The witnesses as regards the ordinance of the baptism of Jesus Christ, who have written in this century, are few, and their accounts are brief, but mostly clear and conclusive. First appears one Dionysius, surnamed Alexandrinus, who writes to his friend Sixtus about a certain brother, who considered the baptism of the heretics no baptism at all, and, therefore requested to be rebaptized.
He is followed by Justinus, who, in his letters written in defense of the Christians, as well as in his disputation with Tryphon, the Jew, speaking of baptism, treats of it throughout as of the,baptism of Christ, which was administered to adults.
Then comes one Gratianus, who declares himself against retaliation; and also another (noticed in the margin), who was censured because he held that the body of Christ was not of the substance of Mary.
Then follows Clemens Alexandrinus, who no-. where speaks of infant baptism, though he treats much of baptism, and of its conditions and circumstances.
Then follows a certain testimony, from Walafridus Strabo, proving that in those early times it was not customary to baptize otherwise than in running water, and that only such persons were baptized, who were able to know and understand the benefits to be obtained in baptism.
The conclusion is taken from the 7th chapter of De Ratione Gubernationes Ecclesice, in which we read, that now there were baptized those who had previously been instructed in the principal articles of faith., With this we have concluded this century.
NOTE.-Since we have not come across any particular authors as regards the matter of baptism, with the first years of this century, we are compelled to begin with the year 126, and to proceed thence on; which method we shall also pursue in some of the other centuries.
About the year 126.-The first place in our account of baptism in the second century, we shall accord to Dionysius Alexandrinus,* of whom it is stated (from his 5th book on Baptism) that he wrote to Sixtus, the bishop at Rome, as follows
There was with us a brother who had been a believer a long time, before ever I or my predecessor Heraclas was ordained bishop. Being present among those who were baptized, and hearing the questions put to them, and their replies, he came to me weeping, fell down at my feet, and began to confess that he had received baptism from the heretics in an entirely different manner, which baptism, since he saw that we administered baptism differ-
Finally he writes these words: He (namely, the man mentioned above, who wished to be rebaptized) ceased not to sigh and to weep, and dared not to come to the Lord's table, and, admonished and constrained by us, would scarcely venture to be present at common prayer.
In regard to this, Eusebius Pamphilius of Caesarea, who has annotated this, writes thus: These and many other such questions concerning rebaptizing are noted by Dionysius throughout his books. Euseb., lib. 7, cap. 8, from. Dionysius.
NOTE.-P. J. Twisck discriminates this Dionysius Alexandrius from another Dionysius, who, about A. D. 231, after Origen, was a teacher of the scholars of the faith, at Alexandria. See Chron. 3d Book for the year 231, page 61, col. 1. Also, for the year 253, page 71, eol. 1.
Of the martyrdom of the latter we shall speak in the proper place, under the persecution of Valerianus and Gallienus. Others, however, hold that it was one and the same Dionysius, who wrote this, and suffered martyrdom. But this matters little, since the matters themselves, as stated by these writers, agree in general. We will leave this to the judgment of the intelligent reader.
From the above it is evident, first, that baptism was administered after previous examination, because it is said, "Being present among those who were baptized, and hearing the questions put to them, and their replies;" which agrees with the manner in which Philip proceeded with the Ethiopian, before he baptized him: the one asked, the other answered, and then followed baptism. Acts 8:36-38.
Moreover, since Eusebius states, that Dionysius notes many such questions of rebaptizing throughout his books, it follows incontrovertibly, that rebaptizing, or, at least, baptizing aright, those who had not been rightly baptized, must have been practiced, or at least advocated by some at that time; else it would not have been necessary to note any questions in regard to it; whereas much was written in that day, concerning it, as Eusebius has shown from Dionysius.
About the year 140.-Justinus, who was surnamed Philosophus, because before his conversion, he was instructed in philosophy, comes next in order after Dionysius Alexandrinus. In his second defence of the Christians, to the Emperors Titus, Aelius, Adrianus, Antonius, Pius, etc. (according to the annotation of H. Montanus Nietigh.z., p. 5), he writes thus, "We shall also relate to you, how we being renewed through Christ, have offered ourselves up to God, lest, this being omitted, it might seem, that in some parts of this statement we have not been faithful. As many, then, as are convinced, and believe that what we teach and
say is true, and promise to live 'accordingly, to the best of their ability, are admonished to pray, and to ask God, with fasting, for the forgiveness of past sins, we ourselves praying and fasting with them. After that, we lead them to the water, and they are then born again in the same manner of regeneration in which we ourselves were born again, for then they are washed with water, in the name of God, who is the Father and Lord of us all, and of Jesus Christ, who is the Saviour of us all, and of the Holy Ghost; for Christ says: 'Except ye be born again, ye cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.'"
These are certainly clear arguments, which confirm the institution of Christ as regards baptism upon faith; for, when justinus writes, "As many then, as are convinced, and believe," and adds, "are admonished to pray," and finally says, "After that, we lead them to the water, and they are then born again in the same manner of regeneration," that is to say (speaking by way of metonymy), baptized; he certainly gives to understand with this, that the candidates for .baptism, in his day, had to be convinced; namely through the preached word, and had to believe, and, also, that they had to be admonished to pray, before they were led to the water, to be baptized, or, as he calls it, regenerated.
