[The verse of Alcimus, reserved in the preceding account of baptism in this century, is now ad duced, as the first proof of the martyrization of this time, and circumstantially explained.
Mention is made of various severe persecutions that occurred about this time, of which fifteen are enumerated; it is also shown in what kingdoms, principalities, or countries they took place, as well as who the tyrants were by whom all this was committed against the Christian believers.
An explanation that it is hardly credible that all the countries in which the afore-mentioned fifteen persecutions occurred, were subject to the Roman See; which is amplified, and its signification shown.
Arnold, a teacher of the Gospel, martyred in a forest, in France, and buried by his wife, presented as a pious martyr in the year 511.
In the margin (in connection with Arnold) a severe persecution in Arabia, A. D. 520, is spoken of; what inference may be drawn from it.
The oppression of the church and the servants of God, under Granus, son of the King of France, is noticed, for the year 562; then, in the margin, mention is made of forty Christian peasants, who suffered under the Longobards; however, for certain reasons, they are not absolutely accepted.
After this, for the year 566, other forty persons are mentioned, the most of whom were put to death with the sword, because they would not commit idolatry, or forsake Christ; in the margin an explanation is given with reference to this, and they are recognized by us as true martyrs.
Golauduch, a Christian woman of Persia, put to death, by the Persian Priests, A. D. 598.
Some remarks respecting the time in which Evagrius lived, who has recorded the last mentioned instance of martyrdom.]
Here will be the proper place to sing, with mournful voice, the blood-red verse of Alcimus, mentioned by us on a former occasion; as the author of the history of holy baptism places Alcimus at the very beginning of this century, which arrangement meets our approbation. With regard to the oppression of the Christians of his time, he expresses, in the German language, as a song of mourning, the following lines
Der Kriegsknecht stach in Christi Seit;
Wasser sprang dus der Wunden weit
Den hc?lkern das die Tauf bedeut;
Der Martrer Blut such so fleuszt heut.
The soldier pierced the Saviour's side
There gushed forth the wat'ry flood,
A sign* of the baptismal rite;
Thus flows today the martyrs' blood.
The question now is, what Alcimus meant to say by this verse. He treats of two things: 1. of Baptism;
2. of Martyrdom, comparing thereto the water that flowed from Christ's side, when a soldier had pierced it with a spear.
I. of Baptism.-Of this we shall say but little, since this subject has been sufficiently discussed in our preceding account of baptism as practiced in this century; yet, in order to proceed properly, and to pass by no part of said verse, we say that the resemblance which Alcimus here finds in the blood that flowed from Christ's side, saying that it was to the people, or to the peoples, a sign of baptism, neither can nor may be applied as referring to infant baptism; for not only the sense, but even the words of the verse, would contradict this. As to the words, he does not say that said water is to infants, a sign of baptism, which he certainly must have said, had he meant infant baptism by it; but he says that it was to the people, or peoples, a sign of baptism, which word (people, or peoples), in holy Scripture as well as in secular authors, is generally understood to mean adult, or, at least, intelligent persons, who can be taught, or to whom something can be signified; as, for instance, Christ said to His disciples, "Go and teach all nations, baptizing them," etc. Matt. 28:19. Moreover, that infants are unable to understand the signification of little things, even to say nothing of this great mystery of baptism, is so clear that it cannot, with truth, be controverted.
II. Of Martyrdom.-This is what we have chiefly had in view; for he says in the last line of the afore-mentioned verse, "Thus flows today the martyrs' blood." Certainly, here he indicates that at the time when he wrote this, the blood of the (believing) martyrs was shed; for this is indicated by the word, toddy, which generally is understood to mean the present day; but here properly signifies the present current time. Moreover, as to the persons whom Alcimus notices as martyrs, and of whom he says that their blood flowed today, they cannot be understood to have been other than orthodox martyrs, or, at least, such as held the same views and doctrines with him; for the first, ancient, and true Christians called none martyrs, but their fellow believers who had suffered or been put to death for the faith. From this, it would seem, has proceeded the old adage, which is still used: "Not the suffering, but the good cause from which he suffers, makes the martyr."
