93. Dist. cap. Diaconi, MarginaliaDist. 93. cap. Diaconi. where is sayd that Euaristus diuided diuers titles in the Citie of Rome to the Priestes, also ordeined in euery Citie. vij. Deacons to associate and assiste the Byshop in his preachyng, both for his defence, and for the witnes of truth. Notwithstandyng if probable coniectures might stand agaynst the autoritie of Gratianus and his Decrees, here might be doubted whether this absolute ordination of Priestes was first forbidden by Euaristus, and whether the intitulation of Priestes was first by hym brought in or not: wherein an instaunce may be geuen to the contrary, that this intitulation seemeth to take his first begynnyng at the Councell of Chalcedon, and of Pope Vrbane in the Councell of Placent. MarginaliaEx dist. 70. cap. Neminc. In the which Councell of Chalcedon the wordes of the Canon (makyng no mention of Euaristus at al) do expressely forbyd, that any Ecclesiasticall person either Priest or Deacon should be ordeined absolutely, otherwise the imposition of handes without some proper title of the partie ordained, to stand voyde and frustrate. &c. MarginaliaIbidem cap. Sanctorum. And likewise Vrbanus in the Councell of Placentia, doth decree the same, alledgyng no name of Euaristus, but the statutes of former Councels.[Back to Top]
Moreouer in the time of Euaristus the church then being vnder terrible persecutions, was deuided in no peculiar Parishes or Cures, wherby any title might rise, but was scatered rather in corners and desertes, where they could best hide thēselues. And as the Church of Rome in those dayes was not deuided into seuerall Parishes or Cures (as I suppose) so neither was thē any such open or solemne preachyng in Churches, that the assistence or testimony of. vij. Deacons either coulde auayle among the multitude of the Heathen, or els needed amongest the Christian secret congregations. Agayne this constitution of vij. Deacons seemeth rather to spryng out of the Councell of Neocesaria long after Euaristus, where it was appointed that in euery Citie, were it neuer so smal, ther should be vij. Deacons after the rule. And this rule the sayd Councell taketh out of the booke of the Actes of the Apostles, making no word or mention of Euaristus at all Dist. 93. MarginaliaEx dist. 93. cap. Diaconi. but these (as is sayd) be but onely coniectures, not denieng that which is commōly re eiued, but onely shewing what may be doubted in their Epistles Decretal.[Back to Top]
MarginaliaThe institutions of Alexander.
Holy water first inuēted.
More vnlike it seemeth to be true that is recorded and reported of Alexander, whereof we read De consec. Dist. 3. that he should be the first founder and finder of holy water mixt with salt, to purge and sanctifie them vpon whom it is sprinkeled. The wordes of the Dist. be these. A quam sale conspersam in populis benedicimus, vt ea cuncti aspersi sanctificentur & purificentur, quod omnibus sacerdotibus faciendum esse mādamus, &c. That is: We blesse water mixt with salt among the people, that al men beyng sprinkled therewith may be sāctified and purified. And this we commaūde all Priests to do. &c.[Back to Top]
Marginaliathe mixting of water with the wine in the chalice.
Que pridie put in the Masse Canon. The opinion is also, but how true I haue not to affirme, that by him first was ordained, water to be mixt with wine in the chalice. Item that by him was brought in the peece of the Masse Canon, begynnyng: Qui pridie &c. And thus much of these foresayd Byshops of Rome, Martyred in the dayes of Traian, and Hadrian.
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 thyrd persecution of the church
100. BEtwene the ij. Romane persecution and the thyrd was but one yeare, vnder the Emperour Nerua. After whō succeded Traianus. And after him folowed the third persecution. So the secōd and the third are noted of some to be both one hauing no more difference but one yeare betwene them.This Traianus, if we looke well vpō his politicke and ciuill gouernānce, might seme in cōparison of other, a right worthy and commendable Prince. Much familiar with inferiours, and so behauyng him selfe towarde his subiectes, as he him selfe would haue the Prince (he sayd) to him, if he were a subiect. Also he was noted to be a great obseruer of iustice, in somuch that when he ordained any Pretour, geuyng to him the sword, he would bid him vse the sword agaynst hys enemies in iust causes, and if he himselfe did otherwise then iustice: to vse thē his power agaynst him also. But for al these vertues toward Christian Religion he was impious and cruell, who caused the third persecution of the Church. MarginaliaPlinius secundus wrate to Traian to stop the persecution. In the which persecution Plinie the second, a man learned and famous, seyng the lamentable slaughter of Christiās, & moued therewith to pitie, wrate to Traianus, of the pitiful persecutiō: certifiyng him, that there were many thousands of them dayly put to death, of which none did any thyng cōtrary to the Romane lawes worthy persecution, sauyng that they vsed to gather together in the morning before day, and sing Hymnes to a certaine God, whom they worshyp-ped, called Christ. In all other their ordinaunces they were godly and honest. Wherby the persecution by commaundement of the Emperour, was greatly stayd and diminished. The forme and copy of which Epistle of Plinie I thought here not inconuenient to set downe as foloweth.
