Critical Apparatus for this Page
Commentary on the Text
Names and Places on this Page
Unavailable for this Edition
58 [58]

Actes and Monumentes of the Churche.

MarginaliaSaule conuerted. tour, was made a professor, an Apostle, a Martyr, a witnes of the Gospell, and a vessell of election.

Among his other manifold labours & trauiles in spreadyng the doctrine of Christ, he wanne Sergius Paulus the Proconsul of Cyprus, to the fayth of Christ, MarginaliaSaulus turned to Paulus. whereupon he tooke his name as some suppose turned from Saulus to Paulus. After he had passed through diuers places and countries in his laborious peregrinatiōs, he tooke to him Barnabas, and went vp to Hierusalem, to Peter, Iames, and Iohn, MarginaliaPaule sent to the Gentiles. where he was ordeined & sent out with Barnabas to preach vnto the Gentiles.

[Back to Top]

And because it is in the Actes of the Apostles sufficiētly comprehended, concernyng the admirable conuersion, and conuersation of this most worthy Apostle, that whiche remaineth of the rest of his history, I will here adde, how the sayd Apostle Paule, the. 25. yeare after the passion of the Lord, in the second yeare of Nero, what tyme Festus ruled in Iewry, was sent vp in bondes to Rome, where he remayning in his free hostery two yeares together, disputed dayly against the Iewes, prouing Christ to be come. And here is to be noted, that after his first aunswere or purgation there made at Rome, the Emperour Nero, not yet fully cōfirmed in his Empire, & yet not brusting out into those mischiefes, which histories report of him, he was at that tyme by Nero discharged, and dismissed to preach the Gospell in the West partes and about the coastes of Italy, as he hymselfe writyng vnto Timothe, afterward in his second apprehension, in his second Epistle witnesseth, saying: In my first purgation, no man stode with me, but did all forsake me, the Lord lay it not to their charge. But the Lorde stode with me, & did comfort me, that the preachyng of his word might procede by me, and that all the Gentiles might heare and be taught, and I was deliuered out of the Lyons mouth, &c. In which place by the Lyon he playnely meaneth Nero. And afterward likewise sayth: I was deliuered from the mouth of the Lyon, &c. And againe: the Lord hath deliuered me out frō all euill workes, and hath saued me vnto his heauenly kingdome, &c. speakyng this, because he perceiued then, the tyme of his Martyrdome to be neare at hand. For in the same Epistle before he sayeth: I am now offred vp, and the tyme of my dissolution draweth on.

[Back to Top]

Thus then, this worthy preacher and messenger of the Lord, in the. 14. yeare of Nero, and the same day, in whiche Peter was crucified, was beheaded at Rome, for the testimonie of Christ, and was buried in the way of Ostia. The yeare after the passiō of the Lord. 37. He wrote. ix. Epistles to seuen Churches, to the Romaines MarginaliaThe Epistles of S. Paule to vii. Churches. one: to the Corinthians two: to the Galathians one: to the Ephesiās one: to the Philippians one, to the Collossians one: to the Thessalonians two: Moreouer he wrote to his Disciples, to Timothy two: to Titus one: to Philemon one.

[Back to Top]

MarginaliaThe Epistle to the Hebrues. The Epistle which beareth the title to the Hebrues, is not thought to be his, for the difference of the style & phrase: but either iudged to be written of Timothie, as Tertullian supposeth, or of S. Luke, as other do thinke: or els of Clement, afterward Byshop of Rome: who, as they say, was adioyned with Paule, and compyling together his sayinges and sentences, did phrase them in his stile, and maner. Or els, as some do iudge, because S. Paul wrote vnto the Hebrewes, for the odiousnes of his name amonge that people, therefore he dissimuled, and suppressed his name in the first entre of his salutation, contrary to his accustomed conditiō. And as he wrote to the Hebrewes he beyng an Hebrew: so he wrote in Hebrew, that is, in his owne toung more eloquently. And that is thought to be the cause, why it differeth from his other Epistles, and is after a more eloquent maner translated into the Greeke, then his other Epistles be. MarginaliaThe Epistle to Laodicea. Some also read the Epistle writtē to Laodicea, but that is explosed of all men. Hæc Hieronym.

[Back to Top]

As touchyng the tyme and order of the death & Martyrdome of S. Paule, as Eusebius, Hierome, Maximus, and other authors do but briefly passe ouer: So Abdias (if his booke be of any substancial authoritie) speakyng more largely of the same, doth say: MarginaliaAbdias de vitis Lib. 2. that after the crucifying of Peter, & the ruine of Simon Magus, Paule yet remayning in free custody, was dimissed and deliuered at that tyme from Martyrdome, by Gods permission, that all the Gentiles might be replenished with preachyng of the Gospell by him.

