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115 [115]

Actes and Monumentes of the Churche.

MarginaliaThe storye of 40. martyrs. Basilius in a certaine Sermon of. 40. Martyrs, rehearseth this story not vnworthy to be noted. There came (sayth he) into a certaine place (which place he maketh no mention of) the Emperours Marshall or officer, with the Edict which the Emperour had set out agaynst the Christians: that whosoeuer confessed Christ, should after many tormentes suffer death. And first they did priuely suborne certaine which should detecte & accuse the Christians whō they had found out, or had layd wayt for: MarginaliaTormentes brought out to terrifie the Christians. vpon this the sword, the gibbet, the wheele, and the whips were brought forth: At the terrible sight wherof the hartes of all the beholders did shake and tremble. Some for feare did flee, some did stand in doubt what to do. Certaine were so terrified at the beholdyng of these engines & tormentyng instrumentes that they denyed their fayth. Some other began the game, and for a tyme did abyde the conflict and agony of Martyrdome: but vanquished at length, by the intollerable payne of their tormentes, made shypwracke of their consciences, & lost the glory of their confession. Among other, xl. there were at that tyme younge gentlemen, all souldiours, which after the Marshall had shewed the Emperours Edict, and required of all men the obedience of the same, MarginaliaThe couragious boldnes, & Christian confession of these 40. martyrs. freely and boldly of their owne accorde professed them selues to be Christians, & declared to him their names. The Marshall somewhat amased at this their boldnesse of speach, standeth in doubt what was best to do. Yet forthwith he goeth about to wynne them with fayre wordes, aduertising them to cōsider their youth, neither that they should chaunge a cruell and vntymely death, for a sweete and pleasaunt life: After that, he promiseth them money, and honourable offices in the Emperours name. MarginaliaMartyrdom & death for Christ, preferred before lyfe and riches of this world. But they litle esteemyng all these thinges, breake forth into a long and bold Oratiō, affirming that they neither desyre life, dignitie, nor money, but onely the celestiall kyngdome of Christ, saying further, that they are ready for the loue and fayth they haue in God, to indure the affliction of the wheele, the crosse, and the fire. The rude Marshall beyng herewith offended, deuiseth a new kynde of punishment. MarginaliaThe martyrs in a colde ponde all a winters nyght. He spyed out in the middle of the citie a certaine great pond, whiche lay full, vpon the cold Northern wynde: for it was in the wynter tyme: wherein he caused them to be put all that night, but they beyng merye and cōforting one an other, receaued this their appointed punishment, and sayd, as they were puttyng of their clothes: we put of (said they) now not our clothes: but we put of the old man, corrupt with the deceypt of cōcupiscence. We geue thee thankes (O Lord) that with this our apparell we may also put of by thy grace, the sinfull man: for by meanes of the Serpent we once put hym on, and by the meanes of Iesus Christ we now put him of. When they had thus sayd: they were brought naked into the place where they felt most vehement colde: in so much, that all the partes of their bodyes were starke & stiffe therewith. MarginaliaThe martyrs taken out of the pond were cast into the fire. Assoone as it was day, they yet hauyng breath, were brought vnto the fire, wherin they were consumed and their ashes throwne into the floud. By chaunce there was one of the company more liuely, and not so neare deade as the rest, of whom the executioners takyng pitie, sayd vnto his mother standyng by, that they would saue his lyfe. MarginaliaA good mother caryng more for the soule then for the body of her sonne.
Ex Basil. in Serm de. 40 Martyribus.
But she with her owne handes takyng her sonne, brought him to the pyle of wood where the residue of his fellowes (crooked for colde) dyd lye redye to be brent: admonishyng hym to accomplish the blessed iourney he had taken in hand with his companions. Basil.

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MarginaliaAn other story of 40. Martyred in a colde pond at Sebastia. A like history of. 40. Martyrs whiche were maryed men: we read of in Niceph. & Zozomenus Lib. 9. cap. 2. which were kylled likewise in a lake or ponde at Sebastia, a towne of Armenia, vnder Licinius, if the story be not the same with this. Nicepho. Zozom.

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MarginaliaCyrus, Ioannes, Athanasia wyth her thre daughters,
Theoctiste.
Theodota.
Eudoxia.
Martyrs.
In this fellowshyp and company of Martyrs can not be left out and forgottē the story of Cyrus: This Cyrus was a Phisition borne in Alexandria, which flying into Egypt in the persecutiō of Dioclesianus, and Maximianus led a solitary life in Arabia, there professing him selfe a Monke: beyng much spoken of both for his learnyng and miracles: vnto whose company after a certaine tyme did Ioannes, borne in the Citie Edessa beyond the Riuer Euphrates ioyne hymselfe, leauyng the souldiours life which before that time he had exercised. But whilest as yet the same persecutiō raged in a Citie in Egypt called Canope, there were cast into prison for the confession of their fayth, a certaine godly Christian womā called Athanasia and her three daughters Theoctiste, Theodota, and Eudoxia: with whom Cyrus was well acquainted. MarginaliaThe louyng care of one Christian toward an other. All whose infirmities he much fearing, accōpanied with his brother Iohn, came and visited them for their better confirmation: at which time Syrianus was chief Captaine and Lieutenaunt of Egypt, of whose wickednes and crueltie, especially agaynst women and maydens: Athanasius maketh mentiō in his Apologies, and in his Epistle to those that lead a solitary lyfe. This Cyrus therfore and Ioannes beyng accused and apprehended of the heathen men, as by whose perswasiōs, the maydens and daughters of Athanasia contumeliously despised the Gods, & the Emperours Religion, and could by no meanes be brought to do sacrifice, MarginaliaCyrus to doe others good, lost his lyfe. were after the publication of their constaunt confession put to death by the sword. Athanasia also and her iij. daughters beyng cōdemned to death. This history writeth Symeon Metaphrastes.