Of the correct views of Alcimus, and, consequently, of those whom he calls martyrs, especially in regard to baptism, we have spoken before, and have also just now given some explanation with reference to it; which must suffice for the present. The impartial reader may decide for himself. In the meantime it behooves us to investigate and, if possible, show when, where, why, and how said martyrs suffered. But, not being able, on account of the scarcity of ancient writers, to ascertain all this, we shall content ourselves with what we do find in regard to it, and shall therefore endeavor to follow the most faithful and truthful records.
We have counted from Abraham Mellinus alone, besides from many ancient. writers referred to by him, who have more fully recorded the martyrdom of this time, fifteen persecutions in this century, which were raised most vehemently against the Christians, in various countries.
In Order to condense this as much as possible, so as not to weary the reader, we shall not present the account of the afore-mentioned author word for word, but extract from it the pith and import thereof, and present it as clearly as is possible for us to do. In the 2d book of the History of the Persecutions, etc., under the head;"Exposition of Satan bound a thousand years," fol. 293, cot. 1-4, are described, in consecutive order, among other things, the afore-mentioned, persecutions, within the bounds of the sixth century, namely, fronk A. D. 518 .to the .close of the century; which we have briefly summed up thus
First of all, mention is made of many oppressions by the Jews, heathen, and others; by which all Christendom was kept in commotion, from the reign of the Emperor.Constantine the Great, to that of Justin the Great (f ol. 293, cot. 2); however, since said oppressions occurred before the time of Justin the Great, that is before A. D. 518, we will leave them, as not belonging to the number mentioned by us.
1. It is stated that besides the persecution instituted in the beginning of the reign of Justin the Great, by Theodoricus, the . Arian, against those who were called orthodox Christians, a certain Jewish tyrant, called Dunan, in the fifth year of Justin's reign, violently persecuted the Christians in the city of Nagra. Fol. 293, cot. 3.
2. Of Amalric, King of the West Goths, in France, it is stated that he heaped much vexation and contempt upon his own wife, Clotildis, because she was orthodox in the Christian faith. Ibidem, from Hist. Gall. and Isidor., in Chron..
3. It is declared that in the third year of Justinian the Great, nephew of Justin the Great, a persecution against the Christians was raised by the Samaritan Jews in Palestine. Ibidem, col. 4.
4. Afterwards there was also a short persecution of the Christian believers, by the Vandals, in Africa. Ibid.
5. Also, the Arian persecution of the Christians, by Totila, which is said to have taken place under Justinian, in Italy, is mentioned by the same writer.
6. Besides these the persecution originated by the Jews and Samaritans, at Cwsarea, in Palestine, was repeated in the 29th year of the reign of Justinian. See above.
7. We read that in the time of Justin II., the Christian churches in Pers-Armenia were oppressed by Chosroe, the King of Persia. See above.
8. In the third year of said Justin, Alboin, the first King of the Longobards, invaded Italy, having sworn to annihilate all the blood of the Christians with the sword. Ibid.
9. At this time, also a Saracenic persecution against the Christians was carried on, by Manucha.
10. After this, Chilperic, an enemy of the Christians, exercised great cruelty towards them. Fol. 294, col. 1.
11. In the first year of Mauritius, Emperor of the Cappadocians, the Persians instituted a persecution with fire and sword, in Armenia. Ibid.
12. At this time, the Longobards, throughout Italy, did not cease to oppress the Christian believers. See same place.
13. About this time there was also a persecution in France.
14. Also in Spain.
15. In England the heathen sought to exterminate the Christians. For full information on the above persecutions, read, aside from the above references, A. Mell., pages 293, 294 and on to p. 303.
