REMAINS OF THE SECOND AND THIRD CENTURIES: PART III (CLAUDIUS APOLLINARIS, BISHOP OF HIERAPOLIS, AND APOLOGIST; POLYCRATES, BISHOP OF EPHESUS; THEOPHILUS, BISHOP OF CAESAREA IN PALESTINE; SERAPION, BISHOP OF ANTIOCH; APOLLONIUS; PANTAENUS, THE ALEXANDRIAN PHILOSOPHER; PSEUDO-IRENAEUS)

CLAUDIUS APOLLINARIS, [1] BISHOP OF HIERAPOLIS, AND APOLOGIST.

[A.D. 160-180.] This author, an early apologist, is chiefly interesting as a competent witness, who tells the story of the Thundering Legion [2] in an artless manner, and gives it the simple character of an answer to prayer. This subject is treated by Lightfoot, in his recent work on the Apostolic Fathers, [3] in an exhaustive manner; and the story, reduced to the simple narrative as Apollinaris gives it, receives from him a just and discriminating approval.

Apollinaris, as well as Rhodon, has been imagined the author of the work (ascribed to Asterius Urbanus) against Montanism, dedicated to Abiricius Marcellus. [4] This is sufficiently refuted by Routh, [5] whose Greek text, with notes, must be consulted by the studious. [6]

Apollinaris was bishop of Hierapolis on the Maeander, and, Lightfoot thinks, was probably with Melito and Polycrates, known to Polycarp, and influenced by his example and doctrine. [7] He addressed his Apology, which is honourably mentioned by Jerome, to M. Antoninus, the emperor. He also wrote Adversus Gentes and De Veritate; also against the jews. Serapion calls him [8] "most blessed."

FROM AN UNKNOWN BOOK. [9]

"THIS narration (says Eusebius, Hist., v. 5) is given" (it relates to that storm of rain which was sent to the army of the Emperor M. Antoninus, to allay the thirst of the soldiers, whilst the enemy was discomfited by thunderbolts hurled upon them) "even by those historians who are at a wide remove from the doctrines that prevail among us, and who have been simply concerned to describe what related to the emperors who are the subjects of their history; and it has been recorded also by our own writers. But historians without the pale of the Church, as being unfriendly to the faith, while they have recorded the prodigy, have refrained from acknowledging that it was sent in answer to our prayers. On the other hand, our writers, as lovers of truth, have reported the matter in a simple and artless way. To this number Apollinaris must be considered as belonging. 'Thereupon,' he says, 'the legion which had by its prayer caused the prodigy received from the emperor a title suitable to the occurrence, and was called in the Roman language the Thunder-hurling Legion.'"

FROM THE BOOK CONCERNING THE PASSOVER. [10]

There are, then, some who through ignorance raise disputes about these things (though their conduct is pardonable: for ignorance is no subject for blame -- it rather needs further instruction), and say that on the fourteenth day the Lord ate the lamb with the disciples, and that on the great day of the feast of unleavened bread He Himself suffered; and they quote Matthew as speaking in accordance with their view. Wherefore their opinion is contrary to the law, and the Gospels seem to be at variance with them. [11]

FROM THE SAME BOOK.

The fourteenth day, the true Passover of the Lord; the great sacrifice, the Son of God instead of the lamb, who was bound, who bound the strong, and who was judged, though Judge of living and dead, and who was delivered into the hands of sinners to be crucified, who was lifted up on the horns of the unicorn, and who was pierced in His holy side, who poured forth from His side the two purifying elements,[1] water and blood, word and spirit, and who was buried on the day of the passover, the stone being placed upon the tomb.

POLYCRATES,[2] BISHOP OF EPHESUS.

[A.D. 130-196.] This author[3] comes in as an appendix to the stories of Polycarp and Irenaeus and good Anicetus, and his writings also bear upon the contrast presented by the less creditable history of Victor. If, as I suppose, the appearance of our Lord to St. John on "the Lord's day" was on the Paschal Sunday, it may at first seem surprising that this Apostle can be claimed by Polycrates in behalf of the Eastern custom to keep Easter, with the Jews, on the fourteenth day of the moon. But to the Jews the Apostles became "as Jews" in all things tolerable, so long as the Temple stood, and while the bishops of Jerusalem were labouring to identify the Paschal Lamb with their Passover. The long survival of St. John among Jewish Christians led them to prolong this usage, no doubt, as sanctioned by his example. He foreknew it would quietly pass away. The wise and truly Christian spirit of Irenaeus prepared the way for the ultimate unanimity of the Church in a matter which lies at the base of "the Christian Sabbath," and of our own observance of the first day of the week as a weekly Easter. Those who in our own times have revived the observance of the Jewish Sabbath, show us how much may be said on their side,[4] and elucidate the tenacity of the Easterns in resisting the abolition of the Mosaic ordinance as to the Paschal, although they agreed to keep it "not with the old leaven."

Our author belonged to a family in which he was the eighth Christian bishop; and he presided over the church of Ephesus, in which the traditions of St. John were yet fresh in men's minds at the date of his birth. He had doubtless known Polycarp, and Irenaeus also. He seems to have presided over a synod of Asiatic bishops (A.D. 196) which came together to consider this matter of the Paschal feast. It is surely noteworthy that nobody doubted that it was kept by a Christian and Apostolic ordinance. So St. Paul argues from its Christian observance, in his rebuke of the Corinthians.[5] They were keeping it "unleavened" ceremonially, and he urges a spiritual unleavening as more important. The Christian hallowing of Pentecost connects with the Paschal argument.[6] The Christian Sabbath hinges on these points.

