 308, from D. hicecomes, lib. 5, cap, 37), concerning the infant Supper, as though it might have obtained in the time of Theophilact, it is refuted by the writer himself, in said passage; for he explains it as having reference to the Supper of believing, baptized Christians, saying, that it was administered to the baptized till infant baptism came into vogue, and that it was then (because infants were unfit for it) abolished.
In regard to this, the writer who records it, has the following words to the shame of those who did so: "Cannot these foolish saints," says he "for the same reason, also abolish infant baptism, which is not a less, but; on account of the effectual regeneration, a greater sacrament, than the Supper?" B. H., page 308. He means to say: If the Supper, which it was customary to administer to believers after baptism, was abolished, when infant baptism came into vogue, because infants have not the ability to worthily prepare themselves for the Supper; how great a folly is it, then, that infant baptism was not also abolished for the same reason; seeing that not less, but more, is required for baptism than for the Supper, namely, an effectual regeneration? For which reason also baptism is a greater sacrament than the Supper. Certainly, this was a forcible argument in refutation of those who, having introduced infant baptism, had therefore abolished the Supper which used to be administered after baptism; and who considered infants better qualified for baptism than for the Supper.
About A. D. 980. Bapt. Hist., pages 578, 579. Vicecomes quotes from Simon Metaphrastes, lib. 1, cap. 5. the following occurrence: "That Theridates, with his wife and the chief persons of the land were baptized in the river Euphrates."
Page 580. "Greg. Martyr enjoined upon Theridates and those who desired )to be baptized, a fast of thirty days, then instructed them one after another, and thereupon baptized them in the Euphrates.",From Vicecom., lib. 3, cap. 6.
D. Vicecomes (lib. 1, cap. 14), relates how Namesius, came to the water, towards evening, descended into it, and was baptized, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. From Metaphr., in vita Steph.
In lib. 3, cap. 3, he writes, how Odympius, with his wife, Exuperia, and his only son, Theodulus, in the night came to Sympronius, fell down at his feet, and said: "We have recently learned to know the power of Christ, that He is truly God. We therefore pray thee, to see that we receive baptism, in the name of Christ, whom thou preachest."' Sympronius answered them: "If you repent with your whole heart, God will be so gracious as to receive you as penitents." Then said Olympius: "This we will immediately do." From Metaphr., in vita Steph. B. H., page 579, num. 10.
Page 580, num. 14. "This same Olympius, when he desired to become a Christian, was bidden to break the idols with his own hands, to melt the gold and silver of which they were made, with fire, and to gather the poor, and distribute it among them. This, the writer says, Olympius faithfully did." D. hicecom., lib. 3, cap. 13.
NOTE. Page 851, it is related of Placidus, his wife Trajana, and his two sons, how they went to the teacher., etc.; and how the latter instructed and eventually baptized them; changed their names; administered the Supper to them; wished everything good to them, and said: "Depart! the true peace of Christ go with you." From Metaphr., according to hic.ecom., lib. 5, cap. 45.
Still other similar examples, which it would take too long to recount, are adduced in said place, and elsewhere, in the History of Baptism. The persons mentioned in all these examples, those who were baptized as well as those who baptized, we pass by without commenting on them; our object here being simply to show that said Simon Metaphrastes, who is stated to have lived and written about this time, described the foregoing matters as good and praiseworthy examples of the believing, baptized Christians, and left them to posterity, for instruction.
About A. D. 1000. Or at the close of the tenth century, there is noticed in Jacob Mehrning's History of Baptism, Fulbertus Carnotanses, who compares the descending in baptism to the burying of Christ in the earth, and the arising from baptism to the resurrection of Christ from the grave, or, properly speaking, to the awakening of Christ to life.*
His own words can be found, translated into German, page 581, from Fulbert. Carnot. in Epist. ad Adcodatum. Herewith we conclude our account of baptism in the tenth century, and proceed to the pious martyrs who suffered in those days for the name of Jesus Christ.
* what Fulbertus says, in this comparison, of baptism, is, as far as the sense is concerned, identical with that which Paul, Rom. 6:4, declares of the baptism of believers, saying: "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism unto death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."
