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113 [113]

Actes and Monumentes of the Churche.

authors name hym not, who þe same tyme flying into Wales was also fette from thence agayne to þe same towne of Verolamium, otherwise called Verlancaster, MarginaliaFlores Historiarum.
The martyrdom of Amphibalus.
where he was martyred, hauyng hys belly opened, and made to runne about a stake, while all his bowels were drawen out, then thrust in wyth swordes and daggers, and at last was stoned to death, as the foresayd legend declareth.

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MarginaliaAaron. Iulius.
Moreouer the same tyme with Alban, suffered also ij. Citizens of the foresayd citie of Verlācaster, whose names were Aaron and Iulius: beside other, wherof a great number the same tyme no doubt, dyd suffer, although our Chronicles of their names doe make no rehersall.

The tyme of the Martyrdome of this blessed Alban and the other, seemeth to be about the second or third yeare of thys tenth persecution, vnder the tyranny of Dioclesian, and Maximinianus Herculius, bearyng thē the rule in England, about the yeare of our Lord 301. before the comming of Constantius to hys gouernment. Where, by the way is to be noted, that thys realme of Britayne beyng so christened before, yet neuer was touched with any of the other. ix. persecutions, before thys tenth persecution of Dioclesian and Maximinian. MarginaliaPersecution in this realme of Britayne. In which persecution our stories & Polichronicon do recorde, that all Christianitie almost in the whole Ileland was destroyed, the Churches subuerted, all bookes of the Scripture burned, many of the faythfull both men and women were slayne. Among whom the first and chiefe ringleader (as hath bene sayd) was Albanus. And thus much touchyng the martyrs of Britayne. Now from England to returne agayne vnto other countryes, where this persecution did more vehemently raygne: we will adde hereunto (the Lord willyng) the stories of other, although not of all that suffred in thys persecution (which were impossible) but of certayne most principall, whose singular constancy in theyr strong tormentes are chiefly renowmed in latter histories: beginning first with Romanus, the notable and admirable souldiour and true seruaunt of Christ, whose history set forth in Preudentius, doth thus proceede: so lamentably by hym described, that it will be hard for any man almost with dry cheekes to heare it.

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MarginaliaThe lamentable story of Romanus Martyr. Pitiles Galerius with his graund captayne Asclepiades violētly inuaded the city of Antioche, entēdyng by force of armes to driue all Christians to renounce vtterly theyr pure religion. 

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Romanus to Cassianus

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).

The Christians as god would, were at that tyme congregated together, to whom Romanus hastely ran, declaring that the Wolues were at hand, which would deuour the christian flocke, MarginaliaThe exhortation of Romanus to the Christians. but feare not (sayd he) neyther let this imminent perill disturbe you, my brethren: brought was it to passe, by the great grace of God workyng in Romanus, that olde men and matrones, fathers and mothers, young men and maydens were all of one wyll and mynde, most ready to shed theyr bloud in defence of their Christian profession. Worde was brought to the captayne that þe band of armed souldiors was not able to wrest the staffe of faith, out of the hand of the vnarmed congregation: and all by reason that one Romanus so mightely did encourage thē, that they sticke not to offer their naked throtes, wishing gloriously to dye for the name of their Christ. Seke out that rebell (quod the captayne) and bring hym to me that he may aunswer for the whole sect. Apprehended he was, & bound as a shepe appoynted to the slaughter house, was presented to the Emperor: who with wrathfull countenance beholdyng him, sayd: What? Art thou the author of this sedition? art thou the cause why so many shall loose their liues? By the gods I sweare, thou shalt smart for it, and first in thy flesh shalt thou suffer the paynes, whereunto thou hast encouraged the hartes of thy fellowes. Romanus aunswered: MarginaliaThe Christian boldnes of Romanus. Thy sentence O Emperour, I ioyfully embrace: I refuse not to be sacrificed for my brethren, and that by as cruell meanes as thou mayest inuent: and wheras thy soldiours were repelled from the christian congregation, that so happened, because it lay not in Idolaters and worshippers of Deuils to enter into the holy house of God, and to pollute the place of true prayer. Then Asclepiades wholy enflamed with this stoute aunswer, commaunded hym to be trussed vp, and his bowels drawn out. The executioners themselues more pitifull in hart then the captayne, said: not so sir, this man is of noble parentage: vnlawfull is it to put a noble man to so vnnoble a death: scourge him then wyth whips (quod the capitaine) with knaps of lead at þe endes. MarginaliaThe noble pacience of Romanus in his suffering. In stede of teares, sighes and grones, Romanus song psalmes all the time of his whipping, requiring them not to fauour hym for nobilities sake, not the bloude of my progenitours (sayd he) but Christian profession maketh me noble. Then with great power of spirit he inueyed against the capitayne, laughyng to scorne the false Gods of the heathen, with the idolatrous worshyppyng of them, affirmyng the God of the Christians to be the true God that created heauen and earth, before whose iudiciall seate all nations shall appeare, but the wholsom wordes of the Martyr were as oyle to the fire of the captaynes fury. The more the Martyr spake, the madder was he, in so much that he cōmaunded the Martirs sides to be launced with kniues, vntyll the bones appeared white agayne. MarginaliaThe preaching of Romanus to the Captayne. Sory am I, O captayn (quod the Martyr) not for that my flesh shall be thus cutte and mangled, but for thy cause am I sorrowfull, who being corrupted with damnable errours, seducest others. The second tyme he preached at large, the liuyng God and the lord Iesus Christ hys welbeloued sonne, eternall lyfe through fayth in his bloud, expressing therwith the abhomination of Idolatry, with a vehement exhortation to worship & adore the liuyng God. At these wordes Asclepiades commaunded the tormentors to strike Romanus on the mouth, that hys teeth beyng striken out, hys pronunciation at lest wise might be impeyred: The commaundement was obeyed, his face buffetted, hys eye liddes torne wyth theyr nayles, hys chekes scorched with knyues, the skinne of hys bearde was plucked by little and little from the flesh, finally his seemely face was wholy defaced. The meeke martyr said: I thāke thee, O Capitayne, that thou hast opened vnto me many mouthes, whereby I may preache my Lord and Sauiour Christ. Looke how many woundes I haue, so many mouthes I haue, laudyng and praysing God. The captayne astonished with this singular constancie, commaunded them to cease from the tortures. He threatneth cruell fire, he reuileth the noble Martyr, he blasphemeth god, saying: MarginaliaAntiquitie alleadged of the Pagans. Thy crucified Christ, is but an yesterdays God, the Gods of the Gentiles are of most antiquitie.

