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111 [98]

Actes and Monumentes of the Church.

happen. This vision was this: There was a certayne aged father sitting, at whose right hand sat a yong man verye sad and pensiue, as one with an indignacion sorowfull, holding hys hande vpon his brest, his countenaunce heauy and vncherefull. On the left hand sat an other person, hauing in his hand a net, which he threatned to lay to catch the people þt stoode about. And as he was marueiling that saw the sight therof, it was sayde vnto him: The young man whom thou seest syt on the right hand, is sad and sory, that his preceptes be not obserued. But he on the left hand daunceth and is merye for that occasion is geuen him to haue power of the aged father geuen hym to afflict men. And this vision was sene long before this tempest of persecution happened. MarginaliaOur syns geue Satan power against vs.Wherin is declared the same that before is said, the synnes of the people to bee the cause why Satan in this persecution and all other, hath had and hath styll such power with his net of destruction, to rage against the blood of Christen men, and al because (sayth Cyprian) we forslacke our praying, or be not so vigilant therin as we should: wherfore the Lorde because hee loueth vs, correcteth vs, correcteth vs, to amende vs, amendeth vs to saue vs. &c. Cypria.

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MarginaliaAn other reuelation shewed to S. Cyprian.Furthermore, the same Cyprian, and in the same epistle, writing of his owne reuelacion or message sent to him, thus saith: And to his least seruant both synfull and vnworthy (meaning by him selfe) God of his tender goodnes hath vouched safe to direct this word. Tel hym saith he, that he be quiet and of good comfort, for peace wil come. Albeit a litle stay there is for a while, for that some remayne yet to be proued and tryed. &c. And sheweth also in the same place of an other reuelation of his, MarginaliaSpare diets & sober drinke conuenient in christen bishops.wherein he was admonished to be spare in his feedyng, and sober in hys drinke, least his mynde geuen to heauenly meditacion might be caryed awaye wyth worldlye allurementes, or oppressed with to muche surfyt of meates and drinkes, should be lesse apt or able to prayer and spirituall exercise.

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MarginaliaThe peace of the church to come, forshewed by the lord.Finally in the latter ende of the foresayde Epistle, mencion also followeth of other reuelacions or shewinges, wherin the Lord (saith Cyprian) doth voutchsafe in many of his seruauntes to foreshew to come the restauring of his Churche, the stable quiet of our health & safegard, after rayn faire weather, after darknes light, after stormy tempest, peaceable calme, the fatherly help of his loue, the wont and old glory of his diuine maiesty wherby both the blasphemye of the persecutors shall be repressed, and the repentaunce of such as haue fallen be reformed, and the strong and stable confidence of them that stand, shal reioyce and glory. Thus muche hath S. Cyprian, wrytyng of these thynges to the Cleargye. Lib. 4. epist. 4.

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MarginaliaCrimes & causes falsely layd to the christiās.As touching now the crimes and accusations in this persecution layd to the charge of the Christians, thys was the principal, first because they refused to do worship to their idoles and to the Emperours: then for that they professed the name of Christ. Besides, all the calamities and euyls that happened in the world, as wars, famine, & pestilence, were onely imputed to the Christians. Agaynst all which quareling accusations Cyprian doth eloquenly defende the Christians in his booke Cōtra Demetrianum: Like as Tertullian had done before writing Contra Scapulam. pag. 81. And first touching the obiection for not woorshipping Idoles, he cleareth the Christians both in his booke Contra Demetr. and also De vanitate idol MarginaliaCypria. contra Demetrium.
Cypria. de idolorū vanitate.
prouing those idols to be no true gods, but images of certaine dead kings, which neither could saue them selues from death, nor such as worship them. The true God to be but one, and that by the testimony of Sosthenes, Plato, and Trismegistus, the which God the Christians do truly woorship. And as concerning that þe Christians were thought to be causes of publickecalamities, because they woorshipped not the Gentiles idoles, he purgeth the Christians therof, prouing that if there be any defect in increase of thinges, it is not to be ascribed to them, but rather to the decrease of nature, languishing now towarde her age and latter ende. Agayne, for that it hath bene so foresaid and prophecied, that toward the end of the world should come warres, famine, and pestilence. Moreouer, if there be any cause therof more proper then other, it is most like to bee imputed to their vaine idolatrye, and to the contempt of the true God. Also, that suche euils bee increased by the wickednes of the people, so that to speake in hys owne wordes famem maiorem faciat rapacitas, quam siccitas. i. famine cōmeth more by auarice of men, thē by drought of the ayre, but especially the cause thereof to proceede of the cruell shedding of the innocent blood of the Christians. &c.

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MarginaliaThe country and education of CyprianThus with many other mo probations doth Cyprian defend the Christians, against the barbarous exclamations of the heathen Gentiles. Of whiche Cyprian forsomuch as he suffred in the time of this persecution, I mynde (Christ wylling) to recapitulate here in ample discourse, the ful summe first of his lyfe and bryngyng vp, then of his death and martyrdome, as the woorthynes of that man deserueth to be remembred. Of thys Cyprian therfore, otherwise named Statius, thus writeth Nicephorus, Nazianzenus, Iacobus de Voragine, Henricus de Erfordia, Volateranus, Ieronymus, and other, that he being an Aphrican, and borne in Carthage, first was an Idolater and Gentill, all together geuen to the studye and practise of the Magicall artes, of whose parentage & education in letters from his youth, no mencion is made, but that he was a worthy Rethorician in Aphrica. Of whose conuersion and baptisme he himselfe in his first booke and second epistle, writeth a florishing and eloquent historye. MarginaliaThe cōuersion of CyprianWhich his conuersion vnto the Christian fayth, as Ieronymus affirmeth in hys Commentary vpon Ionas, was through the grace of God, and the meanes of Cecilius a Priest, whose name after he bare, and through the occasion of hearing the history of the prophet Ionas. The same Hierome moreouer testifieth how he immediately vpon his conuersion, distributed among the poore al his substance, MarginaliaCyprian made fyrste priest, then bishop of Carthage.and after that being ordayned a priest, was not long after constituted bishop of the congregation of Carthage. But whether he succeded Agrippinus of whō he oftē maketh mētion which also was þe fyrst author of rebaptization, or some other bishop of Carthage, remayneth vncertayne. But this is most true, he himself shined in that his office and dignity with such godlye giftes, and vertues, that Nazianzenus writeth that hee had the gouernment of the whole East church, and church of Spayne, and was called the bishop of the Christian men.

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MarginaliaThe vertues of Cyprians lyfe describedAnd to the further setting forth to the prayse of God, of his godly vertues wherewith he was indued, appearing as wel in his own workes, to thē þt lyst peruse the same, as also described by other worthy writers, he was curteous and gentle, louing and full of pacience, and ther withall sharpe and seuere in his office, accordyng as the cause required, as appeareth in hys first booke & third epistle. MarginaliaThe care of Cyprian toward the afflicted brethren.Furthermore, he was most louing & kinde towardes his brethren, and tooke muche payne in helping and relieuing the martyrs, as it appeareth by hys letters to the Elders and Deacons of his byshoprycke, that with al study and indeuour they should gently entertaine and shewe pleasure vnto the Martyrs in hys absence, as partly is touched before, pag. 95.

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The third Epistle of his first booke doth declare of what stomacke and godlye courage hee was, in executing his office, and handling his matters. Neyther was he voyde of prudence and circumspection, but was adorned with marueilous modestye, whereby he attempted

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