Church History - Faithful Generations

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Church History

Foxe's Book of Martyrs by John Foxe

CHAPTER I
History of Christian Martyrs to the First General Persecutions Under Nero
Christ our Savior, in the Gospel of St. Matthew, hearing the
confession of Simon Peter, who, first of all other, openly
acknowledged Him to be the Son of God, and perceiving the secret
hand of His Father therein, called him (alluding to his name) a
rock, upon which rock He would build His Church so strong that
the gates of hell should not prevail against it.  In which words
three things are to be noted: First, that Christ will have a
Church in this world.  Secondly, that the same Church should
mightily be impugned, not only by the world, but also by the
uttermost strength and powers of all hell.  And, thirdly, that
the same Church, notwithstanding the uttermost of the devil and
all his malice, should continue.
Which prophecy of Christ we see wonderfully to be verified,
insomuch that the whole course of the Church to this day may seem
nothing else but a verifying of the said prophecy.  First, that
Christ hath set up a Church, needeth no declaration.  Secondly,
what force of princes, kings, monarchs, governors, and rulers of
this world, with their subjects, publicly and privately, with all
their strength and cunning, have bent themselves against this
Church!  And, thirdly, how the said Church, all this
notwithstanding, hath yet endured and holden its own!  What
storms and tempests it hath overpast, wondrous it is to behold:
for the more evident declaration whereof, I have addressed this
present history, to the end, first, that the wonderful works of
God in His Church might appear to His glory; also that, the
continuance and proceedings of the Church, from time to time,
being set forth, more knowledge and experience may redound
thereby, to the profit of the reader and edification of Christian
faith.

As it is not our business to enlarge upon our Savior's
history, either before or after His crucifixion, we shall only
find it necessary to remind our readers of the discomfiture of
the Jews by His subsequent resurrection.  Although one apostle
had betrayed Him; although another had denied Him, under the
solemn sanction of an oath; and although the rest had forsaken
Him, unless we may except "the disciple who was known unto the
high-priest"; the history of His resurrection gave a new
direction to all their hearts, and, after the mission of the Holy
Spirit, imparted new confidence to their minds.  The powers with
which they were endued emboldened them to proclaim His name, to
the confusion of the Jewish rulers, and the astonishment of
Gentile proselytes.

I.  St. Stephen
St. Stephen suffered the next in order.  His death was
occasioned by the faithful manner in which he preached the Gospel
to the betrayers and murderers of Christ.  To such a degree of
madness were they excited, that they cast him out of the city and
stoned him to death.  The time when he suffered is generally
supposed to have been at the passover which succeeded to that of
our Lord's crucifixion, and to the era of his ascension, in the
following spring.
Upon this a great persecution was raised against all who
professed their belief in Christ as the Messiah, or as a prophet. 
We are immediately told by St. Luke, that "there was a great
persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem;" and that
"they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea
and Samaria, except the apostles."
About two thousand Christians, with Nicanor, one of the
seven deacons, suffered martyrdom during the "persecution that
arose about Stephen."

II. James the Great
The next martyr we meet with, according to St. Luke, in the
History of the Apostles' Acts, was James the son of Zebedee, the
elder brother of John, and a relative of our Lord; for his mother
Salome was cousin-german to the Virgin Mary.  It was not until
ten years after the death of Stephen that the second martyrdom
took place; for no sooner had Herod Agrippa been appointed
governor of Judea, than, with a view to ingratiate himself with
them, he raised a sharp persecution against the Christians, and
determined to make an effectual blow, by striking at their
leaders.  The account given us by an eminent primitive writer,
Clemens Alexandrinus, ought not to be overlooked; that, as James
was led to the place of martyrdom, his accuser was brought to
repent of his conduct by the apostle's extraordinary courage and
undauntedness, and fell down at his feet to request his pardon,
professing himself a Christian, and resolving that James should
not receive the crown of martyrdom alone.  Hence they were both
beheaded at the same time.  Thus did the first apostolic martyr
cheerfully and resolutely receive that cup, which he had told our
Savior he was ready to drink.  Timon and Parmenas suffered
martyrdom about the same time; the one at Philippi, and the other
in Macedonia.  These events took place A.D. 44.

III.  Philip
Was born at Bethsaida, in Galilee and was first called by
the name of "disciple."  He labored diligently in Upper Asia, and
suffered martyrdom at Heliopolis, in Phrygia.  He was scourged,
thrown into prison, and afterwards crucified, A.D. 54.

IV.  Matthew
Whose occupation was that of a toll-gatherer, was born at
Nazareth.  He wrote his gospel in Hebrew, which was afterwards
translated into Greek by James the Less.  The scene of his labors
was Parthia, and Ethiopia, in which latter country he suffered
martyrdom, being slain with a halberd in the city of Nadabah,
A.D. 60.

V.  James the Less
Is supposed by some to have been the brother of our Lord, by
a former wife of Joseph.  This is very doubtful, and accords too
much with the Catholic superstition, that Mary never had any
other children except our Savior.  He was elected to the
oversight of the churches of Jerusalem; and was the author of the
Epistle ascribed to James in the sacred canon.  At the age of
ninety-four he was beat and stoned by the Jews; and finally had
his brains dashed out with a fuller's club.

VI.  Matthias
Of whom less is known than of most of the other disciples,
was elected to fill the vacant place of Judas.  He was stoned at
Jerusalem and then beheaded.

VII.  Andrew
Was the brother of Peter.  He preached the gospel to many
Asiatic nations; but on his arrival at Edessa he was taken and
crucified on a cross, the two ends of which were fixed
transversely in the ground.  Hence the derivation of the term,
St. Andrew's Cross.

VIII.  St. Mark
Was born of Jewish parents of the tribe of Levi.  He is
supposed to have been converted to Christianity by Peter, whom he
served as an amanuensis, and under whose inspection he wrote his
Gospel in the Greek language.  Mark was dragged to pieces by the
people of Alexandria, at the great solemnity of Serapis their
idol, ending his life under their merciless hands.

IX.  Peter
Among many other saints, the blessed apostle Peter was
condemned to death, and crucified, as some do write, at Rome;
albeit some others, and not without cause, do doubt thereof. 
Hegesippus saith that Nero sought matter against Peter to put him
to death; which, when the people perceived, they entreated Peter
with much ado that he would fly the city.  Peter, through their
importunity at length persuaded, prepared himself to avoid.  But,
coming to the gate, he saw the Lord Christ come to meet him, to
whom he, worshipping, said, "Lord, whither dost Thou go?" To whom He answered and said, "I am come again to be crucified."  By
this, Peter, perceiving his suffering to be understood, returned
into the city.  Jerome saith that he was crucified, his head
being down and his feet upward, himself so requiring, because he
was (he said) unworthy to be crucified after the same form and
manner as the Lord was.

X.  Paul
Paul, the apostle, who before was called Saul, after his
great travail and unspeakable labors in promoting the Gospel of
Christ, suffered also in this first persecution under Nero. 
Abdias, declareth that under his execution Nero sent two of his
esquires, Ferega and Parthemius, to bring him word of his death. 
They, coming to Paul instructing the people, desired him to pray
for them, that they might believe; who told them that shortly
after they should believe and be baptised at His sepulcher.  This
done, the soldiers came and led him out of the city to the place
of execution, where he, after his prayers made, gave his neck to
the sword.

XI. Jude
The brother of James, was commonly called Thaddeus.  He was
crucified at Edessa, A.D. 72.

XII. Bartholomew
Preached in several countries, and having translated the
Gospel of Matthew into the language of India, he propagated it in
that country.  He was at length cruelly beaten and then crucified
by the impatient idolaters.

XIII.  Thomas
Called Didymus, preached the Gospel in Parthia and India,
where exciting the rage of the pagan priests, he was martyred by
being thrust through with a spear.

XIV.  Luke
The evangelist, was the author of the Gospel which goes
under his name.  He travelled with Paul through various
countries, and is supposed to have been hanged on an olive tree,
by the idolatrous priests of Greece.

XV.  Simon
Surnamed Zelotes, preached the Gospel in Mauritania, Africa,
and even in Britain, in which latter country he was crucified,
A.D. 74.

XVI.  John
The "beloved disciple," was brother to James the Great.  The
churches of Smyrna, Pergamos, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea, and
Thyatira, were founded by him.  From Ephesus he was ordered to be
sent to Rome, where it is affirmed he was cast into a cauldron of
boiling oil.  He escaped by miracle, without injury.  Domitian
afterwards banished him to the Isle of Patmos, where he wrote the
Book of Revelation.  Nerva, the successor of Domitian, recalled
him.  He was the only apostle who escaped a violent death.

XVII.  Barnabas
Was of Cyprus, but of Jewish descent, his death is supposed
to have taken place about A.D. 73. 
And yet, notwithstanding all these continual persecutions
and horrible punishments, the Church daily increased, deeply
rooted in the doctrine of the apostles and of men apostolical,
and watered plentously with the blood of saints.


CHAPTER II
The Ten Primitive Persecutions
The First Persecution, Under Nero, A.D. 67


The first persecution of the Church took place in the year
67, under Nero, the sixth emperor of Rome.  This monarch reigned
for the space of five years, with tolerable credit to himself,
but then gave way to the greatest extravagancy of temper, and to
the most atrocious barbarities.  Among other diabolical whims, he
ordered that the city of Rome should be set on fire, which order
was executed by his officers, guards, and servants.  While the
imperial city was in flames, he went up to the tower of Macaenas,
played upon his harp, sung the song of the burning of Troy, and
openly declared that 'he wished the ruin of all things before his
death.'  Besides the noble pile, called the Circus, many other
palaces and houses were consumed; several thousands perished in
the flames, were smothered in the smoke, or buried beneath the
ruins.

