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73 [60]

Actes and Monumentes of the Church.

fore he was apprehended, MarginaliaPolicarp9 hath a vision of hys burning.in a vision by night he sawe the bed set on fire vnder his head, and sodainly to be cōsumed. And when he awaked, he told by and by, and expounded vnto them that were present his vision, & tolde thē before, what thing should come to passe, that is, how that in the fire he should leese his life for Christes cause. It is further mencioned, that when they were harde at hand, which so narrowly sought for him, that he was in forced, for the affection and loue of his brethren, to fleete into an other village, to whiche place notwithstanding within a little while after the pursuers came, MarginaliaPolicarpus pursued and takenand when they had taken a coople of children that dwelt there aboutes, they so beat one of them with whippes, that by the bewraying or confession of him, they were brought to the Inne, wher Policarpus was. And they saye that the pursuers making no great hast to enter, found him in the vpper moste place of the house, MarginaliaPolicarpus mighte escape, & would not.from whence he might haue escaped into other houses, if he woulde, but this he would not doo, saying: the will of God be done. Furthermore, when he knewe that they were come, as the sayd history sheweth: he came downe, and spake vnto them with a very chereful and pleasant coūtenance, so that it was a wonder to see those which a while agon knew not the man, now beholding & vewing his comly age, and his graue and constant countenaunce, lamented that they had so much imployed their labour, that so aged a man should be apprehended. To conclude, he cōmaunded that straight way without any delaye the table should be layde for them, and perswaded them that they woulde eate and dine well, and required of them boldlye, that he might haue an houres respite to make his prayers. MarginaliaPolicarpus falleth to prayer.Which thing after it was graunted, he arose and went to praye, so being replenished with the grace of God, that they which wer present, and hearing the prayers that he made, were astonied at it, and nowe many of them were sory that so honest and godly an aged man should be put to death.

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After this, the foresaide epistle or letter, prosecuting the history addeth more as followeth: After he had made an end of his prayers and had called to his remēbrance all those thinges which euer happened vnto him and to the vniuersal catholyke church throughout all the world (whither they were small or great, glorious or els inglorious) and that the hower was now come in which they ought to set forward, they set him vpō an Asse & brought him to the City vpon a solemne feast day. And ther met him Irenarchus Herodes, & his father Nicetes, which causing him to come vp into the chariot where they sat, perswaded him & said: what hurt I pray thee shal come therof to thee, if thou say (by the way of saluation) My Lorde Cesar, and to doe sacrifice, and thus to saue thy selfe? But he at the beginnyng made them none aunswere. Till that when they inforced him to speake, he sayde: MarginaliaPolicarpus refuseth to do sacrifice.I will not doe as ye counsell me I shoulde. When that they sawe he coulde not be perswaded, they gaue him verye rough language, & of purpose molested him, that in going downe the chariot frō them, he might hurt or breake his legges. But he forcing very lyght of the matter, as though he had felt no hurt, went merelye and diligently forwarde, making hast vnto the place appoynted. And when there was such vprore in the place of execution, that he could not be heard, but of a very few, MarginaliaPolicarpus conforted by a voyce from heauen.there came a voyce from heauen to Policarpus, as hee was going into the Stage or appoynted place of iudgement, saying: be of good cheare Polycarpus, and playe the man. No man there was, which saw him that spake, but very many of vs heard his voyce. And when he was brought in, there was a great noyse made by thē whiche vnderstoode that Policarpus was apprehended. The Proconsull asked him when that he was come, whether his name was Policarpus or not, and when he said, yea it was, he gaue him counsell to denie his name, and saidvnto him, be good vnto thy selfe, and fauour thine olde age, and many other such like wordes which they accustome to speake. Sweare sayeth he, by the Emperours good fortune, looke vpon this matter, say thou with vs. Destroye these naughtie men. MarginaliaPolicarpus allured to change hys name wold not consentThen Policarpus beholding with constant countenaunce the whole multitude which was in the place appoynted, and geuing a greate syghe, looked vp to heauen, saying: Thou, thou it is that will destroye these wicked naughtie men. And the proconsull thus being earnestlye in hande with hym, sayd, take thine othe, and I will discharge thee, defye Christ. MarginaliaA faythfull seruant of Christe hys Lord.Policarpus aunswered: fourscore and sixe yeares haue I beene his seruaunt, yet in all this tyme hath he not so much as once hurt me: how then maye I speake euill of my king and souereigne Lorde, which hath thus preserued me? Then the proconsull agayne inforced him and sayd: Sweare thou I aduise thee by Cesars prosperitie. Policarpus replyeth: if thou requyre of me this fonde worde of vayne boasting, feyning not to know (as thou sayest) who I am, I do thee to witte, that I am a christian: MarginaliaPolicarpus readye to geue a reason of hys doctrineAnd if thou desire to knowe the doctrine of Christianitie, appoynte a day, and thou shalt heare. Perswade the people to this sayd the proconcull: Truely sayth Policarpus, I haue thought it my parte, thus to saye vnto you, for so much as we are commaunded to geue vnto the gouernours and powers ordayned of God, the honour meete & dew to them, and not hurtful vnto vs: MarginaliaPolicarpus obedient to hier powers.but as for those I do iudge thē vnworthye, to purge my self vnto them. Hereupō þe proconsul stode vp, I haue, sayth he, wilde beastes, to whom I will throw thee, vnles thou take a better way: Wherunto Policarpus aunswered let them come: we haue determined with our selues that we will not by repentaunce turne vs from the better way, to the worse, but rather conuenient it is, that a mā turne frō the thinges that be euill, to that which is good and iuste. Agayne sayth the proconsull, I will tame thee with fire, if that thou set not by the wilde beastes, nor yet repent. MarginaliaPolicarpus threatned with wild beastesThen said Policarpus, you threten me with fire which shall burne for the space of an hower, and shalbe within a little while after put out and extinguished, but thou knowest not þe fire of the iudgemēt that is to come and of euerlasting punishmēt, which is reserued for the wicked and vngodlye. But why make you all these delayes, giue me what death soeuer ye list. These and many other such like things beyng by him spoken, he was so replenished with ioy and boldnes, and his countenāce appeared so full of grace and fauour, that not onely hee was not troubled with those things which the Proconsul spake vnto him, but contrarily the Proconsull himself began to be amased & sent for the crier, which in the middle of the stage was cōmaunded to cry. 3. times, Policarpus hath confessed himself to be a Christian, which words of the crier, were no soner spoken, but that al the whole multitude both of the Gentils and Iewes inhabiting at Smirna, with a vehement rage and loude voyce cried. This is that Doctor or teacher of Asia, the father of the Christians, and the destroyer of our Gods, which hath instructed a great number that our Gods are not to be worshipped, and after this they cried vnto Phillip the gouernour of Asia, and required him that he would let loose the lion to Policarpus. To whome he made aunswere that he might not so do, because he had al redy his pray. Then they cryed againe altogether with one voice that he wold burne Policarpus a liue. For it was requisite that the vision which he saw as concerning his pyllow or bolster, should be fulfilled: which when hee had sene burnt, as he was in prayer, he turned him selfe vnto the faithful sort which were with him, saying by the way of prophecy, it wil so come, that I shal be burned a lyue. And the Proconsull had no sooner spoken, but it was out of hand perfourmed. For why, the multitude by and by brought out of their shops, workehouses, and

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