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114 [114]

Actes and Monumentes of the Churche.


The Gripe with talant, the dog with his tooth,
Could soone, ye dastardes, this corps rent and teare,
He scorneth our gods in all that he doth:
Cut, pricke, and pounce him, no longer forebeare.

Yea, no longer could the tyrant forebeare, but needes he must draw nearer to the sentence of death: is it painefull to thee (said he) to tary so long aliue? a flamyng fyie doubte thou not, shalbe prepared for thee, by and by, wherin thou & that boy, thy fellow of rebellion shalt be consumed into ashes. Romanus and the babe were led to the place of execution. As they laid handes on Romanus, he looked backe saying: I appeale from this thy tyranny, O iudge vniust, to the righteous throne of Christ that vpright iudge: not because I feare thy cruel torments and mercilesse handlings, but that thy iudgementes may be knowne to be cruell and bloudy. Now when they were come to the place, the tormentour required the child of the mother, for she had taken it vp in her armes: And she onely kissyng it, deliuered the babe. MarginaliaThe Christiā childe beheaded for confessing of Christ. Farewel she sayd my sweete chylde, and as the hangman applyed his sword to the babes necke, she sang on this maner. MarginaliaNature ouercome of religion. All laude and prayse with hart and voyce,
O Lord we yelde to thee:
To whom the death of all thy saintes,
We know most deare to bee.

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The innocentes head beyng cut of, the mother wrapped it vp in her garment, and layd it to her brest. On othe other side a mighty fire was made, wherinto Romanus was cast: who sayd, that he should not burne: MarginaliaThe fire quenched with rayne that shoulde burne Romanus. wherwyth a great storme arose (if it be true) and quenched the fire. The Capitaine gaue in commaundement that his toung should bee cut out, out was it plucked by the hard rootes and cut of: MarginaliaRomanus speaketh after hys tongue was pluckt out. Neuerthelesse he spake, saying: he that speaketh Christ shall neuer want a tongue, thinke not that þe voyce that vttereth Christ, hath nede of the tong to be the minister. The Capitaine, at this halfe out of hys wit, bare in hand that the hangman deceiued the sight of the people by some some subtile sleight and crafty conueiance. Not so (quod the hangman) if ye suspect my dede, open his mouth and diligently searche the rootes of his tongue. The Captayne at length being confounded with the fortitude and courage of the Martyr, MarginaliaRomanus after long tormentes strangled in prison. straightly commaundeth him to be brought backe into the prison, and there to be strangled. Where his sorowful lyfe & paines beyng ended, he now enioyeth quiet rest in the Lord, with perpetuall hope of his miserable body to be restored agayne with his soule into a better lyfe: where no tyraunt shall haue any power: Prudentius in hymnis de coronis Martyrum.

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MarginaliaThe story of Gordius a Cēturiō martir. Gordius was a citizen of Cæsaria, a worthy souldiour, and Captayne of an hundreth men. He in the tyme of extreme persecution refusing any longer to execute his charge, did chuse of his owne accord willyng exile, and lyued in the desert many yeares a religious and solitary lyfe. But vpon a certayne day when a solemne feast of Mars was celebrated, in the Citie of Cæsarea, and much people were assembled in the Theatre to behold the games: he left the desert, and got hym vp into the chiefe place of the Theatre, & with a loude voyce vttered this saying of the Apostle: MarginaliaGordius of his accord vttereth himselfe to be a Christian. Behold I am found of them which sought me not, and to those which asked not for me, haue I openly appeared. By which wordes he let it be vnderstood, that of his owne accord he came vnto those games. At this noyse, the multitude little regardyng the sightes, loked about to see who it was, that made such exclamation. As soone as it was knowne to be Gordius, and that the crier had commaunded silence, he was brought vnto the shriife, which at that instant was present, and ordeyned the games. MarginaliaGordius broght to examinatiō. Whē he was asked the question who he was, from whence, and for what occasion he came thether, he telleth the truth of euery thyng as it was. I am come, sayth he, to publish, that I set nothyng by your decrees agaynst the christian religion: MarginaliaThe confession of Gordius. but that I professe Iesu Christ, to be my hope and safety. And when I vnderstood with what cruelty ye hādle other men: I tooke thys as a fitte time to accomplish my desire. The Shirife wyth these wordes was greatly mooued, and reuengeth all hys displeasure vpon poore Gordius: commaunding the executionours to be brought out with scourges, while gibbet, and whatsoeuer tormentes els might be deuised. Whereunto Gordius aunswered, saying, that it should be to him an hinderaunce, and damage if he could not suffer and endure dyuers torments & punishmentes for Christ hys cause. The shirife beyng more offended with this hys boldnesse commaunded hym to feele as many kynde of torments as there were, with all which Gordius notwithstandyng, could not be mastered or ouercome: but liftyng vp his eyes vnto heauen singeth thys saying out of the Psalmes. The Lord is my helper, I will not feare the thyng that man can doe to me: and also this saying, I will feare none euill, because thou Lord art with me.