FROM HIS EPISTLE TO VICTOR AND THE ROMAN CHURCH CONCERNING THE DAY OF KEEPING THE PASSOVER.[7]

As for us, then, we scrupulously observe the exact day,[8] neither adding nor taking away. For in Asia great luminaries[9] have gone to their rest, who shall rise again in the day of the coming of the Lord, when He cometh with glory from heaven and shall raise again all the saints. I speak of Philip, one of the twelve apostles,[10] who is laid to rest at Hierapolis; and his two daughters, who arrived at old age unmarried;[11] his other daughter also, who passed her life[12] under the influence of the Holy Spirit, and reposes at Ephesus; John, moreover, who reclined on the Lord's bosom, and who became a priest wearing the mitre,[13] and a witness and a teacher--he rests at Ephesus. Then there is Polycarp, both bishop and martyr at Smyrna; and Thraseas from Eumenia, both bishop and martyr, who rests at Smyrna. Why should I speak of Sagaris, bishop and martyr, who rests at Laodicea? of the blessed Papirius, moreover? and of Melito the eunuch,[1] who performed all his actions under the influence of the Holy Spirit, and lies at Sardis, awaiting the visitation[2] from heaven, when he shall rise again from the dead? These all kept the passover on the fourteenth. day of the month, in accordance with the Gospel, without ever deviating from it, but keeping to the rule of faith.

Moreover I also, Polycrates, who am the least of you all, in accordance with the tradition of my relatives, some of whom I have succeeded--seven of my relatives were bishops, and I am the eighth, and my relatives always observed the day when the people put away[3] the leaven -- I myself, brethren, I say, who am sixty-five years old in the Lord, and have fallen in with the brethren in all parts of the world, and have read through all Holy Scripture, am not frightened at the things which are said to terrify us. For those who are greater than I have said, "We ought to obey God rather than men."[4] ...

I might also have made mention of the bishops associated with me, whom it was your own desire to have called together by me, and I called them together: whose names, if I were to write them down, would amount to a great number. These bishops, on coming to see me, unworthy as I am,[5] signified their united approval of the letter, knowing that I wore these grey hairs not in vain, but have always regulated my conduct in obedience to the Lord Jesus.

THEOPHILUS, BISHOP OF CAESAREA IN PALESTINE.

[A.D. 180.] When Eusebius says that the churches of "all Asia" concurred in the Ephesine use concerning the Paschal, he evidently means Asia Minor, as in the Scriptures and elsewhere.[6] Throughout "the rest of the world," he testifies, however, that such was not the use. The Palestinian bishops, after the Jewish downfall, seem to have been the first to comprehend the propriety of adopting the more Catholic usage; and our author presided over a council in Caesarea, of which he was bishop, assisted by Narcissus, bishop of Jerusalem, with Cassius of Tyre and Clarus of Ptolemais, which confirmed it. It is to be noted, that Alexandria is cited by Theophilus as authority for this custom; and it is not quite correct to say that the Western usage prevailed at Nicaea, for it was the general use, save only in Asia Minor and churches which were colonies of the same. This fact has been overlooked, and is very important, in history.

FROM HIS EPISTLE ON THE QUESTION OF THE PASSOVER, WRITTEN IN THE NAME OF THE SYNOD OF CAESAREA.[7]

ENDEAVOUR also to send abroad copies of our epistle among all the churches, so that those who easily deceive their own Souls may not be able to lay the blame on us. We would have you know, too, that in Alexandria[8] also they observe the festival on the same day as ourselves. For the Paschal letters are sent from us to them, and from them to us: so that we observe the holy day in unison and together.

SERAPION,[9] BISHOP OF ANTIOCH.

[A.D. circa 190--200--211.] He was the eighth bishop of Antioch, a diligent writer and exemplary pastor. Little as we have of his remains, Lardner shows how very useful is that little. (1) He testifies to the Apostles as delivering the words of Christ Himself; (2) to the jealousy of the early Christians in siring inspired writings from those of no authority as Scriptures; (3) to their methods, as in the case of the pseudo-gospel of Peter; and (4) to the utterly apocryphal character of that book, which Grabe and others suppose to be the work of Leucius, a noted forger and falsifier. It had never been heard of in the great See of Antioch, and this famous bishop could only get sight of it by fishing it out of the dirty pool of the Docetae.

I. FROM THE EPISTLE TO CARICUS AND PONTICUS.[1]

THAT ye may see also that the proceedings of this lying confederacy,[2] to which is given the name of New Prophecy, is abominated among the whole brotherhood throughout the world, I have sent you letters of the most blessed Claudius Apollinarius, who was made bishop of Hierapolis in Asia.

II. FROM THE BOOK CONCERNING THE GOSPEL OF PETER.[3]

For we, brethren, receive both Peter and the rest of the apostles as Christ Himself. But those writings which are falsely inscribed with their name,[4] we as experienced persons reject, knowing that no such writings have been handed down to us.[5] When, indeed, I came to see you, I supposed that all were in accord with the orthodox faith; and, although I had not read through the Gospel inscribed with the name of Peter which was brought forward by them, I said: If this is the only thing which threatens[6] to produce ill-feeling among you, let it be read. But, now that I have learnt from what has been told me that their mind was secretly cherishing some heresy,[7] I will make all haste to come to you again. Expect me therefore, brethren, shortly. Moreover, brethren, we, having discovered to what kind of heresy Marcion adhered, and seen how he contradicted himself, not understanding of what he was speaking, as you will gather from what has been written to you[8]--for, having borrowed this said Gospel from those who were familiar with it from constant perusal, namely from the successors of those who were his leaders in the heresy, whom we call Docetae (for most of the opinions held by him are derived from their teaching), we were able to read it through; and while we found most of its contents to agree with the orthodox account of the Saviour, we found some things inconsistent with that, and these we have set down below for your inspection.

