a great obseruer of iustice, in so much that when he ordained any Pretour, geuing to him the sword, he would bid him vse the sword against his ennemies in iust causes, and if he himselfe did otherwise then iustice, to vse thē his power against him also. But for al these vertues toward Christian religion he was impious and cruell, who caused the third persecution of the Church. MarginaliaPlinius secūd. wrate to Traian to stop the persecution.In the which persecution Plinie the second, a mā learned and famous, seing þe lamētable slaughter of Christians, and moued therewith to pitye, wrate to Traianus, of the pitiful persecution: certifieng him, that ther were many thousandes of them daylye put to death, of which none did any thing contrary to the Romane lawes woorthy persecution, sauing that they vsed to gather together in the morning before day, and syng himnes to a certayne God, whom they worshipped, called Christ. In all other theyr ordināces they were godly & honest. Wherby the persecution by cōmaundement of the Emperour, was greatly stayde and diminished.[Back to Top]
Ex Euse. li. 3. Cap. 35, 36
Ex Hiero. In catalogo Scrip ecclesiast.In this persecution beside many other, suffered the blessed and heauenly soldiour and Martyr of Christ Ignatius, who vnto this day is had in famous reuerence among very manye. This Ignatius was appointed to the bishopricke of Antioche next after Peter in succession. Some do say, that he being sent frō Syria to Rome, because he professed Christ, was geuē to the wild beasts to be deuoured. It is also sayd of him, that when he passed through Asia, being vnder the most straight custody of his garders, he strengthned & confirmed the parishes through al the Cities as he went, both with his exhortacions and preaching of the word of God: and admonished them, especially and before al other thinges, to beware and shoonne those heresies risen vp and sproong newly among them, and that they shoulde cleaue and sticke fast to the tradition of the Apostles, which he for their better safegarde, being about to denounce, or put in writing, thought it a thing very necessary to trauell in. And thus when he came to Smyrna, wher Policarpus was, he wrote one Epistle to the Congregation of Ephesus, wherin he made mention of Onesimus their Pastour, MarginaliaOnesimus pastor at Ephesus.>and an other he wrote vnto the congregation of Magnesia, being at Meandre, wherin also he forgetteth not Dama their bishop. Also an other he wrote to the congregation of Trallis: the Gouernour of which City at that time he noteth to be one Polibius. Vnto which congregation he made an exhortacion, least they refusing Martyrdome, shoulde leese the hope that they desired.
But it shalbe very requisite that I alledge somwhat therof to the declaration of this matter. He wrote therfore as the words lye in this sort:
MarginaliaThe wordes of Ignatius.
The straighte handling of Ignatius.From Siria (saith he) euin till I came to Rome, had I a battail with beastes, as wel by sea, as land, both day and night, being boūde in þe middest of ten cruell Libards (that is, the company or band of the soldiours) which, the more benefites that they receaued at my handes, became so much the wurse vnto me. But I being exercised and now wel aquainted with their iniuries, am taught euery day more & more: but hereby am I not yet iustified. And would to God I were once come to the beastes, which are prepared for me. Which also I wish with gaping mouthes were ready to come vpon me, whom also I wil prouoke that thei without delay may deuour me, & forbeare me nothing at all, as those whom before they haue not touched or hurt for feare. And if they wil not, vnles they be prouoked, I wil then inforce thē against my self. Pardon me I praye you. How muche beneficial it is to me, I know. Now begin I to be a scholer. MarginaliaThe notable cōstancy, and burning zeale to Christ in this blessed martyr to be marcked.I force or esteme no visible things, nor yet inuisible thinges, so that I maye get or obtayn Christ Iesu. Let the fire, the galowes, the deuouring of wilde beasts, the breaking of bones, the pulling a sunder of my members, the broosing or pressingof my whole bodie, and the torments of the deuil or hell it selfe come vpon me, so that I may win Christ Iesus.
And these thinges verely wrote he from the foresaide Citye, vnto the congregations which we haue recited. And when he was euen nowe iudged to be throwne to the beastes, he spake, for the burning desire that hee had to suffer, what time he hearde the Lyons roaring: I am the wheate or graine (saith he) of Christe, MarginaliaIgnatius deuoured of wild beastsI shall be grownd with the teeth of wylde beastes, that I maye be found pure bread. He suffred in the. xj. yeare of Traian the Emperour. Hæc Eusebius, et Hieronym.[Back to Top]
Besides this holy and blessed Martyr Ignatius, ther were manye thousandes also put to death in the same persecution, as appeareth by the letter of Plinius secundus aboue recited, written vnto the Emperour.
MarginaliaEx Hiero. li. de viris illustrib.
Publius byshop of Athenes Martyr.Hierome in his booke intituled De viris illustrib. maketh mention of one Publius bishop of Athens, who for the faith of Christ, the same time during this persecutiō was put to death and martyred.
After whom succeded next in that roume Quadratus bishop of Athens, who congregated again the flocke and congregation which in that time for feare of persecution was scattered,
MarginaliaQuadratus Aristides writers in defence of Christian religion.
119.which Qaudratus and Aristides two worthy and learned men, wrote and exhibited vp certaine bookes to Adrian the Emperour (which succeeded next after Traianus) in defence of christian religiō. By the meanes whereof the Emperour was moued to write to Minutius Fundanus Proconsull of Asia, that no man should persecute the Christians.
MarginaliaEx lib cui titulus Scala Mundi
120.Vnder the raigne of this Adrian, suffered also Alexander bishop of Rome. Also a certaine old storye intituled Scala Mundi, sayth that with hym likewise suffered Hermes, one of the chiefe rulers of the Citye, whom he had conuerted to the faith. Also Euentius a priest, and Theodolus a Deacon, with diuers other, which at the same time with Alexander were put to death. Moreouer in the forenamed autor, mention is made of Sabina, and Serophia a virgine, which in the same time of thys third persecution were crowned wt the like martyrdom.
In the rage of this third persecution, vnder the raigne of Antonius Pius, suffered also good Iustinus, a man in learning and Philosophy excellent, and a great defender of Christian religion. Who first exhibited vnto the Emperour and to the Senate, a booke or Apologie in defence of the Christians, and afterward himselfe also died a Martyr. Of whom in the history of Eusebius lib. 4. cap. 16. MarginaliaEx Eusebio. lib. 4. cap. 16.it is thus recorded: That about what time, or a litle before þt Polycarpus with other diuers saintes suffred Martyrdome in Pargamopolis, a citye of Asia, this Iustinus (as is aforesaide) presented a booke in defence of our doctrine to the Emperour, to wit vnto Antonius, and to the Senat. After which he was also crowned with like martyrdome vnto those, whom he in hys booke had defended, throughe the malicious meanes, and crafty circumuention of Crescens.[Back to Top]
MarginaliaCrescens a Philosopher procurer of the death of Iustinus.This Crescens was a Philosopher conforming hys life and maners to the Cynicall sect, whom for because this Iustinus had reproued in opē audience, & had borne away the victory of the truth which he defended, he therfore as much as in him lay, did worke and procure vnto him this crowne of martyrdome. And this did also Iustine him selfe a Philosopher, no lesse famous by his profession, foresee and declare in his foresaid Apology, telling almost al those thinges before hand which shoulde happen vnto him, by these wordes saying: And I looke after this good turne, that I be slain going by the way, either of some of those whom I haue named, & to haue my braines beaten out with a bat, or els of Crescens, whom I cannot call a Philosopher, but rather a vaine boaster. For it is not conuenient to call him a Philosopher, which openly professeth thinges to him vnknowē, and wherof he hath no skil, saying and reporting of vs,[Back to Top]