JOHN THE BAPTIST,
SON OF ZACHARIAS AND ELISABETH, BEHEADED IN THE CASTLE OF MACHAERUS, AT THE COMMAND OF HEROD ANTIPAS, A. D. 32
|Ruins of Castle of Macharus - where John the Baptist was beheaded
This John, surnamed the Baptist, because he was ordained of God to baptize the penitent, the
son of the priest Zacharias, and his wife Elisabeth; whose name was made known to his parents through the angel of God, before
he was born. Luke 1:5,13.
he was about thirty years old (about six months before the Lord Jesus Christ began to preach), in the fifteenth year of the
reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor, and Annas and Caiaphas the high priests, he was called and sent of
God, to preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, to prepare the way for the Messiah, as an angel or messenger
before the face of Christ, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children. Luke 3:1, 2; Mark 1:2,3; Luke 1:17.
Of the dignity of this man the angel of the
Lord had said, that many would rejoice at his birth, that he would be great in the sight of the Lord, to make ready a people
well-prepared (as not only the prophets, but also Zacharias had prophesied of him through the Spirit of the Most High), to
give knowledge of salvation unto the people of the Lord for the remission of their sins. Luke 1:14,15, 77.
John, being thus sent of God, to bear witness
of Christ, that He is the true light, came to the Jordan, at Salim, and other places, teaching and baptizing. John 3:23.
In the meantime, while he was baptizing the penitent,
Christ Himself came to him (to confirm this holy work), and asked to be baptized by him. But when John, from humility and
good intention, declined, Christ instructed him that this was necessary, saying,"Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all
righteousness." Then he baptized the Lord. Matt. 3:13-16.
He held the Lord Jesus in high estimation, calling Him the Lamb of God, the Bridegroom
of His church, the true Messiah, whose shoes he was not worthy to bear. John 1:29; 3:29; Matt. 3:11.
He himself possessed such great influence, though in humility, that many were in doubt
whether he was not himself the Messiah; hence the Pharisees sent their messengers to him, to inquire of him his vocation,
mission, authority, etc. To all this he answered candidly and with an humble heart, saying,"I am not the Christ."
John 1:19, 20.
course of his pilgrimage drew near its close, a certain matter occurred, which was the cause of his death, and happened as
follows: King Herod Antipas had committed a wicked deed; namely, he had taken his brother Philip's wife, having put away
his own wife, the daughter of Aretas, king of Arabia; which conduct John the Baptist, on account of his ministry, could not
let go unreproved, but called Herod's attention to it, according to the law, saying,"It is not lawful for thee to
have her" (Matt. 14:4).
even as the ungodly will not be reproved, so it was with Herod; for he conceived a hatred for John, and sought opportunity
to kill him. But, since many had a very high opinion of this pious man, and great numbers, therefore, came to him, Herod,
for the present, did not dare to lay hands on him, to kill him; however he did not let him go free, but imprisoned him in
the castle of Machaerus. Euseb. Hist. Eccl lib. 1 chap 11.
In the meantime John did not relax in his calling, but even from prison sent some of his disciples to Christ, that they
with the others might assure themselves through the doctrine and the miracles which they would there hear and see, that Christ,
and none other, was the true Messiah. Matt. 11:2; Luke 7:18.
Thereupon, not only when these messengers came, but also on many other occasions, Christ
testified of the greatness and worthiness of John the Baptist; namely, that he was the true spiritual Elias, a burning and
shining light, the greatest prophet among all those born of women. Matt. 11:14; John 5:35; Luke 7:28.
went on, meanwhile, and the hour of his departure was near at hand. As regards the circumstances of his death, they are thus
described by the holy evangelist Matthew, chap. 14:3-12, "For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him
in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife. For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have
her. And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet. But when Herod's
birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod. Whereupon he promised with an oath to give
her whatsoever she would ask. And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist's head in
a charger. And the king was sorry: nevertheless for the oath's sake, and them which sat with him at meat, he commanded
it to be given. her. And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison. And his head was brought in a charger, and given to the
damsel: and she brought it to her mother. And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus."
Josephus, the Jewish historian, also makes mention of the death of John the Baptist,
in the 7th chapter of the 18th book of his history of the Jews, where he writes thus, "There was a common report among
the Jews, that Herod's army was destroyed through the righteous judgment of God, on account of John, who is called the
Baptist. For Herod, the tetrarch, caused this pious man to be slain; who exhorted the Jews to all manner of virtue and righteousness,
led them to baptism, and said, that their baptism would only then be acceptable to God, if they would abstain, not merely
from one or two sins, but would earnestly purify the heart, through righteousness, and afterwards also the body. "Since
great numbers flocked to him, and the people were very eager for his doctrine, Herod feared, lest he (John) might induce the
people, with whom his influence was great, to sedition; for it seemed, as if they would do everything according to his will
and counsel. He therefore thought it best, to have him killed. For that reason he caused him to be imprisoned in the aforesaid
castle Machaerus, and there put to death."
This happened, according
to our reckoning, in the year thirty-two after the birth of Christ, in the seventeenth year of Tiberias, the Roman emperor;
and thus was this great light of the church of God extinguished in the midst of its brightness, to the sorrow of many pious
is stated that his body rested at Sebasta, in Palestine, till the time of Julian, when his bones were burned by the enemies
of truth, and his ashes scattered to the wind. Histor. Tripart. lib. 1. cap. 15. Theod. lib. 3. carp. 6.
|Jewish historian Flavius Josephus 38-100 AD
OF THE SEVEN DEACONS OF THE CHURCH AT JERUSALEM, STONED WITHOUT THE GATE OF THE CITY, BY THE LIBERTINES, A. D. 34,
SHORTLY AFTER THE DEATH OF CHRIST
which in Greek signifies a crown, was one of the seven deacons of the church at Jerusalem, a man full of faith and the wisdom
of God. Acts 6:5.
was well versed in the holy Scriptures of the Old Testament, and very eloquent. It happened that there arose certain of the
sect of the Libertines, Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, and disputed with Stephen; and they were
not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake. Then they suborned a few men to say: We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and
against God. And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought
him to the council, and set up false witnesses, to say, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy
place, and the law: for we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the
customs which Moses delivered us. And all that sat in the council, looking steadfastly on him, saw his face, as it had been
the face of an angel. Acts 6:9-15.
said the high priest to him, Are these things so? Thereupon, this god-fearing man explained himself and answered with many
reasons; he, moreover, adduced, as if with a heavenly tongue, and with incontrovertible reasons, many scriptures of the Old
Testament, to show that Christ is the true Messiah, and that the Gospel is true. Acts 7: 1-53.
But when he began to speak with great warmth, and to set before the eyes of his accusers
their bloodthirstiness, their wrath was kindled the more against him, for these things cut them to the heart, and they gnashed
on him with their teeth. Verse 54.
But he, being full of the
Holy Ghost, looked up into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said: Behold,
I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Verses 55 and 56.
they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, and cast him out of the city,
and stoned him; and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul. Verses 57 and 58.
In the meantime he called and said,
Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. He kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when
he had said this, he fell asleep. Verses 59 and 60.
was the end of this upright man Stephen, to whom the honor of Jesus Christ was dearer than his own life. It is stated to have
taken place in the year thirty-four after the birth of Christ, in the nineteenth year of the reign of Tiberius, which was
the thirty-eighth year of his age. It happened in the seventh year after the baptism of Christ. Nic. lib. 2. cap.
|Tiberius and Livia coin
The laureate head of Tiberius is on the left surrounded with the inscription "TI CAESAR DIVI AVG
F AVGVSTVS", while seated on the right is his mother Livia, holding a scepter and branch with inscription "PONTIF
This having occurred, some godfearing men attended to the body, and carried it to the
grave, greatly lamenting this pious martyr. The stones were to him as rivers of sweetness. August. cap. 22. Sold.
|Lion's Gate where Stephen was stoned to death
JAMES, THE SON OF ZEBEDEE, PUT TO DEATH WITH THE SWORD, BY HEROD AGRIPPA, IN JERUSALEM, A. D. 45
|King Harod Agrippa II coin
surnamed the Greater, was the son of Zebedee and Salome, and a fisherman by occupation; but, Christ having called him to be
His disciple, he abandoned fishing, and followed Christ. Matt. 4:21; Mark 1:19.
He was instructed for a considerable time together with the other disciples in
the duties of the apostleship, until he was properly sent out in that capacity. Matt. 10:2; Mark 6:17; Luke 6:13.
He was endowed with the gift of working signs and miracles, and on account of this special gift he was one of the three
surnamed Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder. He was with Jesus on every remarkable occasion; so much so,
that he was chosen by the Lord to behold His glory upon the holy mount; and, afterwards, to witness His sufferings in the
garden of Gethsemane. Mark 3:17, 18; Matt. 17:1; 26:36.
Of him Christ had predicted, that he should drink of the same cup, of which He
(Christ) would drink, and that he should be baptized with the same baptism, with which He was baptized; that is, that he should
be subject to His (Christ's) suffering and death. Matt. 20:22, 23.
After the death of Christ he joined the other apostles, to be a witness with them,
of His suffering, death, and resurrection, and to be instructed concerning His kingdom during the forty days after His resurrection.
After Christ's ascension he also remained at Jerusalem;
and when he, together with the other apostles, had there received the Holy Ghost, he preached the Gospel in Judea and Samaria.
as some relate, he went to Spain; but, meeting with little success, he returned to Judea, where, it is said, he was opposed
by Hermogenes, a sorcerer. But as Abdias, bishop of Babylon, and others, relate many things of him, which seem to be altogether
fictitious, we shall not mention them. Petr. de nat. lib. 6. cap. 133. Abdias Babyl. van den Strijd der Apostelen.
This apostle lived only until the
fourth year of the Emperor Claudius, at which time, Agabus had predicted, there should be a dearth throughout all the world.
Oros. lib. 7.
that time Claudius charged Herod Agrippa to suppress the church of Christ. Then Herod laid his bloody hands on this apostle
and, on the feast of the passover, put him in prison. Shortly afterwards he was sentenced to death, and executed with the
sword, in Jerusalem. This occurred in the year forty-five after the birth of Christ. Acts 12:2.
Clemens relates that the executioner, seeing his innocence, was converted to the Christian faith, and died with him. According
to the annotation of Eusebius Pamphilius, from Clemens Alexandrinus, the executioner was so moved on account of the death
of James, that he professed himself to be a Christian; and so, as he states, both were led forth together to death. As they
were led out, the executioner asked James to forgive him. James, after a little deliberation, said,"Peace be with thee,"
and kissed him. And thus both were beheaded. Euseb. lib. 2. cap. 9. ex Clem. Alexand. Also W. Baudart. Apophthegmat.
lib. 1. page 4. from Joach. Camer. in vita Christi, page 42. Niceph. lib. 2. cap. 3. Strac. in Festo Jacobi,
page 209. Cie. Circa, cap. 45. Annum. James was the first martyr of the apostles. This history shows the alacrity
of the ancient believers.
THE HOLY APOSTLE PHILIP, BOUND WITH HIS HEAD TO A PILLAR, AND STONED, AT HIE RAPOLIS, IN PHRYGIA,
A. D. 54
|Hierapolis - City where Philip was stoned to death
a native of Bethsaida, in Galilee, had a wife and daughters of very honorable life. John 1:44; 12:21; Euseb.
Hist. Eccles. lib. 3. cap. 30; 31.
was found of Christ, and called as His disciple to follow Him; which he did so faithfully, that when he found Nathanael, he
brought him to Christ, declaring to him, that he had found Him of whom Moses and the prophets had written, namely, Jesus of
Nazareth, the true Messiah. John 1:45.
From that time on, Philip constantly
followed Christ, listening to His admonitions, and beholding the miracles He performed to the service of the word of God;
so that Christ ordained him an apostle, and sent him out to preach the Gospel, in the first place to the scattered sheep of
the house of Israel; which he also like his fellow apostles did. Matt. 10:3; Luke 6:13-15.