[Back to Top]

And the same Abdias procedyng in his story declareth moreouer, that as Paule was thus occupied at Rome, he was accused to the Emperour, not onely for teachyng new doctrine, but also for styrring vp sedition agaynst the Empire. MarginaliaPaule declareth his doctrine to the Emperour. For this he beyng called before Nero, and demaunded to shew the order and maner of his doctrine, there declared what his doctrine was: to teach all men peace and charitie, how to loue one an other, how to preuent one an other in ho- nour, MarginaliaThe summe of Paules doctrine rich men not to be puft in pride, not to put their trust in their treasures, but in the liuyng God. Meane men to be contented with foode and rayment, and with their present state. Poore men to reioyce in their pouertie with hope. Fathers to bryng vp their children in the feare of God. Children to obey their parentes. Husbandes to loue their wiues. Wiues to be subiecte vnto their husbandes. Citizens & subiectes to geue their tribute vnto Cæsar and to be subiect to their Magistrates. Maisters to be curteous, not currish to their seruauntes. Seruaūtes to deale faythfully with their maisters. And this to be the summe of hys teachyng, which his doctrine he receaued not of men nor by men, but by Iesus Christ, and the father of glory, which spake to him from heauē, the Lord Iesus saying to him, that he should go and preach in his name, and that he would be with him, & would be the spirite of lfe to all that beleued in him, and that what soeuer he did or sayd, he would iustifie it, &c. MarginaliaPaule condēned. After that Paule had thus declared vnto the Emperour, shortly after sentence of death was pronounced agaynst him, that he should be headed. Vnto whose executiō then Nero sent two of his Esquiers Ferega and Parthemius, to bryng him word of his death. They comming to Paule, instructing then the people, desired him to pray for them that they might beleue. Who told them that shortly after they should beleue, and be baptised at his Sepulchre (as Abdias writeth.) MarginaliaPaule suffereth. This done the souldiours came, and led him out of the Citie to the place of executiō, where he after his prayers made gaue his necke to the sword. Abdias reporteth, MarginaliaA Legende miracle. that as his head was strickē of, in stede of blood issued out white milke, & that at laying downe his head, he signed him selfe with the signe of a crosse in his forehead: but this beyng founde in no other history, Abdias seemeth either to adde of his owne, or els to borow out of the Legende, as he doth many other thynges beside, wherof more shalbe said (Christ willyng) hereafter. Although the same miracle of milke flowing out of hys necke, is referred also vnto Ambrose, who in his Sermon. 68. (if it be not counterfaited) seemeth to affirme the same. Of the tyme and yeare whē these blessed Apostles did suffer, histories do not all agree. MarginaliaHistories do vary about the tyme of their Martyrdome. They that follow the common opinin, and the Popes decrees say, that both Peter and Paule suffred both in one day and in one yeare, which opinion seemeth to be taken out of Dionisius, Byshop of Corinth. Hierome in his booke De viris illustr. affirmeth that they suffered both in one day, but he expresseth not the yeare. MarginaliaIf this be true that Dionisius recordeth of Paule to suffer vnder Nero the yeare after Peter: then is it false, whiche Hierome before testifieth, Peter to suffer the last yeare of Nero. So doth Isidorus and Eusebius. Symeon Metaphrastes bringeth in the opinion of some, which thinke that Paule suffered not with Peter, but after Peter. Prudentius in his Peristephano, noteth that they both were put to death vpon the same day, but not in the same yeare, and sayth that Paule followed Peter a yeare after.

[Back to Top]

Abdias aboue mentioned, recordeth that Paule suffered two yeres after Peter. Moreouer, if it be true which Abdias sayth, that after the crucifiyng of Peter, Paule remained in his free custody at Rome, mētioned in in the Actes of the Apostles, which was as Hierome witnesseth, the. 3. or. 4. yeare of Nero: then must it be. x. yeare betwixt the Martyrdome of Peter and of Paule, for as much as it is by all writers confessed, that Paule suffered the. 14. yeare, which was the last yeare of Nero. And so Abdias seemeth neither to agree with other authors, nor with himselfe. And thus much of the first persecution.

[Back to Top]

¶ The second persecution. 
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).

[Back to Top]

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.

[Back to Top]

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.

[Back to Top]

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).

[Back to Top]

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.

[Back to Top]

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).

[Back to Top]

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.

[Back to Top]

Mark Greengrass and Matthew Phillpott
University of Sheffield

MarginaliaThe second prosecution
An. 96.
THe first Romane persecution begynnyng under Nero, ceased under Vespasianus, who gaue some rest to the poore Christains. After whose reigne was moued not long after the second persecutiō by the Emperour Domitian brother of Titus. Of whom Eusebius and Orisius so write, MarginaliaEx Orosio Lib 7. that he first beginning mildly, afterward did so farre outrage in pride intollerable, that he cōmaunded him selfe to be worshipped as God, and that images of gold and siluer in his honour should be set vp in Capitolio. The chiefest nobles of the Senators, either vpon enuy, or for their goodes, he caused to be put to death, some openly, and some he sent into banishment, their causing them to be slayne priuely.

[Back to Top]

MarginaliaThe tyranny and intemperaunce of Domitian. And as his tyranny was vnmeasurable, so the intemperancy of his life was no lesse. He put to death all the nephewes of Iuda, called the Lordes brother, and caused to be sought out, and to be slayne all that could be founde of the stocke of Dauid (as Vespasian also did before him) for feare least he were yet to come of the house of Dauid, whiche should enioy the kyngdome. MarginaliaSimeon Byshop of Hierusalem crucified. In the tyme of this persecutour, Symeon Byshop of Hierusalem, after other torments, was crucified to death, whom Iustus afterward succeded in that Byshopricke.

[Back to Top]
In