AN ACCOUNT OF THOSE WHO
IN THE TENTH CENTURY
SUMMARY OF THE MARTYRS WHO SUFFERED IN
THE TENTH CENTURY
[About the year 910, we again refer to Giselbert (see our Account of Holy Baptism), who teaches, as it were, for the consolation of the martyrs who could not receive water baptism, that it is in God's power to show mercy to them on account of their good will.
Lamentable persecution of the Christians in the region of Cordova, by the Arabians, instituted by their King Habdarrhaghman, A. D. 923.
Eugenia, an upright Christian woman, beheaded for the testimony of Jesus Christ, near Cordova, in said year, 923.
Pelagius, a lad of thirteen years, beheaded after his arms and legs were cut off, on account of the true Christian faith, at Cordova, A. D. 925.
An extract from the account of P. J. Twisck, touching the martyrdom of the youth Pelagius.
Note containing further explanation respecting the confession of faith of Eugenia and Pelagius.
Of the cruel persecution instituted by the Danish King Worm against the Christian believers, A. D. 926.
A note containing further explanatory remarks concerning the last mentioned persecution, and that other similar persecutions are to be understood and explained in the same manner.
A deplorable persecution of the Christians, caused by Udo, the Sclavonian prince, A. D. 950.
Marginal note, of the terrible pillage and burning perpetrated by the Saracens among the Christians in Syria, A. D. 964.
Circumstantial account of the severe persecution of Christians by the Vandals, in the borders of Hamburg, Brandenburg, Havelburg, and the adjacent countries, A. D. 984.
Marginal note, how, seven years afterwards. namely, A. D. 991, the Normans came from Denmark into Germany, and there, for about forty years, greatly vexed the Christians; and that the Arabians, from A. D. 622 to 1300, committed much mischief in nearly every country of Europe, or Christendom.]
ABOUT THE YEAR, A. D. 910
In our account of holy baptism for A. D. 910, we introduced the very learned, but, by his adversaries, much accused, Giselbert, who, through the exigency of that time, had to live under the Roman church, though he decidedly opposed her superstitions, especially in the matter of baptism. He taught concerning holy baptism as connected with regeneration and a good will. He also added, for explanation (on John 3:5): "If any one (through obstacles, or otherwise) cannot receive external baptism, it is in God's power to graciously accept his good will." Ex. Cent. Magd. 10, cap. 4. Bapt. Hist., 2d part, page 567.
Hence, when Giselbert here consoles, in some measure, those who, from necessity, had to remain without baptism, with the mercifulness of God, who has it in His power to show mercy, even in the absence of baptism, to those who are of a good will, it seems that at that time there must have been an oppression or persecution of the Christian believers; for at such times it frequently happens that there are people of a good will, namely, who desire to be baptized upon the true faith on Jesus Christ, but who nevertheless, on account of the persecution, and the dispersion of the churches and their teachers, cannot attain to it, as we have shown by living examples, in different places of our account of the martyrs.
Thus, when people who had not been baptized, yet had a desire to be baptized, were apprehended and put in bonds for the testimony of the Lord, it was frequently seen, that they could not obtain complete peace in their hearts, though they firmly believed in the Lord, and had resolved to give expression to, and confirm, such faith not only by words, but also in deed, yea, with their blood and steadfast death. On these occasions, or against these emergencies, the pious and soul seeking teachers often consoled such people, strengthened their hearts, and caused them to hope instead of despair; since God has it in His power, to show mercy to, yea, to save, such, even without baptism, for the sake of their good will or intention, if it has not been neglected on purpose and presumptuously.
This the above mentioned Giselbert taught, and thus he consoled the well disposed unbaptized; hence, our foregoing conclusion may be regarded as true, namely, that there was, at that time, a persecution on account of the word of the Lord, which made it necessary to add said consolation for the afore mentioned persons. But as this is based merely on a probable conjecture, since it is not expressed in clear words, we will leave it, and give an account of a certain persecution which, about thirteen years after this, was raised by the Arabians against the Christians, and ended after much misery and distress.