The Lord esteemed him as one of His greatest friends; for at the glorious miracle of
the feeding of five thousand, Christ, in order to prove him, counseled with him, saying,"Whence shall we buy bread, that
these may eat?" (John 6:5) .
was also kindly instructed by the Lord, when he asked to see the Father; for Christ said to him,Philip, he that hath seen
me hath seen the Father, etc. John 14:8, 9.
when certain Greeks wished to see Jesus, and desired him to procure them access to the Lord, he came with Andrew and told
it to the Lord, who answered,"The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified" (John 12:20-23) .
This pious and godly apostle remained
with the Lord, even to His suffering; and, after their dispersion, when Christ had arisen, he abode with his brethren, until
they, according to the promise of Christ, received the Holy Ghost, after His ascension. Luke 24:32, 33; Acts 2:4.
After the distribution of the countries,
he taught several years in Scythia, where he planted many churches; and since Syria and the upper part of Asia fell to his
particular share, he laid the foundations of faith in many of these cities. Pet. de Nat. lib. 4. crap. 107. Nic.
lib. 2. cap. 39.
he came to Phrygia, and wrought several signs at Hierapolis. There the Ebionites, who not only denied the divinity of Christ,
but also worshiped idols, continued obstinately in their blasphemous doctrines and idolatry, and did not listen to this pious
apostle of Christ, but apprehended him, and, having made his head fast to a pillar, stoned him; whereupon death ensued, and
he thus fell asleep in the Lord. His body was buried in the aforementioned city Hierapolis. Konst-tooneel, van veertigh
heerlijke afbeeldingen Christi, ende sijner Apostelen, etc. In the life of Philip. Bybelsch Naembceck van P. J. Tzeisk,
letter P. on the name Philippus, fol. 762. col. 2. Also, Introduction to the Martyrs' Mirror of the
Baptists, printed in the year 1631, fol. 35. col. 1.
JAMES, THE SON OF ALPHEUS, OR BROTHER OF THE LORD, CAST DOWN FROM THE TEMPLE, STONED, AND BEATEN
TO DEATH WITH A CLUB, A. D. 63
|James was casts over the Temple walls
Lesser was the son of Alpheus, and Mary Cleophas, sister to the mother of Christ; he is called the Lord's brother. Matt.
10:3; Gal. 1:19.
proper instruction he was ordained an apostle by Christ, and sent out to minister to the Jews; wherein he acquitted himself
well, until Christ's death. After that, he, with others, was sent out to preach the Gospel, which he did in the Jewish
church. Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:15.
although Peter, and James and his brother John, of whom the last-mentioned two were the sons of Zebedee, were regarded as
the special apostles, he was nevertheless considered to be one of the three pillars of the church, after the death of James
the son of Zebedee, Gal. 2:9.
was appointed by the apostles the first overseer of the church at Jerusalem; this was shortly after the death of Christ. Euseb.
lib. 4. cap. 5. and lib. 2. cap. 23.
This office he discharged faithfully for thirty years, converting many to the true faith,
not only (though principally) by the pure doctrine of Christ, but also through his holy life, on account of which he was called
the just. Niceph. lib. 2. carp. 38.
was very steadfast and holy, a true Nazarite, in dress as well as in eating and drinking; and prayed daily for the church
of God and the common weal.
This apostle wrote an epistle for the consolation
of the twelve tribes who were scattered abroad, saying: James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve
tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations. James 1:1,
although he comforted with many excellent reasons his own, who believed in the name of Christ, the unbelieving Jews could
not endure his doctrine; so that Ananias, an audacious and cruel young man among them, being the high priest, summoned him
before the judges, that they should compel him to deny that Jesus is the Christ, and force him to renounce the Son of God
and the power of His resurrection. Josep. Antiq. lib. 20. cap. 8. Euseb. lib. 2. cap. 1. verse
22. ex Egesipp. Hieron. Catal.
this end, the chief priest, scribes, and Pharisees placed him upon the pinnacle of the temple, at the time of the passover,
that he should deny his faith before all the people. But as he thus stood before the people, he confessed with much more boldness
that Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah, the Son of God, our Saviour, and that he is sitting at the right hand of God, and
shall come again in the clouds of heaven, to judge the quick and the dead.
On account of this testimony of James, the multitude of the people praised God, and
magnified the name of Christ. Then cried the enemies of the truth, Oh, the just also has erred; let us take him away for he
is unprofitable. They accordingly cast him down, and stoned him. But as he was not killed by the fall and the stoning, having
only broken his legs, he, lying on his knees, prayed to God for those who stoned him, saying, Lord, forgive them; for they
know not what they do. On account of this, one of the priests begged for his life, saying, What do ye? the Just is praying
for us. Leave off stoning! But another of those present, who held a fuller's stick in his hand, struck him over the head
with it, so that he died, and fell asleep in the Lord. He was buried at the place where he had been thrown down from the temple.
Hieron. Catalog. in Jacobo Justo. Also, W. Baudart. Apophthegmat. lib. 1. ¢. 6. ex Euseb. Pamphil.
Ccesariense, in hist. Eccl. Strac. in Festo Philippi and Jacobi, p. 133. Anno 62. C. Aetat. Jacobi.
This occurred A. D. 63, in the
ninety-sixth year of his age, in the seventh year of the reign of Nero, during an interim in the governorship between the
death of Festus and the arrival of Albinus, under the high priest Ananias, who perpetrated this lamentable deed on James.
Concerning this James the following
is contained in the Apophthegms of Baudartius, "He was on his bare knees so often and for such long periods, praying
to the Lord God for the remission of the sins of the people, that his knees were so hard and callous, that there was no sensation
in them at all. lib. 1. p. 7._ O the great and constant piety of this holy martyr!
BARNABAS, A COMPANION OF THE APOSTLE PAUL, DRAGGED OUT OF THE CITY AND BURNED, AT SALAMINA IN CYPRUS,
A. D. 64
|Ruins of Salamis of Cyprus
Barnabas, also called Barsabas, and surnamed Joseph, Joses, or Justus, was a Levite
from Cyprus, full of the Holy Ghost. He was called the son of consolation, and such a one he indeed proved himself to the
poor saints. Acts 11:24; 1:23; 4:36; Euseb. hilt. Eccl. lib. 2. cap. 1.
It is maintained that he was one of the seventy disciples of Christ, and from the multiplicity
of his names we can see his renown and eminence; which latter he gained by his zeal and piety; for he brought Paul, after
his conversion, to the apostles; and when the Word of God was preached to the Grecians, at Antioch, by some men from Cyprus
and Cyrene, he was sent by the apostles to investigate the matter; and when he found it to be so, he confirmed them in the
truth. Acts 9:27; 11:20-23.
After this he went to Tarsus, to seek Paul, and brought
him to Antioch, where they remained a whole year teaching. Also, when the dearth arose under emperor Claudius, he and Paul
brought substantial relief to the brethren who dwelt in Judea. Acts 11:25, 26, 29, 30; Oros. lib. 7. cap. 6. Euseb. hist.
Eccl. lib. 2. cap. 3. 9.
his return to Antioch, he was sent out by the Holy Ghost, to preach in many countries. On account of his eloquence he was
frequently the speaker; yea, he was held in such high regard, and was so godly, that the Gentiles at Lystra cried in the speech
of Lycaonia, that he was a god, and had come down from heaven, and called him Jupiter.
And this was not all;
but the priest of that place came with oxen wearing garlands, and desired to do sacrifice to him and Paul. But he and his
companion Paul utterly declined this, saying,"Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you,
and preach unto you that you should turn from these vanities unto the living God." Acts 12:25; 13:4-6; 14:1, 2, 11,12,15.
when certain men came from Judea, and troubled the brethren, saying,"Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses,
ye cannot be saved," he and his aforementioned companion vigorously opposed them, according to the teaching of the holy
Gospel; wherefore he and several other pious men were appointed to go to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, to bring said
matter to a good termination. When they arrived at Jerusalem, he and the others were received joyfully by the apostles and
the church; yea, what is still more, they testified of him and his companion Paul, that they were men who had hazarded their
lives for the truth; which indeed was apparent. Acts 15:1, 26. For, when he came to Salamina, a large city in the island of
Cyprus, at this day called Famagosta, to strengthen the church at that place in the faith, he was very badly treated, as ancient
history tells us, by a Jewish sorcerer, who stirred up all the other Jews and the whole people against him, so that they apprehended
him in an uproar, and were about to bring him to the judge, but fearing that the judge discovering his innocence, would perhaps
release him, they, after treating him lamentably, put a rope around his neck, dragged him out of the city, and burned him.
Anton. p. 1. t. 6. cap. 18. Sabell. Eu. 7. lib. 2.
Thus was this faithful servant of Christ honored with the martyr's crown, in his
fatherland, and fell asleep happy in the Lord, about the time that James the Just was slain at Jerusalem, under Emperor Nero;
however, before the publication of the first heathen persecution, which began shortly after the burning of Rome. Plat.
in vita Petri. and Pauli. Bybelsch Naembcpk, p. 158, 159. letter B. ujt hilt. Andr. fol. 8.
HOW MARK, THE HOLY EVANGELIST, DRAGGED TO THE STAKE AT ALEXANDRIA, DIED ON THE WAY, A. D. 64
evangelist Mark is supposed by most to have been that Mark whose surname in Holy Scripture is John. He was of the circumcision,
and a nephew of Barnabas, whose mother was called Mary, a very godly woman, who gave her house in Jerusalem for the assembling
of Christians. Acts 12:12; Col. 4:10. Niceph. lib. 2. cap. 33.
He was first appointed a servant of Paul and Barnabas, but on a journey to Pamphylia he returned to Jerusalem. Acts 12:25;
Afterwards the apostle Paul recommended him to the church at Colosse, requesting them to receive him as a fellow worker
in the kingdom of God. He also commanded Timothy, to bring Mark to him, since he was very profitable to him in his ministry.
Col. 4:10; II Tim. 4:11.
This Mark was in prison with Paul, and rendered him all faithful assistance in his bonds. Philem. verses 23, 24.
The apostle Peter in his
epistle to the elect scattered strangers, calls Mark his son, I Pet. 5:13; undoubtedly, because through the Gospel, he had
regenerated him in Christ; or, because he was his disciple, interpreter, and the writer of the Gospel which he had taught;
of which latter circumstance Jerome speaks thus, "Mark, a disciple of Peter, at the request of the brethren at Rome,
wrote a brief Gospel, according to that which he had heard Peter relate. When Peter had examined it, he pronounced it good.
and upon his word gave it to the church to read." Catalog. Marc. ex Cl. Al Hypor. 6. Also, Euseb. lib.
2. cap. 18, ex Clem Al. and Papio Hierapolit.
when Mark was sent by Peter to Egypt, he traveled through Aquilea, the capital city of Friol, where he converted
many to the faith, and left Hermagoras as pastor over the church. Avent. au. Boi. lib. 2.
Then he journeyed to Africa, filling Lybia, Marmorica, Ammonica, and Pentapolis
with the doctrine of the holy Gospel. Finally he remained several years at Alexandria, where he made his abode. Nic. lib.
2. cap. 43 A thaw. in Synopsi.
Concerning the end of his
life, Gelasius states, that he died there as a martyr. Concil. Rom Deer. de lib. Auth. and Apocr. Niceph. lib. 2.
Mark, he writes, having been sent by Peter
to Egypt, faithfully preached the Word of truth there, and nobly sealed the testimony thereof with his blood. All the ancient
and modern, Greek and Latin, martyrologies agree with this.
Histories state the following concerning the manner of his death: That in the
eighth year of Nero, when he, at the feast of the passover, preached the blessed remembrance of the suffering and death of
Christ, to the church at Alexandria, the heathen priests and the whole populace seized him, and with hooks and ropes which
they fastened around his body, dragged him out of the congregation, through the streets and out of the city; so that his flesh
everywhere adhered to the stones, and his blood was poured out upon the earth, until he, with the last words of our Saviour,
committed his spirit into the hands of the Lord, and expired. Anton. p. 1. cap. 6. 16. Procop. Dia Metaphr. Ado.