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MarginaliaThe bolde constancy and couragious sprite of Gordius. After this, he agaynst him selfe prouoketh the extremitie of the tormentours, and blameth thē if they fauour hym any thyng at all. When the Shrife saw, that hereby he could wynne but little, he goeth about by gentlenes and intising wordes, to turne the stoute and valiaunt mynde of Gordius. MarginaliaGordius attempted wyth fayre promyses & giftes. He promiseth to hym great and large offers if he will deny Christ: as to make him a Captaine of as many men as any other is, to geue hym riches, treasure, and what other thing so euer he desireth. But in vayne as the Prouerbe is, pypeth the minstrel to hym that hath no eares to heare, for he deridyng the foolish madnes of the Magistrate sayth, that it lyeth not in him to place any in authoritie, which be worthy to haue a place in heauen. The Magistrate with these wordes throughly angred and vexed, prepareth him selfe to his condemnation. MarginaliaGordius condemned to be brent. Whom after that he had comdemned, he caused to be had out of the Citie to be brent. There rūneth out of the Citie great multitudes by heapes to see hym put to execution, some take hym in their armes, and louingly kisse hym, persuadyng him to take a better way & saue him selfe, & that with weeping teares. To whom Gordius aunswered, MarginaliaThe answere of Gordius to hys frendes. weepe not I pray you for me, but rather for the enemies of God whiche alwayes make warre agaynst the Christians: weepe I say for them whiche prepare for vs a fire, purchasing hell fire for them selues in the day of vengeance: And cease of further, I pray you to molest and disquiet my setled minde. Truly (sayth he) I am ready for the name of Iesus Christ, to suffer & indure a thousād deathes if neede were. Some other come vnto him which persuaded hym to deny Christe with his mouth, and to keepe hys conscience to himselfe. MarginaliaA subtile kinde of disswaders.
None ought to deny Christ with hys mouth, and confesse hym wyth hys hart.
My toung (sayth he) whiche by the goodnes of God I haue, can not be brought to deny the author and geuer of the same: for with the hart we beleue vnto righteousnes, and with þe toung we cōfesse vnto saluatiō. Many mo such like wordes he spake: but especially vtteryng to them such matter, whereby he might perswade the beholders to death, and to the desire of Martyrdome. MarginaliaThe martirdome of Gordius.
Ex Basili. in Ser. in Gordium militem Cæsariensm.
After all whiche, with a mery and glad countenance, neuer chaungyng so much as his colour, he willyngly gaue hym selfe to be brent. Basilius in Sermone in Gordium militem Cæsariensem.

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MarginaliaMenas Martyr.
Ex Simone Metaphr. tom. 59.
Not much vnlike to the story of Gordius, is the story also of Menas an Egyptian, who beyng likewise a souldiour by his profession, in this persecution of Dioclesian forsoke all, & went into the deserte, where a long tyme he gaue hym selfe to abstinence, watchyng, and meditation of the Scriptures. At lēgth returnyng again to the Citie Cotys, there in the open theatre, as the people were occupyed vpon their spectacles or pastymes, he with a loude voyce openly proclaymed himselfe to be a Christian, and vpon the same was brought to Pyrrhus the President: of whom, he beyng demaunded of his fayth, made this aunswere: MarginaliaThe confession of Menas. Conuenient it is that I should (sayth he) confesse God, in whom is light and no darknes, for somuch as Paule doth so teach: that with hart we beleue to righteousnes, with mouth confession is geuen to saluation. After this the innocent Martyr was most paynfully pinched and cruciate with sundry punishmentes. In all which, notwithstandyng he declared a constant hart, and fayth inuincible, hauyng these wordes in his mouth, beyng in the middest of his tormentes: MarginaliaThe wordes of Menas in hys tormentes. There is nothyng in my mynde that can be compared to the kyngdome of heauen. MarginaliaAll the world is not to be weyed wyth one soule saued. Neither is all the world, if it were weyed in balaunce, able to be conferred with the price of one soule. And sayd, who is able to separate vs from the loue of Iesus Christ oure Lord? shall afflictiō, or anguish? And moreouer (sayd he) I haue thus learned of my Lord & my king, not to feare them which kill the body, and haue no power to kill the soule: but to feare hym rather, who hath power to destroy both the body and soule in hell fire. To make the story short, after manifold tormentes borne of him and suffered, when the last sentence of death was vpon him pronounced, which was to be beheaded. Menas beyng then had to the place of execution said: MarginaliaThe prayer of Menas at hys death. I geue thee thankes, my Lord God, which hast so accepted me to be foūd a partaker of thy precious death, and hast not geuen me to be deuoured of my fierce enemies, but hast made me to remaine constant in thy pure faith vnto this my latter end. MarginaliaMenas martyred. And so this blessed souldiour fightyng valiantly vnder the bāner of Christ, lost his head, & wanne his soule. Symeon Metaphrast. tom. 5. In the which author there followeth a long narration of the miracles of this holy man, which here for prolixitie I do omit.

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Basilius
H.iiij.
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