A LAMENTABLE PERSECUTION OF THE CHRISTIANS
IN THE REGION OF CORDOVA, BY THE ARA;
BIANS, INSTITUTED BY THEIR KING
HABDARRHAGHMAN, A. D. 923
A. D. 923, a terrible persecution was raised by the Arabians against the Christian believers, in the region of Cordova. This occurred mainly through the wickedness of the Arabian King Habdarrhaghman IV, who allowed himself to be called protector of the law of God, and king of the believers; but, being filled with bitter hatred against the true law of Jesus Christ, and, consequently, also against the true Christian believers, he considered and declared all Christians unbelievers and despisers of the law of God. But he did not stop at this, but raged against therri in an awful manner, yea, persecuted them with fire and sword. One thing, however, in connection with this grieves us to the very heart, namely, that the records of the pious witnesses of Jesus Christ who were killed by him, have all been lost, except of two, namely, Eugenia and a youth of thirteen years; of whom we shall give an account presently. Touching said persecution, compare A. Mell., 2d book, fol. 312, col. 2, with Ruderic., Archiep. Tolet., and AM. Rer. Hisp. Script.
EUGENIA, AN UPRIGHT CHRISTIAN WOMAN, BE;
HEADED FOR THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS
CHRIST, NEAR THE CITY OF COR;
DOVA, A. D. 923
It is recorded that A. D. 923, an upright Christian woman, called Eugenia, was apprehended in the afore mentioned persecution, and, remaining steadfast in the confession of the faith in the Son of God, was beheaded, on the sixteenth of March, A. D. 923, through the tyrant and persecutor Habdarrhaghman.
It is stated that in digging the foundation of some building, in a village called Marmolejos, near Cordova, where she was martyred, an epitaph was found, the first letters of each line of which spelled her name: Eugenia Martyr, that is, Eugenia the Witness (namely, of Jesus), as a token that she had died for the testimony of Jesus her Saviour. There could be gathered from it, further, the time when this took place, as well as the manner in which she was put to death, namely, that she was beheaded with the sword, at the time indicated above.*
PELAGIUS, A LAD OF THIRTEEN YEARS, AFTER
MUCH SUFFERING FOR THE TRUE CHRISTIAN
FAITH, AT CORDOVA, HAS HIS ARMS AND
LEGS CUT OFF, AND IS FINALLY BE;
HEADED, A. D. 925
It is stated that about two years after, namely, A. D. 925, a lad of thirteen years, called Pelagius, was put to death for the name of Christ, in Cordova, which occurred as follows: His uncle, Ermoigus (who by some writers is called a bishop), having been apprehended and imprisoned at Cordova, by the Arabian King Habdarrhaghman, said Ermoigus, in order to be released, left his nephew, who was then only about thirteen years old, in his stead, as a pledge, which for more than three years was not redeemed, either through the neglect of his friends, or because the king would not let go the youth, who was now very comely and wellmannered.
* For further comments respecting Eugenia's confession of faith, see the explanation which we shall append to the account of the death of Pelagius.
In the meantime, this lad exercised himself diligently in the Christian religion, to prepare himself for his martyrdom, which seemed to him to be drawing near. When he was about thirteen and a half years old, he was brought before the king, and, standing there, immediately began to confess his faith, declaring that he was ready to die for it.* But the king, having in view something else than to hear the confession of the Son of God, or of the Christian faith, proposed to the youth, who was quite innocent in evil, some improper things, which this hero of Christ valiantly and in a Christian manner refused, willing rather, to die an honorable death for the name of Christ, than to live shamefully with the devil, and pollute both soul and body with such an abominable sin. The king, hoping that he could yet be persuaded, commanded his servants to ply him with fair promises, to the effect, that, if he would apostatize, he should be brought up with royal splendor at the court of the king. But the Lord, in whom he trusted, strengthened him against all the allurements of this world, so that he said: "I am a Christian, and will remain a Christian, and obey only Christ's commands all the days of my life.
