MarginaliaCiprian Lib. 1. Epist. 1. sustained great conflictes with the aduersaries, as S. Cyprian geueth witnes, Lib. 1. Epist. 1. Herome testifieth that he remained Byshop after the death of Decius, to the tyme of Gallus, & so appeareth also by S. Cypriā, which hath these wordes: Et tyrānum armis & bello postmodum victum, prior sacerdotio suo vicit. But Damasus and Sabellicus, his folower, affirme that he was both exiled & also martyred vnder the tyrannous reigne of Decius. Of whom Sabellicus writeth this story, takē out (as it seemeth) of Damasus, and sayth: þt Cornelius by the cōmaundemēt of Decius, was banished to a towne called Centumcellas, bordering in Hetruria, from whence he sent letters to Cyprian Byshop of Carthage, and Cyprian agayne to him. MarginaliaCornelius accused for writyng letters to Cyprian. This commyng to the eares of Decius the Emperour, he sendeth for Cornelius, askyng him: how he durst be so bold to shewe such stubburnes, that he neither caryng for the Gods, nor fearyng the displeasure of his Princes, durst, against the common wealth, geue and receaue letters from other. To whom Cornelius aunsweryng agayne, thus purged him selfe, declaring to the Emperour, that letters in deede he had written and receaued agayne concernyng the prayses & honouryng of Christ, and of saluatiō of soules, but nothing as touchyng any matter of the common wealth. And it followeth in the story: Then Decius moued with anger cōmaunded him to be beaten with plumbattes MarginaliaPlumbatris cædi. (which is sayth Sabellicus, a kynde of scourgyng) and so to be brought to the temple of Mars: either there to do sacrifice, or to suffer the extremitie. But he rather willyng to dye, then to committe such iniquitie, prepared him selfe to Martyrdome, beyng sure that he should dye. MarginaliaCornelius Martyred. And so commendyng the charge of the Churche vnto Stephanus his Archdeacō, was brought to the way of Appius, where he ended his life in faythfull martyrdome. Eusebius in one place sayth, that he sat. ij. yeares, in an other place sayth, that he sat three yeares, and so doth Marianus Scotus, followyng also the diuersitie of the sayd Eusebius. Damasus geueth him onely two yeares.[Back to Top]
In this foresayd persecution of Decius, it seemeth by some writers also that Cyprian was banished, but I suppose rather his banishement to be referred to the reigne of Gallus next Emperour after Decius, whereof more shall be sayd, (Christ willyng) in his place hereafter. In the meane tyme the sayd Cyprian in his second booke, Epist. 5. & 6. maketh mention of two that suffered either in the tyme of this Decius, or much about the same tyme. MarginaliaAurelius, Martyr. Of whom one was Aurelius a worthy and valiaunt yoūg man, who was twise in tormentes for his confession, which he neuer denied, but manfully and boldly withstode the aduersarie, till he was banished, and also after. And therfore was cōmēded of Cyprian to certaine brethren, to haue him for their lectorer, as in the forenamed Epistle of Cyprian appeareth. MarginaliaMappalicus, Martyr. The other was named Mappalicus, who the day before he suffered, declaryng to the Proconsul, in the middest of his tormentes, and saying: Videbis cras agonem: that is, to morow you shall see the runnyng for a wager. &c. was brought forth accordyng as he forespake, to Martyrdome, and there with no lesse constancie then pacience did suffer.[Back to Top]
MarginaliaThe death and destruction of Decius. And thus much of the tyrannie of this wicked Decius agaynst God his Saintes,
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).