25. Apr. de Fest. Apost.
Another ancient writer relates:
That he was dragged very inhumanly through the streets, his whole body torn open, so that there was not a single spot on it,
which did not bleed; .and that they then again thrust him, still alive, into prison, whence he, having been strengthened and
comforted by the Lord in the night, was taken.out again, and dragged to the place Buculi, they jestingly saying,"Let
us lead the buffalo to the buffalostall." Konst-tooneel der veertig heerlijke afbeeldingen Christi en der postelen,
printed Anno 1609. Alos, Bybelsch Nwmboek, printed Anno 1632, letter M. p. 642. col. 1. 2.
Death having ensued meanwhile,
the aforementioned heathen wanted, moreover, to burn him; but as they were prevented by a storm, the Christians buried him.
This happened, according to common reckoning, in the eighth year of Nero's reign, A. D. 64, on the 21st day of April.
OF THE TEN
BLOODY PERSECUTIONS WHICH THE CHRISTIANS SUFFERED UNDER THE HEATHEN EMPERORS OF ROME; THE FIRST OF WHICH BEGAN IN THE REIGN
OF NERO, A. D. 66
When the Jews were deprived of their power, by the heathen, and their time was past, in which they had persecuted
and slain the saints of God, the Lord God nevertheless suffered His church to be visited by the refining fire of presecution,
namely, through the power of the heathen; of whom the Emperor Nero was the first tyrant. Introduction to the Mirror of
the Anabaptist Martyrs, printed Anno 1631. p. 35. col 2.
This Nero, according to the testimony of Emperor Trajan, governed the monarchy of Rome in so laudable a manner
during the first five years of his reign, that never an emperor had greater praise than he; for then he was so tenderhearted,
hat when he was asked to sign the death warrant, of a highwayman, he replied,"Oh, that I could not write I" signifying
thereby his aversion to the killing. of human beings. Trajan. in Tract. Also, Roomschen Adelaer, door D. P. Pers,
printed Anno 1642, p. 100. in the life of Nero. Also, Suet. in Neron. cap. 10.
But after the first five years he became so full of hatred,
murder, and blood shedding, that he seemed to delight in nothing more, than in killing, murdering, and fearfully torturing,
not only malefactors, but even the saints of God who were praised even among their enemies for their Godfearing walk and conversation.
I will not mention the cruelties and tyrannies he exercised
against his own friends; how he had his beloved son Britannicus -poisoned, and his own mother Agrippina cut open, to see the
place where he had lain; how he had his faithful wife, Octavia, put to death with the sword, because she was barren; and Seneca,
his faithful teacher, bled to death, and poisoned. We will only speak of the persecutions and unheard-of cruelties he practiced
on the beloved friends of God, namely, the true Christians. To this end we will begin thus
Once, desiring to see the burning of Troy represented by its equal, he caused the city of Rome
to be set on fire, and ascended a certain tower without, where he, beholding it, began to sing,"Troy is on fire,"
etc. Suet. Idem. in Ner. cap. 38. Rom. Adel. p. 102. in the life of Nero.
After this was done he cast the blame on the Christians, saying that they had done it; for, when
the Romans, very much agitated on account of the immeasurable damage and the dire calamities which had sprung from this conflagration,
began to murmur greatly, he, in order to shield himself, and to wreak his prejudiced hatred upon the Christians, put the whole
blame on them. Introduction to the Martyrs Mirror, p. 35, from Baron. Anno 66. num. 1.
For this reason there were proclaimed immediately, in the
name of the Emperor, throughout the whole known world (then under the monarchy of the Romans), bloody decrees against the
Christians, that they should everywhere be put to death. The contents of these decrees were as follows, "If any one confesses
that he is a Christian, he shall be put to death, without further trial, as a convicted enemy of mankind." loh. Gysii
Hist Mart. edit. 1657. fol. 6. col. 2.
afterwards upbraided the Roman Senate, saying, "Read your own histories, and you will find, that Nero was the first who
raged against this sect (so he calls the Christians), which then flourished the most in Rome." AQol. Contra Gentes.
In another place he says,
"Nero was the first who stained with blood the rising Christian faith at Rome."
Shortly after this decree of Nero, a violent and unmerciful persecution of the Christians manifest-ed itself in all the countries which were under the Roman dominion; which persecution lasted
until the Emperor's death. The innocent Christians were accused not only of the burning of Rome, but also of every wickedness
imaginable; that they might be tortured and put to death in the most awful manner. To this the Roman Tacitus (according to
the translation of J. Gysius, and not that of Fenacolius) * refers, saying, "Then, Nero, in order to avert this report
from himself, caused those called Christians by the common people, to be accused and exceedingly tormented. The author of
this name is Christ, who was publicly put to death under the reign of Tiberius, by Pontius Pilate, the governor. Those who
confessed that they were Christians, were first apprehended, and afterwards by making it known themselves a great multitude
were all condemned, not so much on account of the conflagration, as of the hatred in which they were held by mankind. The
taking of their lives was accompanied with much mockery; they were covered with the skins of wild beasts, and then torn to
pieces by dogs; or nailed on crosses; or placed at stakes and burned; serving also as torches for the spectators, when the
day was over."
Thus Tacitus, a Roman himself,
has sufficiently confessed, in spite of himself, as J. Gysius writes, that the Christians were innocent of the burning of
Rome, but that they notwithstanding had to suffer on account of their name.
Who the great multitudes were, that perished in those awful persecutions, confessing the name
of Christ even unto death, is not stated in the histories of the fathers; however, we shall content ourselves therewith, that
God remembers them, and that their names are written in the Book of Life. Nevertheless, we meet with some, though but few,
names of such who suffered in that persecution in the reign of Nero, and sealed the truth of Christ with their blood and death;
of these we shall speak in the proper place.
OF THE UNHEARD-OF
CRUELTIES NERO PRACTICED IN SLAYING THE PIOUS CHRISTIANS
Touching the manner in which the Christians were tortured and killed at the time of Nero, A. Mellinus gives
the following account from Tacitus and other Roman writers: namely, that four extremely cruel and unnatural kinds of torture
were employed against the Christians
that they dressed them in the skins of tame and wild beasts, that they might be torn to pieces by dogs or other wild animals.
Secondly, that they, according to the example of their
Saviour, were fastened alive on crosses, and that in many different ways.
Thirdly, that the innocent Christians were burned and smoked by the Romans, with torches
* We quote Tacitus according to the annotation of
John Gysius in Hist. Mart. fol. 6. col. 2., from which the translation of John Fenacolius differs greatly. and lamps, under
the shoulders and on other tender parts of their naked bodies, after these had been cruelly lacerated with scourges or rods.
This burning was done also with shavings and fagots, they (the Christians) being tied to stakes worth half a stiver.* Therefore
they called the Christians sdrmenticii, that is, fagot people, and semissii, that is, half stiver people; because they stood
fastened to half stiver stakes, and were thus burned with the slow fire of fagots.
Fourthly, that these miserable, accused Christian martyrs were used as candles, torches, or lanterns,
to see by them at night.
Of those who were burned,
some were tied or nailed to stakes, and held still by a hook driven through the throat, so that they could not move the head
when the pitch, wax, tallow, and othef inflammable substances were poured boiling over their heads, and set on fire, so that
all the unctious matter of the human body flowing down made long, wide furrows in the sand of the theatre. And thus human
beings were lighted as torches, and burned as lights for the wicked Romans at night.
Juvenal and Martial, both Roman poets, and Tertullian, state this in a different manner, namely,
that the Romans wrapped them in a painful or burning mantle, which they, wound around their hands and feet, in order to melt
the very marrow in their bones.
it is stated by A. Mellinus (from the aforementioned authors), concerning those mantles, that they were made of paper or linen,
and, having been thickly coated with oil, pitch, wax, rosin, tallow, and sulphur, were wrapped around their whole body, and
then set on fire.
For this spectacle Nero gave
the use of his gardens, and appeared himself among the people in the garb of a charioteer, taking an active part in the Circusian
games; himself standing in the circus, and, as charioteer, guiding a chariot.
These proceedings, according to the testimony of Tacitus, although it had the appearance that
the Christians were punished as malefactors who had deserved the extremest penalty, nevertheless moved the people to compassion;
for they understood well enough that the -Christians were not exterminated for the good of the common weal, but simply to
gratify the cruelty of one man, Nero. Compare Abr. Mellin. 1st book van de Histor. der vervolg. en Mart printed Anna 1619
fol. 11. col. 4. and fol. 12. col. 1. with Tacit. Annal. lib. 15. and Tertul. Apol. Contr. Gent. cap. 50
and adv Marc. cap. 5. Martinal. Epig. 25. lib. 25.
THE HOLY APOSTLE, CRUCIFIED WITH HIS HEAD DOWNWARD, UNDER EMPEROR NERO, A. D. 69
Simon jona, afterwards called Cephas in Syriac, but Petros or Petrus in Greek, was the brother of Andrew,
a native of Bethsaida in Galilee, and a fisherman by occupation. He had his abode at Capernaum, with his wife's mother.
His brother Andrew, who was a .disciple of John, first brought him to Christ, and shortly afterwards he and his brother were
called away from the fishery, to become fishers of men. Matt. 16:17; Mark 3:16; John 1:42; Matt. 4:18; John 1:44; Luke 4:31,
38; John 1:41, 42; Matt. 4:18,19.
diligently instructed by Christ, his Saviour, and made such progress therein, that he became the spokesman of all the apostles,
being generally the most frank in asking and answering, as well as the most zealous for Christ, in order to prove to Him his
love and fidelity, although at times he manifested a certain rashness therein; on which occasions the Lord, like a father
his child, faithfully instructed, and, whenever it was necessary, kindly reproved him. Matt. 16:16; John 6:68; Matt. 18:21;
14:31; John 18:10, 11.
The Lord loved him in a special
manner, and permitted him, together with James and John, to witness His glory on Mount Tabor; of which He afterwards made
mention to the chosen scattered strangers, saying, We were eyewitnesses of his majesty. Matt. 17:1-3; 11 Pet. 1:16, 17. He
was the boldest in offering to suffer with Christ, but the weakest when the conflict began. The Lord selected him and the
two sons of Zebedee, to watch and pray with Him in the garden; but his eyes as well as those of the others were heavy with
sleep; which showed that though he was specially loved by Christ, he was nothing more than a weak mortal. Matt. 26:33, 36.
About his denying Christ we shall not mention anything,
as this is not the proper place for it. since we purpose to speak only of his faithfulness and steadfastness until death.
After the aforesaid denial, the Lord forgave him his sin,
and commanded him three times to feed His sheep and lambs; which he subsequently faithfully did to the full extent of his
ability: John 21:15,16; 1 Pet. 5:1-3.
day there were converted to the faith, by his preaching, about three thousand souls; all of whom were baptized, and continued
steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. Acts 2:41, 42.
He confirmed his doctrine through the power of God by signs
accompanying the same, according to the promise of Christ, as is evidenced in the case of the lame man, Ananias, Sapphira,
Eneas, Tabitha, and others. Acts 3:7; 5:5,10; 9:34, 40.
The calling of the Gentiles was revealed to him in a vision from heaven; but as he was properly an apostle
of the Jews, his ministry was most effectual among the circumcision. Acts 10:10-12; Gal. 2:8.
But since he was so excellent and worthy a man in his ministry,
it pleased the Lord, that he should also be one of His martyrs, to seal the truth of His doctrine not only with the mouth,
but also with his blood, yea, even with his death. This the Lord showed to him shortly before His departure from this world,
saying, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee. When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest:
but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest
not. This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God" (John 21:18, 19).
This was verified in him, for shortly afterwards he and John, his fellow helper, were-brought
before the Jewish council in Jerusalem, and severely threatened, to desist preaching in the name of Jesus; to which they both
boldly replied, "Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye" (Acts
Afterwards he was again apprehended,
together with the other apostles, but by night, miraculously delivered out of prison by an angel. Acts 5:19.
After that he was not only apprehended, but, together with
the other apostles, scourged and commanded, that they should absolutely not preach in the name of the Lord Jesus; but they
went away from the Council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. Acts 5:40-42.
