SUMMARY OF BAPTISM IN THE THIRD CENTURY
Among the witnesses of true baptism we have accorded Tertullian the first place, because it was in the very early part of this century that he flourished and spread abroad the fame of his doctrine. He rebuked those who brought such as were too young to be baptized, justifying his rebuke with conclusive reasons.
Leonilla, a Christian grandmother, had her three grandsons, Sosyphus, Cleosyphus, and Melosyphus, baptized after previous instruction.
Then comes Origen, surnamed Adamantius, who gives very excellent and salutary expositions, not only in regard to baptism, but also with reference to various other religious matters.
Three very learned men, Virian, Marcellinus, and Justin, confer with one another, and are baptized upon their .faith; likewise also Pancratius, the son of the believing Chonius; also, Bazilla, an honorable maiden, who was baptized after having been instructed by Protus and Hiacyntus; and thus also was baptized, after having been instructed in the faith by Pontianus, Pontus, the son of a Christian, called Marcus.
Nemesius instructed and baptized those who attained to the faith.
Cyrillus Hierosolymitanus exhorted those who came to his baptism, that they should first fast forty days on account of their sins.
We conclude with some who in regard to baptism and the Lord's Supper held views different from those of the Catholic (that is, Roman) Church, from which latter they had separated themselves, and with this completes the account of baptism in this country.]
We do not find it stated by a single authentic author, as has been shown, that during the first two centuries any one departed from the foundation of Christ's true order of baptism, that is, from baptism upon faith, by changing this, the true baptism, into a vain or infant baptism; but it appears that in the third century there were men who not only originated, but also put it in practice and administered the same; yet it was adopted only in a few places. J. Mehrn. in Baptism. Hist., page 164, num. 10. H. Montanus, in Nietighz. van den Kinder-doop, second edition, p. 17.
It would not be out of order to give a two-fold account of this matter: in the first place, by whom, how, and in what manner baptism was then practiced in the true church of God; in the second place, by whom, how, and in what manner, infant baptism originated and was observed by some, at that time. But since it is not our purpose here to refute this error, but simply to show how true baptism, as instituted by Christ, and practiced by the holy apostles, has been observed, taught and preached from century to century; and how the church of God blossomed in that faith, as a rose amidst thorns; therefore we will pass by this question, since it does not properly belong here; however, we shall speak of it in a separate place, but proceed now in our account.
About the year 204.-This is the time in which, it is stated, the celebrated Tertullian flourished,
who, seeing that baptism was administered to the catechumens (learners) too soon, inasmuch as some began to baptize them while they were yet children, wrote, in order to prevent this, as follows, "It is more expedient to defer baptism, according to the condition, circumstances, and age of each particular individual, than to precipitate it. Again, "It is true, the Lord says: 'Forbid them not to come unto me.' Let them come, then, when they increase in years; let them come, when they learn and are taught whereto they come; that they may become Christians; when they can know Christ. Why hasten ye the innocent youths to the forgiveness of sins? We should exercise more prudence in temporal matters, than to entrust with divine things those to whom we do not entrust earthly; that they may know to desire salvation, in order that it may appear that it was given to him, who desired it." Lib. de Baptismo, cap. 18. Also, H. Mont. Nietigheyd, page 17.
These words contain several dissuasions against baptizing too early. The first reason is based on the unprofitableness of hastening with it, and is contained in these words, "It is more profitable to defer baptism, according to the condition, circumstances, and age of each particular individual, than to hasten it." The second reason is founded on the import of the words of Christ, "Forbid them not to come unto me;" with reference to which he says, "Let them come then, when they increase in years." The third reason he bases on the innocence or simplicity of those children, saying, "Why hasten ye the innocent youths?" The fourth reason he founds on the imprudence manifested thereby, saying, "We should exercise more prudence in temporal matters than to trust with divine things those to whom we do not entrust earthly things." The fifth reason, finally, he bases on the desire for salvation which the candidate for baptism must have, saying, "That they may know to desire salvation, in order that it may appear, that it was given to him who desired it."
It appears therefore throughout these words of Tertullian, how greatly he was opposed to having baptism administered too hastily to ignorant and inexperienced young persons; and, on the other hand, how gratifying would it have been to him, if, having reached the years of maturity, and been instructed and taught, they would have been baptized upon their own desire to be saved.
This manner of baptizing he mentions in another place, stating at the same time, how this baptism was administered by him and his own people. He says, "When we go to the water, and first begin with baptism, we confess there, even as we did before in the church, under the hand of the overseer,* that we renounce the devil with all his adherents and angels; after which we are dipped three times, which answers more than the Lord has laid down
* The leader, or minister or bishop.-Publishers. in the Gospel."* In lib. de Corona Militis, cap. 3 and 4. Also, H. Mont. Nietigheyd, page 16.
He states it still more clearly in Lib. de Spectaculis, cap. 4: "When we, having gone into the water, confess the Christian faith upon the words of his law, we testify with our mouth, that we have renounced the devil, his pomp, and his angels."
And that this may be practiced and maintained in truth, he gives, to the candidates for baptism this instruction (Lib. de Baptismo, cap. 20), "Those who are to be baptized, must supplicate with much praying, fasting, bending of knee, and watching, confessing all their former sins, so that they may show forth John's baptism.""They were baptized," says he,"confessing their sins." Matt. 3:6.
Then he shows what baptism is, and what it signifies; from which we can clearly see that at least in his estimation infant baptism was not authorized. He says, "The washing of water is a seal of the faith; which faith begins with, and is known by the penitence of the believer. We are not washed, in order that we may cease to sin; but because we have ceased, and are washed in heart, for this is the first immersion of him that hears."** Lib. de Pwnitentia, cap. 6. Also, J. du Bois, Seckerheyd van, etc., printed A. D. 1648, page 47.
If you wish to learn still more of the views of Tertullian concerning baptism as instituted by Christ, read lib. de Prescript, adversus Hwreticos, cap. 36, cited by H,. Montanus, in Nietigh., page 23, and by J. du Bois (although he misinterprets this passage), Contra Montanum, page 44, where Tertullian writes thus, "Well, then, ye who would inquire more fully into the matter of your salvation, take a view of the apostolic churches, in which the chairs of the apostles are still occupied by their successors, and where their own authentic epistles are still read, sounding their voices, and calling up their very forms. If Achaia is near you, there is Corinth; are you not far from Macedonia, there is Philippi, and there Thessalonica; can you come into Asia; there is Ephesus; but are you near Italy, there is Rome. Let us see, what she (namely the church there) has said, what she has taught, and in what she has agreed with the African churches. She recognizes one God, the Creator of all things, and Christ Jesus from the virgin Mary, the Son of God the Creator, and the resurrection of the flesh; she unites the ,law and the prophets with the evangelical and apostolical writings, and there-
* The above quotations from Tertullian, are given by Van Braght to show that he in no wise sanctioned infant baptism and from the remark at the close of the paragraph"which answers (says) more than the Lord has laid down in the Gospel," it appears that even Tertullian himself, though, as it appears. he practiced it, does not claim Gospel authority for it.-The Publishers.
* Tertullian here speaks of repentance and regeneration, showing how that the heart must be changed and cleansed with the"washing of water by the word," and then says, "for this is the first immersion (indoopinge) of him that hears," by which he evidently means to show that this spiritual change of the heart is first in importance. Karl Tauchnitz in his Dutch-German Dictionary gives the definition of"Indoopen: Einweihen;" to consecrate or initiate, of which baptism is also a signification. In this sense we might say: This is the first baptism, or the first consecration, or the most important work of him that hears, or of him that would be saved.-The Publishers.
from drinks this faith, which she seals with water, clothes with the Holy Ghost, feeds with the eucharist, or Lord's Supper, and confirms by martyrdom; and receives no one contrary to this institution." Thus far, Tertullian.
