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Title: The Bloody Theatre, or Martyrs Mirror of the Defenseless Christians

Author: Thieleman J. van Braght

Translator: Joseph F. Sohm

Release date: July 17, 2021 [eBook #65855]

Language: English

Credits: Thiers Halliwell and The Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive)


Transcriber’s notes:

Several volunteers have worked on the post-processing of this complex e-book and I acknowledge the efforts of those who preceded me with respect to correcting spelling and other errors. A limited list of such corrections is appended. The original presentation of the book was not entirely consistent in the formating of headings, subheadings, etc. and cannot be truly replicated for digital reading devices, but the textual content has been faithfully preserved including inconsistent punctuation and other flaws. The original table of contents, which was located at the end of the book, was incomplete and inconsistent with respect to the hierarchy of headings. It has been modified to be of of greater assistance to the reader and has been repositioned to the more usual location at the beginning. Some illustrations have been moved nearer to the relevant text. Footnotes have been numbered and collated as endnotes that follow the comprehensive index. In this transcription a black underline indicates a hyperlink to a page, illustration or footnote.

The cover image of the book was created by the transcriber and is placed in the public domain.


who baptized only upon Confession of Faith, and who suffered and died for the testimony of Jesus, their Savior, from the time of Christ to the year A. D. 1660.
Translated from the original Dutch or Holland language from the Edition of 1660,
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1886,

by Mennonite Publishing Company,

In the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.


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As the English language, year by year, becomes more prevalent among our Mennonite people, the necessity of presenting to them in that language the doctrines, teachings and practices, as well as the story of the sufferings, the faithful endurance and the final triumphant deaths, of those of like faith with us who lived in the earlier ages of Christianity, becomes apparent to every reflecting mind.

These doctrines, teachings and practices together with the examples of faithful devotion to Christ and his word, and the unfaltering endurance under the severest persecution, are powerful incentives to Christians to-day, to inspire many sincere souls to live a more consecrated life, to practice greater self-denial, to live more separated from the world, and show a greater zeal in the work of the Lord and the salvation of souls; and they are especially precious to us, as Mennonites, because through these people it pleased God to hand down to us the living exemplification of the peculiar tenets and doctrines which we hold and practice at the present day.

The reading of books of this kind will also help us to appreciate more highly the privileges with which God has blessed us above our forefathers. While they oftentimes were not permitted to have permanent places of abode, and were driven about and hunted down like wild beasts, compelled to dwell in caves and mountains, and other secluded places, hold their meetings in secret, and suffer every imaginable form of injustice and persecution, because to be a true follower of Christ in those days was considered the very worst of crimes, we enjoy all the privileges of citizenship and are protected in the fullest enjoyment of our religion and forms of worship.

It is the duty of the Church to maintain and teach the pure gospel of Jesus Christ and to transmit the same to coming generations, and as we contemplate these facts, what a glorious treasure of pure Christian devotion shines forth in these pages of the Story of the Martyrs, and how much this grand record of their sufferings has done, and may yet do to perpetuate the pure doctrines of the gospel, eternity alone will reveal.

For these reasons and many others that might be referred to, the publishers of this edition, have, in the fear of God, for the promotion of his glory, undertaken the publication of “The Bloody Theatre or Martyrs Mirror” and herewith give it to the public, in the hope that it may be the means of promoting the glory of God and of doing much good among the children of men.

Note.—The translation of this work was made from the Dutch Edition of 1660, and where questions of doubt occurred, the edition of 1685 as well as the German editions were consulted.

The Publishers.


Translator’s Preface.

The principal object in writing this preface is to point out the chief difficulties I had to contend with while engaged in this truly laborious and exhaustive task. I do this not for the purpose of exciting sympathy on my behalf, but to convey to the reader an appropriate idea of the perplexing nature of the work that has engrossed my closest attention, and absorbed so much of my energy and care for nearly three years. The reader will thereby be prepared to view with greater leniency the unavoidable inconsistencies and other imperfections his critical eye may discover.

First of all, I will state, that the original is written in a language that has now been obsolete for many years; which proved a very great obstacle, since no dictionary obtainable could at all times give the desired information; hence the meaning of many words and phrases had to be ascertained by long and laborious research and comparison, which necessarily did not always preclude the possibility of an error, though I have taken great pains to give as correct a rendition as possible.

Another feature of the original, that frequently proved very trying is, that it consists in great part of letters written by comparatively illiterate persons, in consequence of which the language used is very often ambiguous or obscure, necessitating an incalculable amount of weighing and comparing, without affording certainty of having apprehended the writer’s true meaning.

Still another perplexing obstacle was the fact, that, many proper names occurring in the work, and foreign to the language of the original, having apparently been incorrectly transcribed, it was not always possible to determine the exact spelling of such names; which, though desirable, is, however, not of any material consequence.

But the greatest and most harassing difficulty of all was the circumstance that the version of the Bible used by the various authors of the work differed in many, and, sometimes, in very essential points from our English translation, making it an utter impossibility, to adopt an inflexible rule, without involving one’s self in countless errors and misconstructions. The course I generally pursued was, that when the rendering of the passage, or passages, given or used in the original, almost coincided with, or at least did not materially differ from that of our English Bible, I would take the quotation in question verbatim from the latter; while, when the discrepancy was too considerable, or an argument depended on the exact rendition, I translated the phrase or passage to be quoted literally from the original. Hence the reader will perceive, that this made it an absolute impossibility to adhere to one, invariable rule; and if he but knew the amount of careful thought, and anxiety, expended in drawing the line, when to quote from the English version, and when to translate literally, he could not but heartily sympathize with the translator, and kindly overlook any shortcomings he may discover.

With regard to the marginal notes or remarks, I would state that I have invariably translated them when they contained anything necessary for the complete understanding of the subject under consideration; but frequently they are simply a resume of a paragraph, or side remarks of the compiler, without any information or value for the reader; in this case I have omitted them.

These are the chief points I would have the reader consider, for by bearing them in mind he will be enabled to judge understandingly, and also, charitably, of the manner in which the translator has performed his task. To claim that this translation contains no errors would be simply preposterous, when all circumstances are taken into consideration; but I can truthfully say that I have conscientiously striven to furnish the reader with as correct a translation as it was in my power to give. How I have succeeded I leave to the reader to judge. Trusting that the contemplation of the faith, the self-sacrificing zeal, and the religious fervor of these martyrs of former ages will leave its imprint for good upon the hearts of those who shall read this book, I now consign it to the hands of the printer.

Joseph F. Sohm.



To God, my Lord, the Creator, Preserver and Redeemer of my soul, be praise, honor and majesty, forever and ever.

Pardon me, O my Lord and my God! that I, who am but dust and ashes, approach Thee. Gen. 18:27. I fear to come to Thee, because Thou art a consuming fire, while I am wood, hay and stubble, subject to be burned; yet I must not remain away from Thee, because I have that which is Thine, yea, which is Thy most precious treasure, even the blood and offering of the saints; I must needs come and offer it to Thee.

May it be well-pleasing to Thee, my dear Savior, that I offer that which long since has been offered up to Thee. But I have full confidence that Thou wilt not reject me. I believe I have the assurance that this will be acceptable to Thee, for Thy servant David, a man after Thine own heart, sang, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” Ps. 116:15.1

Moreover Thou knowest, O my Savior and Redeemer, the steadfast faith, the unquenchable love, and the faithfulness unto death, of those of whom I have written, and who gave their precious lives and bodies as a sacrifice to Thee.

Besides, Thou hast spared my life, that I, unworthy and weak as I am for such a task, might yet perform it; for snares of death had compassed me, keeping me bound nearly six months during last fall, winter and spring, so that I often thought I could not survive; nevertheless Thy power strengthened me, Thy hand rescued me, and by Thy grace was I led safely through, so that in the midst of my difficulties and contrary to the advice and opinion of the physicians (for the zeal and love of Thy saints had taken complete possession of me), I wrote and finished the greater part of this work.

The sacrifices which are acceptable unto Thee are a broken spirit, etc. Ps. 51:17. But this offering, O God, was accompanied with many tears, caused partly by my distress, as I, on account of the weakness of my nature, called upon Thee for help, partly through joy, as I found and experienced Thy comfort and help.

Yet that which more than all else caused my tears to flow was the remembrance of the sufferings and the death of Thy martyrs, who altogether innocent, as defenseless lambs, were led to the water, the fire, the sword, or to the wild beasts in the arena, there to suffer and to die for Thy name’s sake. However, I experienced no small degree of joy as I contemplated the living confidence they had in Thy grace, and how valiantly they fought their way through the strait gate.

Ah! how often did I wish to have been a partaker with them; my soul went with them, so to speak, into prison;2 I encouraged them in the tribunal, to bear patiently, without gainsaying or flinching, their sentence of death. It seemed to me as though I accompanied them to the place of execution, scaffold or stake, saying to them in their extremity, Fight valiantly dear brethren and sisters; the crown of life awaits you. I almost fancied that I had died with them; so inseparably was my love bound up with them, for Thy holy name’s sake.

I therefore entreat Thee once more, O my God, to let this sacrifice be well-pleasing in Thy sight, and to accept it from me, Thy most humble servant, as a token of love towards Thee as well as toward Thy blessed martyrs.

But before I leave this, strengthen me with Thy good Spirit, and arm me with the consolation of Thy grace, that I may not only confess Thee here with my mouth, but also honor Thee by a virtuous and pious conversation (Ps. 119:5), in the most holy faith, not refusing, if necessity require it and Thy honor be promoted thereby, to give my life and body into suffering and death, so that I may become like unto Thy dearest friends, my slain fellow brethren and sisters, and receive with them the same reward in the great day of Thy recompense. Song of Sol. 1:4.

This is the desire and petition of him, whose name is known to Thee, and who entreats Thee for grace now and in the hour of his death, and in the ages of eternity. O Lord, so let it be! For thine, O God, is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

T. J. van Braght.

Dort, July the 23d, 1659.

Note.—The Advertisement by the Dutch Publishers is omitted, as we deem it irrelevant to the present Edition. It contains a few plain statements of some amendments introduced in regard to obsolete words and phrases; that many noteworthy additions compiled from authentic records have been made, etc.—Translator.




Next to God we are joined to our fellow-believers who have received the same faith with us; and we shall therefore address ourselves to them.

But most beloved, do not expect that we shall bring you into Grecian theatres, to gaze on merry comedies or gay performances. Here shall not be opened unto you the pleasant arbors and pleasure gardens of Atlas, Adonis or Semiramis, which are said to have been built in the air, and of which the ancients used to sing their merry lays; yet far be it from us to conduct you to places of sadness, surely not to such as can, in verity, be called places of sadness.

True enough, we shall lead you into dark valleys, even into the valleys of death (Ps. 23:4), where nothing will be seen but dry bones, skulls, and frightful skeletons of those who have been slain; these beheaded, those drowned, others strangled at the stake, some burnt, others broken on the wheel, many torn by wild beasts, half devoured, and put to death in manifold cruel ways; besides, a great multitude who having escaped death, bear the marks of Jesus, their Savior, on their bodies, wandering about over mountains and valleys, through forests and wildernesses, forsaken of friends and kindred, robbed and stripped of all their temporal possessions, and living in extreme poverty.

Yet to look upon all this will not cause real sadness, for though the aspect is dismal according to the body, the soul will nevertheless rejoice in it, seeing that not one of all those who were slain preferred life to death, since life often was proffered them on condition that they depart from the constancy of their faith. But this they did not desire; on the contrary, many of them went boldly onward to meet death; some even hastened to outstrip others, that they might be the first, who did not shrink from suffering anything the tyrants could devise, nay more than could be thought possible for a mortal man to endure.

Among a great number we perceived a godfearing hero and knight of Christ,3 who, advancing before others, went cheerfully unto suffering and death, in which he acquitted himself so well that he fought or pressed his way with such force through the strait gate, that he left his flesh on the posts.

When we had beheld this with the eyes of faith, and had meditated upon the matter, our spirit was kindled, and we almost seemed to welcome him, and to wish him everything good, in these words:

Klimt op uw’ gulden Hoogtt’, Voor-vechter van de bende
Der heyl’ge Zielen, die God’s roode Bloed-banier
Navolgde, in’t gedrang, in’t midden der ellenden,
Daer niet dan rook en damp van menschen offer-vyer
Tot door de wolken vloog; noch gingt gy Held haer voor,
Ja streed, door d’enge poort, ten ruymen Hemel door.

[Climb up your golden height, champion of the band of holy souls, who followed God’s red banner of blood, in oppression and in the midst of misery; where naught but the smoke and vapor of human burnt sacrifices ascended to the clouds; yet thou, hero, didst go before them, yea, didst fight thy way through the strait gate to the wide Heaven.]

Then followed a great multitude of very pious and virtuous people—men, women, youths and maidens, all clothed with the same armor of faith and walking in the same path. Some of these were, like their leader, deprived of life; the rest were led to different places of execution, where they beheld many of their fellow brethren and sisters whose lives had been taken by the most dreadful means—burned and roasted at the stake. They nevertheless were not terrified, though they had to expect to be put to death in the same manner; but were of good cheer, calling upon God for help, that they might not falter in their sufferings, but prove steadfast to the end; this done, they also were burned.

This seemed almost to break our heart; our soul was horrified, and filled with pity on account of their misery; but when we remembered their constancy, and that now, for the heat endured, they found refreshing with God, nay, could expect the blessed crown of immortal glory, our grief subsided and sweet consolation filled our soul, so that we, to their memory, wrote the following words for ourselves and our fellow brethren:


Het schriklyk offer-vyer, de glinsterende staken,
Den smaed, die Zion leed, kon God’s verkoren volk
Belet noch hinder doen, noch geensins angstig maken
Te dragen Christi naem, als in sen witte wolk:
Tot dat een heete vlam haer lyven heeft verslonden;
Waer door haer zielen toen by God verkoeling vonden.

[The dreadful sacrificial fire, the shining stakes, the shame which Zion suffers, could neither disturb nor hinder God’s chosen people, nor make them afraid to bear the name of Christ, as in a white cloud: Until a burning flame has consumed their bodies; whereby their souls found refreshing with God.]

Some were not only bold, but went forth unto death rejoicing, which was evident from their conduct. Others showed this by their words, as they spoke of the consolation in their heart and the glad hope dwelling in their soul, when they were placed at the stake. Many, when the fire was kindled, and even when they were enveloped by the flames, sang with a loud voice to the honor of their God and Savior, because they had been counted worthy to be offered up as sacrifices for his holy name’s sake. Acts 5:41.

Were we to relate the joy and consolation of those, who, having escaped death, wandered about in foreign countries and solitary places, without friends or kindred, help or assistance, time would fail us and words be inadequate to sufficiently describe it. Here the testimony of Paul is found true, “that all things work together for good to them that love God.” Rom. 8:28. For those who were forsaken by friends and human assistance, found help with the angels of God, and protection under the wings of the Almighty. Those who had no eternal rest or dwelling-place found rest and a mansion of content in their souls and hearts. Those who went almost naked, having no clothes to put on, were most preciously clothed and adorned according to the soul, with the robe of righteousness and the garment of salvation and godly virtues. Those who had to abandon their secular business, and submit to despoilment of their money, goods and everything they had, so that outwardly they were very poor, possessed great riches within themselves through the grace of God which they received through the consolation of the Holy Spirit, and the word of the Lord, which was more precious to them than many thousand pieces of gold and silver.

The inconvenient seasons of the year, the heat of summer, the cold of winter, the wetness of spring and fall, together with the contingencies of thunder, lightning, hail, snow, rain, wind, hunger, thirst, sickness, fatigue, and other innumerable troubles with which they met while wandering about and suffering persecutions, were to them sweet pleasures and recreations in the Lord, for they knew that this would afterwards be turned into joy to them, since it is written: “Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.” Luke 6:21. Again: “That we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:22. And, in another place: “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him.” 2 Tim. 2:12.

This caused them to say with the apostle: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” 2 Cor. 4:17. “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Rom. 8:18. “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore or die, we are the Lord’s.” Rom. 14:8, etc.

Many of them would not have exchanged the darkest and severest dungeons, or the caves of the earth, in which they had to hide themselves, for royal palaces. The wilderness was to them a delightful pleasure-garden, the howling of the wild beasts which surrounded them, as sweet music or the song of birds; and water and roots or dry bread delighted them more than the daintiest viands and drink from the tables of the great.

All this was granted them by the munificent hand of God, on account of the constancy of their faith, from which they could by no means be made to swerve, nor brought to waver in it; on account of their living hope, which begat in their souls a longing for the future riches, so that they were enabled to esteem the present ones as of little worth and to forget them; and on account of their unquenchable love for God, his holy truth, and their beloved fellow-believers, whereby their souls were kindled into a flame far more intense than were their bodies through physical fire though these were reduced to ashes.

But can carnal men comprehend this? Will any of them believe these things? We think not; for how can a carnal man partake of the Spirit of God? How could one who is earthly-minded ascend to heaven in his thoughts? 1 Cor. 2:14. How can one comprehend that which pertains to salvation, who himself is altogether unsaved and possesses no desire to obtain salvation through the grace of God? What fire of divine love can he feel, whose heart is totally cold, and who loves nothing but sin and sinful creatures.

We maintain, therefore, that these are things which belong not to the blind worldly-minded, since they in their ignorance would not esteem them; but to the heavenly-minded, who, as spiritual eagles, contemplate with the eyes of the soul the mysteries of God; who seek their food with God, and find their delight in his saints and well-beloved who sacrificed their lives for his holy truth.

For this cause we have addressed ourselves to you, most beloved brethren and sisters, who, with us, and with our slain friends, the blessed martyrs of God, have received the same faith. This book, the humble work of our hands, but which is nevertheless a precious jewel, in view of the persons and matters contained therein, we have dedicated to you. Receive it, then, with the same love with which it has been dedicated to you. Read it again and again, and with the same attention and emotion with which we have written and re-written it. We are fully confident that, if you do this, it will not be 8 unfruitful to you. But, before all things, fix your eyes upon the martyrs themselves, note the steadfastness of their faith, and follow their example.

Ruth, the Moabitess, said to Naomi, the mother of her husband: “Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me.” Ruth 1:16,17.

With such inseparable love ought we, most beloved in the Lord, to be joined to our blessed fellow brethren who have been slain for the testimony of the Lord, that we might follow their footsteps unto the end; for surely, the God whom they confessed and served, is also our God; the Savior on whom they placed their hope is our Savior; the faith which they all confessed is our faith (we speak of Anabaptists in general); the laws and commandments of God which they received as their rule of life are also our laws and commandments; they bowed their knees before God; they obligated themselves by the words of their lips to render obedience to God, and thereupon received holy baptism; we have done the same; they promised to continue steadfastly all the days of their life in the faith and due obedience, without departing therefrom yea, if necessary, to suffer death for it; we have promised the same. What difference, then, is there between us and them? Certainly only this: that they all persevered unto the end, nay, unto a cruel death, without departing to the right or to the left; which we have not yet done. They have taken by force the blessed Fatherland, the Canaan rich with milk, the true promised land which flows with honey; which we have not yet done. They have therefore entered into rest, yea, have come to the Lord; while we are yet in unrest, proceeding in our pilgrimage in the absence of the Lord.

Therefore, my most beloved friends in Christ Jesus, let us also in this last respect seek to be conformed to our beloved slain fellow brethren, that we may continue steadfastly unto the end in the most holy faith which we have confessed with them. Oh! be careful in this matter; watch over your dear-bought souls; for it is highly necessary, yea, more necessary than at any former time.


These are sad times, in which we live; nay, truly, there is more danger now than in the time of our fathers, who suffered death for the testimony of the Lord. Few will believe this, because the great majority look to that which is external and corporeal, and in this respect it is now better, quieter and more comfortable; few only look to that which is internal and pertains to the soul, and on which everything depends, “for what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matt. 16:26.

These times are certainly more dangerous; for then Satan came openly, through his servants, even at noon-day, as a roaring lion, so that he could be known, and it now and then was possible to hide from him; besides, his chief design then was to destroy the body: but now he comes as in the night, or in the twilight, in a strange but yet pleasing form, and, in a two-fold way, lies in wait to destroy the soul; partly, to trample under foot, and annihilate entirely, if this were possible, the only saving Christian faith; partly to destroy the true separated Christian life which is the outgrowth of faith. Ps. 91:5,6.

He reveals himself on the one hand as an angel of light, 2 Cor. 11:14,15, as a kind, pleasant, yea, even divine messenger, with humble countenance, downcast eyes, plain garb, and living in seclusion from the throng of the worldly-minded, even as the holiest people, yea, the martyrs of God, formerly did. His words are modest, trembling and full of contrition—seemingly coming from deep meditation, inward fear and apprehension, lest he might speak amiss or untruthfully. Meanwhile, and before one is aware of it, he seizes hold and tears like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, robbing the innocent lambs of Christ of their precious faith, which, he pretends to be of small importance, but without which faith it is impossible to please God, Heb. 11:6, nay, without which we, according to the words of Christ shall be condemned, Mark 16:16; for (says Paul), whatsoever is not of faith is sin, Rom. 14:23.

It grieves us to the heart that we must live to see these times, and therefore speak in this wise. O Lord, strengthen our faith! help thy weak, trusting lambs, that they may not be led into error, nor moved from the foundations of the most holy faith.

On the other hand, through his instigation, the world now reveals itself very beautiful and glorious, more than at any preceding time, in a threefold pleasing form—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.5 Almost all men run after her, to worship her as a queen supreme; but all are deceived thereby; yea, many who have drunk of the poisoned wine of her lusts from the golden cup of her iniquities and deceptions, die a spiritual death.

As the first design is aimed at the faith, so this is directed against the true Christian life. Here lies great danger. Who shall escape these snares? He that would at no time be taken unawares by it, must indeed be cautious and watchful. But our very flesh 9seems prone to it. Here must be fasting, watching, praying, and calling upon God for help, otherwise there is no escape.

Many of the ancients who supposed that they had been circumspect and observed their duty, were deceived hereby6; some were lulled into a careless sleep, so that they paid no heed to themselves or to their vocation; others were brought to despair of the divine truth; others were drawn away totally from God; some died a spiritual death; others died both spiritually and bodily; and some have plunged themselves helter-skelter into the abyss of the disfavor of God, to be punished by him soul and body and forever.

These things which we tell you are no riddles or blind speeches, for we speak the truth, or the word of God must be false; but as the word of God cannot lie, what we have said is certain and infallible since God in his word bears witness of it, yea, declares it emphatically and abundantly. Other histories which make mention of this, we pass by in silence and dismiss them altogether, because we do not hold them in equal estimation with the holy Scriptures. It was the world and its lusts that of old caused all the great calamities of which we have spoken; and not only this, but it has also caused thousands who live in the various cities, countries, kingdoms, empires, yea, on the face of the whole earth, to mourn, weep and wail, on account of their natural misery as well as on account of their experiencing the wrath of God in their souls because of the magnitude and enormity of the sins perpetrated by them.

It certainly was through worldly lusts that the old world perished; that Sodom, Gomorrah, Zeboim, and Admah were consumed, overthrown and totally destroyed by fire from Heaven; that in forty years, through serpents, fire, and other plagues, the wanton and lustful people of Israel perished to the number of over six hundred thousand in the wilderness; and that the mighty maritime cities, Zidon and Tyrus, whose ships were trimmed with embroidered, silken sails from Egypt; whose rowers sat upon benches of ivory; where incalculable riches were bought and sold, and, from carnal incentives, almost inconceivable arts practiced were reduced to a heap of stones and so leveled to the ground, that the fishermen stretch out their nets to dry on the rocks upon which these cities stood. Gen. 7; Matt. 24:37,38; Luke 17:26,27; 2 Peter 2:5.—Gen. 19:24,25; Is. 13:19; Jer. 50:40; Hos. 11:8; Amos 4:11; Luke 17:28,29; 2 Pet. 2:6; Jude 7.—compare Num. 1:2,3,46 with Num. 14:22,23. Also Num. 11:1 and 16:31–35; 21:6; Jude 5.—Is. 23:4,5; Ezek. 27:26–28; 28, the whole chapter.

I will not now speak of Jerusalem, Chorazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum, and other mighty licentious and luxurious cities, which, with all their inhabitants who had in this respect sinned against God, have borne his wrath, and felt, to their destruction, the plagues of his afflicting hand; for this would consume too much time.7 O awful judgments of God! O pernicious worldly-mindedness! O corroding and cankering luxury, that draggest after thee such a train of unspeakable miseries! Help, Lord, that our soul be delivered from all these dangers.

But what danger would there be, if none but the open enemies of God and his holy truth were guilty in this matter? What harm could be done, if they alone, and no others, would arouse and call down upon themselves the wrath of God? For then every pious and serious soul would beware of their example as of a savage beast, venomous serpent, or deadly basilisk. But now such is the state of things that many commoners and such as are not total strangers to religion or the worship of God; who, as they say, would fain be saved; and who, therefore, though they are not truly enlightened, glorify and praise God and his word with their mouth, show nevertheless (to the seduction of the simple) that the world is their dear friend, yea lies nearest to their heart, since most of their works are directed to its service, that they may thereby partake of its glittering but deceptive reward.

Hence arises that shameful and vast commerce which extends far beyond the sea into other parts of the world, Ezek. 27, but which notwithstanding cannot satisfy those who love it, but, on the contrary, brings great danger, that that which has already been gotten, may be lost, others defrauded, and they themselves, both in soul and body, stripped and robbed of their possessions.

Numerous large, expensive and ornamented houses, country-seats of splendid architecture and provided with towers, parks magnificent as a paradise, and other embellished pleasure-grounds, which are seen on every hand indicate this in no small degree. Dan. 4:29,30.

The wearing of clothes from foreign countries, whether of foreign materials, uncommon colors or of strange fashions as obtain in the course of time according to the custom of the openly worldly-minded (which are as changeable as the moon), and which custom is followed by many humble and seemingly plain people, confirms greatly what we have before said. Gen. 35:2; Zeph. 1:8; Is. 3:16–24.

The giving and attending great dinners, lavish banquets and wedding-feasts (though one may never be found in taverns or tippling-houses), where everything is in profusion, and where the beneficent gifts of the Lord which should not be used otherwise than with great thankfulness, and of which a portion naturally belongs to the poor, are squandered and consumed without the least necessity, even by those who are considered sober and temperate, is an incontrovertible evidence of a sensual and wanton heart; and proves also that those who have much to do with these things, cannot be exculpated from living after the flesh; for which carnal life certainly has no promise of salvation, but, on the contrary, 10many severe threatenings of the wrath and displeasure of God, nay, of eternal damnation, are recorded in the blessed leaves of the word of God, which contains nothing but the truth. Esth. 1:3–8; Dan. 5:1–3; Luke 12:19,20; 16:19.

O how different is this from the life of a true Christian, who has forsaken himself and his lusts! How great the step that is between their walk and that of the holy martyrs, who delivered up, not only their carnal desires, but also their bodies and lives, unto death for the Lord’s sake! But how great a difference will also be between the two classes afterwards! when the former, having had their good things in this life, shall be shut out from the true, heavenly riches, but the latter, because they from love to God, renounced and abandoned their possessions, which might have led them into sin, be admitted to the true enjoyment of the heavenly riches and pleasures, and that for ever and ever! Mal. 3:18.

Here shall obtain what is recorded concerning the end of the luxurious rich man and that of poor Lazarus: that the rich man, when he saw Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom, while he himself was in hell, received this answer to his doleful lamentation: “Son, remember, that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.” Luke 16:25. Appropriate is here also Wis. 5:1,2.

Nevertheless, these and similar evil examples are constantly presented to our eyes, and they are the more pernicious and dangerous for the reason that some worldly-minded people pronounce them to be non-essential, unimportant for either good or evil, and therefore, allowable; while it is the same with them as with the fruit from the tree of knowledge, which stood in the midst of Paradise, and was pleasant to the eyes, but deadly in the use, for whoever ate of it, had to die, Gen. 2:17; or with the apples which grow in the land of Sodom, on the border of the dead sea; which possess a beautiful red appearance, but contain, as some have written, only dust and ashes, and are inedible, nay, even deleterious to health. Bijb. Naemb. edition 1632, fol. 881, col. 2, concerning the name Sodom, ex Philippo Melanchthone. Also Bernh. Bredenb. in Tract, super Siddim. Also H. Buntung, Itinerarium sacræ scripturæ, edition 1642, lib. 1, pag. 62, col. 2, etc.

O that Satan would show himself, as he really is, and that the world, too, might come forth without disguise or mask; then certainly no one possessing reason would allow himself to be deceived by them. For in Satan nothing would be seen but deadly snares, traps and murdering daggers for the soul, poisoned arrows wherewith to destroy everything good in man, through unbelief, apostasy from God, impenitent obduracy, and despair; which are followed by a train made up of the fears of hell and horrors of damnation. In the world men would perceive nothing but vanity, mingled with much vexation, sorrow, grief and misery, and this in such abundance, that if as many tears could be wept over it, as there is water in all the sea and all the rivers, yet the weight of the true sorrow that springs from them it could not be adequately expressed, for they draw after them not only temporal but also everlasting miseries.

But, O how lamentable! all this is hid under a beautiful appearance. Satan appears to be a prince or king, and the world a noble princess or queen. The servants and servant-maids who follow them as pages and maids of honor, appear as cavaliers and ladies, reveling in joy and delight; though, as regards the soul, they are poor and deformed, yea, meaner than beggars, and without the true joy which delights the upright soul in God.8

There is, therefore, great danger of being deceived. O, ye upright children of God, be on your guard.9 Let your simplicity be coupled with prudence. Your faith as well as your life are the objects aimed at. If Satan gain the mastery over you, your precious faith which has been commended to your keeping as dearly as your soul, is ruined. If ye are overcome by the world, it will soon put an end to your Christian and virtuous life, without which latter the best of faith is of no avail. Care, therefore, my dear friends, equally well for both, for the one is as important as the other. Faith without the corresponding life, or the life without the faith, can, will, and may not avail before God. They are like two witnesses, who must agree, and of whom the one cannot stand or be received without the other.

Knowing, then, that we must care for both, there remains nothing for us but to do it; however, this work must certainly not only be begun, but also finished, according to the example of the steadfast martyrs of God; with which finishing, whether it be brought about in a natural or a violent manner, according as liberty or persecution brings about we must comfort ourselves, since it is certain that the crown is not to be found in the beginning or in the middle, but at the end.10

But as necessary as it is to finish well, so necessary it is also to begin well, and, having begun, to go on well; for without a good beginning and a good progress it is impossible to attain to a good end.

We speak to you, then, most beloved in the Lord, who have begun with us; received the same faith with us; and with us as a token of this have been baptized.

Surely, we have made a vow to the Lord, which we cannot recall, as David sings: “Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High.” Ps. 50:14.

We have, through faith, received Christ, the Son of God, as our Prophet, Priest, King, Shepherd, 11 Friend, and Bridegroom; and in this we must go on and grow stronger. This, Paul teaches us, saying: “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught,” etc. Col. 2:6,7. Hereby we have come from the darkness of ignorance to the true light of knowledge; which we are commanded to keep in perpetual remembrance. In this direction tend the words: “But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions;” etc. Heb. 10:32. In short: “Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.” Phil. 3:16. “Building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” Jude 5:20. “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” Verses 24 and 25. Is. 40:30,31; Phil. 4:13.

We would now commend you, beloved brethren and sisters, to the Lord and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. Our work which has been done for your benefit, is now finished in this respect; that you may make good use of it, is our friendly desire. Remember us always in your prayers, until we depart this life; Phil. 1:23, that God may be gracious unto us now and in eternity. We hope, on our part, to do the same for you. O that God would grant, that we all, without one missing, might behold one another, face to face, in the kingdom of God! 1 Cor. 13:12.

Meantime we rejoice in the salvation of the Lord; for it sometimes seems to us, as if Heaven had come down upon earth; or that we were ascending from earth to heaven, 2 Cor. 12:1–12, etc.; or that we, who are still among men, held communion with God and his holy angels; or that eternal heavenly joy and glory were offered to us; nay, that we had a foretaste of those things which mortal eye hath never seen, nor ear heard, nor heart experienced, in this life.11

We walk no longer upon earth with our thoughts; nevertheless, we are still encompassed by a cloud of earth, a body of clay, a heavy load of the soul. O, that we were free from it, and that our soul, liberated from this load, might return to God in heaven, her true origin! like a freed dove which has been confined in a strange place, returns to her nest and abode. But we must wait for this until the time which God has appointed, comes.

Let us be patient together, then, most beloved in the Lord, till the day come, which, if we remain faithful unto the end, will assuredly bring us that which we here wait for in hope. Then the tears, which we, sighing and longing for the highest salvation of God, have wept here, shall surely be wiped away from our eyes; then shall we no longer see through a glass, darkly, but face to face; then shall the heavenly be shown us no longer in thought or in spirit, but it shall be given us, and we be made participants of it, by experience alone, in truth and in deed. O great and precious subject! we can go no further: our reason cannot comprehend it; our earthly tongue cannot express it!

Yours very affectionally in the Lord,

Th. J. van Braght.

Dort, July the 25th, 1659.


Good friends and fellow citizens:

Of old, among the heathen, the greatest and highest honors were accorded to the brave and triumphant warriors, who, risking their lives in the land of the enemy, conquered, and carried off the victory.12 Thus Homer, the foremost of the writers of heroic poetry in Greece, has, in twenty-four books, extolled and embellished with many eulogies the warlike deeds of Ulysses. Quintus Curtius described, in ten books, the deeds of Alexander, the son of Philip of Macedonia: how triumphantly he conquered and subjugated Europe, Asia, India, and the countries bordering on the eastern Ocean, till he ultimately lost his life in Babylonia. Plutarch composed a voluminous work devoted to the praise of illustrious and valiant men. Titus Livius has written of the Roman heroes, how praiseworthily they acquitted themselves in behalf of the country of Romulus. Virgilius Maro and others eulogized the emperor Augustus. And this usage has obtained from ancient times, and obtains yet, in every land, yea, throughout the whole world.

We say nothing of the honor and praise, which, many years after their death, was bestowed in public theatres, upon those who had been sacrificed to idols, for the narration of it would consume too much time.

But God, in his word, goes higher and farther yet, in this respect. He has caused the conflict, the sufferings, and the triumphs of his spiritual courageous heroes, children and favorites to be written, in language the most touching, glorious and triumphant, as an everlasting memorial for their descendants, and not only this, but as a full assurance of their happiness; so that they should always be remembered, and never forgotten. Yea, the whole volume of holy Scriptures seems to be nothing else than a book of martyrs, replete with numerous, according to the flesh, sorrowful, but according to the spirit, happy, examples of the holy and steadfast martyrs, whose sufferings, conflicts and triumphs have been recorded in as holy and worthy a manner as it is possible to imagine.


However, they are variously spoken of, according to the importance of their merits. Some of them suffered and fought much, but not unto blood, nor unto death; there victory and their honor are, therefore, not represented as of the highest degree. Others, however, suffered and fought not only unto blood and death, for the Lord’s name, but even to the greatest pain and most bitter death. We shall first speak of the former class, and then of the latter; yet the last shall surpass the first. Abraham, the father of the faithful, and Isaac and Jacob, to whom God had promised the possession of the land of Canaan, lived, nevertheless, as strangers in the land of promise, and, sometimes, had to endure hunger, thirst and oppression. Compare Gen. 12:10; 26:20; 31:22,23 with Hebr. 11:9.

Moses, the friend of God, had to flee from Pharaoh into the land of Midian, where he sat down by a well. Ex. 2:15. Afterwards he came very near being stoned by the disobedient in Israel. Ex. 17:4.

David, a man after God’s own heart, was several times in peril of being transfixed to the wall by a javelin, 1 Sam. 18:11; 19:10; yea, his life was in such danger, that he complained to Jonathan: “There is but a step between me and death.” 1 Sam. 20:3. For this reason he often called upon God for help, that he might not meet with an untimely death. Among other things he says: “Consider and hear me, O Lord my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death.” Ps. 13:2.

In the days of Ahab and Jezebel a hundred prophets of the Lord had to flee on account of persecution, and were hid in a cave, and fed with bread and water, by one Obadiah. 1 Kings 18:13.

Elijah, for the same reason, was compelled to turn eastward and hide himself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. 1 Kings 17:3. His life was afterwards made so bitter to him, that he fled into the wilderness by Beer-sheba, sat down under a juniper tree, and prayed, “O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.” 1 Kings 19:4.

When Elisha, the servant of Elijah, proclaimed the word of the Lord in the city of Samaria, the king of Samaria swore, that the head of Elisha should not stand on him that day. 2 Kings 6:31.

The prophet Micaiah, who had foretold in the name of the Lord the truth to the king of Israel, had to eat the bread of sorrow, and drink the water of sadness, in the prison in which he was confined, until the king was slain in a battle. 1 Kings 22:27–37.

Jeremiah was cast into a mire-pit, in which he sunk down so deeply that he was in danger of death, until he was saved through Ebed-melech, the Ethiopian. Jer. 38:6–13.

Amos was called a conspirator, and forbidden not only the city in which he prophesied, but also the land of the ten tribes of Israel. Amos 7:10–13.

All these, and many more, endured much suffering and many conflicts yet not unto blood or death. But those of whom we shall speak now, suffered the bitterness of death, and are therefore, in this respect, of higher rank than they who have preceded, just as the loss of life is a severer test than to suffer in the body or to lose temporal possessions; which is the only difference between the two classes named.

This bloody army of the spiritual champions, who fought unto blood and death for the Lord, commenced with the beginning of the world, as though God’s saints were born to suffer and fight; and as though God had designed, that his church should be tried from the beginning and all through, even as gold in the furnace that her purity might become the more manifest.

In the beginning we see, Abel who, having in faith offered unto God a lamb as a sacrifice, was slain in the field by Cain, his brother. Gen. 4:8; 1 John 3:12.

In the days of Ahab and Jezebel many prophets of God were slain by the sword of the rebellious and disobedient in Israel, so that Elijah thought he alone was left. 1 Kings 19:14.

When the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada, so that he said to the disobedient people: “Why transgress ye the commandments, of the Lord, that ye cannot prosper? because ye have forsaken the Lord, he hath also forsaken you,” they took stones and killed him at the commandment of the king in the court of the house of the Lord. 2 Chron. 24:21.

When Urijah, the son of Shemaiah, of Kirjath-jearim prophesied in the name of the Lord against the city of Jerusalem, his life was sought, so that he fled into Egypt. But Jehoiakim the king sent men who fetched him back, and he slew him with the sword, and buried his dead body among the common people. Jer. 26:20–23.

The god-fearing young men, named Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, who refused to worship the image of King Nebuchadnezzar, were cast, bound, in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments just as they were, into a fiery furnace, in which they would have been immediately consumed, if God had not preserved them. Dan. 3:21–23.

The prophet Daniel, because he would not worship king Darius, but only the true God of Israel, was cast into a den of lions, to be torn by them; but God protected him as he did those mentioned before. Dan. 6:16.

Onias, the high priest, who, in a very praiseworthy and peaceful manner, led and kept the people at Jerusalem, so that foreign kings were moved to honor the city and the temple of God with gifts, was falsely accused by Simon the Benjamite, removed from his office by Jason, his own brother, and stabbed to death without regard of justice and equity by perjured Andronicus; for the which cause not only the Jews, but also many gentiles took great indignation. Compare 2 Macc. 3:1,2 with 4:1,34.

Two women, who had their children, circumcised according to the law of God, were led round about the city, with their babes tied to their breasts, and then cast down headlong from the wall. 2 Maccabees 6:10.

Some who had hid themselves in caves, to keep the Sabbath or day of rest of the Lord, and who would not defend themselves against the enemies, 13 when it was discovered to Philip the tyrant, were burned. 2 Macc. 6:11.

Eleazar, an old man of ninety years, because he would not sin against the law of God by eating forbidden meat, nor set an evil example to young persons, nor dissimulate, had to carry his hoary hairs with blood to the grave, and die a cruel death through many stripes. 2 Macc. 6:27–31.

Seven brethren, for the same cause, were scourged with rods and thongs, had their tongues cut out, their hands and feet cut off, and were roasted in pans, and killed in this terrible manner to the last one, together with their mother, who had witnessed it all, and likewise refused to depart from the law of God. 2 Macc. 7.

This last mentioned class, from Abel to the Maccabees, are the true army of God and the heroes of the old covenant who, for the honor of God and the law of their fathers, did not spare their lives.

These the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews has in view when he speaks of the great cloud of witnesses, who, looking through faith for the fulfillment of the promises of God and the coming of the Son of God, in the flesh endured all sufferings, conflicts, and, at last, death, bravely and with an undismayed heart. But the others, says he, meaning the steadfast saints of God of whom we have spoken, had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover, of bonds and imprisonment: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; of whom the world was not worthy. Heb. 11:36–38.

Hence the whole volume of holy Scriptures, especially the Old Testament, seems to be almost exclusively, a book of martyrs, as we have stated in the beginning; appearing from the examples which we have adduced, and of which we could point out many more, if it were necessary.

As regards the heroes of the new covenant, that is, those who since the advent of Christ, and for the testimony of the holy gospel, have fought the good fight, even unto blood, yea, death; have finished their course; and steadfastly kept the faith, notwithstanding the various horrible torments; it would be impossible to speak briefly of it here, and do the subject full justice; for which reason we have done this in the following two books, to which we would refer the reader.

All this was written for a perpetual remembrance of the steadfast and blessed martyrs; concerning whom it is the will of God that they should not only always be remembered here among men, but whom he himself purposes never to forget but to remember them with everlasting mercy.


We have already spoken of the great honor which custom conferred upon the brave and triumphant warriors; yet not one of all these, however great, mighty, valiant and victorious he may have been, or how great the honor and glory with which he may have been hailed, could in any wise be compared with the least martyr who suffered for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Even aged and feeble persons, youths and maidens, and such as were not noticed, yea whom the world did not esteem at all, did infinitely more through the power of their faith, their ardent love to God, and, especially, their steadfastness unto death, whereby they were enabled to forsake, yea, despise, all visible things, and to put entirely out of their thoughts, forget, and bid, as it were, eternal adieu to, until the consummation of all things, money, property, houses, farms, brothers, sisters, parents, children, dear friends and relatives, yea their own bodies and lives, and everything pleasing and delightful according to the flesh; whereas others, if possible, gladly enjoyed and retained all this, and would fain have retained it always, or still retain it.

The honor, therefore, which is due to the holy martyrs, is infinitely greater and better than that of earthly heroes; just as the fight they fought, was infinitely more profitable, and their victory, as coming from the hand of God, infinitely more praiseworthy and glorious.13

Through earthly wars countries and their inhabitants are destroyed, the innocent killed, the fugitive robbed of their property, and much weeping and mourning caused among those who remain. But through the warfare of the martyrs, at least through the martyrs themselves, the prosperity of countries and their inhabitants was promoted because of the fervent prayers offered up by the martyrs to God for those who did them harm and for the common welfare of all the inhabitants.

The life of the innocent, who otherwise would have had to die, yea, their spiritual and eternal life, was obtained and preserved through the medicine of their good teachings, admonitions, examples, and unwavering continuance to the end of life.

The estates of men generally, both according to the soul and the body, they improved and multiplied, causing them to increase thirty, sixty, and even a hundred fold, by their uprightness, fidelity, benevolence, compassion, and incomparable mercifulness toward their fellow men.

They caused no one to lament or weep, by doing him the least damage or injury, but they greeted everybody, even their enemies, with kindness, embraced them with the arms of love, and gave them cause to rejoice and be glad, outwardly as well as inwardly, bodily and spiritually, here and (God granting them mercy) also hereafter.

O most delightful warfare, which did injury to none, but good to all. O ye blessed heroes, who 14 fought this fight! No princes or kings can be compared to you; for all the honors won by earthly heroes on earth shall vanish with the earth; but your honor is an everlasting honor; your glory shall never cease, yea, shall endure, as long as God endures, whom you served.


Come now, ye earthly-minded and ungodly, and learn here to become heavenly and godly-minded; ye impenitent, learn here to repent, and believe in Jesus Christ. Hither must come also all the self-willed, who, from a prejudiced opinion of their own do not consider the external commandments and ordinances of Christ as necessary, saying that there is not more required than repentance and faith, or a so-called irreproachable civil life. These shall learn here that the external commandments of Christ must be united with the internal, that is, the signs with the things signified; or, to express it clearly: one must be baptized on his faith and repentance; must keep the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of him, etc.; for herein the holy martyrs were to them an example.14

Here the passionate must learn patience and meekness from the most patient and meek, who endured without murmuring the greatest reproach and ignominy, yea, even death. Here the unmannered are taught modesty; the proud, humility; the discontented, contentment; the avaricious, benevolence; the insatiably rich, voluntary poverty; those who live after their lusts, the forsaking of all carnal desires; the irreligious, piety; and the wavering and inconstant, steadfastness unto the end in all these things.

All this can be learned here, not so much by words as by deeds, from those who not only commenced the above virtues, but continued in them unto the end, yea, confirmed them through their death, and sealed them with their blood.


Besides, persons of every age may enter this school of practice in virtue; the young, the middle-aged and the old, all shall be led to true godliness by the living examples of those who went before them.

The young people who live after their lusts, and have not come to the light, will see here, that many of their equals, yea, who were only fourteen, fifteen, eighteen, twenty years old, or even younger, had at that age already forsaken the vanities of the world and the lusts of youth; nay, some so early that they had not yet come to know them, much less to practice, them; but that, on the contrary, as soon as they reached their understanding, they remembered their Creator and Savior, bowed their youthful members under his yoke, accepted his commandments, obeyed him with all their heart, and surrendered themselves willingly to him, so that they, for his sake, did not spare their lives unto death. Ecc. 12:1; Prov. 23:26.

The middle-aged, who, like the firmly-rooted oaks of Bashan, are so deeply engrossed in, and joined to, earthly affairs and household cares, that it is next to an impossibility to detach them therefrom because of their inseparable desire for the goods of this world; will see here people in the flower and prime of life, who might have gained much, but sought it not, because they would not miss the heavenly gain. These had a contented heart; they were clothed with coats of skins, only against cold and nakedness; they lived in huts or plain cottages, to be sheltered from rain, wind, hail and snow; they ate bread to satisfy their hunger, and drank water to quench their thirst; more they had not.15

There they shall see that these contented people surrendered to God the strength of their bodies, their station in life, and whatever they had; so that they, having become members of his church, esteemed it greater riches to suffer with the same the reproach of Christ, nay death itself, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.

The aged, who have neglected their youth and middle life, and are now come to the eleventh hour,16 and yet are still not working in the Lord’s vineyard, may here behold persons whose hoary head is a crown of glory, since they are found in the way of righteousness; who devoted their feeble powers, the short span of their life, yea their last breath, to the service and praise of their God and Savior, watching and waiting for the hour of their departure and the day of their redemption, that they might become an acceptable offering to the Lord. They longed for the clock to strike twelve, so as to be admitted by the Lord and be seated at his glad feast.

When two of our last martyrs, Jan Claess of Alckmaer, and Lucas Lamberts of Beveren, an old man of eighty-seven years, received their sentence of death, at Amsterdam, Holland, in the forenoon of a certain day in the year 1544, Jan Claess said to the old man, Lucas Lamberts: “My dear brother, fear now neither fire nor sword. O what a glad feast shall be prepared for us, before the clock strikes twelve.” See II Book, year 1544.

All this and infinitely more the worldly-minded, ignorant and unbelieving are taught here. O that each of them would consider this well!

Men are more easily converted by good examples than by good teachings, because examples are more impressive; yet here you have both.

Let every one come hither, therefore; and no one remain behind; all have need to be taught in the 15way of salvation; no one would choose to be unsaved. Here you shall see the patience, the faith, and the constancy of the saints. Have compassion upon your own poor souls, whom the Lord loves so dearly, seeking to lead them to heaven; yea for whom the Son of God has shed his precious blood, thus purchasing them with so great a price. We would commend this matter most urgently to you as well as to ourselves. O Lord, help! O Lord, let it prosper!

But it is now time that we turn our attention to giving instructions concerning the proper understanding and use of this work.

Th. J. van Braght.

Dort, July the 27th, 1659.



This work comprises two books, each of them containing a different and independent topic. The first is a treatise of the holy baptism and of that which pertains to it. The second is a historical account of the holy martyrs who suffered on account of baptism, or, generally, for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

These two topics have been briefly, yet not less clearly, treated, throughout, in every century, from the days of Christ up to our present time; and this order has been followed: through every century first an account is given, through faithful and authentic authors, of the subject of holy baptism, and the proper administration of the same during that time; to which we have each time added our own comments, explanations, refutations of objections, etc., then every century is again taken up, and an account given of the holy martyrs who suffered during that time. So that each century treating of holy baptism is followed by a century treating of the holy martyrs; and thus from beginning to end.

This, then, is a summary and the order of the following work; which we shall directly explain more fully, and give our reason for doing so.


The first part of the title, consisting of the words, The Bloody Theatre, will, we think, not be subjected to any serious criticism, since no one can dispute that all that is treated here, so far as the martyrs are concerned, is a representation or exhibition of the blood, suffering, and death of those who, for the testimony of Jesus Christ, and for their conscience’ sake, shed their blood exchanging their life for a cruel death.

But the second part, consisting of the words, “Of the Anabaptists,” may easily meet with some opposition, because some will not admit that the Anabaptists, or those who maintain such a confession as they do, have existed through every century, from the days of Christ up to the present time; and, what is still more, that they have had their martyrs. But in order to treat the matter systematically and in the best manner, we shall first speak of the name, and then of the thing itself.


The name “Anabaptists” was really not accepted by them by choice or desire, but of necessity; for their proper name, if we consider well the thing in connection, should be, Christ-minded, Apostle-minded, or Gospel-minded, Gal. 3:26,27,29, as they were called of old, yea, many centuries ago, because their religion agreed with the doctrine of Christ, the Apostles, and the holy Gospel; which appears from the confessions of faith which they from time to time have published, and which we, as far as we know them, are ready to defend, if necessity requires it; of which also others boast; but how they prove it, they may answer for themselves, and the impartial and intelligent may judge.

The name Anabaptists which is now applied to them, has but lately come into use, deriving its origin from the matter of holy baptism, concerning which their views differ from those of all, so-called, Christendom. In what this difference consists, we will now briefly, and in the sequel more fully state.

We could have wished that they had been called by another name, that is, not only after the holy baptism, but after their whole religion; but since it is not so, we can content ourselves with the thought that it is not the name, but the thing itself, which justifies the man. For this reason we have applied this name to them throughout the work, that they may be known and distinguished from others.18


We have chosen holy baptism in preference to any other article of the Christian and evangelical religion:

1. Because it is the only sign and proof of incorporation into the visible Christian church, without 16which no one, whoever he be, or whatever he may profess, or how separated and pious a life he may lead, can be recognized as a true member of the Christian church. This is fully, yet without controversy, shown and confirmed in the following history.19

2. Because it is, beyond contradiction, the only article on account of which others call us Anabaptists. For, since all other so-called Christians have, yet without true foundation, this in common that they baptize infants; while with us the baptism only which is accompanied by faith and a penitent life, according to the word of God, is administered, to adults; it follows, that with us such persons are baptized who have received baptism in their childhood, without faith and repentance; who, when they believe and repent, are again, or at least truly baptized with us; because with us their previous baptism, being without true foundation, and without the word of God, is not considered baptism at all.20

3. Because the imperial decrees (when some so-called Christians began to tyrannize) in the days of Theodosius and Honorius, A. D. 413, were issued and proclaimed everywhere, expressly against the Anabaptists and those who were rebaptized; namely against such who maintained the aforementioned article, as the Anabaptists of to-day do; which was also the case in the last persecution, during the reign of Emperor Charles V., more than eleven centuries afterwards, A. D. 1535; when all who, having been baptized in infancy, had been rebaptized upon their faith and repentance; or who maintained these views, were punished with a severe death, as may be seen in our account of baptism, and of the martyrs, for the years 413 and 1535.

4. Because it would not have been possible to write in detail of all the other articles of the Christian faith and worship of God, as they, through all the centuries from the days of Christ up to the present time, have been believed and practiced according to the manner of the Anabaptists of this day; without going beyond the bounds of the largest book; since no book could possibly be printed or planned on so large a scale, as to contain all this; wherefore we have been obliged to observe moderation in writing, throughout, so as not to become diffuse, or overstep the bounds of a reasonable book.


For more than a century up to the present day, people have been made to believe that the Anabaptists contemptuously so-called, have but recently sprung from some erring spirits,—some say, from the Munsterites,21 etc.; whose fabulous faith, life and conduct, the true Anabaptists have never recognized; for no one will ever be able to show with truth, so far as we have been able to ascertain, that the articles of religion of those Munsterites, whereby they have drawn the attention of the world upon themselves, and which consist in commotion, rebellion and such like, have ever been adopted or acknowledged as good, much less professed and lived, by any formal church of the Anabaptists, or by any well known member of the same. But, on the contrary, they have from that time on and ever since declared that they would have neither lot nor part 17 with them or their transactions; and admonished one another, not to follow such ways, because these could not stand the test before God and his word, nor before the mind of a true and meek Christian, as being contrary to the Gospel of Christ, and the most holy faith.

Were we disposed to pay them in their own coin, we might say: The Munsterites were fellow-members of those who sanction war and claim that one must propagate and defend his religion with the sword. For this is what they did; but we speak against it with heart, soul, and mind.

Nevertheless, the people were made to believe these things; and therefore, many simple people without experience or knowledge have adopted the above opinion, simply because their pastor, preacher, or teacher told them so; hence, many slanders have sometimes been, and are still, spewed out like bitter gall, against the so-called Anabaptists, who are despised and rejected by everybody.

In order to show that the doctrines of the Anabaptists, especially that article on account of which they are called Anabaptists, did not originate with the Munsterites, or any other erring spirits who have arisen in these last times, but have proceeded from the source of truth—Christ and his apostles, we have placed their origin in the time of Christ, and shown that at that time already, this article, with other articles of the Christian religion, was taught and practiced; and also after the death of the apostles, through every age, even to the present time.

Now the point will be to give the reasons why we have called this whole work, with all the persons contained therein, after the Anabaptists; from which, as the second question, might be asked: whether all the persons mentioned, confessors as well as martyrs, none excepted, confessed the same as what the Anabaptists of this day confess? or whether any believed, practiced, or maintained higher or lower, more or less, in this or that article?

We shall treat these matters separately, and one after the other, giving the reasons as well as the answers.


The reason which has induced us is two-fold:

1. Because, as we have shown clearly, there have been persons in every century, from the beginning of the Gospel all along, who have believed and taught the article of holy baptism, with other articles noted in the margin—on account of which the Anabaptists have received this name—in the very same manner as the Anabaptists, and have, each in his time, instructed, engrafted, and confirmed their contemporaries therein, as may be seen in the whole history, especially in the first fifteen centuries.

2. Because we have not found mentioned in the writings of authentic authors anything concerning those persons whom we have noted as true witnesses, which conflicts with the above mentioned doctrines of the Anabaptists. And whenever something has been laid to their charge, which is not in harmony with the uprightness of the faith professed by them, we have shown that the witnesses to such charge were not authentic or acceptable; or that the things brought against them, were committed by them not after, but before their conversion; or that, if they at any time have fallen into them, they truly forsook them before their death, and from which all this appears.

But whenever we have found that any, as regards the faith professed, were actually guilty of serious errors, offensive mis-conceptions, or bad actions, for which the above excuses could not be brought forward; we have dropped such entirely, and not mentioned them; that the pious and most holy witnesses of Jesus Christ might not be defiled with their unclean and unholy leaven.


Concerning this we say that a distinction must be made between the first and last martyrs;—not that they have differed in the faith, for this we have not found; but because they were not all examined in regard to the same articles of faith; and consequently did not reply in one and the same manner; and this from the fact, that some suffered among the pagans, some among the Jews and the Mohammedans, and some among the false Christians, that is, the Romanists.

Those who suffered among the pagans were, for the most part, examined concerning the first article of the Christian faith, wherein we confess: “I believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty Creator of heaven and earth,” etc.; and if the apprehended Christians confessed only this, viz., that they believed in one God, they were condemned to death: for the pagans recognized many gods.

Those who suffered among the Jews or the Mohammedans were examined concerning the second article, wherein we confess: I believe “in Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, our Lord, who was conceived of the holy Ghost,” etc. When they had confessed this, they had also forfeited their lives; for the Jews and the Mohammedans do not acknowledge Christ as the Son of God, much less as his only-begotten (or own) Son, and that he was conceived of the Holy Ghost.

On account of this article many believers were killed among the Arians.

Those who suffered among the false Christians, especially among the Romanists, were examined concerning nearly all the articles of faith, in regard to which difference of opinion existed between us and them, viz: the incarnation of Christ, the office of the secular authorities, the swearing of oaths, etc., but above all others, the article of holy baptism, namely: whether they were denied infant baptism? or, whether they were re-baptized? which latter principally caused their death; as sentence of death 18 was immediately passed upon them, and their life taken.

Besides these articles (on account of which they also had to suffer among the followers of Zwingli and Calvin) the Papists laid before them also, either for denial or for confession, the manifold papal institutions, which at different times and above and contrary to the most holy faith and life, had originated, and been forced, as necessary articles for salvation, upon the innocent plain, and orthodox people, that they should believe, and live according to them, such as the invocation of deceased saints; sacrifices for the dead; pilgrimages to the sepulchres of the saints; the worshiping and salutation of images made with hands; masses; vigils; ceremonial night watches; choral prayers whether paternosters, Ave Marias, or rosaries, or others; the making the sign of the cross; sprinkling with holy water; the tonsure; the wearing of white, gray, black, or other clothes; the chasuble; and innumerable other things which it is almost impossible to mention.

When the orthodox martyrs were examined by the Papists concerning these and similar matters, they must necessarily express their opinion in regard to them, and, therefore, unfold the articles of their own faith, which were opposed to them; so that on such occasions frequently the whole foundation and all the particulars of the saving faith which they held in common with us, were discussed.

This is the reason, therefore, that only those martyrs who suffered among the false Christians, especially among the Papists, made confession of nearly all the articles of faith; while all the others, though faithful and sincere confessors of the evangelical truth, who sacrificed their lives among the pagans, Jews, or Mohammedans, confessed but very little thereof: because they were not examined concerning them.

Moreover, at first there were not so many articles of faith concerning which different opinions prevailed, than there were in later times; for which there was a reason; for, since in the beginning there were not so many apostates and different sects than in later times; the points which had to be asserted against those who disputed them originally, were fewer than afterwards, when many churches began to spring up, and each defended his own; from which the true believers had to distinguish themselves by their confession of the controverted articles of faith.

No true Christian of the Anabaptists of this day will stumble at the fact that the first martyrs have not confessed so many articles of faith as the last ones, or as are confessed now; which, as has been said, is founded on a satisfactory reason.

However, we have found, and are fully satisfied therewith, that although, for the reason already mentioned, some have confessed more, and others less, of the articles of faith, they notwithstanding did not differ from each other in regard to their purpose and meaning; we speak with reference to those things which are of considerable importance, and may be considered as necessary for salvation.

But should it nevertheless be true, that one or the other (whereof one have not heard), on account of the earliness, degeneracy, or darkness of preceding times, was not truly enlightened; either in the faith or in the knowledge of it, or possessed some serious weakness or deficiency; but nevertheless, keeping the true foundation of salvation, that is, Christ,22 though weak and frail, died, sacrificing his life through a violent death, with a good purpose, to the honor of God, the edification of his fellow brethren, above all, to the preservation of his own soul; such a one should, according to the nature of love, be excused, and counted a true martyr,23 because of his entirely good intention, and his total renunciation, even unto death, of his possessions as well as his own self; for which the Lord has promised everlasting life, yea, the crown of life, Matt. 19:29, compared with Rev. 2:10: “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of Life.”

This is what we have thought proper to call attention to in regard to the title and contents of these two books; but before we dismiss the subject, it behooves us to make a brief statement in regard to the preceding or old work.


It was our intention to leave the second book, that is, the history of the martyrs from the year 1524 to 1614, unaltered, just as it was published before to the service of our fellow-brethren in the faith; except that we proposed to add a few more martyrs of the same faith, inserting them where it might be suitable. But our original design in this matter has been far transcended, since we, besides the writing of the whole first book, have added not only a few, but many, martyrs to the second book; and as many of the death sentences of the martyred persons, which we have recently obtained, did not agree in date and other circumstances with the respective accounts contained in the old book, some of them differing very greatly from each other; which came from the fact, that, when the martyrs were put to death, the rest of the believers of the place were frequently scattered on account of the existing danger, in consequence of which neither the time nor the manner of their death could be recorded: therefore we have, whenever we discovered such discrepancies, rewritten the original accounts and ordered them according to the time and manner indicated in the death sentences recorded by the papal and other clerks of the criminal court; in order that even the adversaries, if possible, might become convinced by their own testimony of the shedding of the blood of the saints.

This was no small task and burden for us; yet we have labored through and finished it (thanks be to the Lord for his grace). But how this was accomplished, we let the impartial and intelligent judge.


However, we consider it certain, that we shall not escape criticism; the world, being evil, is wont to criticise everything good. Besides, we have not aimed to please everybody, but to write the truth; and this, we think, we have done without passion, prejudice, or partiality.24

If anybody is displeased with this book, he may know that we have written it only for ourselves and for the well-disposed. With the evil-minded we have nothing to do. Therefore we shall console ourselves in regard to whatever we may meet with on this account. God and a good conscience shall be our support.

The captious I cannot escape,
Who fault will always find;
But yet, my heart shall never fear,
Since God my purpose knows.
Yea, Lord! thou knowest all my thoughts;
To thee my cause I trust.
I care not what my haters say,
So free my conscience is.

Far be it from us, however, to acquit ourselves of all liability to err. No man in this world is so infallible, that he may not at some time err.25 We consider it to be certain, therefore, that we, here and there (though not intentionally, but innocently), have erred; and this the more, as we have compiled and written this to a great extent while we were in distress, severe illness, yea, on the bed of sickness, when death threatened us; for which reason we ought to be the more excused, though we, for truth’s sake, do not seek it.

If any one, therefore, no matter who, provided he does it in sincerity and good faith, can point out to us any errors,26 we will consider the matter, forsake the evil, and follow the good. But if it is apparent to us, that not sincerity and faithfulness (that is, love of truth), but envy and ill-will caused by prejudiced partiality against our faith, are the prime motors in the case, we shall not very easily be induced to give it closer consideration; but it shall only the more confirm and assure us of the truth of what we have written and do believe.

No one must expect, that if he, for the purpose of refuting or assailing with the pen, attacks this book (that is, as far as the work which we have written is concerned) in one or the other point, and not in its entire extent; we shall readily answer or oppose him; for we do not consider such a procedure worth the trouble of replying to it. But should the whole work be attacked or contested, yet so that no alteration is made in the language, nor anything essential left out, we would state, that, if God will spare our health and grant us strength, we will attend to the matter; since, for the sake of our brethren and companions, we shall, like Paul, not be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, either to reply to, or refute the things advanced, or to do anything else we may deem necessary to the service of the defenseless and oppressed little flock of Christ.

But judgment shall return unto righteousness: and all the upright in heart shall follow it. Psalm 94:15.


Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.27 We have longed much for the hour that would bring us to the conclusion of our work. This hour has come; and therefore we will now rest.

Receive this according to the nature of love. We have had naught in view, but that it should promote the honor of God, and your, our, and the salvation of all men. Your and our days are drawing to a close. O, may God grant, that the end of your and our life may be the beginning of the true and blissful life; that the setting of your and our days which are but misery and vanity, may be the rising of the eternal and glorious day of immortal glory.28

O Lord, bless us and all who may read this work; that they and we, in the true faith and with a godly conversation, may spread abroad thine honor, and afterwards, being honored by thee, receive a like reward.

We look forward with joy to the day which can bring us consolation. It will deliver us from this evil and perverse world. It will bring us to the true rest, where unrest will be no more, It will give us what our heart desires. O that this time had come already!

The Lord Almighty calleth me:
My earthly work is done; and now
I long to get away from thee,
O world so vain! O house of pain!
For though my flesh in thee yet moves,
The soul immortal heavenward tends.29

This was spoken by one of the ancients, when he thought that he had finished a good work, and that the hour of his departure was near at hand. Certainly a great confidence springing from a well-meaning heart. We say in the same manner: Our earthly work is now finished. We do not know that we shall be able to do much more good upon earth. But as long as we are here, we hold ourselves bound to our Creator, being confident that we have not lived in vain. We have, in our weakness, done 20what we could for the promotion of our own and the welfare of our fellow-men.

Be then, O God, gracious unto the least of thy servants, and grant that none of his natural or spiritual kindred, or of those who have been instructed by him, may be lost, but that they all may come to the rest of thy saints and be eternally saved.

With this, beloved reader, whoever you may be, we commend you to the Lord; and to you we commend the consideration of the things which you will find here; feeling assured that if you will do so, you will certainly receive that for which we have prayed the Lord in your behalf.

Yours very affectionately, as seeking your soul,

Thielem J. van Braght.

Dort, July the 31st, 1659.


[As in the following work a survey is given, to some degree, of the succession and establishment of the church, we find it expedient in order that the same may not be misinterpreted, and because some of our good friends have requested and besought us (though we had intended to leave it as it was), to precede, by way of introduction, that which follows, by our exposition of the true and the false church, and of their respective good and evil succession and progress; also, to state the views we hold in regard to the right of succession. We will, therefore, begin here, and, so as not to be tedious, endeavor to be as brief as possible.]

As there are two different peoples, two different congregations and churches, the one of God and from heaven, the other of Satan and from the earth; so there is also a different succession and progress belonging to each of them.30

We shall first speak of the divine and heavenly church, and then of the last mentioned one.

The divine and heavenly church, which is the separated holy flock and people of God, originated upon earth at the beginning of the world; has existed through all the ages up to the present time; and will continue to the end of the world.


The state and divine service of this church have varied from the beginning according to the different periods in which it existed and flourished.

From Adam to Noah, from Noah to Abraham, from Abraham to Moses, from Moses to Christ, from Christ to the end of the world, God ordained, for each of these periods, different customs, as regards the external divine service of this church; also different signs, seals, and appurtenances; though it is, was and shall be, the same church, the same people, and also the same God whom they served, still serve, and shall serve unto the end.

Before Adam fell, divine service had no respect to Christ; he had not yet been presented to men as a means of salvation, much less as their only Prophet, Priest, and King, or as the only true way, entrance and door to heaven, through whom alone men can be saved; but their happiness depended on their obedience to the command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Gen. 2:16,17.31

After the fall, divine service had respect altogether to Christ, Acts 4:12. Truly God promised his Son to men, represented him by types, and finally gave him to them. In the meantime, the fathers who were before the advent of Christ, hoped in him, longed for his coming, and ordered and founded all their divine services, whatever these, according to the time and the command of God, might be, on his only and eternal reconciliation. Compare Gen. 3:15; 22:18; 49:10,18 with John 5:46; 8:56; 1 Peter 1:10,11.

Touching the external mode of divine service, this was not uniform at all periods, but varied very much; for it seems that in the time from Adam to Noah, men followed the implanted light of nature, or, to speak properly, the engraven law of the conscience or the mind; observing no essential and express ceremonial commandments, excepting Abel’s offering, and the commandment that the sons of God, that is, the members of his church, should not marry the daughters of men, that is, those who were not members of the church of God; which was enjoined under a severe penalty. Compare Gen. 4:4 with Gen. 6:3.32

In the time from Noah to Abraham, there was added God’s command, not to eat blood, nor to shed human blood. At that time God made a covenant with Noah and every living creature; that he would destroy them no more by a flood; and he set the bow in the clouds as a sign of the covenant. Compare Gen, 9:4,5 with verses 11,12,13.

In the time from Abraham to Moses God instituted the circumcision among his people; which served for the purpose of distinguishing the descendants of Abraham, of whom the church of God consisted, from all other nations, and as a seal of the covenant which God had made with Abraham and his seed, in particular. See Gen. 17:10,11,12, compare with Rom. 4:11.

From the time of Moses to Christ God gave, in addition to circumcision, many laws and commandments, too numerous to mention, which were to be observed by his people. These consisted in manifold sacrifices, oblations, purifications, etc., for the performance of which holy times were set apart, as 21 the Passover, Pentecost, feast of tabernacles, new moons, and fast days; together with sacred places, as the tabernacle of Moses, the temple of Solomon; Shiloh, Mizpah, Moriah, etc.; also holy persons, as prophets, priests, Levites, singers, and door-keepers. See Ex., Lev., Num., and Deut.

From the time of Christ to the end of the world, God, through Christ, has taken away the ceremonies of the Mosaic law as well as the signs by which it was sealed; and, to the acknowledgment of the grace of Christ, commended the observance of other ceremonies and signs, as baptism, supper, etc. These external commandments, together with faith, and true penitence of life, which is the spiritual and moral virtue, the Lord has very strictly enjoined upon all members of the church of Christ. See Matt. 28:18–20; Mark 16:15,16, compared with 1 Cor. 11:2–28; also the entire epistles of the apostles, which treat of the fulfillment of the Mosaic ceremonial law, as Rom. 10:4; Gal, 4:10,11 and 5:1–4; Col. 2:16.

Having now briefly shown the diversity of the external divine service of the church of God, through all the times; it behooves us to state, on the other hand, in what points this church has always continued the same.


God has always ordained teachers in his church, and, therefore, always caused his will to be proclaimed to the people; which commenced principally in the days of Enos, the grandson of Adam; for then began men to call upon the name of the Lord. Gen. 4:26.

Enoch, the seventh from Adam, preached of the judgment and the great day of vengeance of the Lord. Jude vs. 14,15.

Abraham, the father of the faithful, preached of the name of the everlasting God. Gen. 21:33.

Moses preached of the faithfulness, goodness, and righteousness of God; so that his doctrine dropped as the rain, and his speech distilled as the dew. Deut. 32:2–5.

David preached of the righteousness of God in the great (God’s) congregation, and would not let his mouth be stopped, that is, he would not be overcome by his adversaries. Ps. 40:10.

Afterwards, all the holy prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, preached of the laws, punishments and promises of God, and prophesied of the blessed and felicitous coming of the Messiah whom God had promised. Read the books containing their prophecies, throughout.

After the time of the Prophets, Christ himself preached of the fulfillment of the time, the coming of the kingdom of heaven, repentance, and faith in the Gospel. Mark 1:15.

The apostles followed the example and the command of their Lord, in proclaiming the will of God; and not that alone, but when their departure was nigh at hand, they appointed others in their stead, as Timothy, Titus, the seven teachers in the seven churches in Asia, who also, especially Timothy, were charged to appoint faithful men, who would be able to teach others also. 2 Tim. 2:2.

In order, moreover, that the church of Jesus Christ might always know, according to what rule persons were to be chosen for the ministry, the Holy Spirit, through the hand of Paul, has written concerning this matter, and transmitted it to posterity. 1 Tim. 3:1–7; Tit. 1:5–9.

Besides the office of preaching, which has always belonged to the church, various other articles, in faith33 and life as well as in outward worship, which have always obtained, and must still obtain, could be mentioned; however, since we think we have pointed out the chief article, by virtue of which, principally, a church is a church, and through what the same is sustained, we will, so as not to bring too much of the same thing, dismiss the subject here, and proceed to the stability, durability, and visible discernibility of this church, as we have promised in the beginning.


That this church, from the beginning to the time of David, was always visible, discernible, and distinguished from other nations, is clear and manifest, and, as far as we know, not doubted by anybody. There remains, then, only to be proven, that the same after the time of David, has always been discernible, according to the preceding manner, and will continue to be so to the end.34

To show this, the song of David of the city or church of God, Ps. 46:3,4, serves an excellent purpose. “Though the sea rage and roll, so that through its tempest the mountains fall in, Selah! the city of God shall nevertheless remain glad with her fountains, where the holy tabernacles of the Almighty are.” This passage, beginning with the preceding verse reads as follows according to the original text: “Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof, Selah. There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.35


Who is there so ill versed in the word of God, as to suppose that he is to understand by the words city of God and the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High, etc., the city of Jerusalem in the land of Palestine, and the temple which was built in that city? for this city and the temple which was in it, were laid waste and totally demolished and destroyed, first by the Chaldeans, in the time of Jeremiah, and subsequently by the Romans, who conquered the land of Canaan and Jerusalem; so that, according to the prophecy of Christ, not one stone was left upon another. We must, therefore, understand this as relating to the church of God, which is called, in holy Scripture, the city of God. Heb. 12:22; for of the same it is said that God is in the midst of her, and that, therefore, she shall not be moved, etc., as shall appear more fully from the following testimonies, Isaiah 2:2: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountains36 of the Lord’s house shall be established . . . and all nations shall flow unto it.” It is beyond dispute that here, by the words the Lord’s house, we are to understand the church of the Lord, unless there be one who holds, with the Jews, that it must be understood as having reference to the house of stone, which, in former time, Solomon built, to the honor of God, on Mount Moriah; which house is now in ruins, but was to be rebuilt. But this cannot be expected, for the prophet Daniel, with respect to this desolation, says clearly that it shall be poured upon the desolate, even until the consummation (that is, the end of the world). Dan. 9:27 compared with Matt. 24:15.

No small proof of this is furnished by the fact that about forty years after the ascension of Christ, this very house was destroyed, demolished and burned by Titus Vespasian, and has not yet been rebuilt, though about sixteen hundred years have elapsed since; and, on account of the continual quarrels of the Palestinean and other eastern rulers, it is, viewing it from a human standpoint, not likely that it will ever be done.

Since it is true, then, that by the words “the house of the Lord,” we must understand the church of the Lord, there follows also what is said in connection with it namely: that the same shall be firmly, i. e. invincibly, established on the mountain, that is, Christ, the immovable foundation.

Besides the adduced prophecy, Isaiah 2:2, showing the firmness and immovability of the house (or the church) of God, which is founded upon the mountain of the Lord—Christ Jesus—the same prophet treating of the durability, glory and divine dignity of this church, under the type of the New Jerusalem, produces various commendatory testimonies for this purpose, saying among other things, chap. 60, verse 11: “Thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night.”

This is a simile drawn from a peaceful city which has neither fear nor care that enemies will attack her, and, therefore, leaves her gates open by night as well as by day, for the accommodation of the citizens, and the messengers and strangers who are traveling in the night. Thus, he would say, will it also be with the future church of Jesus Christ.

Then, in verse 14, speaking of the enemies of the church of God, and of those who had slandered her, he says: They “shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee, the city of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel.”

When a city has become so great that even her deadly enemies who had purposed to lay waste and destroy her, come bending their knees, and, as begging for favor, bow down before her, as is shown here of the enemies of the city and church of God; there is no probability that such city will easily be conquered, laid waste, or subjugated. So it is, in a spiritual sense, with the city and church of Jesus Christ; for it is this to which this prophecy has reference.

Immediately after, in the 15th verse, the prophet declares that God will make this city or church an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations.

And, as though by this the durability and excellency of this city, well-beloved of God, were not yet sufficiently expressed, he adds these words, verse 19: “But the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.”

And, lastly, verse 21: “Thy people, O God, also shall be all righteousness: they shall inherit the land forever.” Here no further explanation is required, since the text plainly and clearly expresses our meaning; and we will, therefore let it suffice.

We then proceed to what Christ, the Son of God, himself testifies concerning this matter. Matt. 16:18: “Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

Christ, in another place, speaking by parable of a man who built his house upon the sand, adds the explanation: that the same was a foolish man; because such a foundation, and, therefore, also the building which is founded upon it, cannot stand before the floods, rains, and storms, which beat against it.

On the other hand, he commends him as wise and prudent, who built his house upon a rock; since the same, being well-founded, is able to withstand all dangers.

But the foundation of which the Lord speaks here, that he will build his church upon it, is much firmer than any material rock, for these must all pass away with time; but the foundation which is Christ himself, remains, shall remain, and shall never decay: for “the foundation of God standeth sure,” 2 Tim. 2:19.

Yet not only the foundation, but also the building of the church shall not decay, though in nature it is otherwise; for a house, church, or tower, resting on an immovable foundation, but being not sufficiently firm or strong in itself, finally decays, yea falls to the ground; but here it stands so that no opposing 23 agencies, not even the devil himself, can prevail against it, which is evident from these words: “And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

In or under the gates councils were wont to be held; and the gates were the strength and power of the cities. Compare Zech. 8:16 with Ps. 147:13. Hence, by the words, “The gates of hell,” etc., we are to understand the council and power of the hellish fiend. Yet, according to the last mentioned place of Scripture, these shall not prevail against the church of Christ;37 and, consequently, no other opposing agencies; for these are the most powerful and worst enemies.

