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88 [75]

and reformed, began to take al thinges boldly and with gyuing of thanks, MarginaliaA lesson for scrupulous cōsciences.wherby maye appeare to all scrupulous consciences, not onely an wholsome instruction of the holy ghost, but also here is to be noted, how in those daies they wer not destitute of þe grace of God, but had the holy spirite of God to be their instructor. Hæc Euseb.

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MarginaliaIreneus newlye made minister, & commended to EleutheriusThe forsaid martyrs of Fraūce also, the same time, commended Ireneus newely then made minister, with their letters vnto Eleutherius Bishop of Rome: as witnesseth Euseb. in the x. chap. of the same booke, which Ireneus first was the hearer of Polycarpus, them made minister (as is sayd) vnder these martirs. And after their death, made Bishop afterward of Lions in Fraunce, & succeded after Photinus. 

Commentary  *  Close
The first ten persecutions

The section on the first 300 years of the church was, however, just the preface to the 'First Ten Persecutions', a structured 'decade' of martyrdoms in the early church that mirrored the 'centuries' into which the Magdeburg Centuries had chosen to organize its history of the Christian church. For our examination of Foxe's (extensive) borrowings from the Magdeburg Centuries, we have made use of the online edition of this text at: http://www.mgh-bibliothek.de/digilib/centuriae.htm and, for the bibliographical complexities surrounding its publication, Ronald E. Diener, 'The Magdeburg Centuries. A Bibliothecal and Historiographical Study'. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. (Cambridge, Mass., Harvard Divinity School 1978/79). For these sections, we have undertaken a very preliminary analysis, concentrating on the following textual divisions: Introduction to first 10 persecutions (1583, p. 34; 1576, p. 34; 1570, pp. 53-4); First persecution (1583, pp. 34-5; 1576, p. 34; 1570, pp. 54-6); Second persecution (1583, pp. 35-9; 1576, pp. 35-9; 1570, pp. 56-7); Third persecution (1583, pp. 39-42; 1576, pp. 39-42; 1570, pp. 57-9); Fourth persecution (1583, pp. 42-46; 1576, pp. 42-46; 1570, pp. 59-69); Martyrs of Lyons (1583, pp. 46-50; 1576, pp. 46-50; 1570, pp. 69-74); Remainder of fourth persecution (1583, pp. 50-4; 1576, pp. 50-4; 1570, pp. 74-9); Fifth persecution (1583, pp. 54-9; 1576, pp. 54-9; 1570, pp. 79-85); Sixth persecution (1583, p. 59; 1576, pp. 59-60; 1570, pp. 85-6).

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In the block on the first persecutions, prepared for the 1570 edition and repeated in the later ones, Foxe cites as his source Eusebius, book 3, ch. 30. Although it is probably the case that he consulted the source, it is much more likely that, for this (as for the succeeding sections of this part of the narrative) that he drew on the published volumes of the Magdeburg Centuries, in this case, vol. 1, book 2, cols 561-4.

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For the second persecution, Foxe continued to use Eusebius, supplementing it (apparently) with Irenaeus' Against Heresies and the Historiae adversum paganos of Orosius. Again, although it is difficult to be certain of this at present, his direct source was likely to have been the Magdeburg Centuries. For the fourth persecution, concerned especially with the martyrdom of Polycarp, we can be clearer. Although some of the sections of Foxe's narrative (such as the Epistle to Pontus and the sayings of Polycarp to Martin the heretic, are direct translations from Eusebius, the section on the life and works of Polycarpus, which indirectly comes from Eusebius, book 5, ch. 20, is clearly lifted from the Magdeburg Centuries, II, cols 173 and 176. For the contradictory views of various authors on who were the popes at the time, Foxe clearly used the Magdeburg Centuries, I, book 2, cols 626-8 but he also consulted at least some of the other sources he mentions in order to construct an independent view. The section on the order of the popes to Eleutherius certainly is taken from the Magdeburg Centuries, II, cols 117 and 209-210.

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For the fourth persecution, it is evident that the Magdeburg Centuries formed the direct source for the following sections of it:- the Epistle of Pliny to Trajan and its response (p. 53 of the 1570 edition) - (II, cols 13-4); the martyrdoms under Emperor Hadrian (p. 54 of the 1570 edition) - (II, cols 15-6 and cols 231-33); the final rising of the Jews under Hadrian and subsequent slaughter, the succession of Antoninus Pius, and resumption of the fourth persecution (p. 55 of the 1570 edition) - (II, col 17); the disputed claims concerning Hyginus (p. 66 of the 1570 edition) - (II, cols 111; 141; 212-3); Eleutherius' mission to convert the British (II, cols 8-9); and the contention over the date of Easter at the time of Commodus (p. 67 of the 1570 edition) - (II, col. 118).

