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92 [92]

Actes and Monumentes of the Churche.

was this: There was a certaine aged father sittyng, at whose right hand sat a yoūg man very sad and pensiue: as one with an indignation sorrowfull, holdyng his hand vpon his brest, his countenaunce heauy and vnchearefull. On the left hand sat an other person, hauyng in his hand a net, whiche he threatned to lay to catch the people that stode about. And as he was marueilyng that saw the sight therof, it was sayd vnto him: The young man whom thou seest sit 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 him to afflict men. And this vision was seene long before this tempest of persecution happened. MarginaliaOur sinnes geue Sathā power agaynst vs. Wherein is declared the same that before is sayd, the sinnes of the people to be the cause why Sathan in this persecution and all other, hath had and hath still such power with his net of destruction, to rage agaynst the bloud of Christen men, and all because (sayth Cyprian) we forslacke our praying, or be not so vigilant therein as we should: wherefore the Lord because he loueth vs, correcteth vs, correcteth vs, to amend 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 reuelation or message sent to him, thus sayth: And to his least seruaunt both sinfull and vnworthy (meanyng by himselfe) God of his tender goodnes hath vouchedsafe to direct this worde. Tell him sayth he, that he be quyet and of good comfort, for peace will come. Albeit a litle stay there is for a while, for that some remaine yet to be proued and tryed. &c. And sheweth also in the same place of an other reuelation of his, MarginaliaSpare dyet and sober drinke conuenient in Christen bishops. wherein he was admonished to be spare in his feedyng, & sober in his drinke, least his mynde geuen to heauenly meditation might be caried away with worldly allurementes, or oppressed with to much surfet of meates and drinkes, should be lesse apt or able to prayer and spirituall exercise.

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MarginaliaThe peace of the Churche to come, forshewed by the Lord. Finally in the latter ende of the foresayd Epistle, mention also followeth of other reuelaciōs or shewynges, wherin the Lord (saith Cyprian) doth voutchsafe in many of his seruaūts to foreshew to come the restauryng of his church, the stable quiet of our health and safegard, after rayne fayre weather, after darknes light, after stormy tempest, peaceable calme, the fatherly helpe of his loue, the wont and olde glory of his diuine maiestie whereby both the blasphemy of the persecutours shall be repressed, and the repentaunce of such as haue fallen be reformed, and the strong & stable confidence of them that stand, shal reioyce and glory. Thus much hath S. Cyprian, writyng of these things to the Clergie. Lib. 4. Epist. 4.

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MarginaliaCrimes and causes falsely layd to the Christians. As touchyng now the crimes and accusations in this persecution layd to the charge of the Christians, this was the principall, first because they refused to do worshyp to their idoles and to the Emperours: then for that they professed the name of Christ. Besides, all the calamities and euils that happened in the world, as warres, famine, and pestilence, were onely imputed to the Christians. Agaynst all whiche quarelyng accusations Cyprian doth eloquently defend the Christians in his booke Contra Demetrianum: Like as Tertullian had done before writyng Contra Scapulam. pag. 55. And first touchyng the obiection for not worshippyng Idoles, he cleareth the Christians both in hys booke Contra Demetr. and also De vanitate idol MarginaliaThe Apologie of Cyprian for the Christians.
Cypria. contra Demetrianū.
Cypria. de idolorū vanitate.
prouyng those Idols to be no true Gods, but Images of certaine dead kynges, whiche neither could saue them selues from death nor such as worshyp them. The true God to be but one, and that by the testimonie of Sosthenes, Plato, and Trismegistas, the which God the Christians do truly worshyp. And as cōcernyng that the Christiās were thought to be causes of publicke calamities, because they worshypped not the Gentiles Idoles, he purgeth the Christians thereof, prouyng that if there be any defect in increase of thynges, it is not to be ascribed to them, but rather to the decrease of nature, languishyng now toward her age and latter ende. Agayne, for that it hath bene so foresayd & prophecied, that toward the end of the world should come warres, famine, & pestilence. Moreouer, if there be any cause therof more proper then other, it is most like to be imputed to their vayne idolatrie, and to the cōtempt of the true God. Also, that such euils be increased by the wickednes of the people, so that to speake in his owne wordes famem maiorem faciat rapacitas, quam siccitas. i. famine cometh more by auarice of mē, then by drought of the ayre, but especially the cause therof to proceede of the cruell sheddyng of the innocent bloud of the Christians. &c.

