Imatges de pàgina

vailed within. Bean's Prayer for christianity are no where mentionDeparting Souls was read, and, ed ; but it appears, from his own after some interval, the Commen- writings, as well as from the testidatory Prayer for a Person at the mony of Eusebius and Theodo. Point of Death, which, after anoth- ret, that he was placed, at an earer interval, was repeated. As the ly age, under the instructions of prayer advanced her breathing be- St. Polycarp, the Bishop of Smyr. came weaker; and as the prayer na, who had been the disciple of ended the breathed her last. Her St. John. His words are, “ when {pirit and the interceffion of her I was yet a child I was in the Lowchristians friends, it is hoped, af- er Asia with Polycarp.;" and “ I cended to heaven together. Her remember the things then done fon, who had not moved from her better than what has happened of bedside for a considerable time be late.: for what we learn being chilfore her departure, held her hands dren, increases together with the between his at this folemn moment, mind itself, and is closely united and received her last breath. to it : Insomuch that I am able Not a groan nor throb was heard, to tell even the place where the nor was the least change of coun- blessed Polycarp fat and discourftenance perceptable. She fell a- ed ; also his goings-out and comleep in Jesus. ; his manner of life ; the Thus died this excellent woman, shape of his body; his discourses at her son's house in Lansdown to the people ; the familiar interplace, Bath, on Sunday evening, course which he said he had with the 11th of November, 1804, in John, and with the rest who had the seventy-second year of her age. seen the Lord ; and how he reMay every reader of this narra- hearsed their fayings.; and what tive, encouraged by so striking an they were which he had heard instance of divine mercy, become from them concerning the Lord, a follower of them who, through his miracles, and his doctrines. faith and patience, inherit the According as Polycarp received promises ; that, together with them from those who with their those who have died in the Lord, own eyes beheld the word of life, he may be a joyful partaker of so he related them, agreeing in that bleffed rest which remaineth all things with the scriptures. for the people of God.

These things, by the mercy of

God bestowed on me, I then heard From the Christian Observer.. diligently, and copied them out,

not in paper, but in my heart; History has corrveyed to us and by the grace of God I do confew particulars of the first years tinually and sincerely ruminate on of the life of Irenæus, and has not them.” even specified his country, or the

The account which has been alplace of his birth. There is, how. ready given of Polycarp* fuffiever, fufficient ground for believ. ciently thews, that by him Irenæus ing him to have been a Greek, and must have been tavght the true to have acquired in his youth a and uncorrupted doctrine of the competent acquaintance with the Apostles ; and was likely also, philosophy and literature, which considering the deep reverence were then in vogue. The circumfances which led him to embrace

• The life of Polycarp shall be given in ass ture number.



which he felt for his master, to im. throne of the Cæsars, a persecu. bibe from him a spirit nearly alli. tion commenced against the ed to theirs. Accordingly we christians, which continued with find him, in after life, to have only occasional and partial interbeen an eminent example of the missions during his reign of nineeffect of genuine christianity in teen years.* In 177, the storm fanctifying the heart, and elevat- of this persecution fell with peing the foul above worldly and culiar violence on France, and sensual objects,

particularly on the churches of Irenæus is also said to have been, Lyons and Vienne. An account for some time, a scholar of Papias, of the miseries which it there prothe Bishop of Hierapolis, * a man duced is contained in an epistle of unquestionable piety, but of a addressed by these churches to weak judgment and narrow under their brethren in Asia and Phrygstanding, which, leading him to ia, and written, as is most probamisapprehend some of the more ble, by Irenæus himself; the subabstruse parts of fcripture, prov. Itance of which will now be giv. ed the occasion of great errors in many who followed him and revered his memory ; errors, the “ Who noble ends by noble means ob. contagion of which Irenæus him

tains, self did not wholly escape.

Or failing smiles in exile or in chains ; Of the life of Irenæus nothing

Like good Aurelius let him reign or

bleed more is known until the year of Like Socrates ; that man is great inour Lord 177. We then find deed." him acting as Presbyter of the It would not have suited the poet's Church of Lyons in France, under purpose, or rather that of his infidei inPothinus, who was Bilhop of ed to view, as eminent examples of vir

structor, Bolingbroke, to have exhibitthat fee. The circumstances tue, those whose ardent love of Chirst, which led to his being placed in and whose realizing views of eternity, this situation have not been re- had rendered them superior to evcorded : but the gospel having ery worldly or selfish confideration :

whom neither tribulation, nor distress, been first planted in Lyons, at no

nor persecution, nor famine, nor nakvery remote period, by means of edness, nor peril, nor the sword, could millionaries sent thither by one move from the prosecution of the no. of the Aliatick churches, the Gal- blest end; the glory of God, by the nolick christians probably continued blest means ; an entire devotedness of

themselves, souls and bodies, to his ser. paltors from the same quarter ; vice. No, it is the implacable persecuavailing themselves for that pur- tor of those very men, every period of pose of the commercial inter- whose history, is stained with their course subsisting between the two blood, and whose delegated cruelties countries. Pothinus, the Bish. toward them (though they were, inop, was evidently a Greek as well deed, the excellent of the earth) can

not be read without indignation and as Irenæus.