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For the fifth persecution, Foxe drew directly on the Magdeburg Centuries for the following passages:- the fifth persecution by Septimus Severus (p. 67 of the 1570 edition) - (III, cols 9-10); the martyrdom of Origen and his father - (III, cols 9-10; 150-1; 253-259); for the list of martyrs under Septimus Severus (p. 68 of the 1570 edition) - (III, cols 10; 251; 305); for Basilides and the miracles of Potomiena - (III, col. 305); for Alexander as bishop of Jerusalem - (III, col. 209); for the persecutions in the time of Septimus Severus - (III, cols 295-6; 211); for Tertullian as an ecclesiastical writer (p. 69 of the 1570 edition - (III, cols 236; 241; 242); for the controversy over Easter in the time of Victor (p. 70 of the 157- edition) - (II, cols 152-58); for the epistles of Zephirus - (III, cols 275-6); for the invasion of Britain - (III, col. 315); for the epistles of Calixtus (p. 72 of the 1570 edition) - (III, cols 276-77). Foxe clearly used other sources for this account as well, but only further research will confirm more precisely the extent to which he worked outwards from the Magdeburg Centuries to write a more independently based narrative of this section.

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For the sixth persecution, we have undertaken a similar analysis of the extent of Foxe's dependence on the Magdeburg Centuries. The results are less complete. It is certainly the case that he drew somewhat on that source for the beginning of the sixth persecution under Emperor Maximus (pp. 73-4 of the 1570 edition) - (III, col. 13). He also borrowed to some degree for the description of the rule of Pontianus, bishop of Rome (p. 74 of the 1570 edition) - (III, cols 177; 278); for the story of Natalius he also fairly clearly derived his material from the Centuries - (IIII, cols 287-288); for Emperor Philip the same is true (III, cols 8; 254; 279).

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We have not continued our analysis beyond this stage at present. It will require a more extensive and detailed examination of the full range of the sources cited by Foxe in his marginalia, and a comparison of them with what was contained in the extant volumes of the Magdeburg Centuries, which had become available to him in between the publication of the 1563 and 1570 editions, to arrive at a proper assessment of Book One.

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Mark Greengrass and Matthew Phillpott
University of Sheffield

Besides thys Iustinus, MarginaliaApollinaris and Melito exhibited apologies to the Emperour for the Christians.there were also the same tyme in Asia, Claudius Apolmaris, or Apolinarius Bishop of Hierapolis: And also Melito Bishop of Sardis an eloquēt and learned man, much commended of Tertullian, who succeding after the tyme of thapostls, in the reigne of this Antoninus Verus, exhibited vnto him, learned and eloquent Apologies, in defēce of Christes religion, lyke as Quadratus, and Aristides aboue mētioned, did vnto the Emperour Hadrian, wherby thei moued him somwhat to staie the rage of his persecution. In lyke maner dyd this Apolinaris and Melito (styrred vp by God) aduenture to defend in writyng the cause of the christiās vnto thys Antoninus. Of thys Melito, Eusebius in his. 4. booke making mention, excerpeth certain places of his Apologie, in these woordes as foloweth. MarginaliaEx Euseb lib 4. c. 26
The summ of the Apology of Melito.
Now saith he, which was neuer sene before, þe godlye suffereth persecutiō by occasion of certayne proclamations and edicts proclaymed throughoute Asia. for vylanous Sicophantes, robbers and spoylers of other mens goods grounding themselues vpon those proclamations, and taking occasion of them, robbeth opēly night & day, and spoyleth those which doo no harm: And it foloweth after: which if it be done by your commaundement, be it so wel done. For a good Prince wil neuer cōmaund but good things. And so we wil be contented to sustayne the honour of this death. This onely we most humbly beseche of your maiesty, that calling before you and examining the authors of thys tumult and contention, than your grace would iustlye iudge whether we are worthy of cruel death, or quiet life. And than yf it be not your pleasure, and that it proceedeth not by your occasion (whych in deede against your barbarous ennemyes were to badde) the more a greate deale we are petitioners to your hyghnes, that hereafter you wil voutchsafe to heare vs thus so vexed and oppressed with these kind of vilanous robryes. MarginaliaChristiā religiō begā with the Empyre of Rome.
Christiā religion maketh commō weales to floorish.
And verely our Philosophie and doctrine dyd first amongst the barbarous take place, which doctrine first in þe daies of Augustus you predecessor, when it did raigne & florish, therby your Empire became most famous & fortunate: and from that tyme more & more the state of the Romayne Empyre increased in honour, whereof you moste happelye was made Successour, and so shal your sonne to. Honour therefore this Philosophye, whiche with your Empire sprang vp and came in with Augustus, which your progenitors aboue all other honored & moste estemed. And verely this is no smal argumēt of a good beginning: That since our doctryne flourished in the Empyre, no mysfortune or losse happened from Augustus tyme: but contrary alwaies victorye, good and honorable yeares, as euer any man would wishe. Onelye among al, and of al Nero and Domitian being kyndled by diuers noughty and spiteful persons, cauillingly obiected against our doctrine, of whō this Sicophantical slaūdring of vs by naughty custom first came & sprang vp. But your godly fathers espieng þe ignorāce of these, often times by their writings corrected their temerous attemptes in that behalfe. Among whō your graunfather Adrian with many other is red of, to haue writtento Fundayne the Proconsul and Lieuetenant of Asia. And your father, your owne father I saye, with whom you ruled in all thinges, wrote to the Cities vnder hys signet, as þe Laersens, Thessalonicēsis, Athenienses & Grecians, rashly to innouate or alter nothing. Of your highnes therfore, who in this case is of that sect as your Predecessors were, yea and of a more benigne and philosophicall minde, we are in good hope to obtayne our peticion and request.