This dreadful conflagration continued nine days; when Nero,
finding that his conduct was greatly blamed, and a severe odium
cast upon him, determined to lay the whole upon the Christians,
at once to excuse himself, and have an opportunity of glutting
his sight with new cruelties.  This was the occasion of the first
persecution; and the barbarities exercised on the Christians were
such as even excited the commiseration of the Romans themselves. 
Nero even refined upon cruelty, and contrived all manner of
punishments for the Christians that the most infernal imagination
could design.  In particular, he had some sewed up in skins of
wild beasts, and then worried by dogs until they expired; and
others dressed in shirts made stiff with wax, fixed to axletrees,
and set on fire in his gardens, in order to illuminate them. 
This persecution was general throughout the whole Roman Empire;
but it rather increased than diminished the spirit of
Christianity.  In the course of it, St. Paul and St. Peter were
martyred.

To their names may be added, Erastus, chamberlain of
Corinth; Aristarchus, the Macedonian, and Trophimus, an
Ephesians, converted by St. Paul, and fellow-laborer with him,
Joseph, commonly called Barsabas, and Ananias, bishop of
Damascus; each of the Seventy.

The Second Persecution, Under Domitian, A.D. 81


The emperor Domitian, who was naturally inclined to cruelty,
first slew his brother, and then raised the second persecution
against the Christians.  In his rage he put to death some of the
Roman senators, some through malice; and others to confiscate
their estates.  He then commanded all the lineage of David be put
to death.

Among the numerous martyrs that suffered during this
persecution was Simeon, bishop of Jerusalem, who was crucified;
and St. John, who was boiled in oil, and afterward banished to
Patmos.  Flavia, the daughter of a Roman senator, was likewise
banished to Pontus; and a law was made, "That no Christian, once
brought before the tribunal, should be exempted from punishment
without renouncing his religion."

A variety of fabricated tales were, during this reign,
composed in order to injure the Christians.  Such was the
infatuation of the pagans, that, if famine, pestilence, or
earthquakes afflicted any of the Roman provinces, it was laid
upon the Christians.  These persecutions among the Christians
increased the number of informers and many, for the sake of gain,
swore away the lives of the innocent.

Another hardship was, that, when any Christians were brought
before the magistrates, a test oath was proposed, when, if they
refused to take it, death was pronounced against them; and if
they confessed themselves Christians, the sentence was the same.

The following were the most remarkable among the numerous
martyrs who suffered during this persecution.

Dionysius, the Areopagite, was an Athenian by birth, and
educated in all the useful and ornamental literature of Greece. 
He then travelled to Egypt to study astronomy, and made very
particular observations on the great and supernatural eclipse,
which happened at the time of our Savior's crucifixion.

The sanctity of his conversation and the purity of his
manners recommended him so strongly to the Christians in general,
that he was appointed bishop of Athens.

Nicodemus, a benevolent Christian of some distinction,
suffered at Rome during the rage of Domitian's persecution.

Protasius and Gervasius were martyred at Milan.

Timothy was the celebrated disciple of St. Paul, and bishop
of Ephesus, where he zealously governed the Church until A.D. 97. 
At this period, as the pagans were about to celebrate a feast
called Catagogion, Timothy, meeting the procession, severely
reproved them for their ridiculous idolatry, which so exasperated
the people that they fell upon him with their clubs, and beat him
in so dreadful a manner that he expired of the bruises two days
later.

The Third Persecution, Under Trajan, A.D. 108


In the third persecution Pliny the Second, a man learned and
famous, seeing the lamentable slaughter of Christians, and moved
therewith to pity, wrote to Trajan, certifying him that there
were many thousands of them daily put to death, of which none did
any thing contrary to the Roman laws worthy of persecution.  "The
whole account they gave of their crime or error (whichever it is
to be called) amounted only to this--viz. that they were
accustomed on a stated day to meet before daylight, and to repeat
together a set form of prayer to Christ as a God, and to bind
themselves by an obligation--not indeed to commit wickedness;
but, on the contrary--never to commit theft, robbery, or
adultery, never to falsify their word, never to defraud any man:
after which it was their custom to separate, and reassemble to
partake in common of a harmless meal."

In this persecution suffered the blessed martyr, Ignatius,
who is held in famous reverence among very many.  This Ignatius
was appointed to the bishopric of Antioch next after Peter in
succession.  Some do say, that he, being sent from Syria to Rome,
because he professed Christ, was given to the wild beasts to be
devoured.  It is also said of him, that when he passed through
Asia, being under the most strict custody of his keepers, he
strengthened and confirmed the churches through all the cities as
he went, both with his exhortations and preaching of the Word of
God.  Accordingly, having come to Smyrna, he wrote to the Church
at Rome, exhorting them not to use means for his deliverance from
martyrdom, lest they should deprive him of that which he most
longed and hoped for.  "Now I begin to be a disciple.  I care for
nothing, of visible or invisible things, so that I may but win
Christ.  Let fire and the cross, let the companies of wild
beasts, let breaking of bones and tearing of limbs, let the
grinding of the whole body, and all the malice of the devil, come
upon me; be it so, only may I win Christ Jesus!" And even when he
was sentenced to be thrown to the beasts, such as the burning
desire that he had to suffer, that he spake, what time he heard
the lions roaring, saying:  "I am the wheat of Christ: I am going
to be ground with the teeth of wild beasts, that I may be found
pure bread."

Trajan being succeeded by Adrian, the latter continued this
third persecution with as much severity as his predecessor. 
About this time Alexander, bishop of Rome, with his two deacons,
were martyred; as were Quirinus and Hernes, with their families;
Zenon, a Roman nobleman, and about ten thousand other Christians.

In Mount Ararat many were crucified, crowned with thorns,
and spears run into their sides, in imitation of Christ's
passion.  Eustachius, a brave and successful Roman commander, was
by the emperor ordered to join in an idolatrous sacrifice to
celebrate some of his own victories; but his faith (being a
Christian in his heart) was so much greater than his vanity, that
he nobly refused it.  Enraged at the denial, the ungrateful
emperor forgot the service of this skilful commander, and ordered
him and his whole family to be martyred.

At the martyrdom of Faustines and Jovita, brothers and
citizens of Brescia, their torments were so many, and their
patience so great, that Calocerius, a pagan, beholding them, was
struck with admiration, and exclaimed in a kind of ecstasy,
"Great is the God of the Christians!" for which he was
apprehended, and suffered a similar fate.

Many other similar cruelties and rigors were exercised
against the Christians, until Quadratus, bishop of Athens, made a
learned apology in their favor before the emperor, who happened
to be there and Aristides, a philosopher of the same city, wrote
an elegant epistle, which caused Adrian to relax in his
severities, and relent in their favor.

Adrian dying A.D. 138, was succeeded by Antoninus Pius, one
of the most amiable monarchs that ever reigned, and who stayed
the persecutions against the Christians.

The Fourth Persecution, Under Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, A.D. 162


Marcus Aurelius, followed about the year of our Lord 161, a
man of nature more stern and severe; and, although in study of
philosophy and in civil government no less commendable, yet,
toward the Christians sharp and fierce; by whom was moved the
fourth persecution.

The cruelties used in this persecution were such that many
of the spectators shuddered with horror at the sight, and were
astonished at the intrepidity of the sufferers.  Some of the
martyrs were obliged to pass, with their already wounded feet,
over thorns, nails, sharp shells, etc. upon their points, others
were scourged until their sinews and veins lay bare, and after
suffering the most excruciating tortures that could be devised,
they were destroyed by the most terrible deaths.

Germanicus, a young man, but a true Christian, being
delivered to the wild beasts on account of his faith, behaved
with such astonishing courage that several pagans became converts
to a faith which inspired such fortitude.

Polycarp, the venerable bishop of Smyrna, hearing that
persons were seeking for him, escaped, but was discovered by a
child.  After feasting the guards who apprehended him, he desired
an hour in prayer, which being allowed, he prayed with such
fervency, that his guards repented that they had been
instrumental in taking him.  He was, however, carried before the
proconsul, condemned, and burnt in the market place.

The proconsul then urged him, saying, "Swear, and I will
release thee;--reproach Christ."

Polycarp answered, "Eighty and six years have I served him,
and he never once wronged me; how then shall I blaspheme my King,
Who hath saved me?"  At the stake to which he was only tied, but
not nailed as usual, as he assured them he should stand
immovable, the flames, on their kindling the fagots, encircled
his body, like an arch, without touching him; and the
executioner, on seeing this, was ordered to pierce him with a
sword, when so great a quantity of blood flowed out as
extinguished the fire.  But his body, at the instigation of the
enemies of the Gospel, especially Jews, was ordered to be
consumed in the pile, and the request of his friends, who wished
to give it Christian burial, rejected.  They nevertheless
collected his bones and as much of his remains as possible, and
caused them to be decently interred.

Metrodorus, a minister, who preached boldly, and Pionius,
who made some excellent apologies for the Christian faith, were
likewise burnt.  Carpus and Papilus, two worthy Christians, and
Agatonica, a pious woman, suffered martyrdom at Pergamopolis, in
Asia.

Felicitatis, an illustrious Roman lady, of a considerable
family, and the most shining virtues, was a devout Christian. 
She had seven sons, whom she had educated with the most exemplary piety.

Januarius, the eldest, was scourged, and pressed to death
with weights; Felix and Philip, the two next had their brains
dashed out with clubs; Silvanus, the fourth, was murdered by
being thrown from a precipice; and the three younger sons,
Alexander, Vitalis, and Martial, were beheaded.  The mother was
beheaded with the same sword as the three latter.