We pass on to other Scripture testimony written for the same purpose. Matt. 28:20: “And, lo, I am with you all the days, even unto the consummation of the ages.” Nearly all translators, in order to follow therein the Dutch way of speaking, render the last words of this sentence: “unto the end of the world.” But we have, for good reasons, preserved the Greek mode of expression, inasmuch as it serves better and more clearly to the end we have in view. For we have found that, after the common translation, the words, “unto the end of the world,” have been misinterpreted, and stretched beyond their meaning, by some inexperienced persons, so that these expound that which has been spoken of the consummation of time, as referring to the end of locality; even as though Christ had not here promised his apostles, to remain with them till all time should have come to an end; but only until, for the promulgation of the Gospel, they should have traveled unto the uttermost parts of the earth, which, because it is not possible to travel farther by land, are called the end of the world.

This is a great error, for, according to his explanation, this promise would have belonged to the apostles alone, and been limited by their life time, since they traveled everywhere to preach, so that their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.38 Compare Mark 16:20 with Rom. 10:18.

But, in order that all true followers of Christ and his apostles, to the end of time, might comfort themselves with this promise, the Lord has expressly spoken of the consummation of the ages, and declared that so long (understand: spiritually) he will be with them.

We arrive now at the point we had in view from the beginning, and which we shall now present more plainly and fully. It is certain that the Lord has spoken here of the preaching of the holy Gospel, of faith, of baptism, and of the manner of establishing and building up his church, as it was his will that the same should be built up and maintained through all ages. After saying this, he gave the before mentioned promise.

It is settled, therefore, that the visible church of Jesus Christ (for this is the one in whom the preaching of the holy Gospel, faith, baptism, and whatever there is more besides, have place) shall exist through all time, even unto the consummation of the ages; for, otherwise, the promise, “Lo, I am with you all the days,” etc., can not be fulfilled in her.

Even as, besides preaching and faith, baptism shall continue in the church to the end of time, so also the holy supper. This appears from the words of Paul, 1 Cor. 11:26: “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew forth the Lord’s death till he come.”

Thus, if mention is made here of the eating of the bread, the drinking of the cup, and the shewing forth of the Lord’s death, with the additional clause that this shall be observed, and continue, till the Lord come (that is, in the end of time, to judge the world), it follows: that there will be, throughout all ages to the end of the world, a church which will observe the external ordinances of Christ not only in respect to holy baptism, but also to the holy supper, and the shewing forth of the Lord’s death; unless it can be shown that the words, “till he come,” have another signification, such as we have never yet met with in any commentator, since the text is not only too clear, but also too conclusive.39 Compare this with Matt. 25:31; John 14:3; Acts 1:11; 1 Thess. 4:16; Jude 14; Rev. 1:7; 22:12,20.


As the moon, notwithstanding her substance and body never perish, is not always seen in her full light by the human eye, either, because she sinks beneath the horizon, or, being too close to the sun, is obscured by him, or, being far from the sun, is darkened by the shadow of the earth, which is called an eclipse; even so it is with the substance and appearance of the church of God on earth. The latter, though never perishing entirely, does not always show herself in her full form, yea, at times she seems to have vanished altogether, yet not in all, but only in some places, either through the slothfulness of some people, who, from want of regard, or for some 24other reason, neglect the external, manifest commandments of God, or on account of some misconceptions or errors that have arisen, and whereby sometimes many of the true believers have been perverted, and seduced from the true worship of God; or in consequence of persecution, violence and tyranny, exercised against the faith and the practice of it, on account of which the pious are compelled to hide and, as outcasts from mankind, seclude themselves in forests, wildernesses, and solitary places; so that its characteristics, light and virtue could not be seen, much less, known, by the common world.

When the Church of God of the Old Testament was in Egypt, it could not observe its divine worship, but had to request permission “to go three days’ journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to the Lord.” Ex. 8:26,27, compared with Ex. 10:26.

During the forty years that this same people was in the wilderness, such remarkable events happened that all their children remained uncircumcised, not receiving circumcision until they had become old, and arrived in the land of Canaan, at mount Aralot. Josh. 5:2–8.

In the time of Elijah this church was so greatly obscured on account of persecution, that he thought that he alone was left, though God had reserved to himself seven thousand persons who served him, and had not bowed their knees to Baal. 1 Kings 19:14,18; Rom. 11:3,4.

When this people had been carried away into Babylon, the house of God, at Jerusalem, where divine worship was wont to be made, lay waste, and the stones of the sanctuary were scattered in all the streets; yea, among the people in Babylon, matters were in so bad a condition, in regard to religion and the songs of praise with which they were wont to worship God, that they had hung their harps on the willows that were planted there by the rivers, Ps. 137:1–4; for which reason they were numbered among the dead and among those that go down to the grave. Bar. 3:10–14.

After the Babylonian captivity, in the time of the Maccabees, many of the church of Israel, because of the existing danger, hid themselves in caves, in order that they might keep the Sabbath. 2 Macc. 6:11.

All these obscurations, like sad eclipses in the divine worship, have happened in the church of God of the Old Testament, before the birth and advent of Christ into this world; and much more might be said in regard to this, if it were necessary, but we consider it sufficient to have made simple mention of it from time to time.

The same took place also after the advent of Christ in the church under the gospel, which was composed of Jews and Gentiles; she, too, could not always raise her head with safety, but was ofttimes, like the sun behind clouds, concealed from the common sight of men.

Even in the time when Christ dwelt bodily among men, and had risen from the dead, his disciples, the chief members of his church, sat concealed, with closed doors, for fear of the Jews. John 20:19.

After the ascension of Christ, the very numerous church which was at Jerusalem, dispersed, on account of persecution, through the lands of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles; so that this distinguished church, which, it appears, was the chief one on the face of the earth, had to sojourn secretly in a strange land. Acts 8:1.

Afterwards, when the emperor Domitian had banished John, the holy apostle and evangelist, for the Gospel’s sake, to the island of Patmos, the Holy Ghost revealed unto him the future state of the church of Christ, namely, that she would have to flee into the wilderness, on account of the persecution of Antichrist, and there be fed by God, a thousand two hundred and threescore days, which, reckoned according to prophetic language, means as many years. Rev. 12:6–11.

Whether we begin to reckon these years from the death of the apostles; or with the year 300, when the so-called patriarchs had their origin; or with the year 600; or a little later, when Mohammed rose in the east among the Greeks, and the pope in the west among the Latins, and raised no small persecution against the defenseless and innocent little flock of the church of Christ, so that all who did not wish to be devoured, either in soul or in body, had to hide themselves in deserts and wildernesses; let it be reckoned as it may, say we, a very long period is to be understood by it, which has extended to this, or, about, this time.

Here the rose has blossomed very gloriously among the thorns. Song of Sol. 2:2. Here the dove that was in the clefts of the rock and in the secret places of the stairs, let her sweet voice be heard.40 Verse 14. Here the Lord said: “A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.” Song of Sol. 4:12. Here the Son of God has fed, sustained and preserved his church against the sentence of worldly and carnal-minded men, who, because they are carnal, cannot comprehend the things of the Spirit of God.

But, lest any should misconstrue our preceding proposition, let it be understood, that when we speak of the obscuration, concealment, or the becoming invisible, of the church of God, we do not mean the church in general, or in all places, for the church in general has never been obscured and hidden in all places at the same time; but we mean thereby some parts of the church in general, namely, some particular societies, belonging to the body of the general church which is spread over the whole earth.

It must be stated, also, that by the term, general church, we do not understand all the churches which bear the Christian name; but only those who express the Christian name by their upright faith and pure observance of the Christian and Evangelical commandments.

Now the question arises, whether our church of the present day, called the Anabaptists, has truly descended, and derived her succession, from the 25aforementioned church of God which has existed from the beginning, and kept the commandments of God in purity.

But, in order to do this briefly and in the best manner, we shall leave untouched the time and condition of the church from Adam to Christ, as being an undisputed point; and only examine the time and condition of the church after the advent of Christ; for the point of difference relates solely to those who and which, by virtue of true succession, have a right to the same.


From the Latin word succedo, that is, to go under, or to take the place of one, is derived the word, succession, which we, though improperly, have mixed into our Dutch language. The various branches proceeding from this root, that is, the numerous words taking their origin from it, together with their significations, we leave untouched; in general we understand by it, to follow any one in his place, right, or reign.

There is a twofold succession, natural and spiritual, political and ecclesiastical, or civil and ecclesiastical; but we have to speak here only of the spiritual and ecclesiastical, and not of the natural, political, or civil, succession; for only the former, and, by no means, the latter, belongs here.41

Now, as succession is of a twofold nature and kind, so also is each kind of the same twofold and distinct in itself. This will be shown plainly in the spiritual and ecclesiastical succession.

In order to present this in a clear light, we say that the ecclesiastical succession may be considered in two ways: firstly, with respect to the succession of persons; secondly, with respect to the succession of doctrine.

The latter is a sign and evidence of the former, so that the former cannot subsist without the latter. Where the latter is, the former need not be looked for so carefully. But where both are found in truth and verity, it is not to be doubted that there is also the true and genuine church of God, in which God will dwell and walk; which has the promise of an eternal and blissful life; and about which the holy Scriptures glory and teach so much.


As a great building, house, or castle, can be considered, firstly, with regard to it as a whole, and, secondly, with respect to its different parts, so also the whole church of Christ can properly be considered: firstly, in the whole or in general, as comprising all the congregations in the whole world, which have in common the most holy faith, and the practice, which, according to God’s holy Word, must follow therefrom; secondly, in any particular part of the same, as, this or that church which is in accord with it, as for instance, the church at Amsterdam, Harlem, Dort, etc.

Likewise there is also (or, certainly can be) a twofold personal succession; 1. a general, 2. a particular one. By the general is understood that succession, which has been, in general, throughout the whole world, through a succession of true teachers, whether few or many, according to the opportunity of the times; who have rightly taught the truth, and propagated it according to their ability; concerning which (touching their doctrine, especially in regard to holy baptism, etc.) we have shown, which the true succession is, which, together with the observance of all the other commandments of Jesus Christ, is recognized by us, according to the promise of the Lord given to the true teachers, Matt. 28:20.

By the particular succession is understood the succession of teachers, from person to person, in a particular church, at a separate place, and sitting on a throne prepared for this purpose, as for instance, at Constantinople, of which the Greeks boast; but principally at Rome, about which the Latins, that is, the papists, make a great ado. But concerning this there is no promise, law, or commandment to be found in the whole Gospel, and we, therefore, pass on.42


Here the words of Tertullian are applicable. He says: “The Christian church is called apostolic not just because of the succession of persons, but on account of the kinship of doctrine, since she holds the doctrine of the apostles.” Lib. de praescript, etc.

This doctrine every one who boasts43 of the true succession, must prove from the true apostolic writings, as the means by which the church was originally instituted, subsequently established, and maintained through all times (we speak of the Christian and evangelical church). Therefore, this doctrine must necessarily, also in these last times be the mark of the true succession.

Now, if this is united with the common succession of teachers, we have everything that is necessary for the demonstration of the true church. This stands so fast that it cannot reasonably be disputed, much less, refuted.

The question now will be, in what church the true apostolic doctrine has been held from the beginning, 26and is still held; which is a privilege boasted of by many. We leave it to them, and content ourselves with the testimony of our conscience, compared with the holy Gospel of Christ and the faith of the holy church, of which mention is made, throughout, in the ancient church histories.

To give evidence, then, of the faith professed by us, we declare, that we believe in our heart, and confess with our mouth:


1. I believe in one God, the Father, the almighty Creator of heaven and earth.

2. And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord.

3. Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, and born of the virgin Mary.

4. Who suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.

5. Rose from the dead on the third day.

6. Ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, the almighty Father.

7. From whence he will come to judge the living and the dead.

8. I believe in the Holy Ghost.

9. I believe in a holy general Christian church, the communion of saints.

10. Forgiveness of sins.

11. Resurrection of the flesh.

12. And an eternal life.

This is the most ancient and simple creed, which, it appears, was confessed already in or about the time of the apostles; and for which many, yea the greater part of the first Christian believers, have sacrificed their lives. But as, in the course of time, the true and simple meaning of the confession set forth was assailed and disputed by the contradiction and perverse interpretation of contentious and, not less, erring persons going under the name of good Christians; the true believers of the church of God were compelled, as often as this happened, and necessity required, to declare how they understood and interpreted this or that article.

Hence it has come that at this day there are found among those who are called Anabaptists, various confessions, which differ in style, but not in faith (we speak of the foundation of the same), in which confessions the creed set forth above is more fully interpreted and explained.

Of these we shall present here principally three, which were acknowledged and adopted without contradiction as a unanimous confession, by a great number of teachers, assembled from various districts, in the year 1649, in the city of Harlem. Two of these had been drawn up at Amsterdam, in 1627 and 1630, and the third at Dort, the 21st of April 1632; all on account of certain church unions which took place subsequently in these years.

First Confession.

Drawn up at Amsterdam, the 27th of September, 1627, called “Scriptural Instruction,” concerning who the people are, on whom the peace of God rests, and how they are bound to peace and unity; given in answer to the following several questions, of which the first is:

What are the fundamental and unmistakable marks by which the children of God and members of Jesus Christ (being the church of God) can and must be known, according to the testimony of the word of the Lord?

In order to answer this question correctly, we must consider what the means are, by which men become children of God, members of Jesus Christ, and the church of God. For although the blessed Lord Jesus Christ is the only meritorious cause of the justification of man, their adoption by God as his children, and the foundation of their eternal salvation (Rom. 3:24,25; 1 Cor. 1:30; Tit. 3:7; Heb. 5:12; Eph. 1:5; Col. 3:11; Acts 4:12); God, the heavenly Father, of whom all things are, 1 Cor. 8:6; and who is the true Father of the whole family in heaven and earth, Eph. 3:14,15, has nevertheless been pleased to impute the merits of his Son Jesus Christ to man, and make him partaker of the same, through the means of faith in his beloved, only, and only begotten Son (Rom. 3:25; Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8; John 3:15,36; 6:40); whereby he owns them as children, and adopts them as heirs of everlasting life, according to the testimony of John, who says: “He” (that is, Christ) “came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:11–13. Paul confirms this with these words: “Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” Gal. 3:26. Through this means—faith—apprehended from the word of God, and confirmed by the Holy Spirit, men are born of God; hence, the appellation, children of God, truly belongs to them, since they have God for their father, and Christ for their brother. God the Father acknowledges them as his sons and daughters; and Christ, for this reason, is not ashamed to call them his brethren. (Rom. 10:17; 2 Cor. 4:13; Rom. 8:16; John 1:12; 1 John 5:1; James 2:18; 1 Pet. 1:23; Matt. 5:45; John 1:12,13; 3:2; 20:17; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6; Matt. 12:50; 2 Cor. 6:18; Heb. 2:11,12). These children of God and brethren of Jesus Christ, are heirs of God, yea, joint heirs in the inheritance of their brother Jesus Christ, as has been promised to them by God the Father, through the means of faith, all the acquired benefits of our Savior Jesus Christ, which are, chiefly: forgiveness of sins, justification, and peace with God; and, because they are children of the resurrection, they shall not come into condemnation, but are passed from death unto life; they shall enjoy salvation, eternal life, and unspeakable happiness, yea, possess all things that the Lord Christ possesses. Rom. 8:17; Eph. 1:11; John 27 7:3; Acts 10:43; Rom. 3:26; 4:5; 5:1; Gal. 2:16; Luke 20:26; John 5:24; Matt. 16:16,17; Mark 16:16; Rom. 10:9; 1 Pet. 1:9; John 3:16; 6:47; 17:3; 20:31; 1 John 5:11; 1 Pet. 1:8; Luke 22; Rev. 21:7.

Hence, we reply, in conclusion to the question presented: That the fundamental, certain mark of the children of God and members of Jesus Christ, is that by virtue of which this appellation belongs to them in truth according to the promise of God, namely, the only saving faith which worketh by love; upon which God himself looks with gracious eyes, and which alone avails before him (Gal. 5:6; Jer. 5:3; Hos. 2:2; Jer. 5:1; Acts 8:37; 15:11; Is. 26:2) wherefore we, being one or unanimous with God, must have respect to it alone, seeing that the Lord Christ himself, promising Peter salvation upon his faith and confession, adds: “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matt. 16:18.

We shall now briefly show, what faith in Christ is, what is to be believed, what its design is, and what are the internal and external operations of faith.

This faith in Christ, by which men become partakers of all the acquired benefits of Jesus Christ, is neither an uncertain opinion nor merely a bare confession of the mouth, but a firm and sure confidence of the heart, which doubts not the things promised by God in Christ; but has a firm assurance that he who has promised them is able also to perform them. Heb. 11:13; 3:6; Rom. 10:10; 4:20,21. By this firm and sure confidence the believer in the promises of God is established in Jesus Christ his Savior, because he knows that all the promises of God are yea and amen in him; on which he lays firm hold, as on an anchor of his soul, both sure and steadfast. Acts 10:43; 1 Pet. 1:10,11; John 8:56; Heb. 11:26; 2 Cor. 1:20; Heb. 6:18,19. He believes with his heart that God,—for the fulfilling of his gracious promises, willing to show his great love toward mankind who, through sin, had fallen into death and manifold corruptions, by redeeming them,—sent into this world for this purpose, when the time of all prophecies was fulfilled, his only, dear and beloved Son, who from eternity was with his Father in great glory and beloved by him before the foundation of the world, possessing great riches and being equal with God his Father, by whom all things were made, and without whom not anything was made of all that was made in heaven or upon earth, and in whom they all stand, since he upholds all things by the word of his power. Gen. 22:18; Deut. 8:15; Is. 7:15; 9:6; 11:1; 40:9; Micah 5:2; John 3:16; Rom. 5:8; 9:31; 1 John 4:9,10; Gen. 3:19; Wis. 2:24; 4 Esdr. 7:48; Rom. 4:5,12; 1 Cor. 15:21; Rom. 5:16; 4 Esdr. 3:7; Gen. 3:17; Rom. 1:2; 8:3; Col. 1:13; Eph. 1:7; Gal. 4:4; Mark 12:6; 1:11; Matt. 17:5; 3:17; Heb. 1:8; 7:3; 13:8; 1:3; John 16:28; 17:5,24; 2 Cor. 8:9; Phil. 2:6; Rev. 1:18.

He left his divine glory, form, and riches, went out from God, his Father, and came down from heaven into this world, so that he was conceived by a virgin, and she brought forth this Son at Bethlehem, where God brings his first-born Son into the world in the likeness of sinful flesh. John 13:3; 3:13,31; 6:38,51,62; Eph. 4:9,10; Is. 7:14; Matt. 1:23; Luke 2:21; Is. 9:6; Luke 3:6; Gal. 4:4; Micah 5:2; Matt. 2:6; Heb. 1:6; Rom. 8:3. For the Word became flesh; that which was from the beginning, which the apostles saw, which they heard with their ears, and which their hands handled, of the Word of life; for the life was manifested, so that there was seen that eternal life, which was with the Father. John 1:14; 1 John 1:1,2; John 1:9; 20:25,27; Is. 40:5,9. Therefore, all true believers must show and ascribe to their Savior, not as to a creature, but as to the Creator, all divine honor, even as they do unto the Father. John 5:23; 3:30,31; 20:28. For, although, for a little while, he was made lower than the angels, yet all the angels of God must worship him. Phil. 2:10; Matt. 14:33; Heb. 1:6; For he is worthy of this who hath so loved us that he purchased us with his death, and washed us from our sins in his own blood; who died for our sins and rose for our justification; who destroyed the power of the devil, hell, and death; who abolished the sinful hand-writing of the law, and has forgiven all sins, reconciling to God the Father all things that are in heaven and earth, in that he made peace through the blood of his cross; who brought life and immortality to light, and unto whom we are appointed by God, to inherit eternal salvation. Rev. 5:9; 1:5; Rom. 5:10; Acts 20:28; Col. 1:14; 1 Pet. 1:19; Rom. 4:25; 5:6,8; Col. 2:13,14,19,20; Heb. 2:14; 1 Cor. 15:54,55; Rev. 20:14; Is. 25:8; 2 Tim. 1:10; Eph. 1:10; 2:13; 1 Thess. 5:9.

Thus the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, is the true corner-stone, the way and door to eternal life, and there is no other name given unto man, either in heaven or on earth, whereby he can be saved, and become a child or heir of God, than the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Is. 28:16; Rom. 9:33; Eph. 2:20; 1 Pet. 2:6; John 14:6; 10:9; Acts 4:12.

The believer, seeing, by faith, that God in his weightiest and unspeakably great promises is not mutable, but does, in truth, fulfill them through the giving of his only, dear, and beloved Son, feels assured by this, that there is nothing with God, which he shall not also give us with his Son. He, therefore, has firm confidence, that the benefits which God has promised in and through the suffering, death, shed blood, resurrection and ascension of his Son, belong to the believer, and that he shall in truth receive them. Heb. 6:17,18; Ps. 33:4; John 3:16; 1 John 4:9; Eph. 1:6; Col. 1:12–14; 2 Tim. 4:8; Eph. 1:11–13; Rom. 8:32,34,38; 2 Pet. 1:3; Gal. 2:21; Eph. 2:17; 2 Cor. 4:6,7.

This faith begets in the heart of the believer an inward taste of the kindness of God, and of the powers of the world to come; which is followed by gladness, joy, and a firm security of the Father’s favor in the soul, whereby, in every time of need, he is enabled to say, confident that he will be heard, “Abba, Father;” and doubts not, though the thing promised be not apparent to human eyes, nay, seem contrary to nature, and transcends the comprehension, understanding and capability of man (Ps. 34:8;28 1 Pet. 2:3; Eph. 2:7; Heb. 6:5,19; 2 Cor. 4:17; Rom. 12:12; 14:17; 2 Cor. 6:10; John 8:56; Rev. 19:7; Rom. 8:31,38; Ps. 32:1; 1 Pet. 5:7; Ps. 55:22; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6; Rom. 4:20; James 1:6; Heb. 11:1; Rom. 4:18,19; Heb. 11:11; Heb. 11:29), for the believer, by faith, looks not only at the things which, through the creation and government of God, exist in nature (which man may comprehend and understand), but to the goodness and omnipotence of the Promiser, unto whom nature and all creatural power in heaven, earth and sea, nay, death itself, must bow. Upon this ground the believer stands fast, even when, with Abraham, the father of the faithful, and with many of the pious, he is tried of God by things seemingly contradictory; for he is assured that God cannot lie. Ps. 52:9; Rom. 4:21; Heb. 11:19; Ps. 135:5; Is. 40:26; 4 Esdr. 3:21,23; Josh. 10:13; Heb. 3:10,11; Matt. 27:44; Is. 40:12; Rev. 20:11; Prov. 8:29; Jer. 5:22; Ex. 14:22; Heb. 11:10,35; 2 Cor. 1:10; Gen. 22:1; 1 Pet. 1:7.

But this faith of the heart is known the very best unto God, who also, being the only discerner of the intents and thoughts of the heart, will judge the internal signs of the faith of the heart, according as he finds it to be upright or dissembling. Jer. 17:10; Acts 1:24; Rev. 2:23; Heb. 4:12. But to man, who has no other way of judging this faith of the heart, than by the fruits of the same, which he hears and sees, there are given as signs by which to distinguish it, the confession of it with the mouth, and the obedience of faith as manifested in outward works. Therefore the believer, according to the command of Christ, must confess openly before men, to the honor of his Creator and Redeemer, what he believes and experiences in his heart, no matter, what sufferings may result to him on that account. He can not do otherwise, for he must hearken unto God more than unto men (Mark 16:16; John 3:36; 1 Cor. 2:11; John 3:11; Rom. 10:10; 1:5,16,25; Acts 4:19,20); for the Lord Christ hath said: “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.” Matt. 10:32; Luke 9:26. John says: “Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God.” 1 John 4:2, and Paul explains: “We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken;44 we also believe, and therefore speak.” 2 Cor. 4:13.

That, therefore, oral confession proceeding from sincere faith conduces to salvation, Paul testifies with these words: “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Rom. 10:9,10.

This faith exhibits also its outward fruits of love worthy of the faith; wherefore the believer, according to the teaching of the apostle Peter, must give all diligence to show forth from his faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly love, and charity; and walk in the Spirit, whose fruits, as love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, are seen on them outwardly. 2 Pet. 1:5–7; Gal. 5:16,22,23; 6:1; Eph. 5:9. By these good fruits, and by brotherly love, as external signs of the true faith, they are known as good trees, the salt of the earth, the light of the world, a light which is put on a candlestick, to give light unto all that are in the house, a city set on a hill which cannot be hid. And thus they let their good works so shine before men, that they, seeing them, may glorify God, the heavenly Father. Matt. 7:17,20; 12:35; 5:13–16.

For, as children who in their appearance and deportment show forth their father’s form and qualities, are thereby judged and known to be the children of such parent, even so the believers, having, through the new birth, become partakers of the divine nature (inasmuch as they pattern after God in virtues), are thereby judged or known to be his children; and, in order that they might well express this image, they are abundantly admonished by Christ and his apostles in regard to it. So, for instance, with these words: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;” “And every man . . . purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” Forgive one another, as God hath forgiven you. 2 Pet. 1:4; 1 Pet. 1:23; John 3:6; 1 John 4:7; 5:1; James 1:18; John 1:13; Rom. 8:16; Matt. 5:48; 1 Pet. 1:15; 1 John 3:3; Luke 6:36; Eph. 4:2; Col. 3:13.

Again: “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” Matt. 5:9. The Lord says further: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye (show that ye) are the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Wherever, then, such similarity with God appears, through the putting on of the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness, these show forth the image of Christ in their mortal flesh. Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10; Gal. 2:20; 2 Cor. 5:17. They are an epistle of Christ, in which Christ can be seen, and read by all men; and they are justly called Christians; and, consequently, are true children of God, and members of Jesus Christ: therefore they must be recognized and accepted by all those who truly fear God, as belonging to one body, which is the church of the living God; and as having through this fruitful faith, fellowship with God the righteous Judge, with Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, with the church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, with an innumerable company of angels, and with all the spirits of just men made perfect. 2 Cor. 3:2; Acts 11:26; Rom. 12:5; Eph. 4:4,16; 1 Cor. 12:13; Acts 20:28; 1 Tim. 3:15. Of this church Christ is the foundation, Head, King, Shepherd, Leader, Master 29 and Lord. 1 Cor. 3:11; Eph. 4:15; Jer. 33:15; Luke 1:33; John 10:11,14; 13:14. She alone is his body, adorned bride, dove, flock, and people, spiritual flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bones. Rom. 12:5; Rev. 21:2; Sol. Song 2:14; 4:1.

Now, although this fruitful faith is the only certain fundamental mark by which the children of God and members of Jesus Christ shall be known, and through which alone they are also, by grace, made partakers of the (by us unmerited) benefits of Christ, God has notwithstanding been pleased to set forth and confirm to believers, by external, visible signs, the benefits and merits of his Son Jesus Christ, which, as has been said, are received only by faith, and retained by obedience, in order that the things signified (of the promises of the grace of God), might shine forth the more clearly by the external signs, partly to assure the consciences of the believers, in the new covenant of the grace of God, and partly to bind the members of Jesus Christ together in unity, as members belonging to one body. For this purpose he has instituted in the church of the New Testament especially two such ordinances or signs suited to the things signified, in which all true believers find great benefit and comfort. These are the Holy Baptism, and the Holy Supper. Eph. 2:7; John 1:16; Mark 16:16; Luke 22:19; Acts 2:38; 1 Cor. 11:24; Jer. 31:31; 1 Pet. 3:21; 1 Cor. 12:13; 10:17; Rom. 6:5; Matt. 28:19,26.


Holy baptism is an external, visible ordinance, the rite of which consists in this: that all those who hear believe, and receive gladly with a penitent heart, the doctrine of the holy Gospel, are baptized, for a holy purpose, with water, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, according to the institution of Christ, and the usage of his apostles. Acts 2:41; Matt. 3:11; Acts 1:35–38; 10:48.

The benefit which the Lord God, on his part, declares through the sign of baptism, is: The washing away of the sinful corruptions of the soul, through the shedding of the blood of Christ; which signifies the forgiveness of sins, obtained through this blood, to the assurance of a good conscience with God, by which believers comfort themselves with the promise of eternal salvation. Acts 22:16; Col. 1:14; 1 John 1:7; Heb. 1:3; Rev. 1:5.

The obligations which baptism lays upon those baptized, are: That they, burying their sins thereby into the death of Christ, bind themselves to the newness of the life of Jesus, in order to employ, as members of the body of Christ (having put on Christ), each his several gift, for the maintenance and improvement of this body in spiritual and temporal things; and further, that they as the true household of God, and citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem, must obey the civil laws of their King by observing all his commandments. Rom. 6:3,4; Col. 2:12; Gal. 3:27; 1 Cor. 12:25; Eph. 2:19; Matt. 28:20.


The holy Lord’s Supper is an ordinance instituted by Christ Jesus in remembrance of himself, to be observed until his coming, by all who are baptized on true faith in Christ to one body, in the church of the New Testament. Matt. 26:26; 22:19; 1 Cor. 11:24,26.

This rite consists in this, that a minister of the Gospel, according to the institution of Christ, and the usage of his apostles, takes bread and wine for a holy purpose, breaks the bread, and pours in the wine, and, after preparation and giving of thanks, dispenses both to the believing members. The broken bread is eaten, and the wine drank; Christ’s passion or bitter suffering and death, and the shedding of his precious blood; also the motives for this, together with the benefits of his death, through which man receives the remission of his sins, which is signified by this visible sign—all this is proclaimed thereby, in order that the believing church may give thanks to God for this benefit, and, as behooves members of one body, live and walk together here, as one heart and soul, in peace and love and unity. Luke 22:19,20; Acts 2:42; 20:11; 1 Cor. 10:16,17; 11:23–25; Acts 4:32.

The sum of all that has been said is; 1. that the Lord Christ is the foundation and only meritorious cause of eternal salvation; 2. that true faith in him is the means whereby we become children of God and partakers of his merits; 3. that the children of God are to be known outwardly by the confession and fruits of their faith; 4. that God, through the external signs of Holy Baptism and the Supper, sets before the eyes of his children his gracious benefits, and binds them, as members of Jesus Christ, to one body, that is, to a church of God and Christ, whereby they are also admonished to the obedience they owe.

Here the answer to the first question might be concluded, but, since the Lord God, for the welfare of his church, and the propagation of the truth, as being promotive of the honor of his name and the salvation of mankind, has instituted other ceremonies and laws, besides certain offices, which, according to the circumstances of the case, the true members of the church of God are bound to observe; we shall, as briefly as is possible and proper, subjoin these to what has preceded; and this the more, as our peace presentation to people of the same faith points partly to them; that it may appear the more clearly, whether they agree with us, and we with them, in the order of the Christian household, to live according to it, through Christian obedience, together in love, peace and unity, without thinking for any reason, ever again to separate one from another.


As a body consists of different members, each of them having its own and special function, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, making increase of the body unto the edifying of itself, even so it is with the church of God; for although each believer is a member of the body of 30 Christ, yet not all are therefore pastors, teachers, elders, or deacons, for these are those who have been properly appointed to such offices. For this reason, the administration of these offices, as: the public preaching of the word of God, the administering of the holy ordinances of baptism and supper, according to the institution of Christ, and the usage of his apostles, appertains to persons thus ordained, and elected thereto—the pastors and teachers; just as it is the province of the deacons, to provide for the necessities of the poor. Rom. 12:4; 1 Cor. 12:12; Eph. 4:7; Acts 20:28; Tit. 1:1; Rom. 12:7; 2 Tim. 4:2; 1 Pet. 5:2; Matt. 28; Mark 16; Acts 6; 1 Tim. 3:8; 5:9.

Concerning their calling and election to these offices, regard must be paid to the conditions required in those persons who will worthily fill said offices, according to the requirements of the apostle, 1 Tim. 3; Tit. 1. In order to obtain these, the church must prepare herself by a devout fear, by fasting and prayer, with constant invocation of the name of God, that as the discerner of all hearts he will show through the unanimous vote of the church, whom he counts worthy of such office; trusting that the Lord, who hears the prayers of those who are assembled in his name, and grants the petition of the godly, will, by his Holy Spirit, manifest his co-operation, and bring forth those whom he knows to be fit for this office; whereupon, after having been examined, they are confirmed to this office, before the church, by the teachers, with the laying on of the hands. Acts 1:24; 6; Luke 6:8; Matt. 8; 1 Tim. 3:10; 4:14; 5:22; 2 Tim. 1:6.


Feet-washing we confess to be an ordinance of Christ, which he himself performed on his disciples, and, after his example, commended to true believers, that they should imitate it, saying: “If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.” Again: “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” John 13:14,15,17.

The purpose for which the Lord has instituted this ordinance is principally this: That we may remember in true humiliation, that by grace, we are washed from sin through the blood of Christ, and that he, our Lord and Master, by his lowly example, binds us to true humility towards one another. John 13:8,10,14. The apostle classes feet-washing among the good works. 1 Tim. 5:10.


Marriage we hold to be an ordinance of God, which was first instituted by God in paradise, and confirmed in our first parents, Adam and Eve, who were created after the image of God, male and female, while they both were yet in favor with God. Gen. 2:22; 1:27.

In accordance with this first institution, and agreeably to Christ’s ordinance, Matt. 19:5, the marriage of children of God (who are not too nearly related by consanguinity) must be entered into, after prayer, and kept inviolable, so that each man shall have his own, only wife, and each wife her own husband; and nothing shall separate them, save adultery. Lev. 18; 20; 1 Cor. 5:1; Matt. 19; Rom. 7:2; 1 Cor. 7:2; Matt. 5:32; 1 Cor. 9:5.

Thus, it is lawful for a brother, to take a sister to wife; a sister, also, may be married to whom she will, only in the Lord, that is, according to the ordinance and pleasure of the Lord, as mentioned before. But we do not find, that God has anywhere, through his word, ordained or instituted, that a believing member of the church should enter into matrimony with an unbelieving, worldly person; on the contrary, we find, that God the Lord was very angry with those who did so, and declared that they were flesh, who would not be led by his Spirit; therefore, we reprove all those who follow herein the lust of their flesh, in the same manner as we do other carnal sinners. 1 Cor. 7:39; Deut. 7:3; Neh. 10:30; 13:25–27; Gen. 6:6.


The secular power or magistracy is ordained by God in all countries, and bears the sword not in vain, for it is the minister of God, and a revenger, for the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise of the good. Rom. 13:2,4; Sir. 17:18; 1 Pet. 2:14.

Every one is commanded to be subject unto the higher powers. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. Rom. 13:1,2.

All true believers are therefore in duty bound by the word of God, to fear the magistracy, to render honor and obedience to the same, in all things not contrary to the commandments of the Lord, and to pay tribute, custom, and taxes to them, without gainsaying or murmuring, seeing that, according to the words of Peter, we must submit ourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, and pray to Almighty God for them; also to give our greatest thanks to the Lord for good and reasonable authorities. Rom. 13:7; Acts 4:19; 5:29; 1 Pet. 2:13; Jer. 29:7; Bar. 1:11; 1 Tim. 2:2.

Yet, we do not find, that the Lord Jesus Christ has ordained this office of secular authority in his spiritual kingdom—the Church of the New Testament—or added it to the offices of his church; nor has he given them laws adapted for such office and government; but he said to his disciples: The kings and lords of the Gentiles, and they that exercise authority among them, are called gracious lords. But it shall not be so among you. Matt. 20:25,26; Luke 22:25,26. Here we leave the matter, as we do not consider it necessary to enter into farther details.


For the confirmation of a cause which was just and true in itself, the Old Testament fathers were permitted to swear by the name of God. Deut. 6:13; Matt. 5:33.

But the Son of the living God, the King and Lawgiver of the New Testament, whose command we are bound, through a voice from God out of heaven, to obey, has forbidden Christians all swearing, as 31 does, likewise, the apostle James; therefore, the swearing of oaths is forbidden to the believers of the New Testament. Matt. 3:17; 17:5; 5:34; James 5:12.


Separation, or the putting away from the church, is a decree or sentence of the same, by virtue and authority of the word of God, against a member, or members, of the church, who, through open sins, a scandalous life, heresy, or stubbornness, have separated themselves from God and the fellowship of Jesus Christ, and no longer belong into Christ’s kingdom, or to his church; therefore, their brotherhood, or sisterhood, is renounced, by virtue of the word of God, in the name of the whole church. 1 Cor. 5:3; Matt. 18:18; 1 Cor. 5:1; Rom. 16:17; Tit. 3; Matt. 18:17; Is. 59; Tit. 1:16; 1 Cor. 6:9; Gal. 5:21; 1 Cor. 5:12; 2 Cor. 2:8.

The reasons for which this is done, and to which the church must have respect in the separation, are principally these: 1. To show that her doctrine does by no means permit such sins, but is wholly opposed to them: that, by so doing, the doctrine may be preserved pure, and the name of God glorified. 1 Tim. 1:20; Tit. 1:13; 2 Tim. 4:15,23; 2. Through separation to prove in fact that she is the enemy of sin, and will in no wise tolerate it, in order that all causes for reproach to the church may be averted. 1 Cor. 5:1,2; Tit. 2:8; 3. That not, by constant intercourse and fellowship with the evil, the good become leavened or corrupted. 1 Cor. 5:7; 2 Tim. 2:17; 4. That the sinner, through excommunication and withdrawal may be convicted in his conscience, and moved to shame and reformation, that he may be saved. 2 Thess. 3; 1 Cor. 5:5, and 5. That others, by hearing and seeing this, may be admonished, so that they will fear to follow such evil.

But when the separated sinner shows genuine fruits of repentance, we must at all times be ready to receive him again in peace to the Christian communion of the church, if he earnestly requests it. 2 Cor. 2.


Since daily intercourse and mingling with ungodly apostates, in common eating, drinking, buying, selling, and similar unnecessary temporal or worldly transactions, is not only dangerous for the pious, who, thereby, may become contaminated, or be counted as companions of the apostate, but is also hurtful to the apostate himself, since he, through such mingling, may probably harden in sin, and esteem his offense of less consequence, therefore, we understand from the word of God, that—in order to avoid, according to the unction of the Spirit, the dangers of sin, and offenses, and to bring the apostate sinner to shame and repentance—the true members of Christ must withdraw from the daily intercourse and communion with impenitent apostates; must shun them, and have nothing to do with them; and this without respect to persons, as far as they are not bound to the apostate by any command of God; for as one may do anything in the matter of shunning, which is contrary to love, benevolence, Christian propriety and justice, which supreme virtues a Christian is in duty bound to show unto all men, even to his enemies, for which purpose God has given all laws, which may, for no reason, be diminished, much less, broken or transgressed. 1 Cor. 5:5; 2 Tim. 2:21; 2 Thess. 3; Tit. 3; 2 Thess. 3:14; 2 Pet. 1:6; Tit. 2:12; Rom. 13:8; Matt. 5:44; Rom. 13:9,10; 1 Tim. 1:5; Rev. 22:19; Matt. 5:19; James 2:1.


Finally, we believe, that the Son of the living God, the Lord Jesus Christ, our only Prophet, Priest and King, will visibly, as he ascended, descend from heaven, in the clouds, and all the holy angels of God with him, with power and great glory, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God, which shall be heard everywhere. Then all men who have lived upon earth, and have died, good and evil, just and unjust, shall rise from the dead, in incorruption, with their own body, in which they have lived; but those who still live on that day, and have not tasted death, shall be changed, in the twinkling of an eye, to incorruption, at the last sound of the last trumpet. Acts 1:11; Rev. 1:7; 2 Thess. 1:7; 1 Thess. 4:16; Matt. 24:50; Zeph. 1:16; Matt. 25:7; 2 Cor. 5:10; Rom. 14:11; Jer. 5:29; Acts 24:15; 1 Cor. 15:42; Jer. 26:19; 1 Cor. 15:38,52.

Thus, the whole human family shall be placed before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. For the Lord Jesus Christ shall then, as a shepherd, separate the sheep from the goats. Those who have done good, he shall set on his right hand, but those that have done evil, on the left; and he shall there pronounce the eternal, irrevocable sentence. 2 Cor. 5:10; Matt. 25:32,33,46; Jude 14.

To the true believers, who, through faith, have done works of love and mercy, he shall say: “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” These shall be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord, who shall take them away with him into life eternal, in the heavenly glory and splendor, where they shall forever be with the Lord, in the innumerable company of the holy angels, in the society of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the pious, with great, unspeakable joy and gladness. 2 Pet. 1:5; Matt. 25:35; Luke 16:9; 2 Pet. 1:11; 1 Thess. 4:17,14; John 14:3; 17:24; Dan. 12:12; 1 Pet. 1:8,9.

But the unrighteous who have not known God, nor obeyed the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, and have done no works of love or mercy, shall then be sentenced to everlasting fire, in these grievous and intolerable words: “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels;” “there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 1 Cor. 6:9; 2 Thess. 1:8; Rom. 2:9; Matt. 25:41; 22:13.

These shall go, where their worm dieth not, and their fire is not quenched. There will come upon them tribulation and anguish, displeasure, wrath, and 32 everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power. Is. 66:24; Mark 9:46; Mal. 4:1; Rom. 2:9; 2 Thess. 1:9; 4 Esdr. 9:10; Luke 16:24.

May the God of grace and mercy preserve us, through Jesus Christ, his dear and beloved Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit, from this dreadful punishment of the ungodly, and grant us his grace, that we may live holy here on earth, and die happy, to a glad resurrection and joyful appearance in the presence of his glory, Amen.

Here follow two other questions and the answers to the same, which we could adduce, but we deem it unnecessary, since the treatise given embraces the substance or whole sum of the confession of saving faith, if it is only well apprehended.

Added was also a letter, as a preparative for peace, and signed by various persons (elders and teachers).

Given at Amsterdam, the 26th of September, 1627.

Second Confession,

Also drawn up at Amsterdam, on the 7th of October, 1630, called: Confession of Faith, and the principal articles of the Christian doctrine.

[Not divided into separate articles, except the articles of belief in God, and the manner of life in the church.]

We believe with the heart, and confess with the mouth, that there is one only, eternal, incomprehensible, spiritual Being, which, in Scripture, is called God; to whom alone is ascribed omnipotence, mercy, righteousness, perfection, wisdom, all goodness, and omniscience, and who is called a fountain of life, and the source of all good, the Creator of all things, and the Preserver of the same; who in the Old Testament bears various appellations—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God Schadai, the God Jehovah, the God of Israel, I am that I am, the Alpha and Omega, etc.; but who in the New Testament is called by three distinct names—God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, whom we confess to differ thus far, namely: that the Father, as far as he is Father, is an other than the Son; and the Son, as far as he is Son, is an other than the Father, and the Holy Ghost, as far as he is a true Holy Ghost, is an other than the Father and the Son, and that they, although differing in name, are nevertheless in their divine nature and attributes, one only, undivided God, according to the testimony of the Apostle: “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. Rom. 10:9; Deut. 6:4; Is. 45:5,21; Rom. 3:30; 1 Cor. 8:4; Eph. 4:6; Gen. 21:33; Ps. 90:2; Is. 49:28; Ps. 145:3; 4 Esdr. 8:21; Gen. 17:1; 2 Cor. 6:18; Ex. 34:6,7; Luke 6:36; Ps. 11:7; Col. 3; Lev. 19:2; Matt. 5:48; 1 Tim. 1:2; Ps. 103:8; Matt. 19:17; Ps. 139; James 1:17; Gen. 1:1; Job 38 and 39; Ex. 3:6; 6:6; 5:1; Rev. 1:8; 22:13; Matt. 28:19; John 14:16; 1 John 5:7.

That this Holy God, by his great power and incomprehensible wisdom, created, in six days, out of nothing, heaven and earth, together with all things visible and invisible; and on the sixth day prepared man a body of the dust of the earth, breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and thus made him a living soul, or man; that he exalted this man above all creatures, endowed him with wisdom, understanding and reason, and made him Lord over all creatures; nay, above all this, created him in his divine image, in holiness and righteousness, for immortality, and placed him in the garden of Eden, where he might have been happy forever, yet requiring of him true obedience, saying: “Of every tree of the garden thou mayst freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” From this we see the free will of man. Gen. 1:6,9,14,24; Jer. 32:17; Acts 17:24; Gen. 1:26,28; 2:7; Sir. 17:5; Wis. 2:23; Gen. 2:8,9.

That man, through the subtlety of the serpent and the envy of the devil, was brought to disobey his Creator; whereby he, with all his posterity, fell into death and condemnation, and thus, from the most glorious, became the most miserable creature. Gen. 3:1; Wis. 2:24; 4 Esdr. 7:48; Rom. 5:12; 1 Cor. 15:21.

That the Lord God, seeing the fall of his most glorious creature, and that he could neither through himself nor through any other creature be redeemed therefrom, showed that he was a gracious and merciful God, yea, the supreme or only goodness, in that he sought to reconcile unto himself, out of pure grace and without any merit, man and all who had fallen in him. Ps. 49:8; Rev. 5:3; Ps. 33:5; Matt. 19:17; Rom. 5:12; 3:24; 2 Cor. 5:19.

But, as the justice of God required, that the sin committed should not go unpunished, and as no creature could satisfy the former, he not only frequently promised man to send his only beloved Son as a Savior, but prefigured it by various types. Gen. 3:15; 12:3,7; 16:18; 24:19; 7:14; 9:6; 11:10; 53; Jer. 23:5,6; 33:15; Dan. 7:13; 9:24; Micah 5:2; Hagg. 2:23; Matt. 3:1; Ex. 12:3; 25:17; Num. 21:9; Deut. 30:15; Sir. 15:14.

That the Lord, after as well as before the fall, left man his free will to accept, through faith in the promised Savior, the proffered grace of God, or to reject it, is evident not only from the sending out of his prophets, apostles, and disciples, but also from the kind invitation of his beloved Son; and this justly, in order that he, as a righteous judge, might have just cause, on the last day, to punish the despisers with the pains of hell, and reward the obedient lambs with the joys of heaven. Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:15; Acts 17:31; Matt. 11:28; 22:9; 1 Tim. 1:15; Tit. 2:11; 2 Thess. 1:8; Acts 3:46; Rom. 2:5; Bar. 3:29; John 3:16,36; 1 Thess. 1:6; Heb. 6:10.

That the Lord, being a true God, who does not repent of that which he has promised, when the time which he, in the secret counsels of his divine will, had determined was fulfilled, sent his only, own and true Son as a redeemer unto the world. 1 John 5:20; Deut. 7:8; Gal. 4:4.


And since there has been for many years, and still is daily, much disputation, concerning this birth of our Savior, according to the flesh; therefore, we believe and confess, that it is a supernatural birth, which cannot be fathomed by human reason. Yet, we believe and confess, by virtue of the Scriptures, that the eternal, not spoken, but itself speaking, real Word, which was before the foundation of the world in great glory with the Father, was before Abraham, was in the beginning with God, and was itself God; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting, and through which all things are created and have their being; that this same, real Word, in the fullness of the time, came forth from the Father, and descended from heaven into the lowest parts of the earth, and, according to the prophecy (Is. 7), was (at Nazareth, that he might be called a Nazarene) conceived in the virgin body of Mary (who, although betrothed to Joseph of the house of David, yet was not known of him) by the power of the most high God, and the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost, and became flesh, remaining what he had been namely, God and the Son of God, and becoming what he had not been, namely, man and the son of man; in this manner, that we confess that the child which Mary bore, and which was born at Bethlehem, grew up, and suffered on the cross, was outwardly and inwardly, visibly and invisibly, as he sojourned here, the only, own, and true Son of God, and the Redeemer of us all. John 1:1; 17:5; 8:58; Micah 5:1; John 1:3; 16:28; Eph. 4:9; Matt. 1:20; Luke 1:31; Matt. 2:23; John 1:14; Rom. 9:5; Ps. 2:7; Matt. 3:17; Luke 2:6,40; Matt. 27; 17:5.

We believe and confess also, that he came to redeem us from the curse, and, therefore, became obedient unto the law, was circumcised on the eighth day, and named after the name announced by the angel before he was born, namely, Jesus, that he might make his holy name to agree with his holy work, namely, to save his people from their sins. Gal. 3:13; 4:5; Gen. 17:12; Gal. 4:4; Luke 2:21; Matt. 1:21; 18:11; Luke 19:10.

We also confess that he is our only true high Prophet, High Priest, and spiritual King, who, in his office as a prophet has proclaimed unto us God’s great, secret counsel of the eternal peace with God, through the holy Gospel, and, moreover, all that is necessary for us to the new life. Deut. 18:15; Ps. 110:4; Heb. 3:1; Jer. 33:15; Matt. 21:5; 13:35; Luke 10:5; John 3:3; Matt. 18:9.

Who, in his office as priest, has not only offered up on the cross a sacrifice for his believing lambs that will avail forever; but, after his glorious resurrection, has entered into the holy of holies, yea, the most holy, namely heaven, not by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood; by which he has obtained eternal redemption for all those who believe in him, yea, sitteth on the right hand of God his heavenly Father, where, as a high priest, he pours out his holy prayers for the ignorance of his people, and obtains forgiveness for them. Eph. 5:2; Heb. 10:12; 9:12; Col. 3:1; Heb. 5:2,5.

Who, in his office as king, as a victorious prince has vanquished death, the devil, hell, and all our enemies, and has prepared a place for the members of his kingdom; ruling with the scepter of his word, and protecting those who put their trust in him, helping them to triumph till they receive the everlasting kingdom at his hand. 2 Tim. 1:10; Heb. 2:14,15; John 14:2; Ps. 45:6; Eccl. 29:25; 2 Cor. 2:14.

But since his kingdom was not of this world, he did not take possession of it by carnal weapons of iron or steel, but through suffering and fighting in the flesh; to which end he prepared himself for temptation, tribulation and suffering, and took upon him the cursed death of the cross, under Pontius Pilate; we confess, moreover, that this same Lord Jesus Christ, who was crucified at Jerusalem, and tasted death on mount Calvary, with exclamation of his groaning Spirit, and amidst the convulsions of heaven and earth, was the only and own Son of God, and that we are reconciled unto God by the blood and death of his Son, who by himself purged our sins. John 18:36; Matt. 4:1; Luke 4:1; Matt. 16:21; Gal. 3:13; Deut. 21:23; 1 Tim. 6:13; Matt. 27; Luke 23; 1 John 3:16; Rom. 8:22; 5:10; Heb. 1:3.

Who, also, as a sign that he was really dead, was taken down from the cross by Joseph of Arimathea; who wrapped him in a clean white cloth, and laid him in a new hewn tomb, before which a great stone was rolled, and a guard placed. Matt. 27:57.

But, since it was impossible that he should be held by the hands of death, or that the Holy One should see corruption, therefore we believe and confess also, that by the glory of the Father, according to the predictions of the prophets, he was raised from the dead on the third day, amidst the convulsions of heaven and earth, and arose bodily; and that he certainly also confirmed his resurrection for forty days by words, signs, and miracles, that he taught, comforted, and admonished his disciples, and finally, on Mount Olivet, was received by a cloud, and in their sight ascended visibly unto heaven, and entered into the holy of holies, seating himself, as a true high priest, mediator, and advocate between God and man, on the right hand of the Majesty on high, where he appears continually before his Father’s face to make intercession for his believers. Acts 2:24; Ps. 16:10; Rom. 6:4; Acts 13:34; Matt. 28:2; John 20:4; Luke 24:36; Acts 1:12; Heb. 9:12; 1 John 2:1; 1 Tim. 2:5; Rom. 8:34.

And since before his precious suffering he taught and comforted them, not to let their hearts be afraid; that when he should have ascended to heaven, he would send them another comforter, the Holy Ghost; therefore, we believe that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, blessed forever, was, as true God, also found true in this particular, and did send, ten days after his ascension, the Holy Ghost in visible form to, or upon, his apostles in Jerusalem; which Holy Ghost is a wisdom, strength, and power of God, that proceeds from the Father through the Son, and, no less than the Father and the Son, is with them an eternal, undivided God; also a teacher, 34 leader and guide to all godfearing and consolation-seeking souls, showing them the way to and into the spiritual Canaan. John 14:1; 15:26; 16:7; Matt. 21:3; Rom. 9:5; John 5:20; Acts 2:2; Luke 1:35; Acts 5:3; John 14:26.

We believe, also, that the Lord God chose, first, the holy angels in heaven, then, two sanctified persons in paradise, and finally, of all the various nations of the earth, a penitent and believing people for his people; which is not only called a general Christian church or congregation of godfearing men; but which the Lord Christ has purchased with his precious blood, and washed and cleansed with the waters of the Holy Ghost, that he might present to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. And since the same is so dear to him, he would, for the prosperity and growth of his kingdom, not leave this holy church unprovided for; but provided her, not only before, but also after his ascension, with faith, love, hope, and other ordinances, and also with two special ministries, namely, the ministry of the holy Word, and the care for the poor, or the office of deacon; and appointed in it, some prophets, pastors, teachers, helpers and rulers, to provide by common counsel wisely for the church of God; and sent them out. Gen. 2:22; 4 Esdr. 5:27; Acts 20:28; Eph. 5:26; 1 Cor. 6:20; Luke 10:1; Eph. 4:11; 1 Cor. 12:28; Mark 16:15.

In like manner, the apostles also commanded their followers, to choose such men with fasting and prayer. First, they shall be examined, then let them minister; and the believers shall honor, love and obey these men. Acts 6:3; 16:2; 1 Tim. 3:10; 1 Thess. 5:13; Heb. 13:17; 1 Tim. 5:17,18.

And, inasmuch as this church bears the figure of the true church in heaven, they practice here on earth, externally in the preaching of the Word, of baptism, the supper, and other Christian ordinances, and internally in the spirit, a true communion, here and also in heaven with God and all the sanctified of the Lord, after which, in the last day, the true reality will follow. Acts 4:32; Heb. 12:22.

Matters, whereby those who unite in this church, submit willingly and obediently to the customs, laws and ordinances, which the Lord Christ, as the chief Head of his church, Eph. 5:23, and only Lawgiver of the New Testament, Matt. 28:20, has ordained in his church, and which are also taught and, in our weakness, practiced by us, viz,:

1. The Baptism of penitent and believing adults, which is an external evangelical act, in which the man who truly repents of his sins, who clothes his heart with faith in Christ, and thereby mortifies and buries his earthly members, and arises to a new, penitent life, is baptized by an unblamable minister ordained thereto, with common water, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, for the remission of all his sins; and such a man, once baptized upon true repentance and scriptural faith, we do not baptize again. Acts 2:38; Mark 16:15,16; Acts 8:14,34,36,37; 10:43; 1 Cor. 3:5; Rom. 6:4; Matt. 3:11; Acts 10; Matt. 28:19; Eph. 4:5; Heb. 6:2.

2. The holy Supper of the Lord, also called the Christian communion, which is to be held among believers only, not with consecrated, but with common bread and wine; not only in remembrance of the precious, holy, and bitter suffering and death, and the glorious resurrection of our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ, but also of the consolatory fruits thereby prepared for all believers; that they, by virtue of this, may not only be moved to sincerely deplore the bitter suffering and death of Jesus Christ, which he endured for the remission of their sins; but also to praise and bless the Lord, with an internal, spiritual thanksgiving, for the benefits which have sprung therefrom; and, also, to confirm their Christian, brotherly, and spiritual communion by a holy and godly life, to the praise of the Lord. Matt. 26:26; Luke 22:19; Acts 2:46; 20:7; Mark 14:22,23; John 6:51; 1 Cor. 10:16,17; 1 Cor. 11:23,24.

3. Then follows the Washing of the saints’ feet; that is, when our fellow-believers from distant places come to visit us, we wash their feet, according as opportunity offers, after the custom of the Old Testament, and the example of Christ; thereby declaring our humility toward God and our neighbor, with an humble prayer, that the Lord would strengthen us more and more in humility, and that, like as we have washed one another’s feet, he would be pleased to wash and cleanse our souls with his blood and the waters of the Holy Ghost, from every stain and impurity of sin, that we may appear pure and blameless before his Father. Gen. 18:4; John 13:5; 1 Tim. 5:10; Luke 22:26; Phil. 2:3.

4. Likewise, The Works of love, which we divide into three parts: 1. That a believer is bound to bring his alms, according as the Lord has blessed him, to the deacons, that they may have wherewith to properly support the poor believers. 2. To visit, comfort, attend, and nurse, according to the nature of the case, the sick, imprisoned and sorrowing hearts. 3. When we see our fellow-believers in oppressive household cares, bad circumstances, or with an insufficient income, to assist them with advice and in deed, and by giving them our custom in preference to a stranger. Matt. 6:1; Luke 12:33; 16:9; Acts 6:13; Matt. 25:35; Heb. 13:1–3.

5. As Marriage which was good and rightly instituted in paradise, was afterwards abused through lust by the children of the first world and also through hardness of heart by the Jews, the great Lawgiver of the New Testament restored it according to its original ordinance, Matt. 19:4; and the Apostle says, 1 Cor. 7:39: “The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.” By this we understand that a believer is not at liberty to unite in marriage with an unbeliever; but only with one, who, with him, of one heavenly Father, of incorruptible seed, and thus of a spiritual generation, is born anew, heavenly and spiritual; for since they in baptism have offered up their members unto God, and have given them to the obedience of their Head, Christ, they cannot take away these, their members 35 from Christ, their Head, and be yoked together with one who is unregenerated. Gen. 2:24; 6:1,2; Deut. 24:1; Matt. 19:8; 1 Pet. 1:23; John 3:15; Rom. 12:1; 1 Pet. 1:22; Eph. 5:23.

6. The Office of the secular Authority we recognize as an ordinance of God, for the protection of the good, and the punishment of the wicked; we also recognize that we owe unto it honor, obedience, custom, taxes, and tribute, and that we should also pray for it; but we do not find that Paul mentions it among the offices of the church, nor that Christ taught his disciples such a thing, or called them to it; but, on the contrary, that he enjoined them to follow him in his defenseless life and cross-bearing footsteps, prohibiting all revenge, not only that with arms, but also to return railing for railing; and, on the contrary, commanding to pray for one’s enemies, to do good unto them who do us evil; and much of a similar nature which is connected with the office of the magistracy; hence we are afraid to fill such offices in our Christian calling. Rom. 13:2,3; 1 Pet. 2:13; Acts 4:19; Matt. 22:17; Rom. 13:7; Tit. 3:1; Jer. 29:7; 1 Cor. 12:28; Matt. 20:25; Luke 22:25; John 8:12; 10:27; Heb. 12:2; 1 Pet. 2:21; Rom. 12:19; Matt. 5:44.

7. The Swearing of oaths permitted in the Old Testament, and in which many abuses have crept, is prohibited by Christ and James, without any distinction; therefore it is not lawful for a Christian to swear the oath of blasphemy. Deut. 6:13; 10:20; Matt. 5:37; James 5:12.

8. But as in a good government ordinances without penalties lose their force the Lord also has not failed to place penalties to his ordinances; for Paul says: “Them that sin, rebuke before all, that others also may fear.” 1 Tim. 5:20. Christ also, in Matt. 18, has taught us to rebuke sinners. Paul teaches to purge out the old leaven, and to put away from among us those that are wicked; by which we understand the Christian Ban which is instituted for the shaming and conversion of the sinner, and for the purpose of keeping the church pure, lest a little leaven leaven the whole lump (1 Cor. 5:6,13; Deut. 13:5; 2 Thess. 3:14; Gal. 5:9), according to Matt. 16:19: “I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven,” and Matt. 18:18: “Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. This discipline is used against those who have once been enlightened, and have received for truth the sound doctrine of Christ, but who afterwards fall into false doctrine and heresy. These, after they have been admonished once or twice, but still persist in their evil principles, shall, by Christian Separation, be avoided and shunned, Tit. 3:10. Further, it is also used against persons who are going astray in the gross works of the flesh, upon sufficient confession of such persons themselves, or upon the testimony of other commendable witnesses; for such the church must have, before she may proceed with the separation. Gal. 5:21; Eph. 5:5; 1 Cor. 5:3; 6:9.

9. We understand, that Marrying out of the Church is sinful, since it is contrary to the command of the Lord, and has at various times been reproved by the Lord and his prophets, through deeds as well as through words; and since it is a sin, arising either from a carnal, sensual life, or from a want of confidence in God, as though he would not provide him with a virtuous spouse; and is, moreover, committed with premeditation, for which reason it cannot be included in Gal. 6:1: “If a man be overtaken in a fault, . . . restore such a one in the spirit of meekness,” but much rather in Num. 15:30: “The soul that doeth aught presumptuously, . . . shall be cut off from among his people,” therefore many godfearing men, who were assembled at different times, have understood, as also we understand, that marriage out of the church, with impenitents and unbelievers, is also to be punished with separation from the church, that they may the more earnestly seek repentance.

But as all sins are not equally great, and do not actually deserve separation without previous admonition, there is observed in the reproving of sin between brother and brother the rule in Matt. 18:15–18. And if any man is overtaken in a fault, then the rule Gal. 6:1 is followed.

Now, since we also understand that there can be no separation where no withdrawing is found, we confess also that we are in duty bound to admonish (1 Thess. 3:15) the one separated, to reconcile himself to the church by true repentance; and if there is in him a willingness to reconcile himself, to make haste with the anointing or reinstating, and not to wait with those who have married out of the church, until he or she bring with him, or her, the spouse married out of the church. 2 Cor. 2:8. But if the good admonition should be heedlessly rejected, since the daily intercourse of the ungodly apostates is unedifying, polluting, offensive, and frequently hardens the sinner in his wicked life; we confess that the person separated, or punished with the ban, is to be avoided and shunned, even without the aforesaid admonition, immediately after the separation, in common, free, worldly transactions, as: In eating and drinking, buying and selling, and such like unnecessary matters; yet with this distinction, that it be done with such moderation and discretion that the word of God may everywhere retain its place, and the higher laws and commandments of the Lord, by which the believer is bound to the separated one, be not broken, but that everywhere necessity, word, promise, love, benevolence, mercy, justice, and Christian discretion be observed. 1 Cor. 5:5; 2 Tim. 2:16–18; 2 Thess. 3:14; Tit. 3:10; Luke 6:36; 2 Pet. 1:6.

Likewise, if one man understand the passage respecting shunning, in 1 Cor. 5, in a higher, and another man, in a lower sense, both men being godfearing in their life, they should, until further enlightenment, be borne with in love, without contention or disputing.

Whosoever seeks, in human weakness, to live according to these, the chief, as well as to other commandments, doctrines, and ordinances of the Lord (more explicitly defined in his holy Word), and thus to accomplish his pilgrimage on this earth, of him we believe that he will not only feel at his 36 departure from earth a sure witness of his conscience, and have a glad hope; but at the resurrection of the dead will indeed find it to be so, that all his sins will be forgiven him through the holy merits and comforting intercession of Christ. Luke 24:47; Col. 1:14; Acts 13:38; 1 Tim. 2:5; 1 John 2:1; Rom. 8:34.

Finally, we believe also, that our Savior Jesus Christ, forever blessed, shall visibly come again in the clouds, like as he ascended before; not so humble, lowly, and serving, as he appeared to the world in his holy incarnation; but glorious and magnificent, with the power and glory of all his angels; not to call the sinner to repentance, but to hold the last judgment; to which end he will not only sit upon the throne of his glory, but, as the natural sun in Spring-time draws forth from the earth, not only flowers, herbs and good fruits, but also nettles, thistles, and thorns, so also, the true Sun of righteousness, Jesus Christ, blessed forever, will then, with the sound of the trumpet call forth and cause to arise from the earth, all the great number of the dead who from the beginning of the world up to the present day have lived, died, and sown their bodies in the earth to corruption, and as the womb her fruit so shall the sea, hell, and death give up their dead; then shall the dead be covered with their own skin, and with their own eyes behold God, yea, be clothed with their own bodies, in or with which they have here served or despised the Lord. And after those who then will be still living, will have been changed to immortality in the twinkling of an eye, the general multitude of all mankind will be placed before the holy throne of God, where the books of conscience shall be opened, and also another book, which is the book of life; and the dead shall be judged according to that which is written in these books, that every one may receive in his own body, either good or evil, according to what they have done, or how they have lived here. Then will the Lord, as a righteous Judge, separate the believers from the ungodly, as a shepherd divideth the sheep from the goats; and will set the believers, as obedient lambs, on his right hand; but the unbelievers, as wicked, rebellious, stinking goats, on his left hand. He will look upon the lambs with his loving eyes, and say to them in a voice sweet as the honey comb: “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” But upon the goats his angry face shall be like the lightning, and his voice sound like the thunder, and he shall say to them: “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. Matt. 1:21; Acts 4:12; 1 Tim. 1:15; Acts 1:11; Rev. 1:7; Matt. 24:30; 2 Thess. 1:7; Matt. 25:31; 16:27; Acts 17:31; Jude 14; Dan. 7:9,13; Mal. 4:2; 1 Thess. 4:16; Matt. 24:31; John 5:29; Dan. 12:2; 1 Cor. 15:42; 4 Esdr. 7:32; Rev. 20:13; Job 19:26; Rev. 1:7; 2 Cor. 5:10; Matt. 16:27; Rom. 2:6; 1 Cor. 15:51; Matt. 25:32; Ezek. 34:17; Matt. 25:33,34,41; 4 Esdr. 16:10; 2 Thess. 1:8; Luke 17:24.

And we also further confess that then the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon be changed into blood, the stars shall fall from heaven, and the earth and all that is therein shall be burned with fire; and then shall the irrevocable sentence of the Greatest King be executed. 2 Pet. 3:10; Rev. 6:12,13.

Then shall the ungodly, like sheep for the slaughter, be driven to hell, and be cast into the great bottomless pit, where there will be no lack of fuel. There they shall not be laid on beds of down, but on biting moths, and be covered with gnawing worms, and tormented with flaming fire, so that their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched, but the torment of their pain shall ascend as the smoke of a fiery furnace, and it shall last forever and ever. But on the contrary, we confess, that the blessed of God shall be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, and shall then be led by the Lord Christ, their spiritual bridegroom, into heaven, before the throne of God, where he shall deliver up again to the Father the kingdom and all power, that God may be all in all. Ps. 49:14; Is. 30:33; 14:11; 2 Thess. 1:9; Mark 9:48; Is. 66:24; Rev. 9:2; 14:11; 1 Thess. 4:17; Matt. 25:6; 1 Cor. 15:28.

Then shall the blessed of God be changed through the glory of God from glory to glory, their tears shall be wiped away; the crown of life, of glory, and of gladness, shall be placed on their heads; palms of victory shall be put in their hands, and they shall be adorned with the white robe of the righteousness of the saints. Thus shall they be joined to all the saints of God, and be led to the fountain of living waters, there to be refreshed for everlasting consolation; they shall be fed on the spiritual mount Zion, yea, shall follow the sweet lamb Jesus Christ, who has bought them with his blood and death, in the heavenly pleasure grounds, through contemplation of the holy God in his inestimable throne, the heavens in their beauty, and the angels in their joy. 2 Cor. 3:18; Phil. 3:21; Is. 25:8; Rev. 7:17; James 1:12; 2 Tim. 4:8; 4 Esdr. 2:43,46; Rev. 7:9; 19:8; Matt. 8:11; Rev. 7:17; 14:1,4; 4 Esdr. 8:21; Bar. 3:24.

Then shall the blessed of God abound in heavenly joy, so that with angelic tongues and heavenly voices they will begin to sing with all the saints of God the new song, giving unto him who sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, praise, honor, glory, and blessing, for ever and ever. Amen. Rev. 14:3; 7:10,12.

Thus done by us, the undersigned ministers, teachers, and elders of the United Friesic and High German Churches, for ourselves, as well as in the name of our fellow-brethren and ministers, and strangers assembled at these proceedings with us, here at Amsterdam. October the 7th, 1730, new style, and was subscribed to by fourteen persons, heads of the Churches, for themselves as well as in the name of the churches by whom they were sent.

Third Confession.

Drawn up at Dort, at a certain peace convention on the 21st of April, 1632, being a statement of the chief articles of our general Christian faith, as the same are taught and practiced throughout in our church.


Since we find it testified that without faith it is impossible to please God, and that he that would 37 come to God must believe that there is a God, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek him: therefore, we confess with the mouth, and believe with the heart, with all the pious, according to the holy Scriptures, in one eternal, almighty, and incomprehensible God, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and in none more, nor in any other; before whom no God was made or existed, nor shall there be any after him: for of him, and through him, and in him, are all things; to him be praise and honor forever and ever, Amen. Heb. 11:6; Deut. 6:4; Gen. 17:1; Is. 46:8; 1 John 5:7; Rom. 11:36.

Of this same one God, who worketh all in all, we believe and confess that he is the Creator of all things visible and invisible; that he, in six days, created, made, and prepared, heaven and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is; and that he still governs and upholds the same and all his works through his wisdom, might, and the word of his power. 1 Cor. 12:6; Gen. 1; Acts 14:15.

And when he had finished his works, and had ordained and prepared them, each in its nature and properties, good and upright, according to his pleasure, he created the first man, the father of us all, Adam; whom he formed of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, so that he became a living soul, created by God in his own image and likeness, in righteousness and holiness, unto eternal life. He regarded him above all other creatures, endowed him with many high and glorious gifts, placed him in the pleasure garden or paradise, and gave him a command and prohibition; afterwards he took a rib from Adam, made a woman therefrom, and brought her to him, joining and giving her to him for a helpmate, companion and wife; and in consequence of this he also caused, that from this first45 man Adam, all men that dwell upon the whole earth have descended. Gen. 1:27; 2:7,17,18,22.


We believe and confess, according to the holy Scriptures, that these our first parents, Adam and Eve, did not continue long in this glorious state in which they were created, but that they, seduced by the subtlety and deceit of the serpent, and the envy of the devil, transgressed the high commandment of God and became disobedient to their Creator; through which disobedience sin has come into the world, and death by sin, which has thus passed upon all men, for that all have sinned, and, hence, brought upon themselves the wrath of God, and condemnation; for which reason they were of God driven out of paradise, or the pleasure garden, to till the earth, in sorrow to eat of it, and to eat their bread in the sweat of their face, till they should return to the earth, from which they were taken; and that they, therefore, through this one sin, became so ruined, separated, and estranged from God, that they, neither through themselves, nor through any of their descendants, nor through angels, nor men, nor any other creature in heaven or on earth, could be raised up, redeemed, or reconciled to God, but would have had to be eternally lost, had not God, in compassion for his creatures, made provision for it, and interposed with his love and mercy. Gen. 3:6; 4 Esdr. 3:7; Rom. 5:12,18; Gen. 3:23; Ps. 49:8; Rev. 5:9; John 3:16.


Concerning the restoration of the first man and his posterity we confess and believe, that God, notwithstanding their fall, transgression, and sin, and their utter inability, was nevertheless not willing to cast them off entirely, or to let them be forever lost; but that he called them again to him, comforted them, and showed them that with him there was yet a means for their reconciliation, namely, the immaculate Lamb, the Son of God, who had been foreordained thereto before the foundation of the world, and was promised them while they were yet in paradise, for consolation, redemption and salvation, for themselves as well as for their posterity; yea, who through faith, had, from that time on, been given them as their own; for whom all the pious patriarchs, unto whom this promise was frequently renewed, longed and inquired, and to whom, through faith, they looked forward from afar, waiting for the fulfillment, that he by his coming, would redeem, liberate, and raise the fallen race of man from their sin, guilt and unrighteousness. John 1:29; 1 Pet. 1:19; Gen. 3:15; 1 John 3:8; 2:1; Heb. 11:13,39; Gal. 4:4.


We believe and confess further, that when the time of the promise, for which all the pious forefathers had so much longed and waited, had come and was fulfilled, this previously promised Messiah, Redeemer, and Savior, proceeded from God, was sent, and, according to the prediction of the prophets, and the testimony of the evangelists, came into the world, yea into the flesh, was made manifest, and the Word himself became flesh and man; that he was conceived in the virgin Mary, who was espoused to a man named Joseph, of the house of David; and that she brought him forth as her firstborn son, at Bethlehem, wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger. John 4:25; 16:28; 1 Tim. 3:16; John 1:14; Matt. 1:23; Luke 2:7.

We confess and believe also, that this is the same whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting, without beginning of days, or end of life; of whom it is testified that he himself is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, the first and the last; that he is the same, and no other, who was foreordained, promised, sent, and came into the world; who is God’s only, first and own Son; who was before John the Baptist, before Abraham, before the world; yea, who was David’s Lord, and the God of the whole world, the firstborn of every creature; who was brought into the world, and to whom a body was prepared, which he yielded up as a sacrifice and offering, for a sweet savor unto 38 God, yea, for the consolation, redemption, and salvation of all mankind. John 3:16; Heb. 1:6; Rom. 8:32; John 1:30; Matt. 22:43; Col. 1:15; Heb. 10:5.

But as to how and in what manner this precious body was prepared, and how the Word became flesh, and he himself man, in regard to this we content ourselves with the statement pertaining to this matter which the worthy evangelists have left us in their accounts, according to which we confess with all the saints, that he is the Son of the living God, in whom alone consist all our hope, consolation, redemption, and salvation, which we neither may nor must seek in any other. Luke 1:31,32; John 20:31; Matt. 16:16.

We furthermore believe and confess with the Scriptures, that, when he had finished his course, and accomplished the work for which he was sent and came into the world, he was, according to the providence of God, delivered into the hands of the unrighteous; suffered under the judge, Pontius Pilate; was crucified, died, was buried, and, on the third day, rose from the dead, and ascended to heaven; and that he sits on the right hand of God the Majesty on high, whence he will come again to judge the quick and the dead. Luke 22:53; 23:1; 24:6,7,51.

And that thus the Son of God died, and tasted death and shed his precious blood for all men; and that he thereby bruised the serpent’s head, destroyed the works of the devil, annulled the handwriting and obtained forgiveness of sins for all mankind; thus becoming the cause of eternal salvation for all those who, from Adam unto the end of the world, each in his time, believe in, and obey him. Gen. 3:15; 1 John 3:8; Col. 2:14; Rom. 5:18.


We also believe and confess that before his ascension he instituted his New Testament, and, since it was to be and remain an eternal Testament, that he confirmed and sealed the same with his precious blood, and gave and left it to his disciples, yea, charged them so highly with it, that neither angel nor man may alter it, nor add to it nor take away from it; and that he has caused the same, as containing the whole counsel and will of his heavenly Father, as far as is necessary for salvation to be proclaimed in his name by his beloved apostles, messengers, and ministers—whom he called, chose, and sent into all the world for that purpose—among all peoples, nations, and tongues; and repentance and remission of sins to be preached and testified of; and that he accordingly has therein declared all men without distinction, who through faith, as obedient children, heed, follow, and practice what the same contains, to be his children and lawful heirs; thus excluding no one from the precious inheritance of eternal salvation, except the unbelieving and disobedient, the stiffnecked and obdurate, who despise it, and incur this through their own sins, thus making themselves unworthy of eternal life. Jer. 31:31; Heb. 9:15–17; Matt. 26:28; Gal. 1:8; 1 Tim. 6:3; John 15:15; Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47; Rom. 8:17; Acts 13:46.


We believe and confess, that, since the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth, and, therefore, prone to all unrighteousness, sin, and wickedness, the first lesson of the precious New Testament of the Son of God is repentance and reformation of life, and that, therefore, those who have ears to hear, and hearts to understand, must bring forth genuine fruits of repentance, reform their lives, believe the Gospel, eschew evil and do good, desist from unrighteousness, forsake sin, put off the old man with his deeds, and put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness: for, neither baptism, supper, church, nor any other outward ceremony, can without faith, regeneration, change or renewing of life, avail anything to please God or to obtain of him any consolation or promise of salvation; but we must go to God with an upright heart, and in perfect faith, and believe in Jesus Christ, as the Scripture says, and testifies of him; through which faith we obtain forgiveness of sins, are sanctified, justified, and made children of God, yea partake of his mind, nature and image, as being born again of God from above, through incorruptible seed. Gen. 8:21; Mark 1:15; Ezek. 12:2; Col. 3:9,10; Eph. 4:22,24; Heb. 10:22,23; John 7:38.


Concerning baptism we confess that all penitent believers, who, through faith, regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost, are made one with God, and are written in heaven, must, upon such scriptural confession of faith, and renewing of life, be baptized with water, in the most worthy name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, according to the command of Christ, and the teaching, example, and practice of the apostles, to the burying of their sins, and thus be incorporated into the communion of the saints; henceforth to learn to observe all things which the Son of God has taught, left, and commanded his disciples. Acts 2:38; Matt. 28:19,20; Rom. 6:4; Mark 16:16; Matt. 3:15; Acts 8:16; 9:18; 10:47; 16:33; Col. 2:11,12.


