she, and reioyce, that such a one as thou, being a stout, fierce, strong, and sturdy souldiour art come, then one more feable, weake, and faynt should come, or els any other young man sweetely enbalmed, and wearing gaye apparell that might destroy me with funerall shame. MarginaliaAgnes desirous of Martyrdome. This, euen this is he I now confesse, þt I do loue. I will make hast to meete him, and will no longer protract my longyng desire: I will willingly receaue into my pappes the length of hys sword, and into my brest will draw the force therof, euē vnto the hiltes: That thus I beyng maried vnto Christ my spouse, may surmount and escape all the darkenes of this world, that reacheth euen vnto the skies. MarginaliaThe prayer of Agnes. O eternall gouernour, vouchsafe to open the gates of heauen once shut vp agaynst all the inhabitauntes of the earth, and receaue (oh Christ) my soule that seeketh thee: Thus speakyng and kneelyng vpon her knees, she prayeth vnto Christ aboue in heauen, that her necke might be the readyer for the sword, now hāgyng ouer the same. MarginaliaAgnes beheaded. The executioner then with his bloody hand, finisheth her hope, & at one stroke cutteth of her head, & by such short & swift death doth he preuent her of the payne therof.[Back to Top]
MarginaliaThe history of Katherine martyr. I haue oftentymes before complayned that the stories of Saintes haue bene poudered and sawsed with diuers vntrue additions and fabulous inuentions of men, who either of a superstitious deuotion, or of a subtill practise, haue so mingle mangled their stories and liues, MarginaliaAll thinges be not true & probable, that be written of Saintes lyues. that almost nothing remaineth in them simple and vncorrupt, as in the vsuall Portues wont to be read for dayly seruice, is manifest and euident to be seene, wherein, few Legendes there be, able to abyde the touch of history, if they were truly tried. This I write vpon the occasion specially of good Katherine, whō now I haue in hand. In whō although I nothyng doubt, but in her life was great holynes, in her knowledge excellencie, in her death constancie: yet that all thynges be true that be storied of her, neither dare I affirme, neither am I bounde so to thinke: So many straunge fictions of her be fayned diuersly of diuers writers, whereof some seeme incredible, some also impudent. As where Petrus de Natalibus, writyng of her conuersion declareth, MarginaliaPetrus de Natalibus lib. 10 how that Katherine sleepyng before a certaine picture or table of the Crucifixe, Christ with his mother Mary appeared vnto her: And when Mary had offered her to Christ to be his wife, he first refused her for her blacknes. The next tyme, she beyng baptised, Mary appearyng agayne, offered her to mary with Christ, who then being liked, was espoused to him & maried, hauing a golden ring the same tyme put on her finger in her sleepe, &c. Bergomensis writeth thus, MarginaliaKatherine resisteth the Emperour openly to his face. that because she in the sight of the people openly resisted the Emperour Maxētius to his face, and rebuked him for his cruelty, MarginaliaKatherine committed to prison and comforted by an Aungell. therfore she was commaunded and committed vpon the same to prison, which semeth hetherto not much to digresse frō truth. It foloweth moreouer, that the same night an aungell came to her, comforting and exhorting her to be strong and constant vnto the Martyrdome: for that she was a mayde accepted in þe sight of God, & that the Lord would be with her, for whose honor she did fight, & that he would geue a mouth & wisedome, which her enemies should not withstand: with many other thynges mo, which I here omitte. As this also I omit cōcernyng the. 50. Philosophers, whō she in disputation conuicted, and conuerted vnto our Religion, & died martyrs for the same. Item, of the cōuertyng of Porphyrius kinsman to Maxentius, and Faustina the Emperours wife, MarginaliaThe tormentes & end of Katherine. At length (sayth the story) after she proued the racke, and the foure sharpe cuttyng wheeles, hauyng at last her head cut of with the sword, so she finished her martyrdome, about the yeare of our Lord (as Antoninus affirmeth) 310. Symeon Metaphrastes writyng of her, discourseth the same more at large, to whō they may resort, which couet more therin to be satisifed.[Back to Top]
MarginaliaThe history of Iulitta Martyr.
