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124 [124]

Actes and Monumentes of the Churche.

beautifie his great afflictions. This man, at the commaūdement of Constantinus, pulled downe a certaine temple dedicated to Idoles, and in the steede therof built vp a church where the Christians might congregate. The Arthusians remēbryng the litle good will that Iulianus bare vnto him, accused him as a traytour and enemy to him. At the first, accordyng as the Scripture teacheth, he prepared him selfe to flee. MarginaliaThe true conscience of Marcus Arthusius. But when he perceaued that there were certaine of his kinsmen or frendes apprehended in his steede, returnyng agayne of his owne accord he offered him selfe to those that thirsted for his bloud: whom when they had gotten as men neither pityeng his old age and worne yeares, nor abashed at his vertuous conuersation beyng a man so adourned both with doctrine and maners: first stript him naked, and pityfully beate him: then within a while after, they cast him into a foule filthy sincke, & from thence beyng brought, they caused boyes to thrust him in with sharpned stickes, made for the nonce, to prouoke his payne the more. MarginaliaGreat cruellty shewed. Lastly, they put him into a basket, and beyng annoynted with hony & brothe, they hong him abroad in the heate of the sunne, as meate for waspes and flies to feede vpon. And all this extremitie they shewed vnto him, for that they would enforce him to do one of these thinges (that is) either to builde vp againe the temple, which he had destroyed, or els to geue so much money as should pay for the building of þe same. MarginaliaCouetousnes the cause of cruelty. But he, euen as he purposed with himselfe to suffer & abyde their greuous tormentes: so refused he to do that they demaunded of hym. At the length they taking him to be but a poore man, and not able to paye such a summe of money, promysed to forgeue him the one halfe, so that he would be cōtented to pay the other halfe. But he hangyng in the basket, wounded pitifully with the sharpned stickes of boyes and children, and all to be bitten with waspes and flyes, did not only conceale his payne & griefe, but also derided those wicked ones, and called them, base, lowe and terrene people, and he him selfe to be exalted and set on high. At length they demaundyng of him but a small summe of money, he aunswered thus: MarginaliaA notable sayng. it is as great wickednesse to confer one halfe penye in case of impietie, as if a man should bestow the whole. Thus they beyng not able to preuayle agaynst him, let him downe. And leauyng him, went their way, so that euery man might learne at his mouth the example of true pietie and faithfulnesse.

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Although the tractation of these foresayd stories & persecutiōs of Persia, aboue premised, do stray some what out of the order and course of tyme & place, as whiche came neither in the tyme of Constantine, nor be pertinent to the monarchy of Rome: yet because in this present history we are in hand with the holy Martyrs and Saintes of Christ, for as much as these also gaue such a faythfull testimony of the Lord Iesus with their bloud: I thought therfore not to passe them ouer without some testimonie in this our Catalogue of holy Martyrs. And here an end of these persecutions of the primitiue Church.

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¶ It may peraduenture here be marueiled of some, readyng the history of these so terrible persecutions aboue specified, why God the almighty director of all thinges, would suffer his owne people and faithful seruauntes, beleuyng in his owne and onely begotten sonne Iesus, so cruelly to be handled, so wrongfully to be vexed, so extremely to be tormented and put to death, & that the space of so many yeares together, as in these foresayd persecutions may appeare. 

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Exegesis of Revelation

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).