To this we say, "It is indeed true, that he here speaks against the errors of Valentinus, Marcion, and the like; but since this occasions him to say, that all the churches which he mentions, especially the one at Rome, in which the apostolic doctrine was still sounded at that time, sealed the faith, which he opposes to said errors, with water, and that they received no one contrary to this institution; any one can clearly see, that all the above named churches administered baptism at that time to adults, who could drink that faith from the evangelical and apostolical writings; and not this only, but could also partake of it by the use of the eucharist, and confirm it by martyrdom, which are things that children cannot do."Ergo.
TERTULLIAN'S VIEWS CONCERNING DIFFERENT OTHER MATTERS, ACCORDING TO THE ACCOUNT OF P. J. TWISCK
"Tertullian," says Twisck,"exhorts Christian women, in a book written to his wife, not to enter into marriage relations with the heathen, saying that it is impossible for them to live long in peace and friendship. He says: 'What must the heathen husband think, when he sees, or hears it said that his wife kisses on the cheek the first Christian whom she happens to meet?"', "Again, In a book on patience, when speaking of the apostates and of withdrawing from them, he says that patience governs all manner of salutary doctrines, and remarks: 'What wonder then, that it also serve to repentance to those who are wont to come to the help of the apostate, whether it be man or wife, when separated one from another, nevertheless by such things as are lawful, to be led to maintain their widow or widowerhood. It is patience that waits for repentance, hopes for it and exhorts to it those who would yet at some time attain to salvation. How great the benefit it confers upon both-the one it preserves from adultery, the other it reforms.'* Again he says: 'Do you think that it is hard for a Christian to suffer? He would rather die himself, than to kill others; and if you smite a Christian, he glories in it.' 1, "Again, 'As the religion of others does not concern us, and neither profits nor harms us; therefore, it does not become any one religion to force
* The foregoing quotation from Tertullian is ambiguous in the Holland language and appears to have been so also in the original. Dr. Karl Ad. Heinrich Kellner, Prof. of Theol. at Heidelsheim, in his German translation of the"Complete Works of Tertullian" renders this passage as follows, which he says he holds as the correct rendering, "What wonder then that it (patience) also unites itself with repentance and is, aside from separation in the marriage relation, the usual means of relief for the apostate-this, however, only for the reason that we, whether it be for the man, or whether it be for the wife, in widowhood may hope for constancy. It is patience that waits for salvation with those who in their own time would seek repentance, that longs for it and prays for it. How .g,lta benefit it works for bothl The one it preserves from adulhe other it purifies.'-The Publishers.
itself upon another, since it must be accepted voluntarily, and not by coercion, for what is required is the offering of a willing mind."' (This agrees with Ex. 25, 35 and 36. Chr. Leonh., lib. 1. Seb. Fir. in the Arke fol. 174. Stand der Religie, lib. 4. Grond. Bew. letter B. Menn. Sym. Doop. C., fol. 8. Th. Imbroek, fol. 28.) ., "Again, Tertullian (in his fourth book against Marcion) quoting the words of Christ: This is my body, that is, a figure of my body, says: 'It would not have been a figure, had His body not been real; for a phantasm, or mere illusion, cannot have a figure or shadow?' With this he means to prove that Christ had a real body; and what he here calls a figure, he, in the fifth book, calls a sacrament, with the express words: 'The bread and the cup.' Still more clearly he says in the first book: 'Neither did he despise or reject the bread, by which he represented or typified his body.'", "He says: 'These words of Christ: This is my body, we must understand as though Christ had said: This is the sign and figure of My body. I pass over Dionysius Alexandrinus, and Paulinus, who both treat in the same manner of the above sacrament."' Tertul. Apolog., cap. 39. Euseb. lib. 6 and 9. Daniel Saut., lib. 1, cap. 6., "Again, Tertullian says: 'We must not seek the faith from the persons, but prove the persons by the faith."' De Praescript, lib. 4. P. J. Twisck, Chron. 2d book, page 53, eol. 1, 2.
NOTE.-Tertullian taught at this time, "We have the apostles for authors, who established nothing according to their own inclination, but faithfully taught the nations that which they had received from God." Lib. 1, PrTscript.
He writes further that"all churches are apostolic churches, though they may have been founded long after the time of the apostles, if they have but kinship with the doctrine." Lib. 1.PrTsc. See Samuel heltius, in the Geslacht-register der Roomscher Successie, second edition, 1649 pages 115, 116.
Tertullian says among other things, "The emperors would have believed in Christ, if the world had not prevented them; for they could not become Christians, because they had to serve the world, and carry on war." See, Grondelijke Verklaringe Danielis ende Johannis, printed at Harlem, 1635, on Tertullian.
Vicecomes, in his first book on baptism, chap. 1, notes the following testimony from Tertullian (lib. 1, cap. 4.), "There is no difference between those whom John baptized in Jordan and those Peter baptized in the Tiber." With this he intends to prove that in the first days of Christianity there were neither baptismal fonts nor churches. J. M., Baptism. Hist., page 276.
Again says Tertullian, "Thus, when we go into the water of baptism, we justly confess our sins and the Christian faith." Vicecom., lib. 4, cap. 7, and J. M., Baptism. Hist., page 277.
These last two passages from Tertullian we have adduced over and above what was necessary, but they are not useless, since they confirm what we have said above about baptism; for by the first the superstition which was wont to be connected with the water, the baptismal font, and the church in which baptism was administered, is removed, or at least (per consequentiam)controverted; and the second states that it is proper to confess our sins, and the Christian faith, at baptism. And therewith he proves that it is not proper to be baptized without confessing one's sins, and the Christian faith. What has been said is sufficient for the intelligent. With this we take our leave of Tertullian.
A. D. 224.-Leonilla, a Christian grandmother, had three grandsons, Sosyphus, Cleosyphus, and Melosyphus. She begged Romigius that he would instruct the three lads in the Christian faith, and then baptize them. This was done in a godly manner. P. 1. Twisck, Chron. for the year 224, 3d book, page 60, cot. 1, from Grond. Bew., letter B.. Also, Kort verhal van den loop der werelt, printed 1611, page 47.
From this it will be seen, that at that time and place Christians were not in the habit of having their children or grandchildren baptized, unless these had reached riper years, and been instructed in the faith, which, when they confessed it, they were baptized upon. This should be borne in mind.
A. D. 231.-At this time there flourished as a writer the celebrated Origen, surnamed Adamantius, who, treating on baptism, writes thus (Homil. 6, super. Ezechidem) on Ezekiel, 16:4, " 'Neither wast thou washed in water to supple thee,' etc.: We, who have received the grace of baptism in the name of Jesus Christ, are washed unto salvation. Simon was washed, and when he had received baptism, continued with Philip; but not being washed unto salvation, he was condemned by him who through the Holy Ghost said to him: 'Thy money perish with thee.' It is a matter of great importance that he who is washed, be washed unto salvation., "Be very heedful of this, ye catechumens, or learners, and prepare yourselves by what is told you while you are yet under instruction and unbaptized , ano then come to the washing of water, and be washbd unto salvation. But be not washed as some, who are washed, but not unto salvation; like those who receive the water, but not the Holy Ghost., "He that is washed unto salvation, receives the water and the Holy Ghost., "Because Simon was not washed unto salvation, he received the water, and not the Holy Ghost; for he thought he could purchase the gift of the Holy Ghost with money, wherein he was not washed unto salvation., "That which we now read as having been spoken at Jerusalem, is addressed to every sinful soul that seems to believe." Also, H. Mont. Nietigh., pp. 36, 37. he above words of Origen indicate the manner of baptism which prevailed in his time, namely, that the candidates for baptism were first catechumens, that is, learners, who were instructed in the faith, and had to prepare themselves to this end, before they were baptized. For, when he says, "Be very heedful of this, ye catechumens, or learners, and prepare yourselves by what is told you while you are yet under instruction and unbaptized; and then come to the washing of water," etc., what else is meant by it, than that it confirms what John required of those who came to him to be baptized, saying, "Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance," Matt. 3:8; that is, prepare yourselves by a true reformation of life, so that you may receive baptism worthily.