A little further on in the same apology or defense, he writes thus, "This, concerning this matter, we have learned from the apostles; for, since we are ignorant by our first birth, and have been brought up in evil practices and wicked habits; therefore, in order that we may not remain children of ignorance, but become children of free volition and of knowledge, and may obtain the remission of sins committed, there is invoked over those who voluntarily desire to be born again, and who repent of their past sins, the name of God, the Father and Lord of all men; and, invoking Him alone, we lead the one to be baptized to the washing of water; and this washing of water is called an enlightenment, because the understanding of those who learn these things, becomes enlightened. But those who become enlightened, are also washed, that is, baptized, in the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and in the name of the Holy Spirit, who, through the prophets, has foretold all concerning Christ." H. Most. Nietighz., page 6, ex Justino.
From this it is again quite evident, that Justinus has in view, nothing else than to give an account of the true baptism, which Christ and His apostles taught that it should only be administered upon faith and repentance for sins; for, when he says, "Those who voluntarily desire to be baptized again, and who repent of their past sins," and adds, "Invoking the name of God, we lead the one to be baptized to the washing of water," he certainly says nothing else than what was said to those baptized by John. Matt. 3:6, "And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins," and what Peter said to the contrite penitents, who inquired what they must do to be saved. Acts 2:38, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins." The very same idea is expressed here .by Justinus, as is shown.
Further on in the same apology or defense, Justinus writes these words, "But we, after he who, being convinced, has become of one mind with us, is thus washed, we lead him to those who are called brethren, where they are assembled, ardently offering up the common prayers, for ourselves, for him who is enlightened, and for all other men, wherever they may be; that we may be worthy to be disciples of the truth leading indeed a good conversation, and be found observers of that which is commanded us; in order that we may obtain eternal salvation." H. Most. Nietighz., page 7, ex Justino.
This is the third, citation from Justinus, from which it appears certainly no more, than from the first two, that he mentions any other baptism, than that upon faith and repentance. For, when he says, "After he who, being convinced, has become of one mind with us, is thus washed, we lead him to those who are called brethren," he gives to understand with this, that those who were washed, that is baptized, must first be convinced, and consent to the doctrine, which agrees with Christ's command, Matt. 28:19, "Go ye therefore, and teach (or, make disciples of) all nations, baptizing them," and mark, "Preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved."*
Jacob Mehrning, in his account of baptism in the second century, cites from the Centuries van Mcegdenborg the following words, "The teachers of the church of that time held, that regeneration was effected through baptism and the Word, to both of which together they ascribed a power, namely, the forgiveness of sins, which required repentance from adults." Many clear testimonies concerning this are found in Justinus.
In the disputation with Tryphon, the Jew, he writes, "Through the washing of water of repentance (Wasserbad der Busse), and the knowledge of God, which has been instituted for the forgiveness of the sins of the people, as Isaiah says, we believe and feel assured, that this is the blessed baptism, which was proclaimed in former times, and that this alone can cleanse the penitent, yea, that this is a water of life."
A little further on he calls baptism a spiritual circumcision acceptable to the merciful God. And in conclusion he says, "Through water and faith, the regeneration of the whole human race is effected." Jac. Mehrn., Baptism. Histor., 2d part, on the second century, page 202.
Justinus writes further, in the disputation with Tryphon, the Jew, on the truth of the Christian religion, "Since we, through Christ, are converted to the true God, we are sanctified in baptism, and call upon Him as our helper, and call Him our Redeemer. Before the power of this name, Satan himself must fear and tremble." Jac. Mehrn., page 203. Baptism. Hist., 2d Prt.
Who does not see clearly from these words of Justinus, in the disputation with Tryphon, in the first as well as in the second citation, that he employs such words and phrases as can by no means be applied otherwise than to the true order of the baptism of Christ and His apostles, namely, baptism which is accompanied with faith and repentance? For in the first citation he certainly says expressly, that baptism is a washing of water of repentance, and the knowledge of God; also, that it alone can cleanse the penitent; and also, that through water and faith the regeneration of the whole human race is effected. In the second citation he also plainly says, "Since we, through Christ, are converted to the true God, we are sanctified in baptism." How could any one more clearly indicate the true practice of baptism, which must take place with conversion to God? And such baptism, Justinus states here, was practiced in the church of God in his time. O glorious, holy, and most Christian transaction I
In the fifty-sixth question and answer of this book some words are employed from which pedobaptists sometimes are wont to conclude, that infant baptism was practiced in the days of Justinus. But to this, various excellent and learned men have replied long since, namely, that this book was never written by Justinus; to prove which, different reasons are adduced, as, far instance: That in the answer to the 115th question mention is made of Irenius, who lived twenty-five years after Justinus, but is nevertheless cited by the latter in his writings as his predecessor. Moreover, that in the answer to the twelfth, and also in that to the eightysixth question, Origen is mentioned, who lived a whole century after Justinus. To this must be added, that neither Eusebius nor Jerome, both of whom have each compiled a complete catalogue of all the authentic writings of Justinus, enumerate this book Qu&-stionus; whereas they mention the Second Defence of the Christians, and the Disputation with Tryphon, from which we have adduced in full several citations concerning baptism. Hence the aforementioned book is justly rejected, as not being the work of Justinus. See concerning this, De Centuriator. Magdeub., Cent. 2, cap. 10, in the account o f the life of Justinus. Also, Bellarm. in Tract van de Scribenten der Kerke. Also, Jacob Mehrn., Baptism. Histor., 2nd Part, page 170, 171. Also, A. Montan. Nietighz. van den Kinder-doo¢, second edition, A. 1648, page 8, 9.