Afterwards King Herod stretched forth his hands to vex
certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And when he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded
further and apprehended Peter also, and put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers; intending after
Easter to bring him forth to the people. But in the night the angel of the Lord led him out, through the midst of the soldiers,
so that he returned to the believers, who rejoiced greatly on account of him. Acts 12:1.
Finally there was fulfilled, according to the testimony of history, the prediction of Christ,
that he should glorify God by his death; for while he was at Rome, he was sentenced by -the Emperor Nero to be crucified.
But, esteeming himself unworthy to be crucified with his head upward, like his Saviour, he requested to be crucified with
his head downward; which he easily obtained, for the tyrants were forthwith willing and ready to increase his pain.
This occurred, as is stated, after Peter had preached the
Gospel for thirty-seven years, and when he was seventy years old.* Euseb. lib. 2. cap. 25. and 3. cap.
2. from the writings of Origen. Egesipp. Hist. of the miserable Destruction of the City of Jerusalem.
3d book, 2d chap. Also, Konsttooneel vain veertig heerlijke afbeeldingen Christi en sajner Apostelen, door N. D.
C., printed Anno 1609, in the Life o f Peter. Also, W. Baudart Apophthegm. Christian. lib.
1. super Petrum. ex Hieron. de Vitis Illustribus. Johan. Strac. in Festo. Joh. Evang. Ambr. ad Aux.
APOSTLE OF CHRIST, SORELY PERSECUTED, AND FINALLY BEHEADED, AT ROME, UNDER THE EMPEROR NERO, A. D. 69
|Paul image found
Paul image found
Archaeologists have found an image on the walls of the Catacomb of Santa Tecla in Rome that may be the oldest image
of the Apostle Paul. According to archeologists, the image is dated to the late fourth century A.D.
Saul, afterwards called
Paul, was of Jewish descent, a Hebrew of the tribe of Benjamin; but, as to who his father and mother were, we find in Holy
Writ no record. Phil. 3:5.
As regards the place of his birth, it appears
that his parents, either on account of persecution, or of the Roman war, or for some other reason, left their place of residence
in the portion of Benjamin, and went to dwell in a Roman, free city in Cilicia, called Tarsus, where Paul was born, who, although
he was a Jew, yet, by the privileges of this city, became a Roman citizen. Acts 22:3.
his early training, he was diligently instructed by the wise Gamaliel, in the law of the fathers; in which he became so proficient,
that there were but few things in the entire Old Testament, with which he was not acquainted. Gal. 114.
He lived blamelessly, according to the law of Moses and the holy prophets, and that in the
strictest order of Judaism; but, having not yet been rightly instructed in the doctrine of the holy Gospel, he, although in
accordance with the law, manifested a wrong zeal, and persecuted the church of Christ; yea, at the death of Stephen he kept
the garments of them that slew him. Acts 7:58.
But afterwards, having obtained letters from
the priests at Jerusalem to the synagogues of Damascus, to bring as prisoners such men and women who confessed the name of
Christ, the Lord, from heaven, arrested him in his course, calling,"Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said,
Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And
he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into
* The historians state that the apostle Peter wept very much daily after the ascension
of Christ. When he was asked why he wept so much, he replied 'Desiderio Domini, that is,"Because I very much long
for my Lord." There are ancient writers who state that Peter cried every time he heard a cock crow. When he saw his beloved
wife being led out, to be put to death, on account of having confessed the faith, he addressed her in these words,"0
my beloved wife! have the Lord Jesus always before thine yes; this is the marriage of the saints." He was sentenced to
be crucified in the usual manner. But he requested to be hung on the cross with his feet up, saying, I am not worthy to be
hung on the cross, like the Son of God hung and suffered on it."-W. Baudart. Apophthegm. printed Anno 1640, first book,
the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do" (Acts
The men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no
man. Then he arose from the earth, to which he had been prostrated by fear; and when he opened his eyes, lie could not see,
so that they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. Verses 7, 8.
In the city
of Damascus there was a disciple, named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision," Arise, and go into the street
which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth."
Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done
to thy saints at Jerusalem."
Then said the Lord to him,"Go thy way: for he is a chosen
vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: for I will shew him how great
things he must suffer for my name's sake., "And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his
hands on him, said, Brother Saul, the Lord hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy
Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales; and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was
baptized" (Acts 9: 7-.16).
Such was the conversion of Saul, who was afterwards called Paul,
and was one of the chief apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: yea, he labored more abundantly than they all. I Cor. 15:10.
Immediately after his conversion, he preached Christ in the synagogues, that He was the Son
of God. Acts 9:20.
Some time afterwards, the Holy Ghost said to the prophets and
teachers at Antioch, after they
had ministered to the Lord with fasting and prayer,"Separate
me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them." And thus they were sent out by the Holy Ghost. Acts
In the meantime, Paul, formerly called Saul, was endowed with special gifts of
the Holy Ghost, so that he had the spirit of discernment, prophecy, tongues, miracles. Acts 13:9, 10; I Tim. 4:1; I Cor. 14:18;
He had also special revelations, so that, at a certain time, he was caught up to
the third heaven, yea, into the heavenly paradise, where he heard unspeakable words, which no man can utter. II Cor. 12:1.
He was, moreover, adorned with many Christian virtues, which he practiced with a good conscience;
as well as with faithfulness in his ministry, paternal care over all the churches, and sincere love for them, even unto death,
so that he said,"Being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the Gospel of God
only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us" (I Thess. 2:8).
was free from covetousness, of a benevolent disposition, and would rather labor with his own hands, than be a burden to the
church, lest it might prove a hindrance to the holy Gospel. Acts 20:34.
withstood, and overcame through the Word of God, the erring spirits, sorcerers, Epicurean philosophers, and false prophets.
He feared neither great nor small, noble nor ignoble, Jew nor Greek; but taught the Word of
God in sincerity.
What he suffered in seven great land and sea journeys, during
the time of thirty years; during which he traveled in Judea; Syria, Asia, Macedonia, Greece, Italy, Spain, France, Germany,
yea, almost through the whole then known world, is sufficiently evident, from Holy Scripture as well as from history.
It is computed, that until his first imprisonment at Rome, he had traveled over three thousand
German miles, by water and by land, only for the Gospel's sake; besides all the other arduous journeys he undertook, in
order to strengthen, awaken, and comfort the newly-planted churches; in which he met with much vexation, misery ,and grief
from the hands of the unbelievers. The words which the Lord had spoken at the time of his conversion, were fulfilled in every
part, "I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake" (Acts 9:16).
after he was baptized, and his zeal for the truth of Christ began to break forth at Damascus, proving to the Jews that Christ
was come, they took counsel to kill him; wherefore he was let down by the wall in a basket, that he might escape their hands.
Acts 9:24, 25.
Afterwards, when he came to Iconium with his companion Barnabas, the
Jews stirred up the Gentiles against him and his friend, intending to stone them. Acts 14:2, 5.
when they had fled to Lystra, and had made a cripple able to walk, there came certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, and stirred
up the people, so that they stoned Paul, whom they first had worshiped as a god, and drew him out of the city, supposing that
he was dead: howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up again. Acts 14:19, 20. Afterwards, traveling with
Silas, and having, at Philippi, delivered a damsel from a. spirit of divination, he and Silas were accused on that account,
beaten with rods, cast into prison, their feet made fast in the stocks, and were kept in close confinement. But in the night
God sent an earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken, the doors opened, and the bands (of the stocks)
loosed of their own accord. By this means Paul and Silas were delivered, with the knowledge of the keeper, who accepted the
faith, and was baptized. Acts 16:22-36.
Subsequently, being at Thessalonica, and having
preached the Word of God three Sabbaths, so that of the devout Greeks, a great multitude believed, and of the chief women
not a few; the Jews, who believed not, were moved with envy; wherefore they took unto them certain lewd fellows--market loungers-and
gathered a great company, and set the city in an uproar, and assaulted the house of one Jason, thinking that Paul and Silas
were within, and sought to bring them out to the people. And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren
unto the rulers of the city, crying,"These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; whom Jason hath
secretly received" (Acts 17:1-7). From there, on account of the persecution, the brethren sent both of them away by night
unto Berea. Verse 10.
After that,"when Gallio was the deputy of Achaia, the Jews
made insurrection with one accord against Paul, and brought him to the judgment seat, saying, This fellow persuadeth men to
worship God contrary to the law." And when Paul was now about to open his mouth, to defend himself, Gallio said unto
the Jews, to show to them the groundlessness of their accusations,"If it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdness, O
ye Jews, reason would that I should bear with you: but if it be a question of words and names, and of your law, look ye to
it: for I will be no judge of such matters. And he drave them from the judgment seat." Acts 18:12-16.
this, there came down from Judea a prophet, named Agabus, who took Paul's girdle, and bound himself saying,"Thus
saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the
hands of the Gentiles." Thereupon the brethren besought Paul, not to go up to Jerusalem. But he answered,"What mean
ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem' for the name of
the Lord Jesus." Acts 21:10-13. Oh, the great resolution of the Apostle Paul!
that, when he, standing on the stairs at Jerusalem, defended himself before those who had accused him, it came to pass that
the Jews, having given him audience for awhile, cast off their clothes, threw dust into the air, and cried,"Away with
such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live." Acts 22:22, 23.
In the meantime he was bound, in order to be scourged; which he would not have
escaped, had he not declared that he was a Roman citizen: Verses 25-29., "Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said,
Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day. And the high priest Ananias commanded them
that stood by him to smite him on the mouth" (Acts 23:1, 2)., "The night following, the Lord stood by him, and said,
Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome" (verse
And when it was day, certain of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves
neither to eat nor to drink till they had killed Paul. And they were more than forty which had made this conspiracy. Verse
But Paul was warned of this ambuscade by his sister's son, and when the latter
made it known to the chief captain of the Romans, measures were taken to escape it; wherefore.he was brought in the third
hour of the night to Caesarea, unto Felix the governor. Verses 16-33. And Felix kept him in Herod's judgment hall, till
his accusers should come. Verse 35.
After five days Ananias the high priest descended
with the elders, and with the orator Tertullus, who informed the governor against Paul. And when Paul was called forth, Tertullus,
after having saluted Felix with many flattering words, began to accuse him, saying,"We have found this man a pestilent
fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes: who
also hath gone about to profane the temple: whom we took, and would have judged according to our law. But the chief captain
Lysias came upon us, and with great violence took him away out of our hands," etc."And the Jews also assented, saying
that these things were so." Acts 24:1-9.
But that this was not so (although they sought
to bring about his death by these accusations), is evident from the preceding facts mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles,
and from the following dedense of Paul, verses 10-21., "But after two years Portius Festus came into Felix' room:
and Felix, willing to shew the Jew a pleasure, left Paul bound" (verse 27).
when Festus was come into the province, after three days he ascended from Caesarea to Jerusalem. Then the high priest and
the chief of the Jews went to him, and desired favor, that he would send for Paul to Jerusalem; laying wait in the way to
kill him. Festus replied to the Jews, that Paul should be kept at Caesarea, and that those who were to accuse him, might come
thither. Acts 25:4, 5.
And when they were come, they brought forward many and grievous
complaints, which they could not prove, and which Paul briefly and conclusively refuted, declaring that he had offended neither
against the law of the Jews, nor against the emple,; nor against Caesar. But being deceitfully asked by Festus, whether he
was willing to go up
to Jerusalem, to be judged there (where his mortal enemies were),
he fearlessly replied,"I stand at Caesar's judgment seat, where I ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no
wrong, as thou very well knowest. But if I be an offender, or have committed anything worthy of death, I refuse not to die."
After this, Paul was examined by King Agrippa, in the presence of
Festus. His defense caused Festus, who was a friend of the Jews, to exclaim
art beside thyself. Agrippa, however, declared that he was almost persuaded to become a Christian. He also gave as his opinion,
that there was nothing worthy of death in him; wherefore he said to Festus,. This man might have been set at liberty, if he
had not appealed unto Caesar. Acts 26:1-32.