Then, on the words, Ezek. 16:5, "But thou wast cast out in the open field," etc., he (Origen) comments thus, "If we sin again after the washing of regeneration, we are cast away, according to the Word of God, in the day that we are born: such are frequently found, who, after they have been washed by the washing of regeneration, do not bring forth fruits meet for repentance; nor do they live up to the mystery of baptism, with more fear than they had while they were yet catechumens, or learners; or with more love than they exercised when they were still hearers of the Word; or with holier deeds than they performed before. Beloved, observe what is said in the text: 'Thou wast cast out in the open field, for the wickedness of thy soul, in the day that thou wast born."' H. Mont., same page as above.
By these words he confirms the import of his former declaration, namely,"That those who are to be baptized, must first be catechumens, or learners, and, being baptized, they must be truly regenerated;" and thus he calls baptism"the washing of regeneration," even as Paul, Tit. 3:5.
Moreover, he complains that those who were washed by the washing of regeneration, did not bring forth fruits meet for repentance. By this he certainly means to say, that the baptized person must be truly converted, and bring forth good fruits. But how can he be converted, that is, turn from his error, who never has erred? And how can it be demanded of him to bring forth good fruits, who cannot be accused of ever having brought forth bad fruits? Hence it is evident that he does not say this with reference to the baptisr~ of infants, since these, having never erred, or brought forth bad fruits, cannot, through baptism, be required to turn from error, and bring forth better fruits than they have brought forth before.
That such baptism, accompanied with the mortifying of the flesh, and resurrection unto a new life, is taught and commended by Origen, is clearly expressed in his comments on Rom. 6:3, "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?" where he says, "But it seems to me that the apostle in this chapter does not prefix even the words: 'Know ye
not,' without a purpose. He thereby proves that at that time, that is, in the days of the apostles, it was not as it is now, that those who were baptized, received only the outward figure of the mysteries,. but that also the power and intent of the same was imparted to them, and this to those who understood it, and had been instructed concerning it: that those who are baptized, are baptized into the death of Christ, and buried with Him by baptism; and that those who are baptized must walk in newness of life, even as Christ rose from the dead, through the glory of the Father." Also, H. Mont. page 37.
This is certainly expressing plainly and unequivocally, of what baptism he is treating,* namely., of such a baptism, of which the power and intent was imparted to those who understood it; by which they were buried into the death; by which they were raised, to walk in newness of life, etc., all of which are things that cannot be comprehended, much less undertaken and carried out, ,by infants. In this manner he speaks also in other places, as, for instance, in Hormilia 5, 4th and 5th chapters of the book Joshua. Again, Homil. 9, 8th and 9th chapters; Momil. 15, 11th chap. Also, Homil. 7, 15th chap. of the book o f Judges. B. Hist. p. 291.
NOTICE CONCERNING THE WRITINGS OF ORIGEN WITH REFERENCE TO BAPTISM
There are a few passages, namely, Homil. 8, on the 12th and 13th chapters of Leviticus; Homil. 14, on the 2d chap. of Luke; Comment. on the 6th chap. of the Epistle to the Romans, from which some who at this day uphold infant baptism suppose they can draw something to show that Origen was not a stranger to their views, but that he sanctioned them. But various eminent writers deny, yea, completely refute this, it being proved that these passages do not belong to Origen, but to Ruf$nus, the priest at Aquileia, who, it is stated, more than one hundred and fifty years.after Origen's time translated the works of the latter from the Greek into Latin, adding from his own, that is, out of his own mind the abovementioned passages, and, on the other hand, leaving out other matters. To this explanation we assent. See Ruflnus' prefatory and concluding remarks on Origen's Commentary to the Epistle to the Romans. Also, Erasmus' account of the life of Origen, prefaced to the works of the latter, according to J. Mehrn., Bapt. Hist., pp. 283 and 291. Also, H. Mont. Nietigheyd van den Kinder-loop, pages 29-34, and 42, 43.
Besides this, various gross errors have of old been imputed to Origen, as, for instance, that he believed, that the evil spirits would ultimately be saved. However, he himself desires this in a certain letter written to those of Alexandria, in which he complains of the shamelessness of his adversaries,
* At this time Origen taught that we must appeal to the Holy Scriptures; for without these no credence can be given to what we say. On"Jeremiah, Homil. 1. ' See, Samuel Veltius, in"Geslachtregister der," etc., page 115.
who dared in his life time to defame him with slanders which not even an insane man would utter. What, then, must have been the treatment his writings received after his death!, "We may plainly see," says Jacob Mehrning,"from what we still have of the writings of Origen, that many ignorant and grossly erring spirits have sought to palm off to the simple-minded, their own whims under the name of this eminent man, who by Jerome (in Prefatione ante Ezechidem) is called the second master of the church after the apostles." Bapt. Hist. pp. 288 and 289. Also, H. Mont. Nietigh., pages 35, 36.
TOUCHING DIFFERENT POINTS OF THE DOCTRINE OF ORIGEN, ACCORDING TO THE ACCOUNT OF P. J. TWISCK
A. D. 231.-"Origen, a man who abounds in spiritual allegories, and who practiced himself what he taught others, as church history testifies of him, began at this time to write his books, and says to the catechumens: 'Repent, that ye may receive baptism for the remission of sins.' Also: 'He that has resolved to come and be baptized, but is not willing to forsake his evil practices and- habits, but continues in his former condition, does not come to baptism in the proper way.' With reference to this, you may read, George hicelius, in his Form en Aenteekening, en Welke Gestalte en form. de Kerk duysent jaer stond, fol. 127., "Again: Origen was appointed by Demetrius, at Alexandria, catechist, that is, teacher of the pupils of the faith, which office was filled before him (after the apostles) by Plautinus and'Clement. Of his pupils, Plutarch, Serenus, Heraclides, Heron, and a woman, were martyred for Christ, before they were baptized, thus obtaining the baptism of fire., "After Origen, Heracles, and after Heracles, Dionysius had charge at Alexandria of the schools of the catechumens, that is, of those who received instruction in the Christian doctrine, preparatory to baptism., "Again: Origen says, that no one should be persecuted for his faith, and that he who would live according to the Gospel must not drive or compel his brother to an oath, nor swear such an one himself, though it be demanded of him., "Again: On Matt. 23 he says: The Lord reprehends those teachers who not only do not practice what they teach, but also, tyrannously and unmercifully, without considering the strength of their hearers, lay upon them burdens greater than they can bear, namely, forbid them to marry, and over and above what is expedient, would constrain them to an impossible chastity., "Again: He says that it is altogether a letter that killeth, that John should be understood literally and carnally. Hence he insists strongly upon it, that the natural eating, of Christ's body avails nothing, and that it must therefore be spiritually
understood and eaten. Euseb., lib. 6. Chron. Seb Frank, fol. 101 Leonh., lib. 1. Joh. Anast., fol. 313., "Again: In his 12th, 15th, and 18th Homily on the Book of Joshua., Origen writes thus: 'If the natural war of Joshua and his people were not a figure and antitype of the spiritual war of Christ and the Christians, the apostles, as peace-proclaimers, would never have accepted, nor sanctioned the reading of the books of Joshua in the heavenly Jerusalem of the peaceful church and the peaceloving children of God.' And he further proves by many arguments, that Christ, the Prince of Peace, teaches peace, and not war; and that we are not to fight with external, but only with spiritual weapons, against the devil, the world, flesh, sin, and death., "Again: Speaking of the destruction of Ai, and the extermination of the king and the people, he says: 'By this we must not understand that the saints, at this day in the new Testament, may shed blood, and kill with the natural sword: these and like events are full of mysteries.' He explains further, that we must utterly destroy Ai, that is, the kingdom of darkness and sin, through the spiritual Joshua, Christ Jesus. Col. 1; Eph. 6., "Again: Origen (Homil in Mattheo 7) says: 'The text in Luke 22, about buying a sword, is pernicious (namely, for the wicked) if understood literally, and not allegorically: for he that should regard the letter, and not understand the will and intent of God, but sell his garment, and buy a sword, would understand the word of Christ contrary to His will.', "Again: In the book against Celsus the Second, he says that 'war has been abolished by the only God:, "Again: Of antichrist he says, from II Thess. 2, that he sitteth in the temple of God, and, a little further on, he says: 'Antichrist assumes merely the name of Christ, but does not do His works; nor does he teach the words of truth. Christ is the truth; antichrist is the spurious truth. He shows himself here, as though he were Christ and the Word of God, but is nevertheless the abomination of desolation."' P. J. Twisck, Chron. 3d book, p. 61, from Chron. Seb. Fr., fol. 65, 78. Hieron. Zauch., fol. 56. Joh. H.eyden Ncemb., fol. 226, 227.