NOTE.-In 152, Valentinus Romanus was censured as a heretic, because he believed that the Son of God, Christus Jesus, assumed neither a human nature, nor flesh and blood from the substance of the virgin Mary. P. 1. Twisck, Chron. for the year 152, 2d Book, page 42, col. 1, frown Herm. Med., fol. 330, Chron. Seb. Fr., 106., Jan. Cres¢., fol. 34.
About the year 160.- Gratianus quotes the words of the Lord, "When they persecute you in this city flee ye into another;" and say then, "Here Jesus Christ teaches that Christians shall not repel weapon with weapon, but must flee .before weapons." P. J. Twisck, Chron., 2d Book, for the year 160, ¢. 43, col. 1, 2, from Seb. Fra. in den Krieg des Fredes, fol. 63.
From this explanation of Gratianus appears, how salutarily and rightly he believed and taught with regards to the words of Jesus Christ relative to the forsaking of revenge; from which we may infer his correct views concerning other matters of Holy Scripture and the Christian faith; but since, either through default of the ancient writers, or for some other reason, nothing else has come down to us from him, we shall be content with what we have mentioned, and take our leave of him.*
About the year 200.-About this time flourished Clemens Alexandrinus, who, though writing largely on baptism, nowhere mentions infant baptism, but employs throughout such language as sufficiently implies, that he knew nothing of infant baptism, but confined himself solely to the ordinance of Christ and the practice of His apostles, which a baptism that is accompanied with faith and repentance.
In Pcedagog., lib. 1, chap. 6, he writes thus, "This is also done with us, whose example the Lord Christ has become. Being baptized, we become enlightened; being enlightened, we are made children; having been made children, we are brought to perfection; having been brought to perfection, we are made immortal." A little after that he says, "Thus also, when we are baptized, we obtain a free, unobstructed, and clear eye of the Holy Ghost, as an avengement of blindness; having trodden underfoot the sins which hitherto obscured the divine Spirit." Also, "That which was grievously bound by ignorance, is unbound by knowledge, and these bands are loosed through the faith of man and the grace of God, the manifold sins being forgiven through reasonable** baptism as a perfect remedy; thus we are washed from all sins, and are henceforth evil no more; this is the grace of enlightenment, that the manner of life is no longer the same that it was before we were
baptized." Further, "Teaching or instruction precedes faith, but faith conjointly with baptism is led and directed through the Holy Ghost." And, "Even so we who repent of our former sins separate ourselves from them and are being cleansed through baptism, let us run to the eternal light, as children to their father." See further, concerning these citations, Jac. Mehrn., Bapt. Hist., 2d Part, pages 213, 214. Also, H. Montan. Nietighz van den Kinder-loop, pages 26, 27.
What is there in this testimony of Clemens Alexandrinus, that can apply to infant baptism? yea, on the contrary, what is there that does not militate against it? He certainly says expressly, "These bands (namely, of sin) are loosed through the faith of man, and the grace of God, the manifold sins being forgiven through reasonable baptism." This certainly is a clear and obvious joining together of faith and baptism, as things which, through the providence of God, belong together, for the remission of sins. When he further says, "Teaching, or instruction, precedes faith, but faith conjointly with baptism is led and directed through the Holy Ghost," there is expressed, without controversy, the same thing that we have said just now; since here not only faith is joined together with baptism, but also instruction, which precedes faith, and the Holy Ghost, who follows and confirms faith.
It is true, he says soon after this, that those who are baptized are children, or, at least, ought to be. But what kind of children? Not childen in understanding, not infants in the cradle, but, as he further says, children in wickedness, but perfect in the understanding. Children, who, as children of God, have put off the old man, and the garment of wickedness, and have put on the incorruptibility of Christ, in order that, being regenerated, they may become a new and holy people, and keep unspotted the new man. See the treatise cited above.
If at that time it was at all customary in Alexandria to baptize infants, would it not have been appropriate here for him, to speak of irrational infants, or at least to mention with a word or two, that they, too, were entitled to baptism, although, on account of their youth they could not understand the object of it? Truly, according to our opinion he could not well have omitted mentioning it; but, inasmuch as he does not refer to it with a single word, it is good proof, that at that time this abuse was not known there, or, at least, not regarded.
Jacob Mehrning says (Baptism. Hist. concerning the second century, page 213), "Of Clemens Alexandrinus we read that at Alexandria he presided over the school in which the catechumens, that is those who received instruction preparatory to baptism; were taught the principles of the Christian faith." hicecomes, lib. 2, cap. 7.
From this Padag., Clementis Alexandrini, lib. 1, cap. 6, Vicecomes would prove that there was given to those who were baptized, milk and honey o eat, and milk mixed with wine, to drink; likewise, that after baptism, preaching took place and peace was imparted to those baptized.
As regards the statement, that there was given to the baptized, as a sign of God's blessing, milk and honey to eat, and milk mixed with wine, to drink, we leave it to its own merits, it being a matter of small importance, which, if done without superstition, could either be observed or omitted. But the preceding statement, that Clemens Alexandrinus presided over the school in which the catechumens were taught the principles of the Christian faith, certainly implies that the candidates for baptism were first instructed in the school, in the principles of the Christian faith, before they were .baptized; and also, the final remark, that after baptism preaching took place, and peace was imparted to the baptized, certainly also indicates that those who were baptized were not infants, for then they could not have understood the preaching, much less would they have been qualified to receive with attention and according to the requirements of Holy Scripture the peace which was imparted to them.
NOTE.-Baudartius writes of Clemens Alexandrinus, that he proclaimed the true religion with his mouth as well as with his pen, saying among other things, "A pious and honorable man is well content with little." Apophth., edit. 1640, lib. 2, page 49.