To the which admiration I haue nothyng to aunswere, but to say with the wordes of Hierome: MarginaliaHierony. in Aba. cap. 1. Non debemus super hac rerum iniquitate, perturbari: videntes. &c. We ought not to be moued with this iniquitie of thinges, to see the wicked to preuayle agaynst the godly: MarginaliaThe wicked in the world doe most florishe and preuaile. for somuch as in the begynnyng of the world we see Abell the iust to be killed of wicked Cain. And afterward Iacob beyng thrust out, Esau to raigne in his fathers house. In like case the Egyptians with bricke and tyle, afflicted the sonnes of Israel. Yea & the Lord him selfe, was he not crucified of the Iewes, Barabas the thief beyng let go? Tyme would not suffice me, to recite & recken vp how the godly in this world go to wracke, the wicked florishyng and preuayling. Hiero. Briefly, howsoeuer the cause hereof proceedeth, whether for our sinnes here in this lyfe, or how els soeuer, yet this is to vs, and may be to all men a sufficient stay: MarginaliaPersecution commeth by no chaunce. that we are sure these afflictions & persecutions of God his people in this world, not to come by any chaunce, or blind fortune, but by the prouident appointment and forewarnyng of God. MarginaliaPersecution of Gods people prefigured and forewarned of God For so in the old law by the affliction of the children of Israell, he hath prefigured these persecutions of his Christiās. So by the wordes of Christes owne mouth in þe Gospel, he did forewarne his Church of these troubles to come. Agayne, neither dyd he suffer these so great afflictions to fall vpon his seruauntes, before that he had premonished them sufficiently by speciall Reuelation in the Apocalips of Iohn his seruaunt. MarginaliaThe Church forewarned of Christ by speciall reuelation in the Apoc. In the which Apocalips, he declared to hys church before: not onely what troubles were cōmyng at hand toward thē, where, and by whom, they should come, but also in playne number (if the wordes of the prophecy be wel vnderstode) assigneth the true tyme, how long the sayd persecutions should continue, and when they should cease. MarginaliaThe beast in the Apoc. expounded. For as there is no doubt, but by the beast with vij. heades, bearyng the hoore of Babylon, dronken with the bloud of Sayntes, is signified the Citie of Rome: Marginalia42 monethes in the Apol. cap 13. expounded. So in my iudgement, the power of makyng. 42. monethes (in the. 13. of the Apocalips) is to be expounded, takyng euery moneth for a Sabbot of yeares: that is, reckenyng for. vij. yeares a moneth: so that forty and two such Sabbots of yeares beyng gathered together, make vp the yeares iust betwene the tyme of Christes death, to the last yeare of the persecution of Maxentius, MarginaliaThe beast and power [illegible text] 42. [illegible text] when Constantinusfightyng vnder the banner of Christ ouercame hym, and made an ende of all persecution, within the Monarchie of Rome. MarginaliaThe [illegible text] The number of which yeares by playne computation, come to. 294. to the which. 294. yeares, if we adde the other. 6. yeares vnder the persecutiō of Lincinius in Asia: then it filleth vp full the number of. 300. yeares. And so long continued the persecutiō of Christes people, vnder the Heathen tyrauntes and Emperours of the Monarchie of Rome, accordyng to the number of xlij. monethes which the beast had power to make, specified in the. xiij. of the Apocalips. For the better explication wherof, because the matter, beyng of no small importaunce greatly appertaineth to the publike vtilitie of the Church, and lest any should misdoubt me herein to follow any priuate interpretatiō of myne own, I thought good to cōmunicate to the Reader that as hath bene imparted to me, in openyng these misticall numbers in the foresayd booke of Reuelation contayned, by occasion as followeth.

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As I was in hand with these histories, and therein cōsidered the exceedyng rage of these persecutions, the intolerable tormentes of the blessed Saintes, so cruelly rackt, rent torne, and pluckt in peeces, with all kynde of tortures paynes and punishmentes that could be deuised, more bitter then any death it selfe, I could not without great sorow and passion of mynde, behold their sorowfull afflictions, or write of there bloudy passions. Wherein much like it happened to me, as dyd to T. Liuius, who writyng of the warres of Carthage, was so moued in the writyng therof: Ac si in parte aliqua laboris ac periculi ipse pariter fuisset. Further I proceeded in the story, & the hoater the persecutions grew, the more my grief with them, and for them encreased, not onely pitieng their wofull case, but also almost reasonyng with God, thus thinkyng lyke a foole with my selfe, why God of his goodnesse would suffer his children and seruauntes, so vehemently to be cruciated and afflicted. If mortall thyngs were gouerned by heauenly prouidence (as must needs be graūted) why did þe wicked so rage & florish, & the godly so to go to wracke? If sinnes deserued punishmēt, yet neither were they sinners alone, and why was their death aboue all other so sharpe and bitter. At least why would the Lord suffer the vehemencie of these so horrible persecutions to endure so long tyme agaynst his poore Church, shewing to them no certaine determined end of their tribulatiōs, wherby they knowyng the appoynted determination of almighty God, with more cōsolation might endure out the same. As the Israelites in the captiuitie of Babylon had 70. yeares limited vnto them. And vnder Pharao they were promised a deliueraunce out. Also vnder the Syrian tyrauntes. 62. Weekes were abriged vnto them. Onely in these persecutions, I could finde no end determined, nor limitatiō set for their deliuerance. Wherevpon much marueilyng with me selfe, I searched the booke of Reuelatiō, to see whether any thyng there might be founde. Where although I well perceaued, the beast there described to signifie the Empire of Rome, which had power to ouercome the Saintes: yet cōcerning the tyme and continuance of these persecutions vnder the beast, I founde nothyng to satisfie my doubt. For albeit I read there of. 42. monethes, of a tyme, tymes and halfe a tyme, of. 1260. dayes, yet all this by computation cōming but to. 3. yeares & a halfe, came nothyng neare the long continuance of these persecutions, whiche lasted. 300. yeares. Thus beyng vexed and turmoyled in spirite, about the reckenyng, of these numbers and yeares, it so happened vpon a Sonday in the mornyng lying in my bed, and musing about these nūbers, sodenly it was answered to my mynde, as with a maiestie, thus inwardly saying within me: Thou foole count these monethes by Sabbots, as the Weekes of Daniell are counted by Sabbots. The Lord I take to wytnes thus it was. Wherupon thus beyng admonished,

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I.iij.