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demned to the beasts, and kept a long time in prison, underwent many cruel torments; being forced to lie upon sharp spikes', laid under their bodies; and tormented with divers other sorts of punishments; that so, if it were possible, the tyrant, by the length of their sufferings, might have brought them to deny Christ.
III. For, indeed, the devil did invent many things against them; but, thanks be to God, he was not able to prevail over all: for the brave Germanicus strengthened those that feared', by his patience; and fought gloriously with the beasts. For when the Proconsul would have persuaded him, telling him, that he should consider his age, and spare himself, he pulled the wild beast to him, and provoked him, being desirous the more quickly to be delivered from a wicked and unjust world. Upon this, the whole multitude, wondering at the courage of the holy and pious race of Christians, cried out, "Take away those wicked wretches'; let Polycarp be "looked out."
IV. Then one named Quintus, a Phrygian, being newly come from thence, seeing the beasts, was afraid. This was he who forced himself and some others, to present themselves of their own accord, to the trial. Him, therefore, the Proconsul persuaded, with many promises, to swear and sacrifice. For which cause, Brethren, we do not commend those who offer themselves to persecution; seeing the Gospel teaches no such thing.
V. But the most admirable Polycarp, when he first heard that he was calledfor, was not at all
See Bishop Usher's Annot. n. 7. Euseb. 1. iv. c. 15. et in eum Annot. Valesii p. 62. 'D. 2 Their fearfulness. ↑ Atheists.
3ife of them.
concerned at it; but resolved to tarry in the city. Nevertheless, he was at the last persuaded, at the desire of many, to go out of it. He departed therefore into a little village, not far distant from the city, and there tarried with a few about him; doing nothing, night nor day, but praying for all men, and for the Churches which were in all the world, according to his usual custom. And as he was praying, he saw a vision three days before he was taken; and, behold, the pillow under his head seemed to him on fire. Whereupon, turning to those that were with him, he said prophetically, that he' should be burnt alive.
VI. Now when those who were to take him drew near, he departed into another village; and immediately they who sought him came thither. And when they found him not, they seized upon two young men that were there; one of which, being tormented, confessed. For it was impossible he should be concealed, forasmuch as they who betrayed him were his own domestics. So the officer who is also called cleronomus, (Herod by name,) hastened to bring him into the lists; that so Polycarp might receive his proper portion, being made partaker of Christ, and they that betrayed him, undergo the punishment of Judas.
VII. The serjeants, therefore, and horsemen, taking the young lad along with them, departed about supper-time, (being Friday,) with their usual arms, as it were against a thief or a robber. And being come to the place where he was, about the close of the evening, they found him lying down in a little upper-room; from whence he could easily have escaped into another place, but he
! I must be.
2 Justice of the peace.-Vid. Usser, in loc. num, 14, 15. Vales, in Euseb. p. 63. D.
would not; saying, "The will of the Lord be "done." Wherefore, when he heard that they were come to the house, he went down and spake to them. And as they that were present wondered at his age and constancy, some of them began to say, "Was there need of all this care to take such an old man?" Then presently he ordered, that the same hour there should be somewhat got ready for them, that they might eat and drink their fill; desiring them withal, that they would give him one hour's liberty the while, to pray without disturbance. And when they had permitted him, he stood praying, being full of the grace of God, so that he ceased not for two whole hours, to the admiration of all that heard him; insomuch that many of the soldiers began to repent that they were come out against so godly an old man.
VIII. As soon as he had done his prayer-in which he remembered all men, whether little or great, honourable or obscure, that had at any time been acquainted with him; and, with them, the whole Catholic Church, over all the worldthe time being come that he was to depart, the guards set him upon an ass, and so brought him into the city, being the day of the great Sabbath. And Herod, the chief officer, with his father Nicetes, met him in a chariot. And having taken him up to them, and set him in the chariot, they began to persuade him, saying, "What harm "is there in it, to say, Lord Cæsar, and sacrifice, "(with the rest that is usual on such occasions,) "and so be safe?" But Polycarp, at first, an
Why was all this diligence.-Vid. Annot. 20. Usser, in loc.
3 Comp. Euseb. 1. iv. c. 15. p. 10. B. edit. Vales. et Annot. Vales. p. 62. C.
swered them not: whereupon they continuing to urge him, he said, "I shall not do what you persuade me to." So being out of all hope of prevailing with him, they began first to rail at him; and then, with violence, threw him out of the chariot, insomuch that he hurt his thigh with the fall. But he, not turning back, went on readily with all diligence, as if he had received no harm at all, and so was brought to the lists, where there was so great a tumult, that nobody
could be heard.
IX. As he was going into the lists, there came a voice from heaven to him-"Be strong, Polycarp, and quit thyself like a man." Now no one saw who it was that spake to him; but for the voice, many of our brethren, who were present, heard it. And as he was brought in, there was a great disturbance when they heard how that Polycarp was taken. And when he came near, the Proconsul asked him, "Whether he was Poly"carp?" who confessing that he was, he persuaded him to deny the faith, saying, "Reverence thy "old age;" with many other things of the like nature, as their custom is; concluding thus, "Swear by Cæsar's fortune. Repent, and say, "Take away the wicked"." Then Polycarp, looking with a stern countenance upon the whole multitude of wicked Gentiles that was gathered together in the lists; and shaking his hand at them, looked up to heaven, and groaning, said, "Take away the wicked." But the Proconsul, insisting and saying, "Swear; and I will set thee "at liberty: reproach Christ." Polycarp replied, Eighty-and-six years have I now served Christ,
! They spake bitter words. 2 Getting out of the chariot.
"and he has never done me the least wrong; "how then can I blaspheme my King and my "Saviour?"
X. And when the Proconsul nevertheless still insisted, saying, "Swear by the Genius of Cæsar," he answered," Seeing thou art so vainly urgent "with me that I should swear, as thou callest it,
by the Genius of Cæsar, seeming as if thou didst "not know what I am; hear me freely professing "it to thee, that I am a Christian. But if thou "farther desirest an account what Christianity "is, appoint a day, and thou shalt hear it." The Proconsul replied, "Persuade the people." Polycarp answered, "To thee have I offered to give "a reason of my faith: for so are we taught to 66 pay all due honour (such only excepted as would "be hurtful to ourselves,) to the powers and But "authorities which are ordained of God. "for the people, I esteem them not worthy, that "I should give any account' of my faith to them."
XI. The Proconsul continued, and said unto him, "I have wild beasts ready; to those I will "cast thee, except thou repent." He answered, "Call for them then; for we Christians are fixed "in our minds not to change from good to evil. "But for me it will be good, to be changed from " evil to good"." The Proconsul added, "Seeing "thou despisest the wild beasts, I will cause thee "to be devoured by fire, unless thou shalt repent." Polycarp answered, "Thou threatenest me with "fire which burns for an hour, and so is extinguished; but knowest not the fire of the future "judgment, and of that eternal punishment which
1 Make an apology.
2 The meaning is-To be translated from what is grievous, and hard to suffer, here, to the just reward of my sufferings in the other world.