Justin, the celebrated philosopher, fell a martyr in this
persecution.  He was a native of Neapolis, in Samaria, and was
born A.D. 103.  Justin was a great lover of truth, and a
universal scholar; he investigated the Stoic and Peripatetic
philosophy, and attempted the Pythagorean; but the behavior of
our of its professors disgusting him, he applied himself to the
Platonic, in which he took great delight.  About the year 133,
when he was thirty years of age, he became a convert to
Christianity, and then, for the first time, perceived the real
nature of truth.

He wrote an elegant epistle to the Gentiles, and employed
his talents in convincing the Jews of the truth of the Christian
rites; spending a great deal of time in travelling, until he took
up his abode in Rome, and fixed his habitation upon the Viminal
mount.

He kept a public school, taught many who afterward became
great men, and wrote a treatise to confuse heresies of all kinds. 
As the pagans began to treat the Christians with great severity,
Justin wrote his first apology in their favor.  This piece
displays great learning and genius, and occasioned the emperor to
publish an edict in favor of the Christians.

Soon after, he entered into frequent contests with Crescens,
a person of a vicious life and conversation, but a celebrated
cynic philosopher; and his arguments appeared so powerful, yet
disgusting to the cynic, that he resolved on, and in the sequel
accomplished, his destruction.

The second apology of Justin, upon certain severities, gave
Crescens the cynic an opportunity of prejudicing the emperor
against the writer of it; upon which Justin, and six of his
companions, were apprehended.  Being commanded to sacrifice to
the pagan idols, they refused, and were condemned to be scourged,
and then beheaded; which sentence was executed with all
imaginable severity.

Several were beheaded for refusing to sacrifice to the image
of Jupiter; in particular Concordus, a deacon of the city of
Spolito.

Some of the restless northern nations having risen in arms
against Rome, the emperor marched to encounter them.  He was,
however, drawn into an ambuscade, and dreaded the loss of his
whole army.  Enveloped with mountains, surrounded by enemies, and
perishing with thirst, the pagan deities were invoked in vain;
when the men belonging to the militine, or thundering legion, who
were all Christians, were commanded to call upon their God for
succor.  A miraculous deliverance immediately ensued; a
prodigious quantity of rain fell, which, being caught by the men,
and filling their dykes, afforded a sudden and astonishing
relief.  It appears that the storm which miraculously flashed in
the face of the enemy so intimidated them, that part deserted to
the Roman army; the rest were defeated, and the revolted
provinces entirely recovered.

This affair occasioned the persecution to subside for some
time, at least in those parts immediately under the inspection of
the emperor; but we find that it soon after raged in France,
particularly at Lyons, where the tortures to which many of the
Christians were put, almost exceed the powers of description.

The principal of these martyrs were Vetius Agathus, a young
man; Blandina, a Christian lady, of a weak constitution; Sanctus,
a deacon of Vienna; red hot plates of brass were placed upon the
tenderest parts of his body; Biblias, a weak woman, once an
apostate.  Attalus, of Pergamus; and Pothinus, the venerable
bishop of Lyons, who was ninety years of age.  Blandina, on the
day when she and the three other champions were first brought
into the amphitheater, she was suspended on a piece of wood fixed
in the ground, and exposed as food for the wild beasts; at which
time, by her earnest prayers, she encouraged others.  But none of
the wild beasts would touch her, so that she was remanded to
prison.  When she was again produced for the third and last time,
she was accompanied by Ponticus, a youth of fifteen, and the
constancy of their faith so enraged the multitude that neither
the sex of the one nor the youth of the other were respected,
being exposed to all manner of punishments and tortures.  Being
strengthened by Blandina, he persevered unto death; and she,
after enduring all the torments heretofore mentioned, was at
length slain with the sword.

When the Christians, upon these occasions, received
martyrdom, they were ornamented, and crowned with garlands of
flowers; for which they, in heaven, received eternal crowns of
glory.

It has been said that the lives of the early Christians
consisted of "persecution above ground and prayer below ground."
Their lives are expressed by the Coliseum and the catacombs. 
Beneath Rome are the excavations which we call the catacombs,
whivch were at once temples and tombs.  The early Church of Rome
might well be called the Church of the Catacombs.  There are some
sixty catacombs near Rome, in which some six hundred miles of
galleries have been traced, and these are not all.  These
galleries are about eight feet high and from three to five feet
wide, containing on either side several rows of long, low,
horizontal recesses, one above another like berths in a ship.  In
these the dead bodies were placed and the front closed, either by
a single marble slab or several great tiles laid in mortar.  On
these slabs or tiles, epitaphs or symbols are graved or painted. 
Both pagans and Christians buried their dead in these catacombs. 
When the Christian graves have been opened the skeletons tell
their own terrible tale.  Heads are found severed from the body,
ribs and shoulder blades are broken, bones are often calcined
from fire.  But despite the awful story of persecution that we
may read here, the inscriptions breathe forth peace and joy and
triumph.  Here are a few:

"Here lies Marcia, put to rest in a dream of peace."

"Lawrence to his sweetest son, borne away of angels."

"Victorious in peace and in Christ."

"Being called away, he went in peace."

Remember when reading these inscriptions the story the
skeletons tell of persecution, of torture, and of fire.

But the full force of these epitaphs is seen when we
contrast them with the pagan epitaphs, such as:

"Live for the present hour, since we are sure of nothing 
else."

"I lift my hands against the gods who took me away at the 
age of twenty though I had done no harm."

"Once I was not.  Now I am not.  I know nothing about it, 
and it is no concern of mine."

"Traveler, curse me not as you pass, for I am in darkness 
and cannot answer."

The most frequent Christian symbols on the walls of the
catacombs, are, the good shepherd with the lamb on his shoulder,
a ship under full sail, harps, anchors, crowns, vines, and above
all the fish.

The Fifth Persecution, Commencing with Severus, A.D. 192


Severus, having been recovered from a severe fit of sickness
by a Christian, became a great favorer of the Christians in
general; but the prejudice and fury of the ignorant multitude
prevailing, obsolete laws were put in execution against the
Christians.  The progress of Christianity alarmed the pagans, and
they revived the stale calumny of placing accidental misfortunes
to the account of its professors, A.D. 192.

But, though persecuting malice raged, yet the Gospel shone
with resplendent brightness; and, firm as an impregnable rock,
withstood the attacks of its boisterous enemies with success. 
Tertullian, who lived in this age, informs us that if the
Christians had collectively withdrawn themselves from the Roman
territories, the empire would have been greatly depopulated.

Victor, bishop of Rome, suffered martyrdom in the first year
of the third century, A.D. 201.  Leonidus, the father of the
celebrated Origen, was beheaded for being a Christian.  Many of
Origen's hearers likewise suffered martyrdom; particularly two
brothers, named Plutarchus and Serenus; another Serenus, Heron,
and Heraclides, were beheaded.  Rhais had boiled pitch poured
upon her head, and was then burnt, as was Marcella her mother. 
Potainiena, the sister of Rhais, was executed in the same manner
as Rhais had been; but Basilides, an officer belonging to the
army, and ordered to attend her execution, became her convert.

Basilides being, as an officer, required to take a certain
oath, refused, saying, that he could not swear by the Roman
idols, as he was a Christian.  Struck with surprise, the people
could not, at first, believe what they heard; but he had no
sooner confirmed the same, than he was dragged before the judge,
committed to prison, and speedily afterward beheaded.

Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons, was born in Greece, and received
both a polite and a Christian education.  It is generally
supposed that the account of the persecutions at Lyons was
written by himself.  He succeeded the martyr Pothinus as bishop
of Lyons, and ruled his diocese with great propriety; he was a
zealous opposer of heresies in general, and, about A.D. 187, he
wrote a celebrated tract against heresy.  Victor, the bishop of
Rome, wanting to impose the keeping of Easter there, in
preference to other places, it occasioned some disorders among
the Christians.  In particular, Irenaeus wrote him a synodical
epistle, in the name of the Gallic churches.  This zeal, in favor
of Christianity, pointed him out as an object of resentment to
the emperor; and in A.D. 202, he was beheaded.

The persecutions now extending to Africa, many were martyred
in that quarter of the globe; the most particular of whom we
shall mention.

Perpetua, a married lady, of about twenty-two years.  Those
who suffered with her were, Felicitas, a married lady, big with
child at the time of her being apprehended, and Revocatus,
catechumen of Carthage, and a slave.  The names of the other
prisoners, destined to suffer upon this occasion, were
Saturninus, Secundulus, and Satur.  On the day appointed for
their execution, they were led to the amphitheater.  Satur,
Saturninus, and Revocatus were ordered to run the gauntlet
between the hunters, or such as had the care of the wild beasts. 
The hunters being drawn up in two ranks, they ran between, and
were severely lashed as they passed.  Felicitas and Perpetua were
stripped, in order to be thrown to a mad bull, which made his
first attack upon Perpetua, and stunned her; he then darted at
Felicitas, and gored her dreadfully; but not killing them, the
executioner did that office with a sword.  Revocatus and Satur
were destroyed by wild beasts; Saturninus was beheaded; and
Secundulus died in prison.  These executions were in the 205, on
the eighth day of March.

Speratus and twelve others were likewise beheaded; as was
Andocles in France.  Asclepiades, bishop of Antioch, suffered
many tortures, but his life was spared.

Cecilia, a young lady of good family in Rome, was married to
a gentleman named Valerian.  She converted her husband and
brother, who were beheaded; and the maximus, or officer, who led
them to execution, becoming their convert, suffered the same
fate. The lady was placed naked in a scalding bath, and having
continued there a considerable time, her head was struck off with
a sword, A.D. 222.

Calistus, bishop of Rome, was martyred, A.D. 224; but the
manner of his death is not recorded; and Urban, bishop of Rome,
met the same fate A.D. 232.