MarginaliaThe Epistle of Plinie to Traianus. IT is my propertie & maner my (soueraigne), to make relation of al those thinges vnto you wherin I doubt. For who can better, either correct my slackenes or instruct mine ignoraunce then you? I was neuer yet present my selfe, at the examination & execution of these Christians. And therfore what punishment is to be administred, and how farre, or how to proceede in such inquisitions, I am playne ignoraunt, not able to resolue in the matter, whether any difference is to be had in age and person, whether the yōng and tender ought to be with like crueltie intreated as the elder and stronger, whether repentaunce may haue any pardon, or whether it may profite hym or not, to denye which hath bene a Christian, whether the name onely of Christians without other offences, or whether the offence ioyned with the name of a Christian ought to be punished. In the meane season as touchyng such Christians as haue beene presented to me, I haue kept this order, I haue inquired the second & third tyme of them, whether they were Christians, manacyng them with feare of punishment, and such as did perseuere, I commaunded to execution. For thus I thought that what soeuer their profession was, yet their stubburnes and obstinacie ought to be punished. Whether they were also of the same madnes, whō because they were Citizens of Rome, I thought to send them backe agayne to the Citie. Afterward in further proces and handlyng of this matter, as the secte did further spread, so the more cases dyd therof insue. There was a libell offered to me bearyng no name, wherein was contained the names of many which denyed them selues to be Christians, contented to do sacrifice with incense, and wyne to the Gods and to your Image (which Image I for that purpose caused to be brought) and to blaspheme Christ: wherunto none such as were true Christians in deede could be compelled, and those I did discharge and let go. Other some confessed that they had bene Christians, but afterward denyed the same, &c.
MarginaliaThe vse of Christians in the primatiue Church.
The testimony of the Heathen of the Christiās Affirmyng vnto me the whole summe of that secte or errour, to consiste in this, that they were wont at certaine tymes appoynted to conuēt together before day, and to sing certayne Hymnes to one Christ their God, and to confederate among themselues to abstayne from all theft, murther, and adultery, to keepe their fayth and to defraude no man: whiche done, then to depart for that tyme, and afterward to resorte agayne, to take meate in companyes together both men and womē one with an other, and yet without any acte of euils. MarginaliaTwo maydens racked for Christ In the truth wherof, to be further certified, whether it were so or not, I caused two maydēs to be layd on the racke, and with tormentes to be examined of the same. But findyng no other thyng in them but onely lewde and immoderate superstition, I thought to surcease of further inquirie, till tyme that I might be further aduertised in the matter from you, for so that matter seemed vnto me worthy and needeful of aduisement, especially for the great number of those that were in daunger of your statute. For very many there were of all ages and states, both men and women which then were, and more are lyke hereafter to incurre the same perill of condemnation. For that infection hath crept not onely in Cities, but villages also and boroughes about, whiche seemeth that it may be stayed and reformed. For as much as we see in many places that the temples of oure Gods which were wont to be desolate, begyn now agayne to be frequented, and that they bryng sacrifices from euery part to be sold, whiche before very few were found willyng to bye them. Wherby it may easely be coniectured, what multitudes of men may be amended, if space and tyme be geuen them, wherin they may be reclaimed.
MarginaliaThe answere of Traian to Plinies letter. THe Acte and statute, my Secundus, concernyng the causes of the Christians which ye ought to follow, ye haue rightly executed. For no suche generall law can be enacted, wherin all speciall cases particularly can be comprehended. Let them not be sought for, but if they be brought & conuicted, then let them suffer execution: So notwithstandyng that whosoeuer shall deny himselfe to be a Christian, and that he do it vnfaynedly in open audience, and do sacrifice to our Gods, howsoeuer he hath bene suspected before, let hym be released vpon promise of amendement. Such libels[Back to Top]