A. D. 251.-It is recorded at this time, Virian, Marcellinus, and Justin, learned men, in the reign of Emporer Decius, conferred with one another about matters concerning the Christians, and were well pleased with this holy religion; and hearing that Christian believers were baptized, they sent for a teacher* called Justin, and asked him to baptize them.
Justin rejoiced that such learned men wished to take upon themselves the yoke of Christ. He began to instruct them, and then had water brought, and baptized them on confession of their faith. P. J. Twisck, Chron. 3d book, page 68, cot. 2, from Wicel. in Choro Sanctoruni, Grond. Bew., letter B.
* The author employs the word"priest;" but priest is derived mn the word"presbyter," that is, elder. We say teacher.
A. D. 253.-For this year, we read in ancient authors, that Pancratius, the son of the believing Clionius, was baptized at Mount Celius, when he was fifteen years old, after he had been under instruction twenty days. Compare this with P. J. Twisck, Chron. 3d book, page 71, cot. 1, from Wicel. Grond. Bew. letter B. Leonh., lib., 1.
Touching the circumstances of this matter, that is, of Dionysius, who traveled with him, and the bishop Cornelius who baptized him, to whom some have erroneously ascribed another office, we leave it in its own merit and mention it no further. It suffices us that it is evident from this, that at that time the believers did not have their children bapized, till they, having attained to understanding and riper years, themselves desired to be baptized on their faith.
Same year as above.-Basilla, an honorable and discreet maiden, at Rome, in the reign of Emperor Galien, learned the Christian faith from the eunuch Protus, and Hiacynthus, and was also baptized by the above-mentioned bishop Cornelius. Grond. Bew. van den Doop, printed 1581, letter B., ij.
A. D. 257.-Pontus, the son of Marcus, a Christian, was orally instructed in the Christian religion, by the bishop, or teacher, Pontian, and then baptized. P. J. Tzeissck, Chron. 3d book, p. 73, cot. 1, from Grond. Bezv. letter B. Chron. Mich., fol 163. Also, Loop der Werelt, by F. H. H., printed 1611, page 47.
Here notice again that the afore-mentioned Pontus was not of Jewish or heathenish, but of Christian descent; for he is called the son of Marcus, a Christian; from which, as in the case of Pancratius, it appears that the Christians suffered their children to grow up unbaptized, till they attained to the years of understanding.
A. D. 264.-At Rome, under the Emperors Valerian and Galien, Nemesius and some others catechised; and, according to the custom of the church, when they had held a fast, he baptized all who believed. P. J. Twisck, Chron. 3d book, p. 57, cal. 1; word for word.
NOTE.-In the tract, Grondig Bezvijs, en onderrechting van den Doop, printed A. D. 1581, letter B., ij.; ex Codice Mariano, the name Nernesius is not put in the nominative, but in the accusative (objective) case; so that in this place it seems that Nemesius was not the one who baptized, but one of those who were baptized.
About A. D. 2.90.-The above cited examples of those who were baptized on their faith, after having been instructed, are confirmed by various teachings of Cyril of Jerusalem, who then showed how those who were baptized should conduct themselves before as well as after baptism. Jacob Mehrning introduces him about the end of this century, or about A. D. 290, and adduces from his writing various passages which apply in no wise to infant baptism, but very appropriately to'the
baptism which is administered upon faith and repentance.
In Baptism Hist., pages 317 and 318, he has this annotation (cap. 8, ibid), "Cyril himself exhorts some catechumens who before had spent several years in sensuality and lewdness, that they should not think it grievous to do penance for forty days, saying: 'Beloved, forsake that which is present, and believe in the things to come. So many years you have spent, and served the world in vain; will you not, then, begin, and for the sake of your souls, abstain for forty days?"'
In Baptism Hist., page 318, we read (Cyril in Catech. 2, Mijstag.), "Repent, O man, and the grace of baptism shall not be withheld from thee.", "Again: Cyril strenuously exhorts such newly planted ones unto godliness, so that when they go to receive baptism, they will not be rejected, like the guest spoken of in the Gospel, who did not have on a wedding garment. Therefore he says: 'Far be it, that any of those who have given in their names for baptism, and have been entered on the lists, should hear: Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment?"' From Vicecom., lib. 2, cap. 12, on Cyril., "Again he says (Cyril in Catech. 3, Mijstag) 'Begin to wash your garments by repentance, that, being called to the marriage of the Lamb, you may be found worthy."', "Again (Baptism. Hist., page 319, Cyril Catech. 1, Mijstag): 'Say to those who are to be baptized: Hear the voice of the prophet that saith
Wash ye, make you clean; put away from your souls the evils of your doings before mine eyes; that the assembly of the angels may call unto you
Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.'", "Again cap. 6 (hicec.), Cyril admonishes the newly baptized: 'As you have put off the old garments, and put on those that are according to the Spirit, you shall henceforth always walk in white garments.' By this we do not mean to say that it is necessary for you always to have on white garments, but that you are to clothe yourselves in such garments as are white, bright, and spiritual before God. And in cap. 10, he says: 'Would to God, that we could all of a truth say: My soul is joyful in the Lord; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, and with the robe of gladness.'"
Then he shows how holy, divine, and blessed a thing it is, to have joined one's self by baptism to the nobility of Christ, that is, to His church. It is truly wonderful, how affectionately, sweetly, and comfortingly he addresses them, saying, "You have now given in your names to the nobility of Christ, and have received the bridal torches, the desire for the kingdom of heaven, the good purpose, hope, etc." And, cap. 38, he thus addresses the baptized, "Now the odor of salvation is on you, O ye enlightened I Gather you heavenly flowers, to make heavenly crowns of them. Now, now! he odor of the Holy Spirit smells sweetly on you. You have been at the gate of the King's palace. Would to God, that you were already led before the King Himself. The blossoms have now appeared on the trees; but, oh I that the fruit also were conceivedl" Jac. Mehrn. Baptism. Hist. on the third century, page 320.
How could it be possible that Cyril of Jerusalem should have taught differently concerning baptism, than the Anabaptists today teach, namely, that it must be accompanied by faith and repentance; seeing he, as has been shown, employs throughout such manner of speech as cannot be applied otherwise than to this baptism, and by no means to infant baptism.
For instance, in the first passage he admonishes the catechumens who had spent several years in voluptuousness, not to think it grievous, to do penance before baptism for forty days; which well accords with what was said to those who were not prepared for baptism. Matt. 3:7, 8.
This he confirms in the five subsequent passages, using these arguments: That they must not neglect to repent, so that the grace of baptism may not be withheld from them. Again, that they would not have to hear it said to them, as the unprepared guest in the Gospel, "Friend, how camest thou in hither?" Again, that they, being called to the marriage of the Lamb, might be found worthy. Again, that to this end they should hear the voice of the prophet, that saith, "Wash ye, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings."
In the sixth passage he admonishes the newly baptized: As you have put off the old garments (that is, forsaken the old life) and put on those that are according to the Spirit (that is, put on a new life), you shall henceforth always walk in white garments, that is, henceforth you shall live a holy life and pay unto God your vows made unto Him when you were baptized. This is certainly a scriptural exposition, and is not obscurely expressed in Cyril's words.