The Sixth Persecution, Under Maximus, A.D. 235


A.D. 235, was in the time of Maximinus.  In Cappadocia, the
president, Seremianus, did all he could to exterminate the
Christians from that province.

The principal persons who perished under this reign were
Pontianus, bishop of Rome; Anteros, a Grecian, his successor, who
gave offence to the government by collecting the acts of the
martyrs, Pammachius and Quiritus, Roman senators, with all their
families, and many other Christians; Simplicius, senator;
Calepodius, a Christian minister, thrown into the Tyber; Martina,
a noble and beautiful virgin; and Hippolitus, a Christian
prelate, tied to a wild horse, and dragged until he expired.

During this persecution, raised by Maximinus, numberless
Christians were slain without trial, and buried indiscriminately
in heaps, sometimes fifty or sixty being cast into a pit
together, without the least decency.

The tyrant Maximinus dying, A.D. 238, was succeeded by
Gordian, during whose reign, and that of his successor Philip,
the Church was free from persecution for the space of more than
ten years; but in A.D. 249, a violent persecution broke out in
Alexandria, at the instigation of a pagan priest, without the
knowledge of the emperor.

The Seventh Persecution, Under Decius, A.D. 249


This was occasioned partly by the hatred he bore to his
predecessor Philip, who was deemed a Christian and was partly by
his jealousy concerning the amazing increase of Christianity; for
the heathen temples began to be forsaken, and the Christian
churches thronged.

These reasons stimulated Decius to attempt the very
extirpation of the name of Christian; and it was unfortunate for
the Gospel, that many errors had, about this time, crept into the
Church: the Christians were at variance with each other; self-
interest divided those whom social love ought to have united; and
the virulence of pride occasioned a variety of factions.

The heathens in general were ambitious to enforce the
imperial decrees upon this occasion, and looked upon the murder
of a Christian as a merit to themselves.  The martyrs, upon this
occasion, were innumerable; but the principal we shall give some
account of.

Fabian, the bishop of Rome, was the first person of eminence
who felt the severity of this persecution.  The deceased emperor,
Philip, had, on account of his integrity, committed his treasure
to the care of this good man.  But Decius, not finding as much as
his avarice made him expect, determined to wreak his vengeance on
the good prelate.  He was accordingly seized; and on January 20,
A.D. 250, he suffered decapitation.

Julian, a native of Cilicia, as we are informed by St.
Chrysostom, was seized upon for being a Christian.  He was put
into a leather bag, together with a number of serpents and
scorpions, and in that condition thrown into the sea.

Peter, a young man, amiable for the superior qualities of
his body and mind, was beheaded for refusing to sacrifice to
Venus.  He said, "I am astonished you should sacrifice to an
infamous woman, whose debaucheries even your own historians
record, and whose life consisted of such actions as your laws
would punish.  No, I shall offer the true God the acceptable
sacrifice of praises and prayers."  Optimus, the proconsul of
Asia, on hearing this, ordered the prisoner to be stretched upon
a wheel, by which all his bones were broken, and then he was sent
to be beheaded.

Nichomachus, being brought before the proconsul as a
Christian, was ordered to sacrifice to the pagan idols. 
Nichomachus replied, "I cannot pay that respect to devils, which
is only due to the Almighty."  This speech so much enraged the
proconsul that Nichomachus was put to the rack.  After enduring
the torments for a time, he recanted; but scarcely had he given
this proof of his frailty, than he fell into the greatest
agonies, dropped down on the ground, and expired immediately.

Denisa, a young woman of only sixteen years of age, who
beheld this terrible judgment, suddenly exclaimed, "O unhappy
wretch, why would you buy a moment's ease at the expense of a
miserable eternity!" Optimus, hearing this, called to her, and
Denisa avowing herself to be a Christian, she was beheaded, by
his order, soon after.

Andrew and Paul, two companions of Nichomachus, the martyr,
A.D. 251, suffered martyrdom by stoning, and expired, calling on
their blessed Redeemer.

Alexander and Epimachus, of Alexandria, were apprehended for
being Christians: and, confessing the accusation, were beat with
staves, torn with hooks, and at length burnt in the fire; and we
are informed, in a fragment preserved by Eusebius, that four
female martyrs suffered on the same day, and at the same place,
but not in the same manner; for these were beheaded.

Lucian and Marcian, two wicked pagans, though skilful
magicians, becoming converts to Christianity, to make amends for
their former errors, lived the lives of hermits, and subsisted
upon bread and water only.  After some time spent in this manner,
they became zealous preachers, and made many converts.  The
persecution, however, raging at this time, they were seized upon,
and carried before Sabinus, the governor of Bithynia.  On being
asked by what authority they took upon themselves to preach,
Lucian answered, 'That the laws of charity and humanity obliged
all men to endeavor the conversion of their neighbors, and to do
everything in their power to rescue them from the snares of the
devil.'

Lucian having answered in this manner, Marcian said, "Their
conversion was by the same grace which was given to St. Paul,
who, from a zealous persecutor of the Church, became a preacher
of the Gospel."

The proconsul, finding that he could not prevail with them
to renounce their faith, condemned them to be burnt alive, which
sentence was soon after executed.

Trypho and Respicius, two eminent men, were seized as
Christians, and imprisoned at Nice.  Their feet were pierced with
nails; they were dragged through the streets, scourged, torn with
iron hooks, scorched with lighted torches, and at length
beheaded, February 1, A.D. 251.

Agatha, a Sicilian lady, was not more remarkable for her
personal and acquired endowments, than her piety; her beauty was
such, that Quintian, governor of Sicily, became enamored of her,
and made many attempts upon her chastity without success.  In
order to gratify his passions with the greater conveniency, he
put the virtuous lady into the hands of Aphrodica, a very
infamous and licentious woman.  This wretch tried every artifice
to win her to the desired prostitution; but found all her efforts
were vain; for her chastity was impregnable, and she well knew
that virtue alone could procure true happiness.  Aphrodica
acquainted Quintian with the inefficacy of her endeavors, who,
enaged to be foiled in his designs, changed his lust into
resentment.  On her confessing that she was a Christian, he
determined to gratify his revenge, as he could not his passion. 
Pursuant to his orders, she was scourged, burnt with red-hot
irons, and torn with sharp hooks.  Having borne these torments
with admirable fortitude, she was next laid naked upon live
coals, intermingled with glass, and then being carried back to
prison, she there expired on February 5, 251.

Cyril, bishop of Gortyna, was seized by order of Lucius, the
governor of that place, who, nevertheless, exhorted him to obey
the imperial mandate, perform the sacrifices, and save his
venerable person from destruction; for he was now eighty-four
years of age.  The good prelate replied that as he had long
taught others to save their souls, he should only think now of
his own salvation.  The worthy prelate heard his fiery sentence
without emotion, walked cheerfully to the place of execution, and
underwent his martyrdom with great fortitude.

The persecution raged in no place more than the Island of
Crete; for the governor, being exceedingly active in executing
the imperial decrees, that place streamed with pious blood.

Babylas, a Christian of a liberal education, became bishop
of Antioch, A.D. 237, on the demise of Zebinus.  He acted with
inimitable zeal, and governed the Church with admirable prudence
during the most tempestuous times.

The first misfortune that happened to Antioch during his
mission, was the siege of it by Sapor, king of Persia; who,
having overrun all Syria, took and plundered this city among
others, and used the Christian inhabitants with greater severity
than the rest, but was soon totally defeated by Gordian.

After Gordian's death, in the reign of Decius, that emperor
came to Antioch, where, having a desire to visit an assembly of
Christians, Babylas opposed him, and absolutely refused to let
him come in.  The emperor dissembled his anger at that time; but
soon sending for the bishop, he sharply reproved him for his
insolence, and then ordered him to sacrifice to the pagan deities
as an expiation for his ofence.  This being refused, he was
committed to prison, loaded with chains, treated with great
severities, and then beheaded, together with three young men who
had been his pupils.  A.D. 251.

Alexander, bishop of Jerusalem, about this time was cast
into prison on account of his religion, where he died through the
severity of his confinement.

Julianus, an old man, lame with the gout, and Cronion,
another Christian, were bound on the backs of camels, severely
scourged, and then thrown into a fire and consumed.  Also forty
virgins, at Antioch, after being imprisoned, and scourged, were
burnt.

In the year of our Lord 251, the emperor Decius having
erected a pagan temple at Ephesus, he commanded all who were in
that city to sacrifice to the idols.  This order was nobly
refused by seven of his own soldiers, viz. Maximianus, Martianus,
Joannes, Malchus, Dionysius, Seraion, and Constantinus.  The
emperor wishing to win these soldiers to renounce their faith by
his entreaties and lenity, gave them a considerable respite until
he returned from an expedition.  During the emperor's absence,
they escaped, and hid themselves in a cavern; which the emperor
being informed of at his return, the mouth of the cave was closed
up, and they all perished with hunger.

Theodora, a beautiful young lady of Antioch, on refusing to
sacrifice to the Roman idols, was condemned to the stews, that
her virtue might be sacrificed to the brutality of lust. 
Didymus, a Christian, disguised himself in the habit of a Roman
soldier, went to the house, informed Theodora who he was, and
advised her to make her escape in his clothes.  This being
effected, and a man found in the brothel instead of a beautiful
lady, Didymus was taken before the president, to whom confessing
the truth, and owning that he was a Christian the sentence of
death was immediately pronounced against him.  Theodora, hearing
that her deliverer was likely to suffer, came to the judge, threw
herself at his feet, and begged that the sentence might fall on
her as the guilty person; but, deaf to the cries of the innocent,
and insensible to the calls of justice, the inflexible judge
condemned both; when they were executed accordingly, being first
beheaded, and their bodies afterward burnt.