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MarginaliaThe story of Sebastian Martyr.
A worthy example of a captaine to be followed.
Sebastian beyng borne in the part of Fraunce called Gallia Narbonensis, was a Christian, and was Lieutenaunt generall of the vawward of Dioclesian the Emperour, who also encouraged many Martyrs of Christ by his exhortations vnto constauncy, and kept them in the fayth. He beyng therfore accused to the Emperour, was commaunded to be apprehended, and that he should be brought into the open field: where, of hys owne souldiours he was shot through the body with innumerable arrowes, and after that his body was throwne into a iaques or sinke. Ambrosius maketh mention of this Sebastian the Martyr in hys Commentary vpon the 118. Psalme, & Symeon Metaphrastes amongest other Martyrs that suffered with Sebastian, numbreth also these followyng: MarginaliaMarcus,
Marcellinus,
Nicostratus wyth Zoe his wyfe.
Tranquillinus with Martia hys wife
Traglinus,
Claudius,
Castor,
Tiburtius,
Castellus,
Martyrs.
Nicostratus with Zoe his wife, Tranquillinus with Martia his wife: Traglinus, Claudius, Castor, Tiburtius, Castullus, Marcus and Marcellinus with other moe.

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MarginaliaBarlaam. Basilius in an other Sermon also maketh mention of one Barlaam beyng a noble and famous Martyr, whiche abode all the tormentes of the executioners euen to the pointe of death: which thyng when the tormentours saw, they brought hym and layd hym vppon the aulter, where they did vse to offer sacrifices to their Idoles, and put fire & frankensence to his right hand wherin he had yet some strength, MarginaliaWhat desire the heathen had by some meanes to allure the Christians to offer sacrifice. thinkyng that the same his right hand, by the heate & force of the fire, would haue scattered the burnyng incense vpon the aulter, and so haue sacrificed. But of that their hope, the pestiferous tormētours were dissapointed: for the flame eate round about his hand, and the same indured euen as though it had bene couered with hote embers, when Barlaā recited out of the Psalmes this saying: Blessed is the Lord my God which teacheth my handes to fight.

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MarginaliaAgricola, with hys seruaunt Vitalis, Martyrs.
Ex Ambro. in Serm. ad Virgines.
To this narration of Basilius touchyng the Martyrdome of Barlaam, we will adnexe cōsequently an other story of Ambrose: He makyng a certaine exhortation to certaine virgines, in the same Oration cōmendeth the martirdomes of Agricola & Vitalis, who suffered also in the same persecution vnder Dioclesian and Maximinian (as they so affirme) at Bononie. This Vitalis was seruaunt to Agricola, who both together betwene themselues had made a compact to geue their lyues with other Martyrs for the name of Christ. MarginaliaVitalis first Martyred. Wherupon Vitalis beyng sent before of his maister, to offer him selfe to Martyrdome, fell first into the hādes of persecutours, who laboured about hym by all maner of meanes to cause him to deny Christ. Which when he would in no case do, but stoutly persisted in the confession of his fayth: they began to exercise him with all kyndes of torments: So vnmercifully, that there was no whole skinne left in all his body. So Vitalis in the middest of the agonie, & paynful tormentes, after he had in a short prayer commended him selfe to God, gaue vp his lyfe. After him the tormentours set vpon Agricola his maister, whose vertuous māners and gentle conditions, because they were singularly well liked and knowen to the enemies, his suffring therfore, was the longer deferred. MarginaliaAgricola desirous of martirdome.
Agricola died martyr vpon the crosse.
But Agricola not abidyng the long delay and driuyng of, and prouokyng more ouer the aduersaries to quicker speede, at length was fastened vnto the crosse, and so finished hys martyrdome, which he so long desired. Ambros. in Exhortatione ad Virgines.

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MarginaliaThe cruell martirdome of Vincentius.
Ex August. in Sermon.
No lesse worthy of commemoration is the lamentable Martyrdome of Vincentius, whose history here followeth. This Vincentius was a Spaniard, and a Leuite most godly and vertuous, who at this tyme suffered martyrdome at Valence, vnder Dacianus the President, as we may gather by Prudentius in his hymne. Bergomensis in his supplement reciteth these woordes concernyng hys martyrdome, out of a certaine sermon of S. Augustine: Our hart conceiued not a vayne and fruitlesse sight (as it were in beholdyng of lamentable tragedies) but a great sight and marueilous, certainly, and there with singular pleasure receiued it, when the paineful passion of Victorious Vincentius was read vnto vs. Is there any so heauy harted: that wyll not be moued in the contemplation of this immouable Martyr, so manly, or rather so godly fightyng against the craft and subtletie of that Serpent, against the tiranny of Dacianus, agaynst the horrours of death, and by the mighty

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