MarginaliaThe iust punishment of God vpon the Heathen multitude, for persecutyng his people. Neither did the iuste hand of God plage the Emperour onely, but also reuenged as well the heathen Gentiles and persecutours of his word, through out all prouinces & dominions of the Romaine Monarchie, amongst whom the Lord immediatly after the death of Decius, sent such a plage and pestilēce, lastyng for the space of. x. yeares together, that horrible it is to heare, and almost incredible to beleue. Of this plague or pestilēce, testifieth Dionysius to Heriax a Byshop in Egypt. Euseb. Lib. 7. cap. 21. 22. Where he declareth the mortalitie of this plague to be so greate in Alexandria, where he was Bishop, that there was no house in the whole Citie free. And although the greatnes of the plague touched also the Christians somewhat, yet it scourged the Heathen Idolaters much more: beside that the order of their behauiour in the one, & in the other was much diuers. MarginaliaThe brotherly loue & pietie amōg the Christians, shewed in tyme of plague. For, as the foresayd Dionysius doth recorde, the Christians through brotherly loue and pietie, did not refuse one to visite and comfort an other, and to minister to him, what neede required. Notwithstandyng it was to them great dānger: for diuers there were, who in closyng vp their eyes, in washing their bodyes, and interryng them in the grounde, were next them selues which followed them to their graues. Yet all this stayed not them from doyng their duetie, and shewyng mercy one to an other. Where as the Gētiles contrarily, beyng extremely visited by the hād of God, felt the plague, but considered not the striker, neither yet considered they their neighbour, but euery man shiftyng for him selfe, neither cared for one nor for an other: but such as were infected, some they would cast out of the doores halfe dead, to be deuoured of dogges and wilde beastes, some they let dye within their houses, without all succour, some they suffered to lye vnburyed, for that no man durst come neare him. MarginaliaA terrible pestilence raygnyng through all the Romane Monarchy. And yet notwithstandyng for all their voydyng & shiftyng, the pestilence followed them, whether soeuer they went, & miserably consumed them. In somuch, that Dionysius Byshop the same tyme of Alexandria, thus reporteth of his owne Citie: that such a great mortalitie was then among them, that the sayd Citie of Alexandria had not in number of all together, both old and young, as it was wont to containe before of old men onely, such as were found in time past by common almoste in that Citie. Pomponius Lætus, & other Latine writers also makyng mention of the sayd pestilitie, declare how the begynnyng therof first came (as they thinke) out of Ethiope, and from the hot countreyes, and so inuadyng & wastyng first the South partes, from thence spread into the East, & so further runnyng & increasing into all other quarters of the world, especially whersoeuer the Edictes of þe Emperour went agaynst the Christians, it followed after, and consumed the most part of the inhabitaunts, whereby many places became desolate and voyde of all cōcourse, and so continued the terme of. x. yeares together.[Back to Top]
MarginaliaCyprianus Lib. de mortalitate.
Gallus and Volusianus Emperours This pestiferous mortalitie (by the occasion whereof Cyprian tooke the ground to write his booke De mortalitate) began, as is sayd, immediatly after the death of Decius the persecutor, in the beginnyng of the raine of Vibius Gallus, and Volusianus his sonne: who succeeded through treason, next vnto Decius, about the yeare of our Lord. 255. and continued their raigne but twoyeares.
This Gallus although the first beginnyng of his raigne was something quyet, yet shortly after followyng þe steps of Decius, by whom rather he should haue takē better heede, set forth Edictes in like maner for þe persecutiō of Christians, albeit in this Edict we finde no number of Martyrs to haue suffered, but onely all this persecution to rest onely in the exilemēt of Byshops or guides of the flocke. Of other sufferings or executions we do not read: for the terrible pestilence followyng immediatly, kept the barbarous Heathē otherwise occupyed. Vnto this time of Gallus, rather then to the tyme of Decius,
MarginaliaThe first banishment of Cyprian. I referre the banishment of Cyprian, who was then byshop of Carthage. Of the which banishment he hym selfe testifeth in diuers of his Epistles, declaryng the cause therof to rise vpon a commotion or sedition among the people, out of the whiche he withdrew himselfe, lest the sedition should grow greater. Notwithstanding the sayd Cyprian, though beyng absent, yet had no lesse care of his flocke and of the whole Church, then if he had bene present with them. And therefore neuer ceased in his Epistles continually to exhort, and call vpon them to be constaunt in their profession, and pacient in their afflictions.
MarginaliaThe bishops and Priests condemned to metals.
Byshops cōdemned for the name of Christ. Amongest diuers other, whom he doth comfort in his banishment, although he was in that case to be comforted him selfe, writyng to certaine that were condemned to mynyng for metals, whose names were Nemesianus, Felix, Lucius, with other Byshops, Priestes and Deacōs, declareth vnto them, how it is no shame, but a glory, not to be feared, but to be reioyced at, to suffer banishmēt, or other paynes for Christ. And confirming them in the same, or rather commendyng them, signifieth, how worthely they do shew them selues, to be as valiaunt Captaines of vertue, prouokyng both by the confessions of their mouth, and by the sufferyng of their body, the hartes of the brethren to Christian Martyrdome, whose example was and is a great confirmation to many, both maydes and children, to follow the like. As for punishment and sufferyng it is (sayth he) a thyng not execrable to a Christian. For a Christian mans brest, whose hope doth wholy consist in the * Marginalia* That is, in the passion of him that dyed on the tree. tree, dreadeth neither bat nor clubbe: woundes and skars of the body be ornamentes to a Christen man, such as bryng no shame nor dishonesty to the partie, but rather preferreth & freeth him with the Lord. And although in the mynes where the mettals be digged, there be no beds for Christen mens bodyes to take their rest, yet