We believe in, and confess a visible church of God, namely, those who, as has been said before, truly repent and believe, and are rightly baptized; who are one with God in heaven, and rightly incorporated into the communion of the saints here on earth. These we confess to be the chosen generation, the royal priesthood, the holy nation, who are declared to be the bride and wife of Christ, yea, children and heirs of everlasting life, a tent, tabernacle and habitation of God in the Spirit, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, of which Jesus Christ himself is declared to be the corner stone (upon which his church is built). This church of the living God, which he has acquired, purchased, and redeemed with his own precious blood; with which, according to his promise, he 39 will be and remain always, even unto the end of the world, for consolation and protection, yea, will dwell and walk among them, and preserve them, so that no floods or tempests, nay, not even the gates of hell, shall move or prevail against them—this church we say, may be known by her scriptural faith, doctrine, love, and godly conversation, as, also, by the fruitful observance, practice, and maintenance of the true ordinances of Christ, which he so highly enjoined upon his disciples. 1 Cor. 12; 1 Pet. 2:9; John 3:29; Rev. 19:7; Tit. 3:6,7; Eph. 2:19–21; Matt. 16:18; 1 Pet. 1:18,19; Matt. 28:20; 2 Cor. 6:16; Matt. 7:25.


Concerning the offices and elections in the church, we believe and confess, that, since without offices and ordinances the church cannot subsist in her growth, nor continue in building, therefore the Lord Jesus Christ himself, as a husbandman in his house, has instituted, ordained, enjoined and commanded his offices and ordinances, how every one is to walk therein, and give heed to and perform his work and calling, as is meet, even as he himself, as the faithful, great, chief Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, was sent, and came into the world, not to bruise, break, or destroy the souls of men, but to heal and restore them, to seek the lost, to break down the middle wall of partition, to make of twain one, and thus to gather of Jews, gentiles, and all nations, one flock, for a church in his name, for which—that no one should err or be lost—he himself laid down his life, thus ministering to their salvation, and liberating and redeeming them, (mark) wherein no one else could help or assist them. Eph. 4:10–12; 1 Pet. 2:25; Matt. 12:19; 18:11; Eph. 2:14; Gal. 3:28; John 10:9,11,15; Ps. 49:8.

And that he, moreover, before his departure, left his church supplied with faithful ministers, apostles, evangelists, pastors and teachers, whom he before, through the Holy Ghost, had chosen with prayer and supplication; that they might govern the church, feed his flock, and watch over, protect, and provide for it, yea, do in all things, as he had gone before them, had taught, by example shown, and charged them, to teach to observe all things whatsoever he had commanded them. Luke 10:1; 6:12,13; John 2:15.

That the apostles, likewise, as faithful followers of Christ, and leaders of the church, were diligent in this respect, with prayer and supplication to God, through the election of brethren, to provide every city, place, or church, with bishops, pastors and leaders, and to ordain such persons thereto, who would take heed unto themselves, and unto the doctrine and flock, who were sound in faith, pious in life and conversation, and of good report without as well as in the church; that they might be an example, light, and pattern in all godliness and good works, worthily administering the Lord’s ordinances—baptism and supper;—and that they might everywhere (where such could be found) appoint faithful men who would be able to teach others also, as elders, ordaining them by the laying on of hands in the name of the Lord, and provide for all the wants of the church according to their ability; so that, as faithful servants, they might husband well their Lord’s talent, get gain with it, and, consequently, save themselves and those who hear them. 1 Tim. 3:1; Acts 23:24; Tit. 1:5; 1 Tim. 4:16; Tit. 2:1,2; 1 Tim. 3:7; 2 Tim. 2:2; 1 Tim. 4:14; 5:2; Luke 19:13.

That they should also see diligently to it, particularly each among his own over whom he has the oversight, that all places be well provided with deacons (to look after and care for the poor), who may receive the contributions and alms, in order to dispense them faithfully and with all propriety to the poor and needy saints. Acts 6:3–6.

And that also honorable aged widows should be chosen and ordained deaconesses, that they with the deacons may visit, comfort, and care for, the poor, feeble, sick, sorrowing and needy, as also the widows and orphans, and assist in attending to other wants and necessities of the church to the best of their ability. 1 Tim. 5:9; Rom. 16:1; James 1:27.

Furthermore, concerning deacons, that they, especially when they are fit, and chosen and ordained thereto by the church, for the assistance and relief of the elders, may exhort the church (since they, as has been said, are chosen thereto), and labor also in the word and in teaching; that each may minister unto the other with the gift he has received of the Lord, so that through mutual service and the assistance of every member, each in his measure, the body of Christ may be improved, and the vine and church of the Lord continue to grow, increase, and be built up, according as it is proper.


We also confess and observe the breaking of bread, or Supper, as the Lord Christ Jesus before his suffering instituted it with bread and wine, and observed and eat it with his apostles, commanding them to observe it in remembrance of him; which they accordingly taught and practiced in the church, and commanded that it should be kept in remembrance of the suffering and death of the Lord; and that his precious body was broken, and his blood shed, for us and all mankind, as also the fruits hereof, namely, redemption and eternal salvation, which he purchased thereby, showing such great love towards us sinful men; whereby we are admonished to the utmost, to love and forgive one another and our neighbor, as he has done unto us, and to be mindful to maintain and live up to the unity and fellowship which we have with God and one another, which is signified to us by this breaking of bread. Matt. 26:26; Mark 14:22; Acts 2:42; 1 Cor. 10:16; 11:23.


We also confess a washing of the saints’ feet, as the Lord Christ not only instituted, enjoined and commanded it, but himself, although he was their 40 Lord and Master, washed his apostles’ feet, thereby giving an example that they should likewise wash one another’s feet, and do as he had done unto them; which they accordingly, from this time on, taught believers to observe, as a sign of true humility, and, especially, to remember by this feet-washing the true washing, whereby we are washed through his precious blood, and made pure after the soul. John 13:4–17; 1 Tim. 5:10.


We confess that there is in the church of God an honorable state of matrimony, of two free, believing persons, in accordance with the manner after which God originally ordained the same in paradise, and instituted it himself with Adam and Eve, and that the Lord Christ did away and set aside all the abuses of marriage which had meanwhile crept in, and referred all to the original order, and thus left it. Gen. 1:27; Mark 10:4.

In this manner the apostle Paul also taught and permitted matrimony in the church, and left it free for every one to be married, according to the original order, in the Lord, to whomsoever one may get to consent. By these words, in the Lord, there is to be understood, we think, that even as the patriarchs had to marry among their kindred or generation, so the believers of the New Testament have likewise no other liberty than to marry among the chosen generation and spiritual kindred of Christ, namely such, and no others, who have previously become united with the church as one heart and soul, have received one baptism, and stand in one communion, faith, doctrine and practice, before they may unite with one another by marriage. Such are then joined by God in his church according to the original order; and this is called, marrying in the Lord. 2 Cor. 7:2; 1 Cor. 9:5; Gen. 24:4; 28:2; 1 Cor. 7:39.


We believe and confess that God has ordained power and authority, and set them to punish the evil, and protect the good, to govern the world, and maintain countries and cities, with their subjects, in good order and regulation; and that we, therefore, may not despise, revile or resist the same, but must acknowledge and honor them as the ministers of God, and be subject and obedient unto them, yea, ready for all good works, especially in that which is not contrary to the law, will, and commandment of God; also faithfully pay custom, tribute and taxes, and to render unto them their dues, even also as the Son of God taught and practiced, and commanded his disciples to do; that we, moreover, must constantly and earnestly pray to the Lord for them and their welfare, and for the prosperity of the country, that we may dwell under its protection, earn our livelihood, and lead a quiet, peaceable life, with all godliness and honesty; and, furthermore, that the Lord would recompense unto them, here, and afterwards in eternity, all benefits, liberty and favor which we enjoy here under their praiseworthy administration. Rom. 13:1–7; Tit. 3:1; 1 Pet. 2:17; Matt. 22:21; 17:27; 1 Tim. 2:1.


As regards revenge, that is, to oppose an enemy with the sword, we believe and confess that the Lord Christ has forbidden and set aside to his disciples and followers all revenge and retaliation, and commanded them to render to no one evil for evil, or cursing for cursing, but to put the sword into the sheath, or, as the prophets have predicted, to beat the swords into ploughshares. Matt. 5:39,44; Rom. 12:14; 1 Pet. 3:9; Is. 2:14; Micah 4:3; Zech. 9:8,9.

From this we understand that therefore, and according to his example, we must not inflict pain, harm or sorrow upon any one, but seek the highest welfare and salvation of all men, and even, if necessity require it, flee for the Lord’s sake from one city or country into another, and suffer the spoiling of our goods; that we must not harm any one, and, when we are smitten, rather turn the other cheek also, than take revenge or retaliate. Matt. 5:39.

And, moreover, that we must pray for our enemies, feed and refresh them whenever they are hungry or thirsty, and thus convince them by well-doing, and overcome all ignorance. Rom. 12:19,20.

Finally, that we must do good and commend ourselves to every man’s conscience; and, according to the law of Christ, do unto no one that which we would not have done to us. 2 Cor. 4:2; Matt. 7:12.


Concerning the Swearing of Oaths we believe and confess, that the Lord Christ has set aside and forbidden, the same to his disciples, that they should not swear at all, but that yea should be yea, and nay, nay; from which we understand that all oaths, high and low, are forbidden, and that instead of them we are to confirm all our promises and obligations, yea, all our declarations and testimonies of any matter, only with our word yea, in that which is yea, and with nay, in that which is nay; yet, that we must always, in all matters, and with every one, adhere to, keep, follow, and fulfill the same, as though we had confirmed it with a solemn oath. And if we do this, we trust that no one, not even the Magistracy itself, will have just reason, to lay a greater burden on our mind and conscience. Matt. 5:34,35; James 5:12; 2 Cor. 1:17.


We also believe in, and confess, a ban, Separation, and Christian correction in the church, for amendment, and not for destruction, in order to distinguish that which is pure from the impure: namely, when any one, after he is enlightened, has accepted the knowledge of the truth, and been incorporated into the communion of the saints, sins again unto death, either through willfulness, or through presumption against God, or through some other cause, and falls into the unfruitful works of darkness, thereby becoming separated from God, and forfeiting the kingdom of God, that such a one, after the deed is manifest and sufficiently known to the church, may not remain in the congregation of the righteous, but, as an offensive member and open 41 sinner, shall and must be separated, put away, reproved before all, and purged out as leaven; and this for his amendment, as an example, that others may fear, and to keep the church pure, by cleansing her from such spots, lest, in default of this, the name of the Lord be blasphemed, the church dishonored, and offense given to them that are without; and finally, that the sinner may not be condemned with the world, but become convinced in his mind, and be moved to sorrow, repentance and reformation. Jer. 59:2; 1 Cor. 5:5,13; 1 Tim. 5:20; 1 Cor. 5:6; 2 Cor. 10:8; 13:10.

Further, concerning brotherly reproof or admonition, as also the instruction of the erring, it is necessary to exercise all diligence and care, to watch over them and to admonish them with all meekness, that they may be bettered, and to reprove, according as is proper, the stubborn who remain obdurate; in short, the church must put away from her the wicked (either in doctrine or life), and no other. James 5:19; Tit. 3:10; 1 Cor. 5:13.


Concerning the withdrawing from, or shunning the separated, we believe and confess, that if any one, either through his wicked life or perverted doctrine, has so far fallen that he is separated from God, and, consequently, also separated and punished by the church, the same must, according to the doctrine of Christ and his apostles, be shunned, without distinction, by all the fellow members of the church, especially those to whom it is known, in eating, drinking, and other similar intercourse, and no company be had with him; that they may not become contaminated by intercourse with him, nor made partakers of his sins; but that the sinner may be made ashamed, pricked in his heart, and convicted in his conscience, unto his reformation. 1 Cor. 5:9–11; 2 Thess. 3:14.

Yet, in shunning as well as in reproving, such moderation and Christian discretion must be used, that it may conduce, not to the destruction, but to the reformation of the sinner. For, if he is needy, hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, or in any other distress, we are in duty bound, necessity requiring it, according to love and the doctrine of Christ and his apostles, to render him aid and assistance; otherwise, shunning would in this case tend more to destruction than to reformation.

Therefore, we must not count them as enemies, but admonish them as brethren, that thereby they may be brought to a knowledge of and to repentance and sorrow for their sins, so that they may become reconciled to God, and, consequently be received again into the church; and that love may continue with them, according as is proper. 2 Thess. 3:15.


Finally, concerning the resurrection of the dead, we confess with the mouth, and believe with the heart, according to Scripture, that in the last day all men who shall then have died, and fallen asleep, shall be awaked and quickened, and shall rise again, through the incomprehensible power of God; and that they, together with those who then will still be alive, and who shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye, at the sound of the last trump, shall be placed before the judgment seat of Christ, and the good be separated from the wicked; that then every one shall receive in his own body according to that he hath done, whether it be good or evil; and that the good or pious, as the blessed, shall be taken up with Christ, and shall enter into life eternal, and obtain that joy, which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man, to reign and triumph with Christ forever and ever. Matt. 22:30,31; Dan. 12:12; Job 19:26,27; Matt. 25:31; John 5:28; 2 Cor. 5:10; 1 Cor. 15; Rev. 20:12; 1 Thess. 4:15; 1 Cor. 2:9.

And that, on the other hand, the wicked or impious, as accursed, shall be cast into outer darkness, yea, into the everlasting pains of hell, where their worm shall not die, nor their fire be quenched, and where they, according to holy Scripture, can nevermore expect any hope, comfort or redemption. Mark 9:44; Rev. 14:11.

May the Lord, through his grace, make us all worthy and meet, that this may befall none of us; but that we may thus take heed unto ourselves, and use all diligence, that on that day we may be found before him unspotted and blameless in peace. Amen.

These, then, as has been briefly stated before, are the principal articles of our general Christian faith, as we teach and practice the same throughout in our churches and among our people; which, in our judgment, is the only true Christian faith, which the apostles in their time believed and taught, yea, testified with their life, confirmed with their death, and, some of them, also sealed with their blood; wherein we in our weakness with them and all the pious, would fain abide, live, and die, that we may afterwards obtain salvation with them through the grace of the Lord.

Thus done and finished in our united churches, in the city of Dortrecht, the 21st of April, 1632, new style.

And was signed by the mutually united:

Isaac de Koning, and in the name of our minister.
Jan Jacobs.
(On the other side.)
By me Hans Cobrijsz.
By me Jacuis Terwen.
Claes Dircksg.
Mels Gijsbertsz.
Adriaen Cornelissz.
Bastiaen Willemsen. Jan Winkelmans.
Oillaert Willeborts, by Jacob Pennen.
Lieven Marijnesz.
Tobias Govertsz. (On the other side.)
Pieter Jansz Moyer. David ter Haer.
Abraham Dircksz. Pieter Jansz van Singel.42
Jan Doom. (On the other side.)
Piter Grijspert. Dirck Wonteresz Kolenkamp.
Pieter Joosten.
Willem Jansz van Exselt. Gijsbert Spiering.
(On the other side.)
Balten Centen Schoenmaker. Israel van Halmael.
M. Michielsz. Hendrick Dircksz Apeldoren.
Andries Lucken Jr.
From the Upper Part of the Country.
Peter van Borsel. Antony Hansz.
Krevelt Do.
Harmen op den Graff. Weylm Kreynen.
Cornelis de Moir. Isaac Claessz.
Cornelis Bom. Lambrecht Paeldink.
Mr. C. de Korink. Jan Weyns.
Claes Claessen. Pieter Peters.
Anthonis Cornelissz. Pieter Jansz Timmerman.
Herman Segers. (On the other side.)
Jan Hendricksen Hooghvelt. Abraham Spronk.
David Horens. Williem van Brœkhuysen.
Jacob van der Heyde Sebrechts. Jan Jansz V. K.
Cornelis Jansz. Dirck Reuderson.

Besides that the last mentioned confession was received by so many churches, and signed by their leaders, as has been shown, also all the churches in Alsace and in the Palatinate, in Germany, afterwards unanimously adopted and signed it; wherefore it was undertaken to translate the same for their benefit and that of others, into French and into German. This is given as a remembrance. Here is the patience and faith of the saints. Rev. 13:10.


Where God builds a temple, says the old proverb, there the devil builds another in opposition. This has been apparent ever since the beginning of the world. For at the same time that Abel became a martyr of God, and, therefore, a good leader of the children of God, Cain made himself a murderer, and became a leader of the children of Satan, who belong to the ungodly and false church, as members of one body. Gen. 4:8.

He was followed by Lamech, one of Cain’s descendants, who slew a young man, and afterwards spoke of it to his wives Addah and Zillah, in a boasting and presumptuous manner. Gen. 4:23.

The people of the first world universally, with the exception of eight, followed in the footsteps of Lamech in wickedness; they exercised tyranny, violence, and oppression, and would not be governed by the Spirit of God. Gen. 6:3,4.

The Sodomites followed in the same course, vexing with their unbecoming walk the righteous soul of Lot from day to day. Gen. 19; 2 Pet. 2:8.

These were succeeded by the Egyptians, who imposed grievous and insupportable burdens upon the people of God, and finally sought their lives, yea pursued them even into the sea. Compare Ex. 1:11 with Ex. 14:9,10,23.

After these were the seven nations, or inhabitants, of the land of Palestine, who were greater and mightier than the children of Israel, but were banished by God on account of their wickedness; namely the Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, Jebusites, etc. Deut. 7:1,2.

After these manifested themselves the Amorites, Moabites, Midianites, Philistines, and many others, who disturbed, oppressed, and harassed in manifold ways the people of God, which was dwelling in quiet. See throughout in the book of the Judges, the books of Samuel, the Kings, and Chronicles.

The Chaldeans, Assyrians, and the inhabitants of the land of Babylon, followed those already mentioned; they carried the church of God away into foreign lands, burned the house of God, and laid waste the city of Jerusalem, which God had chosen above all the cities of the whole earth. 2 Kings 1–17; Jer. 52:1–20; Lam. 1:1–5.

The mighty cities, Tyre and Sidon, in Phenicia, and afterwards, Chorazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum, which defied the world itself with their greatness, and cast the threatenings of God to the wind, lifted up their heads after the last mentioned, but to their own destruction. Compare Is. 23:4,5; Ezek. 27 and 28 throughout, with Matt. 11:20–23.

All these who have been mentioned, from Cain on, succeeded one another in regular order, and may be considered as members of the church of Satan; since they have neither in generation, nor in faith, nor in worship, nor in manner of life, agreed 43 with the church of God, but opposed it in every respect.

After the coming of Christ, many who had adopted the Christian religion and worship, apostatized, denying the faith, and thus becoming fellow-members in the last mentioned, ungodly, and wicked congregation; as, for instance: Simon Magnus, who by confession of faith, and baptism had joined himself to the visible church of God, but fell from it, desiring to purchase the gift of the Holy Ghost with money, which, according to the apostle Peter, tended to his destruction, although he afterwards, as it appears, was again converted. Acts 8:13,18–22.

Hymeneus and Alexander, who concerning faith made shipwreck, and were full of blasphemies, wherefore they were put away from the church by Paul, and delivered unto Satan. 1 Tim. 1:19,20.

Phygellus and Hermogenes, who with the greater number of those in Asia, were turned away from Paul, and, consequently, also from the doctrine of the Gospel which they had received. 2 Tim. 1:15.

Hymeneus (the second) and Philetus, who, having erred concerning the truth, pretended that the resurrection of the dead was past already; whereby they overthrew the faith of some. 2 Tim. 2:17,18.

Demas, who forsook Paul, having loved the world. 2 Tim. 4:10.

Alexander, the coppersmith, who did the apostle much evil, on account of which the church of Christ is admonished to beware of him. 2 Tim. 4:14,15.

Many others, who, though they bore the name of members of the Christian church, did not stand by but forsook the oft mentioned servant of God, when he was to answer before the Emperor Nero in regard to the Evangelical doctrine; for which reason their names did no longer belong among the pious. See last mentioned chapter verse 16.

After these followed many who in the days of John went out from the Church of Jesus Christ, and did the works of antichrist; wherefore they were called antichrists, being forerunners of the great antichrist who was to follow afterwards. See 1 John 2:18,19. Besides these who arose already in the time of the apostles, and went out from the holy congregation of God, many others, who can not all be mentioned, followed in all ages and will follow to the last days.

Of this the apostles prophesied when their departure was near at hand, and warned the believers of their coming.

When Paul knew and was fully assured through the revelation of the Holy Ghost that all those among whom he had traveled preaching the Gospel would see his face no more, he thus addressed, on the island of Miletus, the elders of the church of Ephesus, who had come to him: I know, beloved brethren, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. Acts 20:29–31.

Afterwards when he was in the city of Laodicea, in Phrygia Pacatiana, he wrote in a certain letter to his beloved friend Timothy, concerning the apostasy which should be through some in the latter times, thus: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats.” 1 Tim. 4:1–3.

Who these apostates were that, in many instances, have forbidden marriage and meats it is unnecessary to point out, since the truth of the matter is clear and manifest to almost every one.

But at the close of his life, when he was imprisoned at Rome the second time, and had already received his sentence of death, namely, to be executed with the sword, for the name of the Lord, he once more renewed the foregoing to his friend and spiritual son Timothy, in order that he might never forget it, but also put the church, where he was a teacher, in remembrance of it with these words: “This know also that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, . . . having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” 2 Tim. 3:1–5.

Continually, he adds this declaration for further instruction: “The time will come when they” (namely, certain members of the Christian church) “will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 2 Tim. 4:3,4.

In like manner, Peter also, as his departure drew nigh, expressly prophesied to the chosen strangers scattered abroad: That, as there were, in times past, false prophets among the people (Israel), there should also be false teachers among (or out of) them, who should privily bring in pernicious heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them. 2 Pet. 2:1.

It would require too much time to recount what also John says on this subject, not only in his epistles, but especially in his revelation; since he gives a description of the condition of both the church of Christ and of antichrist, from his time to the end of the world.


Here is to be considered the great error of the Romanists, when they without regarding the true succession of the doctrine build on, and parade the succession of the persons, who either from the beginning of the world, or from the time of the apostles have existed throughout, as they pretend up to the present time; surely a very insignificant matter!47


For, if they reckon from the beginning of the world, we have shown, that Cain, who was a murderer, has had his successors as well as Abel, who was slain for the sake of his faith48 and godliness.

And also, if they reckon from the time of the apostles, we have demonstrated that at that time already there were many apostates, yea, adversaries of the Christian religion and the true worship of God; and that more have followed, according to the prophecies and predictions which the holy apostles uttered and left to posterity.

Hence it follows, that neither the antiquity, nor the long or great succession of persons, can assure the truth of any religion or church, since the evil is as ancient as the good, and the erring spirits and evil doers have had, and still have, as great a succession as the true believers and good; unless the antiquity, and the succession of persons be accompanied with the divine truth and piety possessed by the upright ancients in the beginning.


But, in order to maintain the aforementioned succession, the Papists are accustomed to say, that they do not reckon the same from the antiquity of some erring spirits who were before, in, or after the time of the apostles; but from the church of Christ itself, and from Peter, whom they styled the prince of the apostles, upon whom Christ himself, as they asserted, wished to build his church. Bell. lib. 1. de pont Rom. cap. 10. Quansuys ex.

To this they add as a second argument, that to him, and no other, were given, by Christ, the keys of heaven, to open or to close the same according to his pleasure.

And, thirdly, that the Lord thrice commanded him—more than the other apostles—to feed his flock, that is, his church.

Moreover, that he occupied the Roman throne, and that the popes succeeded him therein.

To prove this supremacy of Peter, and, consequently, the succession of the popes in his place, they have, for a long time already, misused three passages of holy Scripture, namely Matt. 16:18,19; and John 21:15–17; to which we will reply in the following.


Matt. 16:18, the Lord says: “Upon this rock I will build my church.”

The error of the Romanists consists in this, that they misinterpret the word petra, as though thereby was meant the apostle Peter; but this is a great and palpable error. For the Lord there plainly distinguishes between the name Petros (Peter) and the word petra (rock); saying immediately before: “Thou art Peter,” but afterwards: “and upon this rock;” upon which follows: “I will build my church;” so that the Lord does not promise there, to build his church upon Peter, but upon the rock; which he plainly mentions.

Now it will depend upon the true meaning—who and what is to be understood by this rock. Some maintain the first mentioned meaning, which we have refuted just now, namely, that Peter himself is meant thereby; for which purpose they misapply the passage John 1:42, where this apostle is called Cephas,49 which, in their opinion, signifies a foundation stone; but this is also an error.

It is true that, according to the explanation of orientalists, those versed in oriental languages, by this word there is to be understood a stone; but what kind of a stone? Not a foundation stone, but a piece, corner, or chip of a stone, upon which no building could ever be founded. The word Cephas, they say, is derived from the Hebrew word Keph, which with them means a corner or edge of a stone; while, on the other hand, the rocks or foundation stones are designated by the name Sela or Zur,50 according to Deut. 32:13. Thus Peter is indeed called a stone in holy Scripture, yet not a foundation stone, but only such a one as is generally built upon a foundation. Christ is properly the foundation stone, as Peter himself declares, when he calls Christ the living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious (1 Pet. 2:4); whereupon he adduces the words of the Prophet Isaiah, saying: “Wherefore also it is contained in the Scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him” (that is builds upon him through faith) “shall not be confounded.” 1 Pet. 2:6 from Is. 28:16.

Therefore he admonishes the believers, to build themselves, as living stones, to a spiritual house, upon the foundation which is laid—Christ. Verse 5.

Paul confirms this, when he says: “Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ,” 1 Cor. 3:11. In another place he calls him the foundation of the apostles and prophets, etc. (namely, upon whom the apostles and prophets themselves were built up, and upon whom they, through their doctrine, built up others also); for he adds: “In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit.” Eph. 2:20–22.

It is not inconsistent with this, that the twelve apostles, of whom Peter was one, are called twelve foundation stones,51 upon which, as John says, the city of God, that descended from heaven, was built. 45 Rev. 21:14. For, even if it were admitted that by the words, city of God, in this place, there is to be understood the church of God here on earth, this would only prove, that Peter, as well as the other apostles, was one of the twelve foundation stones of the church of Christ; which by no means confirms the proposed objection, that Peter alone is the foundation stone, or foundation, of the church.

Again, the word “foundation stones” here does not signify the foundation itself, since, properly speaking, in nature, the foundation, as the ground or bottom of a building, is something different from the stones built upon it, which are called foundation stones; for, upon the ground or bottom the foundation-stones are laid, and upon the foundation-stones the building; so that the ground of foundation must support both, the foundation-stones and the building. Thus, Christ is the ground, bottom, or foundation of his church; the apostles, through their doctrine, are the foundation-stones; and the church is the building erected upon these foundation-stones and the foundation. It stands fast, therefore, that they err, who make Peter the only foundation of the church of Christ, and that, consequently the building which they erect thereon, is erroneous and false.52


The second passage is taken from Matt. 16:19: “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

But this does not in the least tend to prove that church discipline or the power of expelling from, and re-admitting unto the church, was given, among the apostles, to Peter alone, and to no other of the twelve; for in verse 13 it is written: “When Jesus came into the coasts of Cesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I, the Son of man, am?” Whereupon it is related, that Peter (in the name of all) answered: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Then follows, verse 19: “I will give unto thee the keys,” etc., which promise, though addressed specially to Peter, extended to all the apostles in general, since the Lord did not ask Peter alone, but the whole of them collectively; upon which, when he (Peter) had answered in the name of all, followed the above mentioned promise.

This is explained still further by the holy evangelist John, who says, chap. 20:19,22,23, that Christ, after his resurrection, standing in the midst of his disciples, breathed on them all, and said: “Receive ye the Holy Ghost,” adding: “Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained;” which words are of equal importance with those just quoted from Matthew, concerning the giving of the keys.

Moreover, that the church also has received this power, is expressed in words not obscure at all in Matt. 18:17,18: If he (the sinner) neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, whatsoever ye (understand, according to the sentence of the church, which is here spoken of) shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Who doubts that these are the express words which were previously addressed to Peter, but, of course, are intended for all the apostles, and here for the whole church?

We see that the Corinthian church, at the time of Paul, possessed the right of expelling and readmitting, called binding and loosing; for, touching the expulsion of the sinner, it was said to them: “Purge out therefore the old leaven” (namely, the obstinate sinner), etc. 1 Cor. 5:7. Again: “Put away from among yourselves that wicked person.” Verse 13.

Concerning the readmittance of the one who manifested penitence, they are commanded: “Sufficient to such a man (namely, who repents of his sins) is this punishment (that is, the expulsion from the church) which was inflicted of many. So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.” 2 Cor. 2:6,7.

Besides, that this power of binding and loosing was not given to Peter alone, but to all the apostles, and also to the church, it is entirely different in its nature from that of which the pope of Rome as the imaginary successor of Peter boasts. For the power of which Christ spoke, must be limited by the rule of his word, Matt. 7:24,26; Gal. 1:6–8; while on the contrary the power of which the pope boasts is unlimited, has no rule, and extends as far as his pleasure. Bald. in cap. Eccles. Also, dist. 40. cap. S. Papae, etc.

It follows then, that to the pope is attributed wrongfully a power which was not given to Peter himself; moreover, that the power which was given him, was common to all the apostles, and also to the church.


The third passage (or argument) is taken from John 21:15–17, where the Lord asked Peter three times, whether he loved him, and Peter answered each time: “Yea, Lord, I love thee;” to which the Lord replied, three times: “Feed my lambs;” “Watch my sheep,” etc.

Some among the Papists, in order to maintain the supremacy of Peter and, consequently, that of the popes of Rome, have so strained these words, that a certain celebrated author among them did not hesitate to write, that Peter is here appointed a ruler, watchman, and pastor, not only over the church, but over the apostles themselves. Bell. lib. I. de Pont. Rom. cap. 14. & 15. 16. Second. S. Velt. etc.

But herein they do violence to the text, since various arguments from the holy Scriptures overthrow this view. For, in the first place, it is certain, 46 that at that time Peter had greatly and grievously gone astray, more than any of the other apostles; since he, contrary to warning and his own solemn promise, had so faithlessly denied, yea, entirely forsaken, the Lord; hence, there is no probability that the Lord exalted him above all the others, and appointed him ruler over them; which would be altogether incompatible with the justice of Christ, and the nature of the case.

In the second place it would not accord with what the Lord had taught his apostles in general, on a previous occasion, when a strife had arisen among them, as to which of them, after his departure, should be the greatest; saying: “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. Luke 22:25,26. Again: “Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.” Matt. 23:8,10.

In the third place, if we examine the proposed argument, we shall find, that neither the threefold question of the Lord: Lovest thou me? nor his threefold injunction: “Feed, or watch, my lambs, and sheep,” was directed to Peter any more than to the other apostles.

For, as regards the question, Lovest thou me? what does it signify more than that Peter should examine himself, whether he did love Christ? Very well. What, then, had Peter more than any of the other apostles? or than Paul afterwards had? who said: “For I am persuaded, that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom. 8:38,39. Again: “The love of Christ constraineth us;” etc. 2 Cor. 5:14. Yea, every Christian in particular, and all in general, are bound to this love, which is so necessary, that it is written: “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema, Maran-atha.” 1 Cor. 16:22.

Concerning the injunction, Watch, or feed, my lambs and sheep, this is also enjoined upon all true teachers. “Take heed therefore,” says Paul to the elders of the church at Ephesus, “unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” Acts 20:28.

Peter, moreover, has, in this respect, not placed himself above, but beside his fellow ministers, when he, exhorting them, says: “The elders which are among you I exhort, which am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ. . . . Feed the flock of God which is among you,” etc. 1 Pet. 5:1,2.

This is further confirmed by the fact, that the Lord did not command Peter only, but all the apostles in general, to go into all the world, to preach and baptize the believers. Matt. 28:18–20; Mark 16:15,16.

Again, he said to them all: “Ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.” Acts 1:8.

It follows therefore, that in the matter of watching over, and feeding, the sheep of Christ, that is, in preaching the holy Gospel, and taking care of the church of Christ, Peter possessed no more authority, power, and distinction than the other apostles and apostolic teachers.

It now remains to give a solution, why the Lord thrice asked Peter alone, and none of the others, whether he loved him, and thrice commanded him to feed his sheep.

To this we reply: since Peter only a short time before had thrice forsaken the Lord, it was not more than right, that he should also confess thrice that he loved him whom he had forsaken; and that, therefore, this question should be put to him three times.

Besides, since Peter, by his denial had entirely abandoned, or, at least, had become totally unworthy of his office of teaching and feeding the church of Christ, none of the other apostles would, under any consideration, have recognized or received him therein; hence it was necessary, that the Lord himself should earnestly, yea thrice, charge him with it, so that no one might come to doubt the worthiness of his person (since he was now converted), or the validity of his office.

Thence follows again the absurdity of those who make the matter in question say more than the Lord himself has done: namely, that Peter hereby was not reinstated into his office, which he had abandoned; but that he was appointed head of the whole church, yea, even over all the other apostles; as can be seen in lib. I. de pont. Rom. cap. 11. Bellorm.


Besides that the three proposed passages are of no use to the papists in proving the supremacy of Peter over the other apostles and the whole Christian church, there follow various reasons and circumstances which show clearly, that the succession of the popes, which they would deduce from Peter, cannot stand, but is unfounded and untrue.

For, to come to the point, it cannot be shown, that Peter was ever at Rome, (where the seat of the pope is placed), except at the close of his life, and then he was not received as pope, but was put to death as a martyr, with Paul, his fellow apostle, for the testimony of Jesus Christ, as we have circumstantially shown in the History of the Holy Martyrs, of the year 69 A. D. Also, Egesipp. Hist. van de verstoring Jerusalem, 3. Bock, 2 cap. Also, W. Band. Apopth. Christian, lib. 1. ex Hieron. de vitis illustribus. Johan. Strac. in festo Johan. Evang. etc.


Eusebius quotes from Dionysius, a teacher of the church at Corinth, concerning the coming of Paul and Peter to Rome, as also concerning their preaching, which was the cause of their death, these words: They (namely Paul and Peter) were both together in our congregation at Corinth, teaching (from) there (on) throughout all Italy; they taught also in this city (namely, Rome, of which he had first spoken); where they both were crowned martyrs at the same time. Euseb. Pamph. Chron. Eccl. Edition of 1588 lib. 2. cap. 25.

He speaks of Peter’s coming to, and preaching at, Rome, even as if having taken place at the close of his life; and although he puts Paul’s coming and preaching in the same time, Paul’s coming to this city, nevertheless, happened much earlier than the coming of Peter, which took place shortly before their death; in which time both together preached the holy Gospel in that city.

That Paul was there much earlier and longer, appears from all the circumstances of the Acts of the apostles; for while Peter was preaching at Cesarea, Antioch, Jerusalem, and in other places, Paul was brought to Rome, and, having arrived there, “dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.” Here the account of the Acts of the Apostles ends, without mentioning anything further of Peter. See Acts 28:30,31.


In this demonstration we shall forego the method employed by Sebastian Frank, Gysius, and others, who have written syllogistically upon this subject, and shall confine ourselves solely to the express testimony of (or, at least, plain inferences from) Holy Scripture, upon which we propose to found our arguments.

Reason.First Argument.—When Paul drew near the city of Rome, where he was to be arraigned before Cesar, the brethren53 came out of the city to meet him, as far as Appii Forum, and the Three Taverns, whom, when Paul saw, he took courage. Acts 28:15. But among these Peter is not once mentioned, which would undoubtedly have been the case, had he been with them and occupied the episcopal throne at that place, as is pretended.

Second Argument.—When it came to pass, that Paul was to give an account before the emperor for the first time, he was forsaken by all, and no man stood with him, so that he complained of it to Timothy. 2 Tim. 4:16. Now, if Peter had been at Rome, he certainly would not have forsaken Paul, whom he was wont to call his beloved brother, 2 Pet. 3:15; but would have stood by him with counsel and actual assistance, according to his ability. This, however did not happen; which clearly shows that he was not there at that time; unless some one might conclude, that he, who before had forsaken his Lord and Savior (which was a matter of much consequence), now probably also forsook Paul, who was inferior.

To this may serve as reply: That Peter, at the time he forsook Christ, was not filled with the gift of the Holy Ghost, which was not poured upon the apostles until after Christ’s ascension, Acts 2:1–3; hence he could easily come to this fall; but now, being filled with the Holy Ghost,54 it was quite otherwise, so much so, that he and his fellow apostles feared no suffering, not even death itself. Compare Acts 4:19–21 with 5:40–42 and 12:3,4. Also 1 Pet. 3:14 and 4:16.

Moreover, in Paul’s complaint to Timothy not a word is mentioned as to Peter having forsaken him; which, had it happened, would certainly, as a notable matter, not have been passed over in silence; more especially, as he mentions some of those who forsook him, by name, as, Demas, Alexander the coppersmith, etc.

Third Argument.—When Paul was confined in prison at Rome, and bound in chains, he commended Onesiphorus, because he had visited him, and was not ashamed of his chain; without mentioning anything about others, saying: “The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain. 2 Tim. 1:16.

But why does he not commend Peter as having visited him in his bonds? or, if Peter was there and did not do so, but was ashamed of his chain, why does he not complain, that so great a man, who ought to have had been a leader unto others, was so negligent therein?

Doubtless, if Peter had been in the city at that time, and visited, or not visited, him in prison, Paul would not have passed it over in utter silence, without commending or complaining of it.

Fourth Argument.—When many had departed from Paul, while he was in prison, he made mention of one who had remained by, or with, him, namely, in the city of Rome. He calls him Luke, and says: Only Luke is with (or by) me. 2 Tim. 4:11. It follows, therefore, that at the time when Paul wrote this, Peter was not at Rome, or it could not have been that only Luke was with him.

Fifth Argument.—A little further on from the above mentioned words, Paul requests of Timothy, that when he came to him, he should bring Mark with him, since the same would be very profitable to him for his ministry, saying: Take Mark, and bring him with thee (when thou comest): for he is profitable to me for the ministry. 2 Tim. 4:11.

Now, if Peter was in Rome at that time, why was Paul under the necessity of sending for Mark for the ministry? or, if he was not there, why did he not 48send for Peter? Certainly, if he had sent for him, he would, unless prevented by some important cause, not have refused to come: and then it could be concluded, that Peter was there a considerable time, since, as we find, they both died considerable time afterwards.

But it does not appear that Paul sent for him; hence, it cannot be concluded, that he came in answer to his summons; and even if he had come at that time, his stay there could not have lasted several years, much less twenty-five years, as the papists say, since death overtook him as well as Paul, as has been shown in its proper place. The preparation, however, of this whole argument is unnecessary and superfluous.

Sixth Argument.—Paul wrote various epistles from his prison at Rome to the believers; as to the Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, to Timothy, Philemon, etc., in which he puts various salutations from believers of the church at Rome, as also, in the beginning of the same makes mention sometimes of his fellow laborers; but he never mentions Peter. We will show here the manner in which this is done.

In the beginning of the epistle to the Philippians he writes these words: Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ. Now, why does he not add here: and Simon Peter?

Nearly in the same manner he commences the epistle to the Colossians, saying: “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus, our brother.” Why does he not add: and Peter, the chief apostle?

In concluding these epistles he adds the salutations of the saints who were with him. To the Philippians he writes: “All the saints salute you . . . chiefly they that are of Cæsar’s household.” Phil. 4:21,22. To the Colossians he addresses these words: “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you.” Col. 4:12. Also: Luke, the physician, greets you. Verse 14.

Peter is not mentioned here at all, which, certainly, had he been there, would have been highly necessary.

This same manner he followed in all the other epistles which he wrote from Rome. To Timothy he says: “Eubulus greeteth thee, and Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia.” 2 Tim. 4:21.

To Philemon: “There salute thee Epaphras . . . Marcus, Aristarchus.” Phil. 23,24.

There might be much said upon this subject, but it would all amount to this: that it would be a strange thing, if Peter was at Rome, when Paul wrote his epistles from the Roman prison, that the latter did never mention in these epistles a salutation from Peter (which, as has been shown, he did not); seeing he mentions salutations from different leaders and members of the Roman church, whom he calls by name: hence it is quite reasonable to conclude, that Peter was not there during that time.

Besides the six arguments mentioned, proving that during the time Paul was imprisoned under Nero, Peter was not at Rome, as far as the testimony of Holy Scriptures go in regard to this, there follow various circumstances showing (by like virtue of Holy Scripture), that also during the time Paul was out of prison, Peter was not to be found in this city.

First Circumstance.—Here is to be considered, why Paul wrote an epistle to the Roman church, as well for the confirmation of the Christian faith, as for stirring up in the moral virtues (which epistle is still in existence), if Peter was there at that time, and had the charge of said church? or, if it was necessary for important reasons, that he should write to them, why he did not send this epistle to Peter as their leader, like he did to Timothy, the teacher of the Ephesian church; and to Titus, the teacher of the church in the Island of Crete?

Or, at least, if we look at the contents of this epistle, we may well consider, why he did not address a salutation to him, or once mention him by name? seeing he filled nearly a whole chapter with the names of those whom he salutes at Rome: as, Aquila with his wife Priscilla, Epenetus and Mary, together with Andronicus, Junia, Amplias, Urbanus, Apelles, Herodion, those of the household of Narcissus (the women), Tryphena and Tryphosa, Persis, Rufus, Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Philologus, Nereus, etc., Rom. 16 throughout; without mentioning in any way whatever the person or name of Peter; from which there may be concluded again with good reason, that which has been concluded before from the account of the salutations which Paul wrote while in prison at Rome, namely, that Peter was not in this city at that time?

Second Circumstance.—When it afterwards happened that Paul, having traveled through Arabia and the country of Damascus, returned after three years, with a particular desire to see Peter; he did not seek him at Rome, but at Jerusalem; where, when he had found him, he abode with him fifteen days; and then departed again into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. Gal. 1:17–21.

Third Circumstance.—When fourteen more years had elapsed, namely, those spent by Paul in his Syrian and Cilician journey, where was Peter to be found? Certainly not at Rome, but at Antioch; for there Paul came to him, and rebuked him, because he had eaten with the Gentiles in the presence of the Jews. Compare Gal. 2:1 with verses 11,12.

Fourth Circumstance.—When some came down from Judea, and troubled the brethren, saying that, unless they were circumcised after the manner of Moses, they could not be saved; and Paul, Barnabas, and other pious men were sent to the apostles and elders, to consult about the matter; Peter as well as the others to whom they were sent, was found at Jerusalem. Acts 15:1–7.

Fifth Circumstance.—Gal. 2:7, we read, that the uncircumcision (that is, the Gentiles) was committed to Paul, but the circumcision (that is, the Jews or the Jewish nation) to Peter; also, verse 9, that Peter (there called Cephas) together with James and John gave to Paul and Barnabas the right hand and agreed, that these should go unto the heathen, but they unto the circumcision (the Jews); namely, to preach the Gospel unto them.

It is, therefore, a settled fact, that Peter was properly a teacher of the Jews (after this agreement was 49 made), and not of the Gentiles. But if he had taught among the Romans, who were Gentiles by nature, he would have gone altogether beyond his engagement and promise; which certainly is not to be supposed of so great and eminent a man as Peter was at that time.

Sixth Circumstance.—From the two epistles of Peter, especially from the words, 1 Pet. 1:1, it evidently appears, that he preached to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia (namely those who were scattered there from the twelve tribes of Israel, according to the statement of James, chap. 1:1); for which preaching, since these countries are very far, some even a hundred and more leagues apart, several years were required, in order to travel through them; during which time Peter apparently could not be there and at Rome at once; this is incontrovertible.

Seventh Circumstance.—At the end of the first epistle of Peter, namely 1 Pet. 5:13, are these words: “The church that is at Babylon, elected . . . saluteth you.”

How could Peter send a salutation from the church at Babylon, unless he was with it in Babylon at that time? But if he was in Babylon, he was not at Rome, unless he had two bodies; of which we do not read anything, nor have we any reason to believe it.

Eighth Circumstance.—Those who hold that Peter was bishop at Rome, make no distinction between the words apostle, or messenger, and bishop, or overseer; yet there always has been a marked difference between the office of an apostle and that of a bishop.

The office of an apostle was to travel from one country to another, yea, through the whole world, and preach the Gospel to those who had not yet heard it; without being bound to any particular place or church, as appears from Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:15.

On the other hand, the office of a bishop or overseer was to watch over, care for, feed and govern, as a shepherd his flock, a particular church, unto which the Gospel had been already preached, and which had accepted faith and the sign of holy baptism. Compare Acts 20:28 with 1 Tim. 3:1–5; Tit. 1:5–7.

Now, it is a fact, that properly not the latter, but the former office was enjoined upon Peter, for he gives himself the first mentioned name—apostle (see 1 Pet. 1:1 and 2 Pet. 1:1); for which purpose Christ himself had chosen him, Luke 6:13,14, and sent him out, as can plainly be seen in the last chapter of Matthew and of Mark.

How could it be then, that Peter sat as bishop of the church in the city of Rome? and, what is still more—for a considerable number of years! unless it be said that Peter abandoned his charge, and accepted another office and ministry than the one to which he was called; which it would be difficult to prove, since nothing is mentioned of it in Holy Writ.

Further Remarks on the foregoing circumstances—If one should confine himself solely to the testimony of the holy Scriptures, not accepting anything else as worthy of belief, it could in no wise be shown that Peter was ever at Rome; but, since the holy Scriptures do not relate all that has happened, the testimony of some accepted authors of that time may be recognized as credible, as far as their testimony is not contrary to what is expressed in holy Scripture.

We have shown from the apostolic writings, that during the time Paul wrote his epistles in the prison at Rome, and also during the whole period that he (Peter) was preaching in foreign countries, Peter was not in Rome, but in Jerusalem, Antioch, Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, and in other places where the Jews were scattered. This we have plainly shown, first by six arguments, and then by eight circumstances, derived from the holy Scriptures. But as to where Peter was, or how he died, after Paul wrote his last epistle from Rome, the Scriptures are silent.

Hence the testimony of those writers whom we have just mentioned cannot well be contradicted; who maintain, that Peter shortly before his death came to Rome, and there laid down his life for the doctrine of the Evangelical truth; without mentioning anything there about his bishopric, much less, popedom.


The common tenet of the papists is, that Peter sat as the chief bishop upon the Roman throne; yet the authors whom they adduce for this purpose greatly differ. For, as respects his arrival in that city, some fix it in the year 41 after Christ; others in the beginning of the reign of the Emperor Claudius; others in the second year of this same Claudius; others in the fourth year; others in the beginning of the reign of Nero; others in the fourteenth year after Paul’s conversion, etc., as is noted in Ireneus, Orosius, Damasus, Hornantius, Th. Aquinus, The Lives of the Saints, etc.

Concerning the length of time he was bishop, there is not less disagreement; as also in regard to how long he was absent from his bishopric sojourning in other places. Cortesius writes of eighteen years, Onuphrius of seven years; but the general opinion among them is, that he sat twenty-five years upon the chair governing their church; although some flatly oppose it. See the last mentioned three authors.

Touching the person who succeeded him in his bishopric, there is much confusion and uncertainty in what is said concerning this subject. Some write, that Clemens succeeded Peter; as Septimus Florens Tert.; others, that Linus followed him; as Ireneus, Eusebius, Epiphan., etc., De Praes 32. 1. Contr. Jov.; others, that Linus discharged Peter’s office two years before the death of the latter; as Damasus, etc.; others, that Peter ordered that Clemens should succeed after the death of Linus; In Pontific. 50 Petr. etc., Clem. in Epist. ad Jacobum, etc.; others, that the chair of Peter was vacant while Linus and Cletus lived, Clemens, who was ordained by Peter as his successor, not being willing, as they say, to occupy the chair in their lifetime; which is testified to by Bellarminus; others that Linus occupied the chair eleven years after Peter’s death; see Eusebius; others, that Linus died before Peter, and, consequently was not his successor in the bishopric; see Turrianus, Sophronius, etc.; others, that Anacletus succeeded Peter, and Clemens, Anacletus. See Homil. de Agon. Pet. and Paul. In Chron. in Anno Clem.; others, finally, that Peter and Linus were bishops simultaneously in the city of Rome; yet so, that Peter was the superior, and Linus, the inferior bishop. See Ruffinus, Sabellicus, Turrianus, In vita Petri.


Besides, that in the first three centuries after the death of the apostles, nothing was known in the Roman church, as regards rulers of the same, but common bishops or overseers, until the time of Constantine the Great, and from that time on to the year 600, only archbishops and patriarchs, but no popes, till after the year 606, when, by the power of the Emperor Phocas, the Roman Bishop Boniface III. was declared and established the general head and supreme ruler of the whole church;—the succession also of the following popes was interrupted by many important occurrences, with respect to the manner of the papal election as well as to the doctrine and the life of the popes themselves, as also with regard to various circumstances pertaining to these matters. Of this an account shall presently be given.

Note.—Besides what we have mentioned in our account of holy baptism, for the year 606, of the rise and establishment of the Roman pope, there is also found, concerning the cause of the same (in the Chronijk van den Ondergang der Tyrannen, edition of 1617, book VII., page 211, col. 2), this annotation: When the patriarch at Constantinople reproved the Emperor Phocas for the shameful murder he had committed, or would not consent to, or remit it, while the bishop of Rome winked at, or excused this wicked deed, the Emperor Phocas, in his displeasure, deprived the church of Constantinople of the title, Head of Christendom, and, at the request of Boniface III., conferred it upon the Roman church; which was done amidst great contentions, for the eastern churches could not well consent to it, that the see of Rome should be considered by everybody, and everywhere, as the head and the supreme (of the) church. Compare this with Platinae Reg. Pap. fol. 123; Fasc. Temp. fol. 122; Pol. Virgil, lib. 4. cap. 10; Hist. Georg. lib. 4; Conrad. Oclutar. fol. 15; Tract, called, Ouden en Nieuwen Godt. lib. 1; M. Zanchij Tract. Pap. fol. 41; Zeg. Chron. Rom. Pap. fol 132.


In the introduction to the Martyrs Mirror (edition of 1631, fol. 25, 26, 27) mention is made from Cardinal Baronius (we have looked into his history, and found it to be so at the place referred to), of various popes who ran of themselves, without lawful election or mission; and also of some who usurped the chair, without the consent of the church, merely by the power of princes and potentates.

Among the popes who, without lawful election or mission, ran of themselves, are numbered Stephen VII., Christopher, and Sergius III., with whom it was as follows:

Stephen VII. expelled Boniface VI. by force from the Roman see, after the death of Formosus; and afterwards committed an abominable deed on the dead body of said Formosus, who was counted a lawful and good pope; which deed the Cardinal C. Baronius describes from Luytprandus and others as follows:

“In this same year was perpetrated the great wickedness which Luytprandus and others relate, but incorrectly by Sergius; since the acts of the aforementioned Synod under Pope John IX., to which doubtless more credence is to be given, impute it to the then existing pope, Stephen IX.

He caused the dead body of Formosus to be exhumed, and placed it on the pope’s throne, dressed in all his papal robes; whereupon he upbraided Formosus, as though he were alive, that he, through great ambition, had come from the chair of Porto into that of Rome; anathematized him on this account, had the dead body stripped of all the robes, as also the three fingers with which Formosus according to custom used to ordain, cut off from the same, and thus thrown into the Tiber. Besides this he deposed all those who had been ordained by Formosus, and re-ordained them; all of which he did from pure madness.” See C. Baron. histor. Eccl. Anno 897. num. 1. 2.

After this the same Baronius relates of Christophorus, who also thrust himself into the papal chair, the following:

“Further, in the following year of Christ . . . in the tenth indiction,55 Pope Benedict died, and was buried in St. Peter’s church. In his place succeeded Leo, the fifth of this name, a native of Ardea, who held the chair only forty days, being expelled and imprisoned after that by Christophorus, who himself occupied the chair after him.” Baron. Ann. 906. 907. num. 2.

The aforementioned Christophorus, who had expelled his predecessor, Leo V., from the chair, and taken possession of it himself, was, in his turn, robbed of the occupancy of the chair by another, called Sergius III., who was ambitious of the same dominion; which Sergius, although he attained to the papal dignity, without being elected or called, yea, more than that, was, according to the testimony 51of the papists themselves, fearfully tyrannical and unchaste, is nevertheless recorded with the aforementioned upon the Register of the legitimate popes of Rome. See Baron. Ann. 907. num. 2., Ann. 908. num. 3.

In the midst of this account this papistic writer declares, that these were the dreadful times when every self-constituted pope immediately nullified that which his predecessor had made. Ann. 908. num. 2.

Confirmatory of this matter is also that which is adduced in the “Chronijk van den Ondergang,” edition 1617, for the year 891, page 315. col. 1. 2. from the tract of “Den Onpartijdigen Rechter.”

If one will but consider, says this writer, the spiritual or ecclesiastical perfidiousness and rebelliousness of the popes, he will find in ancient history, that the Roman popes have at all times quarreled and contended with one another for the papal chair.

Thus John XXIV., having come to Bononia with many soldiers, threatened all the cardinals severely, if they would elect a pope who would not please him. When many had been nominated to him, and he would assent to none of them, he was finally requested to state whom he would elect thereto. He replied: “Give me Peter’s robe, and I shall deliver it to the future pope.” But, when that was done, he put the robe upon his own shoulders, saying: “I am the pope.” And though this greatly displeased the other cardinals, they were nevertheless compelled to acquiesce in it.

In the same manner John XXII. elected himself pope when the election was committed to him. See 9th book of the above mentioned chronicle, for the year 891, at the place there referred to.

Note.—In addition to what has been stated in the body [of this work] concerning the popes who exalted themselves to the papal reign, it is also proper to give what may be read in the “Chronijk van den Ondergang der Tyrannen,” for the year 537, where the popedom of Vigilius is thus spoken of: “This Pope Vigilius was certainly impelled by the spirit of ambition; he greatly aspired to the popedom, and wrongfully ascended the papal chair, for he counseled the empress, how to expel Pope Silverius. He engaged false witnesses, who said that Silverius intended to betray the city of Rome secretly, and surrender it to the Goths (of which we shall afterwards speak more fully); therefore he was deposed from the popedom by force, and relegated into misery; and thus Vigilius six days afterwards became pope. The Empress Theodora desired him to reinstate Anthenius at Constantinople, as he had promised to do; but Vigilius refused, saying that one was not bound to keep a bad promise against one’s conscience.” Compared with the account of Platina, in his “Panselijk Register,” fol. 110. Also, Chron. Fasci. Temp. fol. 117.


There is, moreover, mention made of another kind of popes, who attained possession of the Roman chair, not properly through themselves, inasmuch as they were too weak, but through the power of princes and potentates, yea, even through the Arians. Among these are particularly numbered the two popes named Felix, both of whom were exalted to papal dignity, and put in their office by Arian Kings, who ruled Italy, and, consequently, also the city of Rome; the one by Constantius,56 the other by Theodoric, both of whom belonged to the Arian sect. Caes. Bar. Ann. 526. num. 2.

But quite the contrary happened when pope Silverius was reputed to favor the Goths, who sided with the Arians. Prince Belizarius deposed him, and sent him away into Greece, putting Vigilius in his stead as pope. According to the testimony of Procopius. Ann. 538. num. 2.

After Vigilius, Pelagius was declared pope by two bishops only, and one from Ostien,57 through the favor and assistance of the emperor Justinian; notwithstanding, as Anastasius says, the bad suspicion of having caused the death of the previous Pope Vigilius, rested on him; for which reason none of the other ecclesiastics, nay, not even the laity, would have communion or anything to do with him. Ann. 555. num. 2.


The oftmentioned cardinal Cæsar Baronius, proceeding in his account of the Register of the Popes, arrives at the year 901, the beginning of the tenth century, where he bursts out, as if with sorrow, calling this time hard, unfruitful, and productive of much evil; and comparing it to an iron and leaden century, full of wickedness and darkness, particularly in respect to the great irregularity practiced in the installing and deposing of the Roman popes; which was done partly by the Roman princes, partly by the princes of Tuscany, who, now this one, then that one, usurped the authority to elect the popes, and to dethrone them; which happened in such a manner that all the preceding abuses committed with reference to the Roman chair were mere child’s play in comparison with it.

For now, as Baronius writes, many monsters were thrust into this chair as popes; which continued throughout this whole century, yea, for a hundred and fifty years, namely from the year 900 to about the year 1049, when the German Ottoes, who occupied the imperial throne, interposed between both, although they, not less than their predecessors, retained as their prerogative the right of electing and rejecting the popes. Baron. Ann. 901. num. 1.

The same cardinal relates, that in these awful and terrible times some popes attained to the popedom not only by the power of princes and potentates, but through the foolish love of certain dishonorable and 52loose women, by whom Rome was ruled; which we could in no wise believe, had not so eminent a man and rigid papist, as Baronius was, described it so plainly and circumstantially. See in Baronius’ Church History, printed at Antwerp 1623, for the year 912. num. 1; also 928. num. 1; also 931. num. 1.

Our soul is amazed, and we are ashamed to relate all that is adduced there from various papistic writers, concerning the election of some of the popes.

O God! open the eyes of these blind lovers of papacy, that they may see, what succession it is, of which they have so long boasted in vain; so that they may truly turn to thee and thy church, and be saved!

Note.—With respect to this matter, the writer of the Introduction to the Martyrs Mirror, of the year 1831, says: “After that arose a time far more horrible, etc., for the margraves of Tuscany, and after them the emperors, exercised so much violence with reference to the papal chair, that they thrust into it many monsters; among whom was John X., who was thrust into the chair by Theodora, mistress of Rome, while Lando was deposed.” Introduction, fol. 26. col. 2. from Baron. Church History, Anno 912. num. 1.

After that he relates, that John X. was deposed by Theodora’s daughter, who also reigned over Rome, and that John XI., a bastard child of Pope Sergius III., was put into it. “And thus,” he writes, “have whores and rogues, according to the testimony of cardinal Baronius, ruled the papal chair, deposing and instituting whomsoever they would.” Fol. 27. col. 1. from Baronius, Anno 931. num. 1. Continuing, the aforementioned author remarks: “In this iron century it also happened, that Stephen IX., having illegitimately attained to the chair, was marked in the face by some rogues, for which reason he staid in his house.” Same place, from Baronius Anno 940. num. 1.

But, in order to give an account of those particular ones only, who attained unlawfully to the papal chair, since we are treating of the succession and mission of the popes, we must also mention Pope John XII., who, being only eighteen years old, was forcibly put into the chair, and made pope by his father, the margrave of Tuscany. Afterwards he was deposed by a council at Rome, on account of his wicked life; but he remained pope nevertheless, since nobody would excommunicate the pope, however wicked his life might be, as Baronius relates. Compare Baron. Anno 955. num. 1. with Anno 963. num. 1. 2.

After that, Albericus, the count of Tusculum, made his son, who was but ten years old, pope, and by his authority put him into the chair under the name of Benedict IX. After he had reigned about nine years, a certain faction of the Romans elected another pope. When Gratianus, a priest at Rome, saw this, he bought out both of them with money, and called himself Gregory VI.

But the Emperor, not willing to tolerate this, deposed all three of them, and put Clemens II. in their stead; and then Damascus II.; after him Leo IX.; and, finally, Victor II.

Thus the imperial line of the popes continued, until the clergy itself became powerful enough to elect the popes without waiting for the imperial mission, which formerly had been deemed necessary; this afterwards gave rise to great schisms and divisions in the Roman Church. Compare concerning all this Baron. Hist. Eccl. Anno 1033. num. 2. with Anno 1044. num. 2. 3; also, Anno 1046. num. 1; Anno 1048. num. 1; Anno 1049. num. 2; Anno 1055.

With regard to the aforesaid matters, the writer of the Introduction mentioned says (Fol. 27. col. 2): “This being taken into consideration, we say, that it is not true that they, namely the Romanists, have an uninterrupted succession from the days of the apostles to the present time, as they would make the people believe, with their long register of popes, whom they have connected as the links of a chain, as though they, through lawful mission, had always maintained a continuous succession; but we have proved here that this chain of succession is, in many ways, broken.

“In the first place, by Stephen VII. and his successors, who have forcibly thrust themselves into the chair. These certainly had no mission; and where the mission ceases, the succession ceases also.

“In the second place, by those who were thrust into the chair, without the order or sanction of the church, only by kings and princes, yea, even by whores, through lewd love; or who bought the same with money, as we have shown. These also were certainly not sent; or, if they were sent, it must be proved, by whom: for two contrary things cannot consist together. If they were sent, they did not thrust themselves into the chair, as Baronius says notwithstanding; but if they thrust themselves into it, or were thrust into it by others through unlawful means, then they were not sent, and consequently, had no succession from the apostles.” Introduction, fol. 28. col. 1.


Formerly, when the papal dominion was coveted, the aim was directed solely to the Roman chair, but now it was quite different; for, instead of according to Rome, the honor of electing the pope, as had always been the case heretofore, they of Avignon, in France began, without regarding the Romans or Italians, to constitute themselves the electors of the pope; insomuch that they for this end elected a certain person, whom they called Benedict XIII., notwithstanding the Roman chair was occupied by a pope called Gregory XII.; thus setting not only pope against pope, but France against Italy, and Avignon against Rome.58


Of this, P. J. Twisk gives the following account: “At this time there reigned two popes, who were for a long time at great variance with each other; the one at Rome in Italy, the other at Avignon.

“When Pope Innocentius at Rome was dead, Benedict XIII. still occupied the papal chair in France. Then Gregory XII. was elected pope.” Chron. P. J. Twisk, 15th Book, for the year 1406. page 758. col. 1. ex Chron. Platinæ, fol. 396. Fasc. Temp. fol. 187.

The same writer, after narrating successively several other things which happened in the five subsequent years, again makes mention, for the year 1411, of this Pope Benedict, who was elected at Avignon; as well as of two others, who arose during his reign, namely, Gregory and John; and also of their mutual contentions. These are his words:

“At that time there were three popes at once, who incessantly excommunicated one another, and of whom the one gained this potentate for his adherent, the other another. Their names were: Benedict, Gregory, and John.

“These strove and contended with each other, not for the honor of the Son of God, nor in behalf of the reformation and correction of the adulterated doctrines or the manifold abuses of the (Roman) church, but solely for the supremacy; to obtain which, no one hesitated to perpetrate the most shameful deeds.

“In brief, the emperor exerted himself with great diligence, and traveled three years through Europe, to exterminate this shameful and pernicious strife and discord which prevailed in Christendom. Having, therefore, rejected these three schismatic popes, he brought it about, that Otto Columnius was made Pope by common consent; for, within the last twenty-nine years there had always been at least two popes; one at Rome, and the other at Avignon. When one blessed, the other cursed.59 See aforementioned Chronicle, 15th Book, for the year 1411. page 765. col. 1, 2.

Concerning the overthrow of these three popes the same author gives this statement: “In this year, Pope John XXIV., having been convicted in fifty-four articles, of heresies, crimes, and base villainies, was deposed from papal dignity, by the council of Constance, and given in custody to the palsgrave. When these articles were successively read to him, he sighed deeply and replied, that he had done something still worse, namely, that he had come down from the mountains of Italy, and committed himself under the jurisdiction of a council, in a country where he possessed neither authority nor power.

After he had been in confinement at Munich three years, to the astonishment of every one, he was released, and made cardinal and bishop of Tusculum, by Pope Martin V., whose feet he submissively came to kiss at Florence. Shortly afterwards, in the year 1419, he died there, and was buried with great pomp and solemnity in the church of St. John the Baptist.

After he had thus received his sentence, the other two popes were summoned; of whom Gregory XII., who resided at Rimini, sent Charles Maletesta thither, with instructions to abdicate voluntarily in his name the papal dignity; in reward of which he was made a legate in Marca d’Ancona, where he subsequently died of a broken heart, at Racanay, a seaport on the Adriatic Sea.

Benedict XIII., the pope at Avignon, remained obstinate in his purpose, so that neither entreaties nor threats, nor the authority of the council could move him, to submit, or lay down his office, for the tranquillity of all Christendom. See the aforementioned Chronicle, 15th Book, for the year 1415. page 773. col. 2. and 774. col. 1.

Note.—Pope Benedict XIII., through the incitation of the King of France, and the University of Paris, sent his legates to Pope Boniface IX.; but they received as an answer, that their master could not properly be called a pope, but an antipope; whereupon they refuted him. See De Ondergang, 15th Book, Anno 1404. page 757. col. 1.

Here it is proper to note what the last mentioned author narrates concerning the plurality of the popes, who existed at one and the same time.

“Besides this,” he writes, “It is related that there were sometimes four, sometimes three, and sometimes two popes at the same time.”

Victor, Alexander III., Calixtus III., and Paschalis, possessed together the papal authority, at the time of the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa; and also Benedict VIII., Sylvester II., and Gregory V. were popes together, till finally, Henry III. deposed them.

Likewise Gregory XII., Benedict XIII., and Alexander V. arrogated, by excommunications, the papal authority.60

Further, how Stephen III. and Constantine, Sergius III. and Christophorus, Urbanus V. and Clemens VII., Eugene IV. and Clemens VIII., and many other popes, whom to mention it would take too long, strove and contended with each other for the triple crown, their own historians have sufficiently elucidated. See in the 9th Book of the Chronicle for the year 891. page 315. col 2. from the tract, Den Onpartijdigen Rechter.


As great as was at times the inordinate desire manifested by some for the possession of the chair of papal dominion, so great was at other times the negligence and aversion as regards the promotion of the same cause;61 for it occasionally happened that the chair stood vacant for a considerable time, in consequence of the contentions and dissensions of the cardinals; so that the whole Roman church was without a head; without which, as the papists themselves assert, it cannot subsist.


In order to demonstrate this matter, we shall (so as not to intermix all sorts of writers) adduce the various notes of P. J. Twisk, who gives information in regard to this subject from Platina’s Registers of the Popes, and other celebrated papistic authors, in his Chronicle, printed Anno 1617 at Hoorn; from which we shall briefly extract the following instances, and present them to the reader.

We shall, however, omit brief periods of a few days, weeks, or months, and pass on to intervals of more than a year, which, consequently, are not reckoned by months, or still lesser periods. In this we shall begin with the shortest period, and end with the longest.

On page 225, col. 1, mention is made of pope Martin I. (in the Register the seventy-sixth), that he was carried away a prisoner by Constantine, emperor at Constantinople, and sent into exile, where he died; whereupon the chair stood vacant for over a year. Ex. Hist. Georg; lib. 4. Platin. fol. 135. Zeg. fol. 224, 225.

Page 260, col. 2, the same writer relates of Paul I. (the ninety-fifth in the Register), that he excommunicated Constantine V., who had thrown the images out of the church; and that Constantine, not heeding this, in his turn excommunicated the pope; whereupon the latter died, and the Roman chair was without an occupant, and the church without a head, one year and one month. Ex. Platinæ Regist. Pap. fol. 166. hist. Georg. lib. 4. Franc. Allars. fol. 54.

After that he makes mention of pope Honorius I. (in the Register the seventy-second), that he, having instituted the exaltations of the Holy Cross, the Saturday processions, which had to be held at Rome, the special prayers in the invocation of the departed saints, etc., was deposed by a certain council at Constantinople; and that, he having died, the chair at Rome was vacant for one year and seven months. See above mentioned Chronicle, page 218. col. 1. ex hist. Georg. lib. 4. Franc. Ala. Reg. fol. 44. Platin. Succ. Papæ. fol. 130.

When Pope John XXIV. was deposed on account of his wicked life and ungodly conduct, and placed in confinement somewhere, in the time of emperor Sigismund and the council of Constance, there was for the time of two years and five months no one who took charge of the papal government; hence the chair was without an occupant for that length of time. See aforementioned Chronicle, for the year 1411, p. 769. col. 1. ex Fasc. Temp. fol. 187. Platin. fol. 401. Onuf. fol. 406. 417. Hist. Eccl. Casp. Hedio. part. 3. lib. 11. Chronol. Leonh. lib. 6. Joh. Stumpff. fol. 21. Hist. Georg. lib. 9. Hist. Mart. Adr. fol. 53. to 66. Jan Crisp. fol. 356. to 175. Zeg. fol. 326.

Moreover, twice it happened, that for the space of about three years no one was pope, or general head of the Roman church; first, after the deposition of Pope Benedict XIII. of Avignon; secondly, before the election of Otto Calumna, called Martin V., thus named because he was consecrated or ordained on St. Martin’s day. Concerning the first time, see P. J. Twisk, Chron. for the year 1415. page 774 col. 1; concerning the second, see in the same book, for the year 1417, or two years afterwards p. 781. col. 1. compared with Fasc. Temp. fol. 187. Platin. fol. 470. Hist. Georg. lib. 6. Mern. fol. 913. Seb. Fr. (old edition) fol. 31.

After the death of Pope Nicholas I. (the 108th in the Register), information is obtained from Platina, according to the account of various other authors, relative to the condition of the Roman church at that time; namely, that she had no pope or head, for eight years, seven months and nine days. Compare Plat. Reg. Pap. fol. 197. with Georg. hist. lib. 5. Joh. Munst. fol. 14. Mern. fol. 556. Francisc. Ala. fol. 60. Also, P. J. Twisk, Chron. 9th Book, edition of 1617. p. 297. col. 2.


Many of the ancient writers, even good Romanists, are so replete with the manifold ungodly and extremely disorderly conduct of some of those who occupied the papal chair, and are placed in the Register of the true successors of Peter, that one hardly knows how to begin, much less how to end.62

We shall therefore, so as not to cause any doubts as regards our impartiality, not adduce all, but only a few, and these not the worst, but, when contrasted with those whom we shall not mention, the very best examples of the kind; and shall then soon leave them, as we have no desire to stir up this sink of rottenness, and pollute our souls with its stench.

Concerning the simony or sacrilege of some popes, a brief account is given from Platina and other papistic writers, in the Chronijk van den Ondergang, 9th Book, for the year 828. p. 281. col. 2. and p. 282. col. 1. The writer of said chronicle, 55 having related the complaint of the king of France about the revenue of twenty-eight tonnen gold,63 annually drawn by the popes from said kingdom, proceeds, to say: “How true the foregoing is, appears sufficiently from the fact that John XXII. at his death left two hundred and fifty tonnen gold ($7,000,000) in his private treasury; as Franciscus Petrarcha, a credible writer, plainly states.

Boniface VII., finding that he could no longer remain in safety at Rome, surreptitiously took the precious jewels and treasures from St. Peter’s coffers, and fled with them to Constantinople.

Clemens VIII., and other popes, were at various times convicted of such sacrilege, by their own people.

Gregory IX. sold his absolution to the emperor for a hundred thousand ounces of gold.

Benedict IX., being stricken with fear, sold to Gregory VI. the papal chair, for fifteen hundred pounds of silver.

The simony and sacrilege of Alexander VI. is also sufficiently known, from his epitaph, which we, for certain reasons, omit.

Further, how Leo X., through Tetzel, and many other popes, through their legates and nuncios, sold their letters of indulgence, is better known throughout all so-called Christendom than the popes of Rome desire. Compare this with Chron. Plat. (old edition) fol. 183. Fran. Ala. fol. 58. Onpartijdigen Rechter, fol. 28.

Concerning the open tyranny, secret treachery, and deadly poisoning, imputed to some of the popes, the following account is given from Vergerius and others:

I. Their Tyranny.—Julius II. had more than two hundred thousand Christians put to death, in the space of seven years.

Gregory IX. caused the emperor’s envoys by whom he was informed, that Jerusalem was retaken, to be strangled, contrary to all justice.

Clemens IV. openly beheaded Conrad, the son of the king of Sicily, without valid reasons, or legal proceedings.

It is not necessary to give a recital here, of the innumerable multitude of true Christians, who, through the pretensions of some popes, were deprived of life, in all parts of the earth, by fearful deaths at the hands of the executioner, only on account of their religion; for this is sufficiently known, and needs no further demonstration.

II. Their Treachery.—The Emperor Frederick, at the diet of Nuremburg, openly complained of the treachery of Pope Alexander III, and that in the presence of the princes of the empire, before whom he read the letter containing the treason, which the pope had sent to the soldiers of the Turkish emperor.

Gregory II. secretly issued a prohibition, not to pay to the Emperor Leo his customary (and due) tax.

Alexander VI. availed himself of the assistance of the Turks (or at least, called upon them), against the French.

III. Their Poisoning.—Ancient writers mention, that Pope Paul III. poisoned his own mother and niece, that the inheritance of the Farnesi might fall to him.

Innocentius IV., through a priest, administered poison to the emperor, in a host, thus removing him from this life.

Moreover, how another pope, whose name is sufficiently known, put to death by poison, in accordance with Turkish custom, the brother of Gemeno Bajazet, the Mohammedan emperor, which was contrary to common justice, because he was ransomed with two tonnen treasure, needs not to be recounted, as the fame of it has gone out both into the east and the west.

This same pope had at a certain time determined to poison in like manner some cardinals, when the cupbearer made a mistake in the tankard containing the poison (as the ancient writers have annotated), and he who had arranged this, was himself served with it, insomuch that he died with the cardinals who had drank of it. Compare De Tractaten Contarœne, Vergerij des Onpartijdigen Rechters, especially pp. 48, 49, 50, with the Chronijk van den Ondergang, first part, for the year 1227. p. 544. col. 1. 2. Also, p. 768. col. 2. of the bad conduct of Pope John XXIV., taken from Fasc. Temp. fol. 187. Platin. fol. 401. Onufr. fol. 406. 417. Hist. Eccl. Casp. Hedio. part 3. lib. 11. Chronolog. Leonh. lib. 6. Henr. Bull. of the councils, 2d Book, chap. 8. Joh. Stumph. fol. 21. Hist. Georg. lib. 6. Seb. Fra. (old edition) fol. 31 to fol. 89. Hist. Andriani fol. 53 to fol. 66. Jan Crisp. fol. 256 to 369. Chron. Car. lib. 5. Zeg. fol. 326.


The divine vengeance for great misdeeds is sometimes carried out in this life, and sometimes reserved for the life to come.64 The vengeance which is inflicted in this life, is sometimes executed immediately by God himself; at other times he uses means—either the elements, or things composed of the elements, yet without life; and sometimes he does it by means of living creatures as, men, beasts, etc. However, here we shall only speak of the judgments of God visited upon some of the popes in such a manner and through such means, as will be shown.

In the eighth book of the Chronijk van den Ondergang der Tyrannen, for the year 767, page 262, col. 2, several examples of this kind are successively related, which we shall present here as is most suitable, and in the best possible order.65

The author of said chronicle, after mentioning the ignominious expulsion of pope Sylvester Campanus from the city of Rome, relates the sad ending of Constantine, Hadrian, John, Benedict, Boniface, 56Lucius, Innocentius, Nicholas, Paul, Leo, Clement, etc.

Pope Constantine II., having led an ungodly life, was deprived, in a council, of both his eyes, and the papal power, and then put into a convent.

Hadrian III., fleeing from Rome, came to Venice in the habit of a gardener, where he was ordered to work in a garden.

Hadrian IV. was choked to death by a fly, which flew into his mouth, or, as others say, into his drink, while he was drinking.

John XI.,66 being apprehended by the soldiers of a certain Guido, was smothered with a pillow, which they held upon his mouth.

John XXII. was crushed by the falling in of the vault of a pavilion, and thus departed this life.

Benedict VI.,67 was shut up in the Castle Angelo, by Cynthius, a citizen of Rome, and there strangled by him, on account of his great villainy.

Benedict IX. was killed by poison, which had been put into a fig by an abbess, who was considered a devout, spiritual daughter.

The body of Boniface VII., who had died a sudden death, was dragged along the street, with his feet tied to a rope, and ignominiously buried in the common grave.

Lucius II., about to storm the capitol, whither the senators had fled, was so seriously pelted with stones, that he died soon afterwards.

When Innocentius IV. had unjustly sentenced to death Robert of Lincoln, because he had censured, with the mouth as well as with the pen, the nefarious deeds of the popes, and Robert therefore appealed to Christ, the Supreme Judge, the pope was found dead in his bed the following day.68

Nicholas III. died very unexpectedly of apoplexy (called the stroke of God).

Paul II., having supped very merrily, died soon after, likewise of apoplexy.

Leo X. died while laughing and frolicking at his cups.

Clemens VIII., having conspired with Franciscus, king of France, against the Emperor Charles V., was afterwards apprehended by the emperor’s captains, derided above measure, ultimately reinstated in the papal chair, but finally, in the year 1534, suffocated, together with several cardinals, with the smoke of torches. From Onpar. Recht. Also, from various other accepted authors who have previously been referred to.69


We will now take leave of the popes, and let them pass. It is enough for us to know, that their succession, of which the papists boast so much, is confused and vain, or, at least, without tenable grounds. How we have proved this, is not for us to say; we let others judge.