APOLLONIUS.[9]

[A.D. 211.] He was a most eloquent man, according to St. Jerome; and his writings against Montanism were so forcible as to call forth Tertullian himself, to confute him, if possible. He flourished under Commodus and Severus, and probably until the times of Caracalla. He bears testimony to the existence of a canon of Scripture,[10] and to its inspired authority as the rule of faith and practice; and he witnesses, by citation, to the Gospel of St. Matthew. The Revelation of St. John also, according to Eusebius, was employed by him in his works; and he preserves a tradition that our Lord bade the Apostles continue in Jerusalem for the space of twelve years. We cannot affirm that he was invested with any office in the Church.

CONCERNING MONTANISM.[11]

BUT who is this new teacher? His works and teaching inform us. This is he who taught the dissolution of marriage; who inculcated fasting; who called Peruga and Tymius, small towns of Phrygia, Jerusalem, because he wished to collect thither people from all parts; who set up exactors of money; who craftily contrives the taking of gifts under the name of voluntary offerings; who grants stipends to those who publish abroad his doctrine, that by means of gluttony the teaching of the doctrine may prevail.

II.

We declare to you, then, that these first prophetesses, as soon as they were filled with the spirit, left their husbands. Of what falsehood, then, were they guilty in calling Prisca a maiden! Do you not think that all Scripture forbids a prophet to receive gifts and money? When, therefore, I see that the prophetess has received gold and silver and expensive articles of dress, how can I avoid treating her with disapproval?

III.

Moreover, Themison also, who was clothed in a garb of plausible[1] covetousness, who declined to bear the sign of confessorship, but by a large sum of money put away from him the chains of martyrdom, although after such conduct it was his duty to conduct himself with humility, ye had the hardihood to boast that he was a martyr, and, in imitation of the apostle, to compose a general epistle, in which he attempted to instruct[2] in the elements of the faith those who had believed to better purpose than he, and defended the doctrines of the new-fangled teaching,[3] and moreover uttered blasphemy against the Lord and the apostles and the holy Church.

IV.

But, not to dwell further on these matters, let the prophetess tell us concerning Alexander, who calls himself a martyr, with whom she joins in banqueting; who himself also is worshipped by many;[4] whose robberies and other deeds of daring, for which he has been punished, it is not necessary for us to speak of, since the treasury[5] has him in keeping. Which of them, then, condones the sins of the other? The prophet the robberies of the martyr, or the martyr the covetousness of the prophet? For whereas the Lord has said, "Provide not gold, nor silver, nor two coats a-piece,"[6] these men have, on the flat contrary, transgressed the command by the acquisition of these forbidden things. For we shall show that those who are called among them prophets and martyrs obtain money not only from the rich, but also from the poor, from orphans and widows. And if they are confident that they are right in so doing, let them stand forward and discuss the point, in order that, if they be refuted, they may cease for the future so to transgress. For the fruits of the prophet must needs be brought to the test: for "from its fruit is the tree known."[7] But that those that desire it may become acquainted with what relates to Alexander, he was condemned by AEmilius Frontinus, proconsul at Ephesus, not on account of the name of Christ, but for the dating robberies he committed when he was already a transgressor.[8] Afterwards, when he had spoken falsely of the name of the Lord, he was released, having deceived the faithful there;[9] and even the brethren of his own district,[10] from which he came, did not receive him, because he was a robber. Thus, those who wish to learn what he is, have the public treasury of Asia to go to. And yet the prophet, although he spent many years with him, knows forsooth nothing about him! By convicting" him," we by his means clearly convict of misrepresentation[11] the prophet likewise. We are able to prove the like in the case of many others besides. And if they are confident of their innocence, let them abide the test.

V.

If they deny that their prophets have taken gifts, let them confess thus much, that if they be convicted of having taken them, they are not prophets; and we will adduce ten thousand proofs that they have. It is proper, too, that all the fruits of a prophet should be examined. Tell me: does a prophet dye his hair? Does a prophet use stibium on his eyes? Is a prophet fond of dress? Does a prophet play at gaming-tables and dice? Does a prophet lend money on interest?[12] Let them confess whether these things are allowable or not. For my part, I will prove that these practices have occurred among them.

PANTAENUS,[13] THE ALEXANDRIAN PHILOSOPHER.

[A.D. 182--192--212.] The world owes more to Pantaenus than to all the other Stoics put together. His mind discovered that true philosophy is found, not in the Porch, but in Nazareth, in Gethsemane, in Gabbatha, in Golgotha; and he set himself to make it known to the world. We are already acquainted with the great master of Clement,[14] "the Sicilian bee," that forsook the flowers of Enna, to enrich Alexandria with what is "sweeter than honey and the honey-comb;" and we remember that he became a zealous missionary to the Oriental Ethiopia, and found there the traces of St. Matthias' labours, and those also of St. Bartholomew. From this mission he seems to have returned about A.D. 192. Possibly he was master of the Alexandrian school before he went to India, and came back to his chair when that mission was finished. There he sat till about A.D. 212, and under him this Christian academy became famous. It had existed as a catechetical school from the Apostles' time, according to St. Jerome. I have elsewhere noted some reasons for supposing that its founder may have been Apollos.(1) All the learning of Christendom may be traced to this source; and blessed be the name of one of whom all we know is ennobling to the Church, and whose unselfish career was a track of light "shining more and more unto the perfect day."