Secundianus, having been accused as a Christian, was
conveyed to prison by some soldiers. On the way, Verianus and
Marcellinus said, "Where are you carrying the innocent?" This
interrogatory occasioned them to be seized, and all three, after
having been tortured, were hanged and decapitated.

Origen, the celebrated presbyter and catechist of
Alexandria, at the age of sixty-four, was seized, thrown into a
loathsome prison, laden with fetters, his feet placed in the
stocks, and his legs extended to the utmost for several
successive days.  He was threatened with fire, and tormented by
every lingering means the most infernal imaginations could
suggest.  During this cruel temporizing, the emperor Decius died,
and Gallus, who succeeded him, engaging in a war with the Goths,
the Christians met with a respite.  In this interim, Origen
obtained his enlargement, and, retiring to Tyre, he there
remained until his death, which happened when he was in the
sixty-ninth year of his age.

Gallus, the emperor, having concluded his wars, a plague
broke out in the empire: sacrifices to the pagan deities were
ordered by the emperor, and persecutions spread from the interior
to the extreme parts of the empire, and many fell martyrs to the
impetuosity of the rabble, as well as the prejudice of the
magistrates.  Among these were Cornelius, the Christian bishop of
Rome, and Lucius, his successor, in 253.

Most of the errors which crept into the Church at this time
arose from placing human reason in competition with revelation;
but the fallacy of such arguments being proved by the most able
divines, the opinions they had created vanished away like the
stars before the sun.

The Eighth Persecution, Under Valerian, A.D. 257


Began under Valerian, in the month of April, 257, and
continued for three years and six months.  The martyrs that fell
in this persecution were innumerable, and their tortures and
deaths as various and painful.  The most eminent martyrs were the
following, though neither rank, sex, nor age were regarded.

Rufina and Secunda were two beautiful and accomplished
ladies, daughters of Asterius, a gentleman of eminence in Rome. 
Rufina, the elder, was designed in marriage for Armentarius, a
young nobleman; Secunda, the younger, for Verinus, a person of
rank and opulence.  The suitors, at the time of the persecution's
commencing, were both Christians; but when danger appeared, to
save their fortunes, they renounced their faith.  They took great
pains to persuade the ladies to do the same, but, disappointed in
their purpose, the lovers were base enough to inform against the
ladies, who, being apprehended as Christians, were brought before
Junius Donatus, governor of Rome, where, A.D. 257, they sealed
their martyrdom with their blood.

Stephen, bishop of Rome, was beheaded in the same year, and
about that time Saturninus, the pious orthodox bishop of
Toulouse, refusing to sacrifice to idols, was treated with all
the barbarous indignities imaginable, and fastened by the feet to
the tail of a bull.  Upon a signal given, the enraged animal was
driven down the steps of the temple, by which the worthy martyr's
brains were dashed out.

Sextus succeeded Stephen as bishop of Rome.  He is supposed
to have been a Greek by birth or by extraction, and had for some
time served in the capacity of a deacon under Stephen.  His great
fidelity, singular wisdom, and uncommon courage distinguished him
upon many occasions; and the happy conclusion of a controversy
with some heretics is generally ascribed to his piety and
prudence.  In the year 258, Marcianus, who had the management of
the Roman government, procured an order from the emperor
Valerian, to put to death all the Christian clergy in Rome, and
hence the bishop with six of his deacons, suffered martyrdom in
258.

Let us draw near to the fire of martyred Lawrence, that our
cold hearts may be warmed thereby.  The merciless tyrant,
understanding him to be not only a minister of the sacraments,
but a distributor also of the Church riches, promised to himself
a double prey, by the apprehension of one soul.  First, with the
rake of avarice to scrape to himself the treasure of poor
Christians; then with the fiery fork of tyranny, so to toss and
turmoil them, that they should wax weary of their profession. 
With furious face and cruel countenance, the greedy wolf demanded
where this Lawrence had bestowed the substance of the Church:
who, craving three days' respite, promised to declare where the
treasure might be had.  In the meantime, he caused a good number
of poor Christians to be congregated.  So, when the day of his
answer was come, the persecutor strictly charged him to stand to
his promise.  Then valiant Lawrence, stretching out his arms over
the poor, said:  "These are the precious treasure of the Church;
these are the treasure indeed, in whom the faith of Christ
reigneth, in whom Jesus Christ hath His mansion-place.  What more
precious jewels can Christ have, than those in whom He hath
promised to dwell?  For so it is written, 'I was an hungered, and
ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a
stranger, and ye took me in.' And again, 'Inasmuch as ye have
done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done
it unto me.'  What greater riches can Christ our Master possess,
than the poor people in whom He loveth to be seen?"

O, what tongue is able to express the fury and madness of
the tyrant's heart!  Now he stamped, he stared, he ramped, he
fared as one out of his wits: his eyes like fire glowed, his
mouth like a boar formed, his teeth like a hellhound grinned. 
Now, not a reasonable man, but a roaring lion, he might be
called.

"Kindle the fire (he cried)--of wood make no spare.  Hath
this villain deluded the emperor?  Away with him, away with him:
whip him with scourges, jerk him with rods, buffet him with
fists, brain him with clubs.  Jesteth the traitor with the
emperor?  Pinch him with fiery tongs, gird him with burning
plates, bring out the strongest chains, and the fire-forks, and
the grated bed of iron: on the fire with it; bind the rebel hand
and foot; and when the bed is fire-hot, on with him: roast him,
broil him, toss him, turn him: on pain of our high displeasure do
every man his office, O ye tormentors."

The word was no sooner spoken, but all was done.  After many
cruel handlings, this meek lamb was laid, I will not say on his
fiery bed of iron, but on his soft bed of down.  So mightily God
wrought with his martyr Lawrence, so miraculously God tempered
His element the fire; that it became not a bed of consuming pain,
but a pallet of nourishing rest.

In Africa the persecution raged with peculiar violence; many
thousands received the crown of martyrdom, among whom the
following were the most distinguished characters:

Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, an eminent prelate, and a pious
ornament of the Church.  The brightness of his genius was
tempered by the solidity of his judgment; and with all the
accomplishments of the gentleman, he blended the virtues of a
Christian.  His doctrines were orthodox and pure; his language
easy and elegant; and his manners graceful and winning: in fine,
he was both the pious and polite preacher.  In his youth he was
educated in the principles of Gentilism, and having a
considerable fortune, he lived in the very extravagance of
splendor, and all the dignity of pomp.

About the year 246, Coecilius, a Christian minister of
Carthage, became the happy instrument of Cyprian's conversion: on
which account, and for the great love that he always afterward
bore for the author of his conversion, he was termed Coecilius
Cyprian.  Previous to his baptism, he studied the Scriptures with
care and being struck with the beauties of the truths they
contained, he determined to practise the virtues therein
recommended.  Subsequent to his baptism, he sold his estate,
distributed the money among the poor, dressed himself in plain
attire, and commenced a life of austerity.  He was soon after
made a presbyter; and, being greatly admired for his virtues and
works, on the death of Donatus, in A.D. 248, he was almost
unanimously elected bishop of Carthage.

Cyprian's care not only extended over Carthage, but to
Numidia and Mauritania.  In all his transactions he took great
care to ask the advice of his clergy, knowing that unanimity
alone could be of service to the Church, this being one of his
maxims, "That the bishop was in the church, and the church in the
bishop; so that unity can only be preserved by a close connexion
between the pastor and his flock."

In A.D. 250, Cyprian was publicly proscribed by the emperor
Decius, under the appellation of Coecilius Cyprian, bishop of the
Christrians; and the universal cry of the pagans was, "Cyprian to
the lions, Cyprian to the beasts."  The bishop, however, withdrew
from the rage of the populace, and his effects were immediately
confiscated.  During his retirement, he wrote thirty pious and
elegant letters to his flock; but several schisms that then crept
into the Church, gave him great uneasiness.  The rigor of the
persecution abating, he returned to Carthage, and did everything
in his power to expunge erroneous opinions.  A terrible plague
breaking out in Carthage, it was as usual, laid to the charge of
the Christians; and the magistrates began to persecute
accordingly, which occasioned an epistle from them to Cyprian, in
answer to which he vindicates the cause of Christianity.  A.D.
257, Cyprian was brought before the proconsul Aspasius Paturnus,
who exiled him to a little city on the Lybian sea.  On the death
of this proconsul, he returned to Carthage, but was soon after
seized, and carried before the new governor, who condemned him to
be beheaded; which sentence was executed on the fourteenth of
September, A.D. 258.

The disciples of Cyprian, martyred in this persecution, were
Lucius, Flavian, Victoricus, Remus, Montanus, Julian, Primelus,
and Donatian.

At Utica, a most terrible tragedy was exhibited: three
hundred Christians were, by the orders of the proconsul, placed
round a burning limekiln.  A pan of coals and incense being
prepared, they were commanded either to sacrifice to Jupiter, or
to be thrown into the kiln.  Unanimously refusing, they bravely
jumped into the pit, and were immediately suffocated.

Fructuosus, bishop of Tarragon, in Spain, and his two
deacons, Augurius and Eulogius, were burnt for being Christians.

Alexander, Malchus, and Priscus, three Christians of
Palestine, with a woman of the same place, voluntarily accused
themselves of being Christians; on which account they were
sentenced to be devoured by tigers, which sentence was executed
accordingly.

Maxima, Donatilla, and Secunda, three virgins of Tuburga,
had gall and vinegar given them to drink, were then severely
scourged, tormented on a gibbet, rubbed with lime, scorched on a
gridiron, worried by wild beasts, and at length beheaded.