We now come to the seventh or last passage, of which we shall say but little, as it contains not a single word which does not clearly indicate that he speaks of the baptism of the believers and penitent; for he there says to the baptized, that being enlightened they now had on them the odor of salvation, and admonishes them, to gather heavenly flowers with which to make heavenly crowns, adding this wish, "The blossoms have now appeared on the trees; but oh! that also the fruit were conceived!"
Any one with only a little understanding can easily see that these words of Cyril do not pertain to infants, and that he therefore does not speak to infants or of infant baptism, but is speaking to reasonable persons, and of the baptism that is administered to such. Moreover, from his having previously mentioned the catechumens, it is evident that it was customary at that time in the church where he was teacher, first to instruct the youth in the
faith, and then, when they had accepted it, to baptize them upon confession of it. Without contradiction, it was a scriptural and holy custom, which proceeded not from human reason like infant baptism, but from the mind of Christ and the understanding of the holy apostles. With this we take our leave from Cyril.
A. D. 300.-Arnobius, an old teacher says (in Psalms 146), "You are not first baptized, and then apprehend the faith, and rejoice in it; but when you are about to be baptized, you state before the teacher your perfect willingness, and make your confession with your own mouth." P. J. Twisck, Chron., 3d book, page 82, col. 1, 2, from Grond. Bew., letter B.
These words of Arnobius are very excellent, and show that at his time they did not first baptize, and then apprehend faith; but that the one to be baptized had to state his willingness before baptism, and then to make confession of faith with his own mouth. However, we shall speak more fully of Arnobius in the succeeding century.
Same year as above.-It is recorded that at this time there were several persons who had separated from the catholic* (Roman) church, namely: Dadoes, Sabas, Adelphius, Hermas and Simeones, who were accused of heresy by the Roman church, and, among other things, were charged with holding erroneous views concerning the divine meat (that is, the sacrament of the Lord's Supper), and of baptism (that is, infant baptism). As regards the divine meat they were charged with holding the opinion, that it neither profited nor injured; that is, that the sacrament of the Lord's Supper had no intrinsic virtue or value; and of baptism it was said that they maintained, that those baptized were not benefited by baptism, but that fervent prayer alone must expel the indwelling Satan.
Concerning these and other matters with which they were charged, whether justly or unjustly, see Hist. Eccles. Tripart., lib. 7, cap. 11. S. Fr., Chron. Rom. Kett., printed A. D. 1563, fol. 96, letter E, under the name Eraclit. Epulius.
Hence, when they said that those baptized were not benefited by baptism, they thereby sufficiently rejected infant baptism, since the Roman church in general recognized no other than infant baptism. That this rejection of baptism, or deeming it useless, has respect to infant baptism, is clearly evident from what is added, namely, that they held that not baptism, but fervent prayer must expel the indwelling Satan; for those of the Roman church entertained the contrary view, namely, that Satan must certainly be expelled from the infants by baptism. However, we let every one judge for himself in this matter.
Jacob Mehrning in concluding the third century, says, "All these are beautiful reminders, which were administered to the catechumens before as well as after baptism, and which can certainly not
* ilsca in the sense of general. have place with infants. And thus it has been shown in this, the third chapter, that in these three centuries infant baptism cannot be proven by a single consistent and authentic testimony from the fathers and church historians." Baptism. Hist., pp. 320 and 321.
But this is further elucidated by the remark of P. J. Twisck, who, quite at the close of the third century, says, "Although infant baptism had been originated by some individuals, or by the church (that is, the Roman), as they themselves state, there were, nevertheless, many who devoutly received baptism upon faith and with a penitent life." Chron., 3d book, conclusion, pages 83 and 84.
With this we close our account of baptism as practiced in the third century, and proceed to the martyrs who suffered during this same time for the truth and their upright faith.
AN ACCOUNT OF THE PIOUS MARTYRS AND WITNESSES OF JESUS CHRIST WHO SUFFERED IN THE THIRD CENTURY: SUMMARY OF THE MARTYRS OF THE THIRD CENTURY
[There never was a time in the church of Jesus Christ, in which so many and ,great tyrants arose to destroy and extirpate the people of God, as in this century; for scarcely had one ceased, when another began; excepting a short cessation under the Emperors Caracalla and Geta.
The principal ones of those who tyrannized over, and put to death, the believers, were Severus, Maximinus, Decius, Valerianus, Gallienus, and Aurelianus, who, though the world hailed them as"Gracious Emperors," were in deed nothing less than unmerciful, cruel, and bloodthirsty tyrants.
Under Severus suffered Rutulius, Manilius, Perpetua, Felicitas, Leonides, five God-fearing disciples of Origen, and two of his female disciples, also Origen himself, and Basilides.
Under Maximinus suffered, in different meetingplaces, several thousand Christians, besides about seventy others.
Under Decius suffered Cointha, Apollonia, an old man called Julianus, with his companion Eunus, Amonaria, Mercuria, Dionysia, Heron, Ater, Isidoris, a youth of fifteen years, Nemesius, Babylas, the three youths, Urbanus, Philidianus, and Epilonius, also Maximus, Origenes.
Under Valerianus and Gallienus suffered Dionysius, Fructuosus, Augurius, Eulogius, Marinus, the three peasants who sought heavenly crowns, namely, Priscus, Malchus, and Alexander, and also, Philippus, Privatus, Florentinus and Pontius.
Under Aurelian suffered, and were put to death Privatus of Gevauldan, Mamas, a shepherd and Symphorianus.
Under Diocletian (in the preparatory period of his persecutions) were miserably put to death the
three brothers, Claudius, Asterius, and Neon; also Donuina, and Theonilla, Zenobius with his sister Zenobia, the three dear friends Tharacus, Probus and Andronicus. That all these suffered, and shed their blood for the name of Jesus Christ, is abundantly testified in the following account.]
The third century began with the fifth persecution of the Christians, hence we shall also begin with the same and show in what a distressing condition the church of God was during those times.
OF THE FIFTH PERSECUTIONS OF THE CHRISTIANS, UNDER THE EMPEROR L. SEPTIMUS SEVERUS, COMMENCED ABOUT THE YEAR 201
Touching the cause which induced Severus to persecute and put to death the Christians, ancient authors differ. Some write that Severus was instigated to kill and persecute the Christians, in the tenth year of his reign, by Philip, the Governor of Egypt. Others think that in the time of Severus there were many cruel and bloodthirsty governors in the provinces of the Romans; as Lethus and Aquila, at Alexandria, in Egypt; Saturninus and Scapula, at Carthage, in Africa.; Claudius Herminianus, in Cappadocia; Cecilius Capella, at Byzanthium; who, at Rome, as well as elsewhere, were most pernicious firebrands in these persecutions, inasmuch as they instigated the Emperor and the Roman Senate against the Christians, in order that through this means they might seize on the possessions of the Christians.
It is stated, that to this persecution and slaving of the Christians, contributed at that time, not a little, some jurists, who, through false interpretations of the Roman laws, or at least through their selfdevised decrees, ruled nearly the whole Empire; as Emelius, Papinianus, Ulpianus, Paulus, Messius, Martianus, Rufinus, Mauritianus, Tryphonius, Menander, Macer, Callistratus, Florentinus, Hermogenes, Saturminus, Modestinus, Furius, and Anthianus.
It was one of these jurist, namely Ulpianus, one of the chief senators, next to Papianus, who hunted up and collected the bloody edicts of the former ,tyrants, in order that the Emperors, incited thereby, might institute new persecutions against the Christians. See concerning this, A. Mell. Hist., fol. 52, col. 4, from Euseb., 6, cap. 1, 2, and Chron. Hieron. Catal. in Origen. Also, Oros., lib. 7, cap. 11, 18. Also, Baron., A. D. 204. Also, Dio. Hist. Rom., lib. 51. Also, Tert. ad. Scup., cap. 1-3. Tertul. de Fuga, cap. 5, ex Libris Jurist. Also, Spart. Caracal. and Sever. Also, Lactant., lib. 5. Just., cap. 11, 12, 19.