From the writings of Walafridus Strabonus we may clearly infer what manner of baptism was practiced at this time, in the first as well as in the second century, and also along afterwards, namely, that no infants, but adults, reasonable, and believing persons were baptized, and this according to the example of Christ a.id His holy apostles. Jac. 1, cap. 4. Walafridus Styabo (in lib. de Rebus Mehrn., Bapt. Hist., p. 524, D. I. Vicecomes, lib. Eccles., cap. 26,) writes, "We must know that originally believers were very simply baptized in streams and springs; for our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, in order to sanctify such washing for us, was baptized of John in Jordan; even we read elsewhere: 'John was baptizing in Enon near to Salim, because there was much water there."'
Page 525, from D. hicecomes, lib. 1, cap. 30; also, cap. 26, Strabo speaks thus concerning baptism: We must know that in those first times baptism was administered only to those who, in body as well as in soul, were washed clean and white, so that they could both know and understand, what benefit there was to be obtained in baptism, what was to be confessed and believed, and, finally, what was necessary to be observed by the regenerated in Christ."
He then relates of Augustine, that he was instructed in the faith before he was baptized (of
which we shall speak in the proper place); but that subsequently, for the sake of improvement, as it is called, the church, that is, the Roman church, practiced infant baptism, with a view of freeing infants by this means from the punishment of God for original sin. Then the followers of the true faith (thus he wrongly calls the Romanists), in order that the children might not be lost, if they should die without means of regeneration, that is, baptism, resolved that they should .be baptized for the remission of sins. Hence originated, he writes, the custom of having godfathers and godmothers, who stand for the child at (literally, lift the child from) baptism, and answer for them all that they themselves, on account of the weakness of their infancy, are not able to confess. Thus for Strabo.
N. B.-Concerning these words, D. Vicecomes writes thus, "Since Walafridus Strabo removes the custom of infant baptism from the primitive church, he also recognizes no older origin of the godfather's than which date from a period subsequent to the time of Augustine." Ba¢t. Hist., pp. 525, 526.
Thus, in the first two centuries, and long afterwards, infant baptism was not known by the Romanists even, according to the above mentioned testimony of W. Strabo. Shortening this, we shall conclude with a statement contained in the H. Doophistorie, at the end of the second century, page 211, cap. 7, de Ratione Gubernationis Ecclesice, "Since also the administration of the Sacrament belongs to the government of the church, we see from the history of the time, that the bishops and teachers did not deem it burdensome to baptize, not bells and altars, but men whom 'they had instructed in the principal articles of the Christian religion; and to them they also administered the holy Supper." We shall now proceed to the martyrs, who, during this time suffered for this same faith.
[The two Roman, or, properly speaking, Greek Emperors, Trajan and Marcus Aurelius raised the principal persecutions against the Christians, in this century. This is amply shown in the following account, as well as what persons suffered for the name of Christ in these persecutions.
In the persecutions through Trajan there were slain, after enduring much suffering, Simon Cleophas, who was a hundred and twenty years old, Rufus and Zosimus, the Ethiopian baptized by Philip, Ignatius, Onesimus, Dionysius Areopagita, Publius, Barsimeus, Barbelius and his sister Barba, Justus and Pastor, Phocas, Faustina, Jacobita, Felicitas with her seven sons, and Lucius. Under Marcus Aurelius there suffered, Justinus, Polycarpus, and twelve of his beloved disciples, who had come from Philadelphia to Smyrna, and were slain there; Carpus, Papylus, Agathonica and many women, Germanicus, Vetius, Attalus, Alexander of Phrygia, Maturus, Sanctus Blandina and a youth, Photinus, ninety years old, Alcibiades, Epipodius, Alexander the Greek, Leoxides, Plutarchus, Sagaris, Thraseas. All these fought unto blood under the blood-stained banner of Jesus Christ; their deaths may be read at large in the following account.]
We shall begin the second century with the third general persecution which was raised against the followers of Jesus Christ, and shall forthwith proceed to give an account of the time, place, persons, and circumstances.
With the beginning of the second century, A. D. 102, arose the third heathen persecution against the Christians under Emperor Trajan, who attained to the reign of the Roman monarchy in the year 100.
Being instigated by Mamertinus, the governor of Rome, and Targuinus, the superintendent of the worship of the heathen deities, he persecuted the Christians in an awful manner, and put them to a wretched death.
He was called a good emperor, but very superstitious as regards the heathen worship: .by reason of which he was the more easily induced to undertake this sorry work. It also was no small help to this end, that the heathen priests and idolaters paid great taxes, to extirpate by sufferings and death, as the enemies of God and of man, those who were opposed to their gods, especially the Christians.
Meanwhile we shall show what persons suffered under the bloody reign of Emperor Trajan, for the name of Jesus Christ.
Simon Cleophas was the son of Cleophas and Mary, and a cousin of our Lord Jesus, because he was the son of the brother of Joseph, the supposed father of Christ. After the death of the apostle James he was chosen, by common consent; bishop of the church at Jerusalem; hence he must be distinguished from Simon surnamed Zelotes, who was one of the apostles, and was crucified in Persia. For, the latter was a son of Alpheus, but the former a son of Cleophas, not one of the twelve, but of the seventy disciples of Christ, as Eusebius admits, saying, "If any one should say that this Simon beheld Christ with his own eyes, and listened to His preaching with his own ears, he would not be beyond reason and truth in this opinion, not only on account of the long duration of his life, being, a hundred and twenty years old, but much
more by virtue of the testimony of the holy Gospel, in which mention is made of Mary, the wife of Cleophas, whose son he was, according to the testimony of Egesippus, who was the nearest historian to the time of the apostles." Hist. Eccles. Euseb. Pamphil., lib. 3, cap. 11.