In the meantime it was determined that he
should sail to Italy, to be examined before Caesar. To this end he and certain other prisoners were delivered to Julius, a
centurion of the imperial band. Having embarked in a ship of Adramyttium, they sailed along Cyprus, Cilicia, Pamphylia, and
other countries, to Myra in Lycia, where they were transferred into a ship of Alexandria bound for Italy. In this ship they
sailed against Cnidus, as far as under Crete, over against the city of Salmone; thence to a place which is called the Fair
Havens, nigh to Lasea. Acts 27:1-8.
At this place Paul foretold them, that they
would not complete this voyage without great damage, clanger of shipwreck, and peril of life; but the centurion believed the
master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul. Verses 10, 11.
thence, they hoped to winter at Phenice, a haven of Crete; but they touched at Asson, and sailed close by Crete. Verses 12,
Then the ship was caught by a northeast wind, which had sprung up, and carried
her, against their purpose, through the billows so that they had to let her drive before it; however, they came to the Island
Clauda, yet with fear, lest they should fall into the quicksands. Verses 16, 17. For many days and nights they saw neither
sun nor stars through the mighty tempest, so that all hope that they should be saved was taken away. Verse 20.
Meanwhile God sent His angel on a certain night to Paul, saying,"Fear not: thou must
be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee." Verses 23, 24.
Paul urged them to take meat, for the preservation of their lives, for, on account of their deadly fear, they had not eaten
anything for fourteen days; and breaking the bread, for to eat, he gave thanks to God in the presence of them all. Verses
And when it was day, they knew not the land but they discovered a creek; which
however they could not enter, but ran aground, before the island of Melita (now called Malta); where the forepart of the ship stuck fast, but the hinder part was broken in pieces by the
waves. Verses 39-41. Here the soldiers held a council and decided to kill the prisoners, including Paul, lest any of them
should swim out, and escape. The centurion, however, willing to save Paul, kept them from their purpose: and commanded that
they who could swim should cast themselves first into the sea, and get to land which was done; and the rest floated, some
on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship, so that all, namely, one hundred and seventy souls, escaped to land. Verses
42-44. Thus was fulfilled what Paul had foretold them, namely, that they should suffer shipwreck, and yet escape with their
Here Paul was first pronounced a murderer, but afterwards a god, by the inhabitants
of the island; and this, because they observed a viper fastening itself on his hand, which he shook off into the fire, without
suffering any harm. Acts 21:3-6.
After three months they sailed for Italy in a ship which had
wintered in the isle: yet they arrived first at Syracuse, in Sicily, and then at Puteoli, on the Italian .border, where Paul
found brethren, with wham he tarried seven days; others came to meet him as far as Appii Forum, and the Three Taverns. Proceeding,
he came to Rome, where the centurion delivered him to the chief captain, to be brought before Caesar. In the meantime he was
kept by a soldier, and bound with a chain. Verses 11-16, 20.
We have narrated all
these things the more circumstantially (and this, according to Holy Scripture) in order that it may be seen, how much this
pious man suffered in his travels by sea and by land, for the sake of the holy Gospel. Of all this he gives a brief account
in his second epistle to the Corinthian church, writing thus, "Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen,
in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings
often, in cold and nakedness" (II Cor. 11:24-27).
Yea, it appears from the first epistle to
the Corinthians, that he was thrown before the wild beasts in a theater at Ephesus, to be torn to pieces, or at least, to
fight for his life with them; from which God at that time delivered him. Concerning this, the intelligent may judge; he writes,"If
after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not?" (I Cor.
As regards his imprisonment at Rome, most of the ancient writers are of the opinion
that, although nearly all his friends forsook him at the time when he was to make his defense, he, being brought be fore Caesar,
defended himself so cleverly against the accusation of the Jews, that he was set free for this time. But how true this is,
we leave to its own merits, and to the omniscient God. This much, however, is certain, that while in prison at Rome, he wrote
to his spiritual son Timothy, that he was now ready to be offered as a drink offering, and that the time of his departure
was at hand; but that he took comfort in the thought, that he had fought a good fight, finished his course, and kept the faith,
and that there was laid up for him a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, should give him at that
day. II Tim. 4:6-8.
According to ancient records he was then beheaded at the command
of Nero, outside of Rome, on the road that leads to Ostia, called Via Ostiensis, where the Romans used to have their
place of execution, in the last year of Nero, or about A.D. 69. Joh. Gys. in the History of the Martyrs,
from Joseph Scaliger, about Paul. Egesipp. Hist. Destruc. Jerusal., lib. 3, cap. 2. Konst-tooneel
van veertig heerlijke afbeelding.en Christi en sijner Apostelen, printed Anno 1609; about the life of Paul.
Itinerarium Sacra?, Scri¢turce per H. Bunting, translated into the Dutch by Matthias Hazard; printed
Anno 1624. in the Travels of Paul, page 162. col. 1.
OF SOME OF PAUL'S FRIENDS AND BRETHREN WHO WERE IMPRISONED WITH HIM SHORTLY AFTER HE WAS OFFERED UP; BESIDES OTHERS WHO
WERE SLAIN AFTERWARDS
It is related that shortly after the death of the Apostle Paul,
his brethren and fellow prisoners, whom he mentions in the epistles which he wrote from his prison, namely, Aristarchus, Epaphras,
Aquila, Prisca, Andronicus, Junias, Silas or Silvanus, Onesiphorus, etc., followed in his footsteps in suffering for the name
ARISTARCHUS, A TRAVELING COMPANION OF PAUL, SLAIN AT ROME, UNDER NERO, ABOUT A. D. 70
Aristarchus, a native of Thessalonica, was, with Gaius,
Paul's companion in his journey from Macedonia to Asia; with which Gaius he was apprehended at a certain time, in an uproar
at Ephesus, but for that time made his escape. Afterwards, however, he was brought to Rome a prisoner, just at the time that
Paul also was apprehended for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
This friend of God saluted the church at Colosse by the hand of Paul; of which Paul makes mention, writing,"
Aristarchus my fellow prisoner saluteth you" (Col. 4:10).
This imprisonment, however, was not the end of it; for he was also devoured by that cruel lion. Nero, about
the time of Paul's death after having been several years previously a faithful pastor of the church at Thessalonica, A. Mell. 1st Book, van de Hist. der vervolg. en Mart.,
printed at Dort, Anno 1619, fol. 17, col. 4, froze Bedw Usuard. Adon Mart. Rom. 4 aug. Also, Menol. Grcec. 14
EPAPHRAS, A FELLOW PRISONER OF PAUL, SLAIN UNDER NERO, ABOUT A. D. 70
Epaphras was a faithful minister of Jesus Christ for the church at Colosse, which, while in
bonds at Rome, he saluted by the hand of Paul, as appears from the epistle Paul wrote from his prison at Rome to the Colossians,
in which, among other things, he says, "Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always laboring
fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. For I bear him record, that he
hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis" (Col. 4:12, 13).
his being a prisoner with Paul, or, apparently, sharing the same dungeon with him, Paul writes to Philemon, in the conclusion
of the epistle, "There salute thee Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus" (verse 23).
it follows that those write not without foundation, who hold that Epaphras also suffered a violent death under the persecution
of Nero. Idem, Ibidem. ex Mart. Rom. 19. Jul.
FELLOW LABORERS AND RELATIVES OF PAUL, NAMELY, PRISCA, AQUILA, ANDRONICUS, AND JUNIA, MARTYRED AT ROME, UNDER NERO, ABOUT
A. D. 70
The apostle Paul, at the conclusion of his epistle to the church
of God at Rome, very lovingly saluting different saints residing there, mentions, among others, two persons who had laid down
their own necks for his life; also two others whom he calls his fellow prisoners, doubtless, because they were subject, with
him, to like persecution and suffering on account of the name of Christ. All these he mentions by name, and salutes
them in apostolic manner.
Of the first two he writes thus, "Greet Priscilla and Aquila,
my helpers in Christ Jesus, who have for my life laid down their own necks" (Rom. 16: 3, 4).
last two he mentions in this manner, "Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellowprisoners, who are of note
among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me" (verse 7).
What was the
end of these persons, is stated neither in Paul's epistles nor in any other part of the New Testament; but other writers
hold, that, in the aforementioned persecution of Nero, they suffered and fought unto death for the truth of Jesus Christ;
which can not well be contradicted, since the bloodthirstiness of this emperor, especially against the Christians, was so
great, that but few of those who fell into his hands escaped without bloodshed or a miserable death. See above.
SILAS, OR SILVANUS, SCOURGED AT PHILIPPI,
IN MACEDONIA, AND DIED A MARTYR, ABOUT A. D. 70
Silas, also called Silvanus, together with
Judas, surnamed Barsabas, was added to the apostles Paul and Barnabas. These men were leaders among the brethren, and were
to bear testimony to those matters which had been considered and decided upon by the apostles at Jerusalem, for the welfare
of the church of God. Acts 15:27, 34.
This Silas having once promoted, with Paul,
the work of the holy Gospel, at Philippi, in Macedonia, he was apprehended together with Paul, brought before the rulers,
publicly scourged, though without trial, and thus maltreated, cast into prison, against right and reason, with his feet made
fast in the stocks; but was by divine Providence miraculously delivered, an earthquake at midnight opening the doors of the
prison. Acts 16:19-39.
According to the statements of some writers, he afterwards became
bishop of the church at Corinth, and died a martyr after having done much preaching. This much is certain, according to the
testimony of Holy Scripture, that he was not only apprehended and scourged for the Gospel's sake, but suffered many indignities
before his end. A. Mell., 1st Book, van de Hist. der hervolg., fol. 18, col. 1.
A FRIEND OF PAUL, AND PORPHYRIUS, HIS COMPANION, TIED TO WILD HORSES, AND DRAGGED, OR TORN, TO DEATH, AT HELLESPONTUS, THROUGH
THE EDICT OF NERO, ABOUT A. D. 70
Onesiphorus was an Asian, a citizen of Ephesus,
in Asia Minor, and very virtuous and godly in life, so that he frequently came to visit, converse with, and comfort, the apostle
Paul in his bonds at Rome; on account of which Paul rejoiced with all his heart, and prayed to God to reward him for this
kindness in the great day of recompense. Concerning this, Paul writes thus to Timothy."The Lord give mercy unto the house
of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain: but when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently,
and found me. The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered
unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well" (II Tim. 1:16-18). In the conclusion of the same letter he affectionately
salutes the household of Onesiphorus, saying,"Salute . . .
and the household
of Onesiphorus . . . Grace be with you. Amen" (II Tim. 4:19, 22) .
say that this pious man was bishop of (the church of) Colophon; others, of Coronia but whether Colophon and Coronia at that
time were not one and the same city, called by two different names; or, if they were two separate cities, whether he had the oversight
over both churches at once, is a matter of little consequence. It is sufficient for us, that the historians agree in the fact
that he and Porphyrius, his fellow servant of Jesus Christ, were first beaten with many severe stripes at Hellespontus, by
the order of Adrianus the governor, and afterwards, both together, tied to wild horses, and thus dragged or torn to death,
by virtue of Nero's bloody edict. A. Mellin., 1st Book van de histmrien der hervolgingen en Martelaren, printed
A. D. 1619, fol. 18, cot. 2, from Doroth., in Synopsi Mart. Rom. 6 Sept.
THE HOLY APOSTLE, CRUCIFIED AT PATRAS, IN ACHAIA, ABOUT A. D. 70
son of Jona, and brother of Peter, was a native of Bethsaida in Galilee. He was first a disciple of John the Baptist, and
since he was older than Peter, and knew Christ first, he brought his brother to Christ as to the true Messiah. Being also
a fisherman, like Peter, the Lord called him, and promised to make him a fisher of men. John 1:44, 40, 42; Matt.
