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145 [132]

Actes and Monuments of the Church.

his perfect helth and sight. MarginaliaThe yong man restored againe to his helth by the prayer of Agnes.But blessed Agnes after that she had climed this her first griefe and step vnto the heauenly pallace, foorthwith began to clime an other: for fury ingendring now, the mortall wrath of her bloodye enemy, wringing his handes cryeth out and saith, I am vndone: O thou executioner draw out thy swoorde, and do thine office that the Emperour hath appointed thee. And when Agnes saw a sturdy and cruel fellowe (to behold) stand behynde her, or approching nere vnto here wt a naked sword in his hand: I am now gladder saith she, and reioyce, that such a one as thou, being a stout, fierce strong, and sturdy soldiour art come, then one more feabler, weake, and faynt shoulde come, or els anye other young man swetely enbalmed, and wearing gay apparel that might destroy me with funeral shame. MarginaliaAgnes desirous of MartyrdomeThis, euē this is he I now confes, that I do loue. I will make hast to meete him, and wil no lenger protract my lōging desire: I wil willingly receaue into my pappes the lēgth of thy sword, and into my brest wyl draw the force therof, euen vnto the hyltes: That thus I being maryed vnto Christ my spouse, maye surmount and escape al the darkenes of this world, that reacheth euen vnto þe skies. MarginaliaThe prayer of Agnes.O eternall gouernour, vouchsafe to open the gates of heauen once shut vp against all the inhabitantes of the earth, and receaue (oh Christ) my soule that seketh thee: Thus speaking and kneeling vpon her knees, she praieth vnto Christ aboue in heauen, that her neck might be the redier for the sword, now hanging ouer the same. MarginaliaAgnes beheaded.The executioner then wt hys bloody hand, finisheth her hope, and at one stroke cutteth of her head, and by suche short and swyft death doth he preuent her of the paine therof.

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MarginaliaThe history of Katherine martir.I haue oftētymes before complained that þe stories of Sainctes haue bene poudered and sawsed wyth dyuers vntrue additions and fabulous inuentions of men, who eyther of a superstitious deuotion, or of a subtill practise, haue so mingle mangled their stories & liues, MarginaliaAll thynges be not true & Probable, that be wrytten of sainctes lyues.þt almost nothyng remaineth in them simple & vncorrupte, as in the vsual portues wont to be red for daily seruice, is manifest and euident to be sene, wher in, few legends there be, able to abyde the touche of history, if they were truely tryed. This I wryte vpon the occasion speciallye of good Katherine, whom now I haue in hande. In whō although I nothing doubt, but in her lyfe was great holines, in her knowledge excellencie, in her death constancie: yet that all things be true that be storied of her, neyther dare I affirme, neither am I bounde so to thinke: So many straunge fictions of her be fayned diuerslye of diuers writers, whereof some seme incredible, some also impudent. As where Petrus de Natalibus, writyng of her conuersion declareth, MarginaliaPetrus de Natalibus lib. 10howe that Katherine sleepyng before a certayne picture or table of the crucifixe, Christe with his mother Mary appeared vnto her: And whē Mary had offred her to Christ to be his wife, he first refused her for her blacknes. The next tyme, she beyng baptised, Mary appearing agayne, offred her to mary wt Christ, who then beyng liked, was espoused to him and maried, hauing a golden ring the same tyme put on her finger in her slepe, &c. Bergomensis writeth thus, MarginaliaKatherine resisteth the emperour openly to hys face.that because she in the sight of the people openlye resisted the Emperour Maxentius to his face, and rebuked him for his cruelty, MarginaliaKatherine committed to prisō and comforted by an aungel.therfore she was commaunded and committed vppon þe same to prison, whiche semeth hetherto not muche to digres frō truth. It foloweth moreouer, that þe same night an aungell came to her, comfortyng and exhortyng her to be strong and constant vnto the Martyrdome: for that she was a mayde accepted in the sight of God, and that the Lord woulde bee with her, for whose honour she dyd fight, and that he woulde geue a mouth and wisedome, which her enemies should not withstand: with manye other things mo, which I here omitte. As this also I omit concerning the. 50. Philosophers, whom she in disputation conuicted, and conuerted vnto our religion, and dyedmartyrs for the same. Item of the conuertyng of Porphyrius kynsman to Maxentius, and Faustina the Emperours wyfe, MarginaliaThe tormentes & end of Katherine.At lēgth (saith the story) after she proued þe racke, & the iiij. sharpe cuttyng wheeles, hauyng at last her head cut of with the sworde, so she finished her Martyrdome. About the yeare of our Lord (as Antonius affirmeth) 310. Symeon Metaphrastes writing of her, discourseth the same more at large, to whom they may resort, which couet more therin to be satisifed.