This is the Simon, of whom it is stated that he was an eyewitness to the stoning of James, the holy apostle of the Lord. EQiph. supra, in Sym. Alph.
He was accused by some wicked men before Atticus, the governor of Emperor Trajan, of being a Christian, yea a near relative of Christ, of the generation of David. On this account he was dreadfully beaten for many days with scourges and sharp rods, so that everyone who saw him, had to lament and wonder, the judge himself being astonished, that a man of such a great age, a hundred and twenty years old, was able so long to endure such intolerable torturing.
Finally, as he remained steadfast in his confession, he became conformed in suffering unto his Lord, whom he confessed, and was sentenced by Atticus to be crucified; which death he suffered in the tenth year of Emperor Trajan, which corresponds with the year of Christ 109. Compare the 1st Book of A. Mellinus, printed A. D. 1617, fol. 24, col. 1, 2, with Hist. Mart. Joh. Gysii, recently printed by 1. Braat, A. D. 1657, fol. 15, col. 1.
Rufus and Zosimus were disciples of Christ and His apostles, and had also been instrumental in founding and building up the church of God among the Jews and the Gentiles.
Especially conspicuous is Rufus, from the greetings of the apostle Paul to the church at Rome, in which he includes Rufus, not merely as a common member of the same, but as a distinguished, yea chosen person, for he says, "Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine" (Rom. 16:13).
This Rufus and the aforementioned Zosimus, both pious and upright Christians, together with many of their fellow believers, were put to death for the faith, in the city of Philippi in Macedonia, Some write that both were beheaded in the days of Emperor Trajan, A. D. 109. Compare what A. Mellinus adduces in Het groot Christen Martelcers-bcek, fol. 19, col. 4, from Polycarpo ad Philippens, with that which J. Gysius has noted in Hist. Mart., fol. 15, col. 3.
Immediately after Rufus and Zosimus, A. Mellinus introduces the Ethiopian or eunuch of Queen Candace in Ethiopia, who was converted by Philip to the faith in Jesus Christ, and thereupon baptized, as we read in the Acts of the Apostles.
It is stated of him, from Jerome, that he preached the Gospel of our Lord in Arabia Felia, and also in a certain island of the Red Sea, called Caprobano (some call it Ceylon), where, it is supposed, he suffered death for the testimony of the truth. See above, Mellin. ex Hieron. Catal. in Crescente, in 53, cap. Esad.
Ignatius, a disciple of the apostle John, and a successor of Peter and Evodius, was in the service of the church of Christ at Antioch in Syria. He was a very God-fearing man, and faithful and diligent in his ministrations. He was surnamed Theophorus, that is, The Bearer of God, apparently because he often bore the name of God and his Saviour in his mouth, and led a godly life. He was wont to say frequently, "The life of man is a continual death, unless it be that Christ liveth in us." Likewise, "The crucified Christ is my only and entire love." And, "He that allows himself to be called after any other than Christ, is not God." And again, "As the world hates the Christians, so God loves them." A. Mellin., fol. 15, col. 1, from. Iqnat. in EQist. ad Row. et alibe.
Having learned that the Emperor Trajan, after the victories which he had achieved against the Dacians, Armenians, Assyrians, and other eastern nations, gave thanks at Antioch unto the gods, and offered great sacrifices unto them, as though these victories had proceeded from them, Ignatius, as we are informed by Nicephorus, reproved the Emperor for it, and this openly in the temple.
The Emperor, exceedingly enraged on this account, caused Ignatius to be apprehended, yet, for fear of an uproar, because Ignatius was held in great respect in Antioch, he did not have him punished there but committed him into the hands of ten soldiers, and sent him bound to Rome, there to have him punished.
In the meantime his sentence of death was made known to him-in what manner and where he was to die; namely, that he should be torn to pieces by wild beasts at Rome.
On his way thither, he wrote several consolatory epistles to his friends, the faithful in Christ Jesus; and also to different churches, as to those of Smyrna, Ephesus, Philadelphia, Trallis, Magnesia, Tarsus, Philippi, and especially to the church of Christ at Rome; which letter he sent before his arrival there.
It appears that the thought of being torn to pieces by the teeth of wild beasts was constantly on his mind during the journey; yet not as a matter of dread, but of earnest desire. This he mentions
in his letter to the church at Rome, writing thus"Journeying from Syria to Rome, by water and by land, by day and by night, I fight with wild beasts, bound between ten leopards, who, the more I stroke, and show myself friendly to them, the more cruel and malignant they become. However, through the cruelties and torments which they daily inflict upon me, I am more and more exercised and instructed; nevertheless, I am not justified thereby. O that I were already with the beasts, which are ready to devour me I I hope that, ere long, I shall find them such as I wish them to be, that is, cruel enough to destroy me speedily. But if they will not fall upon and tear me, I shall kindly allure them, so that they will not spare me, as they have already spared several Christians, but will quickly tear me in pieces, and devour me. Forgive me for speaking thus; I know what I need. Now only I begin to be a disciple of Christ. I regard neither things visible nor invisible, at which the world is amazed. It is sufficient for me if I but become a partaker of Christ. Let the devil and evil men afflict me with all manner of pain and torment, with fire, with cross, with fighting against wild beasts, with scattering of the members and bones of my body; all this I esteem very little, if I but enjoy .Christ. Only pray for me, that inward and outward strength be given me, not only to speak or write this, but also to perform and endure it, so that I may not only be called a Christian, but also be found one in truth." Ignat. in Epist. ad Rom.