I.(2)

"In the sun hath He set His tent."(3) Some affirm that the reference is to the Lord's body, which He Himself places in the sun;(4) Hermogenes, for instance. As to His body, some say it is His tent, others the Church of the faithful. But our Pantaenus said: "The language employed by prophecy is for the most part indefinite, the present tense being used for the future, and again the present for the past."

II.(5)

This mode of speaking Saint Dionysius the Areopagite declares to be used in Scripture to denote predeterminations and expressions of the divine will.(6) In like manner also the followers of Pantaenus,(7) who became the preceptor of the great Clement the Stromatist, affirm that they are commonly used in Scripture for expressions of the divine will. Accordingly, when asked by some who prided themselves on the outside learning,(8) in what way the Christians supposed God to become acquainted with the universe,(9) their own opinion being that He obtains His knowledge of it in different ways,--of things falling within the province of the understanding by means of the understanding, and of those within the region of the senses by means of the senses,--they replied: "Neither does He gain acquaintance with sensible things by the senses, nor with things within the sphere of the understanding by the understanding: for it is not possible that He who is above all existing things should apprehend them by means of existing things. We assert, on the contrary, that He is acquainted with existing things as the products of His own volition."(10) They added, by way of showing the reasonableness of their view: "If He has made all things by an act of His will (and no argument will be adduced to gainsay this), and if it is ever a matter of piety and rectitude to say that God is acquainted with His own will, and if He has voluntarily made every several thing that has come into existence, then surely God must be acquainted with all existing things as the products of His own will, seeing that it was in the exercise of that will that He made them."

PSEUD-IRENAEUS.

[A.D. 177.] This letter should have been made a preface to the works of Irenaeus, or at least an appendix. It is worthy of his great name; "the finest thing of the kind in all antiquity," says Lardner. Critics of no mean name have credited it to Irenaeus; but, as this cannot be proved, I have accordingly marked it as a pseudonym. The same writer condenses the arguments of others, on which he decides to adhere to the later chronology of Eusebius, assigning its date to the seventeenth year of Marcus Aurelius.(11) Naturally humane and comparatively gentle in other respects he was; but Stoicism, as well as heathenism, showed what it could exact of such a character in maintenance of the popular and imperial superstitions. Terrible is the summary of Lightfoot concerning the barbarities of this darling of the "philosophers:" "It is a plain fact, that Christian blood flowed more freely under M. Aurelius than at any time previously during the half century since the Bithynian martyrdoms under Trajan, or was yet to flow at any time during the decades which would elapse before the Severian persecution. These persecutions extend throughout his reign: they were fierce and deliberate; aggravated, at least in some cases, by cruel tortures. They had the emperor's direct personal sanction. They break out in all parts of the empire,--in Rome, in Asia Minor, in Gaul, in Africa, possibly also in Byzantium."

Bishop Lightfoot accounts for the fact, that, in spite of this sanguinary character of the period, little complaint is heard from the suffering Church, by a simple statement which is honourable to Aurelius as a Roman and an emperor. He was such a contrast to the Neros and Caligulas, that the wretched Romans loved him as a father; to reproach him was, therefore, poor policy for Christians. They would have been answered, practically: "If so good a sovereign finds it necessary to punish you, the fault is your own; you have only to be as we are, and he will treat you as well as he does us."

Of this awful outbreak in Lyons and Vienne, says Lightfoot:(1) "The persecution was wholesale, so that it was not safe for any Christian to appear out of doors. No difference of age or sex was made. The prisoners were put to the most cruel tortures. All the elements of power combined to crush the brethren."

To forbear threatenings, to revile not again, to conquer through patient suffering, to persevere, "looking unto Jesus," and to be silent, like Him, before their murderers, was therefore the world-wide conduct of the saints. This golden letter shows what they were called to endure, and how they glorified Christ by their deaths, from the utmost Orient to the extreme limits of the West.

THE LETTER OF THE CHURCHES OF VIENNA AND LUGDUNUM TO THE CHURCHES OF ASIA AND PHRYGIA.(2)

IT began thus:--"The servants of Christ who sojourn in Vienna and Lugdunum of Gaul to the brethren throughout Asia and Phrygia, who have the same faith and hope of redemption as ourselves, peace, grace, and glory from God the Father, and from Christ Jesus our Lord."

After some further preliminary remarks the letter proceeds:--"The greatness of the tribulation in this region, and the exceeding anger of the heathen nations against the saints, and the sufferings which the blessed Witnesses(3) endured, neither are we competent to describe accurately, nor indeed is it possible to detail them in writing. For with all his strength did the adversary assail us, even then giving a foretaste of his activity among us which is to be without restraint; and he had recourse to every means, accustoming his own subjects and exercising them beforehand against the servants of God, so that not only were we excluded from houses,(4) baths, and the forum, but a universal prohibition was laid against any one of us appearing in any place whatsoever. But the grace of God acted as our general against him. It rescued the weak; it arrayed against him men like firm pillars, who could through patience bear up against the whole force of the assaults of the wicked one. These came to close quarters with him, enduring every form of reproach and torture; and, making light of grievous trials, they hastened on to Christ, showing in reality that the 'sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us.'(5) And first they nobly endured the evils which were heaped on them by the populace,--namely, hootings and blows, draggings, plunderings, stonings, and confinements,(6) and everything that an infuriated mob is wont to perpetrate against those whom they deem bitter enemies. And at length, being brought to the forum by the tribune of the soldiers, and the magistrates that had charge of the city, they were examined in presence of the whole multitude; and having confessed, they were shut up in prison until the arrival of the governor.