This would be a proper time—in order to exhibit the highly renowned Latin church, the Roman Babylon, in her full form—to bring up from the bottom, and present minutely and in the best order, the manifold and implacable contentions which have arisen from time to time in, with, and among them, on matters of faith, although they have so much to say about their extraordinary unity: how the popes contended against the councils, and the councils against the popes; how one annulled and rejected what the other had made and instituted; yea, how they sometimes persecuted one another even unto death, and devoured and killed each other in the most cruel manner, even as though they were fighting with their avowed enemies; to say nothing of the great amount of superstition and human invention,70 which, like horrible monsters and abortions, have proceeded, now by one, then by another, from the lap of the misnamed holy Roman church; for to treat of this, as the subject demands, would be almost an endless task, or, at least, require a whole book. What was once a comedy (with respect to the gay and merry regime of the papal dominion) has, through the beginnings of its downfall, been changed into a tragedy. However, what we have shown, relates only to this present life; but the most mournful tragedy, according to the threatening of God (still we hope for the best), is yet to come, and concerns the future and eternal life.71

Besides these most ungodly things which we have mentioned, they were drunk with the blood of the saints; yea, they did not only pour out as water the blood of the beloved friends and children of God, and cool their thirst for blood therewith, but, besides inconceivable cruelties, they heaped also the greatest ignominy upon their bodies, throwing them like mire upon the earth, or giving them to the beasts for food, or, on stakes and wheels, to the birds to devour.72

God shall certainly visit this yet upon them, and not let it go unavenged. “He that toucheth you,” says Zechariah to the church of God, “toucheth the apple of his eye.” Zech. 2:8.

O, that they would become converted betimes! O, that they would anticipate the uplifted rod of the divine wrath! O, that they would fear, and escape, through genuine repentance, the fearful kindled fire of his everlasting displeasure, which the wicked and impenitent shall certainly incur. That meanwhile all those who are still imprisoned 57in Babylon, and sit in the darkness and shadow of death, would, for the preservation of their souls, flee out of her; that they would set out for Jerusalem, the spiritual vision of peace (understand, the true church of God); that they would seek their souls’ salvation while it is time, yea, that they would find, obtain and preserve it! This is certainly a thing to be wished for.

Note.—“Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her sins.” Rev. 18:4.

These words as it appears are taken from the address of the prophet Jeremiah to the Israelites who were in bondage, in Babylon, saying as in a hasty and affrighted voice: “Flee out of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul; be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the Lord’s vengeance; he will render unto her a recompense.” Jer. 51:6.

In like manner men must also hastily come out of the spiritual Babel, out of the confusion and many corrupt, human forms of worship and vanities of the world. “Save yourselves from this untoward generation.” Acts 2:40. “The Lord give thee understanding in all things.” 2 Tim. 2:7. 58



To all charitably inclined Anabaptists and non-resistant Christians:

Rechtsinnige! die Christum hebt beleden
Te volgen in een ware ootmoedigheydt;
En die ter noodt den kruys-bergh wilt betreden,
Die vol en dicht van scherpe doornen leydt;
Vertoeft, en siet nu, in dees jammer-blaren,
Wat ach, een wee, een weerloos Christen naeckt,
Wanneer sijn ziel met Christo soeckt te paren,
En, door’t geloof, na’t eeuwigh leven haeckt.
Al siet gy u geloofs-genooten swerven,
Om Christi naem, met kommer, angst en pijn,
Verlaten van haer huysgesin, en erven,
En dolen, in een woest landt, en woestijn,
En waer sy zijn, als vluchtelingen, woonen:
Dewijl men haer een vast verblijf ontseydt,
En vyer, en swaerdt, en galgh, en radt gaet toonen,
Met grimmigheydt tot hare doodt bereydt;
Laet daerom niet u vyer’ge liefd’ verkoelen,
Al waeyt den Noorden windt,73 van kruys en smaedt,
Maer scherper wilt na’t faligh leven doelen,
En op gebeen u ziel tot Godt verlaet:
Want als de rose en lelye74 in de doornen
Opwassen, en alsoo omcingelt staen;
Soo Christi Kerck, en lieve uytverkoornen,
Met druck en angst, oock somtijdls zijn belaen.
Maer of al schoon, ’t welck wonder schijnt, een moeder
Het eenigh kindt, van haer gebaerdt, vergat;
So blijft nochtans de Heer ons ziel-behoeder
In eeuwigheydt, ons kroone, eer en schat.
De waerdigheydt van alles dat magh blijcken,
En’t beste dat een mensch op aerden heeft;
Sachtmoedige! is geensins te gelijcken
By d’heerlijckheydt75 van die hier deughtsaem leeft.
Self Godes Soon, sijns Vaders wel-behagen,
Die al’t geschep in eygendom geniet;
Heeft, in veel smaedt, een doorne kroon gedragen,
En van sijn volck onlijdelijck verdriet.
Die heeft u voor-gegaen, en veel geleden,
Ja aen het kruys de seer vervloeckte doodt,
Wilt hem dan op den Martel-wegh na treden,
En achten niet het lijden, druck, en noodt.
Want als gy hebt des werelts smaedt, en schanden,
En sonden-drift, verwonnen heldelijck;
Dan sult gy in het saligh leven landen,
En wesen by Godts Helden meldelijck:76
Wanneer haer Godt, met sael’ge glory-meyen,
En eeuw’ge vreught, en rijckdom, eer, en prael,
Sal in’t Palleys der Heem’len binnen leyen,
En wesen self haer loon, en bly onthael:
Om dat sy t’saem de werelt niet en achten,
En haer geloof bezegelden met bloedt:
Een grondt, en steun, daer op gy meught verwachten
Het Koningrijck vol eeuwigh blijvend goedt.
Daerom, o Heer! leert ons ons doen besinnen,
Door middel van het Nieuw’ Verbondt, u Woordt;
Dat wy u doch lot aen de doodt beminnen,
En’s werelts korte vreught ons niet bekoordt;
Want eeuwigh is soo lang! ja is onendigh!
En valt te bang, voor die gy uyt den Throon
Van u genade stoot. Versterckt inwendigh
Het Christ-geloof, en zijt ons Schildt, en Loon,
Behoedt oock voor ziel-schadelijcke tijden
D’Hooghmogende van’t Vrye Nederlandt;
Die’t Helsch geblaeck en weerloos Christen lijden
Nie’t dulden, reyckt altijdt u vrede-handt:
Op dat wy doch, als ware Christen rancken,
Hier onder haer Gebiedt, seer vryelijck,
U met veel vrucht, en vollen wasdom dancken,
Tot glory van u Hemelsch Koningrijck.
Non est mortale quod opto.


Wanneer Ierusalem, door’s vyandts swaert en degen,
Seer deerlijck was verwoest; en’t ed’le Iacobs zaet
(’t Welck, als doorloutert gout, uytblonck met veel cieraet)
Gewentelt lagh in’t bloedt, en deerelijck verslegen;
Stracks Ieremias sulcks neemt in sijn overwegen.77
Dat soo de slaende bandt des vyandts henen gaet:
Hy treurt, dat selfs den rouw hem in’t gebeente slaet:
En is in asch, en stof, al weenende, gelegen.
Vreed-lievende! die oock ket moort-gewelt aensiet,
Dat in den Wijnbergh Gods, van oudts af, is geschiet;
Wie smeeckt de Heere niet, met t’saem-gevouwe handen:
O Heer! die donck’re wolck van’t Christendom af drijft;
So niet: ons Christ-geloof dan in de hope stijft,
Dat’t hert ons niet vertsaeght in’t worgen, moorden, branden.
Iustus ex fide vivet.


To my brother T. J. van Braght:

Een Hemelsvyer, van lust en yver, holp de snaren
Van David aen den galm, van een bedroeft accoort:
Wanneer den angst des doodts, uyt Zion, wiert gehoort,
Dat hy sijn’s herten rouw, in Psalmen ging verklaren.78
Soo sagh ick ’t yver-vyer, o Broeder! uyt u varen,
Als gy de Martelaers van ’t Nieuw Verbondt bracht voort:
Self, op die tijdt, wanneer door79 sieckt’, het klaeghlijck woort
Tot u quam: ’t Schijnt ghy sterft, wilt moeyt’ en yver sparen.
Maer hebt, des niettemin, dit bloedigh offer-werck,
Met krancke, en swacke leen, ten dienste van Gods Kerck,
Door onvermoeyde vlijt, en yver, dus beschreven.
Derhalven, wie gy zijt, die Christum onsen Heer
Wilt volgen, in sijn woort, en Goddelijcke leer;
Wort door dit lesen doch tot ware deught gedreven.
P. van Braght.

First Part.








That is, from the first year of the ministry of Jesus Christ to the year 100.


[We have begun with the baptism of John, who in Holy Scripture is properly called the Baptist, because he was the first and chief one who truly administered baptism with all that pertains to it; concerning which we have noted the time, place, persons, etc. From there we proceeded to Christ and the command which he gave concerning baptism; thence to the apostles, and how they fulfilled Christ’s command. But, since the apostles who wrote of baptism did not live to the close of this century, we, in order to accomplish our design, resorted to the fathers who lived shortly after the apostles, and wrote on baptism; and thus the first century is concluded with their testimony.]

We shall begin to give an account, from century to century, up to the present day, or at least, to the time of our fathers, how that the true baptism upon faith, with rejection of infant baptism, has always obtained, and been practiced, according as it was possible, by the true church of God, or at least, by some of the orthodox believers, according to the freedom, or the oppression prevailing at any particular time; and that this same faith, on account of which the world calls us Anabaptists, was begun by God, through John, was confirmed by Christ, and propagated and maintained by the apostles as well as by their successors, till the time of our fathers; together with an account of the persons who suffered for that faith.

Coming, then, to the article of baptism we shall thus begin and finish the subject: In the first century, embracing chiefly the time of Christ and his holy apostles, we shall place, not by inferences, but through express words, that which Holy Scripture has to say in regard to it, as being the foundation of the matter, and afterwards, that which is recorded by trustworthy authors.


The holy evangelists tell us the time, place and manner of the same. Luke writes, chap. 3:1–3: “Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Cesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” Matt. 3:1,2: “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Verse 11: “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance.” Acts 19:4, Paul said: “John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.



Matt. 3:5–9: “Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan, and were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: and think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” Luke 7:29,30: “And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.” John 3:23: “And John also was baptizing in Enon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized.”


Matt. 3:13–17: “Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbade him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: and lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” See further, concerning this: Mark 1:9–11; Luke 3:21–23.


John 3:22: “After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized.” Chap. 4:1–3: “When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John (though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples), he left Judea, and departed again into Galilee.”


Matt. 28:18–20: “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach (or make disciples of) all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Mark 16:15,16: “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”


Acts 2:37,38: “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.”

Verses 41,42: “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized; and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

Acts 8:12,13: “But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip.”

Verses 36–39: “And as they (namely Philip and the Ethiopian) went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, “If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.” And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.”

Acts 9:17,18: “And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.”

Acts 10:46–48: “For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.”

Acts 16:13–15: “And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither. And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshiped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be 63 faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.”

Verse 40: “And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia: and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed.”

Acts 16:29–34: “Then he (namely the keeper of the prison) called for a light, and sprang in (the prison), and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, and brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And he led them into his house, and seated them at the table, and rejoiced with all his house, that he believed in God, or (as the latest translators say), he rejoiced, that he and all his house believed in God.”

Acts 18:8: “Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.”

1 Cor. 1:14–16: “I thank God (says Paul) that I baptized none of you but Crispus and Gaius; lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name. And I baptized also the household of Stephanas; besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.”

Compare this with 1 Cor. 16:15,16: “I beseech you, brethren (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints), that ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboreth.”


1. That it signifies the burying of sins, and the resurrection into a new life.

Rom. 6:3,4: “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.80

Note.—To the foregoing belongs also the passage, Tit. 3:5, where baptism is called, “the washing of regeneration,” and Eph. 5:26, “the washing of water by the word.”

2. That through faith we become children of God, and through baptism put on Christ.81

Gal. 3:26,27: “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”

3. That as the ark with eight souls was preserved in the water, so also believing baptized Christians are preserved or saved in baptism through the answer of a good conscience.

1 Pet. 3:20,21: “When once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.82 The like figure whereunto baptism doth also now save us, (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God).”


In order to receive baptism in a worthy and true manner, there are required sorrow and repentance of sins, accompanied with a confession of the same. Matt. 3:6, we read: “And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.”

Besides this, it is required that we should bear good fruits. “Bring forth therefore,” says John, to those who desired to be baptized, “fruits meet for repentance.” Matt. 3:8; or, according to Biestken’s translation: “Do genuine fruits of repentance.”

Mark 16:16, it is also required, that we believe, yea, that we believe with the heart. Acts 8:37.

In short, repentance or conversion, and baptism are joined together, Matt. 3:6,11; as also, teaching, believing, and baptizing, Mark 16:15,16. Confession and baptism went hand in hand with the Ethiopian, Acts 8:37. Baptism is a burying of the old man, and a sign of resurrection into a new life, Rom. 6:3,4; a putting on of Christ, Gal. 3:27; and the answer of a good conscience toward God. 1 Pet. 3:21.

These and other conditions required in baptism cannot exist in infants, who know neither good nor evil, cannot discern between the right hand and the left hand, and do as children do, Deut. 1:39; Jon. 4:11; 1 Cor. 13:11.

Here we might adduce much more, but since it is not our purpose to dispute about this point, but simply to show from the unadorned testimonies of the holy evangelists and apostles, that baptism was administered in the first century only to adult (that is, penitent and believing) persons, we shall leave this subject, and proceed to give an account of those who, according to history, have, either by word or by deed, maintained this doctrine.



Although we might entirely conclude this first century as touching baptism upon faith, with the testimony of Holy Scripture, we, so as not to appear deficient, nevertheless deem it expedient, to add the testimonies of the fathers, till the end of this century.

About the year 52.Jac. Mehrn. Bapt. hist. pag. 578. from Simon Metaphrastes, D. Vicecomes records the following incident (lib. 1. cap. 4. in the life of St. Auxibius): When St. Mark, the apostle of Christ, saw that Auxibius had a desire for Christ, and that he was believing and instructed, he descended with him into a pool and baptized him. This is the first example of which we read in history, outside of Holy Scripture, of those who were incorporated into the church of Christ, through baptism upon faith.

About the year 60.—In, or very near this time, it is recorded, even by several papistic writers, that there were such people and such a sect as were afterwards designated by the name, The Poor of Lyons, Waldenses, Albigenses, who were also called Anabaptists, or Baptists, on account of the like faith which they had in common; as shall be shown hereafter. Therefore the papists complain of their being considered of such high antiquity; for some say that they existed in the time of Sylvester, A. D. 315, and others assert, with more justness, too, in the time of the apostles. Baptism, histor. pag. 615, from a very old book. Also, pag. 670 and pag. 682. from Flaccius. Also, D. Balthazar Lydius (though he misinterprets their doctrine) in the tract, “Where the church was before the year 1160,” printed at Dort, A. 1624. pag. 2. col. 1. from Reynerius Priester.

About the year 68.—It is stated that in the time of Nero, two daughters of Valentinian, a Christian at Aquileia, who had been brought up by their father in the Christian faith and the fear of God, were instructed by the priest or teacher Hermagoras, and baptized at a running water. See De gantsch klare en grondige bewijsinge van den Doop, printed A. D. [15] 81. letter Bv.

About the year 70.—In or about the time of the death of the apostle Peter is placed the bishop or teacher Linus, of whom it is testified that he baptized, after preceding instruction, the son of Perpetua, a Christian woman. See the above. Also, Kort verhael van den loop der werelt, by F. H. H., printed at Franeker, A. 1611. pag. 47.

From the year 71 till the year 111.—It is stated that between these years there flourished Ignatius, who was the second bishop of Antioch after Peter, and, according to the chronicles, discharged the duties of his office in the time of the apostle John. Writing of baptism, he employs no other manner of speech, than which clearly implies that baptism must be accompanied with faith, love and patience.

In his letter to Polycarp, bishop at Smyrna, he writes among other things these words: Let none of you be found an apostate: “Let your baptism be your weapon, your faith your helmet, love a lance, patience a full armor.”

In a letter to the Tralienses he writes likewise: “It appears to me, that you do not live after the flesh, but after Jesus Christ, who died for our sakes; so that you, believing in his death, may, through baptism, be partakers of his resurrection.”

Again, in the letter to those at Philadelphia he writes thus: “Seeing, then, that there is one only ungenerated God and Father; and one only begotten Son, Word, and Man; one Comforter, the Spirit of Truth; and one faith, one baptism, and one church, which the apostles have founded with their sweat and labor, in the blood of Christ from one end of the earth to the other; therefore, you, as a peculiar people and holy generation, must also do all things with a unanimous heart in Christ.”

Who does not see here, that Ignatius by joining together in this order of sequence, preaching, faith, baptism, and the church, intends to say, that according to the ordinance of Christ, preaching has the first place, and, therefore, must precede; that after faith comes baptism, and that after baptism the one baptized is a member of the church? and that then the members of the church, as a peculiar people and holy generation, must do all things with unanimous hearts in Christ? For this is the import of the words of Ignatius. See, concerning the aforementioned letters of Ignatius, H. Montanus in De nietigheyd van den Kinder-doop, printed the second time, pages 4 and 5. Also, Jac. du Bois (though he misinterprets these letters), Tegen Montanus, printed Anno 1648. page 16–22.

In the year 95.—It is here recorded that Clemens, the fourth bishop of the church at Rome, ordained: That the heretics’ baptism is neither to be supported nor accepted; therefore, he that has received baptism in conformity with the truth of the church, shall not be rebaptized; but he who does not rebaptize the unclean, that is, baptized by the ungodly or heretics, shall be deposed, as one who mocks the cross and death of Christ, and does not distinguish the false priests, or teachers, from the true ones (distinct. 30. cap.). Again, in his second epistle he speaks of baptizing on the feast, and that the candidate for baptism is to be examined three months previously. P. J. Twisck, Chron. 1st Book, in the year 95. page 32.

It certainly appears clearly from these words of Clemens that at that time no other baptism obtained in the church, than that which was administered after preceding instruction: for when he speaks of baptizing on the feast, and that the candidate for baptism is to be examined three months previously, it is certainly expressed, that then no new-born children were baptized; for who does not know that children are born throughout the whole year, and not only on feast-days (namely, on Easter or Pentecost)? Besides, infants cannot be examined in the faith three months previous to their baptism, as is required here of the candidates for baptism.

Moreover, in the third letter of Clemens, the following words, which still more clearly express the preceding meaning, are found: If any one desires 65 to become a believer, and to be baptized, he must prepare himself to lay aside the former wickedness; so that he henceforth may obtain, by a good conversation, an inheritance of the heavenly riches, according to his own deeds. Let him that desires this, go to his priest, or teacher, and hear from him the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven; let him exercise himself diligently with fasting, and examine himself well in everything, so that after three months he may be baptized. Every one shall be baptized in running water, and the name of the blessed Trinity be invoked over him. Jac. Mehrn. Bapt. Histor. 2nd part, on the second century, page 209. from Clem. Epist. 3.

From the Constitutionibus Apostolicis, lib. 7. cap. 23. by the same Clemens, these words are taken: Concerning baptism we commanded you before, O bishop, and say this also: that you shall baptize as the Lord has commanded us, when he said: “Go, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” Matt. 28:19,20. Bapt. Histor. page 200. ex. Constit. Apostol.

The above words of Clemens speak so plainly of the true order of the baptism of Christ, that they need no explanation whatever. We shall therefore pass on to the martyrs who suffered in or about this time.


That is, from the death of Christ to the year A. D. 100.


This first century did not pass without the shedding of much blood of the saints; for, since Jesus Christ himself, the Leader of all true believers, was subject to it, it was just, that his members should follow in the same path; yet John died before Christ. But after the death of Christ, the fire of persecution raged exceedingly, consuming nearly all of the beloved apostles and friends of Christ, according to the flesh. We have described those who followed Christ, their Captain, into suffering and death, according to the order of time; they are the following persons: Stephen, the deacon; the apostles, James, Philip, Barnabas, Mark the evangelist, Peter, Paul; some companions and friends of Paul, as Aristarchus, Epaphras, Silas, Onesiphorus, Prochorus, Nicanor, Parmenas, Olympas, Carpus, Trophimus, Materus, Egyetus, Hermagoras, Onesimus, Dionysius of Athens, and Timothy; but the latter was slain a few years after the others. In the meantime the preceding ones are followed by the apostles, Andrew, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, Simon Zelotes, Matthias, Luke the evangelist, Antipas, the faithful martyr of Jesus, John, whom Jesus loved, Urticinus, Vitalus, etc., all of whom obtained the martyrs’ crown, as may be seen from the following account.

To Jesus Christ, the Son of God, we have accorded the first place among the martyrs of the new covenant; not in the order of time, for herein John was before, and preceded with his death; but on account of the worthiness of the person, because he is the head of all the holy martyrs, through whom they all must be saved.



About three thousand, nine hundred and seventy years after the creation of the world, in the forty-second year of the reign of Augustus, the second Roman emperor, when the whole world was at peace, Jesus Christ was born of the virgin Mary, in the little town of Bethlehem, being the only and eternal Son of God, the Word by which all things are made, yea, God blessed forever. Matt. 16:16; John 1:14; Rom. 9:5.

But his entrance into this world, as well as his progress and end, was full of misery, distress and affliction, indeed it may be said: He was born under the cross; brought up under the cross; he walked under the cross, and, finally died on the cross.

Touching his birth, he was conceived of the Holy Ghost. His birth ushered him into great poverty; for he was not born in his maternal city, Nazareth, but on the journey to Bethlehem; which was the cause, that no suitable place could be prepared for his birth; yea, even more, he could obtain no place in the inn, but had to be born in a stable; and when he was born, he was wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger.

Touching his bringing up, it was attended with much sorrow, for when he was still less than two years old, Herod persecuted him even unto death; on account of which his foster-father Joseph, and his mother Mary, had to flee into Egypt, and remain there until Herod’s death. But meanwhile there were killed in his stead, that he also might be killed, all the children of two years and under, in and about Bethlehem, so that the voice of lamentation was heard in all the boundaries of that region; of which Jeremiah had prophesied: “A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.” Jer. 31:15; fulfilled, Matt. 2:18.

As regards his life and conversation among men, he was considered an enthusiast and vagrant, because he had no permanent place of abode; which latter was nevertheless thus bitter for him, that he complains: “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” Luke 9:58. Meanwhile he was reproached as being the friend of publicans and sinners, a glutton and wine bibber, yea, that he was possessed with the devil; and this, until the hour of his departure was nigh at hand.


Concerning the end of his life, it was the most miserable, for it was, so to speak, the day, when all the fountains of the great deep broke forth over him, and the floods of suffering overflowed him, to swallow him up altogether.

First of all, he was betrayed by his disciple Judas, who sold him for thirty pieces of silver to the high priests and Pharisees. Matt. 26:14–16. Then he was delivered unto them, sharply examined, yea, adjured by the living God, to say, whether he was the Christ, the Son of God. And as soon as the Lord had confessed this, they cried, “He is guilty of death.”

Then they spit in his face, and buffeted him. Others covered his face, saying, “Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?” Matt. 27:67,68. This having continued till about morning, they delivered him to Pontius Pilate, the judge, to pronounce the sentence of death upon him, and to put an end to his life. Matt. 27:1,2.

Pilate said, “What accusation bring ye against this man?” They answered, “If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee.” Pilate said, “Take ye him, and judge him according to your law;” for he perceived that for envy they had delivered him. They answered, He perverts the nation, and forbids to give tribute to Cesar, saying that he himself is a king. In short, “We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.” John 19:7.

Thereupon Pilate took Jesus into the judgment hall, and, having examined him, said, that he found no cause of death in him. Therefore he sought a means to release him; moreover, in order to move the Jews to pity on account of his innocence, he caused him (though against his conscience) to be terribly scourged, crowned with thorns, mocked, and, thus disfigured, brought before the Jews, saying, “Behold the man!” so that they might now be satisfied with his suffering, and spare his life. But it was of no avail; they cried the more, “Crucify him, crucify him; if thou let this man go, thou art not Cesar’s friend.” Verse 12.

Finally, when Pilate saw that the Jews were not to be moved, and fearing that they might accuse him before Cesar, he went and sat down (at about eight o’clock in the morning, according to our reckoning) in the judgment seat, in the place called Lithostratos, and in Hebrew, Gabbatha, a paved elevation in Jerusalem; and there, though quite against his conscience, pronounced the sentence of death upon Christ.

Thereupon the soldiers again very dreadfully mocked him, laid his cross upon him, and drove him out through the gate up to Mount Calvary, where they, after having stripped him of his garments, nailed him to a cross, and raised him up between 67 two murderers, John 19:18; which was done, according to our reckoning, at about nine o’clock in the morning.

In the meantime they gave him vinegar and gall to drink, parted his garments, and again derided him most shamefully and above measure, till a great darkness came, continuing for about three hours; and then the Lord cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani!” that is, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Matt. 27:46.

Then, having fulfilled all, he commended his soul into his Father’s hands, saying, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” Luke 23:46.

Thereupon he bowed his head and expired, having suffered excruciatingly six hours on the cross, from nine o’clock in the morning till three in the afternoon.83

Then the earth began to quake, the rocks were rent, the graves were opened, the vail of the temple was rent in twain, and many miracles happened, as a sign that he who died there was more than a common man, yea, that he was the Son of the living God.

This, then, was the end, not of a martyr, but of the Head of all the holy martyrs, through whom they and we all must be saved.



This John, surnamed the Baptist, because he was ordained of God to baptize the penitent, was the son of the priest Zacharias, and his wife Elisabeth; whose name was made known to his parents through the angel of God, before he was born. Luke 1:5,13.

When he was about thirty years old (about six months before the Lord Jesus Christ began to preach), in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberias Cesar, Pontius Pilate being governor, and Annas and Caiaphas the high priests, he was called and sent of God, to preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, to prepare the way for the Messiah, as an angel or messenger before the face of Christ, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children. Luke 3:1,2; Mark 1:2,3; Luke 1:17.

Of the dignity of this man the angel of the Lord had said, that many would rejoice at his birth, that he would be great in the sight of the Lord, to make ready a people well-prepared (as not only the prophets, but also Zacharias had prophesied of him through the Spirit of the Most High), to give knowledge of salvation unto the people of the Lord for the remission of their sins. Luke 1:14,15,77.

John, being thus sent of God, to bear witness of Christ, that he is the true light, came to the Jordan, at Salim, and other places, teaching and baptizing. John 3:23.

In the meantime, while he was baptizing the penitent, Christ himself came to him (to confirm this holy work), and asked to be baptized by him. But when John, from humility and good intention, declined, Christ instructed him that this was necessary, saying, “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he baptized the Lord. Matt. 3:13–16.

He held the Lord Jesus in high estimation, calling him the Lamb of God, the Bridegroom of his church, the true Messiah, whose shoes he was not worthy to bear. John 1:29; 3:29; Matt. 3:11.

He himself possessed such great influence, though in humility, that many were in doubt whether he was not himself the Messiah; hence the Pharisees sent their messengers to him, to inquire of him his vocation, mission, authority, etc. To all this he answered candidly and with an humble heart, saying, “I am not the Christ.” John 1:19,20.

When the course of his pilgrimage drew near its close, a certain matter occurred, which was the cause of his death, and happened as follows: King Herod Antipas had committed a wicked deed; namely, he had taken his brother Philip’s wife, having put away his own wife, the daughter of Aretas, king of Arabia; which conduct John the Baptist, on account of his ministry, could not let go unreproved, but called Herod’s attention to it, according to the law, saying, “It is not lawful for thee to have her.” Matt. 14:4.

However, even as the ungodly will not be reproved, so it was with Herod; for he conceived a hatred for John, and sought opportunity to kill him. But, since many had a very high opinion of this pious man, and great numbers, therefore, came to him, Herod, for the present, did not dare to lay hands on him, to kill him; however he did not let him go free, but imprisoned him in the castle of Machærus. Euseb. Hist. Eccl. lib. 1 chap. 11.

In the meantime John did not relax in his calling, but even from prison sent some of his disciples to Christ, that they with the others might assure themselves through the doctrine and the miracles which they would there hear and see, that Christ, and none other, was the true Messiah. Matt. 11:2; Luke 7:18.

Thereupon, not only when these messengers came, but also on many other occasions, Christ testified of the greatness and worthiness of John the Baptist; namely, that he was the true spiritual Elias, a burning and shining light, the greatest prophet among all those born of women. Matt. 11:14; John 5:35; Luke 7:28.

Time went on, meanwhile, and the hour of his departure was near at hand. As regards the circumstances of his death, they are thus described by 68 the holy evangelist Matthew, chap. 14:3–12: “For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife. For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her. And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet. But when Herod’s birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod. Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask. And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist’s head in a charger. And the king was sorry: nevertheless for the oath’s sake, and them which sat with him at meat, he commanded it to be given her. And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison. And his head was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel: and she brought it to her mother. And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus.”

Josephus, the Jewish historian, also makes mention of the death of John the Baptist, in the 7th chapter of the 18th book of his history of the Jews, where he writes thus:

“There was a common report among the Jews, that Herod’s army was destroyed through the righteous judgment of God, on account of John, who is called the Baptist. For Herod, the tetrarch, caused this pious man to be slain; who exhorted the Jews to all manner of virtue and righteousness, led them to baptism, and said, that their baptism would only then be acceptable to God, if they would abstain, not merely from one or two sins, but would earnestly purify the heart, through righteousness, and afterwards also the body.

“Since great numbers flocked to him, and the people were very eager for his doctrine, Herod feared, lest he (John) might induce the people, with whom his influence was great, to sedition; for it seemed, as if they would do everything according to his will and counsel. He therefore thought it best, to have him killed. For that reason he caused him to be imprisoned in the aforesaid castle Machærus, and there put to death.”

This happened, according to our reckoning, in the year thirty-two after the birth of Christ, in the seventeenth year of Tiberias, the Roman emperor; and thus was this great light of the church of God extinguished in the midst of its brightness, to the sorrow of many pious hearts.

It is stated that his body rested at Sebasta, in Palestine, till the time of Julian, when his bones were burned by the enemies of truth, and his ashes scattered to the wind. Histor. Tripart. lib. 1. cap. 15. Theod. lib. 3. cap. 6.




Stephen, which in Greek signifies a crown, was one of the seven deacons of the church at Jerusalem, a man full of faith and the wisdom of God. Acts 6:5.

He was well versed in the holy Scriptures of the Old Testament, and very eloquent. It happened that there arose certain of the sect of the Libertines, Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, and disputed with Stephen; and they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake. Then they suborned a few men to say: We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God. And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council, and set up false witnesses, to say, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law: for we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us. And all that sat in the council, looking steadfastly on him, saw his face, as it had been the face of an angel. Acts 6:9–15.

Then said the high priest to him, Are these things so? Thereupon, this godfearing man explained himself and answered with many reasons; he, moreover, adduced, as if with a heavenly tongue, and with incontrovertible reasons, many scriptures of the Old Testament, to show that Christ is the true Messiah, and that the Gospel is true. Acts 7:1–53.

But when he began to speak with great warmth, and to set before the eyes of his accusers their blood-thirstiness, their wrath was kindled the more against him, for these things cut them to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. Verse 54.

But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said: Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Verses 55 and 56.

But they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, and cast him out of the city, and stoned him; and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. Verses 57 and 58.

In the meantime he called and said, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. He kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep. Verses 59 and 60.


Such was the end of this upright man Stephen, to whom the honor of Jesus Christ was dearer than his own life. It is stated to have taken place in the year thirty-four after the birth of Christ, in the nineteenth year of the reign of Tiberius, which was the thirty-eighth year of his age. It happened in the seventh year after the baptism of Christ. Nic. lib. 2. cap. 3.

This having occurred, some godfearing men attended to the body, and carried it to the grave, greatly lamenting this pious martyr.—The stones were to him as rivers of sweetness. August. cap. 22. Solil.



James, surnamed the Greater, was the son of Zebedee and Salome, and a fisherman by occupation; but, Christ having called him to be his disciple, he abandoned fishing, and followed Christ. Matt. 4:21; Mark 1:19.

He was instructed for a considerable time together with the other disciples in the duties of the apostleship, until he was properly sent out in that capacity. Matt. 10:2; Mark 6:17; Luke 6:13.

He was endowed with the gift of working signs and miracles, and on account of this special gift he was one of the three surnamed Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder. He was with Jesus on every remarkable occasion; so much so, that he was chosen by the Lord to behold his glory upon the holy mount; and, afterwards, to witness his sufferings in the garden of Gethsemane. Mark 3:17,18; Matt. 17:1; 26:36.

Of him Christ had predicted, that he should drink of the same cup, of which he (Christ) would drink, and that he should be baptized with the same baptism, with which he was baptized; that is, that he should be subject to his (Christ’s) suffering and death. Matt. 20:22,23.

After the death of Christ he joined the other apostles, to be a witness with them, of his suffering, death, and resurrection, and to be instructed concerning his kingdom during the forty days after his resurrection.

After Christ’s ascension he also remained at Jerusalem; and when he, together with the other apostles, had there received the Holy Ghost, he preached the Gospel in Judea and Samaria. Acts 1:13,14.

From there, as some relate, he went to Spain; but, meeting with little success, he returned to Judea, where, it is said, he was opposed by Hermogenes, a sorcerer. But as Abdias, bishop of Babylon, and others, relate many things of him, which seem to be altogether fictitious, we shall not mention them. Petr. de nat. lib. 6. cap. 133. Abdias Babyl. van den Strijd der Apostelen.


This apostle lived only until the fourth year of the Emperor Claudius, at which time, Agabus had predicted, there should be a dearth throughout all the world. Oros. lib. 7. cap. 6.

At that time Claudius charged Herod Agrippa to suppress the church of Christ. Then Herod laid his bloody hands on this apostle and, on the feast of the passover, put him in prison. Shortly afterwards he was sentenced to death, and executed with the sword, in Jerusalem. This occurred in the year forty-five after the birth of Christ. Acts 12:2.

Clemens relates that the executioner, seeing his innocence, was converted to the Christian faith, and died with him. According to the annotation of Eusebius Pamphilius, from Clemens Alexandrinus, the executioner was so moved on account of the death of James, that he professed himself to be a Christian; and so, as he states, both were led forth together to death. As they were led out, the executioner asked James to forgive him. James, after a little deliberation, said, “Peace be with thee,” and kissed him. And thus both were beheaded. Euseb. lib. 2. cap. 9. ex Clem. Alexand. Also W. Baudart. Apophthegmat. lib. 1. page 4. from Joach. Camer. in vita Christi, page 42. Niceph. lib. 2. cap. 3. Strac. in Festo Jacobi, page 209. Cle. Circa, cap. 45. Annum. James was the first martyr of the apostles. This history shows the alacrity of the ancient believers.



Philip, a native of Bethsaida, in Galilee, had a wife and daughters of very honorable life. John 1:44; 12:21; Euseb. Hist. Eccles. lib. 3. cap. 30; 31.

He was found of Christ, and called as his disciple to follow him; which he did so faithfully, that when he found Nathanael, he brought him to Christ, declaring to him, that he had found him of whom Moses and the prophets had written, namely, Jesus of Nazareth, the true Messiah. John 1:45.

From that time on, Philip constantly followed Christ, listening to his admonitions, and beholding the miracles he performed to the service of the word of God; so that Christ ordained him an apostle, and sent him out to preach the Gospel, in the first place to the scattered sheep of the house Israel; which he also like his fellow apostles did. Matt. 10:3; Luke 6:13–15.

The Lord esteemed him as one of his greatest friends; for at the glorious miracle of the feeding of five thousand, Christ, in order to prove him, counseled with him, saying, “Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” John 6:5.

He was also kindly instructed by the Lord, when he asked to see the Father; for Christ said to him, 72 Philip, he that hath seen me hath seen the Father, etc. John 14:8,9.

Once, when certain Greeks wished to see Jesus, and desired him to procure them access to the Lord, he came with Andrew and told it to the Lord, who answered, “The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.” John 12:20–23.

This pious and godly apostle remained with the Lord, even to his suffering; and, after their dispersion, when Christ had arisen, he abode with his brethren, until they, according to the promise of Christ, received the Holy Ghost, after his ascension. Luke 24:32,33; Acts 2:4.

After the distribution of the countries, he taught several years in Scythia, where he planted many churches; and since Syria and the upper part of Asia fell to his particular share, he laid the foundations of faith in many of these cities. Pet. de Nat. lib. 4. cap. 107. Nic. lib. 2. cap. 39.

Finally he came to Phrygia, and wrought several signs at Hierapolis. There the Ebionites, who not only denied the divinity of Christ, but also worshiped idols, continued obstinately in their blasphemous doctrines and idolatry, and did not listen to this pious apostle of Christ, but apprehended him, and, having made his head fast to a pillar, stoned him; whereupon death ensued, and he thus fell asleep in the Lord. His body was buried in the aforementioned city Hierapolis. Konst-tooneel, van veertigh heerlijke afbeeldingen Christi, ende sijner Apostelen, etc. In the life of Philip. Bybelsch Naembœck van P. J. Twisk, letter P. on the name Philippus, fol. 762. col. 2. Also, Introduction to the Martyrs Mirror of the Baptists, printed in the year 1631, fol. 35. col. 1.



James the Lesser was the son of Alpheus, and Mary Cleophas, sister to the mother of Christ; he is called the Lord’s brother. Matt. 10:3; Gal. 1:19.

After proper instruction he was ordained an apostle by Christ, and sent out to minister to the Jews; wherein he acquitted himself well, until Christ’s death. After that, he, with others, was sent out to preach the Gospel, which he did in the Jewish church. Matt; 28:19; Mark 16:15.

And although Peter, and James and his brother John, of whom the last-mentioned two were the sons of Zebedee, were regarded as the special apostles, he was nevertheless considered to be one of the three pillars of the church, after the death of James the son of Zebedee. Gal. 2:9.

He was appointed by the apostles the first overseer of the church at Jerusalem; this was shortly after the death of Christ. Euseb. lib. 4. cap. 5. and lib. 2. cap. 23. This office he discharged faithfully for thirty years, converting many to the true faith, not only (though principally) by the pure doctrine of Christ, but also through his holy life, on account of which he was called the Just. Niceph. lib. 2. cap. 38.

He was very steadfast and holy, a true Nazarite, in dress as well as in eating and drinking; and prayed daily for the church of God and the common weal.

This apostle wrote an epistle for the consolation of the twelve tribes who were scattered abroad, saying: James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations. James 1:1,2.

But although he comforted with many excellent reasons his own, who believed in the name of Christ, the unbelieving Jews could not endure his doctrine; so that Ananias, an audacious and cruel young man among them, being the high priest, summoned him before the judges, that they should compel him to deny that Jesus is the Christ, and force him to renounce the Son of God and the power of his resurrection. Josep. Antiq. lib. 20. cap. 8. Euseb. lib. 2. cap. 1. verse 22. ex Egesipp. Hieron. Catal.

To this end, the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees placed him upon the pinnacle of the temple, at the time of the passover, that he should deny his faith before all the people. But as he thus stood before the people, he confessed with much more boldness that Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah, the Son of God, our Savior, and that he is sitting at the right hand of God, and shall come again in the clouds of heaven, to judge the quick and the dead.

On account of this testimony of James, the multitude of the people praised God, and magnified the name of Christ. Then cried the enemies of the truth, O, the Just also has erred; let us take him away, for he is unprofitable. They accordingly cast him down, and stoned him. But as he was not killed by the fall and the stoning, having only broken his legs, he, lying on his knees, prayed to God for those who stoned him, saying, Lord, forgive them; for they know not what they do.

On account of this, one of the priests begged for his life, saying, What do ye? the Just is praying for us. Leave off stoning! But another of those present, who held a fuller’s stick in his hand, struck him over the head with it, so that he died, and fell asleep in the Lord. He was buried at the place where he had been thrown down from the temple. Hieron. Catalog. in Jacobo Justo. Also, W. Baudart. Apophthegmat. lib. 1. p. 6. ex Euseb. Pamphil. Cæsariense, in hist. Eccl. Strac. in Festo Philippi and Jacobi, p. 133. Anno 62. C. Aetat. Jacobi.

This occurred A. D. 63, in the ninety-sixth year of his age, in the seventh year of the reign of Nero, during an interim in the governorship between the death of Festus and the arrival of Albinus, under the high priest Ananias, who perpetrated this lamentable deed on James.

Concerning this James the following is contained in the Apophthegms of Baudartius: “He was on his bare knees so often and for such long periods, praying to the Lord God for the remission of the sins of the people, that his knees were so hard and callous, that there was no sensation in them at all. lib. 1. p. 7. O the great and constant piety of this holy martyr!




Barnabas, also called Barsabas, and surnamed Joseph, Joses, or Justus, was a Levite from Cyprus, full of the Holy Ghost. He was called the son of consolation, and such a one he indeed proved himself to the poor saints. Acts 11:24; 1:23; 4:36; Euseb. hist. Eccl. lib. 2. cap. 1.

It is maintained that he was one of the seventy disciples of Christ, and from the multiplicity of his names we can see his renown and eminence; which latter he gained by his zeal and piety; for he brought Paul, after his conversion, to the apostles; and when the word of God was preached to the Grecians, at Antioch, by some men from Cyprus and Cyrene, he was sent by the apostles to investigate the matter; and when he found it to be so, he confirmed them in the truth. Acts 9:27; 11:20–23.

After this he went to Tarsus, to seek Paul, and brought him to Antioch, where they remained a whole year, teaching. Also, when the dearth arose under emperor Claudius, he and Paul brought substantial relief to the brethren who dwelt in Judea. Acts 11:25,26,29,30; Oros. lib. 7. cap. 6. Euseb. hist. Eccl. lib. 2. cap. 3. 9.

On his return to Antioch, he was sent out by the Holy Ghost, to preach in many countries. On account of his eloquence he was frequently the speaker; yea, he was held in such high regard, and was so godly, that the Gentiles at Lystra cried in the speech of Lycaonia, that he was a god, and had come down from heaven, and called him Jupiter. And this was not all; but the priests of that place came with oxen wearing garlands, and desired to do sacrifice to him and Paul. But he and his companion Paul utterly declined this, saying, “Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that you should turn from these vanities unto the living God. Acts 12:25; 13:4–6; 14:1,2,11,12,15.

Afterwards, when certain men came from Judea, and troubled the brethren, saying, “Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved,” he and his aforementioned companion vigorously opposed them, according to the teaching of the holy gospel; wherefore he and several other pious men were appointed to go to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, to bring said matter to a good termination. When they arrived at Jerusalem, he and the others were received joyfully by the apostles and the church; yea, what is still more, they testified of him and his companion Paul, that they were men who had hazarded their lives for the truth; which indeed was apparent. Acts 15:1,26.

For, when he came to Salamina, a large city in the island of Cyprus, at this day called Famagosta, 74 to strengthen the church at that place in the faith, he was very badly treated, as ancient history tells us, by a Jewish sorcerer, who stirred up all the other Jews and the whole people against him, so that they apprehended him in an uproar, and were about to bring him to the judge; but, fearing that the judge, discovering his innocence, would perhaps release him, they, after treating him lamentably, put a rope around his neck, dragged him out of the city, and burned him. Anton, p. 1. t. 6. cap. 18. Sabell. Eu. 7. lib. 2.

Thus was this faithful servant of Christ honored with the martyr’s crown, in his fatherland, and fell asleep happy in the Lord, about the time that James the Just was slain at Jerusalem, under Emperor Nero; however, before the publication of the first heathen persecution, which began shortly after the burning of Rome. Plat. in vita Petri, and Pauli. Bybelsch Naembœk, p. 158, 159. letter B. ujt hist. Andr. fol. 8.



The holy evangelist Mark is supposed by most to have been that Mark whose surname in Holy Scripture is John. He was of the circumcision, and a nephew of Barnabas, whose mother was called Mary, a very godly woman, who gave her house in Jerusalem for the assembling of Christians. Acts 12:12; Col. 4:10. Niceph. lib. 2. cap. 33.

He was first appointed a servant of Paul and Barnabas, but on a journey to Pamphylia he returned to Jerusalem. Acts 12:25; 13:13.

Afterwards the apostle Paul recommended him to the church at Colosse, requesting them to receive him as a fellow worker in the kingdom of God. He also commanded Timothy, to bring Mark to him, since he was very profitable to him in his ministry. Col. 4:10; 2 Tim. 4:11.

This Mark was in prison with Paul, and rendered him all faithful assistance in his bonds. Philem. verses 23,24.

The apostle Peter in his epistle to the elect scattered strangers, calls Mark his son, 1 Pet. 5:13; undoubtedly, because through the gospel, he had regenerated him in Christ; or, because he was his disciple, interpreter, and the writer of the gospel which he had taught; of which latter circumstance Jerome speaks thus: “Mark, a disciple of Peter, at the request of the brethren at Rome, wrote a brief gospel, according to that which he had heard Peter relate. When Peter had examined it, he pronounced it good, and upon his word gave it to the church to read. Catalog. Marc. ex Cl. Al. Hypor. 6. Also, Euseb. lib. 2. cap. 18, ex Clem. Al. and Papio Hierapolit.

Afterwards, when Mark was sent by Peter to Egypt, he traveled through Aquilea, the capit8 75 city of Friol, where he converted many to the faith, and left Hermagoras as pastor over the church. Avent. au. Boi. lib. 2.

Then he journeyed to Africa, filling Lybia, Marmorica, Ammonica, and Pentapolis with the doctrine of the holy gospel. Finally he remained several years at Alexandria, where he made his abode. Nic. lib. 2. cap. 43. Athan. in Synopsi.

Concerning the end of his life, Gelasius states, that he died there as a martyr. Concil. Rom Deer. de lib. Auth. and Apocr. Niceph. lib. 2. cap. 43.

Mark, he writes, having been sent by Peter to Egypt, faithfully preached the word of truth there, and nobly sealed the testimony thereof with his blood. All the ancient and modern, Greek and Latin, martyrologies agree with this.

Histories state the following concerning the manner of his death: That in the eighth year of Nero, when he, at the feast of the passover, preached the blessed remembrance of the suffering and death of Christ, to the church at Alexandria, the heathen priests and the whole populace seized him, and with hooks and ropes which they fastened around his body, dragged him out of the congregation, through the streets and out of the city; so that his flesh everywhere adhered to the stones, and his blood was poured out upon the earth, until he, with the last words of our Savior, committed his spirit into the hands of the Lord, and expired. Anton. p. 1. cap. 6. 16. Procop. Dia Metaphr. Ado. 25. Apr. de Fest. Apost.

Another ancient writer relates: That he was dragged very inhumanly through the streets, his whole body torn open, so that there was not a single spot on it, which did not bleed; and that they then again thrust him, still alive, into prison, whence he, having been strengthened and comforted by the Lord in the night, was taken out again, and dragged to the place Buculi, they jestingly saying, “Let us lead the buffalo to the buffalo-stall.” Konst-tooneel der veertig heerlijke afbeeldingen Christi en der postelen, printed Anno 1609. Also, Bybelsch Nœmboek, printed Anno 1632, letter M. p. 642. col. 1. 2.

Death having ensued meanwhile, the aforementioned heathen wanted, moreover, to burn him; but as they were prevented by a storm, the Christians buried him. This happened, according to common reckoning, in the eighth year of Nero’s reign, A. D. 64, on the 21st day of April.


Of the Ten Bloody Persecutions which the Christians Suffered under the Heathen Emperors of Rome; the First of which Began in the Reign of Nero, A. D. 66.

The First Persecution of the Christians, under Nero, Anno 66.

When the Jews were deprived of their power, by the heathen, and their time was past, in which they had persecuted and slain the saints of God, the Lord God nevertheless suffered his church to be visited by the refining fire of persecution, namely, through the power of the heathen; of whom the Emperor Nero was the first tyrant. Introduction to the Mirror of the Anabaptist Martyrs, printed Anno 1631. p. 35. col. 2.

This Nero, according to the testimony of Emperor Trajan, governed the monarchy of Rome in so laudable a manner during the first five years of his reign, that never an emperor had greater praise than he; for then he was so tender-hearted, that when he was asked to sign the death warrant, of a highwayman, he replied, “O, that I could not write!” signifying thereby his aversion to the killing of human beings. Trajan. in Tract. Also, Roomschen Adelær, door D. P. Pers, printed Anno 1642, p. 100. in the life of Nero. Also, Suet. in Neron. cap. 10.

But after the first five years he became so full of hatred, murder, and blood-shedding, that he seemed to delight in nothing more, than in killing, murdering, and fearfully torturing, not only malefactors, but even the saints of God who were praised even among their enemies for their godfearing walk and conversation.

I will not mention the cruelties and tyrannies he exercised against his own friends; how he had his beloved son Britannicus poisoned, and his own mother Agrippina cut open, to see the place where he had lain; how he had his faithful wife, Octavia, put to death with the sword, because she was barren; and Seneca, his faithful teacher, bled to death, and poisoned. We will only speak of the persecutions and unheard-of cruelties he practiced on the beloved friends of God, namely, the true Christians. To this end we will begin thus:

Once, desiring to see the burning of Troy represented by its equal, he caused the city of Rome to be set on fire, and ascended a certain tower without, where he, beholding it, began to sing, “Troy is on fire,” etc. Suet. Idem. in Ner. cap. 38. Rom. Adel. p. 102. in the life of Nero.

After this was done, he cast the blame on the Christians, saying that they had done it; for, when the Romans, very much agitated on account of the immeasurable damage and the dire calamities which had sprung from this conflagration, began to murmur greatly, he, in order to shield himself, and to wreak his prejudiced hatred upon the Christians, put the whole blame on them. Introduction to the Martyrs Mirror, p. 35, from Baron. Anno 66. num. 1.

For this reason there were proclaimed immediately, in the name of the Emperor, throughout the whole known world (then under the monarchy of the Romans), bloody decrees against the Christians, that they should everywhere be put to death. The contents of these decrees were as follows: “If any one confesses that he is a Christian, he shall be put to death, without further trial, as a convicted enemy of mankind.” Joh. Gysii Hist. Mart. edit. 1657. fol. 6. col. 2.

Tertullian afterwards upbraided the Roman Senate, saying: “Read your own histories, and you will find, that Nero was the first who raged against this sect (so he calls the Christians), which then flourished the most in Rome.” Apol. Contra Gentes. cap. 5.

In another place he says: “Nero was the first who stained with blood the rising Christian faith at Rome.”

Shortly after this decree of Nero, a violent and unmerciful persecution of the Christians manifested itself in all the countries which were under the Roman dominion; which persecution lasted until the Emperor’s death. The innocent Christians were accused not only of the burning of Rome, but also of every wickedness imaginable; that they might be tortured and put to death in the most awful manner. To this the Roman Tactitus, (according to the translation of J. Gysius, and not that of Fenacolius)84 refers, saying: “Then, Nero, in order to avert this report from himself, caused those called Christians by the common people, to be accused and exceedingly tormented. The author of this name is Christ, who was publicly put to death under the reign of Tiberius, by Pontius Pilate, the governor. Those who confessed that they were Christians, were first apprehended, and afterwards by making it known themselves a great multitude were all condemned, not so much on account of the conflagration, as of the hatred in which they were held by mankind. The taking of their lives was accompanied with much mockery; they were covered with the skins of wild beasts, and then torn to pieces by dogs; or nailed on crosses; or placed at stakes and burned; serving also as torches for the spectators, when the day was over.”

Thus Tacitus, a Roman himself, has sufficiently confessed, in spite of himself, as J. Gysius writes, that the Christians were innocent of the burning of Rome, but that they notwithstanding had to suffer on account of their name.

Who the great multitudes were, that perished in those awful persecutions, confessing the name of Christ even unto death, is not stated in the histories of the fathers; however, we shall content ourselves therewith, that God remembers them, and that their names are written in the Book of Life. Nevertheless, we meet with some, though but few, names of such who suffered in that persecution in the reign of Nero, and sealed the truth of Christ with their blood and death; of these we shall speak in the proper place.



Touching the manner in which the Christians were tortured and killed at the time of Nero, A. Mellinus gives the following account from Tacitus and other Roman writers: namely, that four extremely cruel and unnatural kinds of torture were employed against the Christians:

Firstly, that they dressed them in the skins of tame and wild beasts, that they might be torn to pieces by dogs or other wild animals.

Secondly, that they, according to the example of their Savior, were fastened alive on crosses, and that in many different ways.

Thirdly, that the innocent Christians were burned and smoked by the Romans, with torches and lamps, under the shoulders and on other tender parts of their naked bodies, after these had been cruelly lacerated with scourges or rods. This burning was done also with shavings and fagots, they (the Christians) being tied to stakes worth half a stiver.85 Therefore they called the Christians sarmenticii, that is, fagot people, and semissii, that is, half stiver people; because they stood fastened to half stiver stakes, and were thus burned with the slow fire of fagots.

Fourthly, that these miserable, accused Christian martyrs were used as candles, torches, or lanterns, to see by them at night.

Of those who were burned, some were tied or nailed to stakes, and held still by a hook driven through the throat, so that they could not move the head when the pitch, wax, tallow, and other inflammable substances were poured boiling over their heads, and set on fire, so that all the unctious matter of the human body flowing down made long, wide furrows in the sand of the theatre. And thus human beings were lighted as torches, and burned as lights for the wicked Romans at night.

Juvenal and Martial, both Roman poets, and Tertullian, state this in a different manner, namely, that the Romans wrapped them in a painful or burning mantle, which they wound around their hands and feet, in order to melt the very marrow in their bones.

Furthermore, it is stated by A. Mellinus (from the aforementioned authors), concerning those mantles, that they were made of paper or linen, and, having been thickly coated with oil, pitch, wax, rosin, tallow, and sulphur, were wrapped around their whole body, and then set on fire.

For this spectacle Nero gave the use of his gardens, and appeared himself among the people in the garb of a charioteer, taking an active part in the Circusian games; himself standing in the circus, and, as charioteer, guiding a chariot.

These proceedings, according to the testimony of Tacitus, although it had the appearance that the Christians were punished as malefactors who had deserved the extremest penalty, nevertheless moved the people to compassion; for they understood well enough that the Christians were not exterminated for the good of the common weal, but simply to gratify the cruelty of one man, Nero. Compare Abr. Mellin. 1st book van de Histor. der vervolg. en Mart. printed Anno 1619. fol. 11. col. 4. and fol. 12. col. 1. with Tacit. Annal. lib. 15. and Tertul. Apol. Contr. Gent. cap. 50 and adv. Marc. cap. 5. Martinal. Epig. 25. lib. 25.



Simon Jona, afterwards called Cephas in Syriac, but Petros or Petrus in Greek, was the brother of Andrew, a native of Bethsaida in Galilee, and a fisherman by occupation. He had his abode at Capernaum, with his wife’s mother. His brother Andrew, who was a disciple of John, first brought him to Christ, and shortly afterwards he and his brother were called away from the fishery, to become fishers of men. Matt. 16:17; Mark 3:16; John 1:42; Matt. 4:18; John 1:44; Luke 4:31,38; John 1:41,42; Matt. 4:18,19.

He was diligently instructed by Christ, his Savior, and made such progress therein, that he became the spokesman of all the apostles, being generally the most frank in asking and answering, as well as the most zealous for Christ, in order to prove to him his love and fidelity, although at times he manifested a certain rashness therein; on which occasions the Lord, like a father his child, faithfully instructed, and, whenever it was necessary, kindly reproved him. Matt. 16:16; John 6:68; Matt. 18:21; 14:31; John 18:10,11.

The Lord loved him in a special manner, and permitted him, together with James and John, to witness his glory on Mount Tabor; of which he afterwards made mention to the chosen scattered strangers, saying, We were eye-witnesses of his majesty. Matt. 17:1–3; 2 Pet. 1:16,17.

He was the boldest in offering to suffer with Christ, but the weakest when the conflict began. The Lord selected him and the two sons of Zebedee, to watch and pray with him in the garden; but his eyes as well as those of the others were heavy with sleep; which showed that though he was specially loved by Christ, he was nothing more than a weak mortal. Matt. 26:33,36.

About his denying Christ we shall not mention anything, as this is not the proper place for it, since we purpose to speak only of his faithfulness and steadfastness until death.

After the aforesaid denial, the Lord forgave him his sin, and commanded him three times to feed his sheep and lambs; which he subsequently faithfully did to the full extent of his ability. John 21:15,16; 1 Pet. 5:1–3.

In one day there were converted to the faith, by his preaching, about three thousand souls; all of whom were baptized, and continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. Acts 2:41,42.

He confirmed his doctrine through the power of God by signs accompanying the same, according to 78 the promise of Christ, as is evidenced in the case of the lame man, Ananias, Sapphira, Eneas, Tabitha, and others. Acts 3:7; 5:5,10; 9:34,40.

The calling of the Gentiles was revealed to him in a vision from heaven; but as he was properly an apostle of the Jews, his ministry was most effectual among the circumcision. Acts 10:10–12; Gal. 2:8.

But since he was so excellent and worthy a man in his ministry, it pleased the Lord, that he should also be one of his martyrs, to seal the truth of his doctrine not only with the mouth, but also with his blood, yea, even with his death. This the Lord showed to him shortly before his departure from this world, saying, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, when thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldst: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldst not.” This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. John 21:18,19.

This was verified in him, for shortly afterwards he and John, his fellow-helper, were brought before the Jewish council in Jerusalem, and severely threatened, to desist preaching in the name of Jesus; to which they both boldly replied, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. Acts 4:19.

Afterwards he was again apprehended, together with the other apostles, but by night, miraculously delivered out of prison by an angel. Acts 5:19.

After that he was not only apprehended, but, together with the other apostles, scourged and commanded, that they should absolutely not preach in the name of the Lord Jesus; but they went away from the Council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. Acts 5:40–42.

Afterwards King Herod stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And when he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further and apprehended Peter also, and put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. But in the night the angel of the Lord led him out, through the midst of the soldiers, so that he returned to the believers, who rejoiced greatly on account of him. Acts 12:1.

Finally there was fulfilled, according to the testimony of history, the prediction of Christ, that he should glorify God by his death; for while he was at Rome, he was sentenced by the Emperor Nero to be crucified. But, esteeming himself unworthy to be crucified with his head upward, like his Savior, he requested to be crucified with his head downward; which he easily obtained, for the tyrants were forthwith willing and ready to increase his pain.


This occurred, as is stated, after Peter had preached the gospel for thirty-seven years, and when he was seventy years old.86 Euseb. lib. 2. cap. 25. and 3. cap. 2. from the writings of Origen. Egesipp. Hist. of the miserable Destruction of the City of Jerusalem. 3d book, 2d chap. Also, Konst-tooneel van veertig heerlijke afbeeldingen Christi en sijner Apostelen, door N. D. C., printed Anno 1609, in the Life of Peter. Also, W. Baudart Apophthegm. Christian. lib. 1. super Petrum. ex Hieron. de Vitis Illustribus. Johan. Strac. in Festo. Joh. Evang. Ambr. ad Aux.



Saul, afterwards called Paul, was of Jewish descent, a Hebrew of the tribe of Benjamin; but, as to who his father and mother were, we find in Holy Writ no record. Phil. 3:5.

As regards the place of his birth, it appears that his parents, either on account of persecution, or of the Roman war, or for some other reason, left their place of residence in the portion of Benjamin, and went to dwell in a Roman, free city in Cilicia, called Tarsus, where Paul was born, who, although he was a Jew, yet, by the privileges of this city, became a Roman citizen. Acts 22:3.

Respecting his early training, he was diligently instructed by the wise Gamaliel, in the law of the fathers; in which he became so proficient, that there were but few things in the entire Old Testament, with which he was not acquainted. Gal. 1:14.

He lived blamelessly, according to the law of Moses and the holy prophets, and that in the strictest order of Judaism; but, having not yet been rightly instructed in the doctrine of the holy gospel, he, although in accordance with the law, manifested a wrong zeal, and persecuted the church of Christ; yea, at the death of Stephen he kept the garments of them that slew him. Acts 7:58.

But afterwards, having obtained letters from the priests at Jerusalem to the synagogues of Damascus, to bring as prisoners such men and women who confessed the name of Christ, the Lord, from heaven, 80 arrested him in his course, calling, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.” Acts 9:1–6.

The men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. Then he arose from the earth, to which he had been prostrated by fear; and when he opened his eyes, he could not see, so that they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. Verse 7,8.

In the city of Damascus there was a disciple, named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, “Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth.

Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem.”

Then said the Lord to him, “Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: for I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.

And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him, said, Brother Saul, the Lord hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales; and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.” Acts 9:7–16.

Such was the conversion of Saul, who was afterwards called Paul, and was one of the chief apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: yea, he labored more abundantly than they all. 1 Cor. 15:10.

Immediately after his conversion, he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he was the Son of God. Acts 9:20.

Some time afterwards, the Holy Ghost said to the prophets and teachers at Antioch, after they had ministered to the Lord with fasting and prayer, “Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.” And thus they were sent out by the Holy Ghost. Acts 13:2,3.

In the meantime, Paul, formerly called Saul, was endowed with special gifts of the Holy Ghost, so that he had the spirit of discernment, prophecy, tongues, miracles. Acts 13:9,10; 1 Tim. 4:1; 1 Cor. 14:18; Acts 19:11.

He had also special revelations, so that, at a certain time, he was caught up to the third heaven, yea, into the heavenly paradise, where he heard unspeakable words, which no man can utter. 2 Cor. 12:1.

He was, moreover, adorned with many Christian virtues, which he practiced with a good conscience; as well as with faithfulness in his ministry, paternal care over all the churches, and sincere love for them, even unto death, so that he said, “Being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.” 1 Thess. 2:8.

He was free from covetousness, of a benevolent disposition, and would rather labor with his own hands, than be a burden to the church, lest it might prove a hindrance to the holy gospel. Acts 20:34.

He vigorously withstood, and overcame through the word of God, the erring spirits, sorcerers, Epicurean philosophers, and false prophets.

He feared neither great nor small, noble nor ignoble, Jew nor Greek; but taught the word of God in sincerity.

What he suffered in seven great land and sea journeys, during the time of thirty years, during which he traveled in Judea, Syria, Asia, Macedonia, Greece, Italy, Spain, France, Germany, yea, almost through the whole then known world, is sufficiently evident, from Holy Scripture as well as from history.

It is computed, that until his first imprisonment at Rome, he had traveled over three thousand German miles, by water and by land, only for the Gospel’s sake; besides all the other arduous journeys he undertook, in order to strengthen, awaken, and comfort the newly-planted churches; in which he met with much vexation, misery and grief from the hands of the unbelievers. The words which the Lord had spoken at the time of his conversion, were fulfilled in every part: “I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.” Acts 9:16.

Shortly after he was baptized, and his zeal for the truth of Christ began to break forth at Damascus, proving to the Jews that Christ was come, they took counsel to kill him; wherefore he was let down by the wall in a basket, that he might escape their hands. Acts 9:24,25.

Afterwards, when he came to Iconium with his companion Barnabas, the Jews stirred up the Gentiles against him and his friend, intending to stone them. Acts 14:2,5.

But when they had fled to Lystra, and had made a cripple able to walk, there came certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, and stirred up the people, so that they stoned Paul, whom they first had worshiped as a god, and drew him out of the city, supposing that he was dead: howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up again. Acts 14:19,20.

Afterwards, traveling with Silas, and having, at Philippi, delivered a damsel from a spirit of divination, he and Silas were accused on that account, beaten with rods, cast into prison, their feet made fast in the stocks, and were kept in close confinement. But in the night God sent an earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken, the doors opened, and the bands (of the stocks) loosed of their own accord. By this means Paul and Silas were delivered, with the knowledge of the keeper, who accepted the faith, and was baptized. Acts 16:22–36.

Subsequently, being at Thessalonica, and having preached the word of God three Sabbaths, so that of the devout Greeks, a great multitude believed, and of the chief women not a few, the Jews, who 81 believed not, were moved with envy; wherefore they took unto them certain lewd fellows—market-loungers—and gathered a great company, and set the city in an uproar, and assaulted the house of one Jason, thinking that Paul and Silas were within, and sought to bring them out to the people. And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, “These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; whom Jason hath secretly received.” Acts 17:1–7. From there, on account of the persecution, the brethren sent both of them away by night unto Berea. Verse 10.

After that, “when Gallio was the deputy of Achaia, the Jews made insurrection with one accord against Paul, and brought him to the judgment seat, saying, “This fellow persuadest men, to worship God contrary to the law. And when Paul was now about to open his mouth, to defend himself, Gallio said unto the Jews, to show to them the groundlessness of their accusations, If it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdness, O ye Jews, reason would that I should bear with you: but if it be a question of words and names, and of your law, look ye to it: for I will be no judge of such matters. And he drave them from the judgment seat.” Acts 18:12–16.

After this, there came down from Judea a prophet, named Agabus, who took Paul’s girdle, and bound himself, saying, “Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.” Thereupon the brethren besought Paul, not to go up to Jerusalem. But he answered, “What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” Acts 21:10–13. O the great resolution of the Apostle Paul!

After that, when he, standing on the stairs at Jerusalem, defended himself before those who had accused him, it came to pass that the Jews, having given him audience for awhile, cast off their clothes, threw dust into the air, and cried, “Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live.” Acts 22:22,23.

In the meantime he was bound, in order to be scourged; which he would not have escaped, had he not declared that he was a Roman citizen. Verses 25–29.

“Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day. And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to smite him on the mouth.” Acts 23:1,2.

“The night following, the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome. Verse 11.

And when it was day, certain of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves neither to eat nor to drink till they had killed Paul. And they were more than forty which had made this conspiracy. Verse 12.

But Paul was warned of this ambuscade by his sister’s son, and when the latter made it known to the chief captain of the Romans, measures were taken to escape it; wherefore he was brought in the third hour of the night to Cesarea, unto Felix the governor. Verses 16–33. And Felix kept him in Herod’s judgment hall, till his accusers should come. Verse 35.

After five days Ananias the high priest descended with the elders, and with the orator Tertullus, who informed the governor against Paul. And when Paul was called forth, Tertullus, after having saluted Felix with many flattering words, began to accuse him, saying, “We have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes: who also hath gone about to profane the temple: whom we took, and would have judged according to our law. But the chief captain Lysias came upon us, and with great violence took him away out of our hands,” etc. “And the Jews also assented, saying that these things were so.” Acts 24:1–9.

But that this was not so (although they sought to bring about his death by these accusations), is evident from the preceding facts mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, and from the following defense of Paul, verses 10–21.

“But after two years Portius Festus came into Felix’ room: and Felix, willing to shew the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound.” Verse 27.

Now when Festus was come into the province, after three days he ascended from Cesarea to Jerusalem. Then the high priest and the chief of the Jews went to him, and desired favor, that he would send for Paul to Jerusalem; laying wait in the way to kill him. Festus replied to the Jews, that Paul should be kept at Cesarea, and that those who were to accuse him, might come thither. Acts 25:4,5.

And when they were come, they brought forward many and grievous complaints, which they could not prove, and which Paul briefly and conclusively refuted, declaring that he had offended neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Cesar. But being deceitfully asked by Festus, whether he was willing to go up to Jerusalem, to be judged there (where his mortal enemies were), he fearlessly replied, “I stand at Cesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest. But if I be an offender, or have committed anything worthy of death, I refuse not to die.” Acts 25:9–11.

After this, Paul was examined by King Agrippa, in the presence of Festus. His defense caused Festus, who was a friend of the Jews, to exclaim: Paul, thou art beside thyself. Agrippa, however, declared that he was almost persuaded to become a Christian. He also gave as his opinion, that there was nothing worthy of death in him; wherefore he said to Festus, This man might have been set at liberty, if he had not appealed unto Cesar. Acts 26:1–32.

In the meantime it was determined that he should sail to Italy, to be examined before Cesar. To this 82 end he and certain other prisoners were delivered to Julius, a centurion of the imperial band. Having embarked in a ship of Adramyttium, they sailed along Cyprus, Cilicia, Pamphylia, and other countries, to Myra in Lycia, where they were transferred into a ship of Alexandria bound for Italy. In this ship they sailed against Cnidus, as far as under Crete, over against the city of Salmone; thence to a place which is called the Fair Havens, nigh to Lasea. Acts 27:1–8.

At this place Paul foretold them, that they would not complete this voyage without great damage, danger of shipwreck, and peril of life; but the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul. Verses 10,11.

Departing thence, they hoped to winter at Phenice, a haven of Crete; but they touched at Asson, and sailed close by Crete. Verses 12,13.

Then the ship was caught by a northeast wind, which had sprung up, and carried her, against their purpose, through the billows so that they had to let her drive before it; however, they came to the Island Clauda, yet with fear, lest they should fall into the quicksands. Verses 16,17. For many days and nights they saw neither sun nor stars through the mighty tempest, so that all hope that they should be saved was taken away. Verse 20.

Meanwhile God sent his angel on a certain night to Paul, saying, “Fear not; thou must be brought before Cesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. Verses 23,24.

Thereupon Paul urged them to take meat, for the preservation of their lives, for, on account of their deadly fear, they had not eaten anything for fourteen days; and breaking the bread, for to eat, he gave thanks to God in the presence of them all. Verses 33–36.

And when it was day, they knew not the land: but they discovered a creek; which however they could not enter, but ran aground, before the island of Melita (now called Malta); where the forepart of the ship stuck fast, but the hinder part was broken in pieces by the waves. Verses 39–41. Here the soldiers held a council and decided to kill the prisoners, including Paul, lest any of them should swim out, and escape. The centurion, however, willing to save Paul, kept them from their purpose: and commanded that they who could swim should cast themselves first into the sea, and get to land which was done; and the rest floated, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship, so that all, namely, one hundred and seventy souls, escaped to land. Verses 42–44. Thus was fulfilled what Paul had foretold them, namely, that they should suffer shipwreck, and yet escape with their lives.

Here Paul was first pronounced a murderer, but afterwards a god, by the inhabitants of the island; and this, because they observed a viper fastening itself on his hand, which he shook off into the fire, without suffering any harm. Acts 21:3–6.

After three months they sailed for Italy in a ship which had wintered in the isle; yet they arrived first at Syracuse, in Sicily, and then at Puteoli, on the Italian border, where Paul found brethren, with whom he tarried seven days; others came to meet him as far as Appii Forum, and the Three Taverns. Proceeding, he came to Rome, where the centurion delivered him to the chief captain, to be brought before Cesar. In the meantime he was kept by a soldier, and bound with a chain. Verses 11–16,20.

We have narrated all these things the more circumstantially (and this, according to Holy Scripture), in order that it may be seen, how much this pious man suffered in his travels by sea and by land, for the sake of the holy Gospel. Of all this he gives a brief account in his second epistle to the Corinthian church, writing thus: “Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in cold and nakedness. 2 Cor. 11:24–27.

Yea, it appears from the first epistle to the Corinthians, that he was thrown before the wild beasts in a theatre at Ephesus, to be torn to pieces, or, at least, to fight for his life with them; from which God at that time delivered him. Concerning this, the intelligent may judge; he writes, “If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not?” 1 Cor. 15:32.

As regards his imprisonment at Rome, most of the ancient writers are of the opinion that, although nearly all his friends forsook him at the time when he was to make his defense, he, being brought before Cesar, defended himself so cleverly against the accusations of the Jews, that he was set free for this time. But how true this is, we leave to its own merits, and to the omniscient God. This much, however, is certain, that while in prison at Rome, he wrote to his spiritual son Timothy, that he was now ready to be offered as a drink offering, and that the time of his departure was at hand; but that he took comfort in the thought, that he had fought a good fight, finished his course, and kept the faith, and that there was laid up for him a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, should give him at that day. 2 Tim. 4:6–8.

According to ancient records he was then beheaded at the command of Nero, outside of Rome, on the road that leads to Ostia, called Via Ostiensis, where the Romans used to have their place of execution, in the last year of Nero, or about A. D. 69. Joh. Gys. in the History of the Martyrs, from Joseph Scaliger, about Paul. Egesipp. Hist. Destruc. Jerusal., lib. 3, cap. 2. Konst-tooneel van veertig heerlijke afbeeldingen Christi en sijner Apostelen, printed Anno 1609; about the life of Paul. Itinerarium Sacræ Scripturæ, per H. Bunting, translated into the Dutch by Matthias Hazard; printed Anno 1642, in the Travels of Paul, page 162. col. 1.



It is related that shortly after the death of the Apostle Paul, his brethren and fellow-prisoners, whom he mentions in the epistles which he wrote from his prison, namely: Aristarchus, Epaphras, Aquila, Prisca, Andronicus, Junias, Silas or Silvanus, Onesiphorus, etc., followed in his footsteps in suffering for the name of Christ.


Aristarchus, a native of Thessalonica, was, with Gaius, Paul’s companion in his journey from Macedonia to Asia; with which Gaius he was apprehended at a certain time, in an uproar at Ephesus, but for that time made his escape. Afterwards, however, he was brought to Rome a prisoner, just at the time that Paul also was apprehended for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

This friend of God saluted the church at Colosse by the hand of Paul; of which Paul makes mention, writing, “Aristarchus my fellow prisoner saluteth you.” Col. 4:10.

This imprisonment, however, was not the end of it; for he was also devoured by that cruel lion, Nero, about the time of Paul’s death after having been several years previously a faithful pastor of the church at Thessalonica. A. Mell. 1st Book, van de Hist. der vervolg. en Mart., printed at Dort, Anno 1619, fol. 17, col. 4, from Bedæ Usuard. Adon. Mart. Rom. 4 aug. Also, Menol. Græc. 14 April.


Epaphras was a faithful minister of Jesus Christ for the church at Colosse, which, while in bonds at Rome, he saluted by the hand of Paul, as appears from the epistle Paul wrote from his prison at Rome to the Colossians, in which, among other things, he says: “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis.” Col. 4:12,13.

Concerning his being a prisoner with Paul, or, apparently, sharing the same dungeon with him, Paul writes to Philemon, in the conclusion of the epistle: “There salute thee Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus.” Verse 23.

Hence, it follows that those write not without foundation, who hold that Epaphras also suffered a violent death under the persecution of Nero. Idem, Ibidem. ex Mart. Rom. 19. Jul.


The apostle Paul, at the conclusion of his epistle to the church of God at Rome, very lovingly saluting different saints residing there, mentions, among others, two persons who had laid down their own necks for his life; also two others whom he calls his fellow-prisoners, doubtless, because they were subject, with him, to like persecution and suffering on account of the name of Christ. All these he mentions by name, and salutes them in apostolic manner.

Of the first two he writes thus: “Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my helpers in Christ Jesus: who have for my life laid down their own necks.” Rom. 16:3,4.

The last two he mentions in this manner: “Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.” Verse 7.

What was the end of these persons, is stated neither in Paul’s epistles nor in any other part of the New Testament; but other writers hold, that, in the aforementioned persecution of Nero, they suffered and fought unto death for the truth of Jesus Christ; which can not well be contradicted, since the bloodthirstiness of this emperor, especially against the Christians, was so great, that but few of those who fell into his hands escaped without bloodshed or a miserable death. See above.


Silas, also called Silvanus, together with Judas, surnamed Barsabas, was added to the Apostles Paul and Barnabas. These men were leaders among the brethren, and were to bear testimony to those matters which had been considered and decided upon by the apostles at Jerusalem, for the welfare of the church of God. Acts 15:27,34.

This Silas having once promoted, with Paul, the work of the holy Gospel, at Philippi, in Macedonia, he was apprehended together with Paul, brought before the rulers, publicly scourged, though without trial, and thus maltreated, cast into prison, against right and reason, with his feet made fast in the stocks; but was by divine Providence miraculously delivered, an earthquake at midnight opening the doors of the prison. Acts 16:19–39.

According to the statements of some writers, he afterwards became bishop of the church at Corinth, and died a martyr after having done much preaching. This much is certain, according to the testimony of Holy Scripture, that he was not only apprehended and scourged for the Gospel’s sake, but suffered many indignities before his end. A. Mell., 1st Book, van de Hist. der Vervolg., fol. 18, col. 1.



Onesiphorus was an Asian, a citizen of Ephesus, in Asia Minor, and very virtuous and godly in life, so that he frequently came to visit, converse with, and comfort, the apostle Paul in his bonds at Rome; on account of which Paul rejoiced with all his heart, and prayed to God to reward him for this kindness in the great day of recompense. Concerning this, Paul writes thus to Timothy: “The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain: but when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me. The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.” 2 Tim. 1:16–18. In the conclusion of the same letter he affectionately salutes the household of Onesiphorus, saying, “Salute . . . and the household of Onesiphorus. . . . Grace be with you. Amen.” Verses 19,22.