Having arrived at Rome, he was delivered by the soldiers to the governor, together with the letters of the Emperor, which contained his sentence of death. He was kept in prison several days, until a certain feast-day of the Romans, when the Governor, according to the order of the Emperor, had him brought forth into the amphitheatre. First of all they sought by many torments, to induce him to blaspheme the name of Christ, and offer sacrifice to the gods. But when Ignatius did not weaken in his faith, but was only, the longer, the more strengthened in refusing to offer heathen sacrifices, he was forthwith condemned by the Roman Senate, immediately to be cast before the lions.
As Ignatius was led away from the presence of the Senate, to the innermost enclosure, or pit of the lions, he frequently repeated the name of Jesus in the conversation which he, while on the way, carried on with the believers, as well as in his secret
prayer to God. Being asked why he did so, he replied thus, "My dear Jesus, my Saviour, is so deeply written in my heart, that I feel confident, that if my heart were to be cut open and chopped to pieces, the name of Jesus would be found written on every piece." With this the pious man indicated that not only his mouth, but the innermost parts of his heart were filled with the love of Jesus
for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. Thus, also Paul, being filled with the love of Jesus Christ, has used, in his letters, as much as two hundred times (as has been counted) the words,"Our Lord Jesus Christ." The name"Jesus" he employs as much as five hundred times.
When the whole multitude of the people were assembled, to witness the death of Ignatius (for the report had spread throughout the whole city, that a bishop had been brought from Syria, who, according to the sentence of the Emperor, was to fight against the wild beast), Ignatius was brought forth and placed in the middle of the amphitheatre. Thereupon Ignatius, with a bold heart, thus addressed the people which stood around, "O ye Romans, all you who have come to witness with your own eyes this combat; know ye, that this punishment has not been laid upon me on account of any misdeed or crime; for such I have in no wise committed, but that I may come to God, for whom I long, and whom to enjoy is my insatiable desire. For, I am the grain of God. I am ground by the teeth of the beast, that I may be found a pure bread of Christ, who is to me the bread of life." These words spake Ignatius, when he stood in the middle of the amphitheatre, and when he heard the lions roar; which the brethren of the church who also stood among the people heard and testified to.
As soon as he had spoken these words, two dreadful, hungry lions were let out to him from their pits, who instantly tore and devoured him, leaving almost nothing, or, at least, very little, even of his bones. Thus fell asleep, happy in the Lord, this faithful martyr of Jesus Christ, A. D. 111, in the 12th year of Emperor Trajan. Compare Abr. Mell. 1st book of the Hist. der hervolg. en Mart., printed 1619, fol. 25, col. 1-4, and fol. 26, col. 1, with JoR. Gysii Hist. Mart., fol. 15, col. 2, 3. Also, W. Baudart. in Apophth. Christian, printed A. D. 1640. The first book, in the second Apophthegm, on the name Ignatius, pp. 37, 38, from different other authors.
Onesimus, a servant of Philemon, by descent a Colossian, had run away from his master, and had come to Rome, where he was recognized by the apostle Paul-who was imprisoned there-and sent back to his master, with recommendatory letters tending to reconciliation, as may be seen in the epistle of Paul to Philemon, in which Paul calls him his son, whom he had begotten in his bonds. Philemon 10.
He also carried a certain letter of Paul from the prison at Rome to the church at Colosse;for in the conclusion of the epistle to the Colossians we read, "Sent from Rome through Tychicus and Onesimus." Col. 4 after verse 18.
It appears therefore, that he was a beloved friend and faithful servant of the apostle Paul, notwithstanding he had left his external service in the house of Philemon. He also, after he was sincerely converted, was not permitted to finish his course without persecution, sufferings, and a violent death; but had to tread after the example of his Saviour, the wine press of suffering. According to the testimony of ancient historians, he was carried away bound from Ephesus to Rome, and there stoned to death, under Trajan, and the judge Tertullus, shortly after the death of Ignatius, A. D. 111. See above, Idem. Ibidem. ex Act. Metaph. Mart., Rom., 16 Febr. Also, Ado.
We read in the Acts of the Apostles, chap. 17, verse 34, that among those who clave unto the doctrine of Paul, there was also Dionysius, one of the Athenian council, and a woman named Damaris.
It is testified of this Dionysius, surnamed the Areopagite, that he so increased in the Christian religion, that Paul afterwards appointed him bishop at Athens; yet, that finally, after having made a most glorious confession of faith, and suffered many severe torments, he was crowned, as a victorious hero of Jesus Christ, with the martyr's crown, when he had got to be a very old man, and had commended his spirit into the hands of his heavenly Father. He now accomplished what he was wont to frequently repeat in his life, "The last words of my Lord Jesus, while on the cross, shall also be my last words in this temporal life, namely: 'Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit."' Thereupon he was put to death, and thus fell asleep happy in the Lord. Compare A. Mell., 1st book of the Histor. der vervolg. en Mart., printed A. D. 1619., fol. 26, cot. 2, from Adone in Martyrol. ex Arist. lib. de Relig. Christ and Suida in Dion. Areopag. and Seger., in Chron. 10. Strac. in Pass, Part. S. Homil. 2, with W. Baudart, in Apophthegm Christian, 1st book 7th edition, A. D. 1640, ¢. 17, on the name Dionysius Areopagita.