NOTE.-In said fifteen persecutions that occurred in this century, we notice that twelve different kingdoms, principalities, and other countries, are mentioned, situated not only in Europe, much less in Italy (which can also be reckoned only as a single country), where the Roman Bishops chiefly had their seat and ungodly dominion; but also, yea, for the most part, in Asia and Africa, which were far remote from Italy, being different parts of the world. The countries mentioned, in consecutive order, are these: 1. Nagra, a place or region in Arabia. 2. France. 3. Palestine. 4. Some region in Africa. 5. Italy. 6. Cwsarea. 7. Pers-Armenia. 8. A certain country where the Saracens persecuted the Christians. 9. Another country, where Chilperic tyrannized. 10. Armenia. 11. Spain. 12. England. These are the countries mentioned, besides those that are passed over, but were also subjected to persecution:
Who will believe now, thq all these countries were under the Roman Empire? Yea, more than that, what man of ordinary intelligence will think that they all adhered to the Roman See, and, con sequently, that all the persons who were slain in said fifteen persecutions, professed the Roman religion? Surely, this does by no means appear; but the opposite is quite evident. In the first place, because we do not find, in reliable authors, that the authority and power of the Roman Bishop, or Pope, was so great at this time, that not only Europe, but also Asia and Africa, constituting the whole of the ancient or then known world, bowed to him; which would nevertheless have to be proved and established, for in these three divisions of the world are situated the above-mentioned kingdoms, principalities, and countries, and the aforementioned persecutions occurred not only within, but also beyond their boundaries.
In the second place, that at this time there were people in different countries, who, not only in regard to baptism, but also in other points of religion, held views entirely different from what those of the Roman church understood and believed, is so clearly evident from our previous account of baptism in this century, that no reasonable person will dispute, much less be able to refute it.
Hence it follows, that to all appearance, in the above-mentioned fifteen persecutions, not a few, or, at least, some, orthodox believers were put to death, as true martyrs; for such have of old been paramountly subject to persecution. We shall therefore investigate what people have at this time, as pious witnesses of Jesus, steadfastly testified to the truth of their Saviour by their death, and sealed it with their blood.
It is stated that in the eleventh year of the sixth century, a certain pious teacher, by the name of Arnold, not willing to bury the talent given him by God, in the earth, but if possible, to obtain some spiritual gain for Christ his Saviour, by preaching the Gospel, exchanged his life for death in the forests of France, and has thus been reckoned among the number of pious martyrs. Concerning this, P. J. Twisck, among others, notes the following, for the year 511, "When Arnold preached the Gospel of Christ and the Christian faith in a forest in France, near Paris, he was martyred, and was buried there by his wife." Chron., 6th book, Q. 117, col. 2, from Chron. Nicol. Gillem., fol. 44.
NOTE.-All the particulars mentioned respecting said Arnold, clearly indicate the uprightness of his mind and views, as well as how far he stood aloof from the superstitions of the Roman church, which superstitions then had already risen very high. The latter especially appears from various circumstances.
First, Because it is stated that he did not preach the traditions and legends of the Romanists, but the Gospel.
Secondly, Because it is shown what he preached from the Gospel, namely, Christ and the Christian faith, but nothing about the power of the Roman bishop, or about the Roman faith.
Thirdly, because it is stated, according to ancient writers, that having been martyred for said faith, he was buried there (where he had been put to death) by his wife; but to have a wife the Romanists had many years before forbidden, .to teachers and deacons, on pain of deposition. With regard to this, the article established about the year 495, in a certain papal council, reads as follows, "The priests, that is, those who also preach, and deacons shall abstain from taking unto themselves wives; if they do not observe this, they shall be deposed from their office." Seb. Franck ' Chron. Rom. Concilen, fol. 48 col. 4, from Concil. Aphr.
Fourthly, because we have found, in the ancient registers, in which the names of the principal ancient teachers and martyrs are recorded, not the least charge laid against this man, either of superstition, or anything else; although we searched diligently, and had others search.