And because he zealously followed the Lord, and was instructed
in the evangelical doctrine, so that he was worthy to be filled with the spirit of miracles, the Lord ordained him as one
of His twelve apostles; in which ministry he, with the others, faithfully labored among the Jews. Matt. 10:2; Mark
He was held in no small esteem by the Lord; for he had, as it appears, a freer
access to Him, than Philip himself. Compare John 1:40 with verses 42, 43.
although he fell through weakness, like all the other apostles, in forsaking his Master; yet he recovered from his fall, and
again joined himself to Christ and to his fellow brethren. Matt. 26:31; Luke 24:33.
he with all his fellow ministers received command to preach the Gospel in the whole world, and to all nations; to which end
he was endued, on the day of Pentecost, with the Holy Ghost, whom he received in all fullness. Matt. 28:19.
Going out, in obedience to the command of Christ, he taught in many countries,
as in Pontus, Galatia, Bethynia, as well as at Antropophages, and afterwards in Scythia. He also traveled in the northern
and the southern countries, yea, as far as into Byzantium; further, in Thracia, Macedonia, Thessalia, and Achaia, everywhere
preaching Christ; whereby he converted many to the Christian faith.
He also confirmed
the doctrine of his Master with many miracles, according to the words of the Lord, "These signs shall follow them,"
etc. But since other authors do not .treat accurately of this, we shall omit the particulars of these signs. Abdias, van
den strijd der Apostelen.
Finally, when he had finished his course, according to the will
of the eternal God, Aegaeas, the governor of Edessa, in the name of the Roman senate, caused him to be crucified in the city
of Patras, in Achaia. Joh. Gys. His. Mart., fol. 10, col. 1, 2, from Sophronis and Aug. Solilo., cap. 2.
Concerning the cause and manner of his death, the following is contained in Apophthegm.
Christian. Baudart., page 3: At Patras, a city in Achaia, he converted besides many others, Maximillia, the wife of Aegaeas,
the governor, to the Christian faith. This so enraged the governor against Andrew, that he threatened him with death of the
cross. But the apostle said to the governor, "Had I feared the death of the cross, I should not have preached the majesty
and gloriousness of the cross of Christ."
The enemies of the truth having apprehended
and sentenced to death the apostle Andrew, he went joyfully to the place where he was to be crucified, and, having come near
the cross, he said,"O beloved cross! I have greatly longed for thee. I rejoice to see thee erected here. I come to thee
with a peaceful conscience and with cheerfulness, desiring that I, who am a disciple of Him who hung on the cross, may also
be crucified." The apostle said further,"The nearer I come to the cross, the nearer I come to God; and the farther
I am from the cross, the farther I remain from God."
The holy apostle hung three days on the cross;
he was riot silent, however; but as long as he could move his tongue, he instructed the people that stood by the cross, in
the way of the truth, saying, among other things, "I thank my Lord Jesus Christ, that He, having used me for a time as
an ambassador, now permits me to have this body, that I, through a good confession, may obtain everlasting grace and mercy.
Remain steadfast in the word and doctrine which you have received, instructing one another, that you may dwell with God in
eternity, and receive the fruit of His promises."
The Christians and other pious people besought
the governor to give Andrew unto them, and take him down from the cross. (For it appears that he was not nailed to the cross,
like Christ, but tied to it). When the apostle learned of this, he cried to God, Saying, "O Lord Jesus Christ! suffer
not that Thy servant, who hangs here on the tree for Thy name's sake, be released, to dwell again among men; but receive
me. O my Lord, my God! whom I have known, whom I have loved, to whom I cling, whom I desire to see, and in whom I am what
I am." Having spoken these words, the holy apostle committed his spirit into the hands of his heavenly Father. M. W.
Baudart. in Apophthegm Christian. lib. 1, super Andream, ex August. de Vera et Falsa Poenitentia., cap 8, Bernhard. in
Sermon. de Andrea. Lanfrancus contra Berengar. Niceph., lib. 2, cap. 39, and lib. 15, cap. 39. Remigius in Psal. 21 and 40.
Johan. Strac. in Festo Andreae, p. 23, haec et alia. Also, Konst-tooneel van veertig, by N. D. C., Concerning the
Life of Andrew.
THE HOLY APOSTLE OF CHRIST, FIRSTGREATLY TORTURED, THEN FLAYED ALIVE, AND FINALLY BEHEADED, IN ARMENIA, BY KING ASTYAGES,
ABOUT A. D. 70
Bartholomew, which signifies, the son of Tholomaeus, was
a Galilean, like all the other apostles; and also a fisherman, according to the opinion of Theodoretus; some, however, hold,
that he was of royal descent, and the nephew of the king of Syria.
Little is said of him in Holy Scriptures aside from what relates to his call to the apostleship to preach
the Gospel with the others throughout Judea and Galilee, to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. After Christ's resurrection
he was confirmed in his apostleship, and, with the others who were in like ministry, received the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Matt. 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:14,15; Acts 2:1-5.
After the separation of the apostles he exercised his ministry first in Lycaonia, then in Syria
and the upper parts of Asia., and afterwards in India, where, as the chronicles relate, Pantenus, a teacher of Alexander,
coming to the same place, about a century afterwards, found and took away with him the Gospel of Matthew, which Bartholomew
had brought thither, and which he had taught the Indians in their native tongue. Isid. de part N. T., J. Gys. Hieron,
Catal. Pantaleon, Euseb., lib. 3, cap. 10, J. Gys.
Finally he spread the Gospel in Great Armenia, and there, in Albana, or Albanopolis, the capital and residence
of the kingdom of Poleno, or Palemonio, and converted King Astyages' brother, together with his wife, two sons, and a
daughter, to the faith. Hieron. Cat. Barthol., J. Gys.
He moreover, as is stated by others, delivered from idolatry, and enlightened with the knowledge of Jesus
Christ, twelve cities in that country. in which the devil was worshiped through the idol Ashtaroth. But the priests of Ashtaroth,
being very much vexed on account of this, complained to King Astyages, who caused Bartholomew, this holyapostle of Christ, to be apprehended and brought before him.
When Bartholomew stood before the king, the latter upbraided him, that he had perverted his brother,
and unsettled the worship of the gods in his country. He therefore threatened him with death, unless he would desist preaching
Christ, and sacrifice to his gods.
had replied to this accusation, saying, that he had not perverted, but converted, his brother, that he had preached the true
worship of God in his country, and that he would rather seal his testimony with blood, than suffer the least shipwreck of
his faith or conscience, the king gave orders, that he should first be severely tortured and beaten with rods, then be suspended
on a cross with his head downwards, flayed alive, and finally beheaded with the ax. This having been done with him, he was
united with Christ, his Lord. Niceph. lib. 3, cap. 39, Isid. Hisp. de vita et obitu sanet. 1. Gys. Hi st. Mart. super
Others relate that the sentence
pronounced upon Bartholomew extended no further, than that he should be flayed on the cross, without any mention of decapitation;
but that, as he, being still alive after having been flayed, exhorted the people, his head was struck off with an ax, in order
to prevent this, he having committed his spirit into the hands of God. Konst-tooneel van veertig, about the Life of Bartholomew.
Also, Bybelsch Naemboek, printed at Horn, Anno 1632, letter B. on the nawne Bartholomew, fol. 159, col. 2.
THOMAS, THE HOLY APOSTLE OF CHRIST, TORMENTED WITH RED-HOT PLATES, CAST INTO A
FURNACE, AND HIS SIDE PIERCED WITH SPEARS BY THE SAVAGES, AT CALAMINA, ABOUT A. D. 70
Thomas, surnamed Didymus, that is, twin, was a native of
Galilee, and his occupation, as it appears, that of a fisherman. John 11:16. Concerning his parents and the time of his conversion,
we find no account in the Evangelists, who mention only his call to the apostleship. Matt. 10:3.
His love and ardent affection for Christ appears from the fact that he exhorted his brethren,
to go up to Jerusalem, that they might die with Christ. John 11:16. But as he had not yet resisted unto
blood, and labored also under a certain misapprehension concerning the death of Christ, he with the others forsook the Lord
in the time of need. John 14:5; Matt. 26:31.
when the Lord had arisen, and appeared to the other apostles, in the absence of Thomas, he could not believe it, as he said,
unless he should put his fingers into the prints of the nails with which He had been crucified, and thrust his hand into the
Lord's side, which a soldier had opened with a spear. But when the Lord came again, and appeared also to him, saying,
"Reach hither thy finger, and .behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side," etc., then
he, being convinced, began to salute Christ with divine titles of honor, saying, "My Lord and my God." John 20:24-28.
After this, he, together with the other apostles, received
commandment to preach the Gospel in the whole world, and to baptize the believers; to which end, ten days after, namely, on
the day of Pentecost, he, with all his fellow ministers, received the Holy Ghost in full abundance. Matt. 28:19, 20; Mark
According to history, he
sent Thaddeus unto King Abgarus, shortly after Christ's resurrection. Euseb. Hilt. Eccl., lib. 1, cap. 13.
As Parthia, India, Ethiopia, and many other countries had
as his portion, been assigned him, he traveled through them; he dreaded, however, as it appears, to go to the moors and the
savage nations of India. Nevertheless, God having strengthened him, he there converted many to God. Euseb. Hilt. Eccl.,
lib: 3, cad. 1.
Concerning the end of Thomas,
the most probable account found by the ancients is this, namely, that at Calamina, a city in the East Indies, he put a stop
to the abominable idolatry of the heathen, who worshiped there an image of the sun; so that through the power of God he compelled
the Evil One to destroy the image. Thereupon the idolatrous priest accused him before their king, who sentenced him, first
to be tormented with red-hot plates, and then to be cast into a glowing furnace, and burned. But when the idolatrous priests,
who stood before the furnace, saw that the fire did not hurt him, they pierced his side, as he lay in the furnace, with spears
and javelins; thus he conformed in steadfastness unto his Lord Jesus Christ, whom he confessed even unto death. Jerome states
that his body, which, it seems, was taken out of the fire, was buried in the same place where he died. Joh. Gysii Hist.
Mart., fol. 11, Col. 4. Konst-tooneel van veertig, in the life of Thownas.
THE HOLY EVANGELIST, NAILED TO THE GROUND, AND BEHEADED AT NAD-DAVAR, UNDER KING HYTACUS, ABOUT A. D. 70
Matthew , also called Levi, the son of Alpheus, was a publican in Capernaum. The publicans
were detested by the Jews, because the latter did not consider themselves justly bound to pay toll or tribute to any foreign
prince. Matt. 9:9; Mark 3:18; Luke 5:29. As touching the condition of publicans at that time, it was such that they generally
exacted more from the people than was just; on which account they were shunned by the pious, so that open sinners, who were
separated from the church, were compared to publicans. Matt. 9:11; 18:17.
or Levi, was still unconverted, and made his living in this unjust business, Christ met him with His grace, and commanded
him to follow Him as a disciple. Obeying through an inward impulse, he forsook the customhouse, and, having prepared a great
feast for the occasion of taking leave of his companions, he invited his fellow publicans, and also the Lord Jesus; apparently
for an adieu, that they might find opportunity to become converted through the discourse of the Lord Jesus.
this, Matthew immediately forsook all, and zealously followed his Lord, who had called him, and who, after He had more fully
instructed him, placed him among the apostles, which office he, too, exercised among the Jews, till the death of Christ. Matt.
10:3; Luke 6:15.
Afterwards, when he was sent out to teach among the heathen,
Ethiopia fell to his lot. But before he left Judea, he, through the illumination of the Holy Spirit wrote his Gospel, in the
Hebrew language, and left it to them. Euseb. lib. 5, cap. 1. Joh. Gys. Niceph. lib. 3, cap. 20.
Second. J. Gys.
In Ethiopia he accomplished much, with teaching as well as with
miracles; and there he also left unto posterity after his death his written Gospel, from which it can easily be seen what
faith he maintained, namely, the faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, that He became a real man, through the power of the
Holy Ghost, in His mother Mary. Matt. 1st chapter, throughout.