Some writers say that this pious man was bishop of (the church of) Colophon; others, of Coronia: but whether Colophon and Coronia at that time were not one and the same city, called by two different names; or, if they were two separate cities, whether he had the oversight over both churches at once, is a matter of little consequence. It is sufficient for us, that the historians agree in the fact that he and Porphyrius, his fellow servant of Jesus Christ, were first beaten with many severe stripes at Hellespontus, by the order of Adrianus the governor, and afterwards, both together, tied to wild horses, and thus dragged or torn to death, by virtue of Nero’s bloody edict. A. Mellin., 1st Book van de historien der Vervolgingen en Martelaren, printed A. D. 1619, fol. 18, col. 2, from Doroth., in Synopsi Mart. Rom. 6 Sept.



Andrew, the son of Jona, and brother of Peter, was a native of Bethsaida in Galilee. He was first a disciple of John the Baptist, and since he was older than Peter, and knew Christ first, he brought his brother to Christ as to the true Messiah. Being also a fisherman, like Peter, the Lord called him, and promised to make him a fisher of men. John 1:44,40,42; Matt. 4:18,19.

And because he zealously followed the Lord, and was instructed in the evangelical doctrine, so that 85 he was worthy to be filled with the spirit of miracles, the Lord ordained him as one of his twelve apostles; in which ministry he, with the others, faithfully labored among the Jews. Matt. 10:2; Mark 6:7.

He was held in no small esteem by the Lord; for he had, as it appears, a freer access to him, than Philip himself. Compare John 1:40 with verses 42,43.

Further, although he fell through weakness, like all the other apostles, in forsaking his master; yet he recovered from his fall, and again joined himself to Christ and to his fellow-brethren. Matt. 26:31; Luke 24:33.

Afterwards he with all his fellow-ministers received command to preach the gospel in the whole world, and to all nations; to which end he was endued, on the day of Pentecost, with the Holy Ghost, whom he received in all fullness. Matt. 28:19.

Going out, in obedience to the command of Christ, he taught in many countries, as in Pontus, Galatia, Bethynia, as well as at Antropophages, and afterwards in Scythia. He also traveled in the northern and the southern countries, yea, as far as into Byzantium; further, in Thracia, Macedonia, Thessalia, and Achaia, everywhere preaching Christ; whereby he converted many to the Christian faith.

He also confirmed the doctrine of his Master with many miracles, according to the words of the Lord: “These signs shall follow them,” etc. But since other authors do not treat accurately of this, we shall omit the particulars of these signs. Abdias, van den strijd der Apostelen.

Finally, when he had finished his course, according to the will of the eternal God, Aegaeas, the governor of Edessa, in the name of the Roman senate, caused him to be crucified in the city of Patras, in Achaia. Joli. Gys. Hist. Mart., fol. 10, col. 1, 2, from Sophronis and Aug. Solilo., cap. 2.

Concerning the cause and manner of his death, the following is contained in Apophthegm. Christian. Baudart., page 3: At Patras, a city in Achaia, he converted, besides many others, Maximillia, the wife of Aegaeas, the governor, to the Christian faith. This so enraged the governor against Andrew, that he threatened him with the death of the cross. But the apostle said to the governor: “Had I feared the death of the cross, I should not have preached the majesty and gloriousness of the cross of Christ.”

The enemies of the truth having apprehended and sentenced to death the apostle Andrew, he went joyfully to the place where he was to be crucified, and, having come near the cross, he said, “O, beloved cross! I have greatly longed for thee. I rejoice to see thee erected here. I come to thee with a peaceful conscience and with cheerfulness, desiring that I, who am a disciple of him who hung on the cross, may also be crucified.” The apostle said further, “The nearer I come to the cross, the nearer I come to God; and the farther I am from the cross, the farther I remain from God.”

The holy apostle hung three days on the cross; he was not silent, however; but as long as he could move his tongue, he instructed the people that stood by the cross, in the way of the truth, saying, among other things: “I thank my Lord Jesus Christ, that he, having used me for a time as an ambassador, now permits me to leave this body, that I, through a good confession, may obtain everlasting grace and mercy. Remain steadfast in the word and doctrine which you have received, instructing one another, that you may dwell with God in eternity, and receive the fruit of his promises.

The Christians and other pious people besought the governor to give Andrew unto them, and take him down from the cross. (For it appears that he was not nailed to the cross, like Christ, but tied to it). When the apostle learned of this, he cried to God, saying, “O Lord Jesus Christ! suffer not that thy servant, who hangs here on the tree for thy name’s sake, be released, to dwell again among men; but receive me, O my Lord, my God! whom I have known, whom I have loved, to whom I cling, whom I desire to see, and in whom I am what I am.” Having spoken these words, the holy apostle committed his spirit into the hands of his heavenly Father. M. W. Baudart. in Apophthegm Christian, lib. 1, super Andream, ex August. de Vera et Falsa Poenitentia., cap. 8, Bernhard. in Sermon. de Andrea. Lanfrancus contra Berengar. Niceph., lib. 2, cap. 39, and lib. 15, cap. 39. Remigius in Psal. 21 and 40. Johan. Strac. in Festo Andreae, p. 23, haec et alia. Also, Konst-tooneel van veertig, by N. D. C., Concerning the Life of Andrew.



Bartholomew, which signifies, the son of Tholomaeus, was a Galilean, like all the other apostles; and also a fisherman, according to the opinion of Theodoretus; some, however, hold, that he was of royal descent, and the nephew of the king of Syria.

Little is said of him in Holy Scripture aside from what relates to his call to the apostleship to preach the Gospel with the others throughout Judea and Galilee, to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. After Christ’s resurrection he was confirmed in his apostleship, and, with the others who were in like ministry, received the gift of the Holy Ghost. Matt. 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:14,15; Acts 2:1–5.

After the separation of the apostles he exercised his ministry first in Lycaonia, then in Syria and the upper parts of Asia, and afterwards in India, where, as the chronicles relate, Pantenus, a teacher of Alexandria, coming to the same place, about a century afterwards, found and took away with him the Gospel of Matthew, which Bartholomew had brought thither, and which he had taught the Indians in their native tongue. Isid. de part N. T., J. Gys. Hieron., Catal. Pantaleon, Euseb., lib. 3, cap. 10, J. Gys.

Finally he spread the Gospel in Great Armenia, and there, in Albana, or Albanopolis, the capital 86and residence of the kingdom of Poleno, or Palemonio, and converted King Astyages’ brother, together with his wife, two sons, and a daughter, to the faith. Hieron. Cat. Barthol., J. Gys.

He moreover, as is stated by others, delivered from idolatry, and enlightened with the knowledge of Jesus Christ, twelve cities in that country, in which the devil was worshiped through the idol Ashtaroth. But the priests of Ashtaroth, being very much vexed on account of this, complained to King Astyages, who caused Bartholomew, this holy apostle of Christ, to be apprehended and brought before him.

When Bartholomew stood before the king, the latter upbraided him, that he had perverted his brother, and unsettled the worship of the gods in his country. He therefore threatened him with death, unless he would desist preaching Christ, and sacrifice to his gods.

When Bartholomew had replied to this accusation, saying, that he had not perverted, but converted, his brother, that he had preached the true worship of God in his country, and that he would rather seal his testimony with his blood, than suffer the least shipwreck of his faith or conscience, the king gave orders, that he should first be severely tortured and beaten with rods, then be suspended on a cross with his head downwards, flayed alive, and finally beheaded with the ax. This having been done with him, he was united with Christ, his Lord. Niceph. lib. 3, cap. 39, Isid. Hisp. de vita et obitu sanct. J. Gys. Hist. Mart. super Bartholomeum.

Others relate that the sentence pronounced upon Bartholomew extended no further, than that he should be flayed on the cross, without any mention of decapitation; but that, as he, being still alive after having been flayed, exhorted the people, his head was struck off with an ax, in order to prevent this, he having committed his spirit into the hands of God. Konst-tooneel van veertig, about the Life of Bartholomew. Also, Bybelsch Naemboek, printed at Horn, Anno 1632, letter B. on the name Bartholomew, fol. 159, col. 2.



Thomas, surnamed Didymus, that is, twin, was a native of Galilee, and his occupation, as it appears, that of a fisherman. John 11:16. Concerning his parents and the time of his conversion, we find no account in the Evangelists, who mention only his call to the apostleship. Matt. 10:3.


His love and ardent affection for Christ appears from the fact that he exhorted his brethren, to go up to Jerusalem, that they might die with Christ. John 11:16. But as he had not yet resisted unto blood, and labored also under a certain misapprehension concerning the death of Christ, he with the others forsook the Lord in the time of need. John 14:5; Matt. 26:31.

Afterwards, when the Lord had arisen, and appeared to the other apostles, in the absence of Thomas, he could not believe it, as he said, unless he should put his fingers into the prints of the nails with which he had been crucified, and thrust his hand into the Lord’s side, which a soldier had opened with a spear. But when the Lord came again, and appeared also to him, saying, “Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side,” etc., then he, being convinced, began to salute Christ with divine titles of honor, saying, “My Lord and my God.” John 20:24–28.

After this, he, together with the other apostles, received commandment to preach the Gospel in the whole world, and to baptize the believers; to which end, ten days after, namely on the day of Pentecost, he, with all his fellow-ministers, received the Holy Ghost in full abundance. Matt. 28:19,20; Mark 16:15,16.

According to history, he sent Thaddeus unto King Abgarus, shortly after Christ’s resurrection. Euseb. Hist. Eccl., lib. 1, cap. 13.

As Parthia, India, Ethiopia, and many other countries had as his portion, been assigned him, he traveled through them; he dreaded, however, as it appears, to go to the moors and the savage nations of India. Nevertheless, God having strengthened him, he there converted many to God. Euseb. Hist. Eccl., lib. 3, cap. 1.

Concerning the end of Thomas, the most probable account found by the ancients is this, namely, that at Calamina, a city in the East Indies, he put a stop to the abominable idolatry of the heathen, who worshiped there an image of the sun; so that through the power of God he compelled the Evil One to destroy the image. Thereupon the idolatrous priests accused him before their king, who sentenced him, first to be tormented with red-hot plates, and then to be cast into a glowing furnace, and burned. But when the idolatrous priests, who stood before the furnace, saw that the fire did not hurt him, they pierced his side, as he lay in the furnace, with spears and javelins; and thus he conformed in steadfastness unto his Lord Jesus Christ, whom he confessed even unto death. Jerome states that his body, which, it seems, was taken out of the fire, was buried in the same place where he died. Joh. Gysii Hist. Mart., fol. 11, col. 4. Konst-tooneel van veertig, in the life of Thomas.




Matthew, also called Levi, the son of Alpheus, was a publican in Capernaum. The publicans were detested by the Jews, because the latter did not consider themselves justly bound to pay toll or tribute to any foreign prince. Matt. 9:9; Mark 3:18; Luke 5:29. As touching the condition of publicans at that time, it was such that they generally exacted more from the people than was just; on which account they were shunned by the pious, so that open sinners, who were separated from the church, were compared to publicans. Matt. 9:11; 18:17.

When Matthew, or Levi, was still unconverted, and made his living in this unjust business, Christ met him with his grace, and commanded him to follow him as a disciple. Obeying through an inward impulse, he forsook the custom-house, and, having prepared a great feast for the occasion of taking leave of his companions, he invited his fellow-publicans, and also the Lord Jesus; apparently for an adieu, that they might find opportunity to become converted through the discourse of the Lord Jesus.

After this, Matthew immediately forsook all, and zealously followed his Lord, who had called him, and who, after he had more fully instructed him, placed him among the apostles, which office he, too, exercised among the Jews, till the death of Christ. Matt. 10:3; Luke 6:15.

Afterwards, when he was sent out to teach among the heathen, Ethiopia fell to his lot. But before he left Judea, he, through the illumination of the Holy Spirit, wrote his Gospel, in the Hebrew language, and left it to them. Euseb. lib. 5, cap. 1. Joh. Gys. Niceph. lib. 3, cap. 20. Secund. J. Gys.

In Ethiopia he accomplished much, with teaching as well as with miracles; and there he also left unto posterity after his death his written Gospel, from which it can easily be seen what faith he maintained, namely, the faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, that he became a real man, through the power of the Holy Ghost, in his mother Mary. Matt. 1st chapter, throughout.

History states that immediately after the death of King Aeglippus, who was attached to the Christians, his successor Hytacus, an unbelieving heathen, persecuted this apostle, and that at a certain time, when this pious apostle of Christ was teaching the church of God, he caused him to be apprehended and, as some write, nailed to the ground, and beheaded, in Naddavar, the capital of Ethiopia, 89where he is also buried, according to Venantius Fortunatus, who wrote, over a thousand years ago, “For the great city Naddavar shall restore to us at the last day the eminent Apostle Matthew.” J. Gys. in Hist. Mart., fol. 12, col. 2. Also, Konst-tooneel van veertig, in the life of Matthew. Also, P. J. Twisck, Bybelsch Næmbœck, fol. 65, col. 2, letter M. This writer states that he was fastened to the ground with darts, whereupon death ensued. Joh. Gys., from Venantius Fortunatus, de Gaud. Vitæ, lib. 7.



Simon the Canaanite, surnamed Zelotes, that is, Zealot, the son of Alpheus, the brother of James, Joses, and Juda, and a relative of Christ, was constituted by Christ one of his twelve apostles, to preach the Gospel, first among the Jews, and afterwards among the heathen; to which end he, together with the others who were in like ministry with him, received the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost. Matt. 10:4; Acts 1:13; Matt. 13:55; Mark 6:3.

He traveled in Egypt, Cyrene, Africa, Mauritania, throughout Lybia, and in the islands of Great Britain, where he preached the Gospel, Isid. de Vita et Mort. 5, 5. Niceph., lib. 2, cap. 40.

Afterwards, having preached everywhere, writes N. D. C., he came to the Western Sea, also into England, and their neighboring places.

Finally, it is stated by others, he went to Persia, where he found his brother Judas. Continuing together steadfastly in the duties of their apostleship, they sealed the divine truth with their blood.

Concerning Simon Zelotes in particular, it is stated that he was crucified in a very painful way by a certain governor in Syria. Bybelsch Næmbœck, letter S. on the name Simon, fol. 570, col. 1, from Eus. and Niceph., and Hist. Andræ, fol. 18, Konst-tooneel van veertig, in the life of Simon Zelotes.

As regards his brother Judas, surnamed Lebbeus, and also, Thaddeus, who was likewise an apostle of Jesus Christ, nothing is said of him in Evangelical history; only there is mention made of a question which he asked the Lord Jesus, saying, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Matt. 10:3; Mark 3:18; John 14:22.

It was this apostle who also wrote a comforting letter to the believers, in which he admonishes them to remain steadfast in the faith once received; and threatens the unbelievers with the severe judgment of God.


In accordance with the division of the world made by the apostles for the preaching of the Gospel, he traveled in Mesopotamia, Syria, Arabia, and as far as Edessa. Finally, having gone to Persia, he there reproved and opposed the pagan idolatry; on which account he was beaten to death by the idolatrous priests, who were losing their gain. Isidor. and Niceph., Sabell. Eneæ. 7, lib. 14. Bybelsch Næmbœck, letter I., on the name of Judas Thaddeus, fol. 595. Konst-tooneel, etc., in the life of Judas Thaddeus, or Lebbeus.

Simon the Canaanite, or Zelotes, who was a son of Alpheus, is not distinguished by some from Simon the bishop at Jerusalem, who was a son of Cleophas; hence has originated the error that Simon Zelotes is said to have been killed A. D. 108 (see Byb. Næmb., fol. 870, col. 1), which, properly, is to be understood of Simon, the bishop at Jerusalem, the son of Cleophas; for Simon Zelotes and his brother Judas Thaddeus, according to testimony, were killed towards the close of the persecution by Nero, or about A. D. 70.



Matthias, according to the opinion of some, was of the royal house of David; and from his youth was well instructed in the law of God, at Bethlehem. He was one of the seventy disciples of Christ; but shortly after the Lord’s ascension, Judas Iscariot; having faithlessly departed from his apostleship, and taken his own life, the remaining eleven apostles, and one hundred and twenty men, through prayer to God, and by the lot, unanimously elected him in place of the aforementioned faithless Judas, an apostle and ambassador of Jesus Christ, to preach the Gospel, according to the command of the Lord, to all nations, and to baptize the believers. Acts 1:23–26.

Afterwards he and the other eleven apostles were scourged by the Jewish council, for the name of Jesus Christ, and commanded that they should preach no more in the name of Jesus Christ. Acts 5:38–40. But they departed from the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.

After the separation of the apostles, who went everywhere to preach, Matthias, according to the opinion of Jerome, penetrated far into Ethiopia, where no other apostle had been, into the very interior of the land, yea, to the uttermost ends, to the inlet of the creek or river Asphar and Hyssus; where the most ignorant and barbarous people were. Unto these people, sitting as they were, in the deepest darkness and ignorance, there arose, through the ministry of this apostle, the true light 91of the Gospel. But, after having there gained many souls to Christ, he returned, according to history, to Judea, Galilee, and Samaria; namely, as in consequence of the dispersion of the apostles, the Jews who dwelt in those parts, could not enjoy the benefits of the ministry of the holy Gospel, unto their conversion. Hieron. in Catal. Script. Eccl. Isidor. Naucler. Sabell. and Anthon., in Hist. Matthiæ.

Concerning the end or martyrdom of Matthias, some write that he would not sacrifice to the false god Jupiter, and was therefore put to death by the heathen. Others, however, state that for the blasphemy which the Jews said he had committed against God, Moses, and the law, he was sentenced by their high priest, first to be hung on a cross and stoned, and afterwards beheaded with an ax. In short, when he would not deny Jesus, his Savior, but steadfastly confessed him, his sentence, was this: “Thy blood be upon thy head, for thine own mouth hath spoken against thee.” Thereupon, having been tied on a cross, as some write, or conducted upon a rock, as others say, he was stoned, and finally, according to the sentence, beheaded. Joh. Gys., in Hist. Mart., fol. 13, col. 2, ex Anton., in part 1. Also, Konst-tooneel, etc., in the life of Matthias. Also, P. J. Twisck in the Bybelsch Næmbœck, letter M. on the name Matthias, fol. 652, col. 1, 2.


Prochorus, one of the first seven deacons at Jerusalem, a nephew of the pious martyr Stephen, and companion of the Apostle John, but afterwards bishop of the church at Bithynia, in Macedonia, suffered and died at Antioch.

Nicanor, also one of the first seven deacons at Jerusalem, was likewise executed for the truth’s sake.

Likewise Parmenas, also one of the seven deacons.

Olympus was imprisoned at Rome with Paul, for the Gospel’s sake.

Carpus, a servant of Paul, and afterwards bishop of the church at Troas, was put to death in that place, for the faith.

Trophimus, Paul’s companion, was beheaded for the truth of Christ.

Maternus and Egystus, two of the seventy disciples of Christ, together with Marianus, the Christian deacon, were put to death in Germany, for the faith.

Hermagoras, bishop of the church at Aquileia, ordained thereto by Peter, suffered likewise under Nero.

Onesimus, Dionysius, Areopagitæ, and others, also died at that time for the divine truth.

This persecution, which was originated by Nero, continued a long time, extending even into the time of Vespasian; so that it is stated that in the third year of his reign, there was put to death in the city of Ravenna, for confessing Christ, Apollinaris, a disciple of Peter, with many others, whose names are not mentioned.

Of the Second Persecution of the Christians, under Domitian, which Commenced A. D. 93; in which, among Others, there were Apprehended, Banished, or Slain, the Following Persons:



Luke, the third among the holy evangelists, was, according to the testimony of the ancients, a Syrian of Antioch, and by occupation a physician. Bybelsch Næmbœck, about Luke, from Euseb. and Hieron. Col. 4:14.

It was the will of the Lord to use him as a physician of souls; to which end he has left to mankind two excellent books on spiritual medicine; namely, his holy Gospel and the Acts of the holy Apostles.

Concerning his parents there is nowhere anything mentioned; hence little or almost no account can be given of his natural descent, excepting his birthplace, and that he descended from the Syrian nation. It is supposed that he had no wife; though nearly all the other apostles and evangelists were married.

According to the opinion of Jerome, he was, before his conversion, a Jewish proselyte, though of Gentile descent; which is quite probable, since, according to the judgment of linguists, his style is far more excellent and perfect in Greek than in Hebrew. Joh. Gys., in Hist. Mart. ex Hieronimo.

He afterwards, through the preaching of Paul, became a Christian A. D. 38, after he had come from Thebes to Antioch. Konst-tooneel, etc., in the life of Luke.

He became a disciple of the apostles, but especially a traveling companion of the apostle Paul, so that he was with him in many perils and difficulties on sea and on land.

He was so intimate with Paul, and his special friend to such a degree that, according to the ancients, he wrote the Gospel under his dictation and instruction. He has also given a faithful account of Paul’s principal travels until his first imprisonment at Rome. Joh. Gys. Hist. Mart., concerning Luke the evangelist.

Paul makes frequent mention of him in his epistles; for to the Colossians he writes: “Luke, the physician, . . . greet you.” Col. 4:14. To Philemon: “There salute thee Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus; Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellow-laborers.” Phil. 23,24. Likewise, to Timothy: “Only Luke is with me.” 2 Tim. 4:11.

Luke was therefore, as it appears, a companion of Paul, not only in his travels, but also during his imprisonment at Rome. So that he was twice 92brought, together with Paul, before the Emperor Nero. P. J. Twisck, taken from Paul’s epistles to Timothy.

Respecting his end, some write that, while preaching in Greece, he was hanged by the ungodly to a green olive tree; others relate that he was in the eighty-fourth year of his age, at the time of his death. Bybelsch Næmbœck, letter L., on the name Luke, fol. 624, col. 1. Konst-tooneel van veertig.



Antipas was an upright man and a pious witness of the Son of God; who, in proof of his faith, tasted death, rather than dishonor his Savior, by denying him, or otherwise. This happened in the lifetime of the apostle John. Hence he may be reckoned one of the first of those who suffered, during the time of Domitian, for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Of this hero and knight of God, the Lord himself made mention to his servant John, yea, commanded him, to write to the teacher at Pergamos concerning him, saying: “To the angel of the church in Pergamos write: These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.” Rev. 2:12–14.

Touching the time and manner of his death, there is nothing stated in Holy Writ; but some of the ancient writers maintain that he was enclosed in a red-hot brazen ox, and thus burned alive with great pain, yet in steadfastness. As regards the time when this happened, we ascertain from Holy Scripture, that he was killed in the lifetime of John. Some fix this occurrence in the time of Domitian, or about A. D. 95.—See concerning this, A. Mell., 1st Book, van de Hist, der Vervolg. en Martel., printed A. D. 1619, fol. 22, col. 1. Also, d’Annotation der laetste Bybelsch Oversettinge, Rev. 2:12,13.



John, the apostle and evangelist, was a son of Zebedee, and brother of James the Greater; he was born at Nazareth, and by occupation was a fisherman. 93 Matt. 4:21. He was called by Christ, when engaged with his father and brother in mending their nets for fishing. Verse 22. As soon as he heard the words of Christ, he immediately left the nets, the ship, and his father, and, together with James, his beloved brother, followed Christ. Chrysost. Homil. 1., in Joh.

Afterwards he became from a disciple an apostle of Christ, and was numbered with the twelve whom the Lord had specially chosen for his service. Matt. 10:2.

He was greatly beloved by the Lord, so that at the Supper he reclined on Christ’s bosom, and leaned, or rested, on his breast. John 13:23; 21:20. The Lord, moreover, had accepted him as one of his three most special friends, to bear testimony of his works, not only in his conflict and suffering in the garden of Gethsemane, but also in his glory, in the raising of the daughter of Jairus as well as in the showing forth of his majesty, when, on the holy mount, his face shone as the sun, and his raiment became white as the light. Matt. 26:36; Luke 8:51; Matt. 17:1–4.

From an inward love, he followed the Lord not only into the house of the priest Caiaphas, but also to Mount Calvary, without the city of Jerusalem, where the Lord was put to death. There the Lord, hanging on the cross, addressed him, saying, “Son, behold thy mother!” John 19:27.

He was so eager after the resurrection of Christ, that in running to his grave with his fellow-apostle Peter, he outran the latter, thus showing his affection for his Lord, who had died an ignominious death, and was entirely forsaken by his other friends. John 20:4.

Some years afterwards, in order to refute the errors of Ebion and Cerinthus, who denied the divinity of Christ, he wrote his Gospel, to the honor and magnifying of his Savior, commencing thus: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” “And the Word was made flesh,” etc., John 1:1–14. In these words he gives us to understand the true incarnation of the Son of God, to whom be praise and glory forever. Amen.

John is called throughout the Gospel the beloved of the Lord, or the disciple “whom Jesus loved;” because the Lord so especially loved him. John 13:23; 20:2; 21:20.

But since it is the will of God to bring his children to glory through much tribulation and distress, this beloved friend of God, John, also could not escape, but was tried throughout his life, with manifold tribulations, according to what the Lord had told him and his brother James: “Ye shall indeed drink 94 of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized,” that is, ye shall also be subjected to my suffering and distress. Mark 10:39.

This was afterwards fulfilled in him in manifold ways; for, besides what ancient writers have recorded concerning it, namely, that at Rome he was put into a vat full of boiling oil, but was miraculously delivered out of it, the merits of which account we leave unquestioned; this much, according to the Scriptures, is certain, namely that he spent a long time on the desert island of Patmos, whither he had been banished for the testimony of Jesus Christ. Concerning this, John himself makes this declaration, Rev. 1:9: “I, John, who also am your brother and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.”

But by whom, and in what manner he was banished to that desert island, is not stated in the Scriptures, except that he was in tribulation for the word of God. Some of the ancient writers, however, state that he was banished by Emperor Domitian, about A. D. 97; who, in his wrath and displeasure, because he preached the word of God, and confessed Christ as the Son of God, had him sentenced and banished thither.

On this island, which lies in the Mediterranean, between Asia Minor and Greece, one hundred and twenty-five miles north-westward of Jerusalem, he was indeed forsaken of men, and had scarcely any companionship, aside from poisonous and noxious animals, which dwelt in the place; nevertheless, the Lord God dwelt with him with his heavenly consolation, and during his banishment presented and revealed to him, very beautiful scenes and glorious visions concerning the condition of the church of God to the end of the world.

How he wrote his Apocalypse or Revelation, an excellent book, full of divine and truthful prophecies, taken from the preceding visions and heavenly sights; some of which are already fulfilled, and others remain to be fulfilled.

As the time of his deliverance began to draw nigh, the Lord spoke to him on this island, saying, “Behold, I come quickly, Amen.” Whereupon John replied with a well-comforted soul, “Even so come, Lord Jesus.” Rev. 22:20.

When the Emperor Domitian, who had banished him to the aforesaid island, was dead, and Nerva reigned in his stead, he was delivered and brought back to Ephesus, where he had previously been bishop of the church. This occurred, according to history, about A. D. 99; consequently, his confinement there lasted two years. The ancients write that he suffered much yet for the name of Christ, and was compelled to drink poison, yet remained 95unharmed, according to the promise of Christ; and that he finally died in peace at Ephesus, in the time of the Emperor Trajan, having served in the holy Gospel for fifty-one years, and being eighty years old: and thus this great light rests in Asia. Joh. Gys. Hist. Mart., fol. 14, col. 2, from Euseb. Hist. Eccl. and Epiphanio., Joh. Gys., ibidem, from Euseb., lib. 3, cap. 20, 23, Niceph., lib. 3, cap. 4, Iren., lib. 3, cap. 3. Also, Konst-tooneel, in the life of John. Also, Bybelsch Naembock, letter J. on the name John, fol. 538, col. 2, and fol. 539, col. 1, 2, also, fol. 540, col. 1.


Timothy was a native of Lystra in Lycaonia. His father was a Greek, but his mother and grandmother, though of Jewish descent, were Christian believers, the one named Eunice, the other Lois; by whom he was instructed from his youth in the holy Scriptures. Acts 16:1; 2 Tim. 1:5.

Timothy was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium; wherefore Paul received him as his companion in the ministry of the holy Gospel among the Gentiles. Acts 16:2,3.

Paul loved him with a godly love, and called him his dearly beloved son in the Lord. 2 Tim. 1:2. He afterwards appointed him bishop or teacher of the church, and commended to him the flock of Jesus his Savior, with the admonition, uprightly to feed and govern the same; to which end he wrote two special epistles to him.

“O Timothy,” he writes, “keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called.” 1 Tim. 6:20.

Further: “This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee . . . through faith and a good conscience.” 1:18.

In another place: “Thou, therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” 2 Tim. 2:1,2.

In this ministry Timothy acquitted himself as an upright evangelical preacher, until it pleased God, to let him finish his course, not by a common death, but by martyrdom; so that he, with his spiritual father Paul, who had steadfastly preceded him, and especially with his Lord Christ Jesus, who had gone through the conflict many years before, might enjoy the unfading crown of honor in the life of bliss. Thus it happened afterwards, according to history, that, having been bishop at Ephesus for fifteen years, he was there stoned to death by the heathen, whose idolatry he had reproved. This is stated to have taken place in the reign of Domitian, or about A. D. 98, though some have fixed it in the time of Nero. Joh. Gysii Hist. Mart., fol. 14, col. 4, also, Bybelsch Naembock, letter T. on the name Timothy, fol. 925, col. 102.


Next to Timothy is placed Urticinus or Ursinius, a physician at Ravenna in Italy. Having been reported to the Judge Paulinus, as being a Christian, he was tortured in manifold ways for the name of Christ. Having borne all with constancy, and still refusing to sacrifice to the gods of the heathen, he was finally sentenced by the judge, to be beheaded with the ax.

When Urticinus received this sentence of death, he began to tremble and shake before the impending death, and to deliberate with himself, whether he should deny Christ, or how he might the most easily escape death.

But while he was thus counseling with flesh and blood, one of the company of Judge Paulinus, whose name was Vitalus, stepped up to him from behind, and strengthened him with these words: “My beloved brother in Christ, Urticinus, who, as a faithful physician, by thy potions, didst so often and so happily restore to health the sick, take heed, lest by thy denial thou plunge thyself into eternal death and damnation.”

Through this admonition Urticinus regained such courage, that he joyfully prepared for death, and, having of his own accord offered his neck to the ax, he thus, through the separation of his head from the body, came to a godly and noble end. See concerning this, A. Mell., 1st book, van de Hist. der Vervolg., fol. 18, col. 3 and 4, according Venant. Fortunat., lib. 4. Vitæ S. Martini. Hieronym. Rub. Hist. Raven., lib. 1. Beda, Usuard. Ado. Vincent, Spec. Hist., lib. 9, cap. 50. Volateran. in Antrhopal. Pet. Dam., in Serm. de S. S. Vitali and Valeria.



Vitalus, before his conversion, was a Roman knight and citizen of Milan. He had come to Ravenna with Paulinus, the judge; but when he perceived the bloodthirstiness of his lord, whom he had hitherto served faithfully according to the manner of the world, he bravely left him, and straightway enrolled himself under the banner of Christ, but was very soon apprehended by the enemies of truth. For Paulinus, his lord, not knowing why he had left him, but having learned that he had encouraged Urticinus—who had just before been beheaded with the ax, for the faith—when the latter wavered, and that he had restrained him from sacrificing to the gods; likewise, that he had buried him after his death, conceived a suspicion that he also must be a Christian. Upon this suspicion, and through the accusations of others, he had the pious Vitalus apprehended, and having found from his own confession, that he was really a Christian, he caused him to be put on the rack, to try him whether he would not apostatize from Christ.


Thereupon Vitalus addressed Paulinus, the criminal judge, in these words: “You must certainly be deprived of your reason, to think that I should be deceived by you, and brought to eternal suffering in soul and body, while I have sought to deliver others from the danger of delusion.”

A wicked heathen priest, perceiving that he adhered firmly to Christ, and would in no wise do honor to the gods, advised Paulinus to bury Vitalus alive. Paulinus, following the evil suggestion of this priest, had a deep pit dug down to the water, at the place where the Christians were usually executed—called ad Palmam because a palm tree stood there—and had Vitalus buried in it, up to the middle (of his body), and then covered up with stones and earth.

Now when Valeria, the wife of Vitalus, after the death and burying alive of her husband, returned home from Ravenna to Milan, where she resided and had her children, she could not remain concealed long, but made herself known to be a Christian woman; for when she was constrained to eat of that which was offered to idols, she very steadfastly refused and resisted, yea, moreover, openly reproved the idolaters, saying, “I am a Christian, and can, therefore, in no wise eat that which is offered to Sylvanus, your god.”

Thereupon these idolaters seized her, and beat her to death with sticks. She was buried at Milan by the Christians. This happened by virtue of the first persecution, or the edict of Nero, which, it is stated, remained in force under Vespasian and under Domitian. A. Mell. Hist., fol. 16, col. 3, about Luke.

Concerning this martyrdom see the above mentioned authors, annotated with regard to Urticinus.


According to ancient history there were also slain for the testimony of the Son of God: In France, Lucianus, bishop of the church of Bellovaco; Maximianus and Julianus, elders; Nicasius, bishop of the church of Rouen; Quirinus, an elder; Scubiculus, a deacon; Pascientia, a virgin. In Italy, Romulus, bishop of the church of Fesula, and others, in different places. J. Gys. Hist. Mart., fol. 14, col. 4.

It is further recorded, that Marsilius Glabrio also had to suffer for the name of Christ and the true faith.

At this time (it is stated in the Introduction to the Martyrs Mirror to the Defenseless Christians fol. 36, col. 2,) “The Christians were so little esteemed, that they were called cobblers, as may be seen from a heathen author, according to Baronius.”




The witnesses as regards the ordinance of the baptism of Jesus Christ, who have written in this century, are few, and their accounts are brief, but mostly clear and conclusive. First appears one Dionysius, surnamed Alexandrinus, who writes to his friend Sixtus about a certain brother, who considered the baptism of the heretics no baptism at all, and, therefore requested to be re-baptized.

He is followed by Justinus, who, in his letters written in defense of the Christians, as well as in his disputation with Tryphon, the Jew, speaking of baptism, treats of it throughout as of the baptism of Christ, which was administered to adults.

Then comes one Gratianus, who declares himself against retaliation; and also another (noticed in the margin), who was censured because he held that the body of Christ was not of the substance of Mary.

Then follows Clemens Alexandrinus, who nowhere speaks of infant baptism, though he treats much of baptism, and of its conditions and circumstances.

Then follows a certain testimony, from Walafridus Strabo, proving that in those early times it was not customary to baptize otherwise than in running water, and that only such persons were baptized, who were able to know and understand the benefits to be obtained in baptism.

The conclusion is taken from the 7th chapter of De Ratione Gubernationes Ecclesiæ, in which we read, that now there were baptized those who had previously been instructed in the principal articles of faith. With this we have concluded this century.

Note.—Since we have not come across any particular authors as regards the matter of baptism, with the first years of this century, we are compelled to begin with the year 126, and to proceed thence on; which method we shall also pursue in some of the other centuries.

About the year 126.—The first place in our account of baptism in the second century, we shall accord to Dionysius Alexandrinus,87 of whom it is stated (from his 5th book on Baptism) that he wrote to Sixtus, the bishop at Rome, as follows: There was with us a brother who had been a believer a long time, before ever I or my predecessor Heraclas was ordained bishop. Being present among those who were baptized, and hearing the questions put to them, and their replies, he came to me weeping, fell down at my feet, and began to confess that he had received baptism from the heretics in an entirely different manner, which baptism, since he saw that we administered baptism differently, he did not consider baptism at all. He therefore entreated to be cleansed and purified with the baptism of the Christian church, that he might receive the grace of the Holy Ghost.

Finally he writes these words: He (namely, the man mentioned above, who wished to be re-baptized) ceased not to sigh and to weep, and dared not to come to the Lord’s table, and, admonished and constrained by us, would scarce venture to be present at common prayer.

In regard to this, Eusebius Pamphilius of Cesarea, who has annotated this, writes thus: These and many other such questions concerning re-baptizing are noted by Dionysius throughout his books. Euseb., lib. 7, cap. 8, from Dionysius.

Note.—P. J. Twisck discriminates this Dionysius Alexandrinus from another Dionysius, who, about A. D. 231, after Origen, was a teacher of the scholars of the faith, at Alexandria. See Chron. 3d Book for the year 231, page 61, col. 1. Also, for the year 253, page 71, col. 1.

Of the martyrdom of the latter we shall speak in the proper place, under the persecution of Valerianus and Gallienus. Others, however, hold that it was one and the same Dionysius, who wrote this, and suffered martyrdom. But this matters little, since the matters themselves, as stated by these writers, agree in general. We will leave this to the judgment of the intelligent reader.

From the above it is evident, first, that baptism was administered after previous examination, because it is said: “Being present among those who were baptized, and hearing the questions put to them, and their replies;” which agrees with the manner in which Philip proceeded with the Ethiopian, before he baptized him: the one asked, the other answered, and then followed baptism. Acts 8:36–38.

Moreover, since Eusebius states, that Dionysius notes many such questions of re-baptizing throughout his books, it follows incontrovertibly, that re-baptizing, or, at least, baptizing aright, those who had not been rightly baptized, must have been practiced, or at least advocated by some at that time; else it would not have been necessary to note any questions in regard to it; whereas much was written in that day, concerning it, as Eusebius has shown from Dionysius.

About the year 140.—Justinus, who was surnamed Philosophus, because, before his conversion, he was instructed in philosophy, comes next in order after Dionysius Alexandrinus. In his second defense of the Christians, to the Emperors Titus, Aelius, Adrianus, Antonius, Pius, etc. (according to the annotation of H. Montanus Nietighz., p. 5), he writes thus: “We shall also relate to you, how we, being renewed through Christ, have offered ourselves up to God, lest, this being omitted, it might seem, that in some parts of this statement we have not been faithful. As many, then, as are convinced, and believe that what we teach and say is true, and promise to live accordingly, to the best of their ability, are admonished to pray, and to ask God, with fasting, for the forgiveness of past sins, we ourselves praying and fasting with them. After that, we lead them to the water, and they are then 98 born again in the same manner of regeneration in which we ourselves were born again; for then they are washed with water, in the name of God, who is the Father and Lord of us all, and of Jesus Christ, who is the Savior of us all, and of the Holy Ghost; for Christ says: ‘Except ye be born again, ye cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.’ ”

These are certainly clear arguments, which confirm the institution of Christ as regards baptism upon faith; for, when Justinus writes: “As many then, as are convinced, and believe,” and adds: “are admonished to pray,” and finally says: “After that, we lead them to the water, and they are then born again in the same manner of regeneration,” that is to say (speaking by way of metonymy), baptized; he certainly gives to understand with this, that the candidates for baptism, in his day, had to be convinced, namely through the preached word, and had to believe, and, also, that they had to be admonished to pray, before they were led to the water, to be baptized, or, as he calls it, regenerated.

A little further on in the same apology or defense, he writes thus: “This, concerning this matter, we have learned from the apostles; for, since we are ignorant by our first birth, and have been brought up in evil practices and wicked habits; therefore, in order that we may not remain children of ignorance, but become children of free volition and of knowledge, and may obtain the remission of sins committed, there is invoked over those who voluntarily desire to be born again, and who repent of their past sins, the name of God, the Father and Lord of all men; and, invoking him alone, we lead the one to be baptized to the washing of water; and this washing of water is called an enlightenment, because the understanding of those who learn these things, becomes enlightened. But those who become enlightened, are also washed, that is, baptized, in the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and in the name of the Holy Spirit, who, through the prophets, has foretold all concerning Christ.” H. Mont. Nietighz., page 6, ex Justino.

From this it is again quite evident, that Justinus has in view, nothing else than to give an account of the true baptism, which Christ and his apostles taught that it should only be administered upon faith and repentance for sins; for, when he says: “Those who voluntarily desire to be baptized again, and who repent of their past sins,” and adds: “Invoking the name of God, we lead the one to be baptized to the washing of water,” he certainly says nothing else than what was said to those baptized by John. Matt. 3:6: “And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins,” and what Peter said to the contrite penitents, who inquired what they must do to be saved. Acts 2:38: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins.” The very same idea is expressed here by Justinus, as is shown.

Further on in the same apology or defense, Justinus writes these words: “But we, after he who, being convinced, has become of one mind with us, is thus washed, we lead him to those who are called brethren, where they are assembled, ardently offering up the common prayers, for ourselves, for him who is enlightened, and for all other men, wherever they may be; that we may be worthy to be disciples of the truth leading indeed a good conversation, and be found observers of that which is commanded us; in order that we may obtain eternal salvation.” H. Mont. Nietighz., page 7, ex Justino.

This is the third citation from Justinus, from which it appears certainly no more, than from the first two, that he mentions any other baptism, than that upon faith and repentance. For, when he says: “After he who, being convinced, has become of one mind with us, is thus washed, we lead him to those who are called brethren,” he gives to understand with this, that those who were washed, that is baptized, must first be convinced, and consent to the doctrine, which agrees with Christ’s command, Matt. 28:19: “Go ye therefore, and teach (or, make disciples of) all nations, baptizing them,” and mark: “Preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.88

Jacob Mehrning, in his account of baptism in the second century, cites from the Centurien van Mægdenborg the following words: “The teachers of the church of that time held, that regeneration was effected through baptism and the word, to both of which together they ascribed a power, namely, the forgiveness of sins, which required repentance from adults.” Many clear testimonies concerning this are found in Justinus.

In the disputation with Tryphon, the Jew, he writes: “Through the washing of water of repentance (Wasserbad der Busse), and the knowledge of God, which has been instituted for the forgiveness of the sins of the people, as Isaiah says, we believe and feel assured, that this is the blessed baptism, which was proclaimed in former times, and that this alone can cleanse the penitent, yea, that this is a water of life.”

A little further on he calls baptism a spiritual circumcision acceptable to the merciful God. And in conclusion he says: “Through water and faith, the regeneration of the whole human race is effected.” Jac. Mehrn., Baptism. Histor., 2d part, on the second century, page 202.

Justinus writes further, in the disputation with Tryphon, the Jew, on the truth of the Christian religion: “Since we, through Christ, are converted to the true God, we are sanctified in baptism, and call upon him as our helper, and call him our Redeemer. Before the power of this name, Satan himself must fear and tremble.” Jac. Mehrn., page 203. Baptism. Hist., 2d Part.

Who does not see clearly from these words of Justinus, in the disputation with Tryphon, in the first as well as in the second citation, that he employs such words and phrases as can by no means be applied otherwise than to the true order of the 99baptism of Christ and his apostles, namely, baptism which is accompanied with faith and repentance? For in the first citation he certainly says expressly, that baptism is a washing of water of repentance, and the knowledge of God; also, that it alone can cleanse the penitent; and also, that through water and faith the regeneration of the whole human race is effected. In the second citation he also plainly says: “Since we, through Christ, are converted to the true God, we are sanctified in baptism.” How could any one more clearly indicate the true practice of baptism, which must take place with conversion to God? And such baptism, Justinus states here, was practiced in the church of God in his time. O glorious, holy, and most Christian transaction!


In the fifty-sixth question and answer of this book some words are employed from which pedobaptists sometimes are wont to conclude, that infant baptism was practiced in the days of Justinus. But to this, various excellent and learned men have replied long since, namely, that this book was never written by Justinus; to prove which, different reasons are adduced, as, for instance: That in the answer to the 115th question mention is made of Irenius, who lived twenty-five years after Justinus, but is nevertheless cited by the latter in his writings as his predecessor. Moreover, that in the answer to the twelfth, and also in that to the eighty-sixth question, Origen is mentioned, who lived a whole century after Justinus. To this must be added, that neither Eusebius nor Jerome, both of whom have each compiled a complete catalogue of all the authentic writings of Justinus, enumerate this book Quæstionum; whereas they mention the Second Defense of the Christians, and the Disputation with Tryphon, from which we have adduced in full several citations concerning baptism. Hence the aforementioned book is justly rejected, as not being the work of Justinus. See concerning this, De Centuriator. Magdeub., Cent. 2, cap. 10, in the account of the life of Justinus. Also, Bellarm. in Tract van de Scribenten der Kerke. Also, Jacob Mehrn., Baptism. Histor., 2nd Part, page 170, 171. Also, A. Montan. Nietighz. van den Kinder-doop, second edition, A. 1648, page 8, 9.

Note.—In 152, Valentinus Romanus was censured as a heretic, because he believed that the Son of God, Christus Jesus, assumed neither a human nature, nor flesh and blood from the substance of the virgin Mary. P. J. Twisck, Chron. for the year 152, 2d Book, page 42, col. 1, from Herm. Med., fol. 330, Chron. Seb. Fr., 106., Jan. Cresp., fol. 34.

About the year 160.—Gratianus quotes the words of the Lord: “When they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another;” and says then: “Here Jesus Christ teaches that Christians shall not repel weapon with weapon, but must flee before weapons.” P. J. Twisck, Chron., 2d Book, for the year 160, p. 43, col. 1, 2, from Seb. Fra. in den Krieg des Fredes, fol. 63.

From this explanation of Gratianus appears, how salutarily and rightly he believed and taught with regard to the words of Jesus Christ relative to the forsaking of revenge; from which we may infer his correct views concerning other matters of Holy Scripture and the Christian faith; but since, either through default of the ancient writers, or for some other reason, nothing else has come down to us from him, we shall be content with what we have mentioned, and take our leave of him.89

About the year 200.—About this time flourished Clemens Alexandrinus, who, though writing largely on baptism, nowhere mentions infant baptism, but employs throughout such language as sufficiently implies, that he knew nothing of infant baptism, but confined himself solely to the ordinance of Christ and the practice of his apostles, which is baptism that is accompanied with faith and repentance.

In Pædagog., lib. 1., chap. 6, he writes thus: “This is also done with us, whose example the Lord Christ has become. Being baptized, we become enlightened; being enlightened, we are made children; having been made children, we are brought to perfection; having been brought to perfection, we are made immortal.” A little after that he says: “Thus also, when we are baptized, we obtain a free, unobstructed, and clear eye of the Holy Ghost, as an avengement of blindness; having trodden underfoot the sins which hitherto obscured the divine Spirit.” Also: “That which was grievously bound by ignorance, is unbound by knowledge, and these bands are loosed through the faith of man and the grace of God, the manifold sins being forgiven through reasonable90 baptism as a perfect remedy; thus we are washed from all sins, and are henceforth evil no more; this is the grace of enlightenment, that the manner of life is no longer the same that it was before we were baptized.” Further: “Teaching or instruction precedes faith, but faith conjointly with baptism is led and directed through the Holy Ghost.” And: “Even so we who repent of our former sins separate ourselves from them and are being cleansed through baptism, let us run to the eternal light, as children to their father.” See further, concerning these citations, Jac. Mehrn., Bapt. Hist., 2d Part, pages 213, 214. Also, H. Montan. Nietighz van den Kinder-doop, pages 26, 27.

What is there in this testimony of Clemens Alexandrinus, that can apply to infant baptism? yea, on the contrary, what is there that does not militate against it? He certainly says expressly: “These bands (namely, of sin) are loosed through the faith of man, and the grace of God, the manifold sins being forgiven through reasonable baptism.” This certainly is a clear and obvious joining together of faith and baptism, as things which, through 100 the providence of God, belong together, for the remission of sins. When he further says: “Teaching, or instruction, precedes faith, but faith conjointly with baptism is led and directed through the Holy Ghost,” there is expressed, without controversy, the same thing that we have said just now; since here not only faith is joined together with baptism, but also instruction, which precedes faith, and the Holy Ghost, who follows and confirms faith.

It is true, he says soon after this, that those who are baptized are children, or, at least, ought to be. But what kind of children? Not children in understanding, not infants in the cradle, but, as he further says, Children in wickedness, but perfect in the understanding. Children, who, as children of God, have put off the old man, and the garment of wickedness, and have put on the incorruptibility of Christ, in order that, being regenerated, they may become a new and holy people, and keep unspotted the new man. See the treatise cited above.

If at that time it was at all customary in Alexandria to baptize infants, would it not have been appropriate here for him, to speak of irrational infants, or at least to mention with a word or two, that they, too, were entitled to baptism, although, on account of their youth, they could not understand the object of it? Truly, according to our opinion he could not well have omitted mentioning it; but, inasmuch as he does not refer to it with a single word, it is good proof, that at that time this abuse was not known there, or, at least, not regarded.

Jacob Mehrning says (Baptism. Hist. concerning the second century, page 213): “Of Clemens Alexandrinus we read that at Alexandria he presided over the school in which the catechumens, that is those who received instruction preparatory to baptism, were taught the principles of the Christian faith.” Vicecomes, lib. 2, cap. 7.

From this Pædag., Clementis Alexandrini, lib. 1, cap. 6, Vicecomes would prove that there was given to those who were baptized, milk and honey to eat, and milk mixed with wine, to drink; likewise, that after baptism, preaching took place and peace was imparted to those baptized.

As regards the statement, that there was given to the baptized, as a sign of God’s blessing, milk and honey to eat, and milk mixed with wine, to drink, we leave it to its own merits, it being a matter of small importance, which, if done without superstition, could either be observed or omitted. But the preceding statement, that Clemens Alexandrinus presided over the school in which the catechumens were taught the principles of the Christian faith, certainly implies that the candidates for baptism were first instructed in the school, in the principles of the Christian faith, before they were baptized; and also, the final remark, that after baptism preaching took place, and peace was imparted to the baptized, certainly also indicates that those who were baptized were not infants, for then they could not have understood the preaching, much less would they have been qualified to receive with attention and according to the requirements of Holy Scripture the peace which was imparted to them.

Note.—Baudartius writes of Clemens Alexandrinus, that he proclaimed the true religion with his mouth as well as with his pen, saying among other things: “A pious and honorable man is well content with little.” Apophth., edit. 1640, lib. 2, page 49.


From the writings of Walafridus Strabonus we may clearly infer what manner of baptism was practiced at this time, in the first as well as in the second century, and also long afterwards, namely, that no infants, but adult, reasonable, and believing persons were baptized, and this, according to the example of Christ and his holy apostles. Jac. Mehrn., Bapt. Hist., p. 524, D. I. Vicecomes, lib. I, cap. 4. Walafridus Strabo (in lib. de Rebus Eccles., cap. 26) writes: “We must know that originally believers were very simply baptized in streams and springs; for our Lord Jesus Christ himself, in order to sanctify such washing for us, was baptized of John in Jordan; even we read elsewhere: ‘John was baptizing in Enon near to Salim, because there was much water there.’ ”

Page 525, from D. Vicecomes, lib. 1, cap. 30; also, cap. 26, Strabo speaks thus concerning baptism: “We must know that in those first times baptism was administered only to those who, in body as well as in soul, were washed clean and white, so that they could both know and understand, what benefit there was to be obtained in baptism, what was to be confessed and believed, and, finally, what was necessary to be observed by the regenerated in Christ.

He then relates of Augustine, that he was instructed in the faith before he was baptized (of which we shall speak in the proper place); but that subsequently, for the sake of improvement, as it is called, the church, that is, the Roman church, practiced infant baptism, with a view of freeing infants by this means from the punishment of God for original sin. Then the followers of the true faith (thus he wrongly calls the Romanists), in order that the children might not be lost, if they should die without the means of regeneration, that is, baptism, resolved that they should be baptized for the remission of sins. Hence originated, he writes, the custom of having godfathers and godmothers, who stand for the child at (literally, lift the child from) baptism, and answer for them all that they themselves, on account of the weakness of their infancy, are not able to confess.” Thus for Strabo.

N. B.—Concerning these words, D. Vicecomes writes thus: “Since Walafridus Strabo removes the custom of infant baptism from the primitive church, he also recognizes no older origin of the godfather’s than which dates from a period subsequent to the times of Augustine.” Bapt. Hist., pp. 525, 526.

Thus, in the first two centuries, and long afterwards, infant baptism was not known by the Romanists 101 even, according to the above mentioned testimony of W. Strabo. Shortening this, we shall conclude with a statement contained in the H. Doophistorie, at the end of the second century, page 211, cap. 7, de Ratione Gubernationis Ecclesiæ: “Since also the administration of the Sacraments belongs to the government of the church, we see from the history of the time, that the bishops and teachers did not deem it burdensome to baptize, not bells and altars, but men whom they had instructed in the principal articles of the Christian religion; and to them they also administered the holy Supper.” We shall now proceed to the martyrs, who, during this time suffered for this same faith.



[The two Roman, or, properly speaking, Greek Emperors, Trajan and Marcus Aurelius raised the principal persecutions against the Christians, in this century. This is amply shown in the following account, as well as what persons suffered for the name of Christ in these persecutions.

In the persecutions through Trajan there were slain, after enduring much suffering, Simon Cleophas, who was a hundred and twenty years old, Rufus and Zosimus, the Ethiopian baptized by Philip, Ignatius, Onesimus, Dionysius Areopagita, Publius, Barsimeus, Barbelius and his sister Barba, Justus and Pastor, Phocas, Faustina, Jacobita, Felicitas with her seven sons, and Lucius.

Under Marcus Aurelius there suffered, Justinus, Polycarpus, and twelve of his beloved disciples, who had come from Philadelphia to Smyrna, and were slain there; Carpus, Papylus, Agathonica and many women, Germanicus, Vetius, Attalus, Alexander of Phrygia, Maturus, Sanctus Blandina and a youth, Photinus, ninety years old, Alcibiades, Epipodius, Alexander the Greek, Leoxides, Plutarchus, Sagaris, Thraseas. All these fought unto blood under the blood-stained banner of Jesus Christ; their deaths may be read at large in the following account.]

We shall begin the second century with the third general persecution which was raised against the followers of Jesus Christ, and shall forthwith proceed to give an account of the time, place, persons, and circumstances.


With the beginning of the second century, A. D. 102, arose the third heathen persecution against the Christians, under Emperor Trajan, who attained to the reign of the Roman monarchy in the year 100.

Being instigated by Mamertinus, the governor of Rome, and Targuinus, the superintendent of the worship of the heathen deities, he persecuted the Christians in an awful manner, and put them to a wretched death.

He was called a good emperor, but very superstitious as regards the heathen worship; by reason of which he was the more easily induced to undertake this sorry work. It also was no small help to this end, that the heathen priests and idolaters paid great taxes, to extirpate by sufferings and death, as the enemies of God and of man, those who were opposed to their gods, especially the Christians.

Meanwhile we shall show what persons suffered under the bloody reign of Emperor Trajan, for the name of Jesus Christ.


Simon Cleophas was the son of Cleophas and Mary, and a cousin of our Lord Jesus, because he was the son of the brother of Joseph, the supposed father of Christ. After the death of the apostle James he was chosen, by common consent, bishop of the church at Jerusalem; hence he must be distinguished from Simon surnamed Zelotes, who was one of the apostles, and was crucified in Persia. For, the latter was a son of Alpheus, but the former a son of Cleophas, not one of the twelve, but of the seventy disciples of Christ, as Eusebius admits, saying: “If any one should say that this Simon beheld Christ with his own eyes, and listened to his preaching with his own ears, he would not be beyond reason and truth in this opinion, not only on account of the long duration of his life, being a hundred and twenty years old, but much more by virtue of the testimony of the holy Gospel, in which mention is made of Mary, the wife of Cleophas, whose son he was, according to the testimony of Egesippus, who was the nearest historian to the times of the apostles.” Hist. Eccles. Euseb. Pamphil., lib. 3, cap. 11.

This is the Simon, of whom it is stated that he was an eye-witness to the stoning of James, the holy apostle of the Lord. Epiph. supra, in Sym. Alph.

He was accused by some wicked men before Atticus, the governor of Emperor Trajan, of being a Christian, yea a near relative of Christ, of the generation of David. On this account he was dreadfully beaten for many days with scourges and sharp rods, so that everyone who saw him, had to lament and wonder, the judge himself being astonished, that a man of such a great age, a hundred and twenty years old, was able so long to endure such intolerable torturing.

Finally, as he remained steadfast in his confession, he became conformed in suffering unto his Lord, whom he confessed, and was sentenced by Atticus to be crucified; which death he suffered in the tenth year of Emperor Trajan, which corresponds with the year of Christ 109. Compare the 1st Book of A. Mellinus, printed A. D. 1617, fol. 24, col. 1, 2, with Hist. Mart. Joh. Gysii, recently printed by I. Braat, A. D. 1657, fol. 15, col. 1.



Rufus and Zosimus were disciples of Christ and his apostles, and had also been instrumental in founding and building up the church of God among the Jews and the Gentiles.

Especially conspicuous is Rufus, from the greetings of the Apostle Paul to the church at Rome, in which he includes Rufus, not merely as a common member of the same, but as a distinguished, yea chosen person, for he says: “Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.” Rom. 16:13.

This Rufus and the aforementioned Zosimus, both pious and upright Christians, together with many of their fellow-believers, were put to death for the faith, in the city of Philippi in Macedonia. Some write that both were beheaded in the days of of Emperor Trajan, A. D. 109. Compare what A. Mellinus adduces in Het groot Christen Martelærs-bœk, fol. 19, col. 4, from Polycarpo ad Philippens, with that which J. Gysius has noted in Hist. Mart., fol. 15, col. 3.


Immediately after Rufus and Zosimus, A. Mellinus introduces the Ethiopian or eunuch of Queen Candace in Ethiopia, who was converted by Philip to the faith in Jesus Christ, and thereupon baptized, as we read in the Acts of the Apostles.

It is stated of him, from Jerome, that he preached the Gospel of our Lord in Arabia Felia, and also in a certain island of the Red Sea, called Caprobano (some call it Ceylon), where, it is supposed, he suffered death for the testimony of the truth. See above, Mellin. ex Hieron. Catal. in Crescente, in 53, cap. Esai.



Ignatius, a disciple of the apostle John, and a successor of Peter and Evodius, was in the service of the church of Christ at Antioch in Syria. He was a very godfearing man, and faithful and diligent in his ministrations. He was surnamed Theophorus, that is, The Bearer of God, apparently because he often bore the name of God and his Savior in his mouth, and led a godly life. He was wont to say frequently: “The life of man is a continual death, unless it be that Christ liveth in us.” Likewise: “The crucified Christ is my only and entire love.” And: “He that allows himself to be called after any other than Christ, is not God.” And again: “As the world hates the Christians, so God loves them.” A. Mellin., fol. 15, col. 1, from Ignat. in Epist. ad Rom. et alibe.

Having learned that the Emperor Trajan, after the victories which he had achieved against the Dacians, Armenians, Assyrians, and other eastern nations, gave thanks at Antioch unto the gods, and offered great sacrifices unto them, as though these victories had proceeded from them. Ignatius, as we are informed by Nicephorus, reproved the Emperor for it, and this openly in the temple.

The Emperor, exceedingly enraged on this account, caused Ignatius to be apprehended, yet, for fear of an uproar, because Ignatius was held in great respect in Antioch, he did not have him punished there, but committed him into the hands of ten soldiers, and sent him bound to Rome, there to have him punished.

In the meantime his sentence of death was made known to him—in what manner and where he was to die; namely, that he should be torn to pieces by wild beasts at Rome.

On his way thither, he wrote several consolatory epistles to his friends, the faithful in Christ Jesus; and also to different churches, as, to those of Smyrna, Ephesus, Philadelphia, Trallis, Magnesia, Tarsus, Philippi, and especially to the church of Christ at Rome; which letter he sent before his arrival there.

It appears that the thought of being torn to pieces by the teeth of wild beasts was constantly on his mind during the journey; yet not as a matter of dread, but of earnest desire. This he mentions in his letter to the church at Rome, writing thus: “Journeying from Syria to Rome, by water and by land, by day and by night, I fight with wild beasts, bound between ten leopards, who, the more I stroke, and show myself friendly to them, the more cruel and malignant they become. However, through the cruelties and torments which they daily inflict upon me, I am more and more exercised and instructed; nevertheless, I am not justified thereby. O that I were already with the beasts, which are ready to devour me! I hope that, ere long, I shall find them such as I wish them to be, that is, cruel enough to destroy me speedily. But if they will not fall upon and tear me, I shall kindly allure them, so that they will not spare me, as they, have already spared several Christians, but will quickly tear me in pieces, and devour me. Forgive me for speaking thus; I know what I need. Now only I begin to be a disciple of Christ. I regard neither things visible nor invisible, at which the world is amazed. It is sufficient for me if I but become a partaker of Christ. Let the devil and evil men afflict me with all manner of pain and torment, with fire, with cross, with fighting against wild beasts, with scattering of the members and bones of my body; all this I esteem very little, if I but enjoy Christ. Only pray for me, that inward and outward strength be given me, not only to speak or write this, but also to perform and endure it, so that I may not only be called a Christian, but also be found one in truth.” Ignat. in Epist. ad Rom.


Having arrived at Rome, he was delivered by the soldiers to the governor, together with the letters of the Emperor, which contained his sentence of death. He was kept in prison for several days, until a certain feast-day of the Romans, when the Governor, according to the order of the Emperor, had him brought forth into the amphitheatre. First of all they sought by many torments, to induce him to blaspheme the name of Christ, and offer sacrifice to the gods. But when Ignatius did not weaken in his faith, but was only, the longer, the more strengthened in refusing to offer heathen sacrifices, he was forthwith condemned by the Roman Senate, immediately to be cast before the lions.

As Ignatius was led away from the presence of the Senate, to the innermost enclosure, or pit of the lions, he frequently repeated the name of Jesus in the conversation which he, while on the way, carried on with the believers, as well as in his secret prayers to God. Being asked why he did so, he replied thus: “My dear Jesus, my Savior, is so deeply written in my heart, that I feel confident, that if my heart were to be cut open and chopped to pieces, the name of Jesus would be found written on every piece.” With this the pious man indicated that not only his mouth, but the innermost parts of his heart were filled with the love of Jesus: for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. Thus, also Paul, being filled with the love of Jesus Christ, has used, in his letters, as much as two hundred times (as has been counted) the words, “Our Lord Jesus Christ.” The name “Jesus” he employs as much as five hundred times.

When the whole multitude of the people were assembled, to witness the death of Ignatius (for the report had spread throughout the whole city, that a bishop had been brought from Syria, who, according to the sentence of the Emperor, was to fight against the wild beasts), Ignatius was brought forth and placed in the middle of the amphitheatre. Thereupon Ignatius, with a bold heart, thus addressed the people which stood around: “O, ye Romans, all you who have come to witness with your own eyes this combat; know ye, that this punishment has not been laid upon me on account of any misdeed or crime; for such I have in no wise committed; but that I may come to God, for whom I long, and whom to enjoy is my insatiable desire. For, I am the grain of God. I am ground by the teeth of the beasts, that I may be found a pure bread of Christ, who is to me the bread of life.” These words spake Ignatius, when he stood in the middle of the amphitheatre, and when he heard the lions roar; which the brethren of the church who also stood among the people heard and testified to.


As soon as he had spoken these words, two dreadful, hungry lions were let out to him from their pits, who instantly tore and devoured him, leaving almost nothing, or, at least, very little, even of his bones. Thus fell asleep, happy in the Lord, this faithful martyr of Jesus Christ, A. D. 111, in the 12th year of Emperor Trajan. Compare Abr. Mell. 1st book of the Hist. der Vervolg. en Mart., printed 1619, fol. 25, col. 1–4, and fol. 26, col. 1, with Joh. Gysii Hist. Mart., fol. 15, col. 2, 3. Also, W. Baudart. in Apophth. Christian, printed A. D. 1640. The first book, in the second Apophthegm, on the name Ignatius, pp. 37, 38, from different other authors.


Onesimus, a servant of Philemon, by descent a Colossian, had run away from his master, and had come to Rome, where he was recognized by the Apostle Paul—who was imprisoned there—and sent back to his master, with recommendatory letters tending to reconciliation, as may be seen in the epistle of Paul to Philemon, in which Paul calls him his son, whom he had begotten in his bonds. Philemon 10.

He also carried a certain letter of Paul from the prison at Rome to the church at Colosse; for in the conclusion of the epistle to the Colossians we read: “Sent from Rome through Tychicus and Onesimus.” Col. 4 after verse 18.

It appears therefore, that he was a beloved friend and faithful servant of the apostle Paul, notwithstanding he had left his external service in the house of Philemon. He also, after he was sincerely converted, was not permitted to finish his course without persecution, sufferings, and a violent death; but had to tread after the example of his Savior, the wine press of suffering. According to the testimony of ancient historians, he was carried away bound from Ephesus to Rome, and there stoned to death, under Trajan, and the judge Tertullus, shortly after the death of Ignatius, A. D. 111. See above, Idem. Ibidem. ex Act. Metaph. Mart., Rom., 16 Febr. Also, Ado.


We read in the Acts of the Apostles, chap. 17, verse 34, that among those who clave unto the doctrine of Paul, there was also Dionysius, one of the Athenian council, and a woman named Damaris.

It is testified of this Dionysius, surnamed the Areopagite, that he so increased in the Christian religion, that Paul afterwards appointed him bishop at Athens; yet, that finally, after having made a most glorious confession of faith, and suffered many severe torments, he was crowned, as a victorious hero of Jesus Christ, with the martyrs’ crown, when he had got to be a very old man, and had commended his spirit into the hands of his heavenly Father. He now accomplished what he was wont to frequently repeat in his life: “The last words of my Lord Jesus, while on the cross, shall also be my last words in this temporal life, namely: ‘Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.’ ” Thereupon he was put to death, and thus fell asleep happy in the Lord. Compare A. Mell., 1st book of the Histor. der vervolg. en Mart., printed A. D. 1619., fol. 26, col. 2, from Adone in Martyrol. ex Arist. lib. de Relig. Christ and Suida in Dion. Areopag. and Seger., in Chron. 10. Strac. in Pass, Part. S. Homil. 2, with W. Baudart, in Apophthegm Christian, 1st book 7th edition, A. D. 1640, p. 17, on the name Dionysius Areopagita.

Note.—Touching the manner of the death, or martyrdom, of Dionysius the Areopagite, we find nothing stated in ancient, trustworthy writers; hence we have said nothing about it, though some have written, that he was beheaded at Paris; for which statement we let them be responsible, since their accounts of this event differ in regard to the manner in which, as well as the time when, it is said to have occurred. See in the above-mentioned Apophthegm Baudartii.


It is also stated that Publius, bishop of the church at Athens, a good and pious man, was slain for the name of Christ; likewise, Barsimæus, bishop of the church at Edessa, and with him, Barbelius and his sister Barba, who had been baptized by him; all of whom, steadfastly contending for the truth, obtained the martyrs’ crown. Compare Joh. Gysii Hist. Mart., fol. 15, col. 3, with the Introduction to the Martyrs Mirror of the Defenseless Christians, printed A. D. 1631, fol. 93, col. 1.


That Justus and Pastor were deprived of life at Complutum, a city in Spain, for the same reason for which the aforementioned martyrs were slain, namely, for the testimony of Jesus, the Son of God, this we find stated in different ancient writers. See above.



Phocas, a son of Pamphilius, the first bishop of the church in Pontus in the city of Sinope, on being brought, in the time of Trajan, before Africanus, the Governor of Pontus, who urged him to sacrifice upon the altar of Neptune, steadfastly refused to do 105this; on account of which he was sentenced by the Governor to die for the name of Christ; which death he suffered after many pains and torments, and was thus numbered with his slain fellow-brethren. Regarding the death of this man, see A. Mell., 1st book of the Hist, der vervolg. in Mart., fol. 27, col. 1, ex Adone, in Comment. At. 6. Aster. Orat. de Phoca. Also, concerning the time of his death, for the year 118, see Joh. Gysii Hist. Mart., fol. 15, col. 4.

Touching the manner of his death, P. J. Twisck gives the following account: “Phocas, in Pontus, refusing to sacrifice to the gods, was thrust, according to the command of Emperor Trajan, and for the name of Christ, into a lime-kiln full of glowing coals, then cast into boiling water and thus killed. P. J. Twisck, Chron., 2d book, for the year 118, p. 37, col. 2, from Adon. Vinnens., lib. 6, fol. 166, Vinefol. 519.


About this time several persons were put to death for the name of Christ; as Faustina and Jacobita, at Brescia in Italy; Elentherus with his mother Anthia, and others, at Messina in Sicily, etc.; all of whom, contending steadfastly, even unto death, departed with a joyful hope. As regards the persecutions of this time, compare Joh. Gysii Hist. Mart., fol. 115, col. 4, with A. Mellinus, P. J. Twisck, and others.


About this time, writes P. J. Twisck, the instruments of the devil could not invent punishments severe enough, but what they considered the Christians worthy of. For they were watched in their houses as well as without; men cried out against them in all public places; they were scourged, stoned, and dragged about; their goods were plundered; they were apprehended; red-hot iron plates were applied to their bare bodies; they were placed in a certain instrument made to torture malefactors; they were put into the deepest and darkest places of the prisons, where they were slain, yea, they were afflicted with excruciating torments. P. J. Twisck, Chron., 2d book, for the year 130, page 39, col. 2, and page 40, col. 1, from Jan Crespin in den staet der Kerken.



Getulicus, a teacher at Frivoli in Italy, Symphorosa with her sons, and Cerialus and Amantius, were put to death in that city for the faith. It is also stated that Sapphira, a maiden from Antioch, and Sabina, the widow of Valentinus, had to lay down their lives, at Rome, for the same reason. Joh. Gysii Hist. Mart., fol. 15, col. 4.


It is stated that Ptolomeus was a pious and godfearing man, who had converted his wife from the blindness of heathendom to the faith. He was apprehended for the truth of Christ. Asked, whether he was a Christian, he, as a lover of the truth, immediately confessed that he was. After this confession, he was cast into prison, in which he suffered so long as to become completely emaciated. Finally he was delivered to the judge Urbicius, who shortly afterwards had him put to death; and thus Ptolomeus became a faithful martyr of Jesus Christ. Compare Joh. Gysii Hist. Mart., printed at Dort, 1657, fol. 15, col. 3, with Abr. Mell., 1st book of the Hist, der vervolg. Mart., also, printed at Dort, A. D. 1619, fol. 32, col. 2, from Just. Philos. Apol. prima Christian Euseb., lib. 4, cap. 17.


In Historia Ecclesia Eusebii Pamphilii Cæsariensis, mention is made of a certain Lucius, who was greatly dissatisfied with the sentence and execution of the aforementioned pious man Ptolomeus, and, therefore, demanded a reason for it from the judge, at the same time confessing himself a Christian; which cost him his life, even as it did the man for whom he interceded.

The words in the book mentioned above are as follows: “When Lucius, who was also a Christian, perceived that so presumptuous a sentence was pronounced against Ptolomeus, he said to Urbicius (the judge): ‘Pray, tell me, for what reason do you sentence this man so hastily, and cause him to be led to execution, merely on account of one word, because he confesses himself to be a Christian? If there were another, who would confess all manner of sin, such as murder, adultery, or any other crime, would you also act so hastily, and sentence him to death immediately? This is not proper, O Urbicius! it does not become a good emperor, a wise bachelor, the son of the emperor, or the senators to act thus.’ Then said Urbicius to Lucius: ‘It appears to me that thou also art a Christian.’ When Lucius replied: ‘It is true, I am one.’ Then Urbicius commanded that he should be led forth to death. Thereupon Lucius said: ‘I thank thee, for releasing me from these wicked lords, and sending me to the kind and best of fathers, the king of all things, namely, our God.’ Another who also boldly confessed that he was a Christian, was put to death by virtue of the same sentence.” Thus far, Eusebius in the 4th book of his Church History, in the 17th chapter, Dort edition, A. D. 1588, fol. 72, col. 1, compared with A. Mellinus and Joh. Gysius, in the passages quoted concerning Ptolomeus.


Felicitas was a Christian widow at Rome, and had seven sons, whose names were: Januarius, Felix, Philippus, Sylvanus, Alexander, Vitalis, and Martialis. These lived together with their mother in one house, as an entire Christian church. Of the mother it is stated, that by her Christian communion, (conversation) which she had with the Roman women, she converted many to Christ. The sons, on their part, also acquitted themselves well by winning many men to Christ.

Now, when the heathen priests complained of this to Antonius, the Emperor—who had resumed the persecution which had begun with Trajan, but had subsided—saying, that there were not only men, but also women, who blasphemed the gods, despised their images, trampled under foot the Emperor’s worship of the gods, yea, turned away many from the old religion of the Romans; that this was principally done by a certain widow, named Felicitas, and her seven sons, and that, therefore, in order to prevent this, they must be compelled to give up Christ, and sacrifice to the gods, or, in case they should refuse to do so, be put to death, the Emperor, prompted or instigated hereby, gave to Publius, the provost, or chief magistrate of Rome, full authority over them.

Publius, willing to spare Felicitas, as being a highly respectable woman, first secretly summoned her and her sons into his own house, where he entreated them with fair words and promises, but afterwards threatened to punish them with severe tortures, unless they would forsake the Christian religion, and readopt the old Roman worship of the gods. Felicitas, remembering the words of Christ, “Whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven,” did not seek to evade the issue by using dissimulating or indirect words, but answered briefly thus: “I am neither moved by thy flatteries and entreaties, nor am I intimidated by thy threats; for I experience in my heart the working of the Holy Ghost, which gives me a living power, and prepares me for the 107 conflict of suffering, to endure all that thou mayest lay upon me, for the confession of my faith.”

When Publius could not move the mother from her steadfast purpose, he said to her: “Very well; if it seems pleasant to thee, to die, die alone, but have pity and a mother’s compassion for thy sons, and command them, to ransom their own lives at least, by sacrificing to the gods.”

Thereupon Felicitas said to the judge: “Thy compassion is pure wickedness, and thy admonition is nothing but cruelty: for, if my sons should sacrifice to the gods, they would not ransom their lives, but sell them to the hellish fiend, whose slaves, yea, whose serfs in soul and body, they would become, and be reserved by him, in chains of darkness, for everlasting fire.”

Then, turning away from the judge, to her sons, she said: “Remain steadfast in the faith, and in the confession of Christ; for Christ and his saints are waiting for you. Behold, heaven is open before you; therefore fight valiantly for your souls, and show, that you are faithful in the love of Christ, wherewith he loves you, and you him.”

This filled the judge with rage against her, and he commanded them to smite her on the cheek, while he at the same time upbraided her vehemently, saying: “How darest thou thus impudently exhort thy sons in my presence, and make them obstinate to disobey the commands of the Emperor; whereas it would be far more proper for thee to incite them to obedience toward him?”

Felicitas, notwithstanding that death had been threatened her, answered with more than manly courage, saying: “If thou, O judge, didst know our Savior Jesus Christ, and the power of his Godhead and majesty, thou wouldst undoubtedly desist from persecuting the Christians, and wouldst not seek to draw us away from the Christian religion by blaspheming his holy name; for whoever curses (or blasphemes) Christ and his faithful ones, curses (or blasphemes) God himself, who, by faith, dwells in their hearts.”

Thereupon, though they struck her in the face with their fists, in order to silence her, she did not cease to admonish her sons to remain steadfast, and to fear neither tortures nor rack, nor even death itself, but to die willingly for the name of Christ.

Therefore, Publius the judge took each of her sons separately, and talked first to one and then to the other, hoping by this last resort to draw away from the faith, by promises as well as by threats, some of them at least, if not all. But as he could not prevail upon them, he sent a message to the Emperor, stating that they all remained obstinate, and that he could in no wise induce them to sacrifice to the gods. Thereupon the Emperor sentenced the mother together with her seven sons, that they should be delivered into the hands of different executioners, and be tortured and put to death in various ways; yet, that the mother was first to see all her sons die, before she herself should be put to death.

In compliance with this sentence, they first scourged Januarius, the first-born, to death, in the presence of his mother. The scourges were made of cords or ropes, to the ends of which balls of lead were attached. Those who had to undergo this mode of torture were scourged with them on their necks, back, sides, and other tender parts of their bodies, either to torture them, or in order to martyr them to death as was the case in this instance. Felix and Philippus, the two brothers next (in age), were beaten to death with rods. Sylvanus, also called Syllanus, was cast down from a height. Alexander, Vitalis, and Martialis were beheaded. Last of all, the mother was beheaded or put to death with the sword. This took place under Emperor Antonius Pius. A. Mell., 1st book of the Hist., fol. 33, col. 4 and fol. 34, col. 1–3, ex Prudent. in Vincentio. Also, Acto. Adon. Mart., 23 Novemb. Greg. P. in Natali. S. Felic. Homil. 3, in Eu. Bet. Chrysol. Serm. 134. Arta apud Mombrit. tom 1. Beda Usuard. 23 Nov. Heur. Erfford. Chron., Mart. Rom. Touching the time when this took place, see P. J. Twisck, Chron. 2d book, for the year 164, page 45, col. 1, from Vincentio, in Cal., fol. 35.

Of the Fourth Persecution of the Christians, under Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, which was Commenced about the year 166.

