« السابقةمتابعة »
"is reserved for the ungodly. But why tarriest "thou? Bring forth what thou wilt."
XII. Having said this, and many other things of the like nature, he was filled with confidence and joy, insomuch that his very countenance was full of grace; so that he did not only not let it fall with any confusion' at what was spoken to him; but on the contrary, the Proconsul was struck with astonishment, and sent his crier into the middle of the lists, to proclaim three several times-" Polycarp has confessed himself to be a "Christian." Which being done by the crier, the whole multitude, both of the Gentiles and of the Jews which dwelt at Smyrna, being full of fury, cried out with a loud voice, "This is the "doctor of Asia', the father of the Christians, " and the overthrower of our gods; he that has taught so many not to sacrifice, nor pay any I worship to the gods." And saying this, they cried out, and desired Philip the Asiarch, that he would let loose a lion against Polycarp. But Philip replied, that it was not lawful for him to do so, because that kind of spectacle was already over. Then it pleased them to cry out with one consent, that Polycarp should be burnt alive. For so it was necessary that the vision should be fulfilled which was made manifest unto him by his pillow, when, seeing it on fire as he was praying, he turned about, and said prophetically to the faithful that were with him, "I must be "burnt alive."
XIII. This, therefore, was done with greater
1 As troubled or disturbed.
2 So Eusebius, Ruffin. Vet. Interpr. Lat. &c. Vid. Usser. not. 44. 5 Who was President of the Spectacles, the Chief Priest for that year. See Usser. Annot. numb. 46. Vales, in Euseb. p. 63, 64.
He had already fulfilled, or finished, the baiting of dogs.
speed than it was spoke; the whole multitude instantly gathering together wood and faggots, out of the shops and baths: the Jews especially, according to their custom, with all readiness assisting them in it. When the fuel was ready, Polycarp, laying aside all his upper garments, and undoing his girdle, tried also to pull off his clothes underneath, which aforetime he was not wont to do; forasmuch as always every one of the Christians that was about him contended who should soonest touch his flesh. For he was truly adorned by his good conversation with all kind of piety, even before his martyrdom. This being done, they presently put about him such things' as were necessary to prepare the fire. But when they would have also nailed him to the stake, he said, "Let me alone as I am: for he who has given me strength to endure the fire, will also "enable me, without your securing me by nails, "to stand without moving in the pile."
XIV. Wherefore they did not nail him, but only tied him to it. But he, having put his hands behind him-and being bound as a ram chosen out of a great flock for an offering, and prepared to be a burnt-sacrifice acceptable unto God-looked up to heaven, and said, "O Lord God Almighty, "the Father of thy well-beloved and blessed Son, "Jesus Christ, by whom we have received the "knowledge of thee; the God of angels and powers, and of every creature, and especially of "the whole race of just men who live in thy presence! I give thee hearty thanks that thou "hast vouchsafed to bring me to this day, and to
1 Vid. aliter apud Euseb. 1. iv. c. 15. Et in eum Vales. Annot. p. 64. 2 With every thing that was good. 3 Instruments. 4 The pile that was to burn him.-See Vales. in Euseb. p. 64. b.
"this hour; that I should have a part in the "number of thy Martyrs, in the cup of thy Christ, "to the resurrection of eternal life, both of soul "and body, in the incorruption of the Holy Ghost. Among which may I be accepted this day before
thee, as a fat and acceptable sacrifice; as thou "the true God, with whom is no falsehood, hast "both before ordained, and manifested unto me, "and also hast now fulfilled it. For this, and for
all things else, I praise thee, I bless thee, I "glorify thee', by the eternal and heavenly highpriest, Jesus Christ, thy beloved Son; with whom, to thee, and the Holy Ghost, be glory, "both now, and to all succeeding ages. Amen."
XV. He had no sooner pronounced aloud Amen, and finished his prayer, but they who were appointed to be his executioners lighted the fire. And when the flame began to blaze to a very great height; behold, a wonderful miracle appeared, to us who had the happiness to see it, and who were reserved by heaven to report to others what had happened. For the flame, making a kind of arch, like the sail of a ship filled with the wind, encompassed, as in a circle, the body of the holy Martyr; who stood in the midst of it, not as if his flesh were burnt, but as bread that is baked, or as gold or silver glowing in the furnace. Moreover, so sweet a smell came from it, as if frankincense, or some rich spices, had been smoking there.
XVI. At length, when those wicked men saw that his body could not be consumed by the fire, they commanded the executioners to go near to
1 Euseb. et Vet. Lat. Interp.
2 In the H. G. Euseb.
Koupixroga. Vid. Annot. Usser. num. 75.-Vales. understands by it, one of the lance-men that were set to kill the beasts, if they grew unruly, at these kind of spectacles. Vid. in Euseb. p. 64. C.
him, and stick his dagger in him; which being accordingly done, there came forth so great a quantity of blood', as even extinguished the fire, and raised an admiration in all the people, to consider what a difference there was between the Infidels and the Elect: one of which this great martyr, Polycarp, most certainly was; being in our times a truly apostolical and prophetical teacher, and bishop of the Catholic Church which is at Smyrna. For every word that went out of his mouth either has been already fulfilled, or, in its due time, will be accomplished.
XVII. But when the emulous, and envious, and wicked adversary of the race of the just, saw the greatness of his martyrdom; and considered how irreprehensible his conversation had been from the beginning, and how he was now crowned with the crown of immortality, having without all controversy received his reward; he took all possible care that not the least remainder of his body should be taken away by us, although many desired to do it, and to be made partakers of his holy flesh. And to that end, he suggested it to Nicetas, the father of Herod and brother of Alcé, to go to the governor, and hinder him from giving us his body to be buried. "Lest, (says he,) forsaking him that was crucified, they should begin "to worship this Polycarp." And this he said at the suggestion and instance of the Jews; who also watched us, that we should not take him out of the fire: not considering, that neither is it possible for us ever to forsake Christ, who suffered for the salvation of all such as shall be saved throughout the whole world, the righteous for the ungodly; nor worship any other besides him. For him indeed, as
31 Pet. iii. 18.
being the Son of God, we do adore: but for the martyrs, we worthily love them, as the disciples and followers' of our Lord; and upon the account of their exceeding great affection towards their Master, and their King. Of whom may we also be made companions and fellow-disciples..
XVIII. The centurion, therefore, seeing the contention of the Jews, put his body into the midst of the fire, and so consumed it. After which, we taking up his bones, more precious than the richest jewels, and tried above gold, deposited them where it was fitting: where, being gathered together as we have opportunity, with joy and gladness, the Lord shall grant unto us to celebrate the anniversary of his martyrdom, both in memory of those who have suffered, and for the exercise and preparation of those that may hereafter suffer.
XIX. Such was the passion of the blessed Polycarp, who though he was the twelfth of those who, together with those of Philadelphia, suffered martyrdom, is yet alone chiefly had in memory of all men: insomuch that he is spoken of, by the very Gentiles themselves, in every place, as having been not only an eminent teacher, but also a glorious Martyr; whose death' all desire to imitate, as having been every way conformable to the Gospel of Christ. For having by patience overcome the unjust governor, and so received the crown of immortality, he now, together with the Apostles, and all other righteous men, who have gone before, with great triumph, glorifies God, even the Father; and blesses our Lord, the governor both of our souls and bodies, and