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Here agayne Romanus takyng good occasion, made a long Oration of the eternitie of Christ, of hys humane nature, of the death and satisfaction of Christ for all mākind. Which done, he sayd: geue me a childe (O Captayne) but seuen yeares of age, which age is free from malice and other vices, wherwith riper age is commonly infected, and thou shalt heare what he wyll say, hys request was graunted. A prety boy was called out of the multitude, and set before hym. Tell me my babe (quod the Martyr) whether thou thynke it reason that we worship one Christ, & in Christ one father, or els that we worship infinite gods? MarginaliaThe confessiō of a chylde agaynst Idolatry. Vnto whom he babe aunswered: That certainly, whatsoeuer it be, that men affirme to be God, must needes be one: whiche with one, is one and the same: and in as much as this one is Christ, of necessitie Christ must be the true god, for, that there be many gods, we children cannot beleue. The Capitayne hereat clean amased, sayd: thou yong villaine & traitour, where and of whom learnedst thou thys lesson? Of my mother (quod the childe) with whose milke I sucked in this lesson, that I must beleue in Christ. The mother was called, and she gladly appeared, MarginaliaA childe martyred for the testimony of Christ. the Captayne commaunded the childe to be horsed vp, and scourged. The pitifull beholders of this pitilesse acte, could not temper themselues frō teares: the ioyfull and glad mother alone, stood by with dry cheekes: yea, she rebuked her sweete babe for crauyng a draught of cold water, MarginaliaAn example of vertuous education. she charged hym to thirst after the cup, that the infantes of Bethleem once dranke of, forgettyng theyr mothers mylke and pappes, she willed hym to remember little Isaac, who beholdyng the sworde wherewith, and the altar wheron he should be sacrificed, willingly profered hys tender neck to þe dent of hys fathers sword. Whilest thys counsel was in geuyng, the boucherly tortore pluckt the skin from the crowne of hys head, heare and all. MarginaliaA godly mother of a godly childe. The mother cryed, suffer, my chylde, anone thou shalt passe to hym that wyll adorne thy naked head, with a crowne of eternall glory. The mother counselleth, the chyld is counselled: the mother encourageth, the babe is encouraged: and receiued the stripes with smiling countenaunce. The captaine perceiuyng the childe inuincible, and hymself vanquished, committeth the silly soule, the blessed babe, the chylde vncherished, to the stinkyng prison, commaunding the tormentes of Romanus to be renued and encreased, as chiefe author of this euill.

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Thus was Romanus brought forth agayne to newe stripes and punishmentes, to be renued and receiued vpon hys olde sores, in so much the bare bones appeared, the flesh all torne away: wherein no pity was shewed, but the ragyng tyrant puffing out of hys blasphemous mouth, lyke a madde man these wordes, cryed out to the tormentors, saying:

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MarginaliaThe cruell wordes of the tyraunt.
Where is quod the Captaine, where is your myght?
What? are ye not able one body to spill?
Scant may it, so weake is it, stand vpright:
And yet in spite of vs shall it liue still?

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