Ex Basil in Serm. Among the workes of Basil a certain Oration is extant concerning Iulitta the Martyr, who came to her martyrdome (as he witnesseth) by this occasion. A certaine auaricious and greedy person, of great authoritie, and as it may appeare, the Emperour his deputy, or other like officer (who abused the decrees and lawes of the Emperour agaynst the Christians, to his owne lucre and gayne) violently tooke from this Iulitta all her goodes, landes, cattell and seruauntes, contrary to all equitie and right. She made her pitifull complaint to the Iudges, a day was appointed when the cause should be heard. MarginaliaIulitta violently spoyled of her goods. The spoyled woman, and the spoyling extorcioner stode forth together: the womā lamentably declareth her case, the man frowningly beholdeth her face. When she had proued that of good right the goodes were her owne, & that wrongfully he had dealed with her: the wicked and bloudthirsty wretch, preferring vile worldly substaunce, before the precious substance of a Christen body, affirmed her action to be of no force, for that she was as an outlaw, in not seruing the Emperours Gods, MarginaliaIulitta once abiured. since her Christian fayth had bene first abiured. His allegation was allowed as good and reasonable. Wherupō incense and fire were prepared for her to worship the Gods, which vnlesse she would do, neither the Emperours protection, nor lawes, nor iudgement, nor life, should she enioy in that common weale. When this handmayde of the Lord heard these wordes she sayd: MarginaliaIulitta standeth to the confession of her fayth. farewell life, welcome death: farewell riches, welcome pouertie. all that I haue, if it were a thousand tymes more, would I rather loose, then to speake one wicked and blasphemous word agaynst God my creator. MarginaliaA Christian voyce of a true Martyr. I yeld thee thankes most harty, O my God, for this gift of grace, that I can contemne and despise this frayle and tr&sitory world, esteemyng Christian profession aboue all treasures. Hence forth, when any question was demaūded, her answere was: MarginaliaThe answere of Iulitta. I am the seruaunt of Iesus Christ. Her kindred and acquaintaunce flocking vnto her, aduertised her to chaunge her mynde. But that vehemently she refused, with detestation of their Idolatry. Forthwith the Iudge, with the sharpe sword of sentēce not onely cutteth of all her goodes and possessions, MarginaliaIulitta condemned to the fire. but iudgeth her also to the fire most cruelly. The ioyful Martyr embraceth the sentence as a thyng most sweete and delectable. She addresseth her selfe to the flames, in countenaunce, iesture, and wordes, declaryng the ioye of her hart, coupled with singular constancie. To the women beholding her, sententiously she spake: MarginaliaThe wordes and exhortations of Iulitta to women about her. Stycke not, O sisters, to labour and trauell after true pietie and godlynes. Cease to accuse the fragilitie of feminine nature. What? are not we created of the same matter, that men are? Yea, after Gods Image and similitude are we made, as liuely as they. Not fleshe onely God vsed in the creation of the woman, in signe and token of her infirmitie and weakenes, but bone of bones is she, in token that she must be strong in the true and liuing God, all false Gods forsaken. Constant in fayth, all infidelitie renounced: patient in aduersitie, all worldly ease refused. Waxe wery (my deare sisters) of your liues led in darknesse, and be in loue wyth my Christ, my God, my redemer, my comforter, which is the true light of the worlde. Perswade your selues, or rather the spirite of the liuing God perswade you, that there is a world to come, wherin the worshippers of idoles & deuils shall be tormented perpetually, the seruauntes of the high God shalbe crowned eternally. With these wordes she embraced the fire, and sweetely slept in the Lord.
MarginaliaBarbara, Fausta, Euclatius, Maximinus, Iuliana, Anysia, Iustina, Tecla, Martyrs. There haue bene moreouer beside these aboue recited, diuers godly women and faythful Martyrs, as Barbara a noble woman in Thuscia, who after miserable prisonmēt, sharpe cordes, and burning flames put to her sides, was at last beheaded. Also Fausta the virgin, which suffered vnder Maximinus, by whom Euclasius a ruler of the Emperours palace, and Maximinus the President were both conuerted and also suffered martirdome, as witnesseth Metaphrastes. Item, Iuliana a virgine of singular beautiy in Nicomedia, who after diuers agonies suffred likewise vnder Maximinus. Item, Anysia a mayde of Thessalonica, who vnder the said Maximinus suffred. Metaphr. ibid. Iustina which suffered with Cyprianus bishop of Antioche: not to omitte also Tecla, although most writers do accord that she suffred vnder Nero. Platina in vita Caij, maketh also mētion of Lucia & Agatha. All which holy maides and virgines glorified the Lord Christ with their constant martyrdome in this tenth and last persecution of Dioclesian.[Back to Top]
MarginaliaCaius, Marcellinus, Marcellus, Eusebius, Miltiades byshops of Rome and Martyrs. During the tyme of which persecution these byshops of Rome succeded one after an other,
The Foxe Project was not able to complete the commentary on this section of text by the date by which this online edition was compiled (23 September 2008).