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Thus with many other mo probations doth Cyprian defend the Christians, agaynst the barbarous exclamatiōs of the heathē Gentiles. Of which Cyprian for somuch as he suffered in the tyme of this persecution, I mynde MarginaliaThe countrey & education of Cyprian.(Christ wyllyng) to recapitulate here in ample discourse, the full summe first of his lyfe and bringyng vp, then of his death & Martyrdome, as the worthynes of that man deserueth to be remembred. Of this Cyprian therfore, otherwise named Statius, thus writeth Nicephorus, Nazianzenus, Iacobus de Voragine, Henricus de Erfordia, Volateranus, Hieronymus, and other, that he beyng an Aphricā, & borne in Carthage, first was an Idolater and Gentill, alltogether geuē to the study and practise of the Magicall Artes, of whose parentage and education in letters from his youth, no mention 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 florishyng and eloquēt history. MarginaliaThe conuersion of Cyprian Whiche his conuersion vnto the Christian fayth, as Hieronymus affirmeth in his 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 hearyng the history of the Prophet Ionas. The same Hierome moreouer testifieth how he immediately vpon his conuersion, distributed among the poore all his substaunce, MarginaliaCyprian made first Priest, then Byshop of Carthage. and after that beyng ordained a Priest, was not long after constituted Byshop of the congregation of Carthage. But whether he succeeded Agrippinus of whom he oftē maketh mētion which also was the first author of rebaptizatiō, or some other Byshop of Carthage, it remaineth vncertaine. But this is most true, he him selfe shyned in his office & dignitie with such godly giftes, and vertues, that as Nazianzenus writeth he had the gouernemēt of the whole East Church, and Church of Spayne, and was called the Byshop of the Christian men.

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MarginaliaThe vertues of Cyprians lyfe described. And to the further settyng forth to the prayse of God, of his godly vertues wherewith he was indued, appearing as well in his owne workes, to thē that lyst to peruse the same, as also described by other worthy writers, he was curteous and gentle, louyng and full of pacience, and there withall sharpe & seuere in his office, accordyng as the cause required, as appeareth in his first booke and third Epistle. MarginaliaThe care of Cyprian toward the afflicted brethrē. Furthermore, he was most louyng and kinde towardes his brethren, and tooke much payne in helpyng and relieuyng the Martyrs, as it appeareth by his letters to the Elders and Deacons of his Byshopricke, that with all study and indeuour they should gently entertayne and shewe pleasure vnto the Martyrs in his absence, as partly is touched before, pag. 67.

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The thirde Epistle of his first booke doth declare of what stomacke and godly courage he was, in executyng his office, and handling his matters. Neither was he voyde of prudence and circūspection, but was adorned with marueilous modestie, whereby he attempted MarginaliaThe modestie of Cyprian in conferryng with his fellow brethren. nothyng vpon his owne head and iudgement, but with the consent of his fellow Byshops & other inferiour Ministers, and that chiefly (among others) doth the. 10. Epistle of his third booke witnes. He was of a marueilous liberall disposition towardes the poore brethren of other coūtreyes, for so often as he had cause of absence, he committed the care of those poore men to his fellow officers, and wrote vnto them, that of their owne proper goodes they would helpe the banished brethren, to that which was necessary for them, as witnesseth the 24. Epistle of his third booke. MarginaliaVisions concernyng the troubles and peace of the Church, recited and expoūded by Cyprian, before pag. 67 He reciteth (among other giftes wherewith he was indued) as touchyng the visions and heauenly admonitions of the persecutions that should follow, and of other matters touchyng the gouernement of the Church in his first booke & third Epistle, and fourth booke and fourth Epistle, where he reciteth and expoundeth the forme or maner of a certaine vision, whiche we haue before sufficiently expressed.

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He had moreouer great skill in the foreknowledge of thynges that should chaunce, as may be gathered by the vj. Epistle of his fourth booke. Also Augustine doth attribute vnto him many worthy vertues, whiche writeth much in settyng forth his giftes of humilitie, in his second booke of Baptisme, the fourth chap. agaynst the Donatistes and in his vij. booke and. xi. chap. of his long sufferaunce and pacience. MarginaliaCyprian meeke & pacient. Also of his curtesie and meekenes, by whiche vertues he concealed nothyng that he vnderstode, but vttered the same meekely and patiently. Also, that he kept the Ecclesiasticall peace and concorde with those that were of an other opinion, then he was of: lastly, that he neither circumuented nor did preiudice to any mā, but followed that thing which seemed good in his iudgement, it is manifest in S. Augustine his fift booke, De Baptismo contra Donatistas. Neither is this to be passed with silence, that Hierome writeth that he was very diligent in readyng, especially the workes of Tertulian. For he saith that he saw a certaine old mā whose name was Paulus, whiche tolde him he saw the Notarie of

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blessed
F.v.
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