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by Evangelical principles. For by patience he conquered the unjust magistrate, and thus receiving the crown of immortality, exulting with Apostles and all the righteous, he glorifies God, even the Father, and blesses our Lord, even the Ruler of our bodies, and the Shepherd of his Church dispersed through the world. You desired a full account ; and we, for the present, have sent you a compendious one by our brother Mark. When you have read it, send it to the brethren beyond you, that they also may glorify the Lord, who makes selections from his own servants, who shall thus honour him by their deaths, and who

To him who is able to conduct us all by his grace and free


into his heavenly kingdom, by his only-begotten Son Jesus Christ, to him be glory, honour, power, majesty, for ever. Amen. Salute all the Saints; those with Tas salute you, particularly Evaristus the writer, with all his house. He suffered martyrdom the second day of the month Xanthicus, the seventh day before the Calends of March, on the great fabbath, the eighth hour. He was apprehended by Herod, under Philip the Trallian Pontifex, Statius Quadratus being Proconsul, but Jesus Christ reigning for ever, to whom be glory, honour, majesty, an eternal throne from age to age. We

pray that you may be strong, brethren, walking in the Word Jesus Christ, according to the Gofpel, with whom be glory to God, even the Father, and to the Holy Spirit, for the salvation of his elected Saints, among whom the blessed Polycarp hath suffered martyrdom, with whom may we be found in the kingdom of Jesus Christ, having followed his steps !

These things Caius hath transcribed from the copy of Irenæus, the disciple of Polycarp, who also lived with Irenæus. And I Socrates of Corinth have transcribed from the copy of Caius. Grace be with you all. And I Pionius have transcribed from the fore-mentioned, having made search for it, and received the knowledge of it by a vision of Polycarp, as I shall shew in what follows, collecting it when now almost obsolete. So may the Lord Jesus Christ collect me with 'his elect, to whom be glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit to the ages of ages. Amen."

I thought it not amiss for the English reader to see the manner in which books were then successively preserved in the church. Of Irenæus we shall hear more hereafter. Nor ought Pionius's account of his vision to be hastily slighted, by those who consider the scarcity of useful writings in those days. Whether the case was worthy of such a divine interposition, we, who indolently enjoy books without end, can scarce be judges. However, if any chuse to add this to the number of pious frauds, which certainly did once much abound, the authenticity of the whole account remains unimpeached, as very near the whole is in Eufebius. This historian mentions Metrodorus, a Presbyter of the fect of Marcion, who perished in the names among others who suffered at Smyrna. It cannot be denied that Heretics also have had their martyrs. Pride and obstinacy will in some minds persist even to death. But as all who have been claffed among heretics have not been so in reality, Metrodorus might be a very different fort of a man from Marcion.

A comparative view of a christian suffering, as we have seen Polycarp, with a Roman Stoic or untutored Indian undergoing aMictions, where we have an opportunity to survey all circumstances, might shew, in a practical light, the peculiar ge




nius and spirit of christianity, and it's divine superiority. At the same time those who now content themselves with a cold rationality in religion, may alk themselves how it would have fitted them to endure what Polycarp did, and whether something of what is falsely called enthusiasm, and which the foregoing epiftle breathes so profusely, be not really and folidly divine.

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C H A P. VI.


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HE Aame of Antoninus's perfecution

reached a country which hitherto has afforded us no ecclefiaftical materials, I mean that of France, in those times called Gallia. Two neighbouring cities, Vienne and Lyons, appear to have been much favoured with evangelical light and love. Vienne was an ancient Roman colony; Lyons was more modern, and her present bilhop was Pothinus. His very name points him out to be a Grecian. Irenæus was a Presbyter of Lyons, and seems to have been the author of the epistle which Eusebius has preserved, and which the reader shall see presently. Other names concerned in the subject are evidently of Greek extraction, and it is hence most probable that some Afiatic Greeks had been the founders of these churches. Whoever casts his eye on a map of France, and sees the situation of Lyons, at present the largest and most populous city in that kingdom, next to Paris, may observe how favourable the confluence

of * Euseb. IV. 1 C.

of the Rhine and the Soane, (anciently called the Arar) on which it stands, is for the purposes of commerce*. The navigation of the Mediterranean, in all probability, was conducted by merchants of Lyons and of Smyrna, and hence the easy introduction of the gospel from the latter place and the other Asiatic churches is apparent.

How much God had blessed the work in France, the accounts of their sufferings will evince. Lyons and Vienne appear to be daughters, of whom their Asiatic mothers needed not to be ashamed.

The epistle of the churches of Vienne and Lyons to the

brethren in Asia and Phrygia I.

The servants of Christ, sojourning in Vienne and Lyons in France, to the brethren in Asia propria and Phrygia, who have the same faith and hope of redemption with us, peace, and grace, and glory from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

We are not competent to describe with accuracy, nor is it in our power to express the greatness of the amiction sustained here by the saints, the intense animosity of the heathen against them, and the complicated sufferings of the blessed martyrs. The grand enemy assaulted us with all his might, and by his first essays exhibited intentions of exercising malice without limits and without controul. He left no method untried to habituate his Naves to his bloody work, and to preprepare them by previous exercises against the servants of God. Christians were absolutely prohibited

from * When will the moderns learn to connect navigation and commerce with the propagation of the Gospel ?

| Eusebius does not give the whole of the epistle at length, but omits fome parts, and interrupts the thread of the narrative. It is not necessary to notice the particular ialtances.

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from appearing in any houses, except their own, in baths, in the market, or in any place whatever. The grace of God, however, fought for us, preserving the weak and exposing the strong, who, like pillars, were able to withstand him in patience, and to draw the whole fury of the wicked against themselves. These entered into the contest, suftaining every species of pain and reproach. What was heavy to others, to them was light, while they were hastening to Chrift, evincing indeed, that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us. The first trial was from the people at large; shouts, blows, the dragging of their bodies, the plundering of their goods, casting of stones, and the confining of them within their own houses, and all the indignities which may be expected from a fierce and outrageous multitude, these were magnanimously sustained. And now, being led into the Forum by the tribune and the magiftrates, they were examined before all the people, whether they were christians, and, on pleading guilty, were shut up in prison till the arrival of the governor *. Before him they were at length brought, and he treated us with great savageness of manners. The spirit of Vettius Epagathus, one of the brethren, was roused, a man full of charity both to God and man, whose conduct was so exemplary, though but a youth, that he might justly be compared to old Zacharias; for he walked in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless, a man ever unwearied in acts of beneficence to his neighbours, full of zeal towards God, and fervent in spirit. He could not bear to see so manifest a

perversion * It is probable, but not quite certain, that this Governor was Severus, afterwards Emperor. The conduct of this Governor was worthy of so inhuman a Prince.

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