P. J. Twisck, in his Chronicle, gives as the beginning of the fourth persecution, the year A. D. 162; the writers of the Introduction to the Martyrs Mirror of the Defenseless Christian, fix the beginning in the year 164 (page 37, col. 2); J. Gysius, in Hist. Mart., fol. 16, col. 2, places it in the year 168, and A. Mellinus makes no mention at all as to the exact time of that persecution. However, all these writers abound with accounts of the inhuman tortures, which the faithful martyrs had to suffer at that time.91

We, in order to pursue a middle course between the abovementioned writers, have noted the year 166 as the beginning of said persecution. However, there is but little difference between the above writers; for it is probable, that the decrees for the persecution of the Christians were first issued about the year 162; that about the year 164 they were carried into effect; and that about the year 168 they exhibited their full force, insomuch that the persecution was then at the height of its fierceness. However, we shall proceed to see, how atrociously the pious witnesses of Jesus Christ were then treated.


Everywhere, in all the cities, writes P. J. Twisck, the imperial edicts and decrees against the Christians were posted up; by reason of which the magistrates 108and officers proceeded very cruelly against them, persecuting them even unto death, with great atrocity and fury. For, no mode of torture, punishment, or death, however great, severe, and unmerciful, could be devised, produced, or planned, by these wicked men, these tyrants, and instruments of the devil, but what it was thought, that the Christians, as accursed, as enemies of the Kingdom, and as the cause of all misfortune, deserved a thousand times more. To be publicly mocked, eternally imprisoned, exiled, scourged, stoned, strangled, hanged, beheaded, and burned, was deemed far too little.

They began, at this time, to ply the poor people with red hot plates until they were dead; to tear the flesh from their bones with red hot tongues; to place them upon iron stools over a slow fire; to fry them in iron frying pans; to roast them on gridirons at a slow fire; to cast them, enveloped in close netting, before wild bulls, to serve as sport for them, and be tossed into the air by their horns.

All this was accompanied with still another cruelty. The bodies of the slain were thrown before the dogs, and guards placed beside them, to prevent the Christians from taking away and burying these bodies. In short, the misery was so great, that at Lyons alone bishop Irenus with nineteen thousand of his sheep were cruelly butchered. Thus far P. J. Twisck, in his Chronicle, 2d book, for the year 162, page 43, col. 2, from Chron. Mich. Sac. fol. 103. Chron. Sebast. Fra. Also, Tyd. Thresor P. Mernlæ.


Justinus was called a son of Priscus Bacchus, and was born of Greek parents, at Neapolis in Palestine.

In its proper place we have spoken of the views of Justinius concerning baptism on faith, and have shown that he was sound and correct in them. Now, however, it is proper for us to speak of his spiritual birth, of his heavenly fatherland, and how conclusively he showed that he was a child of God, and a citizen of the heavenly city, filled with all good things; which appeared not only in the beginning and progress of his faith, but especially in the end, when he testified to its power with his death, and sealed it with his blood.

In the days of his youth he was instructed in the Platonic philosophy, in which he acquitted himself so meritoriously, that he received the name Philosopher, yea, he had been led to believe, that his learning would soon enable him to see God, which was the ultimate object of the Platonic philosophy. But it happened one day, as he was going toward the sea, in order to meditate in solitude upon what he had learned, that (as he himself has confessed) there followed him a very grave and gentle old man, who, having entered in a discourse with him, respecting the Platonic philosophy, taught him, in what true philosophy and happiness consisted, namely in the saving knowledge of the only, eternal, and alone immortal God.

Now, when Justinus inquired for the teachers from whom he might learn this divine philosophy, the old man referred him to the writings of the prophets, who did not write according to the argumentation of human reason, but, as certain and infallible witnesses, left behind what they had seen and heard of the words of truth, and the wonderful signs and works of God among his people; and that all their prophecies concerning the promised Messiah and Son of God, were fulfilled in the advent of Jesus Christ, who was born in the reign of Emperor Augustus. He therefore admonished him, to pray to God, that he would enlighten his heart to this saving doctrine, through Jesus Christ, without whom it would not be possible for him to attain to this saving knowledge.

“This and many more such discourses (writes Justinus) this old man had with me, showing me also, how I should further increase, and how I might obtain the things necessary to salvation. Then he went away, and I saw him no more. Immediately a burning desire was kindled in my heart, and a love for the Scriptures of the prophets and those men who had been dear friends of Christ, namely the apostles. Then only I became a true philosopher.”

As to how and by whom, beside the instruction of the aforesaid old man, he was first instructed and baptized, or from what cause he left his native land, and came from Syria, Palestine, or Samaria, to Rome, of this we find no account.

He afterwards had a disputation with Tryphon, a Jew. Of this he himself has written an account, in which may be seen his correct views in regard to different matters of faith, especially to baptism. Of this we have spoken in another place.

But finally, having entered into a controversy with Crescens, a Cynic philosopher, and having vanquished and confounded him, by the power of divine arguments, his uncertain life began to draw to a close, and his certain death to approach. For, by reason of this, this Cynic (that is, canine) philosopher, conceived such a deadly hatred for Justinus, that he swore to avenge it with his death; and from that time on did not cease to lay snares for him, and accuse him as a Christian, until he had quenched his thirst for blood with the blood of Justinus. This, Tatianus, the disciple of Justinus, gives to understand in his oration against the Greeks, in language not at all obscure, namely, that the abovementioned Crescens did not only seek the life of Justinus, but also that of himself. Moreover, Photius states that he tasted a joyful and worthy death, by the hands of Crescens Cynicus, the person whom we have just mentioned.

Touching the manner of his death: when Justinus had been apprehended, on the accusation of Crescens, and boldly refused to abandon his faith, or sacrifice to the gods, he was sentenced to death by Rusticus, the President, and, after having been scourged, he was beheaded with the ax, about A. D. 168, in the time of the reign of the Emperors Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Virus, and of the President 109 Rusticus, as is annotated from Epiphanius. Compare Abr. Mell. 1st book of the Hist. der, fol. 37, col. 1–4, and fol. 38, col. 1–4, from Just. Apol. 2, pro. Christi., concerning his descent and name; Dialog. cum Tryphone Jod. Photius in Biblioth. and Jos. Scal. animad. Chron. Euseb., concerning his life and conversion; Iren., lib. 1, in Bibliotheca de Vita Justini Chron. Eus. A. D. 154, touching his end and death; Epiph. Hæres. 26 and 46 touching the time when this occurred. Also J. Gysii in Hist. Mart., fol. 16, col. 3, 4. Also, P. J. Twisck, Chron. 2d book, for the year 154, page 42, col. 2, from Johan. Barl., fol. 7. Grond. bew, letter A.


We read in the Revelation of John, that the Lord commanded his servant John, that he should write a few things to the angel (that is, the bishop or teacher) of the church at Smyrna, for the admonition of the teacher as well as for the service of the church, saying: “Unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty. . . . Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life.” Rev. 2:8–10. These words of the Lord Jesus indicate that the believers at Smyrna, and their teacher, were in tribulation and poverty, and that still more suffering was approaching them; whereupon he exhorted them to constancy, and promised to give them the crown of life.

As regards the teacher of this church, most of the ancient writers call him Polycarp, and say, that he was a disciple of the apostle John, inasmuch as he had heard John preach the word of God, and had associated with those who had known the Lord Jesus Christ personally, and had had intercourse with him; and that John had appointed him bishop or overseer of the church at Smyrna.

Touching the sufferings which the Lord said would befall him and the church of which he was teacher, this began some time afterwards; in such manner that this good shepherd preceded, and many of the sheep of his flock faithfully followed him. However, we intend to speak here only of the shepherd, Polycarp.

It is stated, that three days before he was apprehended and sentenced to death, he was suddenly overcome by sleep, in the midst of his prayer, and while dreaming, had a vision, in which he saw the pillow on which he lay with his head, suddenly taking fire and was consumed. Instantly awakened thereby, he concluded that he was to be burnt for the name of Christ.

When those who sought to apprehend him, had approached very close, his friends endeavored to conceal him, and, therefore, brought him to another country-seat, where he was nevertheless shortly afterwards discovered by his persecutors. For they had seized two lads, whom they, by scourging them, compelled to say where Polycarp was; and although, from the chamber in which he was, he might easily have made his escape into another house near by, he would not do it, but said: “The will of the Lord be done.” He therefore descended the stairs, to meet his persecutors, whom he received so kindly, that those who had not known him before, regretfully said, “What need had we to make so great haste, to apprehend such an old man.”

Polycarp immediately had a table spread for his captors, and affectionately urged them to eat; begging of them to allow him an hour’s time in which to pray undisturbedly in quiet, while they were eating; which they granted him. When he had finished his prayer, and the hour was up, in which he had reflected upon his life, and commended the church of which he was teacher, unto God and his Savior, the bailiffs placed him upon an ass, and led him to the city, on the Sabbath of the great feast.

Nicetes and his son Herod, called the prince of peace, rode out to meet him, took him from the ass, and made him sit with them in their carriage, seeking in this manner to induce him to apostatize from Christ, saying: “What matters it for you to say, Lord Emperor, and to offer sacrifice or incense before him, to save your life.” At first, Polycarp made no reply at all, but when they persisted in asking him, and demanded an answer, he finally said: “I shall never do what you request and counsel me to do.” When they saw that he was immovable in his faith, they commenced to revile him, and, at the same time, thrust him out of the carriage, so that in falling he severely injured his leg. He never showed, however, that he had been injured by the fall, but, as soon as he had risen, willingly surrendered himself again into the hands of the bailiffs, to be led further to the place of execution, walking as rapidly as though nothing hindered him.

As soon as Polycarp had entered the circus or amphitheatre, where he was to be executed, a voice came to him from heaven, saying, “Be strong, O Polycarp! and valiant in thy confession, and in the suffering which awaits thee.” No person saw the one from whom this voice proceeded, but many of the Christians that stood around heard it; however, on account of the great commotion, the greater part of the people could not hear it. It nevertheless tended to strengthen Polycarp and those who had heard it.

The Stadtholder admonished him to have compassion for his great age, and, by swearing by the Emperor’s fortune, to deny Christ. Thereupon Polycarp gave the following candid reply, “I have now served my Lord Christ Jesus eighty-six years, and he has never done me any harm. How can I deny my King, who hath hitherto preserved me from all evil, and so faithfully redeemed me?”


Thereupon the Stadtholder threatened to have him torn by wild beasts, if he would not desist from his purpose, saying: “I have the beasts ready, before whom I shall cast thee, unless thou become converted betimes.” Polycarp answered unterrified: “Let them come, for my purpose is unchangeable. We cannot be converted or perverted from good to evil by affliction; but it would be better, if they (the evil-doers) who persist in their wickedness would become converted to that which is good.” The Stadtholder replied: “If thou art not yet sorry, and despisest the wild beasts, I shall have thee burned with fire.” Once more Polycarp answered, saying: “Thou threatenest me with a fire, which will perhaps burn for an hour, and then soon go out; but thou knowest not the fire of the future judgment of God, which is prepared and reserved for the everlasting punishment and torment of the ungodly. But why delayest thou? Bring on the beasts, or the fire, or whatever thou mayest choose: thou shalt not, by either of them, move me to deny Christ, my Lord and Savior.”

Finally, when the people demanded his death, he was delivered by the Stadtholder to be burned. Instantly there was brought together a great heap of wood, fagots, and shavings. When Polycarp saw this, he undressed himself, and took off his shoes, in order to be laid on the wood without any clothes. This being done, the executioners were about to lay their hands on him, to nail him on the wood; but he said: “Let it be so; he that hath given me strength to endure the pain of the fire, will also strengthen me to remain still in the fire, though you nail me not to the fire-wood.” They, accordingly, did not fasten him with nails, but simply with a rope, tied his hands behind his back. Thus, prepared for a burnt offering, and placed upon the wood like a sacrificial lamb, he prayed to God, saying, “O Father of thy beloved and blessed Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have received the saving knowledge of thy holy name; God of angels and powers, and of all creatures, but especially of all the righteous who live in thy sight, I thank thee that thou didst call me to this day and hour, and hast counted me worthy, that I may have my part and place among the number of the holy martyrs, and in the cup of the suffering of Christ, so I suffer with him, and thus partake of his pains. I pray thee, O Lord, that thou wouldst this day receive me, as a fat offering among the number of thy holy martyrs, even as thou alone, O God of truth, who canst not lie, didst prepare me thereto, and didst make it known unto me, yea, hast now ultimately fulfilled it. Therefore I thank and praise thee, above other men, and honor thy holy name, through Jesus Christ, thy well-beloved Son, the eternal High Priest, unto whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be the glory, now and forever. Amen.”

As soon as he had uttered the last word of his prayer (the word “Amen”), the executioners ignited the wood upon which he was placed; and when the flames circled high above the body of Polycarp, it was found, to the astonishment of everyone that the fire injured him but little, or not at all. The executioner was therefore commanded to pierce him with a sword, which was instantly done, so that the blood, either through the heat of the fire, or from some other reason, issued so copiously from the wound that the fire was almost extinguished thereby; and thus this faithful witness of Jesus Christ, having died both by fire and the sword, entered into the rest of the saints, about A. D. 168. Compare Euseb., 4th book, 15 chap., printed A. D. 1588, page 66–70 with Abr. Mell., 1st book of the Hist., fol. 40, 41, col. 1–4, from Iren., lib. 3, cap. 3. Hæres. Hieron. Catal. in Polycarp, Euseb., lib. 4, cap. 13, and lib. 5, cap. 19. Also, Joh. Gysii Hist. Mart. for the year 168, fol. 17, col. 2. Also, P. J. Twisck, Chron. 2d book, A. D. 168, page 45, col. 2.


In the letter which the Holy Ghost directed John to write to the angel of the church at Smyrna, which we mentioned above, it is indicated, that not only the teacher, who is called an angel, namely Polycarp, but also some of the church, would have to suffer for the name of Jesus Christ. We read: “Behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried.” Rev. 2:10. This was also fulfilled in truth. For it is stated, that not only Polycarp, the leader of the church at Smyrna, but with him also twelve members of the church, who had come from Philadelphia, were put to death for the same reason, and in the same manner.

The words of Eusebius concerning these martyrs from Philadelphia, taken from the Smyrna letter, are, according to A. Mellinus, as follows: “These are the particulars of the martyrdom of Polycarp, who had come from Philadelphia to Smyrna, together with twelve others, who willingly suffered death in the same manner with him; whose names are not mentioned, that of Polycarp alone being given, because, not only among the Christians, but even among the Jews and the heathen, he was famous far and wide for his extraordinary godliness. These testimonies are finished and sealed with the precious blood of the Christians. At the time of the fourth persecution; under the Emperors Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Virus, about in the seventeenth year of their reign, coinciding with the 168th year of our Savior.”

This is what we have found concerning these twelve pious witnesses of Jesus Christ, who, as the twelve celestial signs, shone forth in faith as well as in virtue, but especially in steadfastness; wherefore the Lord, who is a rewarder unto his faithful servants, will hereafter crown and reward them with the unfading crown of glory. See, concerning this, Abr. Mell, 1st book of the Hist., fol. 42, col. 2, from Euseb., lib. 4.



It is recorded that about the same time that the aforementioned Christians were martyred, several other pious persons suffered death for the name of Jesus Christ, and the confession of the Son of God; among whom are mentioned by name, three very eminent persons, namely, Carpus, Papylus, and a woman called Agathonica, together with many other women; who were all crowned with the crown of the holy martyrs at Pergamos, in Asia Minor, for the saving confession of the true faith. Euseb., 4th book, cap. 15, fol. 70, col. 2. A. Mell., 1st book, fol. 42, col. 1, 2.


In P. J. Twisck’s Chronicle is found the following account for the year A. D. 170: “Germanicus, with other dear friends of God, had to suffer severe persecution and torture for the name of Christ, and was finally cast before the wild beasts, and thus willingly ended his life.” 2d book, van den undergang, page 46, col. 1, from Euseb., lib. 4.

Concerning the cause of his conversion, suffering and death, other authors write thus: “When the bystanders (while the Christians were being miserably put to death) beheld with their eyes, that the flesh of the martyrs of Christ, by many scourgings and stripes, was lacerated and torn loose even to the inmost veins and deepest sinews, so that their entrails and the most secret parts could be seen moving; and that the torturers then strewed potsherds, sea-shells, and even caltrops on the ground, over which they rolled, dragged, and on which they pressed the Christians thus tormented, with their naked bodies; and that at last, when they, on account of the previous torments, could scarcely live or draw breath any longer, they cast them before the wild beasts, to be devoured by them; I say, when the spectators of these tragedies saw, how inhumanly these people were treated, and, on the other hand, how patiently the suffering Christians endured the tortures, they were greatly amazed, yea terrified.

“Among these was the aforementioned Germanicus, who, being strengthened through the grace of God, so powerfully overcame the natural and innate weakness of the mind, which so much dreads the bodily death, that, on account of his singular steadfastness, he could well be considered one of the most eminent martyrs. For, when the Stadtholder sought to persuade him, and to move him by soft words, to spare the bloom of his youth, and to have mercy upon himself, he despised his counsel, and, for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ did not count his youthful life precious.”

“After that, it is stated by the ancient writers, how the wild beasts were let out to him, and how greatly he desired to be devoured by them, that he might be delivered from this body of sin and death; so that both Jews and heathen who stood by, were exceedingly astonished at him. Thus this pious witness of the Son of God departed this life with an immovable heart, and became united with Christ, his blood-bridegroom and Savior.” Compare Abr. Mell., 1st book, of the Hist., fol. 39, col. 1, 2, with Joh. Gysii Hist., fol. 16, col. 4, and fol. 17, col. 1, from Euseb., lib. 4.


When the persecution of the Christians on the River Rhone, at Lyons and Vienne, in France, did not cease, but increased the longer the more, so that those who confessed the name of Christ, were forbidden, first their houses, then their bath-rooms, and afterwards all public places, so that they could stay neither in the house, nor in the city, nor without, which was a cause of much suffering to them, it happened, that, some of the brethren of the church of God there, having been apprehended and brought before the President for examination, a certain brother, called Vetius, and surnamed Pagathus, young in years, but old and strong in the faith, went boldly before the judge, and made himself known as a defender of the apprehended Christians, whose cause he undertook to vindicate. The Judge, when he had heard his defense, refused it, and asked him, whether he also was a Christian, or believer in Christ, upon which he candidly confessed that he was. Immediately he was enrolled among the Christian martyrs, and was called the Advocate of the Christians.

He was so pious and virtuous in his life that Eusebius Pamphilius calls him: “Filled with ardent and divine love of the Spirit; yea, testifies, that he had a perfect love to God, and was upright towards all men; and that his life, though he was a youth, was so tried and acceptable, that he excelled many old persons, since he lived justly and unblamably, being ever ready to minister to the servants of God.”

It is finally stated that he followed the holy teacher Zacharia, who had shown perfect love towards the holy martyrs, and assisted and supported them; and also, that, according to the example of Jesus, his Savior, he laid down his life for his sheep and friends; that is, gave his life for the truth, from love to the church of God, and to be a pattern of constancy to them. Compare Euseb., 5th book, cap. 1, fol. 80, col. 1, 2, with Abr. Mell., 1st book, fol. 43, col. 1, 2, on the title Vetius. Also, Joh. Gys., fol. 17, col. 3, though he differs with the others in regard to the time.



At the time that this awful pressure of conscience continued under the Emperors Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, ceasing not until those who endeavored to live a Christian life according to their faith, had ended their lives under many torments, it came to pass that a certain pious Christian, called Attalus, who had been apprehended for the name of Jesus, his Savior, was most inhumanly tortured, to the extent even, that he was placed over the fire in an iron chair, and roasted. When he was asked, what name the God of the Christians had, he answered: “Where there are many gods, they are distinguished by names; but where there is but one God, no name is necessary.” He was finally brought into the amphitheatre, to be devoured by the wild beasts. But when these, either providentially, or because they were already sated, did not touch him, neither with their claws, nor with their teeth, he, together with other pious martyrs, was stabbed through the throat. Some write that he was then beheaded. Compare Joh. Gys., fol. 17, col. 4, and fol. 18, col. 1, with P. J. Twisck, Chron. 2d book, for the year 172, page 46, col. 1, from Hist. Andr. fol. 19. Also, Introduction to, etc., fol. 38, col. 1, taken from Euseb., lib. 5, cap. 2 and 3.


The ancient writers mention also a certain pious man, called Alexander, a physician, and native of Phrygia, who was put to death on the same day and place when and where the abovementioned Attalus laid down his life. Concerning the cause of his imprisonment and death, it is stated, that, when Attalus and other Christians were being examined, this Alexander of Phrygia stood near the judgment seat, and considerably strengthened and encouraged, by motions and signs, the Christians who were making their defense and confession before the Judge, to the end that they should continue steadfast in the truth once received. When the people that stood around, murmured on this account, he was apprehended, and, being interrogated in regard to his views, he answered: “I am a Christian,” and made the same confession that Attalus and the others who had been apprehended and were standing before the tribunal, had made. He was therefore immediately sentenced to the amphitheatre, there, together with others, to be forthwith torn or devoured by the beasts. Thither he was then taken but the execution was deferred until the following day. The next day he was brought forth, to fight with the beasts; however, he was first exceedingly tortured with all sorts of executioner’s instruments. In this he bore himself with such fortitude, that he was not once heard to sigh, or to utter the least word of complaint; yea, he was not seen to manifest a single sign of distress or pain; only that he spoke to God in his heart. Finally, instead of fighting with the wild beasts, he was executed with the sword, and thus sealed with his blood the truth of the Son of God, which he had maintained. Compare with the authors who have been adduced above in regard to the death of Attalus, Abr. Mellin., 1st book, fol. 43, col. 4, and fol. 44, col. 1.


It is manifest from the ancient writers, that in and about the time that Attalus was slain, various other martyrs were likewise put to death for the sake of Jesus Christ, almost in the same manner, or, at least, with equally great torments. Some of these martyrs are not mentioned, while others are, namely, Maturus, Sanctus, Blandina, and a youth of fifteen years, from Pontus. Touching the circumstances of their suffering and death, we find that, in substance, it occurred, in the following manner:

First, three of the aforementioned persons, namely, Maturus, Sanctus, and Blandina, were exceedingly and dreadfully tormented, especially Blandina, for whom the others stood in great fear, that, not being able to endure the pain, she might be in danger of denying Christ. But she was so steadfast in all her sufferings that the hands of the executioners grew tired before her heart would faint. It is a cause of great astonishment, what Eusebius Pamphilius has written concerning her, namely, that the executioners began early in the morning, and continued tormenting her all day until evening, so that they were much surprised, how it could be possible that life was not yet extinct in her. However, he explains this by saying that as often as she repeated her confession, crying: “I am a Christian,” her heart was strengthened, so that she was again enabled to endure the pain.

Sanctus, who was a deacon, or one who ministered to the poor, was tormented with red-hot plates of copper, which were applied to his belly. Being questioned, in the meantime, in regard to his name, parentage, and native country, he named neither of these, but simply said: “I am a Christian; that is my name, my parentage, and my country; indeed, I am altogether nothing else than a Christian.” This inflamed the tyrants with unspeakable rage against him, and they continued to torment him on his whole body, to such an extent, that it was but one wound. But he remained fearless and undaunted; for the heat of the fire was tempered by the heavenly consolations of Jesus Christ, which he experienced in his soul.

Maturus was treated almost in the same manner, and remained equally steadfast. Having been thus 113 dreadfully tormented, the aforementioned three persons were again cast into prison. Then they were again taken from the prison, and tormented once more; first Blandina, and then Maturus, and Sanctus. The mode of torture was, according to Eusebius, by many stripes; but Abr. Mellinus states, “That they were scourged a second or third time, with all kinds of rods, as well as beaten with sticks, cudgels, and three-cornered and barbed splinters; and also, pinched, cut, carved and torn, with all sorts of hooks, cutting-knives, claws, pincers, and iron combs.” Finally, when many thousands had collected about the amphitheatre, Maturus and Sanctus were placed, in the same manner as the aforementioned Attalus, on iron chairs, under which a great fire was kindled, so that their flesh, lacerated by many stripes, was forthwith consumed by virtue of the fire; however, when the enemies of the truth saw that their spirit was immovable, they beheaded both of them.

Of Blandina it is stated that she was stretched out cross-wise, and tied to a stake, to be cast as food before the wild beasts; however, she was taken away again, and led into prison. But afterwards, on the last day of the games, she was again brought forth, together with a youth from Pontus (whom we have mentioned above), and who, by the command of the judge, had witnessed the suffering and death of the preceding martyrs, that it might strike terror into his heart. Being placed in the middle of the place of execution, before the Judge, they were commanded to swear by the gods, which they refused to do, reproving at the same time, the idolatry of the heathen. At this the heathen were much incensed, and again tormented them greatly, yea, so much so, that the youth, unable to endure it, gave up the ghost. Blandina rejoiced so greatly in the steadfastness of the departed youth, whom she had adopted as her son, as well as in the death of her faithful friends, who had already gone through the conflict, that, being beaten by the tyrants, she leaped for joy. Touching her death, it is stated, that she was roasted upon a gridiron, and afterwards wound in a net, thrown before bulls, which tossed her many a time high up with their horns, and then let her fall down again. She, however, not being dead yet, the judge commanded that her throat be cut, which was done; though others say that she was thrust through with a sword. Thus did this pious martyress, and the other three martyrs of Jesus end their lives, and are now awaiting the blessed reward which the Lord will give on the great day of recompense to all those who have suffered and fought even unto death, for his name’s sake. Compare Euseb., lib. 5, cap. 1–3, edit. Dord., 1588, fol. 81–86 with Abr. Mell., 1st book, fol. 43, col. 2–4, about Blandina and Ponticus; also, fol. 44, col. 1, 2, about Sanctus and Maturus. Also, Introduction, etc., fol. 38, col. 1, 2. Also, J. Gys., 1657, fol. 17, col. 3, 4.


In Eusebius’ Church History, as well as in several other ancient writers, mention is made of a certain old man, of more than ninety years, called Photinus, a teacher of the church at Lyons, in France. It is stated of him, that on account of his great age he could not walk, but, having such a burning desire to die for the name of Christ, he, as A. Mellinus has recorded, had himself carried before the judgment-seat, in order to be sentenced to death with the other martyrs. When he was brought to the tribunal by the soldiers, the magistracy of the city of Lyons, and the whole multitude of the people followed him, and began to cry out, that he was a Christian, together with much calumniating and abusive language. Eusebius says, that, as this old man stood before the Judge at the tribunal, the common people began to cry: “This is Christ himself.”

When the Judge thereupon asked him, who the God of the Christians was, he answered with remarkable candor: “If thou art worthy of it, thou shalt know.” This displeased the Judge so greatly, that he commanded that this pious witness of Jesus should be struck in his face with fists. Upon this, he was most unmercifully pushed, kicked, pulled, and knocked by the by-standers, and thrown at with whatever they could get hold of, without regard to the feebleness of his age; yea, they considered those accomplices with him, who did not show enough diligence in assaulting and every way abusing this aged man.

Photinus, having been thus maltreated, yea, nearly beaten to death, so that life seemed almost extinct, was taken from the tribunal back into prison, where, after two days of great misery, having commended his soul into the hands of God, he died, and thus attained to a blessed end. Compare Euseb., 5th book, 2d chapter, fol 83, col. 1, 2, with Joh. Gys., fol. 18, col. 1, on the name Photinus. Also, A. Mell., 1st book, fol. 46, col. 2, from various other authors. Also, Introduction, fol. 38, col. 1, erroneously called Photimus.


In the letter of the church at Lyons and Vienne, there is mentioned, among various pious martyrs who suffered for the name of Jesus Christ, Alcibiades, of whom it is stated that he held a very retired and austere life, his diet consisting of nothing but salt, bread and water. This manner of life he also wished to continue in prison, but being instructed by the pious man Attalus, that thereby he would leave to his brethren and fellow-martyrs a seeming reproach for luxuriousness of life, if they would not do likewise, he thenceforth partook also of other food, with 114 thankfulness. However, this did not last long, since he was soon deprived, not only of food, but of life itself; for in the aforementioned letter he is called a martyr, which was generally understood to mean one of those who suffered a violent death for the name of Jesus, the Son of God, and had valiantly passed through the conflict. Compare Euseb., 5th book, cap. 3, with Abr. Mell., 1st book, fol. 49, col. 3, 4.


In the seventeenth year of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, there were slain, among other pious martyrs at Lyons in France, Epipodius, a citizen of Lyons, and Alexander, a Greek by birth; whose imprisonment, suffering, and death occurred in this wise: When the heathen thought that the Christian name was entirely extirpated at Lyons and Vienne, and that no person who confessed it was remaining, these two, as the remainder of the Christians there, were betrayed, accused, and, three days afterwards, placed before the tribunal of the Governor. There they were interrogated in regard to their name and confession of faith, to which questions they candidly replied. Their answers enraged the judge beyond measure, and he commanded that Epipodius, who was the principal speaker, should be smitten on the cheek, which was done in such a manner that he bled from his nose and mouth. But this made this champion of Christ, though he was still young, only the bolder and firmer, and he said: “I confess that Christ, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, is the only true God; and I deem it right, that I should pour out my soul (that is, my life) for him who is my Creator and Redeemer; for thus, my life will not be taken from me, but changed into a better one. Besides, it matters but little, how and in what manner this weak body is released and separated from the soul, only so that the soul be returned to God, its Creator.”

When Epipodius had, in steadfastness, finished this confession, he was suspended, at the command of the Judge, on a stake, on both sides of which the executioners stood, drawing deep gashes with cutting hooks or claws into his sides. In the meantime the raging multitude cried, that he should be stoned to death, or torn limb from limb; for the Judge was much too slow in pronouncing his sentence of death. Then the Judge had him brought out with great haste, and beheaded, and thus this pious witness of the Son of God attained to a blessed end.

Alexander, the abovementioned Greek, was brought out of prison, two days after the death of his beloved brother Epipodius, and placed before the tribunal, where he defended himself most cheerfully, manifesting, at the same time, his great desire to be counted among the number of his slain brethren and sisters. The Judge immediately commanded that Alexander should be stripped, and beaten by three executioners, with sticks, cudgels, etc.; but in all these torments he steadfastly called upon God for help and succor. In short, the sentence of death was pronounced upon him, namely, that he should die on the cross. The executioners then tied him on the cross; but having previously been wounded, by many stripes, to such a degree that his bones or bare ribs were visible, as well as the vital parts of his viscera, namely, the lungs, the liver, the heart, etc., which could be observed moving, he gave up the ghost, before the executioners could inflict further tortures upon him; and thus, in steadfastness he died a blessed death. When this had taken place, he was buried with his friend Epipodius, who had been beheaded, on the 24th of April 179. Abr. Mell., 1st book, fol. 48, col. 1–4. ex act. Proconsular. Homil. Eucherii Episc. Lugd. sub nomine Eus., Emisseni de Blandina and aliis. Ado Vienn., Mart. 22 April.


Leonides, Plutarchus, and others, who had attained to the Christian faith, were now visited with many torments, and put to death for the name of Christ. P. J. Twisck, Chron. 2d book, for the year 180, pag. 47, col. 1.


This persecution caused an unexpected and terrible pestilence, which devastated countries and inhabitants, especially Italy, so that the Christians were forgotten; for there were villages that had been ravaged to such an extent, that they became entirely depopulated, and lay there waste and without inhabitants. Keyser’s Chronijk, van Christi Geboorte tot op Carolus V., printed A. D. 1563, fol. 17, col. 1, for the year of the beginning of this persecution, 164.

Likewise, that besides the preceding martyrs whom we have mentioned by name, there were also put to death, during the preceding persecutions, the two pious men Sagaris and Thraseas, together with other believing Christians, is shown from Eusebius Pamphilius, by A. Mellinus, in the first book of his history, fol. 42, col. 2.



[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 115 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 century.]

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,93 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 in the Gospel.94 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 116his 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 the 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.95 Lib. de Pœnitentia, 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 Præscript, adversus Hæreticos, 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 therefrom 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,” 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 serves 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.96 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.’ ”

“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 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. Fr. 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 117a 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 Præscript., lib. 4. P. J. Twisck, Chron. 2d book, page 53, col. 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. Præscript.

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. Præsc. See Samuel Veltius, 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 275.

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. J. Twisck, Chron. for the year 224, 3d book, page 60, col. 1, from Grond. Bew., letter B. Also, Kort verhæl 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; and then come to the washing of water, and be washed 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.

The 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 118 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 baptism 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,97 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 Homilia 5, 4th and 5th chapters of the book Joshua. Again, Homil. 9, 8th and 9th chapters; Homil. 15, 11th chap. Also, Homil. 7, 15th chap. of the book of Judges. B. Hist. p. 291.


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 proven that these passages do not belong to Origen, but to Ruffinus, 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 Ruffinus’ 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-doop, 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, 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.


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 119 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 Vicelius, 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 peace-loving 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: Origin (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 2 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. Heyden Næmb., fol. 226, 227.

A. D. 251.—It is recorded that at this time, Virian, Marcellinus, and Justin, learned men, in the reign of Emperor 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 teacher98 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, col. 2, from Wicel. in Choro Sanctorum, Grond. Bew., letter B.

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, col. 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 baptized, 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 abovementioned 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. Twisck, Chron. 3d book, p. 73, col. 1, from Grond. Bew., letter B. Chron. Mich., fol. 163. Also, Loop der Werelt, by F. H. H., printed 1611, page 47.

Here notice again that the aforementioned Pontus was not of Jewish or heathenish, but of Christian 120descent; 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, col. 1; word for word.

NOTE.—In the tract, Grondig Bewijs, en onder-rechting van den Doop, printed A. D. 1581, letter B., ij.; ex Codice Mariano, the name Nemesius 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. 290.—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 writings 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 with held 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 (Vicec.), 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! Gather you heavenly flowers, to make heavenly crowns of them. Now, now! the 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! that the fruit also were conceived!” 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 to-day 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 121 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 catholic99 (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 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.



[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 godfearing disciples of Origen, and two of his female disciples, also Origen himself, and Basilides.


Under Maximinus suffered, in different meeting-places, 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 Persecution 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 slaying 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 self-devised decrees, ruled nearly the whole Empire; as Emelius, Papinianus, Ulpianus, Paulus, Messius, Martianus, Ruftinus, Mauritianus, Tryphonius, Menander, Macer, Callistratus, Florentinus, Hermogenes, Saturminus, Modestinus, Furius and Anthianus.

It was one of these jurists, 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., lib. 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. Scap., 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 Emperor Severus, in the seventh year of his reign. It originated thus: The emperor 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 Scapulam and in Apol. 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 Savior 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, 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 123 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.


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. Idem Ibidem, col. 3, ex Tertullian. ad Scapulam, cap. 3.


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 faint-hearted, 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, to-morrow, 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 to-morrow 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 paradise, on the day of her suffering, in the which she saw none but her fellow-martyrs. And why no others? Because the fiery sword which guards the door of paradise 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 Savior; for which they will afterwards be crowned with the unfading wreath of immortality, as a triumph 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 Barbarico, cap. 5, Beda Usuard. Ado Martirol. Rom. 7. Martii. Also, l. Pregnatis de Pen. Also, in Antiquo Lectionario. Also, Tertull. de anima, cap. 5. That the dead bodies of the two aforementioned women were brought to Carthage, and were buried there is testified to by Victor Uticensis, Pers. Vandal., lib. 1.


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: O father! do not grieve too much for thy wife, our dear mother, or for us, thy seven beloved children, of whom I am the oldest; or become so wavering, 124 that through desire to usward thou shouldest forsake thy faithful God and Savior.” 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 Savior. 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 Orig. Also, P. J. Twisck, Chron., 2d 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.


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 lastmentioned two; and thus attained to a blessed end, together with his slain fellow-brethren. Compare Euseb., lib. 6, cap. 4, with Abr. Mell., 1st 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.


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 abovementioned authors, as compared with Mellinus, fol. 57, col. 4.


Not long after the death of Potamiena, who had died with the abovementioned 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 125 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, col. 1, 2. Also, A. Mellinus, 1st 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, 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, col. 3, and fol. 60, col. 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, col. 3, 4. Also, P. J. Twisck, 3d book, for the year 210, 28th June, p. 56, col. 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 rise 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. Vinc. Cal., fol. 352. P. P. Cock, fol. 59.


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 every one, 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, col. 4, ex Tertulliano, ad Scapulam. Also, P. J. Twisck, 2d book, for the year 200, page 53, col. 1, from Chronol. Leonh., lib. 1.


Septimus Severus having reigned eighteen years as Roman Emperor, his sons, Antoninus Caracalla 126 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, 1st book, fol. 60, col. 1, as compared with Herod. Sever. Ejusd. Antonin., and Geta Spartian de Eisdem.


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 Firmianus 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 1st book, fol. 61, col. 1, 2, ex Lamprid. Herodian, in Alex. Severo. Lactant. Firmian. Institute 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.


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, col. 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, col. 1.


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. V., printed 1563, fol. 20, col. 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 127 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 was 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, col. 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 a 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, col. 2, from Baronius, in Chron., A. D. 237, num. 3, and A. D. 256, num. 5.


In the new Keysers Chronijk there is related a cruel and iniquitous deed perpetrated by Emperor Maximin on the Christians. The author says: The Christians were assembled in their churches or meeting-places, praising their Savior, when the Emperor sent forth his soldiers, and had all the churches or meeting-places locked up, and then wood placed around them and set on fire, in order to burn all the Christians within. But before the wood was ignited, he caused it to be proclaimed, that whoever would come out and sacrifice to the god Jupiter, should be secure of his life, and, moreover, be rewarded by the Emperor. They replied that they knew nothing of Jupiter; that Christ was their Lord and God, by the honor of his name, and calling upon the same they would live and die. It is to be regarded as a special miracle, that among so many thousand Christians there was not found one who desired to go out, in order to save his life by denying Christ; for all remained together with one accord, singing, and praising Christ, as long as the smoke and vapor permitted them to use their tongues. P. J. Twisck, 3d book, page 64, col. 1, from Chron. Mich. Sach., fol. 146, Niceph., lib. 7, cap. 6. Hist. Mandri, fol. 10.


In the preceding number of several thousand martyrs who laid down their lives under Maximin, in the sixth persecution, none of them are mentioned by name, doubtless because in the estimation of the world they were mostly lowly and obscure people; but Sebastian Franck relates from some ancient writers that about sixty noted martyrs received the crown of martyrdom under this tyrant; which would be too long to recount. Chron. des Keysers, fol. 21, col. 3.


Alexander of Jerusalem, who was a bishop of the church of Christ in that place, had to suffer much for the Christian truth. Eusebius Pamphilius of Cesarea writes, that for confessing Christ he was brought before the Judge, bound with chains, and cast into prison. And he also writes, that when they had, time and again, drawn this venerable old man from the prison to the tribunal, and from the tribunal back to his chains, he continually, in his suffering and pain, thanked God, and finally, through unspeakable torments, offered up his spirit. Histor. Eccles., lib. 6, cap. 29.

P. J. Twisck fixes this occurrence in the year 247, and adds these words: “About this time there were many martyrs in Alexandria, Judea, at Cesarea, Antioch, and elsewhere, who testified to the Christian faith with their blood and death.” Third book, page 66, col. 1, from Euseb. Also, Hist. Adri., fol. 32, Jan. Cresp., fol. 48.

NOTE.—Although it is stated that the aforementioned Alexander was put to death after the seven years’ reign of Philippus, by the Emperor Decius, A. D. 247, we have nevertheless included him in the sixth persecution, since he, as it appears, was apprehended long before the commencement of the seventh general persecution, which did not begin until A. D. 251, and was in full force in 253.

Of the Seventh Persecution of the Christians, under Decius, Begun about the Year 251.

Sebastian Frank, P. J. Twisck, and Joh. Gysius place the beginning of this persecution under Decius in A. D. 251, while Abraham Mellinus and the author of the Introduction to the Martyrs Mirror begin it with the year 253; which difference can easily be reconciled in this manner: namely, that the decrees against the Christians were sent out and published about the year 251, but that they were not actually put in force until about A. D. 253. Compare Seb. Frank, etc., fol. 21, col. 3, with P. J. Twisck, 3d book, page 67, col. 2. Also, Joh. Gys., fol. 19, col. 2. Also, A. Mell., 1st book, fol. 65, col. 4. Also, Introduction, fol. 40, col. 1.




P. J. Twisck, after narrating something in commendation of this Emperor, begins immediately to give an account of the tyranny which he employed against the Christians, saying: “He caused public mandates and decrees to be issued and posted up, that if they would not apostatize from Christ, to persecute the Christians everywhere, and to execute them without mercy with every kind of torture that could be devised. The torments with which the poor Christians were put to death in that day were very severe, as we may read in Dionysius, Gregory, Cyprian, Eusebius, Vincentius, and others. They were exiled, spoiled of their goods, sentenced to the mines, scourged, beaten. Beheading and hanging were thought far too insignificant, yea, no punishment at all for them. Hot tar was most invariably poured over them, roasted at a slow fire, stoned, pricked in the face, eyes, and the whole body with sharp pointed instruments, dragged through the streets over hard pebbles and rough stones, dashed against rocks, cast down from steep places, their limbs broken in pieces, torn asunder with hooks, rolled about on sharp potsherds, given as a prey and food to the wild beasts, stakes driven through their loins, etc.

There was scarcely a place where persecution was not in vogue; Africa and Alexandria especially could be called the school of the martyrs. In short, Nicephorus says in his 5th book, chap. 29, that to count the martyrs of this time would be as easy as to undertake to count the sands of the sea shore. See, P. J. Twisck, 3d book, for the year 251, p. 67, col. 2, and page 68, col. 1, from Euseb., lib. 7, cap. 1. Chron. Mich., fol. 154. Chron. Carionis, lib. 3. Seb. Fr., fol. 17. Hist. Andræ, fol. 177, 2d part, fol. 174. Paul Merul., fol. 212–214. Leonh. Krentz. Chronologiae, fol. 16, 17. Chron. Car., fol. 236. Jan Crespin., fol. 53.

We shall begin with the persecution which at this time took place at Alexandria against the pious and defenseless Christians; for which reason this place was called by the ancients the “Scaffold of all tyranny.”


Metras, also called Metranus, a godfearing old man, was now apprehended by the riotous people at Alexandria, and commanded to utter blasphemous 129 words against God; that is, to blaspheme the name of God, and to forsake the Savior, Jesus. But as he refused to do so, they beat him on his whole body with sticks, pricked and pierced his face and eyes with sharp reeds, and, martyred thus, led him out of the city, and stoned him to death in the suburbs. Euseb., lib. 6, cap. 41, fol. 122, letter O, taken from the letter of Dionys. Alexandrinus to Fabian, concerning the martyrs in Alexandria. Compared with A. Mell., 1st book, fol. 67, col. 1. Also, Joh. Gys., fol. 19, col. 4. Also, Introduction, fol. 40, col. 1.


Afterwards, an honorable believing woman, called Cointha, or, as others call her, Quinta, was seized and brought into a temple of idols, and placed before these, in order to compel her to worship them. But when she recoiled with abhorrence from the idols, they tied her feet together, and dragged her through all the streets of the city of Alexandria, beat her with rods, and as some writers have recorded, rubbed her naked body against mill-stones. When they had dragged, beaten, and rubbed her long enough, so that her body was completely lacerated, they at last dragged her into the suburbs, and there pelted her with stones until she was covered with them. Compare Euseb. with Abr. Mell. and Joh. Gys. in the places referred to above concerning the martyr Metras.


Apollonia was an aged virgin, whom the enemies of the truth apprehended, and with their fists and blows in the face, knocked every tooth out of her head. In the meantime a large fire of wood was kindled, and they threatened to burn her alive, if she would not worship the gods, and forsake Christ. But notwithstanding this miserable death, she would rather go into the fire, and lose her temporal life, than save it by abandoning Christ and losing her soul.

Touching the manner of her death, and her great willingness to die, A. Mellinus makes this statement: “This virgin was sentenced to be burned, or to blaspheme the name of Christ; but as she abhorred the latter, she wished to show that she was ready and willing to die for Christ.” See Eusebius, Mellinus, and Gysius, in the books and on the pages referred to in connection with the martyrdom of Metras and Cointha.


As the aforementioned bloodthirstiness of the heathen at Alexandria did not abate, but increased more and more, against those who confessed the name of Jesus Christ, it came to pass that they laid their hands on a pious Christian, called Serapion, an Ephesian by birth. They dragged him out of his house, tore him almost limb from limb, and finally threw him out of a window; in consequence of which, after many torments, and having commended his soul to God, he tasted death, and thus was counted among the number of the steadfast and blessed martyrs. See the books cited above.


There was at this time and place also an old man, who, on account of great pain caused by gout, could not walk, but had to be carried. His name was Julian, and the ancients greeted him as a very venerable man, on account of his virtue. In pursuance of the imperial decree published against the Christians, he was brought by two carriers before the Judge, to give an account of his faith.

Forthwith one of those who had carried him, fearing the severe examination, or the rack, apostatized from the faith; for which reason we deem his name unworthy of a place here; but the other, called Eunus, continued very constant in the faith, together with the old man Julian, who was his dear friend; hence both made a grand confession of it; notwithstanding their many severe torments.

Both were then seated naked upon camels, and led about the whole city of Alexandria, which is very large; scourged with many severe stripes, and finally brought before a great, high-flaming fire, into which both were cast, and burned alive, in the sight of a great multitude of people that stood about. Compare Euseb., lib. 5, cap. 31, fol. 123, col. 1, letter B., from the letter of Dionys. to Fabius, bishop of Antioch. Also, A. Mell., fol. 67, col. 4. Also, Joh. Gys., fol. 20, col. 1.


There was yet another pious Christian, called Macar, or Macarius, a native of Lybia, whom the Judge advised with many words, to forsake Christ; but he continued only the more steadfastly to confess his faith. Finally the Judge commanded that he should be burned alive; which was done.


Epimachus and Alexander did not remain prisoners very long after Macar’s death; but, after suffering much pain, having been cut and slashed with razors, lacerated with scourges, and wounded on the most sensitive parts of their bodies, they were finally burned alive with flaming fire. See the authors cited above.


At this time, God also wonderfully manifested his power in certain women, among whom four are mentioned by name, two called Ammonaria, and Mercuria and Dionysia. The last named two were aged women, one of them being the mother of many children, all of whom she nevertheless had forsaken, for Christ’s sake. The other two, as it appears, were unmarried persons or young maidens, who loved their heavenly bridegroom, Jesus Christ, too much, to look for an earthly one. Of all these it is stated that they remained so steadfast in the confession of Jesus Christ, that the Judge felt ashamed on this account, and, in order to put an end to the matter, had them beheaded. See the authors and books cited above. Also, A. Mell., fol. 68, col. 1.


Heron, Ater, and Isidore, Egyptians by birth, and a youth of fifteen years, called Dioscorus, were committed to the Judge of Alexandria, at the same time. The Judge examined the youth first, supposing it a very easy matter to persuade him, or deceive him by fair words, or, if not on this wise, to move him by torments (of which, as Eusebius says, many were inflicted upon him), to deny the Christian faith. But this excellent youth, Dioscorus, could be induced neither by fair words nor by the force of torments, to obey the Judge.

The three men, namely Heron, Ater, and Isidore, the Judge had most cruelly scourged, and examined with all manner of stripes, intending to draw them away from the faith; but when he saw that because of their faith in Jesus Christ they valiantly endured all the torments, he delivered them to the executioners to be burned alive; except the youth Dioscorus, whom he released, on account of his courage as well as the astonishingly discreet answers which he gave to every one of his questions; saying that in consideration of his youth he would wink at his perverseness for the present, so that, in the meantime he might reflect upon the matter, and repent. But the ancient writers state, that, coming to the church of Jesus Christ, God ordained him to be a bulwark and consolation of his people; awaiting a longer and severer conflict, and a greater and fuller reward; on account of which, as well as because of his previous sufferings, he was reckoned among the pious martyrs. See the abovementioned authors and books.


The malignity of the tyrants had now become so great that they called the defenseless lambs of Christ murderers, and sought to put them to death under this name. Among those thus accused was a pious follower of Christ, called Nemesius, or, also, Nemesis, who, being accused of the same crime, first of all candidly and clearly vindicated himself from it. Thereupon his accuser charged him with being a Christian, and, therefore, nevertheless guilty of death. Eusebius writes, that in this point the Judge observed no moderation, but caused him first to be tortured with twofold torments, and then commanded that he should be burned with the murderers, unconscious of the fact that through his cruelty he made this holy martyr resemble our Savior, who, for the salvation of mankind, was crucified between murderers. In regard to this, A. Mellinus says: “The Judge made this martyr like unto his Lord Christ, and, according to his example, had him placed between highwaymen, and then burned alive.” A. Mell., 1st book, fol. 68, col. 2, from Euseb., lib. 6, cap. 41. Also, P. J. Twisck, 3d book, for the year 252, page 70, col. 1, on the name Nemesion.


Babylas, bishop of the church of Antioch, the capital of Syria, situated on the river Orontes, was a very godly and faithful shepherd of the flock of Christ. Knowing beforehand that this severe persecution was threatening the church of Christ, he very diligently instructed not only men and women, but also children in the principles of the Christian faith, and constantly admonished them in his preaching, not only to believe in Christ, but also to suffer for his name. Touching the cause of his imprisonment, the ancients have briefly described it thus: namely, that the Emperor Decius came to one of the congregations of the Christians, and requested to be admitted; but that the shepherd of that congregation or church, namely Babylas, in order to spare the congregations, opposed him boldly, saying, that it was not lawful for him thus audaciously to enter the house of the living God, and to view the mysteries of the Lord with his polluted eyes, or to 131 touch them with his murderous hands still covered with blood. The Emperor, unable to bear this, had Babylas, together with several others, seized, bound with chains, and placed in severe confinement.

Those who were apprehended with him, and were finally put to death, were, as appears from the records, three young men, brothers, and were called, Urban, Philidian, and Epolonius; who, as some suppose, were his bodily, but according to others, his spiritual children, because he had won them for Christ through the doctrine of the truth.

When the hour of his departure began to draw near, that he was to be offered, and his disciples or other good friends came to visit him in prison, he earnestly asked, as a last request of them, to bury him with his fetters, chains, and bonds.

Concerning his death, Eusebius Pamphilius writes: “Bishop Babylas fell asleep in the Lord, in prison, at Antioch, after having made his confession, in all things like Alexander.” Hist. Eccl. Edit. A. D. 1588, lib. 6, cap. 39, fol. 121, letters F, G.

But as all the other fathers who have written of Babylas speak of him as a martyr, they also state that he was executed with the sword. The records of his death, faithfully collected by Suidas and others from the most ancient writers, read thus: “When Babylas was sentenced by the Emperor Decius to be beheaded, together with the aforementioned three young men, he sang the comforting words of the 116th psalm, on his way to the place of execution: ‘Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee. He hath delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.’ ”

When Babylas and the three young men had arrived at the place where they were to be beheaded, Babylas begged, that they would first put to death before his eyes, the three youths (whether they were his bodily or his spiritual children) so that they might not be deterred or discouraged by his death from dying for the name of Christ.

While the executioners were busy executing the children, he prayed to the Lord, saying: “Here am I, Lord, and the children whom thou hast given me.” And thus he encouraged the children, steadfastly to suffer for the Lord.

After this, Babylas also fell asleep very peacefully in the Lord, having commended his soul into the hands of the Lord, to bring it to the eternal rest of which he had spoken immediately before his death.

The mother of these children, and the brethren of the church of Antioch buried the dead bodies of these martyrs in a decent manner, together with the chains and fetters with which Babylas had been bound during his life.

Thus, this good father and his dear children took an honorable departure from this world together on the same day, and are awaiting now the blessed hope and the revelation of the great God, and their Savior, Jesus Christ, for whose honor and glory they suffered these things. Abr. Mell., 1st book, fol. 68, col. 4, and fol. 69, col. 1, 2, from Euseb., lib. 6, cap. 29. Epiphan. lib. de Mens. and Pond. Hieron. Catal. in Origene. Chrysost. Eunt. Gent. and Homil. 9 ad Ephes. Suidas in Babyla. acta ex Patribus Collecta. Suid. in Hist. sub. nom. Babylæ.

NOTE.—P. J. Twisck, who begins this persecution by Decius, with the year 251, fixes the death of this man, Babylas, in the second year of his reign, namely, A. D. 252. Chron. 3d book, p. 70, col. 1, from Hist. Andr., fol. 21. But Abr. Mellinus, who begins the persecution with the year 253, fixes his death in A. D. 254 (although the printer has erroneously made it A. D. 264; for Decius reigned only two years), and this is consequently the second year of Decius. We have followed the latter author.


Mention is made in this time of a certain pious Christian, called Pionius, a man greatly noted on account of his remarkable virtue, who always stood fearlessly before the Judges, and, as Eusebius declares, steadfastly replied to all their questions, yea, taught and disputed in the court, so that those who wavered on account of the persecution, were thereby strengthened and encouraged. While in prison, he strengthened the brethren, and encouraged them, to fight steadfastly even unto the end, in the faith, for the Lord, in which he preceded them as a good leader. For, according to the testimony of Eusebius, he was finally nailed on a piece of wood, and cast into a flaming fire, and thus died a blessed death. Euseb., lib. 4, cap. 15, taken from the letter of those of Smyrna, concerning the death of Polycarp and some of the martyrs who followed him.


We shall endeavor to be as brief as possible, and, instead of relating all that pertains to this, present only the last acts of his death.

When the Governor, after much had been said on both sides, said to Pionius: “Why dost thou make such great haste to meet death?” Pionius answered: “I do not make haste to meet death, but life.” Then said the Governor: “Thou dost not act wisely thus to hasten to meet death. Thou art like those who, despising death, for the sake of a little gain offer themselves to fight with the beasts. But since thou despisest death so much, thou shalt be burned alive.”

This sentence of death was read to him from a tablet inscribed with Roman letters: “We have sentenced Pionius to be burned alive, because he has confessed that he is a Christian.”


Having thus been sentenced, Pionius was brought to the place where he was to be burned. There he divested himself of his clothes, and, having looked at his naked body, he cast up his eyes to heaven, praising and thanking God for having kept him to this hour free and unspotted from the idols.

With this, he voluntarily went and lay down on the fire-wood, stretched himself over it, and delivered himself to the soldiers, to be nailed to the wood.

When he was fastened to the wood, the servant said to him: “Be converted and alter your views; and we shall remove the nails.” Pionius answered: “I feel that they are in already.” And reflecting a little, he said to God: “Therefore, O Lord, do I hasten to death, that I may rise the sooner (or the more glorious).”

Having been nailed on the cross, he was raised up with his face towards the east. When a great heap of wood had been collected with which to burn him, he closed his eyes for some time, so that the people thought that he had already died. However, he prayed secretly in his heart; for when he had finished his prayer, he opened his eyes, and all at once the flame shot up to a great height, just as with a glad countenance he uttered the last word of his trust, saying: “Amen, O Lord, receive my soul,” and calmly and without manifesting the least sign of pain, he gave his spirit over into the hands of God.

This happened when Julius Proculus Quintilianus was Proconsul of Asia, and Emperor M. Q. T. Decius was Consul for the third, and Gratus for the second time, at Rome, in A. D. 254, by virtue of the seventh persecution under Emperor Decius, at Smyrna, in Asia Minor. Abr. Mell., 1st book, fol. 71, col. 3, 4, from Euseb., lib. 4. Also, Acta per Sym. Metaph. Genuma, and Vere pro Consularia.


It is stated that shortly after the death of Pionius and the preceding martyrs, there suffered a certain pious Christian, called Maximus, a citizen of Ephesus; concerning whom, we, in order to present the matter in the briefest, clearest and plainest manner, shall, (instead of the testimony of the fathers) copy the records themselves, which were approved by the Proconsul, and written by the clerk of the court. They read thus: “Maximus, a citizen of Ephesus, having been apprehended and brought before Optimus, the Proconsul of Asia, the latter asked him: ‘What is thy name?’

“He answered: ‘My name is Maximus.’

“The Proconsul asked: ‘What is thy estate?’ which meant, whether he was free-born, or a servant.

“Maximus said: ‘I belong to myself, and am free-born. Nevertheless, I am a servant of Christ, and manage my own affairs.’

“The Proconsul said: ‘Art thou a Christian?’

“Maximus replied: ‘Notwithstanding I am a sinner, I am nevertheless a servant of Christ.’

“The Proconsul questioned: ‘Knowest thou not the decrees of the invincible Princes, which have now been brought hither?’

“Maximus asked back: ‘What are they?’

“The Proconsul answered: ‘That all the Christians are to forsake their superstitions, acknowledge the only true Prince, to whose power all things are subject, and worship his gods.’

“Maximus said: ‘Yea, I have heard the unjust decree of this Prince or Emperor, and hence have come, openly to declare myself against it.’

“The Proconsul spoke: ‘Then sacrifice to the gods.’

“Maximus said: ‘I sacrifice to none, except to God; and I rejoice that from my childhood’s days I have offered myself only to God.’

“The Proconsul again said: ‘Sacrifice, lest I cause thee to be tormented in divers manners.’

“Maximus said: ‘This is just what I have always longed for: to be deprived of this temporal and frail life, and thereby attain life eternal.’

“The Proconsul then commanded his soldiers to beat Maximus with sticks. While he was being beaten, the Proconsul said to him: ‘Sacrifice, Maximus, that you may be released from these torments.’

“Maximus said: ‘These torments, which I gladly and willingly receive for the name of my Lord Jesus Christ, are no torments at all; but if I apostatize from Christ, I must expect the real and everlasting torments.’

“The Proconsul therefore had him suspended on the torture-stake, and dreadfully tormented; and said to him: ‘See, now, where thou hast come to by thy folly; sacrifice, therefore, that thou mayest save thy life.’

“Maximus replied: ‘If I sacrifice not, I shall save my life; but if I do, I shall lose it. For neither thy sticks, hooks, claws, pincers, nor thy fire hurt me; nor do I feel any pain through it, because the grace of Christ abides in me.’

“Then the proconsul pronounced the sentence of death, which was as follows: ‘I command, that Maximus be stoned to death, as an example and terror to other Christians; because he would not submit to the laws, and sacrifice to the great Diana of Ephesus.’ Acta Proconsularia.” Thus far extend the words which the clerk of the court himself wrote.

The Christian who copied these records, adds the following: “And presently this faithful champion of Christ was taken away by the servants of Satan, brought without the city walls, and stoned. While he was being led away, and stoned, he thanked God with all his heart, who had made him worthy to overcome the devil in the conflict; and thus committed his soul into the hands of his Lord Jesus Christ.”

Thus this pious witness of Jesus laid down his life amidst a volley of stones, for the honor of his Savior, and thus was registered among the holy and steadfast martyrs. A. Mell., 1st book, fol. 72, col. 3, 4, from Acta Procons. Also, Aug., lib. 2, de Doctr. Christ., cap. 26, Idem. contra Donatist. super alia acta citat.



In our account of baptism in the third century, with special reference to the year 231, we have spoken of the views of Origen and shown that he has left us very excellent and salutary teachings concerning baptism upon faith; and also, that in his teaching he opposed the swearing of oaths, war, compulsory celibacy, the literal view of the Lord’s Supper, those who taught something, and did not practice it themselves, the antichrist, etc.

We have likewise shown there, that some very peculiar things were laid to his charge as his views, from which, however, the principal ancient writers, as well as later authors, have vindicated him; all of which may be examined at the place indicated, and considered with Christian discretion. This we leave to the judgment of the judicious. We shall therefore proceed to treat of his martyrdom, and how much he had to suffer for the name of the Lord Jesus.

From the very beginning of his knowledge he placed himself in great danger of being apprehended or put to death for the testimony of the Son of God. For when he was but seventeen years old, and his father, whom he affectionately loved, had been apprehended for the Christian religion, and had nothing to expect but death (as we have noted for the year 202), he did not only comfort him by letter, but, as other writers state, desired to follow him into prison, yea even unto death; which he would have done, had not his mother prevented it by withholding or taking away his clothes. Introduction, fol. 38, col. 2, from Euseb.

Besides this he often exposed himself to danger for the Christian martyrs, because of his extraordinary love for them. He would station himself near the tribunal, where the apprehended Christians were making their last defense, or were to receive their sentence of death, and when they were becoming weak he would strengthen and encourage them; he went with them to death, even to the place of execution; he gave them the last kiss of peace, as a friendly and fraternal farewell; so that frequently he would have lost his life, had not God remarkably and miraculously preserved him. Soldiers who were hired for the purpose by the enemies of the truth, lay in ambush for his person and for the house in which he lived, in order to apprehend or kill him; so that on account of the fierce persecution he could remain no longer in Alexandria, the place where he had been brought up; and this the more, because the believers there, on account of his conspicuousness, could no longer conceal him.

His beloved disciples, whom he had faithfully taught the ways of God, had nearly all been put to death for the name of Jesus Christ, among whom were, Plutarch, Heraclides, Hero, the two pious men called Serenus, Rhais, Marcella, and others; whom we have mentioned in the years A. D. 203 and 204.

It may therefore be considered a miracle that Origenes lived so long in the midst of deadly persecutions, namely, from his seventh to his seventieth year, which is more than fifty years.

But finally, sufferings beyond measure came upon him; he was cast into the deepest prison, his neck loaded with iron chains, his feet placed in the stocks, and stretched so that four holes were between them.100 There he was tortured with fire and divers other means of torment; but he bore it all with the utmost patience. Nevertheless, it appears from ancient writers, that he was not put to death judicially, but, as Epiphanius writes, was banished to Cesarea Statonis; and that finally, having moved to Tyre, he died and was buried there, under Gallus and Valusianus. Compare the account of A. Mell., 1st book, fol. 57, col. 1, 2, under the name Leonides, but especially, fol. 77, col. 3, 4, under the name Origen, from Euseb., lib. 6, cap. 2. Hieron. Apol. Ruffin. Suid. in Origene Epiphan. de Mensuris. Hieron. Catal. in Origene. Also, Euseb., lib. 6. Also, P. J. Twisck, 3d book, for the year 231, page 61, col. 1, 2, from Georgius Vicelius. Also, Introduction, fol. 38, col. 2. Also, Joh. Gys., fol. 18, col. 3, about Leonides.

There are some who accuse Origen of apostasy; but different excellent authors have acquitted him of this charge; though in point of knowledge he had his weaknesses and failings.

Eusebius Pamphilius of Cesarea praises his virtue above measure, saying that Origen wished to have no communion with Paulus Antiochenus, because the latter was tainted with error. Of Origen it was said: “This is he who lives as he teaches, and teaches as he lives. He sold his books of heathen philosophy, on condition that four pence a day should be given him for his daily needs, so that he would not be a burden to any one. He set all his disciples an example of poverty, that they should forsake whatever they possessed; hence he was beloved by everyone, because he contended with none about temporal goods, except that some were dissatisfied because he refused to accept what they offered to impart to him for the sustenance of his body.” Eusebius further says: “It is said that for many years he went barefooted, using neither wine nor such like, but only the absolute necessaries of life, until disease in the breast, which endangered his life, compelled him to it.” Lib. 6, cap. 1, 2, 3. Also, Baudart. in Apophthegm. Christian., lib. 3, page 100.

In refutation of those who accuse Origen of apostasy, A. Mellinus writes (though he does not wish to defend his misconceptions or errors, as he calls them): “If this account of the apostasy of Origen were true, Porphyrius, who wrote at this time against the Christians, and was especially bitter against Origen, would very probably have mentioned it in his writings, and this the more so, as he dared unjustly to accuse Ammonius, Origen’s teacher, of Apostasy: how much more then, would he have exerted himself against Origen, if the latter 134 had really apostatized; whereas he acknowledges that Origen lived as a Christian to the end.” A little further on he writes: “As regards his Christian life and steadfast confession of the name of Christ, we have no reason to call it in question, since even his enemies bear him a good testimony in this respect.” Abr. Mell., 1st book, fol. 78, col. 1, from Porphyry.

Of The Eighth Persecution Of The Christians, Under Valerian and his son Gallien, which Commenced about the year 259.

After the death of the Emperor Volusian, the son of Decius, Aemilian, an Ethiopian, ascended the imperial throne; but since it is stated that he reigned only three months, and that Valerian had previously already been declared Emperor, his reign is not taken into account. It follows, therefore, that Valerian was acknowledged Emperor; who, together with his son Gallien, began to reign about the year 255, as set forth by Seb. Frank; but the persecution, according to the testimony of different authors, did not begin until the year 259.


The author of the Introduction to the Martyrs Mirror writes, concerning this, as follows: “In A. D. 259 the eighth persecution against the Christians arose under the Emperor Valerian. He issued an edict against the Christians, in which he commanded that the Christians were not to assemble themselves; and as this was not observed, a great persecution arose everywhere.” Fol. 41, col. 1.


Concerning this, J. Gysius records the following: “Valerian and Gallien, who in the beginning of their reign; were favorable to the Christians, soon afterwards changed their course, being misled by an Egyptian sorcerer, and by divers torments compelled the Christians to idolatry.” Fol. 20, col. 3, 4.


P. J. Twisck, speaking (for the year 255) of the beginning of the reign of Emperor Valerian, says: “Truly, this Emperor, as history tells us, was in the beginning a very pious and praiseworthy Prince, a censor, who excelled all others; in regard to which many commendatory passages may be read in the Tijdthresoor by Paul Merula. But, what of it? Although at first he was very favorable to the Christians, and so honored their ministers, that his house was considered a church of the Lord, he was nevertheless afterwards corrupted by a doctor, a wicked lord and prince of all the sorcerers of Egypt; who made the Emperor believe that fortune would not be on his side as long as he tolerated the Christians at his court, or in the land. Then the Emperor commanded that these holy and just men should be persecuted and put to death as such who were opposed to the sorcery with which he was polluted.

This sorcerer also prevailed upon the Emperor to slaughter and sacrifice children and human beings in honor of the devil. He accordingly commanded that little children should be put to death, so that he could perform his unclean ceremonies and abominable sacrifices; and thus robbed parents of their children, and became such a despiser and oppressor of the Christian faith, that he spared neither old nor young, men nor women, nor any state and condition, but most miserably murdered all that were brought to him, in Alexandria and other places too numerous to mention. At Rome also there was much innocent blood shed at this time, even as this city has ever been a place of slaughter for the poor Christians.” Third book, for the year 255, page 71, col. 2.


P. J. Twisck, having concluded his account of the aforementioned matter, proceeds immediately to show how cruelly and lamentably the innocent Christians were treated at that time. “The martyrdoms,” he writes, “were manifold: they were cast before the wild beasts; they were beaten, wounded, executed with the sword, burned, torn limb from limb, rent asunder, pinched with red-hot tongs; red-hot nails were driven in their fingers and nerves. Some were hung up by their arms, and heavy weights tied to their feet, and thus were torn asunder gradually and with great pain. Others, whose wounded bodies had been smeared over with honey, were placed naked on the earth in the hot sun, to be tormented and stung to death by flies, bees, and other insects. Others were beaten with clubs, and cast into prison, until they miserably perished.”

“Under the reign of the aforementioned cruel and tyrannical Emperors,” he writes a little further on, “many Christians had to wander and roam about in foreign countries, in secluded places, along shores, in caverns, on mountains, in caves, amidst want and poverty; leaving comfort, honor, prosperity, peace, friends, money, and property.” Among many others, there is an account given in the Keyser’s Chronijk, of a youth of sixteen years, called Paul, well versed in different languages, and the son of a rich man, who, in order to escape the persecution, went out into a village to live with his sister. But his brother-in-law was moved by avarice to betray him, that thus he might obtain possession of his property. His sister having warned him of his danger, he fled into the mountains, gladly leaving behind him all his possessions. However, God 135 prepared him there a secret cave, where he could quench his thirst with pure water, and satisfy his hunger with roots, herbs, and the fruits of the trees. Idem. Ibidem, from Euseb. Fasc. Temp., fol. 94. Chron. Mich., fol. 161. Chron. Seb. Franc., fol. 18, Hist. Andr., fol. 177, 178, 2d part, fol. 174. Paul Merula, fol. 217, 218, 221. Jan. Crespin, fol. 65.


After different letters of Dionysius, bishop at Alexandria (recorded by Abr. Mellinus from Eusebius), concerning the persecution he suffered, there follows one which Dionysius wrote to Domitius and Didymus, about the oppression of the Christians under Valerian, as well as how he himself was oppressed at that time. Among other statements, it contains these words: “It is not necessary to mention all the names of the Christian martyrs, because their number is very great, and you do not know them; but know ye of this persecution, in general, that innumerably many men and women, old and young people, old women and young girls, of every state and condition, were, some scourged, some burned, some beheaded, or made martyrs in some other manner; and still the proconsul continues in his cruelty; putting to death those that were made known to him, causing some to be rent asunder by divers torments, holding others in bonds and severe confinement, and letting them perish through hunger and thirst, forbidding all to come to them, yea closely watching those who but endeavor to get near them.

“Nevertheless, the Lord has thus strengthened the hearts of the brethren, that they, for the name of Christ, have constantly visited these oppressed prisoners, notwithstanding it was interdicted under penalty of death. And although this persecution has lasted for a considerable length of time, there have still been some whom God did not deem worthy to take to himself as martyrs. Among whom, says Dionysius, I myself yet remain, until the Lord will otherwise dispose of me; since he doubtless preserves me for some other time, which appears to him more suitable. At present I, together with Gaius and Peter, am separated from all the rest of the brethren, confined in a desert place of Lybia, three days’ journey from Paraetonium.” Compare A. Mell., 1st book, fol. 79, col. 2, from Euseb., lib. 7.

We selected this letter of Dionysius from all the rest, because there is stated in it, on the one hand, the severity of this persecution in general, and, on the other hand, the oppression which this friend of God himself suffered; inasmuch as he, after much wandering, was separated, together with his two dear friends, Gaius and Peter, from all the rest of his brethren, and confined in a desert place of Lybia, there expecting death for the name of the Lord.

Of Dionysius, P. J. Twisck states, that he as well as Tertullian held a figurative or spiritual view of the Lord’s Supper, i. e., that the words of Christ: “This is my body,” signify: “This is a figure of my body.” Second book, for the year 200, page 53, col. 1, concerning Tertullian.

The same author, speaking of Origen, says among other things of Dionysius, that after Origen and Heracles he presided over the schools of the catechumens (that is, those who were instructed in the Christian doctrine, before baptism) at Alexandria. Third book, for the year 231, page 61, col. 1.

In another place the aforementioned author states that Dionysius, whom he calls a catechetical preacher, accompanied Pancratius, when the latter was baptized at Mount Celinus. In the same book, for the year 253, page 71, col. 1, from Wicelius, in Chorosanctorum. Grond. Bew., letter B., Leonhard, lib. 1.

In his second book, 13th chapter, D. Vicecomes cites Dionysius (from Eusebius) as saying: “Many heathen adopted at their baptism the name of the apostle John, from special love and admiration for him, as well as because of the zeal which animated them, to follow him, and because they desired to be loved by the Lord, as he was. For the same reason the names of Peter and Paul became prevalent among the believing children of God.

“All these,” says the writer who has recorded this, “are beautiful reminders, which were administered to the catechumens before and after baptism; which certainly cannot apply to infants.” Baptism. Hist., printed at Dortmund, A. D. 1646, and 1647, 2d part, concerning the third century, page 320.


It is stated that at this time, Fructuosus, bishop of the church of Tarragona in Spain, and Augurius and Eulogius, his deacons, were apprehended at the command of Aemilian, the Proconsul, and held in prison six days, before they were brought before the tribunal of the Proconsul. When they were standing before the judgment seat, Aemilian commanded them to kneel before the altars, and worship the gods standing thereon, and sacrifice to them, saying to Fructuosus: “I understand that thou art a teacher of a new-devised religion, and that thou incitest giddy young women, no longer to go to the groves, where the gods are worshiped, yea, to forsake Jupiter himself. Go on, then, despising our 136 religion, but know thou, that the Emperor Gallien has, with his own lips, issued a decree by which he binds all his subjects, to serve the same gods which the prince, that is, the Emperor, serves or honors.”

Thereupon Bishop Fructuosus answered: “I worship the eternal Prince, who has created the days and the gods, and is Lord even over the Emperor Gallien; and Christ, who is begotten of the eternal Father himself, whose servant, and the shepherd of whose flock I am.”

The Proconsul derisively said: “Yea, who hast been it till now; but thou art so no longer.” With this, he sentenced Fructuosus and his two deacons, Augurius and Eulogius, to be burned alive.

These faithful martyrs, having received the sentence of death, for the name of Christ, rejoiced in their impending martyrdom, and when they saw the people weep, as they were led to death, they forbade them to weep. When some offered Fructuosus a drink on the way, that he might refresh his heart, he refused it, according to the example of Christ, saying: “Now is our fast-day. I do not wish to drink; it is not yet the ninth hour of the day (that is three o’clock in the afternoon, before which time those who fasted did not eat); and death itself shall not break my fast-day.”

When they arrived in the arena, where the executioner had been ordered to build a great fire in which to burn these pious martyrs, a dispute (proceeding, however, from heartfelt love) arose among the faithful Christians, as to who should first untie the latchets of the shoes of the bishop, their beloved shepherd and teacher. But Fructuosus would not permit it, saying: “I shall untie them myself from my feet, so that I can go unhindered into the fire.” And perceiving that they wept, he said: “Why weep ye? and why do you ask me to remember you? I shall pray for all of Christ’s people.”

Standing with his bare feet by the fire, he said to all the people: “Believe me! what you see before your eyes is no punishment; it passes away in a moment of time, and does not take away life, but restores it. O happy souls! who through this temporal ascend into heaven unto God, and who on the last day, shall be saved from everlasting fire.”

All at once they hastened towards the fire, which indeed burned off in a moment the bands with which their hands had been fastened on their backs, thus freeing these; but their bodies remained intact in this great heat, so that with outstretched hands they prayed God to suffer the flames speedily to deliver them from the agony of death. Their prayer having been heard, they, leaving their frail bodies here as pledges, committed their souls unto God, and the three martyrs fell calmly asleep in the Lord, from whom, on the day of judgment, they will receive, in reward of their faithful services and steadfast testimonies, the martyr’s crown, and white robes in token of their victory. Abr. Mell., 1st book, fol. 81, col. 4, and fol. 82, col. 1, 2, from Prudent. Stephan. Hym. 6, ex Actis Proconsul.


In the ancient records of the pious witnesses of Jesus Christ, an account is given of Marinus, a citizen of Jerusalem, of noble descent, who, although he belonged to the nobility, entertained a sincere affection for the true Christians, who at that time were oppressed beyond measure. On this account his enviers, who were jealous of the honor of his nobility, severely accused and charged him with being a Christian; which he also confessed, when he was brought before the Judge; yea, he declared with a loud and clear voice, that he was certainly a Christian. The Judge then gave him three hours’ respite to consider, whether he would die as a Christian, or whether he would sacrifice to the gods and the Emperor.

As he went away from the tribunal, Theotecnes, the bishop of the church in that city, took him by the hand, and led him to the meeting, in the meeting-place, strengthened him with many words in the faith, and, placing before him the sword which he was wont to carry at his side, and also the Gospel [book], he asked him which of the two he would choose?

When Marinus, with a firm faith, stretched forth his hand for the Gospel, choosing it instead of the sword, Theotecnes said to him: “O my son! keep that which thou hast chosen, and, despising this present life, hope for the eternal. Depart in good confidence, and receive the crown which the Lord has prepared for thee.”

Marinus accordingly returned to the tribunal, and was forthwith called by the lord’s servant, for the appointed time had come; he did not delay or wait until he was asked, but said of his own accord: that he had considered the matter, and that it was established by the law of the fathers, that God must be obeyed rather than men. Eusebius Pamphilius writes, that when Marinus had answered thus, the Judge immediately gave sentence that he should be beheaded. Lib. 7, cap. 15.

P. J. Twisck gives the following account of this Marinus: “When Marinus confessed that he was a Christian, and chose the Bible in preference to the sword, he was called before the tribunal, sentenced, and beheaded.” Third book, for the year 262, page 73, col. 2; from Euseb. Compare this with the Introduction, fol. 41, col. 2.


In this persecution under Valerian there were three very noted and godfearing martyrs at Cesarea, in Palestine, who nevertheless were but simple 137 peasants, the first called Priscus, the second Malchus, the third Alexander. Eusebius writes, that, as they lived near the suburbs of Cesarea, a divine zeal for the faith was kindled within them, and they accused each other (and each himself, says Mellinus), of slothfulness, since heavenly crowns of martyrdom were distributed, or at least offered, in the city, and they were so little inclined to ask for them, notwithstanding our Lord and Savior had said that the kingdom of heaven must be taken by violence, and therefore it did not become them to remain so earthly and slothful. Having exhorted one another with such words, they went into the city, and addressed and reproved that cruel tyrant, the criminal Judge, demanding of him, why he shed so much Christian blood. The tyrant instantly replied, saying: “They shall be thrown before the wild beasts, to be torn by them, who do not like to see the blood of the Christians shed; which, it is stated, was done to them. Compare Euseb., lib. 7, cap. 12, fol. 131, col. 1, 2, letter F, G, with the Introduction, fol. 4, col. 2. Also, Joh. Gys., fol. 21, col. 2.