It is here proper to take notice of the singular but
miserable fate of the emperor Valerian, who had so long and so
terribly persecuted the Christians.  This tyrant, by a stretagem,
was taken prisoner by Sapor, emperor of Persia, who carried him
into his own country, and there treated him with the most
unexampled indignity, making him kneel down as the meanest slave,
and treading upon him as a footstool when he mounted his horse. 
After having kept him for the space of seven years in this abject
state of slavery, he caused his eyes to be put out, though he was
then eighty-three years of age.  This not satiating his desire of
revenge, he soon after ordered his body to be flayed alive, and
rubbed with salt, under which torments he expired; and thus fell
one of the most tyrannical emperors of Rome, and one of the
greatest persecutors of the Christians.

A.D. 260, Gallienus, the son of Valerian, succeeded him, and
during his reign (a few martyrs excepted) the Church enjoyed
peace for some years.

The Ninth Persecution Under Aurelian, A.D. 274


The principal sufferers were: Felix, bishop of Rome.  This
prelate was advanced to the Roman see in 274.  He was the first
martyr to Aurelian's petulancy, being beheaded on the twenty-
second of December, in the same year.

Agapetus, a young gentleman, who sold his estate, and gave
the money to the poor, was seized as a Christian, tortured, and
then beheaded at Praeneste, a city within a day's journey of
Rome.

These are the only martyrs left upon record during this
reign, as it was soon put to a stop by the emperor's being
murdered by his own domestics, at Byzantium.

Aurelian was succeeded by Tacitus, who was followed by
Probus, as the latter was by Carus: this emperor being killed by
a thunder storm, his sons, Carnious and Numerian, succeeded him,
and during all these reigns the Church had peace.

Diocletian mounted the imperial throne, A.D. 284; at first
he showed great favor to the Christians.  In the year 286, he
associated Maximian with him in the empire; and some Christians
were put to death before any general persecution broke out. 
Among these were Felician and Primus, two brothers.

Marcus and Marcellianus were twins, natives of Rome, and of
noble descent.  Their parents were heathens, but the tutors, to
whom the education of the children was intrusted, brought them up
as Christians.  Their constancy at length subdued those who
wished them to become pagans, and their parents and whole family
became converts to a faith they had before reprobated.  They were
martyred by being tied to posts, and having their feet pierced
with nails.  After remaining in this situation for a day and a
night, their sufferings were put an end to by thrusting lances
through their bodies.

Zoe, the wife of the jailer, who had the care of the before-
mentioned martyrs, was also converted by them, and hung upon a
tree, with a fire of straw lighted under her.  When her body was
taken down, it was thrown into a river, with a large stone tied
to it, in order to sink it.

In the year of Christ 286, a most remarkable affair
occurred; a legion of soldiers, consisting of six thousand six
hundred and sixty-six men, contained none but Christians.  This
legion was called the Theban Legion, because the men had been
raised in Thebias: they were quartered in the east until the
emperor Maximian ordered them to march to Gaul, to assist him
against the rebels of Burgundy.  They passed the Alps into Gaul,
under the command of Mauritius, Candidus, and Exupernis, their
worthy commanders, and at length joined the emperor.  Maximian,
about this time, ordered a general sacrifice, at which the whole
army was to assist; and likewise he commanded that they should
take the oath of allegiance and swear, at the same time, to
assist in the extirpation of Christianity in Gaul.  Alarmed at
these orders, each individual of the Theban Legion absolutely
refused either to sacrifice or take the oaths prescribed.  This
so greatly enraged Maximian, that he ordered the legion to be
decimated, that is, every tenth man to be selected from the rest,
and put to the sword.  This bloody order having been put in
execution, those who remained alive were still inflexible, when a
second decimation took place, and every tenth man of those living
was put to death.  This second severity made no more impression
than the first had done; the soldiers preserved their fortitude
and their principles, but by the advice of their officers they
drew up a loyal remonstrance to the emperor.  This, it might have
been presumed, would have softened the emperor, but it had a
contrary effect: for, enraged at their perseverance and
unanimity, he commanded that the whole legion should be put to
death, which was accordingly executed by the other troops, who
cut them to pieces with their swords, September 22, 286.

Alban, from whom St. Alban's, in Hertfordshire, received its
name, was the first British martyr.  Great Britain had received
the Gospel of Christ from Lucius, the first Christian king, but
did not suffer from the rage of persecution for many years after. 
He was originally a pagan, but converted by a Christian
ecclesiastic, named Amphibalus, whom he sheltered on account of
his religion.  The enemies of Amphibalus, having intelligence of
the place where he was secreted, came to the house of Alban; in
order to facilitate his escape, when the soldiers came, he
offered himself up as the person they were seeking for.  The
deceit being detected, the governor ordered him to be scourged,
and then he was sentenced to be beheaded, June 22, A.D. 287.

The venerable Bede assures us, that, upon this occasion, the
executioner suddenly became a convert to Christianity, and
entreated permission to die for Alban, or with him.  Obtaining
the latter request, they were beheaded by a soldier, who
voluntarily undertook the task of executioner.  This happened on
the twenty-second of June, A.D. 287, at Verulam, now St. Alban's,
in Hertfordshire, where a magnificent church was erected to his
memory about the time of Constantine the Great.  The edifice,
being destroyed in the Saxon wars, was rebuilt by Offa, king of
Mercia, and a monastery erected adjoining to it, some remains of
which are still visible, and the church is a noble Gothic
structure.

Faith, a Christian female, of Acquitain, in France, was
ordered to be broiled upon a gridiron, and then beheaded; A.D.
287.

Quintin was a Christian, and a native of Rome, but
determined to attempt the propagation of the Gospel in Gaul, with
one Lucian, they preached together in Amiens; after which Lucian
went to Beaumaris, where he was martyred.  Quintin remained in
Picardy, and was very zealous in his ministry.  Being seized upon
as a Christian, he was stretched with pullies until his joints
were dislocated; his body was then torn with wire scourges, and
boiling oil and pitch poured on his naked flesh; lighted torches
were applied to his sides and armpits; and after he had been thus
tortured, he was remanded back to prison, and died of the
barbarities he had suffered, October 31, A.D. 287.  His body was
sunk in the Somme.

The Tenth Persecution, Under Diocletian, A.D. 303


Under the Roman emperors, commonly called the Era of the
Martyrs, was occasioned partly by the increasing number and
luxury of the Christians, and the hatred of Galerius, the adopted
son of Diocletian, who, being stimulated by his mother, a bigoted
pagan, never ceased persuading the emperor to enter upon the
persecution, until he had accomplished his purpose.

The fatal day fixed upon to commence the bloody work, was
the twenty-third of February, A.D. 303, that being the day in
which the Terminalia were celebrated, and on which, as the cruel
pagans boasted, they hoped to put a termination to Christianity. 
On the appointed day, the persecution began in Nicomedia, on the
morning of which the prefect of that city repaired, with a great
number of officers and assistants, to the church of the
Christians, where, having forced open the doors, they seized upon
all the sacred books, and committed them to the flames.

The whole of this transaction was in the presence of
Diocletian and Galerius, who, not contented with burning the
books, had the church levelled with the ground.  This was
followed by a severe edict, commanding the destruction of all
other Christian churches and books; and an order soon succeeded,
to render Christians of all denomination outlaws.

The publication of this edict occasioned an immediate
martyrdom, for a bold Christian not only tore it down from the
place to which it was affixed, but execrated the name of the
emperor for his injustice.  A provocation like this was
sufficient to call down pagan vengeance upon his head; he was
accordingly seized, severely tortured, and then burned alive.

All the Christians were apprehended and imprisoned; and
Galerius privately ordered the imperial palace to be set on fire,
that the Christians might be charged as the incendiaries, and a
plausible pretence given for carrying on the persecution with the
greater severities.  A general sacrifice was commenced, which
occasioned various martyrdoms.  No distinction was made of age or
sex; the name of Christian was so obnoxious to the pagans that
all indiscriminately fell sacrifices to their opinions.  Many
houses were set on fire, and whole Christian families perished in
the flames; and others had stones fastened about their necks, and
being tied together were driven into the sea.  The persecution
became general in all the Roman provinces, but more particularly
in the east; and as it lasted ten years, it is impossible to
ascertain the numbers martyred, or to enumerate the various modes
of martyrdom.

Racks, scourges, swords, daggers, crosses, poison, and
famine, were made use of in various parts to dispatch the
Christians; and invention was exhausted to devise tortures
against such as had no crime, but thinking differently from the
votaries of superstition.

A city of Phrygia, consisting entirely of Christians, was
burnt, and all the inhabitants perished in the flames.

Tired with slaughter, at length, several governors of
provinces represented to the imperial court, the impropriety of
such conduct.  Hence many were respited from execution, but,
though they were not put to death, as much as possible was done
to render their lives miserable, many of them having their ears
cut off, their noses slit, their right eyes put out, their limbs
rendered useless by dreadful dislocations, and their flesh seared
in conspicuous places with red-hot irons.

It is necessary now to particularize the most conspicious
persons who laid down their lives in martyrdom in this bloody
persecution.

Sebastian, a celebrated martyr, was born at Narbonne, in
Gaul, instructed in the principles of Christianity at Milan, and
afterward became an officer of the emperor's guard at Rome.  He
remained a true Christian in the midst of idolatry; unallured by
the splendors of a court, untained by evil examples, and
uncontaminated by the hopes of preferment.  Refusing to be a
pagan, the emperor ordered him to be taken to a field near the
city, termed the Campus Martius, and there to be shot to death
with arrows; which sentence was executed accordingly.  Some pious
Christians coming to the place of execution, in order to give his
body burial, perceived signs of life in him, and immediately
moving him to a place of security, they, in a short time effected
his recovery, and prepared him for a second martyrdom; for, as
soon as he was able to go out, he placed himself intentionally in
the emperor's way as he was going to the temple, and reprehended
him for his various cruelties and unreasonable prejudices against
Christianity.  As soon as Diocletian had overcome his surprise,
he ordered Sebastian to be seized, and carried to a place near
the palace, and beaten to death; and, that the Christians should
not either use means again to recover or bury his body, he
ordered that it should be thrown into the common sewer. 
Nevertheless, a Christian lady named Lucina, found means to
remove it from the sewer, and bury it in the catacombs, or
repositories of the dead.