Very credibly, however, is the cause of this persecution accounted for in the Introduction to the Martyrs' Mirror, Ed. 1631, fol. 38, col. 2, from Baronius. The words are as follows, "In the year 201 was commenced the fifth persecution of the Christians, under the Emeeror Severus, in the seventh year of his reign. It originated thus: The em- peror having come forth victorious from a civil war, and the Christians having remained passive with regard to this, not manifesting any signs of joy by way of celebrating, hanging out of garlands, and other tokens of triumph, according to the manner of the heathen; the latter, out of envy, accused the Christians of despising and hating the Emperor; and the more so, because they would not swear by the Emperor's fortune. Besides this, they reported of the Christians, that in their evening assemblies they extinguished the lights; and then allowed themselves improper intercourse with each other, and in this manner it came that every one hated the Christians. See in the above citations. Others spread the report that the Christians were child-murderers and eaters of human flesh, that is, people who slew their children and ate them; also, that they honored the head of an ass as their god; worshiped the sun, and other like palpable and wicked falsehoods. Compare J. Gys. Hist., fol. 18, col. 2, for the year 201, ex Tertullian ad Scapulwn and in Apal. Cypr. de Bono Pascient. Also, P. J. Twisck, Chron. 2d book, for the year 124, page 51, col. 2.
However, though these false accusations were brought against the Christians, their death was nevertheless owing entirely to the testimony and confession of Jesus Christ-that He was the Son of God, and the Saviour of the human family.
The most violent persecution of this time, according to Eusebius and Tertullian, was in Egypt and Africa. From Egypt the Christians were brought in great multitudes to Alexandria, where they were put-to death in manifold ways, for the name of Christ. Among the principal martyrs of this time were the following:
RUTILIUS, AFTER MANY ESCAPES, TORN ASUNDER, AND THEN BURNT, FOR THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS CHRIST, ABOUT THE YEAR 210
"Rutilius, the holy martyr," says Tertullian,"after having so often escaped persecution by fleeing from one place to another, and having purchased his freedom, as he supposed, from the danger of death, and after having provided himself with all safe conduct, and, feeling easy, and free from anxiety, was nevertheless unexpectedly apprehended, and brought before the President, yea, torn asunder with manifold torments, and then committed to the fire; and thus, thanking the mercy of God for it, he endured the suffering which he had sought to escape.""This Rutilius was martyred somewhere in Africa," writes A. Mellinus, 1st book of the Hist., fol 55, col. 1, from Tertullian. de Fuga, in Persecutione, cap. 5, at the end.
MAVILUS, A PIOUS CHRISTIAN OF ADRUMELEN, TORN BY THE WILD BEASTS, AT CARTHAGE, ABOUT THE YEAR 201
Tertullian writes a very candid admonition and warning concerning the impending wrath of God
over all the persecutors of the Christians, to Scapula, the Governor of Carthage, who, having succeeded in the place of Vigellius Saturninus (who, on account of the persecution he had exercised against the Christians, had been struck with blindness, through the righteous judgment of God), also followed in his footsteps as regards cruelty. For at his accession to the Governorship, he immediately very cruelly sentenced Mavilus, a very pious Christian of Adrumelen, a city in Africa, to be torn by the beasts; who, though through a severe death, attained to a blessed end: Immediately after his death great plagues were sent by the Lord over the city of Carthage, where the Governor resided; as, great rains, high floods, terrible thunders, fiery signs in the air, etc. IdemIbidem, eol. e, ex Tertullian. ad Scapulam, cap. 3.
PERPETUA AND FELICITAS, OF TUBURBI IN MAURITANIA, AND OTHERS, VIOLENTLY PUT TO DEATH, FOR THE FAITH OF THE SON OF GOD, ABOUT THE YEAR 201 ,
Perpetua and Felicitas were two very pious and honorable Christian women, at Tuburbi, a city in Mauritania, a province of Africa. Both were very untimely apprehended, to suffer for the name of Christ, as Felicitas was very far advanced in pregnancy, and Perpetua had recently given birth to a child, which she was nursing. But this did not make them fainthearted, nor so surprise them that they forsook Christ, nor did it prevent them from going on in the way of godliness; but they remained equally faithful disciples of Christ, and became steadfast martyrs.
According to the Roman laws, they waited with the pregnant woman, until she was delivered, before they sentenced her and put her to death. When the pains of labor seized her in prison, and she cried aloud for fear and anguish, the jailer said to her, "Thou art so much afraid and distressed now, and criest aloud for pain; how then wilt thou behave, when, tomorrow, or the day after, thou wilt be led to death?" Felicitas replied thus, "Now I suffer as a poor woman the punishment which God on account of sin has laid upon the female sex; but tomorrow I shall suffer as a Christian woman for the faith and the confession of Jesus Christ." ,By these words she sufficiently indicated that she had firmly and immovably founded her faith upon Christ, who never forsakes His own, even though they be in the midst of the fire, and are consumed, God also specially strengthened her, that she might be able to endure her sufferings. With reference to this, Tertullian says, "Perpetua, the very strong and steadfast martyr, had a revelation or vision of the heavenly , on the day of her sufferings, in the which she saw none but her fellow martyrs. And why no others? Because the fiery sword which guards the door of gives way to none but those who die for Christ." In the meantime these two pious heroines of Jesus Christ were martyred, that is, they died a violent death, for the name of their Saviour; for which they will afterwards be crowned with the unfading wreath of immortality, as a triumpth over the foes they overcame, namely, the cruelties and pains of death.
The names of their fellow martyrs are Revocatus, Satyrus, Saturninus, and Serundulus. It is supposed that the last-mentioned one of these died in prison from extreme hardship, but that the others were all thrown before the wild beasts, such as, bulls, lions, bears, leopards, etc., to be torn by them. Thus these exchanged their dear lives for death, for Christ's sake.Idem., fol. 26, col. 3, 4, ex August. in Psal. 74, and de Tempore Barbdrieo, cap. 5, Beda Usuard. Ado Martirol. Rom. 7. Martii. Also, 1. Pregnatis de Pen. Also, in Antiquo Lectionario. Also, Tertull. de anima, cap. 5. That the dead bodies of the two afore-mentioned women were brought to Carthage, and were buried there is testified to by Victor Uticensis, Pers. Vandal., lib. 1.
LEONIDES, THE FATHER OF ORIGEN, BEHEADED AT ALEXANDRIA, IN EGYPT, FOR THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS CHRIST, ABOUT THE YEAR 202
Leonides, the father of Origen, was according to the testimony of Suidas, a bishop of the church of Christ, and also became a martyr, at Alexandria in Egypt. His imprisonment, suffering, and death occurred on this wise: When from nearly all the cities and villages of Egypt and Thebes, Christian champions, that is, martyrs, were brought, to fight and suffer for the name of Jesus Christ, Leonides was also one of those who were brought prisoners to Alexandria, the capital of Egypt.
When he had been imprisoned for some time, his son Origen, then but seventeen years old, sent him a very comforting letter, in which he exhorted him to constancy, writing, among other things, "Be strong in the Lord, my father, and endure valiantly the suffering which awaits thee. Let not regard for us induce thee to do otherwise." He means to say, " (3 father! do not grieve too much for thy wife, or dear mother, or for us, thy seven beloved children, of whom I am the oldest; or become so wavering, that through desire to usward thou shouldest forsake thy faithful God and Saviour." This was in brief the import of the letter which Origen wrote to his father. It acted as a healing medicine in the wounds of the sorrowful mind of his father, so that he resolved to patiently suffer death for .the honor of his Saviour. He was finally sentenced to be beheaded, and all his property was confiscated for the treasury of the Roman Empire. This happened in the time of Emperor, Severus, about the year 201. Compare Euseb., lib. 6, cap. 2, with Abr. Mell., 1st book of the Hist., fol. 57, col. 1, ex Hieron. Catal. in Orag. Also, P. J. Twisek, Chron., Zd book, for the year 195, page 51, col. 2. Also, Introduction to the Martyrs' Mirror, edition
1631, fol. 38, Col. 2. Also, Joh. Gys. Hist. Mart., edition 1657, fol. 3.