"After this, when they were brought before the governor, and when he displayed a spirit of savage hostility to us, Vettius Epagathus, one of the brethren, interposed. For he was a man who had contained the full measure of love towards God and his neighbours. His mode of life had been so strict, that though he was a young man, he deserved to be described in the words used in regard to the elderly Zacharias: `He had walked therefore in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.'(1) He was also eager to serve his neighbour in any way, he was very zealous for God, and he was fervent in spirit. Such being the character of the man, he could not bear that judgment should be thus unreasonably passed against us, but was moved with indignation, and requested that he himself should be heard in defence of his brethren, undertaking to prove that there is nothing ungodly or impious amongst us. On this, those who were round the judgment-seat cried out against him, for he was a man of distinction; and the governor, not for a moment listening to the just request thus made to him, merely asked him if he himself were a Christian. And on his confessing in the clearest voice that he was, he also was taken up into the number of the Witnesses, receiving the appellation of the Advocate of the Christians,(2) and having himself the Advocate, the Spirit,(3) more abundantly than Zacharias; which he showed in the fulness(4) of his love, in that he had of his own good-will offered to lay down his own life in defence of the brethren. For he was and is a genuine disciple of Christ,

'following the Lamb whithersoever He goeth.'(5)

"After this the rest began to be distinguished,(6) for the proto-martyrs were decided and ready, and accomplished the confession of their testimony with all alacrity. But there appeared also. those who were unprepared and unpractised, and who were still feeble, and unable to bear the tension of a gear contest. Of these about ten in number proved abortions; causing great grief and immeasurable sorrow amongst us, and dumping the ardour of the rest who had not yet been apprehended. For these, although they suffered every kind of cruelty, remained nevertheless in the company of the Witnesses, and did not forsake them. But then the whole of us were greatly alarmed on account of our uncertainty as to confession, not because we feared the tortures inflicted, but because we looked to the end, and dreaded lest any one should fall away. Those who were worthy, however, were daily apprehended, filling up the number of the others: so that out of the two churches all the excellent, and those to whom the churches owed most of all their establishment and prosperity, were collected together in prison. Some heathen household slaves belonging to our people were also apprehended, since the governor had given orders publicly that all of us should be sought out. These, through the instigation of Satan, and through fear of the tortures which they saw the saints enduring, urged on also by the soldiers, falsely accused us of Thyestean banquets and (Edipodean connections, and other crimes which it is lawful for us neither to mention nor think of; and, indeed, we shrink from believing that any such crimes have ever taken place among men. When the rumour of these accusations was spread abroad, all raged against us like wild beasts; so that if any formerly were temperate in their conduct to us on account of relationship, they then became exceedingly indignant and exasperated against us. And thus was fulfilled that which was spoken by our Lord: 'The time shall come when every one who slayeth you shall think that he offereth service to God.'(7)

"Then at last the holy Witnesses suffered tortures beyond all description, Satan striving eagerly that some of the evil reports might be acknowledged by them.(8) But in an exceeding degree did the whole wrath of mob, general, and soldiers fall on Sanctus, a deacon from Vienna, and on Maturus, a newly-enlightened but noble combatant, and on Attalus, a native of Pergamus, who had always been the Pillar(9) and foundation of the church there, and on Blandina, through whom Christ showed that the things that to men appear mean and deformed and contemptible, are with God deemed worthy of great glory, on account of love to Him,--a love which is not a mere boastful appearance, but shows itself in the power which it exercises over the life. For while we were all afraid, and especially her miStress in the flesh, who was herself one of the combatants among the Witnesses, that she would not be able to make a bold confession on account of the weakness of her body, Blandina was filled with such power, that those who tortured her one after the other in every way from morning till evening were wearied and tired, confessing that they had been baffled, for they had no other torture they could apply to her; and they were astonished that she remained in life, when her whole body was torn and opened up, and they gave their testimony(1) that one only of the modes of torture employed was sufficient to have deprived her of life, not to speak of so many excruciating inflictions. But the blessed woman, like a noble athlete, recovered her strength in the midst of the confession; and her declaration, 'I am a Christian, and there is no evil done amongst us,' brought her refreshment, and rest, and insensibility to all the sufferings inflicted on her.

"Sanctus also nobly endured all the excessive and superhuman(2) tortures which man could possibly devise against him; for the wicked hoped, on account of the continuance and greatness of the tortures, to hear him confess some of the unlawful practices. But he opposed them with such firmness that he did not tell them even his own name, nor that of his nation or city, nor if he were slave or free; but in answer to all these questions, he said in Latin, 'I am a Christian.' This was the confession he made repeatedly, instead of giving his name, his city, his race, and indeed in reply to every question that was put to him; and other language the heathens heard not from him. Hence arose in the minds of the governor and the torturers a determined resolution to subdue him; so that, when every other means failed, they at last fixed red-hot plates of brass to the most delicate parts of his body. And these indeed were burned, but he himself remained inflexible and unyielding, firm in his confession, being bedewed and strengthened by the heavenly fountain of the water of life which issues from the belly of Christ.(3) But his body bore witness to what had happened: for it was all wounds and weals, shrunk and torn up, and had lost externally the human shape. In him Christ suffering wrought great wonders, destroying the adversary, and showing for an example to the rest that there is nothing fearful where there is the Father's love, and nothing painful where there is Christ's glory. For the wicked after some days again tortured the Witness, thinking that, since his body was swollen and inflamed, if they were to apply the same tortures they would gain the victory over him, especially since the parts of his body could not bear to be touched by the hand, or that he would die in consequence of the tortures, and thus inspire the rest with fear. Yet not only did no such occurrence take place in regard to him, but even, contrary to every expectation of man, his body unbent itself and became erect in the midst of the subsequent tortures, and resumed its former appearance and the use of its limbs, so that the second torture turned out through the grace of Christ a cure, not an affliction.