The Christians, about this time, upon mature consideration,
thought it unlawful to bear arms under a heathen emperor. 
Maximilian, the son of Fabius Victor, was the first beheaded
under this regulation.

Vitus, a Sicilian of considerable family, was brought up a
Christian; when his virtues increased with his years, his
constancy supported him under all afflictions, and his faith was
superior to the most dangerous perils.  His father, Hylas, who
was a pagan, finding that he had been instructed in the
principles of Christianity by the nurse who brought him up, used
all his endeavors to bring him back to paganism, and at length
sacrificed his son to the idols, June 14, A.D. 303.

Victor was a Christian of a good family at Marseilles, in
France; he spent a great part of the night in visiting the
afflicted, and confirming the weak; which pious work he could
not, consistently with his own safety, perform in the daytime;
and his fortune he spent in relieving the distresses of poor
Christians.  He was at length, however, seized by the emperor
Maximian's decree, who ordered him to be bound, and dragged
through the streets.  During the execution of this order, he was
treated with all manner of cruelties and indignities by the
enraged populace.  Remaining still inflexible, his courage was
deemed obstinacy.  Being by order stretched upon the rack, he
turned his eyes toward heaven, and prayed to God to endue him
with patience, after which he underwent the tortures with most
admirable fortitude.  After the executioners were tired with
inflicting torments on him, he was conveyed to a dungeon.  In his
confinement, he converted his jailers, named Alexander, Felician,
and Longinus.  This affair coming to the ears of the emperor, he
ordered them immediately to be put to death, and the jailers were
accordingly beheaded.  Victor was then again put to the rack,
unmercifully beaten with batoons, and again sent to prison. 
Being a third time examined concerning his religion, he
persevered in his principles; a small altar was then brought, and
he was commanded to offer incense upon it immediately.  Fired
with indignation at the request, he boldly stepped forward, and
with his foot overthrew both altar and idol.  This so enraged the
emperor Maximian, who was present, that he ordered the foot with
which he had kicked the altar to be immediately cut off; and
Victor was thrown into a mill, and crushed to pieces with the
stones, A.D. 303.

Maximus, governor of Cilicia, being at Tarsus, three
Christians were brought before him; their names were Tarachus, an
aged man, Probus, and Andronicus.  After repeated tortures and
exhortations to recant, they, at length, were ordered for
execution.

Being brought to the amphitheater, several beasts were let
loose upon them; but none of the animals, though hungry, would
touch them.  The keeper then brought out a large bear, that had
that very day destroyed three men; but this voracious creature
and a fierce lioness both refused to touch the prisoners. 
Finding the design of destroying them by the means of wild beasts
ineffectual, Maximus ordered them to be slain by the sword, on
October 11, A.D. 303.

Romanus, a native of Palestine, was deacon of the church of
Caesarea at the time of the commencement of Diocletian's
persecution.  Being condemned for his faith at Antioch, he was
scourged, put to the rack, his body torn with hooks, his flesh
cut with knives, his face scarified, his teeth beaten from their
sockets, and his hair plucked up by the roots.  Soon after he was
ordered to be strangled, November 17, A.D. 303.

Susanna, the niece of Caius, bishop of Rome, was pressed by
the emperor Diocletian to marry a noble pagan, who was nearly
related to him.  Refusing the honor intended her, she was
beheaded by the emperor's order.

Dorotheus, the high chamberlain of the household to
Diocletian, was a Christian, and took great pains to make
converts.  In his religious labors, he was joined by Gorgonius,
another Christian, and one belonging to the palace.  They were
first tortured and then strangled.

Peter, a eunuch belonging to the emperor, was a Christian of
singular modesty and humility.  He was laid on a gridiron, and
broiled over a slow fire until he expired.

Cyprian, known by the title of the magician, to distinguish
him from Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, was a native of Natioch. 
He received a liberal education in his youth, and particularly
applied himself to astrology; after which he traveled for
improvement through Greece, Egypt, India, etc.  In the course of
time he became acquainted with Justina, a young lady of Antioch,
whose birth, beauty, and accomplishments, rendered her the
admiration of all who knew her.  A pagan gentleman applied to
Cyprian, to promote his suit with the beautiful Justina; this he
undertook, but soon himself became converted, burnt his books of
astrology and magic, received baptism, and felt animated with a
powerful spirit of grace.  The conversion of Cyprian had a great
effect on the pagan gentleman who paid his addresses to Justina,
and he in a short time embraced Christianity.  During the
persecutions of Diocletian, Cyprian and Justina were seized upon
as Christians, the former was torn with pincers, and the latter
chastised; and, after suffering other torments, both were
beheaded.

Eulalia, a Spanish lady of a Christian family, was
remarkable in her youth for sweetness of temper, and solidity of
understanding seldom found in the capriciousness of juvenile
years.  Being apprehended as a Christian, the magistrate
attempted by the mildest means, to bring her over to paganism,
but she ridiculed the pagan deities with such asperity, that the
judge, incensed at her behavior, ordered her to be tortured.  Her
sides were accordingly torn by hooks, and her breasts burnt in
the most shocking manner, until she expired by the violence of
the flames, December, A.D. 303.

In the year 304, when the persecution reached Spain, Dacian,
the governor of Terragona, ordered Valerius the bishop, and
Vincent the deacon, to be seized, loaded with irons, and
imprisoned.  The prisoners being firm in their resolution,
Valerius was banished, and Vincent was racked, his limbs
dislocated, his flesh torn with hooks, and he was laid on a
gridiron, which had not only a fire placed under it, but spikes
at the top, which ran into his flesh.  These torments neither
destroying him, nor changing his resolutions, he was remanded to
prison, and confined in a  small, loathsome, dark dungeon, strewed
with sharp flints, and pieces of broken glass, where he died,
January 22, 304.  His body was thrown into the river.

The persecution of Diocletian began particularly to rage in
A.D. 304, when many Christians were put to cruel tortures and the
most painful and ignominious deaths; the most eminent and
particular of whom we shall enumerate.

Saturninus, a priest of Albitina, a town of Africa, after
being tortured, was remanded to prison, and there starved to
death.  His four children, after being variously tormented,
shared the same fate with their father.

Dativas, a noble Roman senator; Thelico, a pious Christian;
Victoria, a young lady of considerable family and fortune, with
some others of less consideration, all auditors of Saturninus,
were tortured in a similar manner, and perished by the same
means.

Agrape, Chionia, and Irene, three sisters, were seized upon
at Thessalonica, when Diocletian's persecution reached Greece. 
They were burnt, and received the crown of martyrdom in the
flames, March 25, A.D. 304.  The governor, finding that he could
make no impression on Irene, ordered her to be exposed naked in
the streets, which shameful order having been executed, a fire
was kindled near the city wall, amidst whose flames her spirit
ascended beyond the reach of man's cruelty.

Agatho, a man of a pious turn of mind, with Cassice,
Philippa, and Eutychia, were martyred about the same time; but
the particulars have not been transmitted to us.

Marcellinus, bishop of Rome, who succeeded Caius in that
see, having strongly opposed paying divine honors to Diocletian,
suffered martyrdom, by a variety of tortures, in the year 324,
conforting his soul until he expired with the prospect of these
glorious rewards it would receive by the tortures suffered in the
body.

Victorius, Carpophorus, Severus, and Severianus, were
brothers, and all four employed in places of great trust and
honor in the city of Rome.  Having exclaimed against the worship
of idols, they were apprehended, and scourged, with the
plumbetae, or scourges, to the ends of which were fastened leaden
balls.  This punishment was exercised with such excess of cruelty
that the pious brothers fell martyrs to its severity.

Timothy, a deacon of Mauritania, and Maura his wife, had not
been united together by the bands of wedlock above three weeks,
when they were separated from each other by the persecution. 
Timothy, being apprehended, as a Christian, was carried before
Arrianus, the governor of Thebais, who, knowing that he had the
keeping of the Holy Scriptures, commanded him to deliver them up
to be burnt; to which he answered, "Had I children, I would
sooner deliver them up to be sacrificed, than part with the Word
of God."  The governor being much incensed at this reply, ordered
his eyes to be put out, with red-hot irons, saying, "The books
shall at least be useless to you, for you shall not see to read
them."  His patience under the operation was so great that the
governor grew more exasperated; he, therefore, in order, if
possible, to overcome his fortitude, ordered him to be hung up by
the feet, with a weight tied about his neck, and a gag in his
mouth.  In this state, Maura his wife, tenderly urged him for her
sake to recant; but, when the gag was taken out of his mouth,
instead of consenting to his wife's entreaties, he greatly blamed
her mistaken love, and declared his resolution of dying for the
faith.  The consequence was, that Maura resolved to imitate his
courage and fidelity and either to accompany or follow him to
glory.  The governor, after trying in vain to alter her
resolution, ordered her to be tortured, which was executed with
great severity.  After this, Timothy and Maura were crucified
near each other, A.D. 304.

Sabinus, bishop of Assisium, refusing to sacrifice to
Jupiter, and pushing the idol from him, had his hand cut off by
the order of the governor of Tuscany.  While in prison, he
converted the governor and his family, all of whom suffered
martyrdom for the faith.  Soon after their execution, Sabinus
himself was scourged to death, December, A.D. 304.