FIVE OF THE DISCIPLES OF ORIGEN, NAMELY, PLUTARCH, HERACLIDES, HERO, AND TWO OTHER MEN, BOTH CALLED SERENUS, PUT TO DEATH FOR THE FAITH, AT ALEXANDRIA IN EGYPT, ABOUT THE YEAR 203
At this time, Origen, though but eighteen years old, was a teacher of the faith, at Alexandria, in Egypt, where he taught with such excellence, not only to begin with Christ, but also to die with Him, that many of his disciples laid down their lives for the truth of Christ. Among these are mentioned, by name, Plutarch, Heraclides, Hero, and two other men, both called Serenus. Their suffering and death happened in this manner: Origen, the teacher of these pious people, was in the habit of going into the prison to the martyrs who suffered for the name of Jesus Christ, to strengthen them in the faith. Yea, even when they had already received their sentence of death, and were making their last defense, he stood by them, and, at parting, gave them the kiss of peace, as a token of his sincere love.
When Plutarch, his beloved disciple, was led forth to death, he, according to his custom, comforted him, for which the raging multitude would have killed him, had not divine Providence protected him. This having happened, Plutarch was put to death for the name of Jesus Christ, and died as a martyr.
After the death of Plutarch, the first of the two men named Serenus, was brought forth and burned. His faith, as is stated, was tried with fire, notwithstanding he was still a catechumen, that is, one who, though he had been instructed, had not yet received baptism.
The third of these martyrs is called Heraclides, and of him the same is stated that is recorded of Serenus, concerning his faith, namely, that he too was still under instruction, and had not yet been baptized, but was preparing for it. And thus he sealed his faith not with water, but with his blood. He was beheaded with the ax.
The fourth that was put to death for the same faith, was Hero, who is called a novice in the faith, that is one who had only lately accepted the faith with baptism. Having commended his soul into the hands of God, he was likewise beheaded with the ax.
Besides these four martyrs, there is mentioned a fifth, who was the second of the aforementioned men named Serenus. Refusing to apostatize, he, after many severe torments, was beheaded, like the last-mentioned two; and thus attained to a blessed end, together with his slain fellow brethren. Compare Euseb., lib. 6, cap. 4, with Abr. Mell., lst book, fol. 57, Col. 2, 3. Also, Joh. Gys. Hist., fol. 18, Col. 3, after Leonides, the father of Origen. Also, Introduction, fol. 39, Col. 1, from Eusebius.
TWO FEMALE DISCIPLES OF ORIGEN, NAMELY, RHAIS AND MARCELLA, BURNED ALIVE AT ALEXANDRIA, FOR THE FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST, ABOUT THE YEAR 204
Among the disciples of Origen, who became martyrs, there are also mentioned several women as faithful martyrs. However, we shall only refer to two of these, one called Rhais, the other Marcella, who suffered their faith and lives to be tried with fire, like gold that is refined.
Rhais was a catechumen, that is, one that was receiving instruction preparatory to baptism, and hence, had not yet sealed her faith with water; however, as Origen himself declares, she was baptized with fire, that is, burned alive.
Marcella was the mother of Potamiena (of whom the ancients speak in such commendatory terms, as having also laid down her life for the faith; but whom we pass over, on account of certain remarks which she addressed to Basilides, her executioner.) After insufferable and dreadful torments, she was burned by degrees, in great constancy, until she was reduced to ashes; and thus she exchanged this temporal for an eternal life. See the above-mentioned authors, as compared with Mellinus, fol. 57, Col. 4.
BASILIDES, WHO, FROM AN EXECUTIONER BECAME A CHRISTIAN, BEHEADED FOR THE NAME OF CHRIST, AT ALEXANDRIA, ABOUT THE YEAR 204
Not long after the death of Potamiena, who had died with the above-mentioned Rhais and Marcella, one of the executioners, named Basilides, who had brought her to death, was converted to the faith in Christ. Eusebius writes, "Being among his companions, and an oath being demanded of him on some special matter, he said, that he dared not swear at all, because he was a Christian, and did openly confess it before them. When they heard this, they thought at first, that he was joking; but when he persistently asserted it, and showed that he was in earnest, he was seized and cast into prison. When some of the brethren came to visit him, and inquired how it happened that he had become changed so suddenly, he fully satisfied them in regard to the. matter. Having heard this, they gave him the sign of the Lord, that is (as A. Mellinus explains it), he was baptized in the name of Christ. The following day he was beheaded for the confession of the Lord. Compare the preceding accounts concerning the disciples of Origen, with Eusebius, lib. 6, cap. 5, fol. 107, cot. 1, 2. Also, A, Mellinus, lst book, fol. 58, Col. 1, 2. Also, P. J, Twisck, Chron., 3d book, for the year 204, fol. 55; Col. 2, above. .Also, Introduction M. Sp., fol. 39; Col. 1.
IRENEUS, AN ANCIENT TEACHER, AFTER MANY TORMENTS, PUT TO DEATH FOR THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST, AT LYONS, IN FRANCE, ABOUT THE YEAR 210
Ireneus, by descent an Asiatic, was born at Smyrna. In his youth he attended school, and was a disciple of Polycarp, who was appointed by the apostle John bishop of the church at Smyrna, and afterwards became a martyr, as we have already shown in the proper place. On account of his (Ireneus') special fitness, he subsequently became bishop of the church at Lyons in France, in the place of Photinus. His erudition was so great, that Eusebius extols him more than any of the learned who lived before and in his time. Tertullian called him"the most remarkable investigator of all manner of learning." Jerome said that he was"an apostolic man, who lived next to the time of the apostles." Epiphanius gave him the title of a"holy and ancient divine," yea, a"successor of the apostles." In his ministry he was so faithful a servant in the house of the Lord, that he had the oversight not only of the church at Lyons, where he was bishop, and other churches in France, but even of some churches in Asia and Phrygia.
Concerning his death, the ancient historians have left us but little information of the time as well as of the manner of his martyrdom. We find, however, in regard to it the following words, "That, when the persecution of the Christians, under Severus, had been instituted in all the countries of the Romans, the city of Lyons, too, pursuant to the command of the Emperor, was surrounded with soldiers, and all the Christians in it put to death with the sword, or beheaded; but that Ireneus, the shepherd of them all, was sought with special diligence, and, when found, was put to death with manifold tortures, and was buried by Zacharia, his elder." Ex actis Procons. Perditis hoc Tantum extat. Adr. Martyrol. 28 Jun. Abr. Mell., fol. 59, cot. 3, and fol. 60, cot. 1, ex Hieron. Catal, Iren. idem Hieron. epist. 84 ad Magnum, and 29 ad Theodorum Euseb., lib. 4, cap. 20. Tertull. lib. Contra Valentin., cap.,5. Hieron. epist. 29. ad Theodorum and in Catal. Epiph. Haer. 24 and 31. Also, Joh. Gys.,1657, fol. 18, cot. 3, 4. Also, P. J. Twisck, 3d book, for the year 210, 28th June, p. 56, cot. 1. He adds these words, "On the 28th of June, A. D. 210, in the fifth persecution, Bishop Irenus (he means to say: Ireneus) was put to death, together with many citizens, for the confession of Christ."
He says of the Lord's Supper, "There is something heavenly and something earthly; the earthly is bread, which is for the nourishment of the body, and points us to the heavenly, that is, Christ with His merits, which is the food of the soul."
In the Revelation of John he writes that"antichrist will arise in the Latin, that is, the Roman church, and will be a Roman." Also, "Antichrist, who is a thief and apostate, would be worshiped as God, and, though being but a servant, would be proclaimed king." From Histor. Georg., lib. 2. hinc. Cal., fol. 352. P. P. Cock, fol. 59.