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MarginaliaThe history of Iulitta martyr.
Ex Basil in Serm.
Among the workes of Basil a certain Oration is extant concerning Iulitta the martyr, who came to her martyrdome (as he wytnesseth) by this occasion. A certayne auaricious and greedy person, of great autority, and as it may appeare, the Emperour his deputy, or other like officer (who abused the decrees and lawes of þe Emperour against the Christians, to his own lucre and gayne) violentlye tooke from this Iulitta all her goods, landes, cattell and seruauntes, contrary to all equitie and right. She made her pitifull complaint to the Iudges, a day is appointed when the cause should be heard. MarginaliaIulitta violently spoyled of her goodsThe spoyled woman, and th espoyling extorcioner stand forth together: the woman lamentablye declareth her case, the man frouningly beholdeth her face. When she had proued that of good right the goods were her own, and that wrongfully he had dealed with her: the wicked and bloudthirsty wretch, preferring vile worldlye substaunce, before the precious substance of a Christē body, affirmed her action to be of no force, for that she was as an outlaw, in not seruing the Emperours Gods, MarginaliaIulitta once abiuredsynce her Christian fayth had bene fyrst abiured. His allegacion was allowed as good and reasonable. Whereupon insence and fyre were prepared for her to woorshyp the Gods, which vnles she would do, neither the Emperors protection, nor lawes, nor iudgement, nor life, should she enioy in that common weale. When this handmayd of the Lord heard these wordes she sayd: MarginaliaIulitta stādeth to the confessiō of her faythfarewel lyfe, welcome death: farewel riches, welcome pouerty. Al that I haue, if it were a thousand times more, would I rather loose, then to speake one wicked and blasphemous word against God my creator. MarginaliaA christian voyce of a true martyrI yelde thee thankes most harty, O my god, for this gift of grace, that I can cōtemne and despise this frayle and transitory world, esteemyng Christian profession aboue all treasures. Hence foorth, when any question was demaūded, her answer was: MarginaliaThe aunswer of Iulitta.I am the seruaunt of Iesus Christ. Her kynred and acquaintance flocking vnto her, aduertised her to chaūge her mynde. But that vehemently she refused, with detestation of their idolatry. Forthwith the Iudge, with the sharpe swoorde of sentence not onelye cutteth of all her goods and possessions, MarginaliaIulitta cōdemned to the fyre.but iudgeth her also to the fire most cruelly. The ioyful Martyr embraceth the sentēce as a thing most swete and delectable She addresseth her selfe to þe flames, in countenance, iesture, and wordes, declaring the ioye of her hart, coupled with singular constancie. To the women beholding her, sententiouslye she spake: MarginaliaThe words and exhortations of Iulitta to women about her.Stycke not, O sisters, to labour and trauell after true pietie and godlynes. Cease to accuse the fragilitye of feminine nature. What? are not we created of the same matter, that men are? Yea, after Gods image and similitude are we made, as lyuely as they. Not fleshe onelye God vsed in the creation of þe womā, in signe and token of her infirmity and weakenes, but bone of bones is she, in token that she must be strong in the true and liuing God, al false Gods forsaken. Constant in fayth, al infidelitie renounced: patient in aduersitie, all worldlye ease refused. Waxe wearye (my deare systers) of your lyues led in darknes, and be in loue with my Christ, my God, my redemer, my comforter, which is the true light of the world. Perswade your selues, or rather the spirit of the liuing God perswade you, that ther is a world to come, wherin the worshppers of idoles and deuils shall be tormented perpetuallye, the seruauntes of the hyghe

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