The king, seeing that he remained steadfast, was filled with rage, and commanded his guards to take him, suspend him by iron tongs, and pinch him and haul him up and down until he should either die or renounce Christ as his Lord. But having undergone all this, he was as fearless as ever, and refused not to suffer still more tortures, even unto death.
When the tyrant perceived the immovable steadfastness of this youth, he commanded that they should cut him limb from limb, and throw the pieces into the river. As he thus stood before the king, dripping with blood, from his previous tortures, he prayed to none than to Jesus Christ our Lord, saying: "O Lord, deliver me out of the hands of my enemies." When he lifted up his hands to God [in prayer], the executioners pulled them apart and cut off first one arm, and then the other; thus also his legs, and, lastly, his head. When this was done, the pieces were thrown into the river.
Thus this young hero and pious witness of Jesus Christ ended his life, on the 29th of June, A. D. 925, his martyrdom having lasted from seven o'clock in the morning until evening. See the firstmentioned writer, who has given the account of the Arabian persecution, on the page referred to, third column, compared with Raguele in Append., ab Eulog., super Pelagium.
EXTRACT FROM THE ACCOUNT OF P. J. TWISCK,
TOUCHING THE MARTYRDOM OF THE
"When Habdarrhaghman, the king of the Arabians, had, from bishop Ermoigus, his nephew Pelagius, as a pledge or hostage, the tyrant tore
' "To die for the name of Christ," our author says. him with redhot tongs; and, having been torn limb from limb, he was thrown into the nearest river, when he was scarcely thirteen years old." Chron., 10th book, fol. 329, col. 1, from Merulae., fol. 621.
NOTE. Neither of Eugenia nor of the youth Pelagius have we been able (as in the case of other martyrs before these), to ascertain the particulars of their confession of faith, though we have exerted ourselves not a little in this direction. It is almost as if the records which no doubt treated more fully of it, were buried in the earth, like the epitaph of Eugenia. Oh, that this were certain, and that the spot were known without contradiction, no pains would be spared to obtain them, if it were possible; since thereby, .according to our opinion, the bright light of evangelical truth would come to light pure and clear in many points; whereas now, others, especially those of the Roman church, have, whenever it has pleased them, dimmed and perceptibly obscured, with the smoke of their human inventions, the blessed confessors of Jesus Christ and their confessions.
But what do our lamentations avail? We must content ourselves with what has remained. It may be that said particular confessions, together with the records of the suffering and death of many other martyrs (of which we spoke in the beginning) were lost through the violence of the persecution, or perished in some other way.
This persecution has not been so fortunate an one for the searchers of ancient memoirs, as some of the preceding ones of which we know; for these other persecutions already spoken of, however severe and fierce they may have been, besides giving clearer light as regards the confessions, have through the carefulness of some writers, generally furnished and left for remembrance, a respectable number of martyrs either mentioned or unmentioned; while this persecution, although very many were slain in it, tells us of but two persons.
But though we, unable to obtain more, must content ourselves with the bare circumstances, still the afore mentioned martyrs, Eugenia and Pelagius, shall not be esteemed the less by us; yet not, that we would regard them without fault in all points, for who on earth is perfect? but we hold that they were free from such blemishes as separate one from Christ or deprive him of the name of a true martyr, though he might suffer for his faith's sake. The uprightness of said persons, in faith as well as in life, may readily be inferred from the circumstances mentioned in the account of the ancients, which, though brief and few, nevertheless indicate these things.
What the faith of Eugenia and Pelagius was, appears from their confessions. Eugenia is for this reason called martyr, which signifies according to the Greek language, the witness; by which name, even in and about the time of the apostles, those were wont to be called, who had laid down their lives, or, at least, had suffered much, for the pure and genuine testimony of Jesus their Saviour.
Of the youth Pelagius, the authors write that he confessed his faith and declared that he was ready to die (upon said faith) for the name of Christ. Also, that in his suffering he called upon no other than his Lord Jesus Christ, saying: "O Lord, deliver me out of the hands of my enemies."