HOW SEPTIMIUS FLORENS TERTULLIAN, THROUGH A CERTAIN APOLOGY, DEFENDED THE CHRISTIANS, AND SOUGHT TO HAVE THEM SPARED, ABOUT THE YEAR 204
When the persecution of the true Christians would not cease, but increased the longer the more, the pious man Septimius Florens Tertullian wrote an apology in defense of the Christians against the heathen, in which he refuted all the slanders with which they were assailed at that time; showing that they were innocent, and were persecuted-not on account of any evil deeds, as the heathen pretended, but simply on account of their name; and that nevertheless their religion was not weakened or injured by the bitterness of the persecution, but much rather helped and strengthened by it.
Among other things he writes, "We are increased, and grow, when we are mowed down by you. The blood of the Christians is the seed (of the church). For who is there among you who, seeing these things, is not constrained to examine what there may be inside of this matter? Who, having examined it, does not join them, and, having joined himself to them, does not wish to suffer with them?"
After this he said these words, or at least words to this import, "This sect (so he calls the Christians, according to the view of the heathen) will never perish or be extirpated; which, rest assured, when it seems to be cut down is built up. For everyone, seeing their great patience, when they are beaten and goaded, is incited to inquire into the cause of this; and when he has come to the knowledge of the truth, he instantly follows." Compare Joh. Gys., fol. 18, cot. 4, ex Tertulliano, ad Scapulam. Also, P. J. Twisck, 2d book, for the year 200, page 53, cot. 1, from Chronol. Leonh., lib. 1.
CESSATION OF THIS PERSECUTION, UNDER ANTONINUS CARACALLA AND SEPTIMUS GETA, THE SONS OF SEVERUS, ABOUT THE YEAR 213
Septimus Severus having reigned eighteen years as Roman Emperor, his sons, Antoninus Caracalla and Septimus Geta, succeeded him as Emperors. about A. D. 213. These, although they were very unmerciful, cruel, and bloodthirsty, especially Caracalla, did not, to any extent, molest the Christians, so that during their reign very little, indeed, almost no blood of the Christians was shed in the countries over which their dominion extended; which continued until about the year 219. Some write that the cessation of the persecution continued for about thirty-eight years, during which time, however, Maximin the Giant greatly vexed many bishops, elders, and deacons, (that is, the overseers over some churches); but whether they were punished with death, will be shown in the
proper place. However, it is stated, that this fifth persecution, which had just commenced, did not cease entirely, though it was a desirable time, as Tertullian writes, when compared with the preceding severe and very bloody persecutions. See A. Mell., lst book fol. 60, cot. 1, as compared with Herod. Sever. Ejusd. Antonin., and Geta Spartian de Eisdem.
REINSTITUTION OF THIS PERSECUTION, UNDER ALEXANDER SEVERUS, THE SON OF ANTIONINUS AND MAMMEA, ABOUT THE YEAR 223
The followers of Jesus Christ having enjoyed some respite during this time and a few years previous, the envy and hatred of some against the Christians increased to such an extent that even Alexander Severus, who otherwise favored the Christians, yea, had built them a church, and, according to the manner of the heathen, had placed Christ among the number of the so-called gods, commenced a persecution against them, or at least continued the one begun under Septimus Severus. This was occasioned principally, as Lactantius Firmianus states, by some of the Roman jurists, who, through wrong interpretation of the laws, but especially through a deadly hatred against the Christians, incited and urged on the Emperor to persecute them.
Among those who instigated the Emperor, there is chiefly mentioned Ulpianus, who was not only a senator, but also a master of requests, and the Emperor's tutor, so that the latter considered him as his Father; hence the accusations of Ulpianus against the Christians found the more easily a willing ear with the Emperor. Lactantius Firma nius calls this Ulpianus and his adherents murderers, because they made wicked laws against the godly. He says, "For we read of blasphemous laws and unjust disputes of the jurists against the Christians."
Domitius, surnamed Ulpianus (mentioned above), in his seventh book of the office of the Governors of the Roman provinces, hunted out and collected the edicts and decrees of the princes, as of Nero, Domitian, Trajan, etc., in order to send therefrom instructions, how they should punish the Christians who served and confessed the true God. Thus far, Lactantius, according to the annotation of Mellinus, in the lst book, fol. 61, cot. 1, 2, ex Lamprid. Herodian, in Alex. Severo. Lactana. Firmian. Institut., lib. 5, cap. 11, 12, 19. Also, in Corras., lib. 1, Missel., cap. 10, although D. P. Pers calls this Emperor a pious and excellent prince: Roomschen Adelaer, printed 1642, page 154, on the name Severus Alexander, A. D.224. On the other hand P. J. Twisck states, that in the beginning of his reign he was not favorable to the Christians, so that, through misinformation, he caused some of them to be put to death for the name of Jesus Christ. Third book, for the year 223, page 60, col. 1, from Chron. Mich., fol. 141, Merula.
AGAPITUS, CALAPODIUS, TIBURTIUS, VALERIANUS, QUIRITIUS, JULIA, CECILIA, MARTINA, AND OTHERS, PUT TO DEATH FOR THE NAME OF CHRIST, ABOUT THE YEAR 223
It is stated that in the last persecution resumed under Alexandrinus Severus there were put to death among different other persons, for the name of Jesus Christ and the testimony of the evangelical truth, Agapitus, a youth of fifteen years; Calapodius, an elder (of whom P. J. Twisck writes, though two years earlier than J. Gysius, that he was apprehended for the doctrine of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and, refusing to sacrifice to the heathen gods, was dragged with great ignominy through the city of Rome, and drowned in the Tiber. 3d book, page 59, cot. 2, from Bergomens, lib. 8.); Tiburtius and Valerianus, two brothers were likewise put to death, as well as Quiritius and his mother Julia, and Cecilia and Martina, both of them virgins; all of whom were put to death for the name of Jesus Christ, either in the water, or in the fire, or by the sword, or in some other manner. See, Joh. Gys., fol. 19, cot. 1.
HENRICUS, NARCISSUS, JULIUS, EUSEBIUS, AND OTHERS, PUT TO DEATH FOR THE FAITH, DURING THIS PERSECUTION
Besides those whom we have mentioned as having been slain in the fifth persecution, Seb. Franck names several very virtuous believers who suffered and were deprived of life for the same cause, namely, Henricus, bishop of the church at Lyons; Narcissus, a patriarch at Jerusalem; Julius and Eusebius. Sebast. Fra. Keysers Chron. en Wereltlijke Hist. van Christi geboorte tot op Car. h., printed 1563, fol. 20, cot. 2.
OF THE SIXTH 'PERSECUTION OF THE CHRISTIANS, COMMENCED UNDER MAXIMIN, A. D. 237
The sixth persecution of the Christians, writes J. Gysius, arose under the Emperor Maximin, a naturally cruel man, and was directed against persons of respectability (since he was of low origin), as well as against the Christians, but especially against the ministers of the Word. Fortunately for the Christians, this persecution was brief, since he reigned but two years; and as he was a violent enemy of the ministers of the church, the persecution commenced on them, as the teachers and authors, it is said, of the Christian religion; for it was thought that if they were removed, the common people could easily be drawn away from it. Then, Origen, a teacher of the church, in order to exhort the Christians to steadfastness, wrote a book on martyrdom, dedicating it to Ambrose, overseer of the church at Milan, and
Proctotus, learned men of that time. J. Gys., fol. 19, cot. 1, 2, from Euseb., lib. 6, cap. 20, Oros. lib. 7, cap. 19.
Touching the cause of these persecutions, the author of the Introduction, etc., writes thus: The heathen had such hatred for the Christians at that time, that, whenever an earthquake, a storm, or the like, occurred, they laid it to the charge of the Christians, saying that their gods were offended, because their honor was waning on account of the Christians; from which it is to be inferred that they treated the Christians in an awful manner. Fol. 39, cot. 2, from! Baronius, in Chron., A. D. 237, num. 3, and A. D. 256, num. 5.