horror; this is the man whom Soon after Marcus Aurelius obristian Poet selects as his pattern of Antoniust had succeeded to the imperial magnanimity, of true good

nefs and nobleneis of mind! See Mil• Papias had likewise been a disciple ner's Church History, Vol. I. of St. John.

* It was to the fury of this persecu+ This is the same person whom Mr. tion that St. Polycarp and Juftin Mar. Pope celebrates in the following lines :

tyr, fell victims.


SUBSTANCE OF THE EPISTLE, &c. ers were examined at the same

time, who proved illustrious and We are unable to give you any ready martyrs ; while some provadequate idea of the fury mani- ed unequal to so great a combat. fested by the heathens against the Of these ten fell away, whose case faints, or of the sufferings of filled us with deep dejection on the blessed martyrs. Our grand their account, and with alarming adversary affailed us with all his fears, not of being tortured, but might, and left no method of cru- lest any of us also should be temptelty unpractised. We were for- ed to apoftatize from the faith. bidden to appear in the baths, or The most eminent persons of both the forum ; in any house except churches were now daily appreour own, or indeed in any place hended, and with them some of whatsoever. But the Grace of our heathen servants, who were God fought for us, preserving the induced, by the dread of torture, weak, and exposing to the fury of to charge us with eating human the tempter thote chiefly, who, flesh, and with other practices not being armed with patience, were fit even to be named. This inable to withstand his affault, cenfed, beyond all bounds, against and to endure every species of us many even of those who before pain and reproach, esteeming had been more moderate. The i them light and trivial, for the holy martyrs were now called to fake of Christ, and the glory endure inexpressible tortures, Sawhich should follow. They first tan endeavouring to extor from courageously sustained the thouts, them also some flander against blows, plunder, stonings, and all christianity. The


of the other outrages and indignities multitude, as well as of the prefiwhich an exasperated mob could dent and the soldiery, was chiefly be expected to inflict. They then directed against Sanctus, a deacon underwent a publick examination, of Vienne; Maturus, who had onand confessing themselves to be ly recently been baptized ; Atta. christians were shut up in prison. lus, of Pergamus, a main pillar of When the president arrived, they the church; and Blandina, who, were brought before his tribunal, notwithstanding our fears for her and treated with the utmost bru. weakness, was supplied with so tality. Vettius Epagathus, an much fortitude, that even those eminent example of piety and de- who in fucceflion were torturing votedness to God, was moved with her from morning till night were indignation at witnefling such a per- worn out, and owned themselves verlion of justice, and requested vanquished. They were even apermission to repel the charge of mazed that she should be ftill a. impiety which was made against live, mangled and pierced as was the christians. His requelt was her whole body. But in the midst refused, and he himself, confelling of all her torments, it seemed to that he was a christian, was num. abate her pains, and to recruit bered with the martyrs.

But her fpirits to be able to say, “ I having within him the Holy Spir- am a christian, and no wickedness it, and being a genuine disciple of is acted among us." Chrift, he gladly laid down his The astonishing courage with life for the brethren, following the which Sanctus encountered the Lamb whitherfuccer he goeth. Öth intense sufferings he was made to

undergo, excited in an extraordi- places, their feet distended in the nary degree the rage both of the stocks, till many were suffocated, governour and the torturers. At and others died in prison of the lalt they applied red hot plates tortures they had endured. Maof brass to the tenderest parts of ny, however, survived, not withhis body : these were indeed standing their deftitution of all burnt ; but he till stood unmov. human aid, being strengthened by ed, and firm in his confeflion, be- the Lord. ing refreshed by that heavenly Pothinus, the Bishop, who was fountain of living water which above ninety years of age, and veflows from the body of Christ. ry infirm in body, though strong in His body was now one continued spirit, was now brought before the wound, and scarcely retained the tribunal, and having, amid the human form; but Christ wrought fhouts of the multitude, witnessed wonders in him, shewing that a good confeflion, he was violent- . nothing is to be dreaded where ly dragged about and inhumanly. the love of God, and the glory of beaten, until scarcely any breath Christ are present.