NOTE.-It appears that about nine years after the death of said martyr, Arnold, namely, A. D. 520, a great persecution arose in Arabia against the Christians; of which P. J. Twisck writes the following, "A. D. 520, a seditious Jew, who pretended to be the second Moses, caused an awful massacre and persecution of the Christians, at Nagra in Arabia, in the reign of the Emperor Justin; he slew the pious Bishop Arethas and many thousands of Christians. Chron. 6th book, page 180, col. 1, from Nicephor., lib. 16, cap. 6. But as we have not been able to obtain reliable information, except that which we have shown, concerning this Bishop Arethas, as to whether he was a true and orthodox bishop, as well as in regard to the many thousands of Christians who were slain with him, as to whether they professed a good profession of faith, which we doubt very much, we will not concern ourselves with them. Nevertheless, it must be considered, that among so great a number there were at least some, here and there, who died in the true faith, seeing the same were sometimes scattered in various countries. Of this we will let the well-meaning reader judge ,for himself.
That believers and the leaders of the church of God had to suffer great oppression at this time, our beloved brother and coworker in Christ, P. - J. Twisck, deceased, in his time, signified to his cotemporaries with these words, "About this time (562), the churches and the servants of God were greatly vexed by Granus, the wicked son of the King of France." Chron. 6th book, page 192, col. 1, from Paul Merula, fol. 431, hist. Wenc., fol. 78.*
Shortly after the death of the peasants just spoken of in the margin, as the heathen Longobards, according to their custom, were offering to Satan the head of a he-goat, about forty meek and pious Christians were apprehended. When their captors, in honor of Satan, had gone round their sacrifice, consecrated it by their sorcerous incantations and conjurations, and had bowed their heads before it, and worshiped it, they wanted to constrain the captive Christians to worship with them this head of the he-goat. But most of the Christians, preferring to die and strive for life immortal, rather than to live and worship the idol, refused to bow their heads, which they had always bowed in honor to God their Creator, before a vain and, perishable creature. Thereupon, the enemies of od and His Anointed, who had not hesitated to fight against the Lord, and to kick against the pricks, put to death with:the sword, all of said captive Christians who would have no fellowship with their idolatry; and thus they (the latter), all became blessed martyrs of Jesus Christ. Compare A. Mell. 2d book, 1699, page 299, col. 4. from lib. 5 Dialog., cap. 28.**
About A. D. 598, in the time of the Emperor Mauritius, Golauduch, a woman of Persia, who had once been an adherent of the Persian religion, but subsequently become converted to Christ, and, consequently, had been baptized upon her faith, and remained steadfast in the confession of the Christian religion, even unto death. Of this, Evagrius makes mention, whom we take to be the same one of whom we have spoken elsewhere, and shown that he has described and commended as something praiseworthy, the baptism of candidates; that is of those who were baptized upon
confession of faith. He writes the following of said Golauduch, "At that time (namely, in the reign of Mauritius), there lived among us, the godly martyrs, Golauduch, who, having, suffered many and severe torments at the hans of the magi or Persian priests, finally obtained the martyr's crown; of whose life, old Stephen, Bishop of Hierapolis, has written an account." Compare Evagn, lib. 6, cap. 19; also, Nicephor., l%b. 18, cap. 25, ex Act. Sabulosis, with A. Mell., 1619; fol. 301, col 1.
Abraham Mellinus and J. Mehrning, however, differ in regard to the supposed time in which Evagrius (who, it appears, wrote the above account of the martyrdom of Golauduch), is said to have lived, J. Mehrning referring him to the middle of the fifth century, while Abr. Mellinus, on the other hand, places him almost at the close of the sixth. This difference of chronology we leave to them, holding, nevertheless, that they both wrote of one and the same person; who was a good historian and well versed in ecclesiastical affairs.
This person, then, called Evagrius, having commended as praiseworthy the baptism of the above mentioned candidates, that is, of those who had previously been instructed in the faith, afterwards, it appears, also makes mention of said martyress Golauduch, virtually calling her his sister in the faith, and a member of his church. For, when he says, "At that time, there lived among us, the godly martyress Golauduch," what else does he mean to indicate thereby, but that said woman belonged to, and lived in, the very church of which he was a member, or, at least, whose doctrine he loved and cherished? Besides, we have not found anything laid to her charge, as regards her faith and good conversation, as has been stated of the preceding martyrs; hence we are satisfied with regard to her.