Concerning the life of both of these martyrs, it appears to have been upright in every respect, as regards the grand resolution which each severally had not only to confess the Lord with the mouth, and to follow Him with works in the regeneration, but also to honor and magnify His holy name, by offering up their lives through a violent death; as well as that they not only had resolved and determined to do this, but also actually fulfilled their resolution, which is the most important of all.
From the accounts given we have learned that Pelagius said: "I am a Christian, and will remain a Christian, and obey only the commandments of Christ all the days of my life." He desired to obey only the commands of his Saviour, and not human inventions, and this, to the end of his life; which he also did, according to his ability. Moreover, we have not found anything, either of Eugenia or of Pelagius, in authentic writers, which conflicts with the above good testimony respecting the faith and life of said two persons; nor of priestcraft, nor of papal or episcopal inventions, nor of Roman factitious practices, although these things were much in vogue at that time. With this, we think to have treated the matter sufficiently, and hence we will leave it and proceed in our account.
A CRUEL PERSECUTION, INSTITUTED BY THE DAN;
ISH KING WORM AGAINST THE CHRISTIAN
BELIEVERS, A. D. 926
It is recorded that A. D. 926, there appeared, from another quarter than the one of which we have spoken, namely, from Denmark, a cruel tyrant who was king of said country, and whose name accorded well with his deeds. His name was Worm, and whatever he did was gnawing, biting, and devouring, so that he inflicted much vexation, misery and grief upon the followers of the Christian faith, in persecuting, tormenting, and, as appears, killing and destroying them.
Of this tyrant, P. J. Twisck makes mention with these words: "At this time, there was in Denmark, King Worm, a cruel tyrant and persecutor of the Christian faith." Chron., fol. 329, col. 1, from Leonh., lib. 4, fol. 190.
NOTE. King Worm was not the first tyrant that had arisen in Denmark, seeing we spoke in the preceding century of the tyranny which the Danes then practiced against the Christian believers. Just before the account of this Danish persecution we lamented, and this, for good reasons, that not more than two martyrs are mentioned in the whole persecution; and but very little of their confessions, except the circumstances. But here we have still more reason for regret, since not a single person is mentioned of all those who were persecuted and martyred, though their number, it seems, was very great. Moreover, their confession of faith, upon which, nevertheless many; to all appearance, suffered and were martyred or put to death, is not mentioned at all. Still, this matter, is not utterly devoid of light or information, seeing it is stated of the tyrant who instituted said persecution, that he was a persecutor of the Christian faith.
Whether, then, he persecuted all who bore the name of Christians, or only the Christian believers (who seem to have been had in view here), it is evident, that the true and sincere believers, who, having no settled place of abode, being scattered throughout the world, did not escape; for they necessarily often had to live among the nominal, yea, among the wicked Christians, with whom they frequently, when distress arose, had to suffer, though not for the same reason. I will not speak of the fact that the wicked Christians themselves, whenever it pleased them, persecuted the faithful and good Christians exceedingly, and, after many torments, put them to death in a worse manner than the heathen did; so that, to all appearance, said tyrant, when he persecuted the Christian believers, or, as our author says, the Christian faith, he puts to death not a few, or, at least here, and there some, of the orthodox and true Christians, on account of their faith; besides what they often had to suffer from others.
Here we will let the matter rest, and will take a similar view, and judge in like manner, according to the nature and rule of divine love, also of other persecutions of the Christian believers, of which we may subsequently speak; taking care, however, not to present persecutions concerning which there may be evidence that those persecuted were not faithful and sincere, but merely apparent or professed Christians; for the former, we shall search, but the latter we shall avoid. We shall now proceed in our task.
A MISERABLE PERSECUTION OF THE CHRISTIANS,
CAUSED BY UDO, THE PRINCE OF THE SLAVES
(SLAVONIANS), A. D. 950
About twenty four years after the beginning of the afore mentioned persecution, instituted by the Danish king, a very dark cloud arose over the Christian believers, from Slavonia, which threatened a heavy rain or outpouring of the blood of the innocent and defenseless Christians. For, one Udo, Prince of the Slaves, manifested himself very cruelly against the Christian believers, and proved to be a great tyrant over them. But he finally received his reward from one of his own stamp, though a Saxon, who took his life. Concerning this, we read in Chran. van den Onderg., page 334, col. 2, the following words (except the parenthesis): "Udo, the Prince of the Slaves, an atrocious persecutor of the Christians, and a great tyrant (who lived at this time), was thrust through by a Saxon" From Hist. Andy., fol. 182.