Tired with the farce of state and public business, the
emperor Diocletian resigned the imperial diadem, and was
succeeded by Constantius and Galerius; the former a prince of the
most mild and humane disposition and the latter equally
remarkable for his cruelty and tyranny.  These divided the empire
into two equal governments, Galerius ruling in the east, and
Constantius in the west; and the people in the two governments
felt the effects of the dispositions of the two emperors; for
those in the west were governed in the mildest manner, but such
as resided in the east felt all the miseries of oppression and
lengthened tortures.

Among the many martyred by the order of Galerius, we shall
enumerate the most eminent.

Amphianus was a gentleman of eminence in Lucia, and a
scholar of Eusebius; Julitta, a Lycaonian of royal descent, but
more celebrated for her virtues than noble blood.  While on the
rack, her child was killed before her face. Julitta, of
Cappadocia, was a lady of distinguished capacity, great virtue,
and uncommon courage.  To complete the execution, Julitta had
boiling pitch poured on her feet, her sides torn with hooks, and
received the conclusion of her martyrdom, by being beheaded,
April 16, A.D. 305.

Hermolaus, a venerable and pious Christian, or a great age,
and an intimate acquaintance of Panteleon's, suffered martyrdom
for the faith on the same day, and in the same manner as
Panteleon.

Eustratius, secretary to the governor of Armina, was thrown
into a fiery furnace for exhorting some Christians who had been
apprehended, to persevere in their faith.

Nicander and Marcian, two eminent Roman military officers,
were apprehended on account of their faith.  As they were both
men of great abilities in their profession, the utmost means were
used to induce them to renounce Christianity; but these endeavors
being found ineffectual, they were beheaded.

In the kingdom of Naples, several martyrdoms took place, in
particular, Januaries, bishop of Beneventum; Sosius, deacon of
Misene; Proculus, another deacon; Eutyches and Acutius, two
laymen; Festus, a deacon; and Desiderius, a reader; all, on
account of being Christians, were condemned by the governor of
Campania to be devoured by the wild beasts.  The savage animals,
however, would not touch them, and so they were beheaded.

Quirinus, bishop of Siscia, being carried before Matenius,
the governor, was ordered to sacrifice to the pagan deities,
agreeably to the edicts of various Roman emperors.  The governor,
perceiving his constancy, sent him to jail, and ordered him to be
heavily ironed; flattering himself, that the hardships of a jail,
some occasional tortures and the weight of chains, might overcome
his resolution.  Being decided in his principles, he was sent to
Amantius, the principal governor of Pannonia, now Hungary, who
loaded him with chains, and carried him through the principal
towns of the Danube, exposing him to ridicule wherever he went. 
Arriving at length at Sabaria, and finding that Quirinus would
not renounce his faith, he ordered him to be cast into a river,
with a stone fastened about his neck.  This sentence being put
into execution, Quirinus floated about for some time, and,
exhorting the people in the most pious terms, concluded his
admonitions with this prayer: "It is no new thing, O all-powerful
Jesus, for Thee to stop the course of rivers, or to cause a man
to walk upon the water, as Thou didst Thy servant Peter; the
people have already seen the proof of Thy power in me; grant me
now to lay down my life for Thy sake, O my God."  On pronouncing
the last words he immediately sank, and died, June 4, A.D. 308. 
His body was afterwards taken up, and buried by some pious
Christians.

Pamphilus, a native of Phoenicia, of a considerable family, 
was a man of such extensive learning that he was called a second 
Origen.  He was received into the body of the clergy at Caesarea, 
where he established a public library and spent his time in the
practice of every Christian virtue.  He copied the greatest part
of the works of Origen with his own hand, and, assisted by
Eusebius, gave a correct copy of the Old Testament, which had
suffered greatly by the ignorance or negligence of former
transcribers.  In the year 307, he was apprehended, and suffered
torture and martyrdom.

Marcellus, bishop of Rome, being banished on account of his
faith, fell a martyr to the miseries he suffered in exile, January 16, A.D. 310.

Peter, the sixteenth bishop of Alexandria, was martyred
November 25, A.D. 311, by order of Maximus Caesar, who reigned in the east.

Agnes, a virgin of only thirteen years of age, was beheaded
for being a Christian; as was Serene, the empress of Diocletian. 
Valentine, a priest, suffered the same fate at Rome; and Erasmus,
a bishop, was martyred in Campania.

Soon after this the persecution abated in the middle parts
of the empire, as well as in the west; and Providence at length
began to manifest vengeance on the persecutors.  Maximian
endeavored to corrupt his daughter Fausta to murder Constantine
her husband; which she discovered, and Constantine forced him to
choose his own death, when he preferred the ignominious death of
hanging after being an emperor near twenty years.

Constantine was the good and virtuous child of a good and
virtuous father, born in Britain.  His mother was named Helena,
daughter of King Coilus.  He was a most bountiful and gracious
prince, having a desire to nourish learning and good arts, and
did oftentimes use to read, write, and study himself.  He had
marvellous good success and prosperous achieving of all things he
took in hand, which then was (and truly) supposed to proceed of
this, for that he was so great a favorer of the Christian faith. 
Which faith when he had once embraced, he did ever after most
devoutly and religiously reverence.

Thus Constantine, sufficiently appointed with strength of
men but especially with strength of God, entered his journey
coming towards Italy, which was about the last year of the
persecution, A.D. 313.  Maxentius, understanding of the coming of
Constantine, and trusting more to his devilish art of magic than
to the good will of his subjects, which he little deserved, durst
not show himself out of the city, nor encounter him in the open
field, but with privy garrisons laid wait for him by the way in
sundry straits, as he should come; with whom Constantine had
divers skirmishes, and by the power of the Lord did ever vanquish
them and put them to flight.

Notwithstanding, Constantine yet was in no great comfort,
but in great care and dread in his mind (approaching now near
unto Rome) for the magical charms and sorceries of Maxentius,
wherewith he had vanquished before Severus, sent by Galerius
against him.  Wherefore, being in great doubt and perplexity in
himself, and revolving many things in his mind, what help he
might have against the operations of his charming, Constantine,
in his journey drawing toward the city, and casting up his eyes
many times to heaven, in the south part, about the going down of
the sun, saw a great brightness in heaven, appearing in the
similitude of a cross, giving this inscription, In hoc vince,
that is, "In this overcome."

Eusebius Pamphilus doth witness that he had heard the said
Constantine himself oftentimes report, and also to swear this to
be true and certain, which he did see with his own eyes in
heaven, and also his soldiers about him.  At the sight whereof
when he was greatly astonished, and consulting with his men upon
the meaning thereof, behold, in the night season in his sleep,
Christ appeared to him with the sign of the same cross which he
had seen before, bidding him to make the figuration thereof, and
to carry it in his wars before him, and so should we have the
victory.

Constantine so established the peace of the Church that for
the space of a thousand years we read of no set persecution
against the Christians, unto the time of John Wickliffe.

So happy, so glorious was this victory of Constantine,
surnamed the Great!  For the joy and gladness whereof, the
citizens who had sent for him before, with exceeding triumph
brought him into the city of Rome, where he was most honorably
received, and celebrated the space of seven days together;
having, moreover, in the market place, his image set up, holding
in his right hand the sign of the cross, with this inscription:
"With this wholesome sign, the true token of fortitude, I have
rescued and delivered our city from the yoke of the tyrant."

We shall conclude our account of the tenth and last general
persecution with the death of St. George, the titular saint and
patron of England.  St. George was born in Cappadocia, of
Christian parents; and giving proofs of his courage, was promoted
in the army of the emperor Diocletian.  During the persecution,
St. George threw up his command, went boldly to the senate house,
and avowed his being a Christian, taking occasion at the same
time to remonstrate against paganism, and point out the absurdity
of worshipping idols.  This freedom so greatly provoked the
senate that St. George was ordered to be tortured, and by the
emperor's orders was dragged through the streets, and beheaded
the next day.

The legend of the dragon, which is associated with this
martyr, is usually illustrated by representing St. George seated
upon a charging horse and transfixing the monster with his spear. 
This fiery dragon symbolizes the devil, who was vanquished by St.
George's steadfast faith in Christ, which remained unshaken in
spite of torture and death.

CHAPTER 1 History of Christian Martyrs to the First General Persecutions 
Under Nero
CHAPTER 2 The Ten Primitive Persecutions 
The First Persecution, Under Nero, A.D. 67
CHAPTER 3 Persecutions of the Christians in Persia
CHAPTER 4  Papal Persecutions
CHAPTER 5 An Account of the Inquisition
CHAPTER 6 An Account of the Persecutions in Italy, Under the Papacy
CHAPTER 7 An Account of the Life and Persecutions of John Wickliffe
CHAPTER 8 An Account of the Persecutions in Bohemia Under the Papacy
CHAPTER 9 An Account of the Life and Persecutions of Martin Luther
CHAPTER 10 General Persecutions in Germany
CHAPTER 11 An Account of the Persecutions in the Netherlands
CHAPTER 12 The Life and Story of the True Servant and Martyr of God, 
William Tyndale
CHAPTER 13 An Account of the Life of John Calvin
CHAPTER 14 An Account of the Persecutions in Great Britain and Ireland, 
Prior to the Reign of Queen Mary I 
CHAPTER 15  An Account of the Persecutions in Scotland During the Reign of 
King Henry VIII
CHAPTER 16 Persecutions in England During the Reign of Queen Mary 
CHAPTER 17  Rise and Progress of the Protestant Religion in Ireland; with an 
Account of the Barbarous Massacre of 1641
CHAPTER 18  The Rise, Progress, Persecutions, and Sufferings of the Quakers 
CHAPTER 19 An Account of the Life and Persecutions of John Bunyan 
CHAPTER 20  An Account of the Life of John Wesley
CHAPTER 21 Persecutions of the French Protestants in the South of France, 
During the Years 1814 and 1820 
CHAPTER 22 The Beginnings of American Foreign Missions

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