"Among those who had denied was a woman of the name of Biblias. The devil, thinking that he had already swallowed her, and wishing to damn her still more by making her accuse falsely, brought her forth to punishment, and employed force to constrain her, already feeble and spiritless, to utter accusations of atheism against us. But she, in the midst of the tortures, came again to a sound state of mind, and awoke as it were out of a deep sleep; for the temporary suffering reminded her of the eternal punishment in Gehenna, and she contradicted the accusers of Christians, saying, 'How can children be eaten by those who do not think it lawful to partake of the blood of even brute beasts?' And after this she confessed herself a Christian, and was added to the number of Witnesses.

"But when the tyrannical tortures were rendered by Christ of no avail through the patience of the blessed, the devil devised other contrivances--confinement in the darkest and most noisome cells of the prison, the stretching of the feet on the stocks,(4) even up to the fifth hole, and the other indignities which attendants stirred up by wrath and full of the devil are wont to inflict on the imprisoned. The consequence was, that very many were suffocated in prison, as many at least as the Lord, showing His glory, wished to depart in this way. For there were others who were tortured so bitterly, that it seemed impossible for them to survive even though they were to obtain every kind of attention; and yet they remained alive in prison, destitute indeed of care from man, but strengthened by the Lord, and invigorated both in body and soul, and they animated and consoled the rest. But the new converts who had been recently apprehended, and whose bodies had not previously been tortured, could not indure the confinement, but died in the prison.

"Now the blessed Pothinus, who had been entrusted with the service of the bishopric in Lugdunum, was also dragged before the judgment-seat. He was now upwards of ninety years of age, and exceedingly weak in body. Though he breathed with difficulty on account of the feebleness of the body, yet he was strengthened by the eagerness of his spirit, on account of his earnest desire to bear his testimony. His body, indeed, was already dissolved through old age and disease, yet the life was preserved in him, that Christ might triumph through him. When he was brought by the soldiers to the judgment-seat, under a convoy of the magistrates of the city, and amid exclamations of every kind from the whole population, as if he himself were the Christ, he gave the good testimony. Being asked by the governor who was the God of the Christians, he said, 'If thou art worthy, thou shalt know.' Thereupon he was unmercifully dragged about, and endured many blows; for those who were near maltreated him in every way with their hands and feet, showing no respect for his age, while those at a distance hurled against him each one whatever came to hand, all of them believing that they would sin greatly and act impiously if they in any respect fell short in their insulting treatment of him. For they thought that in this way they would avenge their gods. And Pothinus, breathing with difficulty, was cast into prison, and two days after he expired.

"Upon this a grand dispensation(1) of God's providence took place, and the immeasurable mercy of Jesus was made manifest,--such an occurrence as but rarely happens among the brotherhood, yet one that does not fall short of the art of Christ. For those who in the first apprehension had denied, were imprisoned along with the others, and shared their hardships. Their denial, in fact, turned out at this time to be of no advantage to them. For while those who confessed what they really were, were imprisoned simply as Christians, no other accusation being brought against them, those who denied were detained as murderers and profligates. They, moreover, were doubly punished. For the confessors were lightened by the joy of their testimony and their hope in the promises, and by their love to Christ, and by the Father's Spirit. But the deniers were tormented greatly by their own consciences, so that when they were led forth their countenances could be distinguished among all the rest. For the confessors went forth joyous, with a mingling of glory and abundant grace in their looks, so that their chains lay like becoming ornaments around them, as around a bride adorned with golden fringes wrought with divers colours.(2) And they breathed at the same time the fragrance of Christ,(3) so that some even thought that they were anointed with this world's perfume. But the deniers were downcast, humbled, sad-looking, and weighed down with every kind of disgrace. They were, moreover, reproached even by the heathens with being base and cowardly, and charged with the crime of murder; they had lost the altogether honourable, glorious, and life-giving appellation.(4) When the rest saw this, they were strengthened, and those who were apprehended confessed unhesitatingly, not allowing the reasoning of the devil to have even a place in their thoughts."

Eusebius omits something, saying that after a little the; letter proceeded as follows:--

"After these things, then, their testimonies took every shape through the different ways in which they departed.(5) For, plaiting a crown from different colours and flowers of every kind, they presented it to the Father. It was right therefore that the noble athletes, after having endured divers contests and gained grand victories, should receive the great crown of incorruption.