A. Mellinus, writing in defense of the aforementioned three peasants, against those who would pronounce them too bold, says after other remarks: “Who are you that judge your brethren? How do you know of what spirit they were? No one has courage of himself; but it is the gift of God, not only to believe in Christ, but also to suffer for his name: hence, neither is of ourselves. They also did not seek their own honor, but to magnify the name of Christ by their death; to which, no doubt, they were impelled by a divine zeal, since their zeal was not without knowledge, but proceeded from the power of faith; whereby they were prepared through the divine Spirit to proclaim the honor of God through their death; for this was their sole object.” First book, fol. 79, col. 4.


Besides the aforementioned martyrs who were put to death in this persecution, certain other authors have noted various other pious witnesses of Jesus Christ, who, loving the honor of God more than their own lives, were put to death at that time, and under that same Emperor; which we shall presently relate. Besides the three hundred Christians whom P. J. Twisck places in the year 264, as having been burned in a lime-kiln, because they would not throw incense on the coals, for a sacrifice in honor of Jupiter, as may be seen in the 3d book, page 75, col. 1, from Histor. Adr., fol. 30, several names are mentioned, as, Philip, bishop of the church at Alexandria, who was put to death with the sword in this persecution, for the testimony of Jesus Christ. J. Gys., fol. 21, col. 2, from Vinc. Spec. Hist., lib. 11, cap. 23. Henr. d’Oxf., lib. 6, cap. 21. Also, Florentin and Pontius, pious men, are stated to have been put to death in France, for the name of the Lord, together with others, who are also mentioned. Introduction, fol. 41, col. 2, Seb. Franck, fol. 22, col. 4.

Of the Ninth Persecution of the Christians, under Aurelian, Commenced about A. D. 273.


A. Mellinus writes: “Aurelian was a stern, cruel, and blood-thirsty Emperor by nature, and although at first he had a good opinion of the Christians, he nevertheless afterwards became averse to, and estranged from them; and having, undoubtedly, by some tale-bearers, been instigated against the Christians, he allowed himself to be seduced so far, as to raise the ninth general persecution of the Roman monarchy against them, which persecution he, however, did not carry out. For at the very moment in which the decrees written against the Christians, were laid before him by his secretary, that he might sign them, and when he was about to take the pen in hand, the hand of God suddenly touched him, smiting his hand with lameness, and thus preventing him in his purpose, so that he could not sign them.” First book, fol. 87, col. 3, from Vopisc. Victor. Eus., lib. 7. Post. Literas, Aug. de Civit. Dei., lib. 18, cap. 52. Oros., lib. 7, cap. 16. Theodoret. Hist., lib. 4, cap. 17.


He writes: “Emperor Aurelian commenced the ninth persecution against the Christians. He was by nature inclined to tyranny, and was a furious blood-hound, as Eutropius writes, so that he did not hesitate to kill his sister’s son, and finally, through the atrocity of his own wicked nature, and evil counsel suggested to him, he became an enemy and persecutor of the Christians. He sent letters to the Governors of the Roman country, that they should vex the Christians; but when he was about actually to carry the persecution into effect, he could not sign the decrees which were to be issued against the Christians, because God smote him, so that his hand was paralyzed. Through divine judgment he was terrified by thunder, lightning, and fire-darts, at the time that he was constantly meditating how he might slay and exterminate the Christians; and shortly after was himself killed by his notary.” Third book, for the year 270, page 76, col. 2, from Chron. Mich. Sac., fol. 178. Euseb., lib. 7. Chron. Seb. Fr., fol. 18. Chron. Carionis, lib. 3, Hist. Andreæ, fol. 178, 2d part, fol. 175. Paul. Mer., fol. 226. Jan. Crespin., fol. 62. Chron. Andreæ, lib. 13, fol. 343.



In A. D. 273 arose the ninth persecution of the Christians, under the Emperor Aurelian; but it was not as great as the former, because death suddenly overtook him as he proposed to himself, to begin it. Under him were killed . . . and many others, concerning whom no special accounts are extant. Fol. 41, col. 2.

Notwithstanding Emperor Aurelian could not himself sign the abovementioned decrees against the Christians, the persecution nevertheless proceeded in some places, so that here and there some laid down their lives for the testimony of Jesus Christ; of whom we shall mention only a few, whom we have selected as true martyrs.


When Chorus, the king of the Germans, in the time of Valerian, and Aurelian, yea, up to the time of Probus, devastated France, he found among other martyrs who dwelt separated from men in deserts and mountains, a certain pious man, called Privatus, Bishop of the church at Gevauldan. This man, sojourning in the mountains, fasting and praying, was taken prisoner by the Germans, and because he, as behooves a good shepherd, would not deliver his lambs into the claws of the wolves, by himself sacrificing to Satan, which he would in no wise do, he was beaten with sticks by them for a very long time, till they left him lie for dead; in consequence of which treatment he also died a few days after. This happened, as some have supposed, under Valerian and Gallien, but in reality, under Aurelian. Compare A. Mell., 1st book, fol. 89, col. 1, from Greg. Turon. Hist., lib. 1, cap. 34, with Introduction, fol. 41, col. 2, where he is called Privatus, Bishop of Gablen.


Mamas, a shepherd, who pastured his sheep upon the mountains and in the wildernesses of Cappadocia, lived very poorly, without a hut, dwelling under the blue heavens, and subsisting on the milk and cheese of his flock, as Basilius testifies. Nazianzenus adds, that the hinds also suffered themselves to be milked by him daily, and that he was thus fed by them.

Basilius says, that from the course of the heavenly bodies he learned to know the wonderful works of God, his Creator, and thus his eternal power and wisdom. However, the accounts written concerning him state that he had the word of God with him in the desert, and that he read in it daily.

It is quite probable, writes Mellinus, that this Mamas, in order to escape the persecution in the time of Decius and Valerian, went into the wilderness, and remained there till the time of Aurelian, whose proconsul of Cappadocia, Alexander, caused him to be brought out of the wilderness, and to appear before him, at Cesarea, the capital of Cappadocia.

The proconsul called him a sorcerer or conjurer, because the wild animals of the wilderness so tamely submitted to him.

Mamas answered: “I am a servant of Christ, and know nothing about sorcery; but would rather live among the wild animals, than among you: for they feel the power of their Creator in and through me; but ye will not know God. I cannot sufficiently wonder that you, who have attained to gray hairs, are still in such gross darkness of ignorance, as to forsake the true and living God, and give divine honor to deaf and dumb idols.”

When he was requested to say at least with his lips, that he would sacrifice to the gods, so as to escape punishment, Mamas replied: “I shall never, either with my lips, or with my heart, deny the true God and King, Jesus Christ. So far am I from seeking to escape suffering for the name of Christ, that I, on the contrary, consider it the highest honor, the greatest gain, and the utmost benefit, which you can confer upon me.”

Upon this confession, the proconsul had him placed on the rack, cruelly scourged, tormented with pincers, burnt on his sides with lamps and torches, and tortured in various other ways. But seeing that in all these and other torments he remained steadfast, he finally had him thrust through with a three-pronged spear; and thus Mamas became a faithful martyr for his Savior, under Emperor Aurelian, at Cesarea in Cappadocia. A. Mell., 1st book, fol. 89, col. 2, 3, ex Basilii Concio, in Mart. Mamant. Nazianz. Orat. 43. Act. per Metaphrast.


It is stated that at this time, as the heathen at Augustodunum, now called Autum, in Burgundy, on a feast-day of the goddess Cybele, whom they called the mother of the gods, carried around her image on a wagon, in procession, a certain pious Christian, called Symphorianus, met this image, and refused to worship it; in consequence of which he was apprehended as an impious person, or despiser of the gods, and brought before Heraclius, the Proconsul, who, in that city, exercised the strictest vigilance over the Christians. When he stood before the judgment-seat, the Proconsul asked him for his name. Symphorian replied that he was a Christian by religion, was born of Christian parents, and had received the name Symphorian.


The Judge said: “Why didst thou not honor the mother of the gods, or worship her image?”

Symphorian answered: “Because I am a Christian, and call only upon the living God, who reigns in heaven. But as to the image of Satan I not only do not worship it, but, if you will let me, I will break it in pieces with a hammer.”

The Judge said: “This man is not only sacrilegious at heart, but also obstinate and a rebel; but perhaps he knows nothing of the ordinances or decrees of the Emperor. Let the officer, therefore, read to him the decrees of the Emperors.”

The decrees having been read to him, Symphorian said: “I shall notwithstanding never confess that this image is anything but a worthless idol of Satan, by which he persuades men that he is a god; while it is an evident demonstration of their eternal destruction for all those who put their trust in it.”

Upon this confession, the Judge caused him to be scourged and cast into prison, to keep him for some other day. Some time after, he had him brought again before his judgment-seat, and addressed him with kind words, saying: “Symphorian, sacrifice to the gods, that thou mayest be promoted to the highest honor and state at court. If not, I call the gods to witness that I am compelled this day, after various tortures, to sentence thee to death.”

Symphorian answered: “What matters it, if we deliver up this life to Christ, since, by reason of debt, in any event we must pay it to him? Your gifts and presents are mingled with the sweetness of the adulterated honey, with which you poison the minds of the unbelieving. But our treasures and riches are ever in Christ, our Lord, alone; and do not perish through age or length of time; whereas your desire is insatiable, and you possess nothing, even though you have everything in abundance. The joy and mirth which you enjoy in this world, is like fine glass, which, if placed in the radiance and heat of the sun, cracks and breaks in two; but God alone is our supreme happiness.”

After Symphorian had said these and like things before the Judge, Heraclius, the Proconsul, pronounced sentence of death upon him, saying: “Symphorian, having openly been found guilty of death, because he hath blasphemed against the holy altars, shall be executed with the sword.”

When this godly confessor was led to death, to be offered up to Christ, his mother called down to him from the wall of the city this comforting admonition: “Symphorian, my son! my son! remember the living God; let thy heart be steadfast and valiant. We can surely not fear death, which beyond doubt leads us into the true life. Lift up thy heart to heaven, my son, and behold him who reigns in heaven! To-day thy life will not be taken from thee, but be changed into a better one. If thou remainest steadfast to-day, thou shalt make a happy exchange: leaving this earthly house, thou shalt go to dwell in the tabernacle not made with hands.”

Symphorian, having been thus strengthened by his mother, was taken out of the city, and beheaded there, having commended his soul into the hands of God, in the time of Emperor Aurelian, and Heraclius, the Proconsul, at Autum in Burgundy. His dead body was buried by certain Christians. Compare A. Mell., 1st book, fol. 19, col. 4, and fol. 90, col. 1, ex Actis Proconsul. Greg. Turan. Degl. Confess., cap. 77, and Hist., lib. 2, cap. 15, with different other authors concerning Symphorian.

Tenth Persecution of the Christians.

Before the tenth general and severe persecution of the Christians began, A. D. 302, many Christians were put to death in different places, and throughout this whole period, by virtue of the first edict of Diocletian. Of these we shall present a few, and then, with the beginning of the next century, proceed to the tenth and severest persecution.


It is stated that in the second year of the reign of Emperor Diocletian, which coincides with the year 285, three pious Christians, spiritual as well as natural brothers, called Claudius, Asterius, and Neon, were accused to the Judge of the City of Aegæa, in Cilicia, of being Christians, by their stepmother, who, as it seems, was a heathen woman.

Two godfearing Christian women, named Donuina, and Theonilla, were also accused with them. They were all imprisoned till the arrival of Lysias, the Proconsul, who, on his tour through the provinces of Cilicia, also came to Aegæa, and there held criminal court against the Christians.

How Claudius was examined first.—Claudius being first brought before his judgment-seat, Lysias asked him for his name, and admonished him, not thus rashly to throw away the bloom of his youth, but to sacrifice to the gods, and thus obey the command of the Emperor, that he might escape the ready penalty.

Claudius answered: “Our God does not need these sacrifices; he has more pleasure in works of love and mercy towards our fellowmen, and in holiness of life; but your gods are unclean evil spirits, and delight in such sacrifices, by which they bring 140 eternal punishment upon those who offer them. You shall therefore never be able to persuade me to honor them.”

Lysias said: “Bind him, and scourge him with rods; for there is no other way to tame his folly.”

Claudius said: “By these severe tortures thou shalt not harm me, but wilt bring down upon thyself eternal punishment.”

Lysias said: “Our lords, the Emperors, have commanded that the Christians shall sacrifice to the gods. It is their will, that the disobedient be punished; while to them who obey their commandment they promise honor and office.”

Claudius replied: “These gifts and benefits endure but a short time, but the confession of Christ imparts eternal glory.”

Lysias commanded that they should suspend him on the torture-stake, put fire under his feet, and cut off pieces from his heels.

Claudius said: “They who fear God with all their hearts cannot be overcome either by fire or by other torments; for they know that even these things are serviceable to them unto eternal life.”

Lysias commanded: “Let him be tormented with pincers, scraped or cut with potsherds, and burned with torches.”

Claudius said: “I say nevertheless, that thou doest all this for Satan, and that it conduces to my welfare, but tends to thy eternal perdition. Yea, thy fire and all these torments promote my salvation. Such is our condition, that those who thus suffer for the name of Christ, obtain eternal life.”

Lysias then commanded: “Desist from him; lead him back into prison, and bring forth another.”

Asterius examined.—When Asterius, the second brother, stood before the Proconsul, Lysias said: “Obey me, Asterius! sacrifice to the gods, and thus escape punishment.”

Asterius answered: “I shall not do it; for I worship the only true God, who has created heaven and earth, and who shall come to judge the quick and the dead.”

Lysias said: “Throw him on the rack, tear his flesh from his sides with pincers, and say to him: ‘Believe now at least, and sacrifice to the gods.’ ”

Asterius replied: “I am a brother of him who was tormented just now, and we hold the same confession of faith in Christ. Do what thou mayest; my body is in thy power, but not my soul.”

Lysias commanded: “Bind him hand and foot, stretch him out, and torture him; take the pincers, throw hot coals under his feet, scourge him with rods and thongs.”

Asterius said to the Proconsul: “Thou doest foolishly, since thou art preparing, not for me, but for thyself, much severer torments. Do thy best, for aught I care. I can stand it, if not one member of my body remains untormented.”

Lysias said: “Loose him, and keep him in custody with the other; and let the third one be brought forth.” This was done.

Neon examined.—When Neon stood before the judgment-seat, Lysias said to him: “Son, listen to me, and sacrifice to the gods, so that thou needst not suffer all this.”

Neon said: “There are no gods, neither have they any power. You worship idols, but I honor the God of heaven.”

Lysias said: “Take him by the throat and let the crier announce to him, to desist blaspheming the gods.”

Neon answered: “He that speaks does not blaspheme the truth.”

Lysias commanded: “Stretch him out on the rack; put coals under him; beat and cut him.”

Neon said: “I know what is needful for me. Whatever, then, is profitable to my soul, that shall I do; but I cannot be moved from my faith.”

Lysias having gone within to the other members of the tribunal, and having drawn the cover over the court, determined with them upon the sentence of death for the three brothers. When he came out, he read from a tablet their sentence, which was as follows: “Claudius, Asterius, and Neon, brothers, who are Christians, who blaspheme the gods, and refuse to sacrifice, shall be crucified before the forum, and their bodies be given to the birds of heaven as food, to be devoured by them; and this shall be executed by Eulalius, the jailer, and Archelaus, the executioner.”

However, before they were led forth to death, they were taken back to prison. Then Eulalius, the jailer, brought out Donuina, one of the women imprisoned, to whom Lysias, the Proconsul, said: “See, woman, this fire and these torments are ready for you. If you desire to escape unhurt by them, sacrifice before the gods.”

Donuina replied: “I shall not do it, lest I fall into the everlasting pains of hell. I serve God and his anointed Christ, who has created heaven and earth, and all that is therein. Your gods are of wood and stone, and are made by human hands.”

Donuina examined on the rack.—Lysias said: “Strip her stark naked, stretch her, and lacerate all her members with rods.” While they were beating her she died. Then said Archelaus, the executioner, to the Proconsul: “Your highness, Donuina has died.” Lysias commanded: “Let her dead body be thrown into the river.”

Eulalius, the jailer, then said: “Here is Theonilla.” Lysias said to her: “Woman, thou hast seen, what punishment they who were disobedient have suffered, and how they have been tormented. Honor the gods, therefore, and sacrifice, so that thou mayest be delivered from these punishments.”

Theonilla answered: “I fear him who has power to cast both soul and body into the fire of hell; and who will burn with it all those who depart from God, and give honor to Satan.”

Lysias said: “Smite her on the cheeks, throw her down, bind her feet, and torment her greatly.”

Theonilla answered: “Does it seem to thee, to be right and proper, thus to maltreat a well-born woman? Thou knowest, that thou canst not conceal from God what thou doest to me.”

Lysias commanded: “Hang her up by the braids of her hair, and smite her on the cheeks.”

Theonilla severely examined on the rack.—Having been stripped naked, Theonilla said: “Art thou not ashamed to uncover my nakedness, seeing that 141 through me, thou puttest to like shame thy mother and thy wife, who are also women?”

Lysias asked whether she had a husband, or whether she was a widow?

Theonilla replied: “I have been a widow now for over twenty-three years, and have remained thus single, in order to more zealously serve God with fasting, watching and praying; which God I did not know until after I had renounced the world and the idols.”

Lysias commanded them, in order to disgrace her the more, to shave the hair from her head, put bundles of thorns around her body, and stretch her out between four stakes, then, to beat her over her whole body, and put hot coals upon her, that she might be consumed. When Eulalius, the jailer, and Archelaus, the executioner, had done all this, death ensued, and they said to Lysias: “Sir, she is dead now.” Lysias commanded that her dead body should be sewed up in a leathern bag, and thrown into the water; which was done. Thus did these holy martyrs suffer, under Lysias, the Proconsul of Cilicia, in Aegæa, on the 23d of August, in the second year of Diocletian, when he was Burgomaster with Aristobulus, A. D. 285. These acts have for the most part been taken from the records of the clerk of the criminal court of the city of Aegæa, and were gathered by the ancient Christians. These court documents were called Acta Proconsularia. Compare this with A. Mell., 1st book, fol. 92, col. 3, 4, and fol. 93, col. 1.


Not long afterwards, under the same Emperor and Proconsul, and in the same year, Zenobius, Bishop of the church of Aegæa in Cilicia, and his sister, were apprehended; and when there were held out to him on the one hand, great wealth, honor, and position, if, in accordance with the command of the Emperor, he would serve the gods, but on the other hand, manifold torments, Zenobius answered: “I love Jesus Christ more than all the riches and honor of this world. Death and the torments with which you threaten me, I do not consider a disadvantage, but my greatest gain.”

Having received this answer from the martyr, Lysias caused him to be suspended on the rack, and inhumanly tormented on his whole body.

While the executioners were busy with Zenobius, his sister Zenobia, having learned of it, came running, crying with a loud voice: “Thou tyrant, what villainy has my brother committed, that thou dost thus cruelly torment him?”

Having thus addressed Lysias, and set at naught his entreating as well as his threatening words, she, too, was seized by the servants, stripped naked, and stretched out, and roasted beside her brother on a redhot iron bed, or roasting pan. The tyrant, deriding the martyrs, said: “Now let Christ come and help you, seeing you suffer these torments for him.”

Zenobius replied: “See, he is already with us, and cools, with his heavenly dew the flames of fire on our bodies; though thou, surrounded as thou art with the thick darkness of wickedness, canst not perceive it on us.”

Lysias, almost beside himself, commanded that they should be put naked into boiling caldrons. But seeing that the boiling water did not injure them, or, at least, that they could not thereby be made to apostatize, he had them taken out of the city and beheaded. Their dead bodies were buried by Caius and Hermogenes in the nearest cave. This happened A. D. 285, on the 30th day of October; in the city of Aegæa in Cilicia. Idem. Ibidem. ex Actis Zenobii procons. per Metaphorast.


At Tarsus in Cilicia, the birthplace of the apostle Paul, there were imprisoned, A. D. 290, three pious Christians, namely, Tharacus, Probus, and Andronicus; who, having been brought to prison, before the tribunal, and to the rack, and having suffered beyond measure for the name of the Lord and the faith in Jesus Christ, were finally put to death, concerning which we shall notice and present to the reader the judicial proceedings, as we have found them in ancient authors. From Act. Procons.

When Diocletian was Emperor for the fourth, and Maximian for the third time, Tharacus, Probus, and Andronicus were brought by the captain Demetrius before Maximus, the President, at Pompeiopolis.

First examination of Tharacus.—Maximus first asked Tharacus his name, because the latter was the oldest. Tharacus answered: “I am a Christian.”

Maximus said: “Be silent about this ungodly name, and tell me your name.”

Tharacus again replied: “I am a Christian.”

Maximus said to his beadles: “Break his jaws, and tell him not to answer me thus any more.”

Tharacus responded: “I have told thee my best name; but if thou desirest to know how my parents called me, my name is Tharacus, and when I followed war, I was called Victor.”

The President asked him: “Of what nation art thou, Tharacus?”

He answered: “Of the noble nation of the Romans, and was born at Claudianopolis, a city in Syria; but being a Christian I have abandoned war.”

The Proconsul said: “Thou art not worthy of the pay, but how didst thou leave the service?”


Tharacus replied: “I asked Publius, our General, for permission, and he discharged me.”

The President said: “Have regard for thy age, then; for I desire thee, too, to be one of those who obey the commands of our lords, the emperors; so that thou mayest be promoted by me to great honors. Come hither, therefore, and sacrifice to our gods, for the princes themselves, who are the monarchs of the whole world, honor the gods.”

Tharacus answered: “They err grossly; however, they are seduced by Satan.”

The President said: “Smite him on the cheek, because he has said that the emperors err.”

Tharacus replied: “Yes, I have said it, and say it still, that they as men are liable to err.”

The President said: “Sacrifice to our gods, and forsake thy folly.”

Tharacus answered: “I serve my God, and sacrifice to him: not with blood, but with a pure heart; for these sacrifices (namely such as are stained with blood) are unnecessary.”

The President said: “I have pity for thy age; therefore I admonish thee, to forsake this folly, and sacrifice to the gods.”

Tharacus replied: “I will not depart from the law of the Lord; and because I honor the law of God, I shall beware of such wickedness.”

The President said: “Is there, then, another law besides this, thou wicked wretch?”

Tharacus answered: “Your law commands to worship wood, stone, and the work of man.”

Tharacus put to the rack.—The Proconsul or President then said to his hangmen: “Smite him on the neck, and tell him not to speak such folly.”

While they were beating Tharacus, he said: “I shall by no means abandon this confession, which saves me.”

The Proconsul said: “I shall make thee forsake this folly, and be more prudent.”

Tharacus answered: “Do what thou wilt; thou hast full power over my body.”

Maximus, the Proconsul, said to his servants: “Strip him, and scourge him with rods.”

Tharacus answered, as he was scourged: “Truly, thou hast made me more prudent, since by these stripes thou strengthenest me more and more in my confidence in God and his Anointed, Jesus Christ, who is his Son.”

The President said: “Thou accursed and unrighteous fellow! how canst thou serve two gods at once. See, now thou dost certainly confess more than one god. Why then, deniest thou those whom we worship? Dost thou not confess Christ and the Lord?”

Tharacus answered: “Yea, I do; for he is the Son of God, the hope of all Christians, for whose sake we are wounded, and healed.”

The President said: “Leave off this useless babbling; come hither, and sacrifice.”

“I do not say much,” replied Tharacus, “but I speak the truth; for I am now sixty-five years old, and have believed thus, and do not desire to depart from the truth.”

Demetrius, the Centurion, said: “O wretched man! spare thyself, sacrifice, and follow my advice.”

Tharacus answered: “Depart from me, thou servant of Satan, with thy advice.”

Maximus commanded them, to put heavy iron chains on him, and take him back to prison, and to bring forth another.

Probus examined.—Demetrius, the Captain, said: “Lord, here is one already.”

Thereupon the President said to Probus: “Tell me first thy name.”

Probus answered: “In the first place, my noblest name is, that I am a Christian; secondly, men call me Probus.”

The Proconsul asked again: “Of what nation and descent art thou?”

Probus replied: “My father was from Thracia, a citizen, born at Pergamus, in Pamphilia; but I am a Christian.”

The Proconsul said: “Thou shalt not gain much by this name; but listen to me, and sacrifice to the gods; that thou mayest be honored by the princes, and be our friend.”

Probus answered: “I desire neither honor from the emperors nor thy friendship; for not small was the wealth which I forsook, in order faithfully to serve the living God.”

The Proconsul commanded them, to take his cloak off him, strip him, rack him, and scourge him with raw thongs. While they scourged him, Demetrius, the captain, said: “O wretched man! behold, how thy blood is spilled upon the earth.”

Probus replied: “My body is in your hands; but all these torments are a precious balm to me.”

After he was scourged, the Proconsul said to him: “Thou wretch! wilt thou not yet cease from thy folly? and dost thou still persist in thy obstinacy?”

Probus answered: “I am not vain, but more courageous in the Lord, than you people are.”

The President said to his servants: “Turn him over, and scourge him on his stomach.”

Probus prayed, saying: “O Lord, come and succor thy servant.”

Maximus, the Proconsul, said to the executioners: “While you scourge him, ask him, saying: ‘Where is thy helper?’ ”

Probus replied as they scourged him: “He has helped me, and shall still help me.”

The President said: “Thou wretched man! do spare thine own body; for the earth is soaked with thy blood.”

Probus answered: “Be assured, the more my body suffers for the name of Christ, the more my soul is healed and quickened.”

After he had been thus scourged and tortured, the Proconsul commanded them to fetter his hands and feet with irons, and thus keep him in prison; however to bring before him another.

Andronicus examined.—Demetrius, the Centurion, placed Andronicus before Maximus’ judgment seat, saying: “Sir, here is the third one.”

The Proconsul said: “What is thy name?”

Andronicus answered: “Wouldst thou openly know who I am? I am a Christian.”

Maximus said: “Those who have preceded thee have gained nothing by this name; therefore thou must answer me aright.”


Andronicus replied: “Men generally call me Andronicus.”

Maximus asked him of what nationality he was.

Andronicus answered: “Of noble blood.”

Maximus said: “Spare thyself, and hearken to me, as to thy father; for those who have prated such nonsense before thee have gained nothing by it. But honor thou the princes and the fathers, and be obedient to our gods.”

Andronicus replied: “Thou didst well call them fathers; for thou art of the father, the devil, and, having become one of his children, thou doest his works.”

Maximus said: “Wilt thou, a stripling, despise and mock me? Knowest thou not, what torments are ready for thee?”

Andronicus said: “Dost thou think I am a fool, that I should be willing to be found inferior to my predecessors, in suffering? I stand prepared to endure all thy torments.”

The Proconsul commanded that he should be stripped, ungirded, and suspended to the torture-stake. Demetrius, the Captain, moved by pity, said: “Listen to me, wretched man, before thy body be racked.”

Andronicus answered: “It is better that my body perish, than that thou shouldst do with my soul according to thy pleasure.”

Maximus said: “Take advice, and sacrifice, before thou be tortured to death.”

Andronicus replied: “Never from my youth up did I sacrifice, and do still not wish to do so, though thou constrain me.”

Maximus said: “Lay on, and rack him well.”

Anaximus, the horn-blower, who was to execute the sentence, spoke to Andronicus, saying: “I am old enough to be thy father; I advise thee to the best: do what the Proconsul commands thee.”

Andronicus replied: “Because thou art older, and hast no understanding, therefore thou advisest me to sacrifice to stones and evil spirits.”

While he was being tormented, the Proconsul said: “Thou wretched man! Dost thou not feel any torments, seeing thou hast no compassion upon thyself, and dost not forsake thy folly, which cannot save thee?”

Andronicus answered: “My sincere confession, which thou callest a vain folly, is perfectly good, as putting all hope and confidence upon the Lord our God; but thy temporal wisdom shall die forever.”

The President asked: “Who is it that has taught thee this folly?”

Andronicus replied: “The quickening word, by which we are quickened, teaches us that our Lord is in heaven, who works in our hearts the living hope of our blessed resurrection from the dead.”

Maximus said: “Desist from this folly before we torture thee still more severely.”

Andronicus answered: “My body is before thee; thou hast full power over it; do as it pleaseth thee.”

The Proconsul said: “Torture him exceedingly on the mouth.”

Andronicus replied: “The Lord sees that you punish me even as a murderer.”

The President said: “Dost thou still despise the commands of the princes? and thinkest thou my tribunal is without power?”

Andronicus answered: “I trust in the mercy and truth of God’s promise, and therefore I suffer all this patiently.”

Maximus asked: “Have, then, the princes transgressed, thou wretched man?”

Andronicus replied: “Yes, according as I understand it, they have; for it is a transgression to sacrifice to idols.”

While he was being tormented, the Proconsul said: “Turn him over, and torment him on his sides.”

Andronicus said: “I am before you. Torment me as you please.”

The President said to the executioners: “Take potsherds, and scrape open the old wounds.”

When they had done this, Andronicus said: “You have strengthened my body by these torments.”

Maximus said: “Ere long I shall exterminate thee; ere long I shall kill thee.”

Andronicus answered: “I do not fear thy threats; my sentiments are better than all thy wicked thoughts.”

Then the Proconsul commanded that irons should be put on his neck and feet, and he be kept with the others until the second examination.



When Maximus held court the second time over these faithful witnesses of Jesus Christ, and sat upon his judgment-seat, he said: “Call in the ungodly Christians.” Demetrius, the captain, answered: “Here I am, my lord!” Then said the Proconsul to Tharacus: “Knowest thou not, that age is honored in many respects? Hast thou, then, not considered it, whether thou wilt still persist in thy first intention? Yea, advise with thyself, and sacrifice to the gods, for the prosperity of the princes; that thou mayest attain to honor.”

Tharacus answered: “If the princes and others who are of the same opinion with you, knew what there is in this honor, they themselves would turn away from the blindness of their vain conversation.”

Tharacus put on the rack the second time.—The Proconsul said to his beadles: “Strike him on the mouth with stones, and say to him: Desist from thy folly.” Tharacus answered: “If I did not exercise more care for my salvation than you people do, I would be as foolish as you are.”

The President said to him: “See, they have knocked thy teeth out; do have compassion upon thyself.”

Tharacus replied: “Do not imagine this; for though thou shouldst cause everyone of my members to be crushed, I could still remain strong and steadfast in him who strengthens me.”

The President said: “Believe me, it is better for thee, that thou sacrifice.”


Tharacus answered: “If I knew that it were better for me, I would not wait for this advice from thee.”

When Tharacus ceased to speak, the Proconsul said to his hangmen: “Smite him on the mouth, and make him speak.”

Tharacus replied: “My cheeks are knocked to pieces; how can I answer any longer?”

Maximus said: “And wilt thou, madman, not yet consent to worship, and sacrifice to the gods?”

Tharacus answered: “Although thou hast deprived me of my voice, so that I cannot cry aloud, thou shalt nevertheless not injure my soul; but thou hast in this hour greatly strengthened me in my opinion.”

Maximus said to his servants: “Bring fire! stretch out his hands, and put fire on them.”

Tharacus replied: “I do not fear thy temporal fire; but I would have to fear the eternal fire, if I should obey thee.”

When the glowing fire was laid upon his hands, the President said: “See, the fire is consuming thy hands; desist, therefore, from thy folly and sacrifice to the gods.”

Tharacus answered: “Thou speakest to me, as though because of thy cruelty I had already yielded to thy wish; however, but through the grace of God I am, in all my sufferings, as strong as ever.”

The Proconsul said: “Tie his feet together, and hang him up by his heels, and make a thick smoke under his face.”

Tharacus replied: “I neither regard thy fire, nor do I fear thy smoke.”

When he was hung up, Maximus said to him: “There shalt thou hang, until thou consentest to sacrifice to the gods.”

Tharacus answered: “Thou mayest sacrifice; for thou art accustomed to sacrifice human beings; but for me it is not lawful.”

Maximus said to his servants: “Bring vinegar mixed with salt, and pour it into his nostrils.”

NOTE.—Here a whole leaf is wanting in the original, namely, of the tortures which Tharacus, Probus, and Andronicus suffered in the second examination on the rack; however, concerning Andronicus the following additional was found.

The Proconsul said (namely, to Andronicus): “All this nonsense can avail thee nothing. But come, and sacrifice to the gods, that thou mayest not perish under the punishment.”

Andronicus replied: “It is the same that thou hast heard the first and the second time; for I am not a child, to be moved or turned by words.”

The President said: “You shall nevertheless neither conquer me, nor despise my tribunal.”


Andronicus answered: “We do not conquer thee, but our Lord Jesus Christ strengthens us.”

The President said: “The next time we hold court over these men, let other modes of torture be put in practice. In the meantime put him (Andronicus) in irons, and keep him in prison until tomorrow, and let no one see him.”


The President said: “Call the ungodly Christians in.” Demetrius, the centurion, answered: “Here I am.”

Tharacus brought forth first.—When he had brought forth Tharacus, the Proconsul said: “Dost thou still despise imprisonment, bonds, punishments, and tortures? Follow my advice, O Tharacus, and abandon this confession, which profits thee nothing. Rather sacrifice to the gods, by whom all things exist.”

Tharacus answered: “Woe shall come upon them. Thou thinkest that the world is governed by them; whereas they are destined for eternal fire; and not they only, but all those also who serve them.”

The President said: “And dost thou not yet desist, thou impious blasphemer! or thinkest thou not that for thy rash words I should cause thee to be instantly beheaded?”

Tharacus replied: “Then I would not die a lingering death, but a short one. But let me have a long conflict, that in the meantime my faith in the Lord may grow and increase.”

The President said: “Thou and thy fellow-prisoners must die according to the laws.”

Tharacus answered: “What thou sayest is an evidence of thy ignorance; for those who do evil die justly; but we who know of no evil, that is, who have committed nothing worthy of death before men, but suffer for the Lord, expect with confident hope the heavenly reward from the Lord.”

The Proconsul said: “Thou accursed miscreant! what reward have ye to expect, seeing you die for your wickedness?”

Tharacus replied: “It is not lawful for thee to inquire into, or to ask, what reward the Lord has laid up for us in heaven; and therefore we patiently suffer the wrath of thy madness.”

The President said: “Darest thou thus address me, thou accursed [one], as though thou wert mine equal?”

Tharacus answered: “I am not thine equal; but it is lawful for me to speak, and no one can silence me, for the sake of him who strengthens me, namely, the Lord.”

The Proconsul said: “Thou miscreant, I shall deprive thee of the power.”

Tharacus answered: “No one can take away the power from me, neither thou, nor your princes, nor Satan, the father of you all.”

Tharacus put to the rack.—The President said: “Now, seeing thou art bound and suspended, in order that you may be tortured, sacrifice in time, before I cause thee to be punished according to thy deserts.”

Tharacus replied: “That thou mayest do; but since I was formerly a soldier, thou mayest not torment me with all manner of punishment. Yet, lest thou think, I might yield to thy perverseness, go on and devise and inflict upon me all sorts of punishment.”

The President said: “Do not think that I shall sentence thee at once. I shall cause thee to be put to death by degrees.”

Tharacus answered: “Whatever thou intendest to do, do at once, and do not threaten.”

The President said: “If thou think, that some women will come and embalm thy body, thou art greatly mistaken, for it is my intention that nothing shall remain of thee.”

Tharacus replied: “Do with my body as pleaseth thee, now as well as after my death.”

“Maximian,” said the Proconsul, “break his jaws, and tear his lips.”

Tharacus answered: “True, thou hast crushed and marred my face; but thou hast quickened my soul.”

The President said: “Thou wretched man! Desist from thy vain thoughts, and sacrifice; that thou mayest be delivered from these pangs.”

Tharacus replied: “Dost thou think I am a fool or a madman, and that I, who trust in the Lord, shall not live in heaven? Thou mayest deprive me of this temporal life for a little while; but thou wilt thereby cast thine own soul into eternal damnation.”

The President said to the executioners: “Put the branding irons into the fire, and brand him on his cheeks or shoulders.”

Tharacus answered: “Though thou inflict many more torments than these upon me, thou shalt nevertheless not turn the servant of God to the shameful idolatry of devils, to worship them.”

The President said: “Bring a razor; cut off his skin; shave his head bald, and put burning coals upon it.”

Tharacus replied: “And though thou cause my whole body to be flayed, I shall still not depart from my God, who strengthens me, to endure all the weapons of your torturing.”

The President said: “Get the branding irons; let them get still hotter, and apply them to all his members and joints.”

Tharacus, as he suffered this, cried out: “May the Lord look down from heaven, and judge!”

The President said: “What lord dost thou call upon, thou accursed fellow?”

Tharacus answered: “The Lord whom thou dost not know, and who recompenses every one according to his works.”

The President said: “And shall I not exterminate thee, as I have told thee? Yea, even thy remains I shall burn, and scatter thy ashes to the wind; that the women may not come, and wind thy dead body in clothes to embalm it with precious ointments and spices.”

Tharacus replied: “I have said it, and say so still, do what thou wilt: thou hast full power over my body in this world.”


The President said: “Put him back into prison, and keep him until the next time for the wild beasts. Let another be brought before the tribunal.”

Probus brought forward.—Demetrius, the captain, said to the Proconsul: “Sir, here he is already, namely, Probus.”

The President said to Probus: “Advise with thyself, Probus, that thou mayest not fall again into the same punishment; for others, who on thy account have persisted in their obstinacy have rued it. Sacrifice now, therefore, that thou mayest be honored by us and the gods.”

Probus answered: “We are all of one mind, serving God with one heart and soul. Think not, therefore, that thou wilt hear anything different from us; for thou hast ere this heard and seen enough to convince thee, that thou canst not turn us. Here I stand before thee the third time, and do not yet regard thy threats. What dost thou wait for, then?”

The President said: “Ye have conspired together to deny the gods. Bind him, and hang him up by his heels.”

Probus replied: “Dost thou not yet cease to fight for Satan?”

Maximus said: “Believe me, before thou be tortured; have compassion upon thine own body. See, what dreadful torments are being prepared for thee.”

Probus answered: “All that thou mayest do unto me, shall conduce to the comfort of my soul; therefore, do what thou wilt.”

The President said: “Heat the branding irons red-hot, and apply them to his sides, so that he may desist from his folly.”

Probus replied: “The more foolish I appear to thee, the wiser I shall be in the law of the Lord.”

The President said: “Press the branding irons on his back.”

Probus answered as he was suffering: “My body is subject to thy power; but God will behold from heaven my humility and patience.”

In the meantime the President commanded that meat and wine should be brought, which had been sacrificed to the idols, saying to the executioners: “Pour wine down his throat, and take meat, and force it into his mouth.”

While they were busy doing this, Probus said: “The Lord behold from his high throne the violence ye do to me, and judge my cause.”

The President said: “Thou wretched man! thou hast suffered so much, and, behold! thou hast thyself received the sacrifice.”

Probus replied: “Ye have not accomplished much, by doing me violence. The Lord knoweth my intentions.”

The President said: “Thou hast eaten and drank what was sacrificed to the gods.”

Probus answered: “The Lord knoweth it, and hath seen the violence I have suffered.”

The President said to the executioners: “Apply the branding irons to the calves of his legs.”

Probus replied: “Neither the fire, nor the torments, nor thy father, Satan, can turn the servant of God from his confession.”

The President said to his servants: “Let sharp nails be heated, and put them into his hands.”

Probus answered as he suffered this: “I thank thee, O Lord, that thou hast made my hands worthy, to suffer for thy name.”

The President said: “The many torments have deprived thee of thy mind.”

Probus replied: “The great power which thou hast, has not only made thee a fool, but also blind; for thou knowest not what thou art doing.”

The President said: “Thou who hast been tormented on thy whole body excepting the eyes, darest thou speak thus to me?” “Pinch his eyes,” said he to the executioners, “that he may gradually become blind.”

When this had been done, Probus said: “Behold, thou has also deprived me of my bodily eyes, but thou shalt never be permitted to destroy the eyes of my faith.”

The President said: “Dost thou think thou wilt survive all these torments, or that thus thou shalt die happy?”

Probus answered: “Fighting thus, I gradually approach the end, so that I may finish my good and perfect confession, and be put to death by you without mercy.”

The President said: “Take him away, bind him, put him in prison, and let none of his companions come near him, to praise him for having continued so steadfast in his wickedness. He, too, shall be cast before the wild beasts at the next show.”

Andronicus put to the rack.—Then said the President: “Let Andronicus come forth.”

Demetrius, the captain, said: “He is already here.”

The President said to Andronicus: “Have at least compassion on thy youth, if thou hast prudently advised with thyself to reverence the gods: consent and sacrifice to the gods, that thou mayest be released.”

Andronicus answered: “May God never suffer thee, O tyrant, that I do aught against the law of God. Thou shalt never shake my good confession, which I have founded upon my Lord. Here I stand ready, for thee to make manifest on me thy hardness.”

The President said: “Methinks, thou art raving, and possessed of the devil.”

Andronicus replied: “If I had the devil in me, I should obey thee; but because I confess the Lord, I do not submit to the commands of the devil. But hast not thou the devil in thee? For, being deceived by the devil, thou doest the works of the devil.”

The President said to the Executioners: “Make bundles of paper, and put fire upon his body.”

When this was done, Andronicus said: “Though I burn from head to foot, the spirit nevertheless is alive in me. Thou shalt not conquer me; for the Lord, whom I serve is with me.”

The President said: “Thou madman! how long wilt thou remain thus obstinate? Seek at least to die upon thy bed.”

Andronicus answered: “As long as I live, I shall overcome thy wickedness.”


The President said: “Heat the branding-irons red-hot again, and put them between his fingers.”

Andronicus replied: “O foolish despiser of God! Thou art full of the wicked thoughts of Satan. Seest thou not that my body is almost consumed through the manifold torments thou hast inflicted upon me. Thinkest thou that now at the last I shall begin to fear thy devices? I have Christ dwelling in my heart, and despise thy torments.”

The President said: “Thou miscreant! knowest thou not that this Christ, whom thou worshipest became man, and was punished under the Judge Pontius Pilate?”

Andronicus answered: “Be silent, for it is not lawful for thee to speak evil of him.”

The President said: “What gainest thou by thy faith and hope in this man whom thou callest Christ?”

Andronicus replied: “I have thereby in expectation a great reward and gain; hence I endure all this so patiently.”

The President said: “Break open his mouth, and take meat that has been sacrificed, from the altar, and force it into his mouth, and pour in wine also.”

Andronicus called God to witness, saying: “O Lord! Lord! behold, what violence I suffer!”

The President said: “How long wilt thou thus obstinately endure the punishment? See, thou hast certainly eaten of that which has been sacrificed to the gods.”

Andronicus answered: “Cursed be all who honor the idols, thou and thy princes.”

The President said: “Thou miscreant, cursest thou the princes, who have obtained for us so lasting and tranquil peace?”

Andronicus replied: “They are cursed, who, as the pestilence, and as bloodhounds, turn the whole world upside down; whom the Lord by his mighty arm shall confound and destroy.”

The President commanded the executioners: “Put an iron into his mouth, and with it break out all his teeth, and cut out his blasphemous tongue, that he may learn no more to blaspheme the princes. Take away his teeth, and burn his tongue to ashes, and scatter the latter all about, lest his fellow-Christians, or some women, gather his remains, and keep them as precious relics. Take him away from here, and put him into prison, that at the next show he, together with his companions, Tharacus and Probus may be thrown before the wild beasts.” Acta Procons. per Metaph. and alios.

It is declared that the above account concerning the examination of the three aforementioned Christians was written entirely by the heathen themselves, who put them to death; only a few words having been altered, to make the sense clearer. A certain celebrated author mentioning this, writes as follows: “Herewith ends the third examination or inquisition on the rack, and thus far these proceedings with the martyrs have been recorded by the heathen clerk of the criminal court himself, and were doubtless afterwards bought for money by the Christians.”

Beloved reader! I could not forbear to translate these records, just as they were, for the most part word for word; not only because I have found them to be true and genuine in every respect; but also, because we can very clearly see therefrom, what form of inquisition or examination the heathen employed against the Christians; as well as with what manifold torments the obdurate heathen sought to compel the Christians to apostatize from the faith, and how remarkably God preserved his own against the devices and wiles of the devil.

It need not seem strange to the reader, that the proconsuls or criminal judges so frequently put to the rack the same Christians, to cause them to apostatize from the faith: for Lactantius tells us of a president in Bithynia, who for two years endeavored by all manner of torments to compel a Christian to apostatize, and who, when this Christian finally seemed to yield, boasted of it just as though he had conquered a whole province of a barbaric country.

As touching the rest of the matter, that is, how and when the sentence of the Proconsul was executed, the heathen have not recorded it; but some Christian brethren, namely, Macarius, Felix, and Verus, probably bought those records from the clerk of the criminal court, and added from their own observation what was wanting, since they had been eye-witnesses of it at the theatrical drama the following day.


Numerius Maximus, Proconsul of Cilicia, summoning Terentian, the provider of public sacrifices and theatrical performances which were held in Cilicia, commanded him to provide for the dramas for the next day. The following day a great number of men and women assembled in the amphitheatre, which was situated about a mile, or one thousand paces from the city. When the amphitheatre was filled with people, Maximus also came to witness the play, and in the first act of it, when many wild beasts were let out at the same time, many human bodies were devoured. We Christians kept ourselves concealed and waited with great fear for the bringing forth of the martyrs. Suddenly the Proconsul commanded the soldiers to bring in the Christian martyrs, namely, Tharacus, Probus, and Andronicus. The soldiers compelled some to carry the Christian martyrs on their shoulders, for they were torn and lacerated to such a degree, that they could not walk. We then saw them carried thus disfigured into the amphitheatre, and seeing how they had been maltreated, we turned our faces, and cried bitterly. Thus the martyrs were thrown down into the middle of the arena, as the offscouring or refuse of this world; and when the multitude beheld them, they were all frightened, and the people murmured greatly against Maximus for having thus tormented them, and then yet sentencing them to 148 be thrown to the beasts; yea, many went away from the amphitheatre, censuring Maximus for his inhuman cruelty. When Maximus saw this, he commanded the soldiers who stood near him, to note those who murmured against him, and were leaving; so that he might afterwards examine them in regard to it. In the meanwhile he commanded that the wild beasts should be let out, to rend the martyrs. In Scriptura Christianorum Fratrum.

In order to avoid prolixity, we shall sum up what follows here in the aforementioned account of the Christian brethren, in these words: “The wild beasts were let out, especially a frightful bear, and then a lioness; both of which indeed, by roaring terribly, made a dreadful noise, so that also the spectators were frightened by it; but they did not harm the martyrs, much less tear or devour them. The Proconsul in his rage commanded the spear-men, to thrust the bear through; the lioness, however, on account of the fear of the people, was let out by a back door, which was broken in pieces. Then Maximus ordered Terentian, to let in the gladiators, who should first kill the Christians, and then fight with each other for life. These, when they came in, first thrust through the martyrs; which happened on the 11th day of October, A. D. 290, at Tarsus in Cilicia.” When the drama was over, and the Proconsul was about to go home, he left ten soldiers in the amphitheatre, charging them, to mingle the dead bodies of the martyrs with those of the heathen gladiators, that the Christians might not be able to distinguish them. However, it is stated in the above account, that the Christians removed their dead bodies, and buried them in a cave in a rock.

In regard to this, A. Mellinus, who has referred to it, has the following remark: “They who did this, also wrote the conclusion of this history; hence we have not the least reason to doubt the veracity of this account of the proceedings against the martyrs.” First book of the Mart. 1619, fol. 96, col. 1; but with reference to the previous proceedings against the martyrs, see fol. 93, col. 3, and fol. 94, col. 1–4, and fol. 95, col. 1–3.



At the close of the third century the eminent Arnobius was introduced, and inasmuch as his life extended from one century into the other we refer to him again here in the beginning of the fourth century. He speaks of the virtue and benefit of baptism, as may be seen in the proper place.

Fusca and the handmaid Maura were baptized after previous instruction.

At this time (in the time of Sylvester) there existed such sects as were afterwards called Waldenses, Anabaptists, etc.

One Donatus was called an Anabaptist, and his followers, Anabaptists.

Athanasius, while yet a child, indicated, with other children, that at Alexandria they baptized upon confession of faith.

In Canon 12, 13, 15, of the Council of Nice several good things are established with regard to baptism.

Athanasius, having become a man, teaches wholesome doctrine, not only with respect to baptism, but also in regard to other matters of religion.

Soon after him comes Marius Victorinus, who joins together faith, confession, and baptism.

Then appears Hilarius, who wrote very appropriately on baptism, and also opposes antichrist, images, and traditions.

Monica, the mother of Augustine, was baptized in adult years, though she was born of Christian parents.

In the Council of Neocesarea, the candidates for baptism, the baptizing of pregnant women, Christ’s baptism, etc., were discussed.

Again sects appear, who were like the Baptists.

St. Martin was instructed from his twelfth to his eighteenth year, and then baptized. He strongly opposed war.

Ambrose was baptized in adult years, at Milan, though his parents were Christians. He advanced sound views on baptism, against war, of the sacrament, etc.

Ephrem, Gregory of Nyssa, the Councils of Laodicea and Elibertum, and also Optatus Milevitanus, give correct views on baptism.

Gregory of Nazianzus, born of Christian parents, was already in his twentieth year when he was baptized. Nectarius was baptized in adult years. Basil, the son of a Christian, and Eubulus, consulted together, and were baptized on their faith, at Jerusalem. Posthumanius made a glorious confession at his baptism. John Crysostom was suffered by his parents, though they were Christians, to remain unbaptized, not receiving baptism until he was twenty-one years old. Also, his views respecting baptism; his teaching against war, confession, etc.

Jerome, also born of Christian parents, was baptized at Syridon, when he was thirty years old.

Augustine, Adeolatus, Alipius, Euodius, Epiphanius, with his sister, all baptized upon faith. Conclusion of baptism in the fourth century.

That the holy order of the baptism of Jesus Christ was practiced also in the fourth century, appears from various teachings and examples of the fathers, from which, we shall present only a few, but such as are certain and genuine testimonies.

A. D. 301.—At the close of the preceding century, for A. D. 300, we introduced the eminent Arnobius, and showed that, speaking of baptism, he says: “That the candidates for baptism, when they are baptized, state before the minister their perfect willingness, and make their confession with their own lips.”

This Arnobius follows us also in the beginning of this century, namely through the years 301, 302, 303, 304; and having not abandoned his previous 149 views regarding this matter, he confirms them with the following testimonies.

Speaking against the tenets of the Romanists, who ordain consecrated, or, properly speaking, exorcised water for baptism, he writes thus (in Psalm 74): “It is written: Thou breakest the heads of the dragons in the waters; that is,” says he, “the heads of the dragons in baptism;” but by saying, in the waters, he means to signify that the same baptism can be administered in all kinds of waters, as, in rivers, lakes, wells, baths, seas, etc. In these the head of the dragon, that is Satan, is broken in all waters. Jacob Mehrn. Bapt. Hist., page 323.

Of the virtue and benefit of baptism he teaches as follows, Psalm 32, where the Psalmist says: “In the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him,” upon which he remarks: “that men, by the true water of baptism, draw nigh to God, who is a refuge from the fear of Satan that encompasses us.” Jacob Mehrn., page 324.

Again, Psalm 32, he says: “Man is redeemed; no angel, nor any other creature, but man alone praises his mercy, says the Lord, whose sins he forgives in baptism.” Jacob Mehrn., page 325.

Although these words of Arnobius are somewhat obscure, yet they contain light enough, to emit rays of divine truth concerning the matter of baptism. For when in the first place he says, that the head of the dragon is broken in baptism (by dragon meaning Satan), he certainly indicates thereby, that he speaks of persons who, having attained maturer years, become subject to the assaults of Satan, and that these, in baptism, break the head of the dragon, that is, Satan, by means of the true faith, through Christ; hence he does not speak of children—who are ignorant of the assaults of Satan—and, consequently, not of infant baptism.

Secondly, when he says that men, by the true water of baptism, draw nigh to God, he certainly indicates that he speaks of men who have departed from God through disobedience, consequently, of persons who have arrived at the years of discretion; and not of infants; for how can any one draw nigh to God by baptism, who has not departed from him? Infants have not departed from God through disobedience; hence they cannot draw nigh to him by baptism.

Thirdly, when he speaks of man, who praises the mercy of the Lord, and whose sins the Lord forgives in baptism, he certainly indicates that he speaks of men who are capable of praising the mercy of the Lord, namely, men possessing understanding, and who have sinned; for only he that has sinned can have his sins forgiven; but with infants, who have never sinned, no forgiveness can take place, and consequently, no baptism for the remission of sins. By this the obscure words of Arnobius became clear.

NOTE.—P. J. Twisck records, for the year 306, that Constantine the Great, the son of the believing Helena, was baptized in Jordan, in the sixty-fifth year of his age, after having been instructed (Chron. 4th book, page 89, col. 1); from which it is apparent, that at that time Christians left their children unbaptized, in order that they themselves might believe and be baptized.

A. D. 308.—Fusca, the pious maiden, conceived a desire for the Christian faith when she was quite young, and, having manifested this desire to the servant-maid, Mauro, who also felt an inward drawing towards Christ, they were thoroughly instructed in the Christian faith at Ravenna, by the teacher Hermola, and baptized. P. J. Twisck, Chron. 4th book, page 90, col. 1, from Grond. Bew., letter B, Leonh., lib. 2.

A. D. 315.—It is stated that already in the time of Sylvester, there was taught and maintained the same doctrine which was afterwards maintained by countless numbers of the baptistic Waldenses, yea, that those churches which in the 11th, 12th, 13th, and in subsequent centuries were styled Waldenses Albigenses, and lastly, Mennonites, or Anabaptists, had existed already at that time, and indeed, long before. Of this a certain celebrated author among the Romanists bitterly complains, in a very old book, saying: “These heretics (the people mentioned above) have always had many sects among them; but of all that ever existed, none was more pernicious to the church of God (understand the Roman church) than the Poor of Lyons (the Waldenses or Anabaptists), and this for three reasons: In the first place, because of their antiquity; some asserting that they existed already in the days of Sylvester, others referring them even to the time of the apostles.” Jac. Mehrn., page 615.

In another place Jacob Mehrning writes thus about the abovementioned people: “This is not a new sect that originated only at that time (that is, in the time of Waldus); for the papistic writers themselves confess that they existed already in the time of Pope Sylvester, nay, long before him, even in the time of the apostles.” B. H., page 670.

In another place he writes that Flaccius has also recorded the same, from an ancient papistic book, namely, that they existed from the time of Sylvester, yea, from the time of the apostles; and that Thuanus, though he compares them to another people, states that their doctrine has continued through many centuries.” Page 682.

The time of the reign of Sylvester, who was the first pope of this name, and on the register of the Roman bishops the 34th, is fixed in the year 315. See P. J. Twisck, Chron., 4th book, p. 93, col. 1, from Platina, fol. 63. Fasc. Temp., fol. 99, Hist. Georg., lib. 1, Fr. Ala., fol. 22, Chron. Seb. Fr., fol. 13.

A. D. 317.—Donatus, an over-learned bishop at Carthage,101 who had many adherents in Africa, taught among other things: “That the preaching of the divine word and the administration of the 150 sacraments by an ungodly minister, were of no avail. They (his followers) held that the church of Christ existed only among them, and hence, they rebaptized all who wished to adopt their religion, saying that the heretics, or the Pope, had no Christian church, and consequently, no baptism, inasmuch as there was only one God, one faith, one Gospel, one church, and one baptism. ‘They, like the Anabaptists, also held,’ says Franck, ‘that no children, even in the extremity of death, should be baptized, but only believing adults who desired it.’ ”

When he was imprisoned he upbraided Augustine, saying that no one ought to be imprisoned on account of his faith, God had given man his free will, to believe as he chose. Concerning all this, see, P. J. Twisck Chron., 4th book, p. 93, col. 2, and page 94, col. 1, from Merula, fol. 255. Zeg., fol. 79. Seb. Franck, Chron. van de Roomsche Ketters, letter D., fol. 76, printed A. D. 1563.

As regards Donatus, if it be true that he erred in some things, or failed in some matter of faith, we will not defend him therein; however, this much is certain, that owing to the absence of his writings, we have no other information concerning him, than that which comes to us through the mouth and hand of his adversaries.

Concerning this, P. J. Twisck, in a certain place, expresses his regret, saying, that in his Chronijk, for the year 410, he wrote something derogatory to his followers, before he had been properly informed regarding it; which he afterwards, for the year 417, refutes and explains more clearly by quoting from Bullinger: “That the followers of Donatus were similar to the Anabaptists (whom he calls Baptists); that they taught, that no one ought to be compelled to do good or to accept the faith.” Again: “that every heretic should be left to follow his particular faith without restraint or compulsion.”

On this account, P. J. Twisck, in the same place, relates from another author, that it is quite probable that these people were burdened with many unjust accusations. “It would be desirable,” writes he, “to have in our possession their writings, teachings, and deeds; for if it be the case, that they were in all respects like the Anabaptists, and would compel no one in matters of faith, then it is sufficiently apparent, that they are unjustly charged by other writers, with tyranny. I have given this a place here, because the year 410 was already arranged when this reached me.” Thus far, P. J. Twisck, Chron., 5th book, page 147, col. 2, from H. Bulling. Contra Anbapt., lib. 5, fol. 216, 222.

NOTE.—We accept of the writings of Donatus only that which is good and true; for the rest we assume no responsibility.

About A. D. 318.—It appears that when Athanasius was yet a boy, at Alexandria also, baptism was not administered otherwise than upon confession of faith; at least, that it was not customary to baptize infants, is evident from the following circumstances of a certain occurrence related by Ruffinus and Zozomenus: “When the day of the martyr Peter was celebrated at Alexandria, by the Bishop Alexander, and he, after the solemn service was over, was awaiting his assistants, or pupils to dine with him, he observed in the distance some children playing on the sea shore, who, very probably, not for the first time were imitating the bishop and those things which are generally done in church. But when he observed the children more attentively, he noticed that they were performing some mysterious things. Astonished at this, he summoned his assistants to him, and showed them what he had seen from a distance. Then he commanded them to seize the children and bring them to him. When they came, he asked them, what they had been playing, and what and how they had been doing? They, as was natural for their years, at first were frightened, and denied the matter, but afterwards related it just as it had taken place, and confessed that they, through Athanasius, who in this game had imitated the Bishop, had baptized some catechumens, that is, boys who had not been baptized. Alexander then inquired of those who they said had been baptized, what questions had been put to them, and what they had answered; likewise interrogating him who had put the questions; and found that all was in accordance with the manner of our religion. Jac. Mehrn., 2d part, pp. 356, 357, from Nicephor., lib. 8, cap. 44. Also, H. Montan. Nietigh., pp. 64, 65, from Ruffin. Eccl. Hist. 1, cap. 14. Zozom. Eccl. Hist., lib. 3, cap. 16.

From these circumstances it is evident that infant baptism was not customary there. First, when we take into consideration the conduct of these boys, we see that in the Christian church at Alexandria the usual mode of baptizing at that time was this, namely: that the Bishop, or whoever administered baptism, first interrogated the candidates for baptism, and then, after they had answered him, they were baptized.

Secondly, if we consider the boys themselves, who apparently were ten or twelve years old, which probability is increased by the fact that Ruffinus (as H. Montanus shows), calls them catechumens, that is, such as were being instructed in the faith, which is plainly indicated by their performance, since they were able to imitate in every particular such important services. These boys are nevertheless called unbaptized, wherefore Athanasius, though by way of play, baptized them.

Moreover, that these boys were born of Christian parents, appears in various ways, as, for instance, in this, that they diligently attended the Christian assemblies, for without this they could never have represented so completely in all its particulars, the baptism practiced in the church. Likewise, in the fact that Alexander and his assistants (as the account further sets forth), enjoined the parents of these boys, who before were unbaptized, but had now been thus baptized, to bring them up in that vocation, namely, in the Christian religion, which certainly would not have been done, had their parents been heathen and not Christians. It is also stated that this was done with invocation and confession of God’s holy name, which certainly would not have been the case with heathen, who worshiped either no god, or many gods.

As to what Alexander held of this performance, we leave it to its own merits; it suffices us to have 151 shown that at that time the Christians at Alexandria suffered their children to remain unbaptized; inasmuch as they were first instructed, and then baptized upon confession of their faith, which, as has been shown, is clearly indicated by the course of the aforementioned boys.

A. D. 333.—It is recorded that in the first great council at Nice, held against Arius, and various innovations in the church, it was resolved among other things:

Canon 21. The Paulianists and Photinians shall be rebaptized.”

Canon 12. If any apostatize under persecution, without having been tormented, and sincerely repent, they shall be put among the catechumens for five years, and after two more years, shall be reinstated among the faithful, with prayer.”

Canon 13. But they who, for the sake of the confession of the faith, have relinquished the military profession and again return to it, shall do penance for thirteen years, and then be received again; however, if they truly repent, the bishop is authorized to mitigate the term of penance, provided he sees that their repentance is fruitful and devout.”

Canon 15. Concerning the catechumens who have apostatized, it is decided, that they shall be excluded from the prayers of the catechumens who have not apostatized, for three years, and at the end of that time be received back again.” Jac. Mehrn., pages 352, 353, ex Concil. Nicen. Secund. Ruffin.

This is the great Council which is extolled as orthodox and Christian by nearly all so-called Christians. Be this as it may, we see no reason to praise it so highly, seeing that we must honor the precepts of God’s holy word alone, whereas the rules of that council were made by fallible men. Yet, so far as these men have laid down precepts that accord with the precepts of God’s holy word, or, at least, do not militate against them, so far we accept, or, at least, do not oppose them.102

When it is said, in Canon 21, that the Paulianists and Photinians shall be rebaptized, it establishes, that, according to the Holy Scriptures, not every baptism is a genuine or true baptism, and that consequently there is but one baptism which can in truth be called genuine, namely, that baptism which is administered by the true church, and upon the true faith. This is also established at this day by the Anabaptists, and regarded as a precept from the holy word of God.

It is also said in the 15th Canon concerning the catechumens, that if they have fallen, they shall be excluded three years from the prayers of those catechumens who have not fallen. This is an indication of the carefulness exercised by that assembly, to admit to baptism, according to the doctrine of the holy Gospel, no unprepared catechumens before they had truly repented after their fall.

The 12th Canon, speaking of the penance to be performed by those who, under persecution, had apostatized without having been tormented; and the 13th Canon, treating of the very great and long penance to be endured by those, who, after having become Christians, had resumed the military profession, and thus become apostates; these precepts we say, militate neither against the holy Scriptures, nor against the views of the Anabaptists, but sufficiently confirm them both.

NOTE.—It is recorded that at this time pseudo-apostles taught that the church of Rome was rejected of God, and that it was not his church, but Babylon, and the whore mentioned in the Apocalypse, who rides the beast with the seven heads; and that we therefore do not owe obedience to the Pope; that under the New Testament we are in no wise bound to give tithes to the priests; that all manner of swearing is unlawful; that a consecrated church is not better to pray in than a pigsty. Seb. Fr. Chron., fol. 120, col. 3.

A. D. 335.—At this time, Athanasius vigorously maintained the cause of such as had been baptized according to order of Christ, against those who, it seems, asserted that baptism might take place without previous instruction, or confession of faith. He says (Serm. 3., Contra Arian.): “Our Savior did not simply command to baptize, but first said, teach, and then, baptize; so that true faith may proceed from the doctrine, and then baptism be perfected with faith.” P. J. Twisck, Chron., 4th book, page 99, col. 2; from Grond. Bew., letter A. Jac. Mehrn., Bapt. Hist., 2d Part, page 370.

NOTE.—At this time Athanasius taught that it is the duty of every Christian, to read the holy Scriptures, on the 6th chap. Eph. Again, he prohibited the practice of making a likeness of God for the purpose of worshiping him thereby, etc., as being an unlawful thing. Contr. Gent. Sam. Veltius, in the Geslacht-register, page 118.

Notice concerning several writings attributed to Athanasius.—The pedobaptists, prone to bring forward everything that seems in any wise to favor their views, were wont to adduce the 114th and the 124th question of a certain book called, Various Questions of Holy Scripture, attributed to Athanasius. But in answer to this we say: that said book is not the work of Athanasius, but of some other author who wrote subsequently to him; as in his 23d question he cites Athanasius as one having lived before him, saying: “This is the testimony of the great Athanasius, a man who was mighty in the divine Scriptures; but we, who are enlightened by him.” Moreover, that book contains many opinions foreign to Athanasius, as shown by the Centuriatores Magdenburgenses, Cent. 4, cap. 10, p. 1032. See also, H. Montan. Nietigh., p. 69, and J. M., Bapt. Hist., pages 360, 361.

NOTE.—A. D. 320. Lactantius Firmianus taught at this time: 1. “That the sacrifices of the Christian are, a good life, purity, and good works. 2. That there is no religion in a place where there are images. Lib. 2, of the Divine Instruction. Also, Sam. Veltius, in the Geslacht-register,. pp. 116, 117. 3. He taught against compulsion of conscience, and 152 revenge, as appears from the following. He writes to the Emperor Constantine (5th book, chap. 20): “The more the religion of God is suppressed, the more it breaks forth and grows; hence they should employ reasoning and admonition; it is not necessary to proceed with violence. For religion admits of no compulsion; persuasive words can do more to promote the cause than blows.” Again (5th book, chap. 21) he writes: “We Christians do not desire that any one should serve God, the Creator of all, against his will; neither are we angry if he does not serve him; for we trust his Majesty, who can as easily avenge himself against those who despise him, as he does the vexations and injuries inflicted upon his servants. Therefore, when we suffer such shameful things, we say not one word against it, but commit all vengeance to God; not doing as those who would be regarded protectors of their gods, and very cruelly assail those who do not worship them.” Korte ontschuldiging, by P. V. K., edition of 1643, page 47, from Religions Vryheydt, 2d part, p. 10.

About A. D. 340.Marius Victorius writes in the fifth book against Arius: “Every one that is baptized, and says he believes, and accepts the faith, receives the Spirit of truth, that is, the holy Ghost, and is made holier by him.” J. Mehrn., Bapt. Hist., page 325. I find in authentic writers, no other account of baptism by this Marius, so that this seems to be the only thing he has written about baptism, and from this, too, it is obvious that he must have been a stranger to infant baptism, seeing he joins together confession, faith, and baptism, in the one that is to be baptized.

A. D. 350.—About this time Hilarius attained to the faith in Jesus Christ, and having been baptized upon this faith, he proceeded to defend the truth which he had received and accepted, and, for the strengthening of the faith he had adopted, and that he might live according to the same, he prayed to God (lib. 12 de Trinit.) as follows: “Dear God, preserve my faith and the testimony of my conscience, that I may ever keep that which I confessed in the sacrament of my regeneration, when I was baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; namely, that I worship thee, O God our Father, and thy Son with thee, and that the Holy Spirit, that proceeds from thee, may be awakened.”

Again Vicecomes (lib. 2, cap. 27) quotes from Hilarius, on the 15th chapter of Matt. the following: “They that come to baptism confess first, that they believe in the Son of God, and in his suffering and resurrection; and this confession is made or pronounced at the sacrament of baptism.”

Again, Hilarius writes (vol. 2, de Trinitate): “The Lord has commanded to baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; that is, upon the confession of the Author (that is, him who in the beginning created all things), and the First-born, and the Free Gift (that is, the Son and the Holy Ghost).” Jac. Mehrn. Bapt., Histor., 2d part, pages 371, 372.


Hilarius, originally a heathen, who subsequently became a Christian, and was baptized at Rome, A. D. 350, was a very learned and eloquent man. He writes (lib. 2): “The Lord has commanded to baptize on, or in, the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, that is,” etc.

He also defended the truth against the Arians, on account of which he was exiled; and he likewise vigorously opposed the arrogance of the see of Rome, and its dominion over other churches, and said that antichrist would devastate the earth through wars and murder.

To those who concerned themselves more in wondering at the building of the temple, than in the consideration of the doctrine he says: “You are indeed unwise, to look with wonder upon these things; for, you must know that antichrist shall once set his throne there.

“The nature of the name antichrist is opposition to Christ, which he effects under a specious semblance of the Gospel. He transforms himself into an angel of light, that he may alienate the Christian mind. He has already, to some extent, commenced his progress, pretending to be Christ, though he is departed very far from Christ.

“They (that is, the Antichristians) ambitiously desire the aid of the secular power, which they draw to themselves in order to advance their name and honor, and to protect their church; thus working with a worldly ambition, notwithstanding it is folly to employ secular power in defense of the Christian church.

“Let me ask you, ye bishops, what aid did the apostles employ in proclaiming the Gospel? by the assistance of what magistracy did they preach Christ, and convert the heathen from idolatry to God?

“Now the church courts the favor of the world, and boasts that the world loves her, who could at no time have been the church of Christ, without being hated by the world.”

Again, on the 68th Psalm, he says: “God is now preached, honored, and worshiped in stone, wood, and metal, and the Master-builder of the world, the Father of us all, is fashioned in perishable matter, to which they have been brought by the enticing words of philosophy. With these and like words he greatly censures the abuse practiced by the church of Rome.” P. J. Twisck, Chron., 4th book, page 104, col. 1, 2, from Socrat., lib. 3. Casp. Swinc., epist. 1, fol. 877. Seb. Fr.

Since the above passages from Hilarius are not only excellent, but also plain, so that they require no explanation, we leave them and proceed to others who confessed the same faith.

NOTE.—At this time, Hilarius taught that all human traditions, on account of which God’s commandments are transgressed, must be rooted out. On Matt. 15, Canon 14. Sam. Veltius, Geslacht-register, page 122. He also writes: “The Father revealed to Peter, who said: ‘Thou art the Son of God,’ that the church should be built upon this 153 rock of confession.” “This faith,” he says, “is the foundation of the church; this faith has the keys of heaven.” In the same place, as well as in the 6th book on the Trinity.

A. D. 350.—In the meantime we find that the parents of Augustine’s mother, though they were Christians, did not have their daughter Monica baptized in her infancy; inasmuch as she was not baptized until she had reached the years of understanding, and this at the time when the followers of Cyprian practiced infant baptism to a very great extent. With regard to this, I find the following account: “Moreover, even in Africa, where Cyprian had held the aforesaid council—to determine on the precise time for baptizing infants—and resolved that baptism should be administered to infants as soon as they were born, it was, about the year 350, not observed by all Christian believers. Of this, we have an example in Monica, Augustine’s mother, a very pious woman, born of Christian parents, who also was baptized when she had reached the years of understanding, as Augustine himself testifies.” H. Montan. Nietigh., page 71, from Augustine, lib. 2. Confess., cap. 3, and lib. 9, cap. 8 and 13.

A. D. 351.—It is recorded that the Christians at Neocesarea declared themselves openly against infant baptism, in a convention or assembly of the ministers, called the council of Neocesarea; so that infant baptism, which then began to prevail in different places, could gain no support there, as appears from the various rules adopted by this body.

In Canon 5, we read: “If a catechumen who is not yet baptized, and has his place among the catechumens in the church, has been seen in a sin, he shall hear the preaching on his bended knees; that he may refrain from the sin he committed; but if he persists in it, he shall be expelled.”

In Canon 6, we read: “Pregnant women may be baptized, whenever they desire it; for in this sacrament there is no communication between the mother and the child which is born of her; but every one must in this confession himself declare his free will and good intention.

Canon 11, after some other words declares: “The Lord was not baptized until he was thirty years old, and thereupon he preached.” Jacob Mehrn., Bapt. Hist., 2d part, pages 351, 352.

First, when in Canon 5 mention is made of the catechumens, it certainly indicates that it was customary to instruct the young before baptism, in the articles of the faith, upon which followed the confession of the same, and baptism. This cannot be contradicted.

Secondly, when in Canon 6 it is established that pregnant women may be baptized whenever they desire it, because there is no communication between the mother and the child which is born of her, it clearly confirms that infant baptism had no place whatever among them, but, that they were indeed inimical to it. It appears that a difficulty was raised at that time, as to whether pregnant women might be baptized or not; for it was thought or feared that the fruit had such communion with the mother, that the child, too, would become a partaker of the baptism received by the mother; which would have been contrary to the views held by the church, that no one should be baptized except upon his own confession of faith, and consequently, no infants, much less unborn children. But this apprehension or difficulty was removed, when it was declared that in the reception of baptism there is no communication between the mother and the child, and that for this reason the child does not participate in the baptism received by the mother. This is too clear to be refuted.

Thirdly, when in Canon 11, mention is made of Christ being baptized when he was thirty years old, notwithstanding that preaching is here spoken of, and that the same ought not to be undertaken by one before he is thirty years old, the baptism which is administered upon faith or in adult years, is nevertheless also recommended and deemed necessary. For, as Christ was baptized in adult years, and forthwith began to preach, so that the time of his baptism was also the time of his preaching, even so (the Canon apparently means to say), baptizing, like preaching, may only take place in adult years; for as the one requires understanding, so does the other, according to the example of Christ.

A. D. 360.—P. J. Twisck writes: “Notwithstanding that at this time, much bloody cruelty was practiced against the bishop who sided with Arius, so that this party was almost wholly crushed, still, according to history, there remained sects like the Anabaptists, etc. If their books were extant, we might give an account of what they taught concerning all these matters; but as it is, we let it suffice with what others have written.” P. J. Twisck, Chron., 4th book, page 106, col. 2, from Jac. P. Verm. Onsch., lib. 4, fol. 131.

It is exceedingly to be regretted that so few of the writings of the Anabaptists who lived at that time, are extant; for thereby we are compelled to receive information concerning them from the mouths of their enemies; which information, as we may readily judge, was not dictated by love, but by animosity. However, we owe thanks to God, that even this much has come down to us respecting their history; since Satan, through the instrumentality of his adherents, has always aimed to exterminate, not only their books, but also their lives, yea, their bodies and souls, if this were possible.

A. D. 362.—Saint Martin, born of heathen parents, when he was ten years old, went, contrary to the will of his parents, to the meetings of the Christians, embraced Christianity and was baptized when he was eighteen years old. Being now a Christian, he desired to be discharged from the military profession into which he had been brought by his parents; hence he said to the apostate Emperor, Julian, that it was not lawful for him to fight, because he was a Christian.

But as the Minorite, Thomas van Heerentaals, in his Mirror of the Ten Commandments and Seven Sacraments, gives a somewhat fuller account concerning St. Martin, and especially of baptism as practiced at that time, we shall make a short extract from it. He says: “In former times it was customary to administer holy baptism but twice a year, namely, on Easter eve and on Pentecost eve; except 154 in cases of necessity, which was fourfold: 1. In a siege. 2. In danger of martyrdom. 3. In peril at sea. 4. In dangerous sickness. In such cases they baptized all, and at all times, that no one might die without baptism. But when these four reasons did not exist, baptism was administered only on the two abovementioned days, and that with great solemnity and dignity, and all who were admitted to baptism, had attained the years of understanding; even St. Martin, that holy man, was a catechumen for six years—from the time he was twelve, until he was eighteen years old—before he received baptism. P. J. Twisck, Chron., 4th book, page 110, col. 1, 2.

A. D. 363 and 364.—In the time of Julian the apostate there lived and shone as bright lights, various excellent men, whose learning and piety it is not necessary to extol, since it is sufficiently known. They gave expression to their orthodox convictions by word and by deed, especially with regard to the matter of baptism, that it ought to be administered after previous instruction, upon faith and repentance.

At the same time, A. D. 363, there lived Ambrose, who is stated to have been born of Christian parents. His father’s name was also Ambrose, while that of his mother was Marcellina. He, too, was not baptized until the day on which he was chosen bishop of Milan, after having been instructed in the catechism, that is, in the doctrines of the faith.103 See concerning this, Tract van den loop der wereld, by F. H. H., printed 1611, page 47, 48, from Paul, de vita Ambrosii. Naucler. Chron. Generat. 13.

Such a procedure, namely, thus precipitately to elect any one bishop or teacher, as is stated here concerning Ambrose, we do not commend; but we notice here, that Christians at that time had not generally adopted infant baptism; nay, that some, notwithstanding the papal power, purposely did not have their children baptized; causing them, when they had reached maturer years, to be instructed first, and then baptized, upon their own confession.

Ambrose (Serm. 61) makes the statement: “It was customary for all people to be baptized at Easter.” In Lib. de Jejunio, cap. 10, he says: “Now comes the day of the resurrection; now the elect are baptized.” Yet on 1 Tim. 4, he says that the sick were baptized on any day. Jac. Mehrn., Bapt. Hist., 2d part, page 334.