NOTE.-Touching the manner of the death, or martyrdom, of Dionysius the Areopagite, we find nothing stated in ancient, trustworthy writers; hence we have said nothing about it, though some have written, that he was beheaded at Paris; for which statement we let them be responsible, since their accounts of this event differ in regard to the
manner in which, as well as the time when, it is said to have occurred. See in the above-mentioned Apophthegm. Baudartii.
It is also stated that Publius, bishop of the church at Athens, a good and pious man, was slain for the name of Christ; likewise, Barsimaeus, bishop of the church at Edessa, and with him, Barbelius and his sister Barba, who had been baptized by him; all -of whom, steadfastly contending for the truth, obtained the martyrs' crown. Compare Joh. Gysii Hist. Mart., fol. 15, col. 3, with the Introduction to the Martyrs Mirror o f the Defenseless Christians, printed A. D. 1631, fol. 93, col. 1.
That Justus and Pastor were deprived of life at Complutum, a city in Spain, for the same reason for which the aforementioned martyrs were slain, namely, for the testimony of Jesus, the Son of God, his we find stated in different ancient writers. See above.
Phocas, a son of Pamphilius, the first bishop of the church in Pontus in the city of Sinope, on being brought, in the time of Trajan, before Africanus, the Governor of Pontus, who urged him to sacrifice upon the alter of Neptune, steadfastly refused to do this; on account of which he was sentenced by the Governor to die for the name of Christ; which death he suffered after many pains and torments, and was thus numbered with his slain fellow brethren. Regarding the death of this man, see A. Mell., 1st book of the Hist. der vervolg. in Mart., fol. 27, col. 1, ex Adone, in Comment. At. 6. Aster. Orat. de Phoca. Also, concerning the time of his death, for the year 118, see Joh. Gysii Hist. Mart., fol. 15, col. 4.
Touching the manner of his death, P. J. Twisck gives the following account, "Phocas, in Pontus,Page 109
refusing to sacrifice to the gods, was thrust, according to the command of Emperor Trajan, and for the name of Christ, into a lime-kiln full of glowing coals, then cast into boiling water .and thus killed. P. J. Twisck, Chron., 2d book, for the year 118,; p. 37, cot. 2. from, Adon. Vinnens., lib. 6, fol. 166, Tine fol. 519.
About this time several persons were put to death for the name of Christ; as Faustina and Jacobita, at Brescia in Italy; Elentherus with his mother Anthia, and others, at Messina in Sicily, etc.; all of whom, contending steadfastly, even unto death, departed with joyful hope. As regards the persecutions of this time, compare Joh. Gysii Hist. Mart., fol. 115, cot. 4, with A. Mellinus, P. J. Twisck, and others.
About this time, writes P. J. Twisck, the instruments of the devil could not invent punishments severe enough, but what they considered the Christians worthy of. For they were watched in their houses as well as without; men cried out against them in all public places; they were scourged, stoned, and dragged about; their goods were plundered; they were apprehended; red-hot iron, plates were applied to their bare bodies; they were placed in a certain instrument made to torture malefactors; they were put into the deepest and darkest places of the prisons, where they were slain, yea, they were afflicted with excruciating torments. P. J. Twisck, Chron., 2d book, for the year 130, page 39, cot. 2, and page 40, cot. 1, from Jan CresQin in den staet der Kerken.
Getulicus, a teacher at Frivoli in Italy, Symphorosa with her sons, and Cerialus and Amantius, were put to death in that city for the faith. It is also stated that Sapphira, a maiden from Antioch, and Sabina, the widow of Valentinus, had to lay down their lives, at Rome, for the same reason. Joh. Gysii Hist. Mart., fol. 15, cot. 4.
It is stated that Ptolomeus was a pious and Godfearing man, who had converted his wife from the blindness of heathendom to the faith. He was apprehended for the truth of Christ. Asked, whether he was a Christian, he, as a lover of the truth, im mediately confessed that he was. After this confession, he was cast into prison, in which he suffered so long as to become completely emaciated. Finally he was delivered to the judge Urbicius, who shortly afterwards had him put to death; and thus Ptolomeus became a faithful martyr of Jesus Christ. Compare Joh. Gysii Hist. Mart., printed at Dort, 1657, fol. 15, cot. 3, with -Abr. Melt., 1st book of the Hist. der vervolg. Mart., also, printed at Dort, A. D. 1619, fol. 32, cot. 2, from Just. Philos. Apol. prima Christian Euseb., lib. 4, cap. 17.
In Historia Ecclesia Eusebii Pamphilii Ccpsariensis, mention is made of a certain Lucius, who was greatly dissatisfied with the sentence and execution of the aforementioned pious man Ptolomeus, and, therefore demanded a reason for it from the judge, at the same time confessing himself a Christian; which cost him his life, even as it did the man for whom he interceded.
The words in the book mentioned above are as follows, "When Lucius, who was also a Christian, perceived that so presumptuous a sentence was pronounced against Ptolomeus, he said to Urbicius (the judge): 'Pray, tell me, for what reason do you sentence this man so hastily, and cause him to be led to execution, merely on account of one word, because he confesses himself to be a Christian? If there were another, who would confess all manner of sin, such as murder, adultery, or any other crime, would you also act so hastily, and sentence him to death immediately? This is not proper, O Urbicius! it does not become a good emperor, a wise bachelor, the son of the emperor, or the senators to act thus.' Then said Urbicius to Lucius
'It appears to me that thou also art a Christian.' When Lucius replied: 'It is true, I am one.' Then Urbicius commanded that he should be led forth to death. Thereupon Lucius said: 'I thank thee, for releasing me from these wicked lords, and sending me to the kind and best of fathers, the king of all things, namely, our God.' Another who also boldly confessed that he was a Christian, was put to death by virtue of the same sentence." Thus far, Eusebius in the 4th book of his Church History, in the 17th chapter, Dort edition, A.D. 1588, fol. 72, cot. 1, compared with A. Mellinus and Joh. Gysius, in the passages quoted concerning Ptolomeus.