For some was left in him. He was then days after, while his body was in cast into prison, and after two an extremely tender state, swoln days expired. and inflamed by what he had suf- It is particularly worthy of refered, they hoped, by repeating mark, that such as on being seized the fame course of tortures, to had denied Christ partook of the subdue his constancy; or at least fame miseries in prison as the mar. to strike a terror into the rest. tyrs, being treated as guilty by But so far was this from being their own confession of murder the case, that under this second in and incelt; while they were destifliction he seemed, by the grace of tute of the joy of martyrdom, the Christ, rather to recover his form- hope of the gospel, the love of er shape, and the use of his limbs. Christ, and the confolations of the

Biblias, one of those who had Spirit of God, Oppressed with denied Christ, was now brought the pangs of guilt, their dejected to the torture, in the hope of looks distinguilhed them from the compelling her to charge the faithful, who went forth cheerfulchristians with impious practices. ly, their countenances beaming But on being tortured, she seemed with grace and glory: moreover, to awake as it were out of feep, the very heathens reviled them as and to be reminded by her present cowards and murderers. When sufferings of the everlasting tor- the others observed these things ments of Hell. Denying, there. they became more steadfast in the fore, the truth of such allegations, faith, and yielded not to the luge The added, “How Thould such gestions of the devil. persons eat children to whom it is The martyus suffered death in unlawful even to eat the blood of various ways. Maturus, Sanctus, bealls?” She then confessed her. Blandina, and Attalus, were proself a christian, and was added to duced on one of the days of the the army of martyrs.

shews before the wild beasts in the The torments already inflicted amphitheatre. There the two proving ineffectual through the firl: again underwent all sorts of power of Christ, the martyrs were torments, having been previously imprisoned in dark and noisome scourged in their passage thither. They were torn, and dragged up rom of the church, they longed and down by the wild beasts, and for a fresh opportunity of being fubje&ted also to every barbarity examined. The emperor's orders which the populace chose to call were, that such as confessed themfor, and at last to the iron chair, selves christians frould be put to in which their bodies were so death by torture, and that the 2broiled as to produce a most of- postates should be dismissed. It fensive odour. Nor did the cruel. being now, therefore, the time of ties of their perfecutors end here, the public games, the martyrs but were continued with the ut- were again brought before the most fierceness until these two ho. populace. Such of them as were ly men at length expired under Roman citizens were beheaded, their sufferings.

the rest were thrown to the wild Blandina was suspended to a beasts. Christ was now in a parftake and exposed to the wild ticular manner glorified in those beasts; and forming as the hung who had formerly apostatized ; the figure of a cross, her appear- for boldly avowing themselves ance served to encourage the christians they also were added to christians by exciting a lively re- the number of the martyrs. None collection of Him who was crucifi- now remained in a state of apostaed, that he might obtain for those cy but a few whose conduzt had who believe in him and suffer for always been a reproach to chrifhis sake, eternal communion with tianity, and had shewn them neve the living God. None of the er to have possessed true faith, nor beasts touching her, she was tak. to have had the fear of God be. en down and cast again into pris- fore their eyes. on, being reserved for another During the course of the exam. combat. Attalus also, being ve- inations, one Alexander, who was hemently called for by the popu. distinguished by his love of God, lace, came forward with serenity, by his boldness in preaching, and and was led round the theatre, by his apoftolical endowments, preceded by the tablet, on which stood near the tribunal, and with was inscribed, “This is Attalus gestures animated the christians the christian.” The rage of the to profess the faith. This conpeople against him was excessive : duct excited the indignation of the but the president understanding populace against him, and being that he was a Roman citizen re- interrogated and confelling himmanded him to prison, till he felf a christian, he was condemnfhould learn the will of the empe- ed to death. The next day he ror respecting persons in his cir. and Attalus were exposed togeth. cumstances. The respite which was er to the wild beasts, and having thus obtained, proved highly ben- sustained all the usual methods of eficial to the church. The mer- torture, were at lait run through cy of Christ conspicuously appear- with a sword. Alexander expired ed in the patience with which he without having uttered a word or armed his servants : and by means a groun, communing inwardly of the martyrs, most of those who with God during his conflict. had renounced the faith were born But Attalus, when placed in the anew, and acquired courage to iron chair and thoroughly scorchprofess themselves christians; and ed, said, “ You indeed devour Geing joyfully restored to the bo- men, but we neither devour men,

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