"Maturus, therefore, and Sanctus, and Blandina, and Attalus were publicly(6) exposed to the wild beasts--that common spectacle of heathen barbarity; for a day was expressly assigned to fights with wild beasts on account of our people. And Maturus and Sanctus again endured every form of torture in the amphitheatre, as if they had had no suffering at all before. Or rather, like athletes who had overthrown their adversary several times,(7) and were now contending for the crown itself, again they endured the lashes(8) which were usual there; and they were dragged about by the wild beasts, and suffered every indignity which the maddened populace demanded in cries and exhortations proceeding from various parts of the amphitheatre. And last of all they were placed in the iron chair, on which their bodies were roasted, and they themselves were filled with the fumes of their own flesh. But the heathens did not stop even here, but became still more frantic in their desire to overcome the endurance of the Christians. But not even thus did they hear anything else from Sanctus than the utterance of the confession which he had been accustomed to make from the beginning. These, then, after life had lasted a long time throughout the great contest, were at last sacrificed,(9) after they alone had formed a spectacle to the world, throughout that day, instead of all the diversity which usually takes place in gladiatorial shows.

"Blandina(1) was hung up fastened to a stake, and exposed, as food to the wild beasts that were let loose against her; and through her presenting the spectacle of one suspended on something like a cross, and through her earnest prayers, she inspired the combatants with great eagerness: for in the combat they saw, by means of their sister, with their bodily eyes, Him who was crucified for them, that He might persuade those who trust in Him that every one that has suffered for the glory of Christ has eternal communion with the living God. When none of the wild beasts at that time touched her, she was taken down from the stake and conveyed back to prison. She was thus reserved for another contest, in order that, gaining the victory in many preparative conflicts, she might make the condemnation of the Crooked Serpent(2) unquestionable, and that she might encourage the brethren. For though she was an insignificant, weak, and despised woman, yet she was clothed with the great and invincible athlete Christ. On many occasions she had overpowered the adversary, and in the course of the contest had woven for herself the crown of incorruption.

"Attalus also was vehemently demanded by the mob; for he was a man of mark, He entered the lists a ready combatant on account of his good conscience, since he had been truly practised in the Christian discipline, and had always been a Witness of the truth among us. He was led round the amphitheatre, a tablet going before him, on which was written in Latin, 'This is Attalus the Christian;' and the people swelled with indignation against him. But the governor, learning that he was a Roman, ordered him to be taken back to prison and kept with the rest who were there, with regard to whom he had written to the Caesar, and was now awaiting his determination.

"The intervening time did not prove barren or unfruitful to the Witnesses, but through their patient endurance the immeasurable love of Christ was made manifest. For through the living the dead were made alive; and the Witnesses conferred favours on those who were not Witnesses, and the Virgin Mother had much joy in, receiving back alive those whom she had given up as dead abortions. For through the Witnesses the greater number of those who had denied returned, as it were, into their mother's womb, and were conceived again and re-quickened; and they learned to confess. And being now restored to life, and having their spirits braced, they went up to the judgment-seat to be again questioned by the governor, while that God who wishes not the death of the sinner,(3) but mercifully calls to repentance, put sweetness: into their souls. This new examination took place because the Caesar had given orders that the Witnesses should be punished, but that if any denied they should be set free. And as now was commencing here the fair, which is attendee by vast numbers of men assembling from all nations, he brought the. blessed up to the judgment-seat, exhibiting them as a theatrical show and spectacle to the mobs. Wherefore also he again questioned them, and whoever appeared to have had the rights of Roman: citizenship he beheaded, and the rest he sent to the wild beasts.

"Now Christ was greatly glorified in those who formerly denied; for, contrary to every expectation of the heathen, they confessed. For these were examined separately, under the belief that they were to be set free; but confessing, they were added to the number of the Witnesses. But there were also some who remained without; namely, those who had no trace of faith, and no perception of the marriage garment,(4) nor notion of the fear of God, but through their conduct caused evil reports of our way of life, that is, sons of perdition. But all the rest were added to the Church.

"Present at the examination of these was one Alexander, a native of Phrygia, a physician by profession. He had lived for many years in Gaul, and had become well known to all for his love to God and his boldness in proclaiming the truth, for he was not without a share of apostolic grace. He stood near the judgment-seat, and, urging by signs those who had denied to confess, he looked to those who stood round the judgment-seat like one in travail. But the mobs, enraged that those who had formerly denied should now confess, cried out against Alexander as if he were the cause of this change. Then the governor summoned him before him, and inquired of him who he was; and when Alexander said he was a Christian, the governor burst into a passion, and condemned him to the wild beasts. And on the next day he entered the amphitheatre along with Attalus; for the governor, wishing to gratify the mob, again exposed Attalus to the wild beasts. These two, after being tortured in the amphitheatre with all the instruments devised for that purpose, and having undergone an exceedingly severe contest, at last were themselves sacrificed. Alexander uttered no groan or murmur of any kind, but conversed in his heart with God; but Attalus, when he was placed on the iron chair, and all the pans of his body were burning, and when the fumes from his body were borne aloft, said to the multitude in Latin, 'Lo ! this which ye do is eating men. But as for us, we neither eat men nor practise any other wickedness. ' And being asked what name God has, he answered, ' God has not a name as men have.'

"After all these, on the last day of the gladiatorial shows, Blandina was again brought in along with Ponticus, a boy of about fifteen years of age. These two had been taken daily to the amphitheatre to see the tortures which the rest endured, and force was used to compel them to swear by the idols of the heathen; but on account of their remaining stedfast, and setting all their devices at nought, the multitude were furious against them, so as neither to pity the tender years of the boy nor to respect the sex of the woman. Accordingly they exposed them to every terror, and inflicted on them every torture, repeatedly trying to compel them to swear. But they failed in effecting this; for Ponticus, encouraged by his sister,[1] so plainly indeed that even the heathens saw that it was she that encouraged and confirmed him, after enduring nobly every kind of torture, gave up the ghost; while the blessed Blandina, last of all, after having like a noble mother encouraged her children, and sent them on before her victorious to the King, trod the same path of conflict which her children had trod, hastening on to them with joy and exultation at her departure, not as one thrown to the wild beasts, but as one invited to a marriage supper. And after she had been scourged and exposed to the wild beasts, and roasted in the iron chair, she was at last enclosed in a net and cast before a bull. And after having been well tossed by the bull, though without having any feeling of what was happening to her, through her hope and firm hold of what had been entrusted to her and her converse with Christ, she also was sacrificed, the heathens themselves acknowledging that never among them did woman endure so many and such fearful tortures.