Felicitas was a Christian widow at Rome, and had seven sons, whose names were Januarius, Fe-
lix, Philippus, Sylvanus, Alexander, Vitalis, and Martialis. These lived together with their mother in one house, as an entire Christian church. Of the mother it is stated, that by her Christian communion, (conversation) which she had with the Roman women, she converted many to Christ. The sons, on their part, also acquitted themselves well by winning many men to Christ.
Now, when the heathen priests complained of this to Antonius, the Emperor-who had resumed the persecution which had begun with Trajan, but had subsided-saying, that there were not only men, but also women, who blasphemed the gods, despised their images, trampled under foot the Emperor's worship of the gods, yea, turned away many from the old religion of the Romans; that this was principally done by a certain widow, named Felicitas, and her seven sons, and that, therefore, in order to prevent this, they must be compelled to give up Christ, and sacrifice to the gods, or, in case they should refuse to do so, be put to death, the Emperor, prompted or instigated hereby, gave . to Publius, the provost, or chief magistrate of Rome, full authority over them.
Publius, willing to spare Felicitas, as being a highly respectable woman, first secretly summoned her and her sons into his own house, where he entreated them with fair words and promises, but afterwards threatened to punish them with severe tortures, unless they would forsake the Christian religion, and readopt the old Roman worship of the gods. Felicitas, remembering the words of Christ,"Whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven," did not seek to evade the issue by using dissimulating or indirect words, but answered briefly thus, "I am neither moved by thy flatteries and entreaties, nor am I intimidated by thy threats; for I experience in my heart the working of the Holy Ghost, which gives me a living power, and prepares me for the conflict of suffering, to endure all that thou mayest lay upon me, for the confession of my faith."
When Publius could not move the mother from her steadfast purpose, he said to her, "Very well; if it seems pleasant to thee , to die, die alone, but have pity and a mother's compassion for thy sons, and command them, to ransom their own lives at least, by sacrificing to the gods."
Thereupon Felicitas said to the judge, "Thy compassion is pure wickedness, and thy admonition is nothing but cruelty, for, if my sons should sacrifice to the gods, they would not ransom 'their lives, but sell them to the hellish fiend, whose slaves, yea, whose serfs in soul and body, they would become, and be reserved by him, in chains of darkness, for everlasting fire."
Then, turning away from the judge, to her sons, she said, "Remain steadfast in the faith, and in the confession of Christ; for Christ and His saints are waiting for you. Behold, heaven is open before you; therefore fight valiantly for your souls, and show, that you are faithful in the love of Christ, wherewith He loves you, and you Him."
This filled the judge with rage against her, and he commanded them to smite her on the cheek, while he at the same time upbraided her vehemently, saying, "How darest thou thus impudently exhort thy sons in my presence, and make them obstinate to disobey the commands of the Emperor; whereas it would be far more proper for thee to incite them to obedience toward him?"
Felicitas, notwithstanding that death had been threatened her, answered with more than manly courage, saying, "If thou, O judge, didst know our Saviour Jesus Christ, and the power of His Godhead and majesty, thou wouldst undoubtedly desist from persecuting the Christians, and wouldst not seek to draw us away from the Christian religion by blaspheming His holy name; for whoever curses (or blasphemes) Christ and His faithful ones, curses (or blasphemes) God Himself, who, by faith, dwells in their hearts."
Thereupon, though they struck her in the face with their fists, in order to silence her, she did not cease to admonish her sons to remain steadfast, and to fear neither tortures nor rack, nor even death itself, but to die willingly for the name of Christ.
Therefore, Publius the judge took each of her sons separately, and talked first to one and then to the other, hoping by this last resort to draw away from the faith, by promises as well as by threats, some of them at least, if not all. But as he could not prevail upon them, he sent a message to the Emperor, stating that they all remained obstinate, and that he could in no wise induce them to sacrifice to the gods. Thereupon the Emperor sentenced the mother together with her seven sons, that they should be delivered into the hands of different executioners, and be tortured and put to death in various ways; yet, that the mother was first to see all her sons die, before she herself should be put to death.
In accordance with this sentence, they first scourged Januarius, the first-born, to death, in the presence of his mother. The scourges were made of cords or ropes, to the ends of which balls of lead were attached. Those who had to undergo this mode of torture were scourged with them on their necks, backs, sides, and other tender parts of their bodies, either to torture them, or in order to martyr them to death as was the case in this instance. Felix and Philippus, the two brothers next (in age), were beaten to death with rods. Sylvanus, also called Syllanus, was cast down from a height. Alexander, Vitalis, and Martialis were beheaded. Last of all, the mother was beheaded or put to death with the sword. This took place under Emperor Antonius Pius. A. Mell. 1st book of the Hist., fol. 33, col. 4 and fol. 34, col. 1-3, ex Prudent. in hincentio. Also, Acto. Adon. Mart., 23 Novemb. Greg. P. in Natali. S. Felic. Homil. 3, in Eu. Bet. Chrysol. Serm. 134. Arta apud Mombrit.
tom 1. Beda Usuard. 23 Nov. Heur. Er$ord. Chron., Mart. Rom. Touching the time when this took place, see P. J. Twisck, Chron. 2d book, for the year 164, page 45, col. 1, front hincentio, in Cal., fol. 35.