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MarginaliaThe bookes of the olde Testament autentik and receaued.Thus muche out of the Apologie of Melito, who writīg to Onesimus, geueth to vs this benefit to know the true Cataloge, and the names of all the autenticke bookes of the olde testament, receaued in the auncient time of the primitiue church. Concerning the number and names whereof, the sayde Melito in hys letter to Onesimus declareth, MarginaliaEx Eusebio ibidem.howe that hee returning into the partes where these thinges were done & preached, there he diligentlye inquired out the bookes approued, of the old testamēt, the names wherof in order he subscribeth and sendeth vnto him, as followeth: The fiue bookes of Moses, Genesis, Exodus, Leuiticus, Numeri, Deuteronomi. Iesus Naue, The Iudges: Ruth: Foure bookes of kings: Two bookes of Paralipomenon: The Psalmes, Prouerbes of Salomon: The booke of wysdome: The preacher: The song of songes: Iob. The Prophets, Esai, Hieromie, twelue prophetes in one booke, Daniel, Ezechiel, Esdras. And thus much of thys matter, which I thought here to recorde, for þt it is not vnprofitable for these latter tymes to vnderstand, what in the first times was receaued, & admitted as autenticke, and what otherwise.

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But from this litle digression to returne to our matter omitted, that is to the Apologies of Apolianarius and Melito: in the storye so it foloweth, that whether it was by the occasion of these twoo Apologies, or whether it was throughe the wryting of Athenagoras a Philosopher, and a Legate of the Christians, it is vncertayne: but this is certayne, that the persecution the same time was staied. Some do thinke, which most probably seme to touch the truth, that the cause of staying thys persecution, dyd ryse vpon a wōderful miracle of God, shewed in the Emperours campe by the Christiās, the storye wherof is thys: MarginaliaA myraculous rayne obtained by the christiāsAt what time the. ii. brethren Marcus Antonius, & Marcus Aurelius Cōmodus Emperours, ioyning together, warred agaynst the Quades, Vandales, Sarmates, and Germaynes, in the expedition agaynst them, their army by reason of the imminent assault of their enemies, was cooped and shut in within the straightes and hoate dry places, wher their soldiors besides other difficulties of battayle, being destitute of water. v. dayes, were lyke to haue perished, whyche dread not a litle discomfited them, and did abate theyr courage. Where in this their so great distresse and ieopardy, sodaynly withdrew from the armye a legion of the Christian soldiours for their succour: who fallyng prostrate vpon the earth, by ardent prayer, by and by obtained of god double reliefe: by meanes of whō God gaue certayne pleasant shewers from the elemēt, wherby as their soldiours quenched their thirst: so were a great number of their enemies discomfited and put to flight by cōtinual lightninges which shooted out of the ayre. Thys myracle so pleased and won the Emperour, that euer after he waxed gentler & gentler to the Christians, and directed hys letters to diuers of hys rulers, as Tertulian in hys Apologie wytnesseth, commaunding them therein to geue thanks to the Christians, no les for his victory, then for the preseruation of hym and al his men. The copy of which letter hereafter ensueth.

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¶ Marcus Aurelius Antonius Emperour, to the Senate and people of Rome.

J Geue you hereby to vnderstand, what I intēd to do, as also what successe I haue had in my wars in Ger-

many
g.ii.