Compare this account with the explanation contained in the note on the persecution of A. D. 926; as the circumstances of the persecution of A. D. 950 must be explained in the same manner.
NOTE. A. D: 964, fourteen years after the last persecution, the Christians in Syria had to suffer much; yet not so much on their bodies as in their property. This was done through the violent pillage and burning perpetrated by the Saracens, of which I have found this account, among others
"A. D. 964, in the reign of this Emperor (namely, N.. Phocas, the fifty seventh who reigned in the Orient, at Constantinople), the Saracens did great damage to the Christians in Syria, by robbing and burning." See P. J. Twisck, page 340, col. 1, from Chron, Meldncth., lib. 4. Who shall say that this was not brought upon them on account of the confession of the Christian faith? or that among said people there were not some faithful and sincere Christians, who suffered for living according to their true faith? This could hardly be said, much less proved, since the orthodox, though sometimes few in number, could be found in almost every country; however, since said matter is obscure, we will not enter further into it.
A SEVERE PERSECUTION OF THE CHRISTIANS, BY
THE VANDALS, IN THE BORDERS OF HAM;
BURG, BRANI?ENBURG, HAVELBURG,
AND THE ADJACENT COUNTRIES,
A. D. 984
In the time of Emperor Otho III, or A. D. 984, Mistavus, King of the Vandals, instituted (according to the testimony of the ancients) a severe persecution against the Christian believers, in the borders of Hamburg, Brandenburg, Havelburg, and the adjacent countries; we will say nothing of his tyranny at Altenburg, since this, as can be seen, was directed chiefly against the Romanists.
This persecution was caused by the hatred which the King of the Vandals held against Otho III, because the latter, having intended to give him his daughter in marriage, afterwards refused to do it, on account of the opposition of Theodoric, Margrave of Brandenburg, who said that he ought not to give such a noble maiden to a dog (so he called Mistavus, the King of the Vandals). Mistavus, enraged at this, resolved to revenge himself of it, yet not on those who had injured him, namely, Otho and Theodoric, who were the chiefs of said countries; but on their subjects, who were certainly quite innocent of that which their chiefs had done; but this is generally the case that subjects must suffer for the misdeeds of their rulers.
He then assailed those Christians who lived nearest, persecuting them in an atrocious manner, a grievous matter for human nature, but pleasant for the spirit, namely, of those who, through love, were inseparably united to their God and Saviour, and, hence, could say with Paul: "Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 8:38, 39) .
Concerning the tyrant Mistavus, the author of their distress, it is stated that he raised a violent persecution, A. D. 984, against the Christians living in the countries lying nearest; also, that Hamburg, Brandenburg, and Havelburg, had their share of said persecution. Compare P. J. Tzwisck, page 248, col. 2, with the account of Merula, fol. 649, and Georg. Hist., lib. 5.
The reader, in order to understand aright our object in noting this persecution, will please read, and accept as explanatory of the last mentioned persecution, the different notes which we have placed throughout this century.
NOTE. Seven years after the persecution which we have just related, namely A. D. 991, the Normans came from Denmark into Germany, where they began to greatly vex the Christians, which lasted about forty years, that is, for over thirty years after the close of this century. P. J. Twisck, Chron., page 351, col. 1, from Chron. Avont, lib. 4. hinc., fol. 502. Moreover, that the Arabians (of whom we made mention in our account of the first open persecution in this century, for the year 923), not only at this time, but from A. D. 622 to 1300, like a swarm of destructive grasshoppers, overran nearly every country of the known world, to the great distress and misery of many Christian believers, can be read at large in the history of the Turks; of which brief mention is made in A. Mell., 2d book, fol. 312, ,col. 4, and fol. 313, col. 1.
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