"Yet not even thus was their madness and their savage hatred to the saints satiated. For wild and barbarous tribes, when excited by the Wild Beast, with difficulty ceased from their rage, and their insulting conduct found another and peculiar subject in the bodies of the Witnesses. For they felt no shame that they had been overcome, for they were not possessed of human reason; but their defeat only the more inflamed their rage, and governor and people, like a wild beast, showed a like unjust hatred of us, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, 'He that is unjust,' let him be unjust still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still.'[2] For they threw to the dogs those who had been suffocated in prison, carefully watching them day and night, lest any one should receive burial from us. They then laid out the mangled remains left by the wild beasts, and the scorched remains left by the fire, and the heads of the rest along with their trunks, and in like manner for many days watched them lying unburied with a military guard. There were some who raged and gnashed their teeth at them, seeking to get from them further vengeance. Others derided and insulted them, at the same time magnifying their own idols, and ascribing to them the punishment inflicted on the Christians. There were persons also of a milder disposition, who to some extent seemed to sympathize; yet they also frequently upbraided, saying, ' Where now is their God, and what good have they got from that religion which they chose in preference to their life?' Such was the diversity which characterized the conduct of the heathens. But our state was one of deep sorrow that we could not bury the bodies. For night aided us not in this matter; money failed to persuade, and entreaty did not shame them into compliance; but they kept up the watch in every way, as if they were to gum some great advantage from the bodies of the Christians not obtaining burial.

Something is omitted. The letter then goes on:--

"The bodies of the Witnesses, after having been maltreated in every way, and exposed in the open air for six days, were burned, reduced to ashes, and swept by the wicked into the river Rhone, which flows past, in order that not even a vestige of them might be visible on earth. And these things they did, as if they had been able to overcome God, and deprive them of their second birth,[3] in order, as they said, that ' they may not have hope in a resurrection, trusting to which they introduce some strange and new mode of worship, and despise dangers, and go readily and with joy to death. Now let us see if they will rise again, and if their God can help them, and rescue them out of our hands.'"

Eusebius here breaks off his series of continuous extracts, but he makes a few more for special purposes. The first is the account which the churches gave of the character of the Witnesses:--

"Who also were to such an extent zealous followers and imitators of Christ, who, being in the shape of God, thought it not an object of desire to be treated like God ;[1] that though they were in such glory, and had bone their testimony not once, nor twice, but often, and had been again taken back to prison after exposure to the wild beasts, and bore about with them the marks of the burnings and bruises and wounds all over their bodies, yet did they neither proclaim themselves Witnesses, nor indeed did they permit us to address them by this name; but if any one of us on any occasion, either by letter or in conversation, called them Witnesses, they rebuked him sharply. For they willingly gave the title of Witness to Christ, 'the faithful and true Witness,'[2] and first-born from the dead, and the leader to the divine life. And they reminded us of those Witnesses who had already departed, and said: ' These indeed are now Witnesses, whom Christ has vouchsafed to take up to Himself in the very act of confession, thus putting His seal upon their testimony through their departure. But we are mean and humble confessors.' And with tears they besought the brethren that earnest prayers might be made for their being perfected. They in reality did all that is implied in the term 'testimony,' acting with great boldness towards all the heathen ; and their nobleness they made manifest through their patience, and fearlessness, and intrepidity. But the title of Witness, as implying some superiority to their brethren,[3] they refused, being filled with the fear of God." After a little they say: --

"They humbled themselves[4] under the powerful hand by which they are now highly exalted. Then they pleaded for all,[5] but accused none; they absolved all, they bound none; and they prayed for those who inflicted the tortures, even as Stephen the perfect Witness, 'Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.'[6] But if he prayed for those who stoned him, how much more for the brethren !"

After other things, again they say:--

"For they had this very great conflict with him, the devil, on account of their genuine love, in order that the Beast being choked, might vomit forth those whom he thought he had already swallowed. For they assumed no airs of superiority over the fallen, but with those things in which they themselves abounded they aided the needy, displaying towards them the compassion of a mother. And pouring out many tears for them to the Father, they begged life;[7] and He gave it to them, and they shared it with their neighbours. And departing victorious over all to God, having always loved peace, and having recommended peace to us, in peace they went to God, leaving no sorrow to their Mother, nor division and dissension to their brethren, but joy and peace, and concord and love."

"The same writing of the fore-mentioned martyrs," says Eusebius, "contains a story worth remembrance.

"For there was one of them of the name of Alcibiades, who lived an exceedingly austere life, confining his diet to bread and water, and partaking of nothing else whatsoever. He tried to continue this mode of life in prison; but it was revealed to Attalus after the first conflict which he underwent in the amphitheatre that Alcibiades was not pursuing the right course in refusing to use the creatures of God, and in leaving an example which might be a stumbling-block to others. And Alcibiades was persuaded, and partook freely of all kinds of food, and thanked God. For they were not without the oversight of the grace of God, but the Holy Spirit was their counsellor."

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