History states that
immediately after the death of King Aeglippus, who was attached to the Christians, his' successor Hytacus, an unbelieving
heathen, persecuted this apostle, and that at a certain time, when this pious apostle of Christ was teaching the church of
God, he caused him to be apprehended and, as some write, nailed to the ground, and beheaded, in Naddavar, the capital of Ethiopia,
where he is also buried, according to Venantius Fortunatus, who wrote, over a thousand years ago,"For the great city
Naddavar shall restore to us at the last day the eminent apostle Matthew." J. Gys. in Hist. Mart., fol. 12,
Col. 2. Also, Konst-tooneel van veertig, in the life of Matthew. Also, P, 1. Twisck, Bybelsch Ncpmbwch, fol.
65, Col. 2, letter M. This writer states that he was fastened to the ground with darts, whereupon death ensued. Joh.
Gys., from henantius Fortunatus, de Gaud. hitcr, lib. 7.
ZELOTES AND HIS BROTHER JUDAS THADDEUS, BOTH SLAIN FOR THE TRUTH OF CHRIST THE ONE CRUCIFIED, AND THE OTHER BEATEN TO DEATH
WITH STICKS, ABOUT A. D. 70
Simon the Canaanite, surnamed Zelotes, that
is, Zealot, the son of Alpheus, the brother of James, Joses, and Juda, and a relative of Christ, was constituted by Christ
one of His twelve apostles, to preach the Gospel, first among the Jews, and afterwards among the heathen; to which end he,
together with the others who were in like ministry with him, received the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost. Matt. 10:4;
Acts 1:13; Matt. 13:55; Mark 6:3.
He traveled in Egypt, Cyrene, Africa, Mauritania,
throughout Lybia, and in the islands of Great Britain, where he preached the Gospel. Isid. de Vita et Mort. 5, 5.
Niceph., lib. 2, cap. 40.
Afterwards having preached everywhere, writes
N. D. C., he came to the Western Sea, also into England, and their neighboring places.
it is stated by others, he went to Persia, where he found his brother Judas. Continuing together steadfastly in the duties
of their apostleship, they sealed the divine truth with their blood.
Simon Zelotes in particular, it is stated that he was crucified in a very painful way by a certain governor in Syria. Bybelsch
Ncpmbcech, Letter S. on the name Simon, fol. 570, Col. 1, from Eus. and Niceph., and Hist. Andrcp, fol. 18,
Konst-tooneel van veertig, in the life of Simon Zelotes.
As regards his brother
Judas, surnamed Lebbeus, and also, Thaddeus, who was likewise an apostle of Jesus Christ, nothing is said of him in Evangelical
history; only there is mention made of a question which he asked the Lord Jesus, saying, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest
thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Matt. 10:3; Mark 3:18; John 14:22.
It was this
apostle who also wrote a comforting letter to the believers, in which he admonishes them to remain steadfast in the faith
once received; and threatens the unbelievers with the severe judgment of God.
with the division of the world made by the apostles for the preaching of the Gospel, he traveled in Mesopotamia, Syria, Arabia, and as far as Edessa. Finally, having gone to Persia, he there reproved and opposed the pagan idolatry; on which account
he was beaten to death by the idolatrous priests, who were losing their gain. Isidor. and Niceph., Sabell. Enece. 7, lib.
14. Bybelsch Ncrmbcrck, letter 1., on the name of Judas Thaddeus, fol. 535. Konst-tooneel, etc., in the life of Judas Thaddeus,
Simon the Canaanite, or Zelotes, who was a son of Alpheus, is
not distinguished by some from Simon the bishop at Jerusalem, who was a son of Cleophas; hence has originated the error that
Simon Zelotes is said to have been killed A. D. 108 (see Byb. Ncemb., fol. 870, col. 1), which, properly,
is to be understood of Simon, the bishop at Jerusalem, the son of Cleophas; for Simon Zelotes and his brother Judas Thaddeus,
according to testimony, were killed towards the close of the persecution by Nero, or about A. D. 70.
MATTHIAS, THE HOLY APOSTLE OF CHRIST, TIED ON A CROSS UPON A ROCK, STONED, AND
THEN BEHEADED, A, D. 70
Matthias, according to the opinion of some, was of the
royal house of David; and from his youth was well instructed in the law of God, at Bethlehem. He was one of the seventy disciples
of Christ; but shortly after the Lord's ascension, Judas Iscariot, having faithlessly departed from his apostleship, and
taken his own life, the remaining eleven apostles, and one hundred and twenty men, through prayer to God, and by the lot,
unanimously elected him in place of the aforementioned faithless Judas, an apostle and ambassador of Jesus Christ, to preach
the Gospel, according to the command of the Lord, to all nations, and to baptize the believers. Acts 1:23-26.
Afterwards he and the other eleven apostles were scourged
by the Jewish council, for the name of Jesus Christ, and commanded that they should preach no more in the name of Jesus Christ.
Acts 5:38-40. But they departed from the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His
name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
After the separation of the apostles, who went everywhere to preach, Matthias, according to the
opinion of Jerome, penetrated far into Ethiopia, where no other apostle had been, into the very interior of the land, yea,
to the uttermost ends, to the inlet of the creek or river Asphar and Hyssus; where the most ignorant and barbarous people
were. Unto these people, sitting as they were, in the deepest darkness and ignorance, there arose, through the ministry of
this apostle, the true light of the Gospel. But, after having there gained many souls to Christ, he returmed, according to
history, to Judea, Galilee, and Samaria. namely, as in consequence of the dispersion of the apostles, the Jews who dwelt in
those parts, could not enjoy the benefits of the ministry of the holy Gospel, unto their conversion. Hieron. in Catad.
Script. Eccl. Isidor. Naucler. Sabell. and Anthon., in Hist. Matthiae.
Concerning the end or martyrdom of Matthias, some write that he would not sacrifice to. the false
god Jupiter, and was therefore put to death by the heathen. Others, however, state that for the blasphemy which the Jews said
he had committed against God, Moses, and the law, he was sentenced by their high priest, first to be hung on a cross and stoned,
and afterwards beheaded with an ax. In short, when he would not deny Jesus, his Saviour, but steadfastly confessed Him, his
sentence was his: ',Thy blood be upon thy head, for thine own mouth hath spoken against thee." Thereupon, having
been tied on a cross, as some write, or conducted upon a rock, as others say, he was stoned, and finally, according to the
sentence, beheaded. Joh. Gys., in Hist. Mart., fol. 13, cot. 2, ex Anton., in part 1. Also, Konst-tooneel, etc., in the
life of Matthias. Also, P. J Twisck in the Byb.elsch Ncpynbcpck, letter M. on the nanie Matthias, fol. 652, cot. 1, 2.
SOME OF THE SEVENTH DISCIPLES OF CHRIST, AND SEVERAL FELLOW
TRAVELERS OF THE APOSTLES, SLAIN, TOWARDS THE CLOSE OF THE PERSECUTION BY NERO, ABOUT A. D. 70
Prochorus,. one of the first seven deacons at Jerusalem,
a nephew of the pious martyr Stephen, and companion of the apostle John, but afterwards bishop of the church at Bithynia,
in Macedonia, suffered and died at Antioch.
also one of the first seven deacons at Jerusalem, was likewise executed for the truth's sake.
Likewise Parmenas, also one of the seven deacons.
Olympus was imprisoned at Rome with Paul, for the Gospel's sake.
Carpus, a servant of Paul, and afterwards bishop of the church at Troas, was put to death in
that place, for the faith.
Trophimus, Paul's companion,
was beheaded for the truth of Christ.
and Egystus, two of the seventy disciples of Christ, together with Marianus, the Christian deacon, were put to death in Germany,
for the faith.
Hermagoras, bishop of the
church at Aquileia, ordained thereto by Peter, suffered likewise under Nero.
Onesimus, Dionysius, Areopagitae, and others, also died at that time for the divine truth.
This persecution, which was originated by Nero, continued
a long time, extending even into the time of Vespasian; so that it is stated that in the third year of his reign, there was
put to death in the city of Ravenna, for confessing Christ, Apollinaris, a disciple of Peter, with many others, whose names
are not mentioned.
OF THE SECOND PERSECUTION OF THE CHRISTIANS, UNDER DOMITIAN, WHICH COMMENCED A.
D. 93; IN WHICH, AMONG OTHERS, THERE WERE APPREHENDED, BANISHED, OR SLAIN, THE FOLLOWING PERSONS:
LUKE, THE HOLY EVANGELIST, HANGED ON A GREEN OLIVE TREE, IN GREECE, A. D. 93
Luke, the third among the holy evangelists, was, according
to the testimony of the ancients, a Syrian of Antioch, and by occupation a physician. Bybelsch Nwmbwck, about Luke,
from Euseb. and Hieron. Col. 4:14.
the will of the Lord to use him as a physician of souls; to which end he has left to mankind two excellent books on spiritual
medicine; namely, his holy Gospel and the Acts of the holy Apostles.
Concerning his parents there is nowhere anything mentioned; hence little or almost no account can be given
of his natural descent, excepting his birthplace, and that he descended from the Syrian nation. It is supposed that he had
no wife; though nearly all the other apostles and evangelists were married.
According, to the, opinion of Jerome, he was, before his conversion, a Jewish proselyte,
though of Gentile descent; which is quite probable, since, according to the judgment of linguists, his style is far more excellent
and perfect in Greek than in Hebrew. Jolt. Gys., in Hist. Mart. ex Hieronimo.
He afterwards, through the preaching of Paul, became a Christian A.D. 38, after he had come from
Thebes to Antioch. Konst-tooneel, etc., ivy the life of Luke.
He became a disciple of the apostles, but especially a traveling companion of the, apostle Paul, so that
he was with him in many perils and difficulties on sea and on land.
He was so intimate with Paul, and his special friend to such a degree that, according to the ancients, he
wrote the -Gospel under his dictation and instruction. He had also given a faithful account of Paul's principal travels
until his first imprisonment at Rome. Joh. Gys. Hist. Mart., concerning Luke the evangelist.
Paul makes frequent mention of him in his epis-.ties; for
to the Colossians he writes, "Luke, the physician, . . . greet you" (Col. 4:14). To Philemon, "There salute
thee Epaphras, my fel low prisoner in Christ Jesus; Marcus Aristarchus; Demos, Lucas, my fellowlabourers" ( Philem. 23;
24). Likewise, to Timothy, "Only Luke is with me" ( II Tim. 4:11) .
Luke was therefore, as it appears, a companion of Paul, not only in his travels, but also during
his imprisonment at Rome: So that he was twice brought, , together with Paul, before the Emperor Nero. P. J. Twisck, taken
from Paul's epistles to Timothy.
his end, some write that, while preaching in Greece, he was hanged by the ungodly to a. green olive tree; others relate that
he was in the eighty-fourth year of his age, at the time of his death. Bybelsch Ncembwch, letter L., on the name
Luke, fol. 624, col. 1, Konst-tooneel van veertig,
ANTIPAS, THE, FAITHFUL WITNESS OF JESUS CHRIST, BURNED AT PERGAMOS IN A RED-HOT BRAZEN OX, A,
Antipas was an upright man
and a pious witness of the San of God; Who, in proof of his faith, tasted death, rather than dishonor his Saviour, by denying
Him, or otherwise. This happened in the lifetime of the apostle John. Hence he may be reckoned one of the first of those who suffered,
during the time of Domitian, for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Of this hero and knight of God, the Lord Himself made mention to His servant John, yea, commanded him, to
write to the teacher at Pergamos concerning him, saying, "To the angel of the church in Pergamos write: These things
saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat
is: and thou holdest fast my name, and host not denied my faith, even in those days, wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr,
who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth" (Rev. 2:12-14).
Touching the time and manner of his death, there is nothing stated in Holy Writ; but some of the ancient
writers maintain that he was enclosed in a red-hot brazen ox, and thus burned alive with great pain, yet in steadfastness.
