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best manner to speak of his holy and blessed operations in the faithful *.
He wrote also a sensible little tract against the bondage of Jewish meats, and maintains christian liberty, according to the views of St. Paul, with just directions for the maintenance of temperance and decorum.
The letter to Cyprian before mentioned closes. his works. He lived to the time of Valerian, under whom Cyprian suffered. In that persecution also fell Novatian by martyrdom, as appears from the authentic testimony of Socrates I. His rival Cornelius had suffered a little before them, dying in exile for the faith, and it is no unpleafant contemplation to conceive these three men meeting in a better world cloathed with the garments of Jefus, and in him knowing their mutual relation which prejudice hindered in this life. I can by, no means justify either the separation of Novatian, or the severity with which these two good bishops personally condemned him.
We seem, however, to have found sufficient evidence of the christian character of the feparatist. His death, added to the general tenor of his life, shews to whom he belonged.
The reader will pardon this digression, if it be a digression, to lhew that the Spirit of God was not limited to one denomination, and to pave the way for that liberal and candid construction of characters, which it will behove us to cultivate in the future scenes of this history, while we trace the kingdom of God through a multiplicity of names and divisions of men t.
To proceed with the Decian persecution. It seems to have been the whole employment of magistrates to prosecute. Swords, wild beasts, pits, red-hot chairs, wheels to stretch the bodies, and talons of iron to tear them; these were the instruments of this persecution. Malice and covetoufness were deeply and strongly set on work during this whole sort, but horrible reign in informing against christians. And the genius of men was never known to have had more of employment in aiding the favageness of the heart. Life was prolonged in torture, that impatience in suffering might effect at length what surprize and terror could not.
gistrates * Nov. Trin. p. 114. # L. IV. C. 28. + Greg. Nyf, vira Thaum P. 1000.-See Fleury, b. 6--25.
See two examples of Satanic artifice. A martyr having endured the rack and burning plates, the judge ordered him to be rubbed all over with honey, and then exposed him in the fun, which was very hot, lying on his back with his hands tied behind him, that he might be stung by the flies. Another person, young and in the flower of his age, was, by the order of the same judge, carried into a pleafant garden among flowers, near a pleasing rivulet surrounded with trees; here they laid him on a feather bed, bound him with filken cords, and left him alone. Then they
. brought thither a lewd woman very handsome, who began to embrace him and to court him with all imaginable impudence. The martyr bit off his tongue, not knowing how to resist the assaults of sensuality any longer, and spit it in her face. Shocking as these things were, christianity appeared what it is, true holiness; while its perle cutors shewed that they were at enmity with all goodness *
Alexander, bishop of Comana, suffered martyrdom by fire. At Smyrna Eudemon the bihop apoftatized, and several unhappily followed his
example. * Jerom vita Paul.
example. But the glory of this church, once fo celebrated by the voice of infallibility *, was not totally lost. The example of Pionius, one of the presbyters, was falutary to all the churches. The acts of his martyrdom are still extant, and the substance, at least, of the account is confirmed by Eusebius, who refers us to his narrative not now
Nor, in general, is there any thing in the story improbable or unworthy of the christian spirit I. In expectation of being seized, he put a chain about his neck, and caused Sabina and Asclepiades to do the same, to shew their readiness to suffer. Polemon, keeper of the idol-temple, came to then with the magistrates : “ Don't you know," says he, “ that the emperor has ordered you to sacrifice ?” “ We are not ignorant of the commandments,” says Pionius, " but they are those which command us to worship God." " Come to the market-place,” says Polemon, “and see the truth of what I have said.” “ We obey the true God,” said Sabina and Afclepiades.
When the martyrs were in the midst of the multitude in the market-place, “ You had better," says Polemon, “ submit, to avoid the torture."
, Pionius began to speak : “ Citizens of Smyrna, who please yourselves with the beauty of your walls and city, and value yourselves on account of your Poet Homer, and ye Jews, if there be any among you, hear me speak a few words : We find that Smyrna has been esteemed the finest city in the world, and was reckoned the chief of those who contended for the honour of Homer's birth. I am informed that you deride those who come of their own accord to sacrifice, or who do not refuse when urged to it. But surely your teacher Homer
should * Rev. chap. 2. ver. 8, 9, &c. 1 Eufeb. B. 4, C. 15.-Fleury, B, 6--30:
should be attended to, who says, that we ought not to rejoice at the death of any man*. And ye Jews ought to obey Moses, who tells
you, “ Thou fhalc not fee thy brother's ass or his ox fall down by the way, and hide thyself from him ; thou falt surely help him to lift them up again I.” And Solomon lays, Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth.”
For my part I had rather die and undergo any sufferings than contradict my principlest. Whence then proceed the laughter and scoffs of the Jews, pointed not only against those who have facrificed, but against us? They insult us with a malicious pleasure to see our long peace interrupted. Though we were their enemies, itill we are men. But what harm have we done them? What have we made them fuffer ? Whom have we spoken against ? Whom have we perlecuted? Whom have we compelled to worship idols ? Do they think themselves less culpable than thofe who suffer death from periecution ?” He then addressed the Jews on the grounds of their own scriptures, and folemnly placed before the Pagans the day of judgment.
The sermon bore some relemblance to Stephen's in like circumstances, tending to beget conviction of sin, and leading men to feel their need of the Divine Saviour, according to the justest views and in the foundert taste of the gospel. He spake long, and was very attentively heard, and there is reason to hope it was not in vain. The people who surrounded him said with Polemon, "Believe us, Pionius, your probity and wisdom make us deem you worthy to live, and life is plealant."
* Odys. xxii, v. 412.
| Deut. xxi. 4. + Pionius adapıs himself to his audience, and convicts them of guilt even by their own principles, a thing not hard to be done againit all but true christians.
Thus powerfully did conscience and humanity operate in their hearts.
" I own,” says the martyr, “life is pleasant, but I mean that which I aspire af
We will not, through a contemptuous fpirit, forsake these gifts; but that which we prefer to them is infinitely better. But I thank you for your expression of kindness. I cannot, however, but suf pect some stratagem in it.”
The people continued intreating them, and he ftill discoursed to them of an hereafter. The well-known sincerity and unquestionable virtues of the man seem to have filled the Smyrneans with veneration, and his enemies began to fear an uproar in his favour. “ It is impossible to persuade you then,” said Polemon. "I would to God I could," says Pionius, “ persuade you to be a christian,"
Sabina had changed her name by the advice of Pionius, who was her brother, for fear of falling into the hands of her pagan mistress, who, to compel her to renounce christianity, had formerly put her in irons, and banished her to the mountains, where the brethren secretly, nourished her. She called herself Theodota since this happened. " What God dost thou adore ?” says Polemon. “God Almighty,” she answers, “ who made all things, of which we are assured by his Word Jesus Chrift." “ And what dost thou adore ?” speaking to Asclepiades. “ Jesus Christ,” says he.
What, is there another God?” says Polemon. “No,” says he, “ this is the same whom we come here to confess.” He who worships the Trinity in Unity will find no difficulty to reconcile these two confeßions. Let him who does not so worship, attempt it.
One person pitying Pionius, faid, Why do you that are so learned so resolutely seek death Еe