As regards the time when this happened, we ascertain from Holy Scripture, that he was killed in the lifetime of John. Some
fix this occurrence in the time of Domitian of about A.D. 95.-See concerning this, A. Mel[., Ist Book, van de Hist. der
Vervolg, en Martel., printed A. D. 1619, fol. 22, col. 1. Also, d' Annotation der Laetste Bybelsch Oversettinge,
JOHN, THE HOLY EVANGELIST,
BANISHED TO THE ISLE OF PATMOS, BY EMPEROR DOMITIAN, A. D. 97
John, the apostle and evangelist, was a son of Zebedee, and brother of James the Greater; he was born at
Nazareth, and by occupation was a fisherman. Matt. 4:21. He was called by Christ, when engaged with his father and brother
in mending their nets for fishing. Verse 22. As soon as he heard the words of Christ, he immediately left the nets, the ship,
and his father, and, together with James, his beloved brother, followed Christ. Chrysost. Homil. 1., in Joh.
Afterwards he became from a disciple an apostle of Christ,
and was numbered with the twelve whom the Lord had specially chosen for His service. Matt. 10:2.
He was greatly beloved by the Lord, so that at the Supper he reclined on Christ's bosom,
and leaned, or rested, on His breast. John 13:23; 21: 20. The Lord, moreover, had accepted him as one of His three most special
friends, to bear testimony of His works, not only in His conflict and suffering in the garden of Gethsemane, but also in His
glory, in the raising of the daughter of Jairus as well as in the showing forth of His majesty, when, on the holy mount, His
face shone as the sun, and His raiment became white as the light. Matt. 26:36; Luke 8:51; Matt. 17:1-4.
From an inward love, he followed the Lord not only into
the house of the priest Caiaphas, but also to Mount Calvary, without the city of Jerusalem, where the Lord was put to death.
There the Lord, hanging on the cross, addressed him, saying, "Son, behold thy mother!" (John 19:27 ) .
He was so eager after the resurrection of Christ, that
in running to His grave with his fellow apostle Peter, he outran the latter, thus showing his affection for his Lord, who
had died an ignominious death, and was entirely forsaken by His other friends. John 20:4.
Some years afterwards, in order to refute the errors. of Ebion and Cerinthus, who denied the
divinity of Christ, he wrote his Gospel, to the honor and magnifying of His Saviour, commencing thus "In the beginning
was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made
by him; and without him was not anything made that was made." "And the Word was made flesh," etc.,
John 1:1-14. In these words he gives us to understand the true incarnation of the Son of God, to whom be praise and glory
John is called throughout
the Gospel the beloved of the Lord, or the disciple "whom Jesus loved;" because the Lord so especially loved him
John 13:23; 20:2; 21:20.
But since it is the will
of God to bring His children to glory through much tribulation and distress, this beloved friend of God, John, also could
not escape, but was tried throughout his life, with manifold tribulations, according to what the Lord had told him and his
brother James, "Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall
ye be baptized," that is, ye shall also be subjected to my suffering and distress. Mark 10:39.
This was afterwards fulfilled in him in manifold ways; for, besides what ancient writers have
recorded concerning it, namely, that at Rome he was put into a vat full of boiling oil, but was miraculously delivered out
of it, the merits of which account we leave unquestioned; this much, according to the Scriptures, is certain, namely that
he spent a long time on the desert island of Patmos, whither he had been banished, for the testimony of Jesus Christ. Concerning
this, John himself makes this declaration, Rev. 1:9, "I, John, who also am your brother and companion in tribulation,
and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus
But by whom, and in what
manner he was banished to that desert island, is not stated in the Scriptures, except that he was in tribulation for the Word
of God. Some of the ancient writers, however, state that he was banished by Emperor Domitian, about A. D. 97; who, in his
wrath .and displeasure, because he preached the Word of God, and confessed Christ as the Son of God, had him sentenced and
On this island, which lies
in the Mediterranean, between Asia Minor and Greece, one hundred and twenty-five miles north-westward of Jerusalem, he was indeed forsaken of men, and had
scarcely any companionship, aside from poisonous and noxious animals, which dwelt in the place; nevertheless, the Lord God
dwelt with him with His heavenly consolation, and during his banishment presented and revealed to him, very beautiful scenes
and glorious visions concerning the condition of the church of God to the end of the world.
How he wrote his Apocalypse or Revelation, an excellent book, full of divine and truthful prophecies,
taken from the preceding visions and heavenly sights; some of which are already fulfilled, and others remain to be fulfilled.
As the time of his deliverance began to draw nigh, the
Lord spoke to him on this island, saying,"Behold, I come quickly, Amen." Whereupon John replied with a well-comforted
soul,"Even so come, Lord Jesus." Rev. 22:20.
When the Emperor Domitian, who had banished him to the aforesaid island, was dead, and Nerva reigned in his
stead, he was delivered and brought back to Ephesus, where he had previously been bishop of the church. This occurred, according
to history, about A. D. 99; consequently, his confinement there lasted two years. The ancients write that he suffered much
yet for the name of Christ, and was compelled to drink poison, yet remained unharmed, according to the promise of Christ;
and that he finally died in peace at Ephesus, in the time of the Emperor Trajan, having served in the holy Gospel for fifty-one
years, and being eighty years old: and thus this great light rests in Asia. Joh. Gys. Hist. Mart., fol. 14, col.
2, from Euseb. Hist. Eccl. and Epiphanio., Joh. Gys., ibidem ,. from Euseb., lib. 3, cap. 20, 23, Niceph, lib.
3, cap. 4, Iren., lib. 3, cap. 3. Also, Konst-tooneel, in the life of John. Also, Bybelsch Ncpmbcpck, letter
J. on the name John, fol. 538, col. 2, and fol. 539, col. 1, 2, also, fol. 540, col. 1.
TIMOTHY, THE SPIRITUAL SON OF THE APOSTLE PAUL, STONED
TO DEATH BY THE HEATHEN IDOLATERS AT EPHESUS, ABOUT A D. 98
Timothy was a native of Lystra in Lycaonia. His father was a Greek, but his mother and grandmother, though
of Jewish descent, were Christianbelievers, the one named Eunice, the other Lois; by whom he was instructed from his youth
in the holy Scriptures. Acts 16:1; II Tim. 1:5.
was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium; wherefore Paul received him as his companion in the
ministry of the holy Gospel among the Gentiles. Acts 16:2, 3.
Paul loved him with a godly love, and called him his dearly beloved son in the Lord. II Tim. 1:2. He afterwards
appointed him bishop or teacher of the church, and commended to him the flock of Jesus his Saviour, with the admonition, uprightly
to feed and govern the same; to which end he wrote two special epistles to him., "O.Timothy," he writes,"keep
that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called"
(I Tim. 6:20).
Further, "This charge
I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee . . . . Through faith and a ,good conscience"
In another place: ."Thou,
therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses,
the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also" (II Tim. 2:1, 2).
In this ministry Timothy acquitted himself as an upright evangelical preacher, until it pleased
God, to let him finish his course, not by a common death, but by martyrdom; so that he, with his spiritual father Paul, who
had steadfastly preceded him, and especially with his Lord Christ Jesus, who had gone through the conflict many years before,
might enjoy the unfading crown of honor in the life of bliss. Thus it happened afterwards, according to history, that, having
been bishop at Ephesus for fifteen years, he was there stoned to death by the heathen, whose idolatry he had reproved. This
is stated to have taken place in the reign of Domitian, or about A. D. 98, though some have fixed it in the time of Nero.
Ioh, Gysii Hist. Mart., fol. 14, col. 4, also, Bybelsch Nambock, letter T. on the name Timothy, fol. 925,
URTICINUS, A PIOUS CHRISTIAN,
BEHEADED WITH THE AX, AT RAVENNA, A. D. 99
Next to Timothy is placed Urticinus or Ursinius, a physician at Ravenna in Italy. Having been reported to
the judge Paulinus, as being a Christian, he was tortured in manifold ways for the name of Christ. Having borne all with constancy,
and still refusing to sacrifice to the gods of the heathen, he was finally sentenced by the judge, to be beheaded with the
When Urticinus received this sentence
of death, he began to tremble and shake before the impending death, and to deliberate with himself, whether he should deny
Christ, or how he might the most easily escape death. But while he was thus counseling with flesh and blood, one of the company
of judge Paulinus, whose name was Vitalus, stepped up to him from behind, and strengthened him with these words, "My
beloved brother in Christ, Urticinus, who, as a faithful physician, by the potions, didst so often and so happily restore
to health the sick, take heed, lest by thy denial thou plunge thyself into eternal death and damnation."
Through this admonition Urticinus regained such courage,
that he joyfully prepared for death, and, having of his own accord offered his neck to the ax, he thus, through the separation
of his head from the body, came to a godly and noble end. See concerning this, A. Mell., 1st book, van de Hist. der hervolg.,
fol. 18, col. 3 and 4, according Tenant. Fortunat., lib. 4. hitce S. Martini, Hieronym. Rub. Hilt. Raven.,
lib. 1. Beda, Usard. Ado: Vincent, Spec. Hist., lib. 9, cap. 50. holateran. in AntrhoQal. Pet. Dam., in Senn. de
S. S. Vitale and haleria.
BURIED ALIVE AT RAVENNA FOR THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST; AND HIS WIFE BEATEN TO DEATH WITH STICKS, AT MILAN, ABOUT A. D. 99
Vitalus, before his conversion, was a Roman knight and
citizen of Milan. He had come to Ravenna with Paulinus, the judge; but when he perceived the blood' thirstiness of his
lord, whom he had hitherto served faithfully according to the manner of the world, he bravely left him, and straightway enrolled
himself under the banner of Christ, but was very soon apprehended by the enemies of truth. For Paulinus, his lord, not knowing
why he had left him, but having learned that he had encouraged Urticinus-who had just before been beheaded with the ax, for
the faith-when the latter wavered, and that he had restrained him from sac- rificing to the gods; likewise, that he had buried
him after his death, conceived a suspicion that he also must be a Christian. Upon this suspicion, and through the accusations
of others, he had the pious Vitalus apprehended, and having found from his own confession, that he was really a Christian,
he caused him to be put on the rack, to try him whether he would not apostatize from Christ.
Thereupon Vitalus addressed Paulinus, the criminal judge, in these words, "You must certainly
be deprived of your reason, to think that I should be deceived by you, and brought to eternal suffering in soul and body,
while I have sought to deliver others from the danger of delusion."
A wicked heathen priest, perceiving that he adhered firmly to Christ, and would in no wise do
honor to the gods, advised Paulinus to bury Vitalus alive. Paulinus, following the evil suggestion of this priest, had a deep
pit dug down to the water, at the place where the Christians were usually executed-called ad Palmam because a palm tree stood
there-and had Vitalus buried in it, up to the middle (of his body), and then covered up with stones and earth.
Now when Valeria, the wife of Vitalus, after the death and burying alive of her husband, returned
home from Ravenna to Milan, where she resided and had her children, she could not remain concealed long, but made herself
known to be a Christian woman; for when she was constrained to eat of that which was offered to idols, she very steadfastly
refused and resisted, yea, moreover, openly reproved the idolaters, saying, "I am a Christian, and can, therefore, in
no wise eat that which is offered to Sylvanus, your god."
Thereupon these idolaters seized her, and beat her to death with sticks. She was buried at Milan by the Christians.
This happened by virtue of the first persecution, or the edict of Nero, which, it is stated, remained in force under Vespasian
and under Domitian. A.:dell. Hist., fol.~ 16, col. 3, about Luke.
Concerning this martyrdom see the above mentioned authors, annotated with regard to Urticinus.
OF DIFFERENT OTHER PERSONS WHO WERE SLAIN FOR THE NAME
OF CHRIST ABOUT A. D. 100
to ancient history there were also slain for the testimony of the Son of God; In France, Lucianus, bishop of the church of
Bellovaco; Maximianus and Julianus, elders; Nicasius, bishop of the church of Rouen; Quirinus, an elder; Scubiculus, a deacon;
Pascientia, a virgin. In Italy, Romulus, bishop of the church of Fesula, and others, in different places. 7. Gys. Hist.
Mart., fol. 14, col. 4.
It is further
recorded, that Marsilius Glabrio also had to suffer for the name of Christ and the true faith.
At this time (it is stated in the Introduction to the Martyrs' Mirror to the Defenseless
Christians fol. 36, col. 2,) "The Christians were so little esteemed, that they were called cobblers, as may be
seen from a heathen author, according to Baronius."