These words of Ambrose confirm our preceding assertion; for when he says that at Easter it was customary to baptize all people, he sufficiently declares that at that time infant baptism was not a custom. For not only at Easter, but throughout the whole year, children are born, the baptism of which, because of the danger that they might die, could never have been postponed until Easter, had infant baptism been deemed necessary for salvation. But Ambrose removes all doubt when he says what persons were baptized then, namely, all people; for by the word people there are generally understood adult or rational persons, and not infants in the cradle.

Moreover, when he writes that the sick were baptized on any day, he proves thereby, that infant baptism was not practiced in the church of which he speaks. For, if it had been customary there, to baptize infants, it would not have been necessary to baptize the sick on any day, since they would have been baptized already in their infancy; or our opponents must show that the sick, who were baptized any day, were also baptized in their infancy; which they dare not maintain, seeing these churches would then have to be regarded anabaptistic. Nevertheless, one of two things must follow: Either that the sick who were baptized in their infancy were rebaptized, or that the adults baptized had not been baptized in their infancy. If the former is true, then the Anabaptists, as they are called, flourished already in those early times. But if the latter is true, then there were at that time whole churches who rejected infant baptism, or, at least, suffered their children to remain unbaptized. This is so clear that it cannot be refuted.


“Ambrose (on Rom. 1) ridicules those who say: ‘We cannot come before God except through the mediation of the saints, just as we come before a king through the mediation of counts.’ ‘Well then,’ says he, ‘is not he guilty of contempt of majesty, who ascribes to counts the honor due to the king? Certainly. Why then, will not they consider themselves sinners, who give God’s name and honor to creatures, and, setting aside the Lord, worship his servants? Because kings are not acquainted with the individual wants of every one, interpreters and advocates appear before them; but God, to whom nothing is hid, needs no advocates or informants, but simply an humble heart.’

“Again: ‘They now bestow such names and honors upon the images, as they would never have dared to give to the living person, namely, divine honor; and this, when they are dead.’ Thus Ambrose reproves the image worship of the Roman church, and (on Col. 1) positively asserts that ‘neither elements, nor saints, nor angels should be honored or worshiped, but Christ alone.’

“It seems,” says he, “that Ambrose, too, would seek antichrist at Rome;” for he says that ‘antichrist shall restore to the Romans their freedom, under his name,’ and calls the city of antichrist ‘the city of the devil.’ He says further, that ‘antichrist shall be revealed after the downfall of the Roman Empire, or when the Emperors shall have lost their power;’ and history shows that the decline of the Roman Emperors was the augmentation of the power and dominion of the Popes or antichrists.


“Ambrose says further: ‘The violence of worldly opponents must not be overcome with worldly, but with spiritual weapons; and heretics must be punished only by exclusion from the church; for the champions of Christ seek neither weapons nor iron balls.’

“Again, in regard to marriage he says: ‘Purity of the body is something to be desired by us, and I commend it by way of advice, but do not enjoin it as a command; for the virgin state may be advised, but not commanded.’ Hist. Tripart., lib. 7, cap. 8. Adolphus Tectander Apol., fol. 163. Casp. Swinck, Epist. 1, fol. 877. Hier. Zanc., fol. 65. D. Anth. l., fol. 116.

“Again: The words of Ambrose clearly indicate that he means that the sacrament (the Lord’s Supper), should be received under both forms, that is, with bread and wine. Lib. 9, cap. 30. Seb. Fr., fol. 50.

“Again: ‘The body of Christ is not material or earthly food, or bread, but a spiritual, eternal bread, which feeds believing souls. Regenerated men belong to this table, of which the ungodly cannot partake.’ Chron. Seb. Fr. on Ambrose.

“Again: Ambrose says also: ‘We are in duty bound to examine the churches, and if there is one which rejects the faith, and does not hold to the foundation of the apostolical doctrine, we must leave it.’ ” In Lucam, lib. 6, cap. 9. P. J. Twisck, Chron., 4th book, page 114, col. 2 and 115, col. 1, 2.

A. D. 364.—It is recorded that in or about the second year of Julian, the Apostate, there lived and wrote the very learned, yet humble, Ephrem, surnamed Syrus, who, in writing of baptism, relates that in his time it was customary for people, when they were baptized, to renounce with express words the devil and all his works, Jac. Mehrn. in Bapt. Hist., 2d part, page 328.

Ephrem (Lib. de Poenit., cap. 5) also enumerates the works of Satan which we renounce in baptism, as fornication, adultery, uncleanness, lying, stealing, envy, etc.

Page 336. He also states (Orat. 3, de S. Lavacro) that it is customary for the candidates for baptism to confess their sins. And from his book on Repentance, chap. 5, it appears that those who were thus baptized confessed their faith before many witnesses, and said: “I renounce thee, O Satan, and all thy works.”

Page 384. Vicecomes (Lib. 1, cap. 20) quotes the following from Ephrem Syrus: “This declaration of renunciation, as it is called, which we make in baptism, seems to be a small matter, but it has a deeper meaning, and he that observes it rightly is truly blessed; for with these few words, namely those spoken in baptism, we let go all that is called evil, and is hated of God, and renounce the same; and these things are not one, two, or ten, but everything that can be called evil, for you say: ‘I renounce Satan and all his works.’ ” “This,” writes Jac. Mehrn., “is certainly not a meaningless or frivolous performance that can be imposed on infants.”

A. D. 365.—About the beginning of this year, Gregory of Nyssa is mentioned, who, observing, it seems, how some came to baptism, unprepared and with an ungodly mind, wrote the following for their instruction: “When we pass through the sacramental water of baptism, we must mortify in the water all that is evil and vicious, such as unchastity, rapacity, luxury, frivolity, pride, vanity of the mind, envy, and the like. We must also drown and forsake in the water, as much as is possible, not only the gross vices, with their operations, but also the emotions and pollutions of the mind which, in some measure, cleave to human nature.” Greg. Nyss., lib. de vita Mosis. Also, Jac. Mehrn., Bapt. Hist., page 328.

When at this time some thought it was needful to be baptized in consecrated water, he declared in a certain sermon, that this was not necessary, but that faith and the blessing of the minister were all that a person needed for baptism; for every place is the Lord’s, and all kinds of water may be used for baptism, if God only finds faith, for this he accepts, and the blessing of the minister, which sanctifies. Bapt. Hist., 2d. part, page 376, from Vicecom., lib. 1, cap. 14, from Greg. Nyss.

In another place he very earnestly admonishes some persons who deferred their baptism, that they should have their names registered among the catechumens, in order that, having been truly examined and instructed in the faith, they might receive baptism. Concerning this, I find the following annotation (Bapt. Hist., page 376, from Vicecom., lib. 2, cap. 12): “Gregory of Nyssa says in a sermon, to those who had long deferred their baptism: ‘Come, ye who are burdened to your sanctification; give me your names, that I may write them with ink in earthly books; but may God record them on tablets that never perish.’ ”

Thus, also Gregory of Nyssa, as has been shown, wrote sound and correct doctrine respecting baptism. Besides this we have not been able to find any other testimony from him relative to this subject.

A. D. 366.—Infant baptism, as it appears, beginning to gain a foothold in some places, the teachers at Laodicea, in Phrygia Pacatiana, declared themselves decidedly against it, in a public convention or assembly, in which, among other things, it was resolved: “That those whom it was the intention to baptize, should previously be instructed in the faith, and be examined concerning it, on Thursday of the last week of Lent.” Compare Seb. Franck, Cons. Laod., with P. J. Twisck, Chron., p. 112, col. 1, 2.104

It is recorded that about this time, in another convention of ministers, called the Elibertine Council, it was resolved among other things: “That persons who embrace the Christian faith shall, if they lead a pious life, be admitted to baptism, in eighteen months or two years.” Vicecom., lib. 2, cap. 8, from the 42d Canon of the Elibertine Council, as noted by Jac. Mehrn., Bapt. Hist., page 372.

Here we cannot but see the uprightness and carefulness of the aforementioned ministers, who, so as 156not to act contrary to the command of Christ, and baptize any without true faith and repentance, deemed it preferable to defer for eighteen months or two years, the baptism of even those catechumens, whose life was well spoken of; in order that, having in the meantime well counted the cost, they might erect a good building, and be built up by baptism as living stones in the Christian temple of the church.

In the meantime, it appears that an abuse obtained in the administration of baptism, namely, that a plate was presented to the candidates, that they might put some money on it (either for the minister, or for the poor). But this was also abolished at that time, with these words: “It has also seemed proper to us, to ordain that hereafter the candidates for baptism shall not put any money on the plate, as has been the custom.” Bapt. Hist., page 372, ex Concilio Elibertino Vicecom., lib. 4, cap. 2.

From this custom of presenting a plate to the candidates, that they might put money on it, and from its abolishment, the plain inference is, that the candidates were not little children, and that the decree enacted concerning them, did not concern little children, for these have neither the knowledge nor the ability to do it, or voluntarily to omit it.

About A. D. 370.—We are informed that about this time there taught and wrote Optatus Milevitanus, a catechist, who, it is stated, by virtue of his office instructed the young in the articles of the faith, in order that after previous instruction, they might be baptized upon their own confession. Speaking of the things that are to be observed in and about baptism, he says: “We know that in the observance of holy baptism there are three essentials. The first relates to the holy Trinity, the second to the believer, and the third to the baptizer; but they must not all be weighed in the same balance.” Bapt. Hist., page 327, from Opt. Mil., lib. 3.

Although these words seem somewhat obscure, they nevertheless contain enough light for us to perceive clearly, of what baptism, and of what matter he speaks. As regards the matter of which he here treats, it apparently is the dignity of baptism, in order to prove which, he alleges that in baptism there are three very worthy things. Mentioning the most worthy first, he says that it is God or the Holy Trinity. As the second, he mentions the believer, namely, him who stands ready to be baptized; for he is very worthy in the sight of God, since Christ says: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” Mark 16:16. As the third, he mentions the baptizer, namely, him who has received so worthy an office from God. From these three worthy circumstances he justly concludes the dignity of baptism.

From this it is as clear as sunlight, of what baptism he speaks, for in mentioning the believer, in connection with baptism, and speaking of him as the one to be baptized, he certainly indicates that he does not speak of children, or of infant baptism, but of the baptism of believers. Moreover, a little after the preceding words, he says concerning the candidate for baptism, of whom he speaks: “He follows the faith of the believers.”

Vicecomes (lib. 2, cap. 4), cites Optatus Milevitanus, and says that in the 5th book against Parmes he expounds the words of St. Paul, 1 Cor. 3:6, on this wise: “‘I have planted, Apollos watered,’ that is: O ye heathen, I have made you disciples of Christ; Apollos has baptized these disciples.”

Likewise in the 2d book, 7th chapter, Vicecomes writes: “Optatus was a catechist at Carthage.” Also, Bapt. Hist., page 375.

These things confirm our previous declaration; for, when he calls unbelieving and unbaptized persons heathen, and, on the other hand, pronounces those who had been instructed in the faith, and baptized upon it, disciples of Christ, without remarking whether they were born of Christian, or of heathen parents, he declares thereby, that it is not birth, but unbelief and absence of baptism, which constitutes one a heathen, and that not Christian parentage, but faith and baptism, make one a Christian; which well accords with the words of Paul, Gal. 3:26–28: “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Again, the fact that Optatus, as Vicecomes writes, was a catechist, indicates that at the place where he was teacher it was the custom, to teach the candidates for baptism the catechism, that is, to instruct them in the faith, before they were baptized; hence these candidates were called catechumens.

NOTE.—Damascenus writes that “at this time, A. D. 370, the Gospel was preached in all the world, not by the force of arms, nor by subjugating its adversaries through war, but by a handful of poor, naked, and martyred people, that is, by patience and faith. For, how could the church have martyrs, if she made martyrs?” Damasc., 3 Cent., cap. 33. P. J. Twisck, Chron., 4th book, page 116, col. 2.

A. D. 380.—Gregory of Nazianzus, in Cappadocia, born of Christian parents, was not baptized until he was in his twentieth year; concerning which, Jacob Mehrning gives the following account: “His father, Bishop at Nazianzus, and also called Gregory, and his mother Nonna, a pious woman of Christian parentage, knew nothing of infant baptism, for they did not have their son (Gregory) baptized in his infancy. His baptism, according to history, did not take place until he was in his twentieth year. Bapt. Hist., page 354. Also, H. Mont. Nietigh., page 62.

In order to show still further, how vain and useless infant baptism was deemed at that time, by various pious and learned men, and how baptism was even deferred till late in life, we will adduce one or two brief examples.105


A. D. 381.—It is stated that in this year there was baptized at Constantinople, Nectarius, after he had attained his full understanding, yea, such an advanced age and penetrating knowledge, that he was at the same time elected bishop or teacher of that place, the like of which occurred previously, as stated concerning Ambrose, in the year 363. See P. J. Twisck, Chron., 4th book, page 122, from Histor. Tripart., lib. 9, cap. 13. Adolph. Apol., fol. 163. Leonh., lib. 2. Merula, fol. 312.

As regards the statement how precipitately and unexpectedly Nectarius was elected bishop or teacher of that place, even as was related of Ambrose, it is not our purpose to defend or advocate it; but simply to show that he deferred baptism in his youth, and was not baptized until he had attained to quite an advanced age.

NOTE.—In A. D. 382, Theodosius, born and bred by Christian parents, was baptized at Thessalonica, by Bishop Ascholius. Hist. Eccl., lib. 5, cap. 6, Socrates. Also, H. Montan., page 70.

A. D. 383.Basilius106 and Eubulus, said to each other: “Let us sell all our goods, and distribute to the poor, and then journey to the holy city, that we may behold for ourselves the wonderful works of God, and thereby awaken within us a confidence towards God.” Having done this, and taken with them the clothes necessary for baptism, they journeyed to Jerusalem. Vicecom., lib. 3, cap. 4, from Amphilochius. Jac. Mehrn., Bapt. Hist., 2d part, page 389.

Amphilochius writes of a baptized Jewish physician, who distributed the money he had gained by his profession, among the hospitals, and gave the rest to other poor people. Vicecom., lib. 5, cap. 46. Bapt. Hist., see above.

We mentioned Basilius and Eubulus, who journeyed to Jerusalem, taking with them the clothes necessary for baptism, in order to be baptized. From this it appears that it was the custom at that time in Jerusalem—and one that remained in use long afterwards in many warm countries—to baptize the candidates in or at rivers, and that they went partly or with the whole body down into the water, and then came up again; to which end they divested themselves of their own clothes, usually had on a white or linen garment. This is the kind of clothes that Basilius and Eubulus appear to have taken with them, in order to be baptized therein.

Now, compare this with the baptism of infants in the cradle, and you will at once see that this mode of baptism cannot take place with infants, since they have neither the ability nor the understanding necessary for the observance of such a mode of baptism.

We will now proceed to the views of Basilius with regard to baptism, and what he, according to the testimony of ancient writers, has taught and written concerning it. First, it is stated of him, that in writing of baptism, he in no wise mentions infant baptism, but, on the other hand, the baptism of catechumens, that is, persons receiving instruction in the faith.

Concerning this, H. Montanus and Jacob Mehrning unanimously give the following testimony: “The aforementioned Basilius who was bishop of Cesarea, in Cappadocia, A. D. 386, exhorts only the catechumens to baptism, without once mentioning infants, yea, he sufficiently indicates that infant baptism was not the custom there at his time, saying: ‘Ye who have been evangelized by the apostles, repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ ”

True, he exhorts also the young to baptism, yet not such as are altogether destitute of understanding, but those who can hear the words by which he admonishes them to baptism, that is, adults, and not infants. He uses such expressions throughout this entire exhortation, and also in some of his other writings, as in the book of the “Holy Spirit,” chap. 12, 14, and 27; but nowhere does he mention infant baptism. H. Montan. Nietigh., page 73. Jac. Mehrn., Bapt. Hist., page 365.

Moreover, the words of Basilius, whenever he treats of baptism, clearly express that they cannot be applied to infants. For, showing the nature of baptism, and what it is, he says (Lib. 3, Contra Eunom.): “Baptism is a seal of faith.” Again (Exhort. ad Bapt.): “Baptism is the mark of the Christian champion.” Again (de Instr. ad Bapt. Ven.): “Baptism is a likeness of death, burial, and the resurrection of the dead.” Bapt. Hist., p. 322.

These things are so clear that they require no explanation, and we shall therefore proceed to what he says further. As regards the form of baptism, according to the institution of Christ, he writes (Lib. 3, Contra Eunom.): “Our baptism is administered according to the institution of the Lord, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.”

Again, concerning the faith which must accompany such baptism, he says (Lib. de Sp. S., cap. 12): “When we believe on the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, we are also baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.” Bapt. Hist., page 323.

Respecting the words of the candidates, and what manner of conduct they observed at baptism, he says, in the last named book, that the candidates for baptism renounced Satan and all his angels. Again (Exhort. ad Bapt.), he states that they lifted up their hands towards heaven; that they kneeled down in prayer. Bapt. Hist., page 336.

He makes mention, moreover, in many places, of various other circumstances and matters pertaining to baptism; of which we will present the following to the reader.

Basilius the Great writes (Contra Eunom., lib. 3): “Faith must precede, if the believer is to be sealed by baptism.”

D. Vicecomes adduces from Basilius, book 1, chap. 23, of his Exhortation to Baptism the following: “When wilt thou become a Christian? When shall we recognize thee as one of our number? Last year thou deferredst it till the present Easter; and 158 now thou wilt wait till the next. Take heed, lest thou be deceived in thy expectation of a long life.”

Again, chap. 31, Basilius, in the 128th epistle, commends C. Posthumanius, and wishes that he had been his godfather, since the same had made such a glorious confession at his baptism; and this with great contrition, pain, and anguish of spirit; and had evinced in his life and conversation the moderation which the confession of the Christian name demands.

Again, chap. 33, Vicecomes writes: “Basilius is greatly astonished (in the 23d epistle to Boniface), at infant baptism and godfathership, saying: ‘Since you cannot promise anything certain, either with regard to the child’s future faith, or its present thoughts, I pray thee, beloved, what then does it signify that, when the children are brought to baptism, the parents, as sureties, answer in their stead, and say that the children do that which at that age they cannot even think, or, which if they can, is hid from us? But those who bring the child are asked: Does it believe in God? and, for this age, which knows not whether there is a God, the parents answer: It believes. Thus also the other questions are responded to. I am astonished that in such matters the parents answer so presumptuously for the child.’ ” Bapt. Hist., pages 390, 391.

This can certainly be called a candid rejection of infant baptism, and not only of infant baptism, but of all the absurd questions and answers which customarily occurred at the baptism of children, and upon which infant baptism was founded. He accuses the children of ignorance, saying that they do not know whether there is a God; the parents he accuses of presumption because they thus boldly dare answer in their stead, and say: “The child believes.” The priests who baptize such children, he accuses of folly, because they presented such improper and unfounded questions respecting the ignorant infants, and demanded that they should be answered in the child’s name. Infant baptism itself he charges with worthlessness and falsity, seeing, as Vicecomes says, he, in his 23d epistle to Boniface, is greatly astonished at infant baptism.

Basilius, in order to still more fully state his views concerning this matter, adduces various passages, which effectually overthrow infant baptism, and establish baptism upon faith.

D. Vicecomes (Lib. 2, cap. 3), writes thus: “Basilius calls the catechumens nurtured ones, since they were fed and nurtured with instruction in the Christian faith.”

Again (cap. 4, Basilius Serm. 1, de Bapt.) he says: “We must know that we must first teach and instruct, and ultimately administer holy baptism to those thus rightly instructed.” And, a little after this: “Instruction must precede baptism, and first of all everything which stands in the way of teaching and instruction, must be removed.”

Again, in book 3, chapter 4, of the Exhortation to Baptism, he writes: “Examine thy conscience; go into the secret chamber of thy heart; awaken within thee for a time the remembrance of former things.”

Again, chapter 5: “As soon as any one came to John, and confessed his sins, however great and heinous they were, he was baptized in Jordan’s floods, and immediately received remission of sins.” Bapt. Hist., page 392.

All these passages of Basilius as cited by D. Vicecomes, himself a pedobaptist, and noted by J. M. in Bapt. Hist., are so clearly opposed to infant baptism, that further comment is unnecessary. We will therefore let this suffice, and proceed to the testimony of several other persons in the fourth century.

A. D. 390.—John Chrysostom, born of Christian parents, was at this time baptized upon his faith by Bishop Melitius, being twenty-one years old. Episcopii. Antew. op de proeve des Remonstr. Catechism., page 359.


Chrysostom, though he lived in and under the Roman church, and was not fully enlightened in all respects, nevertheless wrote soundly and correctly on the subject of baptism, as is shown by the following extracts from his writings.

Jacob Mehrning, in Bapt. Hist., following the Centuriæ Magdeburgenses, says, page 403: “How baptism must be received, St. Chrysostom reminds us (Hom. 14, in Marc.): ‘Thus ye who desire to receive baptism, since we are all under the dominion of sin, lay hold first of the feet of your Savior; wash them with your tears; dry them with your hair; and, this done, you may approach his head. When you then descend with your Savior into the fountain of life, that is, the water of baptism, you may learn how the head of your Redeemer was anointed.’ ”

Moreover, he explains still further, how one must prepare himself for baptism, and this with such affectionate words as should move every soul.

In Bapt. Hist., page 445, Homil. 13, Marc., Chrysostom says: “Will you come to baptism? O how happy are you when you shall be regenerated in Christ! when you shall put on Christ; when you are buried with Christ, that you may also rise with him. At another day you shall be made acquainted in proper order with the things that are expedient for this mystery. In the meantime I tell you this, that you may know it, and may prepare yourselves for the coming day (namely, for baptism). But may the almighty God strengthen your hearts, and make you worthy of his baptism. May he himself come into you, at baptism. May he himself hallow the water wherewith you are sanctified. Let no one go there with a doubting heart. Let no one say: Do you indeed think that my sins will be forgiven? He that goeth there thus, his sins shall not be forgiven. It is better, not to go there at all, than in this manner. Remember this, especially you who thus receive baptism, that you may serve God.”

I beg you, dear reader, to observe attentively these words of Chrysostom. Does he say anything at all different from what the Anabaptist teachers of the present day say? O no! he follows the same course. For, first he says: “Will you come to 159 baptism?” He does not say: Will you carry your infants to baptism? How could he speak more plainly? For, to come one’s self, and to desire to come, is certainly no child’s work.

Then he says: “O how happy are you, when you shall be regenerated in Christ? when you shall put on Christ?” (namely, in or through baptism). But what else is there said by this, than what the apostle Paul declares of believers, namely, that they are saved by the washing of regeneration, that is, baptism, Tit. 3:5; and that they put on Christ by baptism, Gal. 3:27.

Then he says: “At another day you shall be made acquainted in proper order with the things that are expedient for this mystery” (that is, baptism). In like manner, Christ teaches to instruct the candidates for baptism before they are baptized. Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:15,16. John likewise first instructed those whom he baptized. Matt. 3:7,8. Peter first instructed the Jews. Acts 2:38. Philip first instructed the Ethiopian. Acts 8:34,35. Ananias first taught Saul the faith. Acts 9:17,18.

He further adds this wish: “May the almighty God strengthen your hearts, and make you worthy of his baptism.” But who knows not, that newborn infants can not be strengthened in their hearts before baptism? and that, consequently, they cannot receive baptism worthily (that is, with a holy purpose and believing hearts), since they know neither good nor evil, Deut. 1:39; nor their right hand from their left, Jonah 4:11; and do as children do, 1 Cor. 13:11. Hence, this wish of Chrysostom, respecting baptism, cannot apply to them.

Finally, having declared, with what heart and purpose we must go to baptism, namely not with a doubting heart, he says: “You who thus receive baptism that you may serve God.” These are certainly plain words, which prove manifestly, that the baptism of which he speaks is far different from the baptism of infants, since these are incapable, not only of going to baptism with an undoubting or assured heart, but also of going there at all; not less incapable are they of receiving baptism with the purpose of serving God. Compare this with the words of Chrysostom, and you will find that they are as different from infant baptism as heaven is from the earth.

Bapt. Hist., page 461. Palladius, in the Life of Chrysostom, speaks of an uproar which the Emperor Theophilus107 raised against bishop Chrysostom, persecuting him; which occurred shortly before Easter. There was no other alternative for those who sided with the bishop, and fasted with him, than to go to the Emperor and the Empress, in the week of confession, and to entreat them with tears, that they would spare the church of Christ, especially on account of the feast, and for the sake of those who were to be baptized, having received sufficient instruction for this purpose; therefore, they should release their bishop.

Here again are several items from which we may perceive that in the church of which Chrysostom was bishop or teacher, baptism was administered after previous instruction, and upon faith. For, in the first place, mention is made of the time in which this took place, namely, shortly before Easter, in the week of confession. Any one who has but a little experience, will find that that was the time and week in which it was customary to instruct the candidates before baptism, hear the confession of their faith, and properly examine them, in order to baptize them on the following Easter days. In the second place, mention is made of those who were to be baptized, and had received sufficient instruction for it; which so plainly illustrates what we have aimed to show, namely, that baptism at that time was administered after previous instruction, that we deem it unnecessary to add anything further with regard to it, and, hence, let it suffice.


Chrysostom on Phil., chap. 3, page 405, says: “Christ has given or ordained baptism as a purgative, and thus we have spewed out all wickedness, and by it have been made free from all our sins. The heat has abated, the fever is checked, all impurities have departed, and through the Spirit all other evil things have been purged out—those springing from fornication as well as those having their origin in the vanity of the mind.”

Again, on Heb. 7: “Therefore God gives baptism, that it may wash away sin, and not increase it.”

Again, on Col. 3: “Truly, before baptism we were very impure, but after it we become golden.108

Again, on Heb. 11: “What then constitutes brotherhood, if not the washing of regeneration (that is, baptism)?”

Who does not perceive by these passages of Chrysostom, that the baptism of which he speaks, applies in no wise to infants, but only and exclusively to rational persons; for, when he first says to those who wished to receive baptism, that they should (spiritually) take hold of the feet of Christ, and wash them with their tears, and then says that Christ has given or ordained baptism for a purgative, and that they had thus spewed out all wickedness (that is, sin), he sufficiently indicates thereby that he is not speaking of the baptism of infants, since, these cannot do the things which he describes as being connected with baptism.

All these things are still more clearly established by the following passages from his writings, as we shall show.

In Bapt. Hist., page 406, Chrysostom, on 1 Cor. 10, says: “The passage of the Jews through the Red Sea was a type of the future baptism.” A little further on, he explains this, saying: “For there it was water, here it is also water; yea, here it is the washing, and there it was the sea; here they all go into the water, there they did likewise. But 160would you know the truth of the matter? There they were delivered from Egypt, but here from idolatry; there Pharaoh was drowned, but here the devil; there the Egyptians perished, but here the old man of sin is buried.”

Again, on John 3, Hom. 27: “We have committed many and grievous sins, and, from youth to old age, have not refrained from staining our souls therewith; yet God does not require an account from us, but absolves us therefrom, through the washing of regeneration (that is, baptism), and has freely given us righteousness and holiness.”

How could any one speak more plainly and clearly of the true baptism of believers? For, when in the first passage he says that in being baptized we are delivered from idolatry, and that in or through baptism the old man of sin is buried; and in the second passage declares that they, having committed many and grievous sins, from youth to old age, are absolved therefrom through the washing of regeneration, that is, baptism, it again is very evident that this does not at all apply to children, since they, never having lived in idolatry, cannot forsake idolatry; neither can they, who, being yet in their infancy, have never lived according to the old man, much less have died unto it, bury the old man of sin in or through baptism; finally, they who being still infants, have not attained to old age, cannot or need not be absolved through the washing of regeneration (that is, by baptism), from the sins which they have not committed in this life.

Bapt. Hist., page 410. That baptism ought not to be deferred, Chrysostom (Hom. 1, on Acts) expounds with these words: “If any one say: I am afraid, I answer: If thou art afraid, thou shouldst have received and observed baptism. But thou wilt say: Even therefore I do not receive it, because I am afraid. But art thou not afraid to die in this condition? Thou sayest: Ah! God is gracious. Well then, therefore receive baptism, seeing he is so gracious, and helps thee.” He says finally: “It is impossible, I say impossible, that he, who on such a hope defers baptism, can do anything good or commendable.”

Bapt. Hist., page 420. The teachers of the church sometimes call baptism a consecration; regarding this Chrysostom says (Hom. 1, on Acts): “Who will fully believe me, how it pains me to the heart, when some one dies, who has not been consecrated,” that is, baptized. And, a little further on he writes: “What anguish of soul I experience, when I see how others do not hasten to baptism till their breath is about to leave them,” that is, when they must die.

These passages of Chrysostom indicate how exceedingly sorry he was, that some deferred their baptism to the end of life, who ought to have received it in time; yet not before the time of faith or repentance, much less in infancy, since he speaks only of those persons who had voluntarily, and not less presumptuously, neglected their baptism. Hence it sometimes occurred that persons desired to be baptized in their sickness, yea, on their deathbed, which this good man opposed with conclusive arguments. Bapt. Hist., page 412, Chrysostom says: “The mysteries are glorious and greatly to be desired, but let no soul that is about to die, receive the washing; for that is not the time for the mysteries (baptism), but to make a will; the time for the mysteries (baptism) is when the mind is sound, and the soul purified.”

Finally, Chrysostom here again produces two things which do not apply to infant baptism. First, his saying that “the mysteries” (namely, of baptism), “are glorious and greatly to be desired;” for such a desire cannot exist in infants. Secondly, his declaration, that “the time for the mysteries (or, for baptism), is when the mind is sound, and the soul purified;” for infants neither have nor know unsoundness of mind or impurity of soul. Hence neither the soundness of their minds nor the purification of their souls can be promoted or had in view, and baptism can, for this very reason, have no place with them.


“John Chrysostom,” he writes, “a celebrated, zealous, and eloquent teacher or bishop at Constantinople, was expelled from his bishopric, and relegated into misery; much ignominy and suffering were inflicted on him, and he died in banishment.

“His adherents and people were greatly persecuted by imperial edicts commanding them also to attend church and hear their enemies (namely, those of the Roman church), which they would not do, but held their own meetings in the farthest outskirts of the city. When this was reported to the Emperor by the bishop, a squad of soldiers was immediately sent to the place, who with sticks and stones dispersed the meeting, robbed those who had assembled of their goods, and apprehended such as could not make their escape. Finding it impossible to meet in public, they chose voluntary banishment, and forthwith departed, each his own way. Besides this, the adherents of Chrysostom were unjustly accused of having caused a conflagration, which the common people, out of spite towards Chrysostom, had kindled in the temple in which he had taught; on account of which they had to suffer much; the cruelty practiced being as great as that of the first persecutions.

“Again, the aforesaid John Chrysostom, also called, John Goldenmouth,109 on account of his golden or excellent teachings, and his eloquent tongue taught from Matt. 5, that we ought not to swear at all, neither rightly nor falsely, and concludes very forcibly, with many words from the passage, Matt. 5:34: ‘Swear not at all,’ that it is not lawful for a Christian to swear. He conclusively refutes all objections, and maintains that now we 161ought not to swear. Read yourselves his full exposition of said passages.

Prior to him, likewise Haimus, on Rev. 10, writes, saying, That all swearing is now prohibited unto men, it being lawful only for God and the angels, who neither deceive, nor can be deceived.

Seb. Franck notes the following concerning this Haimus: “Haimus, the teacher also wrote a great deal against the Pope and the Roman church; among other things, that swearing is lawful only for God and the angels, but to men all swearing is forbidden. On Rev. 10, Chron., Roman. Kett., letter H.

NOTE.—This view (that we ought not to swear), is also ascribed to Isiodorus. Tract, Loop der Werelt, page 99.

We return to the account of P. J. Twisck, concerning Chrysostom, page 136, col. 2. He writes: “This Goldenmouth, John Chrysostom, taught also mightily against cruelty, tyranny, war, and bloodshed, maintaining that it is altogether improper for Christians to wage war, and that peace and quiet are to be taught in the kingdom of Christ. Christ, he says, compels not, drives not away, oppresses not, but accords to each his free will, saying: ‘If any man will.’ ”

Read also, on Matt. 13, how he explains that the tares (to which the heretics are compared) are not to be rooted out, which, he says, Christ spoke for the purpose of preventing and forbidding war and bloodshed. No violence is to be employed in heavenly things; the wicked teachings which have proceeded from heretics, are to be reprehended and anathematized; but the men we must spare.

Again, he is also greatly opposed to the worshiping of the saints, saying that God is not like the tyrants, with whom intercession is necessary; and that we are not to confess our sins to any one except to God alone. “Thou must confess thy sins,” he says, “that thou mayest eradicate them. If thou art ashamed to confess to any one, confess them daily in thy soul. I say not, that thou shalt confess them to thy fellow servant, that he may curse them and upbraid thee; but tell them to God, who alone can heal thee from them, and follow herein the prophet, who says: ‘Commit thy way unto the Lord . . . and he shall bring it to pass.’ ” Ps. 37:5.

And on Matt. 23, he says with many excellent words: That with human doctrines, we serve God in vain, and that there is no other testimony of the truth, no other certain test of heresy, than the Holy Scriptures, and no other way by which we may know which is the Christian church.

Again, Chrysostom says: “When the Roman Empire shall be put down, then shall antichrist come.” On Matt. 24, he says: “He speaks not unreasonably, who by the abomination of desolation understands antichrist, who, it is thought, will shortly afterwards rise, and will occupy the holy place of the church, under the name of Christ.” Also, on 2 Thess. 2: “When the Empire shall be waste and vacant, then antichrist shall occupy it, and endeavor to draw to him the kingdom of God and men.”

Further, on Matt. 24: “Beloved, be not moved, when antichrist does the works of Christ, and in the sight of Christians, performs all the offices of Christ; for Satan himself can transform himself into an angel of light. What wonder then, that his servants assume the garb of servants of righteousness, and a semblance of Christianity.

“The Jewish abomination is to be understood as having reference not only to the Jewish war, but, in a spiritual sense, also to antichrist, who in the last time, shall sit in the holy place, occupying the chief places of the church, and leading the souls of men away from God. This is very likely the one of whom Paul says that he shall oppose and exalt himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. He, standing in the holy place, has laid waste the church of God with multitudes of heresies.”

Then he says: “Since the Lord Jesus knew what great destruction would come in the last days, he commanded that the Christians who are in Christendom, if they would always continue in the true faith, should resort only to the Holy Scriptures; for, if they would look to other things, they would be offended and corrupted, and not understand what the true church is, and, in that way, fall into this horrible abomination, which sitteth in the holy place of the church.”

“Thus,” writes Twisck, “Chrysostom, Augustine, Gregory, Ambrose, Jerome, and most of the ancient teachers, though the Papists esteem them greatly with their mouths, would be nothing better than Roman heretics, and if they were still alive, and would teach these doctrines, they would have to expect nothing but fire and sword.”

“Finally, in the year 408 Chrysostom was released from his life of vexation and exile, in which he suffered much, and fell asleep in peace.” P. J. Twisck, Chron., 5th book, pages 137 and 138, col. 1, from Chron. Sebastian Franck, fol. 56, 92. Tob. Færi, fol. 73. Merula, fol. 338. Joan. Wales, fol. 166. Cornelius Hillenius, fol. 41.

A. D. 390.—Jerome, born of Christian parents at Syridon, in Illyria, or Dalmatia, and instructed in the Christian doctrine from his youth, was baptized at Rome, yet not before he was in the thirtieth year of his age. Bapt. Hist., pages 841, 365, 366, 373, 593. P. J. Twisck, Chron., 4th book, page 29, col. 1. Tract, van den loop der Werelt, page 47, from Erasmus and Wicelius, in the life of Jerome.

In Bapt. Hist., page 374, we read the following: “Jerome writes in the 78th epistle, that he received his baptism and white garment at Rome, though we know that he was born of Christian parents, at Syridon, in Dalmatia. Hence, says the author, the Christians of that age must not have hastened so much with infant baptism, as is the case in the present time.” This Jerome, though some pedobaptists, yea, the Papists themselves, declare him a good and upright teacher, nevertheless wrote several things of such a nature, that at the present day they would be pronounced heresy by many of these same pedobaptists, especially by the Roman church; hence he is classed among the Roman 162 heretics, that is, among those whose views are at this day pronounced heresy by the Roman church. Chron. Seb. Franck, letter H; P. J. Twisck, Chron., 5th book, page 138, col. 1.

Touching as to how it stood with baptism at the time of Jerome, I find, in substance, this annotation, Bapt. Hist., page 335: “It is certain, that in the time of Jerome adults were still baptized in the occidental churches, as may be seen in his epistle against the errors of John of Jerusalem.”

He, in Epist. ad Pammach, and Ambrose, in Epistle 83, testify that those who desired baptism were called fellow-desirers.

H. Montanus writes thus: “Jerome, who also lived about that time, and, as some say, was an elder at Rome, or, much earlier, as others suppose, at Jerusalem, also testifies that in his time it was a prevailing custom, to baptize adults who had been brought up in the Christian faith, when they desired baptism, for which reason they were called Competentes, as Jerome states in his letter to Pammachius.” H. Montan. Nietigh., pages 74, 75.

Having now shown how it stood with baptism at the time of Jerome, and that the same was administered in the occidental churches to adults, we shall proceed to Jerome’s individual views and what he has written on this subject, according to ancient writers.

In Bapt. Hist., page 373, Jerome writes to Pammachius: “It is customary with us, publicly to instruct for forty days, those who are to be baptized, and enjoin them to pray to the Holy Trinity.”

D. Vicecomes finally shows, page 375, chap. 41 and 44, that Jerome wrote, that in his time they gave those who were baptized, milk and honey to eat, which, the annotator remarks, is no food for new-born infants. Moreover, he shows what is required for true baptism; namely, regeneration, consisting in the mortifying of the old, and resurrection of the new man. This he expresses in the following two passages:

Jerome further writes, page 323, lib. 12, Comment. in Ezechiel.: “We need not only the first birth, but also the second, in order that we, who are born in the flesh, may be born again after the Spirit.”

Again, page 328, Apol. Contr. Ruffin.: “We say that the old man entirely dies in baptism, and that the new man is raised with Christ in baptism; that the earthly perishes, and the heavenly is born.”

Then he admonishes the candidates for baptism, how they should conduct themselves before and at baptism; as well as how those who had already been baptized before many witnesses, and had made a good confession, ought to manifest themselves.

Again, page 374, Epist. 83, ad Ocean, he writes: “The catechumens who are learning the Christian faith must observe not to have carnal intercourse with women before baptism.”

Again the words of Paul, 1 Tim. 6:12, he expounds as follows: “Thou hast professed a good profession before many witnesses; which was done through thy baptism, when thou didst renounce the world and its pomp, before the elders110 or teachers, before the ministers, and before the heavenly hosts.”

In the tract called, Klare en Grondige Bewijsing van den Doop, printed 1581, it is stated, letter A, Jerome on Matthew: “The Lord commanded his apostles, that they should first instruct and teach all nations, and then baptize those instructed, in the sacrament of faith; for it is not possible for the body to receive the sacrament of baptism, unless the soul have previously received the true faith.”

Who could ever believe that this man at any time defended, or at least, not opposed but admitted infant baptism, seeing he opposes it in the places mentioned with such abundant clearness and explicitness? We note only the last mentioned passage, where he certainly says, without the least dissimulation or exception, that it is not possible for the body to receive the sacrament of baptism, unless the soul have previously received the true faith. How can, may, or shall this be explained otherwise than that there cannot be or consist any other baptism than that which is received with true faith? for this is the very idea expressed by his words.

Nevertheless, there are men who ascribe to Jerome a certain dialogue against Pelagius, in which one Critobulus interrogates, and one Atticus answers, in this wise: Critobulus asks: “Why are children baptized?” Atticus replies: “That their sins may be forgiven them in baptism.” “Why, what sins have they committed?” asks Critobulus. Atticus answers: “Dost thou ask me this? let the evangelic trumpet answer thee.”

But, in order to prove that Jerome defended infant baptism, it would first have to be shown incontrovertibly, that this dialogue is Jerome’s own production, which we have great reason to doubt, since the style as well as the matter of the same do not accord with his other writings, especially those in which he treats of baptism; moreover, there have of old been forgers, who, in order to gain greater renown for their own productions, have ascribed them to celebrated men, or have interpolated their own opinions into their writings; thus, it has been proven that the writings of Justin have been interpolated. Bapt. Hist., page 170. H. Montan., pages 7, 8, 9. Also, the writings of Origen. Bapt. Hist., pages 283 and 291. H. Mont., pages 29–34, 42, 43.

Yea, in this manner, a whole book, also touching on infant baptism, has been falsely ascribed to Dionysius, the Areopagite, who, it is testified, lived in the time of the apostles; this the Magdeburg pedobaptists themselves show. Centur. 1, cap. 2. Also, Jac. Mehrning, Bapt. Hist., 177, 293, 341.

Again, even if it could be shown, which is by no means certain, that this dialogue is Jerome’s own production, it could nevertheless not be proven thereby, that Jerome himself held the views maintained by one party in the dialogue, namely, that infants may be baptized. For, why should we not, with equal justice, ascribe to him the views of the other party, which demands reasons and proof why 163they may be baptized? For one would certainly be his work as much as the other.

Moreover, every intelligent person knows that books that are written in the form of dialogues, do not always express the author’s individual views, but that frequently the views and debates of others are handled in them, either to censure them, expose their errors, or correct them.

Finally, how could it be possible, that any one endowed with reason and sound judgment should do such contrary things at one and the same time? We have shown how clearly and correctly he speaks of the baptism of adults, yea, recommends it, and not only this, but how he, though he was born of Christian parents, remained unbaptized until he was in his thirtieth year—how then could he admit infant baptism, seeing he decisively opposed it by doctrine and example? unless it be shown that Jerome wrote this article on infant baptism before his conversion, or that he subsequently apostatized from his adopted views, to infant baptism; but as I can find no account of either we will hold to our previous declaration.


“Jerome, born of Christian parents, and brought up and instructed in the Christian doctrine, was baptized at Rome, in the thirtieth year of his age.” Erasmus, Grondig Bewijs, letter A., Mart. Ball., fol. 102.

“Again, Jerome plainly says, respecting the words of the Supper, that with this bread Christ intended to prefigure, represent, and show the truth of his body, and in many places he calls the cup a figure of the blood.

“Again, he teaches, on Matt. 16, that the priests have no more, or just as little, power, to bind or to loose, than the priests of the Old Testament had, to pronounce the lepers clean or unclean. The words of the priest made them neither clean nor unclean, but simply indicated who, according to the law of Moses, was leprous or not leprous; so now the bishop, according to the law of Christ, pronounces, whose sins are retained, and whose are forgiven.

“Again, he also maintains that all days should be esteemed alike, and that men should constantly keep Easter and Sabbath.

“He would likewise have that men should fast daily, ‘for, what avails it,’ says he, ‘if you carry around an empty stomach, for two or three days, and then overload it? Daily you must hunger, and daily you must eat; you must fast so as not to injure the body, but to subdue and break the desires.’

“Again: ‘The Roman church is not to be esteemed more highly than the church of the whole world, whether of France, or of Britannia, etc. But to worship one Christ, and to have one Ruler, or teacher, of the truth, this constitutes a church.’ Chron. Fra., fol. 65, 86.

“Again, of Antichrist he says: ‘And do we not know that the coming of antichrist is nigh at hand? He shall sit in the temple of God, that is to say, in Jerusalem, or in the church, as I apprehend with more truth. Antichrist shall war against the heathen and overcome them.’

“Again: ‘While man lives here, he may be justified, but after death he has no more opportunity to do good works, though some controvert this, saying that men may increase or decrease even after they have died. While we are in this present life, we may help one another by prayer or deeds; but when we come before the judgment seat of God, neither Job, nor Daniel, nor Noah, can pray for any one; then every one must bear his own burden.’ Valent. Vanius, fol. 112.

“Again, Jerome says: ‘He that is spiritual never persecutes him that is carnal. I have learned from the command of the apostles, to avoid a heretic, but not to burn him. Christ came not to smite, but to be smitten. He that is smitten, follows Christ; but he that smites, follows antichrist.’

“ ‘Again, the Lord commanded his apostles that they should first instruct and teach all nations, and then baptize those instructed, in the sacrament of faith; for it is not possible for the body to receive the sacrament of baptism, unless the soul have previously received the true faith.’ ” P. J. Twisck, Chron., 4th book, page 129.

That also in Thessalia infant baptism was not much practiced at this time, A. D. 390, is shown by Socrates, Bapt. Hist., p. 363, book 5, chap. 21, with these words: “Besides, I also know of another custom in Thessalia, namely, that there they baptize only on Easter days; hence nearly all, few excepted, die without baptism.” See also, H. Montan. Nietigheyd, page 71.

But some one may ask: With what words is it expressed in the passage cited, that also in Thessalia infant baptism was not much practiced in A. D. 390, which the writer so confidently asserts. I answer: He expresses two reasons whereby he proves it; in the first place, because, as he says, It was the custom there, to baptize only on Easter days, which indicates that said baptism was not, as Cyprian and his followers had commanded, administered to newborn infants, for these were not born just on Easter days, and, hence, could not be baptized on Easter days, from which it follows that the custom of baptizing on Easter days, was not instituted for newborn infants, but for adult persons, who could prepare themselves for that time. In the second place, when he says, That therefore nearly all, few excepted, died without baptism, it is certainly obvious from this, that all who died without baptism, had not been baptized in their infancy, and that, consequently, many persons were found at this time, who allowed their children to remain unbaptized.

A. D. 391.—It is stated that Augustine (notwithstanding he afterwards became infected with the doctrine of infant baptism), though born of a Christian mother, and the descendant of Christian ancestors, was not baptized before he was in his thirtieth year, (Nauclerus, book 14, Generat., says, in his thirty-third year, by bishop Ambrose, at Milan, on Easter.)


Jacob Mehrning and H. Montanus thus relate this, namely, that Monica, Augustine’s mother, who, though born of Christian parents, was not baptized until she had reached adult years, likewise did not have her son Augustine baptized in his infancy; but that he was baptized when he was already thirty-three, others say, thirty, years old. It is true, we read, say they, that, having become a youth, and fallen very sick, he desired to be baptized; and also, that his mother was engaged then in preparing him for baptism. But when he suddenly recovered from his sickness, his baptism was deferred. Augustine was at that time of such an age, that if he had been baptized, it would really not have been infant baptism, but a baptism which might have been counted with the baptism of adults, had it sprung from a voluntary resolution, for it should have been connected, as Augustine himself declares with his faith and the confession of the name of Christ, which cannot be the case in the baptism of infants.

Augustine there also relates why his mother at that time deferred his baptism, namely, because she, foreseeing the many and great billows of temptation which would roll over his head in his youthful years, feared that the guilt of his sins, after the washing of baptism, would be the greater and more dangerous, which he himself and the whole family, with the exception of his father, then believed. He also tells us, that there were others, too, at that time, who put off or omitted the baptism of their children, from such considerations. Bapt. Hist., pages 363, 364. H. Montan. Nietigh., pages 71, 72.

It appears, moreover, that on that occasion not only Augustine was baptized upon the confession of his faith, but also his son Adeodatus, and his friend Alipius, concerning which we find this notice. Bapt. Hist., page 444, Augustine, bishop of Hippon, in Africa, when he was thirty-three years old, was baptized at Milan, by bishop Ambrose, together with Alipius, and Adeodatus, his natural son, who was fifteen years old at the time. Of this, Augustine, in the 9th book, 6th chap., of his Confessions, says: “When the time had come, that I was to have my name entered on the register of the candidates for baptism, I left the country, and again journeyed to Milan. My dear friend Alipius desired to be baptized with me. Alipius, who was qualified for it, on account of his humility, and the dominion he had over his body, so that in case of emergency, he would have traveled barefoot in winter through the snow in Italy, accompanied me. We took with us the child (that is, the youth) Adeodatus, begotten by me in sin. Thou, O Lord, didst form him well, according to both soul and body. He was now about fifteen years old, and excelled many worthy and learned men.” A little further on, he says: “We have made him our equal, O Lord, in the reception of thy grace, in order to be further trained up in thy law and school; we are baptized, and the care of our old life has been taken away from us. I could not be satisfied in those days, with the wonderful sweetness which I experienced in the contemplation of the mysteriousness of thy counsel, O Lord, with regard to the salvation of the human race. O how I wept, amidst songs of praise. The tears ran down my cheeks.” Thus far, Augustine.

NOTE. A. D. 392.—The Apollinarians, who derived their origin from Apollinaris, denied that Christ adopted his humanity from the virgin Mary, saying that the word became flesh. P. J. Twisck, Chron., 4th book, page 130, from Tripart., lib. 9. Vincent. Hist., cap. 44. Zeg., fol. 189.

A. D. 393.—Valentinian, or Valens, the son of Christian parents (Valentinian and Justina), was induced to journey to Milan, to be baptized by Ambrose, but was treacherously murdered on the way by one Arbogastes. H. Montan., page 70, from Socrat., lib. 4, cap. 9, 26. H. Montanus, however, erroneously, fixes the date of this occurrence about A. D. 380.

My dear friends, is it not a sad thing, that this man, namely Augustine, who thus defended baptism upon faith, yea confirmed it with his own example, and the example of his son Adeodatus, and his friend Alipius, whom he had admonished thereto, should ultimately fall so far as to admit, yea to become a defender of infant baptism! Surely, it is a lamentable matter. For, no one can deny, that in the beginning right after his baptism, he was exceedingly zealous in defense of the true baptism, which is received with a penitent heart; but, that in the course of time he apostatized to infant baptism, can likewise not be denied by any lover of truth. Still, the example of Augustine, his son Adeodatus, and his friend Alipius, serves to confirm our faith, inasmuch as we see that in Augustine’s time the principal Christians allowed their children to remain unbaptized, until they were grown up and, of their own accord desired baptism; for, thus did Monica with her son Augustine, and Augustine with his son Adeodatus, and his friend Alipius, which is a clear proof of the matter in question, namely, that not infant baptism, but baptism upon faith, was practiced among the chief Christians.


In the 8th chapter of the 9th book of his Confessions, Augustine, after speaking of his own baptism, makes the following confession to the Lord, in regard to the baptism of Euvodius: “Thou, O Lord, who causest those that are of the same mind, to dwell in one house, hast joined to us a companion, a young nobleman, called Euvodius, a native of our city. He, who, when following war, commanded the legions of the Empire, was, before us, converted unto thee, and baptized, and, having abandoned secular war, has betaken himself to thy war. We were together; together we had one will to serve thee, and considered in what place we might best do this.” These are his own words, which we read at the place indicated above, and from them we may see how the church increased at that time—not through the addition of infants, but through the conversion and baptism of adult and rational persons. 165 With this we leave Augustine, and the baptism of his companion Euvodius.

About A. D. 397.—About A. D. 397, it is stated that Epiphanius,111 who subsequently became bishop of Cyprus, was baptized, together with his sister, as it appears, in the presence of his friend and spiritual father Lucian. Of this, D. Vicecomes gives the following account, from Simon Metaphrastes, Bapt. Hist., page 578. Vicecom., lib. 1, cap. 30: “When the Gospel had been read, the bishop, after the baptism, went and commanded Epiphanius and his sister to go in, and with them also Lucian, who became Epiphanius’ spiritual father in holy baptism.

In Bapt. Hist., page 580, lib. 5, cap. 34, Metaphrastes writes of Epiphanius, that immediately upon receiving the doctrine and baptism, the latter, together with an hundred and eight other persons, received the holy Supper, from Bishop Stephen.

NOTE.—In the time of Arcadius and Honorius, about A. D. 397, it was resolved, at Toledo, among other things: “That if any one, after baptism, engages in war, though he have committed nothing special in the war, he shall never be ordained a deacon. Seb. Franck, Chron. Rom. Concil., fol. 73, col. 1.

As to the person who baptized Epiphanius and his sister, as well as administered the Supper to them, we pass by; it suffices us, that this mode of baptism still obtained at that time and in the church where this took place; and that persons were found who administered it, as well as such who were willing to have it administered unto them. Notwithstanding infant baptism had already made great inroads at that time into many places, this baptism was nevertheless administered to persons born of Christian parents, as has been sufficiently shown previously.

A. D. 400.—About this time there flourished, as a writer, the aforementioned Epiphanius, who, by his writings, has shed much light on the subject of baptism, it being sufficiently apparent from all the circumstances relating to him, that he held sound views with regard to the same. Of this, Jacob Mehrning and H. Montanus have given the following account: “Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamina, in Cyprus, A. D. 400, or thereabouts, in speaking of baptism, which he frequently does in his writings, always speak of it in such a manner that it does not include infants; and although occasion often presents itself to him, to speak of infant baptism, yet he never does so; from which we may readily conclude that he did not esteem it much, or that in his time, it was not yet customary in that island.” In Auchoratus he says: “You must not admit every one who is instructed in the faith and desires to come to holy baptism, to this ordinance, simply because he has told your children, that he believes in the Lord; but he must also, with express words, even as the church, our common mother, ours as well as yours, has received it, learn and say: ‘I believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty,’ etc.”

Again, in another place (Contra Haereses, lib. 1, Tom. 1, Haeresi 8): “This great circumcision, baptism, circumcises us from sin, and seals us in the name of God.” Bapt. Hist., page 366. Nietigh., page 74.

When, therefore, Epiphanius, in the first passage, says: “You must not admit every one who is instructed in the faith, and desires to come to baptism, to this ordinance,” and then adds that he must also confess, saying: “I believe,” he plainly indicates that such baptism can certainly not be administered to infants, because they are not only unable to confess the faith, but have not even the capability or qualification to believe, upon which faith and confession alone he admits baptism.

When, in the second passage, he says: “This great circumcision, baptism, circumcises us from sin,” he does not mean to say thereby, as our opponents at this day assert, that baptism has come in the place of circumcision, so that, even as in the time of the Old Testament, the male infants were circumcised, so now, in the time of the New Testament, the infants must be baptized. O no! for this appears by no means. But he says that baptism is a great circumcision, which circumcises us from sin, which certainly does not apply to infants, that have never sinned, and, consequently, cannot be circumcised from their sins by baptism. With this we leave the views of Epiphanius on the subject of baptism, and proceed to what is related of his reproving image worship, according to the account of P. J. Twisck. “Epiphanius,” he says, “an ancient teacher, flourished in this time, who greatly opposed the worshiping of images, of Mary, or of any other creature. He said: ‘Beloved children, be mindful not to bring any images in the church, or to erect them over the graves of the saints; but bear God constantly in your hearts.’ ”

Once, when he went into a Christian church, and observed a painted curtain at the door, bearing the picture of Christ or of some saint, he tore it down, because it was contrary to Scripture, and advised the sexton to bury the corpse of some poor person in it; and when he had sent another curtain in its place, he commanded that they should no more hang up curtains like the former, in the church, “Which,” said he, “is contrary to our religion and faith.” P. J. Twisck, Chron., 4th book, page 119, col. 2, and page 120, col. 1, from Socrat., lib. 6. Tripart., lib. 10. Leonh., lib. 2. Chron. Seb. Franck, 135. Tob. Fabr., fol. 66, 67. Fransch. Ala., fol. 22. Dani. Saut., lib. 1.

NOTE.—In regard to his teaching against image worship, see Samuel Veltius, in Geslacht-register, page 120. Epiphanius taught at this time that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are to be worshiped, but that no one should worship Mary, or any other woman, or human being, since this honor belongs to God alone, and must not be accorded even to angels. Again, that the women should not say: We honor the queen of heaven. Tom. 2. Haeres., lib. 3. Haeres. 79, in Geslacht-register, page 29.

Concluding the fourth century, as also we will do, P. J. Twisck says: “Baptism was administered twice a year, at Easter and at Pentecost, and this, 166 to a great extent is still done to adult believers and catechumens.” Chron., page 134.

NOTE.—Besides this, that the true order of the baptism of Jesus Christ was practiced in this century by the orthodox believers, many who belonged to the Roman church deferred (though erring in other matters) the baptism of their children till they came to adult years, as is evident, for instance, in the case of Constantine the Great, whom Helena, his Christian mother, kept from baptism, but afterwards admonished to it; of Theodosius, who, being born of Christian parents, was baptized at Milan, upon his faith; of Valens who was mentioned above. With regard to the baptism of Constantine, see Rom. Adelaer, edition 1642, page 211, from Eusebius and Socrat. Of the baptism of Theodosius, see tract van den loop der Wereldt, printed 1611, in the article on baptism; also De gantsch Klare en Grondige Bewijsinge, nopende het doopsel.



[This lamentable time commenced with the Tenth General Persecution, instituted by Diocletian, and prosecuted by Maximian, his associate; which caused a very severe and distressing state of affairs, with respect to the violence as well as the long duration of the persecution.

In order to proceed systematically, we have presented separately each year with its respective martyrs. In the first year of this persecution Anthimus and many others at Nicomedia; Phileas, Cassianus; Eulalia and Eucratis, aged virgins, laid down their lives for the evangelical truth.

In the second year, Euplius, Pancratius, a youth of fourteen years; Justus; Felix of Thibaris; the two brothers, Primus and Felicianus, suffered martyrdom.

In the third year: Apphianus, Ulpianus, Aedesius, Agathopius and Theodulus; Julitta of Iconia; forty youths, laid down their lives.

In the fourth year Sylvanus, Januarius, Sosius, Proculus, Pelagia, Theonas, Cyrenia, and Juliana, were martyred.

In the fifth year Theodosia, a virgin of Tyre, Pamphilius, a friend of Eusebius, at Cesarea, were put to death.

In the sixth year Ennathas, a virgin from the city of Scythopolis; Catharina of Alexandria, suffered death.

In the seventh year Ares, Promus, and Elias, at Askalon; Peter Abselamus; the three sisters, Biblis, Aquilina, and Fortunata, poured out their blood.

In the eighth year two sisters from Antioch; Irene, with her two sisters, Peter Nilus and P. Mythius; forty who were beheaded; Martionilla, Euphratesia, seven brothers, and others were compelled to die.

In the ninth year Lucian, elder at Antioch, Peter, Faustus, Didius, and Ammonius, Anysia, a girl of Thessalonica, and Demetrius, suffered death.

In the tenth year Eugenius Auxentius, Maodatius, and many others were put to death.

Then follow two other persecutions, one under Lucinius, the other under Julian, which are called the eleventh and the twelfth persecutions.

Under Lucinius suffered: Basileus, Ammon; the two brothers, Donatian and Rogatian, of whom the one was baptized, and the other not.

Under Julian were slain: John and Paul, who opposed war; and some were killed under the Emperor Valens.

After these details we conclude the account of this century.]

A. D. 301.—“At this time,” writes P. J. Twisck, “the persecution was very severe; for when the Emperor, namely, Diocletian would divert himself in the theatre, the whole multitude of the people called to him ten times, that the Christians should not be tolerated, and twelve times, that they should be exterminated.” Chron., 4th book, p. 85, col. 1, from Merul., fol. 237. Leonh. lib. 1.

In the preceding century, in the year 284, we mentioned, in connection with the beginning of the reign of Diocletian, the first bloody edict, issued by this Emperor against the pious and steadfast Christians, upon which followed the death of some of them, as may be seen in the cases of Claudius, Asterius, Neon, Zenobius, and the pious Christian women, Nuina, Theonilla, Zenobia, sister of the aforementioned Zenobius, etc., most of whom died at Tarsus, in Cilicia, the birth-place of the apostle Paul, for the testimony of Jesus, their Savior. This continued from the aforesaid year until the close of that century, as we have related in the proper place.

But in the same place we have also made mention of a second edict by the same Emperor, which, about nineteen years afterwards, was followed by the most violent persecution of the Christians. Of this we promised to speak more fully, and now purpose to do so, having come to the very time in which commenced this, the severest and most grievous persecution, which is called the tenth.


Various eminent writers have made mention of this awful and lamentable deed of the Emperor Diocletian, and they cannot sufficiently wonder at two things: In the first place, that any one who is at all a human being could commit such great cruelties on his fellow-men, as Diocletian inflicted upon the Christians. In the second place, that the Christians, frail men, as they were, could endure all this, and not only this, but that many of them, from love to Jesus Christ, and because of the certain hope of their reward, manifested great joy in their sufferings. We shall first speak of the former, and then of the latter as follows.



These two Emperors (namely, Diocletian and Maximian) jointly governed the empire, in harmony and constancy, and remained undivided. However, when they had reigned about ten years, they took counsel together, and resolved to exterminate the Christians, because the discord of religion caused great dissensions, both in the households and in the Roman Empire.

“The apostate Christians played the part of instigators and firebrands in the raising of this persecution, holding out to the Emperors the hope, that the Christians could be exterminated. The persecution which ensued thereupon, is considered the most grievous.”

Then he writes: “But the enemies of the truth took the occasion to incite the Emperor Diocletian against the Christians, from a certain conflagration in the city of Nicomedia—at that time the place where the Emperors were wont to reside—by which the palace of the Emperor was totally destroyed. With this calamity they charged the Christians. The Emperor, enraged beyond measure on this account, easily believed the slanderers, thinking he had sufficient reason for it. He accordingly, in the nineteenth year of his reign, which coincides with A. D. 302, issued a public decree (as was done in the days of Antiochus), that every one, in every place, should sacrifice to the gods of the Emperors; and that he who should refuse to do so, should be punished with death; also, that the churches or meeting-places, and the books, of the Christians should be utterly destroyed. Yea, there was scarcely a large city in the empire, in which not daily a hundred Christians, or thereabouts, were slain. It is also recorded that in one month seventeen thousand Christians were put to death in different parts of the empire, so that the blood which was shed colored red many rivers. Some were hanged, others beheaded, some burned, and some sunk by whole shiploads in the depths of the sea.”

As touching the fearful tortures inflicted, he then writes thus: “These tyrants had some of them dragged through the streets, tied to the tails of horses, and after they were mangled and bruised, they had them put back into prison, and placed upon beds of potsherds, so that rest might be more excruciating for them than actual torment. Sometimes they bent down with great force the branches of trees, and tied one leg to one branch, and the other to another, and then let the branches spring back into their natural positions, so that their limbs were shockingly rent in pieces. They cut off the ears, noses, lips, hands, and the toes of many, leaving them only the eyes, to inflict still more pain upon them. They sharpened wooden pegs, which they inserted between the flesh and the nails; and had lead or tin melted, and poured as hot as possible over their bare backs.” Chron., 3d book, p. 78, col. 1, 2, and page 79, col. 1, from Euseb., lib. 8, cap. 2, 3, 16, 17, 18. Fasc. Temp., fol. 96. Chron. Mich., fol. 196. Chron. Carionis, fol. 248, 249. Chron. Seb. Fr., fol. 19. Paul. Merul., fol. 232, 238, 239. Pieter Messiæ, fol. 148. Chron. Leonh., lib. 1. Hist. Andræ, fol. 175, 176. Jan Cresp., fol. 66, 67, 68, 70. A. Schri., lib. 13, fol. 349, 350. Hist. D. Matth. Jud., lib. 4, cap. 3.


“In A. D. 302, commenced the tenth persecution of the Christians, namely, in the 19th year of the reign of Emperor Diocletian; for although it had been smouldering previously already, it was in this year, that through the edicts, it was caused to break forth in flames. It was so great as to exceed, not only in cruelty, but also in duration, all the former ones, for under the tyrannous Emperors, Diocletian, Maximian, Maxentius, and Maximin, it lasted twelve years, and this, principally in the east.

“Eusebius, who lived to see this persecution, gives a full description of it. How awful it was, we may read in his church history, book 8. He writes that the cause of it was the great liberty enjoyed by the Christians, who had attained to great distinction. Thus it occurred, says the author of the Introduction, that Diocletian first issued decrees commanding that all the churches or meeting-places of the Christians should be demolished, and the Holy Scriptures burned. Then another decree followed, to the effect, that the leaders, that is, the teachers and ministers, of the churches, should be compelled to sacrifice to the gods, or be put to death. Then the tormenting and putting to death was extended also over the common people of the Christians.112 Some were torn with sharp irons, others lacerated with hooks, some burned with red-hot plates; some were compelled to sacrifice, and even though they did not sacrifice, it was nevertheless proclaimed that they had sacrificed.” Introduction, fol. 42, col. 1, 2, from Baronius, in Chron., A. D. 302, num. 1.


He writes: “In A. D. 302, in the 19th year of his reign, the Emperor Diocletian instituted a great and unmerciful persecution against the Christians, which is called the Tenth Persecution. Of this persecution, Salpitius Severus speaks thus: ‘About fifty years after Valerian, under the reign of Diocletian and Maximian, there arose the most bitter persecution, 168which for ten consecutive years ravaged God’s people. At this time the whole world was stained with the holy blood of the martyrs; for men hastened emulously to these glorious and famous contests, that is, to martyrdom, for the name of the Lord; and to obtain, through a worthy and honorable death, the honor which belongs to a martyr was then sought with more eagerness, than at the present time, through a false ambition, men seek after a bishopric. Never was the world so greatly depopulated as through this persecution, and never were greater triumphs gained by us, than when by these ten years of slaughter we could not be conquered.’ ” Salpit. Sever. Hist. Sacr.

“In this persecution, Diocletian also employed his associate, Maximian Herculeus, a man hard, cruel, faithless, and licentious by nature, who in all things obeyed Diocletian’s behests. In this persecution Diocletian raged against those in the east, and Maximian against those in the west.”

The same author then mentions different causes for this persecution, one of which he describes in the following manner: “The Emperor Diocletian, determined to restore the Roman Empire to its ancient flourishing condition, and being desirous therefore, to reestablish all the customs which seemed to be trampled upon, endeavored also to prevent and abolish the difference which he found to exist in the matter of worship, seeking first of all to exterminate the Christian religion as one which cursed and rejected all idolatry. There were very many philosophers and sophists who instigated the Emperor to this, and confirmed him in his purpose. By violent and satiric writings they incited the Emperor and all the princes and judges, ridiculed the Christian religion, and charged it with being an innovation, falsehood, and wicked superstition. On the other hand, they extolled the heathen religion as the most ancient, together with the worship of the gods, who as they said, ruled the world by their power and majesty.

“Among these instigators, besides Apollinius, were Porphyry, a philosopher, who from a Jew had become a Christian, and from a Christian an apostate; and Hierocles, a man of great popularity. Against Porphyry wrote, Methodius, bishop of Tyre, Eusebius, and Apollinaris; and against Hierocles wrote this same Eusebius. Lactantius wrote against both, and all others of the same stamp.”

Touching the torments, he writes among other things the following: “It would take too long to recount in writing, all the different manners in which, through the instigation of the devil, the Christians were put to death at this particular time. Beating, scourging, and lacerating the skin with all manner of sharp instruments, were simply preparatories for severer torments that brought on death. Over some, molten lead was poured; some were roasted before glowing coals, with long-continued torments (as we have shown in another place); others had the fingers of both hands pierced with sharp awls and needles, which were inserted between the flesh and the nails; of others we read that after having been beaten on the bare body for a long time with thin rods and leaden plates, they were cast as food before bears, lions, leopards, and other beasts.” A little further on he says: “Some were suffocated with the smoke of a slow fire of moistened combustibles; others, whose noses, ears, and hands had been cut off, were suffered to roam in misery about the country, as a terror to other, unknown Christians.”

As touching the places where these cruelties were inflicted upon the defenseless and innocent Christians, the aforementioned author writes: “This persecution extended over the whole world—Asia, Africa, Europe, and all the islands, especially Cecilia, Lesbos, and Sonnus.”

Then, after having related the destruction of several cities, he says: “Many other cities had to taste in their whole body the bitter cup of this persecution; especially, Thebes and Antino, in Egypt; Nicopolis, in Thracia; Aquileia, in Italy, where all the Christian believers were slain; Florence, Bergamo, Verona, Naples, Beneventum, and Venusia; in Gallia, Marseilles and Treves, where Rictionarus proceeded with such violence and cruelty, in this matter, that the blood which was shed, colored many rivers; in Germany, the city of Augusta, and even Spain, Britannia, Rhetia, and other provinces were not exempt.” Joh. Gys. Hist., fol. 22, col. 2–4, and fol. 23, col. 1, 2, from Euseb., lib. 7. Oros., lib. 7, cap. 26, 27. Nic., lib. 7. Idem, lib. 7. Multis. cap. Vinc., in Speculo, lib. 12. Sabell. Ennead, lib. 7 and 8.


Before we proceed to give a special account of the martyrs who were put to death in this persecution, we deem it necessary to call the attention of the reader to the following points.

1. That after A. D. 300, that is, in the beginning of this century, many errors began to arise among some of those who were called Christians, especially among those who belonged under the Roman dominion. Yea, they went so far as to resort to carnal weapons (which, however, had already previously been done by some); through which the defenseless and meek lambs of Christ suffered not a little distress, fear, and sorrow.

2. That, besides the martyrs of the true faith, some of the aforesaid class suffered themselves to be killed for their opinions; whereby the death and the glorious martyrdom of the true Christian believers were not a little obscured.

3. That, in order to distinguish these from the former, we have exerted our utmost diligence, so that as far as we know, there are not found among the martyrs of whom we have given, or may yet give, an account, any who can be shown to have been guilty of gross errors, much less of the shedding of blood. At least we have not been able to detect it in any of them, and hence in accordance with the spirit of love, we must judge and believe the best of them.

As this persecution under Diocletian and Maximian was not only very severe, but also of long duration, we have deemed it well to present its 169 years separately in consecutive order, and to show what the pious martyrs suffered in each year, steadfastly confessing with their blood the truth of God.


The sword of Diocletian had now been drawn from its sheath, and there remained nothing but the shedding of blood, and murdering and burning in manifold ways, all directed against the innocent and defenseless lambs of Christ; of which we shall directly give some examples.


Among the first martyrs of the Tenth Persecution is counted Anthimus, who was bishop of the church of Christ at Nicomedia. It is stated that he was beheaded in that city for the testimony of Jesus Christ; as also a great number of that church, all of whom obtained with him, in great steadfastness, the crown of martyrdom. See, Abr. Mell. Hist., 1st book, fol. 100, col. 1. Acta per Metaphr., 27 April. Niceph. Hist., lib. 7, cap. 6. Also, Acta super Euphrasiam. P. J. Twisck, for the year 204, in Chr., lib. 4.


He writes: “At this time there was also beheaded, after a glorious confession, Anthimus, bishop of Nicomedia, together with a great number of the faithful. Nicephorus writes that he was first most cruelly beaten; that they then bored his heels through with burning pins, threw him on potsherds, put red-hot slippers on his feet, tore the skin and flesh from his body, burned him with torches, stoned him, and finally beheaded him.” The same way trod Tyrannion, bishop of the church of Tyre, Zenobius of Sidon, Sylvanus of Gaza, and Pamphilius, concerning whom Eusebius wrote a special book.” Joh. Gys., fol. 23, col. 3, from Euseb., lib. 8, cap. 6. Cyprian., lib. 7, cap. 6.


It is related that after the death of the aforementioned martyrs, Phileas, Bishop of the Church of Thumis, in Egypt, was sentenced to death, and beheaded, by virtue of the edict of the Emperor, on account of his faith in Jesus Christ, and because he would not give honor to the gods, nor sacrifice to them. Jerome has written of him that after he became bishop, he wrote a very excellent book in praise of the martyrs. In Catalogo.

The author of the Introduction, has left on record these words concerning him: “Phileas, Bishop at Thumis, who was entreated by the Judge to have regard for his wife and children, remaining steadfast, nevertheless, was beheaded.” Introduction, fol. 43, col. 1, compared with Mellinus, 1st book, fol. 101, from Euseb.


NOTE.—The first part of the letter of bishop Phileas is translated thus by Eusebius in his Church History, 8th book, 10th chapter.

Phileas writes: “The holy martyrs who fought with us, have left us good examples. Being taught out of the divine Scriptures, they fixed the eyes of their hearts on God, and voluntarily, without the least fear, apprehended death for the sake of the truth. For they constantly bore in mind that our Lord Jesus Christ became man for our sakes; and that he has taught us, to fight against sin even unto death. For, being equal with God, he thought it not robbery, but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself unto death, even the death of the cross. The holy martyrs followed his example, enduring all pain and torment, that they might not stain the conscience of their faith; for the perfect love which was in them cast out all fear. It is impossible for me to describe the power, patience, and steadfastness of the martyrs, yea, it is scarcely credible except for those who have seen it with their own eyes; for they were exposed, and every one was at liberty to inflict upon them whatever contumely or torment he pleased, and if any invented a new mode of torture, he was permitted to torment them with it himself.”

Thus far Eusebius’ translation; what now follows, is thus related by Mellinus, from the above letter of Phileas.

“As every heathen had been given full power over the Christians, to inflict upon them all manner of vexation, mockery, and ignominy, yea, to put them to death in every way; they beat some with sticks, others with rods, scourges, whips, thongs, ropes, or whatever they could the most readily lay hold of; which spectacle was changed now and then 170 by new kinds of torture and beating which the Christians had to undergo. Some of them had their hands tied behind their backs, and were suspended from a gibbet, and then all their members were stretched apart by executioner’s instruments. They were then, through the command of the magistrate, scourged with iron rods on the whole body, not only on their sides, as was customary to do with murderers, but even on the belly, the shins, buttocks, and some on all the most sensitive parts of the body. Others were suspended by one hand to the ceiling of a gallery, and thus stretched limb from limb, which exceeds every other torture. Others were tied back to back to pillars or columns, but so that their feet did not touch the ground; and the more the executioners or their assistants tightened the ropes, the more were the martyrs tormented by the weight of their own bodies. And this cruel torment lasted not only while the President was engaged in examining them, but he often let them hang a whole day in this torment. While the President or criminal Judge would go from one to the other to examine them on the rack, he had his servants closely observe the first ones, to see whether any of them, overcome by the intensity of the torments, were ready to yield. He also commanded his executioners that they should tighten the ropes on them the longer the more. But if they should see that the martyrs were almost ready to die, then they should take them down, and drag them over the ground, over stones, shells, potsherds, and caltrops. For they had no other consideration for the Christians, then how they might subject them, if it were possible, to a thousand deaths—just as though they were not human beings.

“Over and above all the tortures mentioned, the enemies of Christ invented still another mode of torment for his anointed, or holy martyrs; for after they had tormented them, they placed some with their feet in the block, and violently stretched apart their legs, as far as they possibly could, even to the fourth hole, and there fastened them, so that the bodies of the martyrs must of necessity lie backwards over the block, yea, that they, on account of their many wounds, could neither move nor stir. Others, who had been taken down from the racks or torture-stakes, were thrown half dead upon the bare ground, which was far more horrible to behold than when they were still being tormented. Of these some died under the executioner’s hands, while they were being tormented; others, in whom life was not yet extinct, were thrown half dead back into prison, and in a few days perished of pain; others, again, who triumphed over their long imprisonment, were healed and restored. These became much stronger in the faith than they had been before, and when it was left to the free choice of each of them, either to touch the shameful heathen sacrifices, and thereby be delivered from all trouble, yea, from death itself, and be invested with the former freedom; or to refuse to sacrifice, and receive sentence of death, they without the least deliberation chose the latter, and boldly went unto death, knowing full well, that it is written in the word of God: ‘He that sacrificeth unto strange gods shall be cut off from the people.’ Again: ‘Thou shalt have no other gods before me.’ ”

Thus far the words of the martyr Phileas, which he wrote in a letter to the brethren of the church of Thumis, of which he was pastor, while he was still in prison, and before he had received his sentence of death; by which letter he wished to inform his church of his condition in prison, as well as to admonish them in the true godliness in Christ, and that they should steadfastly continue therein after his death, which was soon to follow. Compare Eusebius, concerning the death of Phileas, with A. Mellinus, 1st book, fol. 101, col. 2, 3.


It is stated that in this persecution Cassian, Bishop of the church at Brescia, in Italy, being compelled to flee on account of the violent persecution, settled in the city of Forum Cornelii (at present called Imola), where he established a school for children. However, the persecution, which also there broke forth, did not spare him; for shortly afterwards he was denounced as a Christian, and apprehended. When the Judges asked him what profession or trade he had, he replied that he was a schoolteacher, and taught children to read and write. He was also examined concerning his faith, and as he would not abandon it, or sacrifice to the gods, the Judges sentenced him to a very unusual death, for this was his sentence: “Let the scourger, that is, the school-teacher, be pricked, cut, and stabbed to death by his own scholars, with styles, awls, pens, penknives, and other sharp instruments such as children make use of in school.”

Thereupon Cassian was stripped naked; his hands were tied behind his back, and he was thus delivered unto his scholars, to be maltreated by them in the aforesaid manner. Some of these then stoned him, some beat him with school-boards and wax-tablets, others stabbed him with styles, pens, penknives, and other sharp school utensils, till after unspeakable torments, death ensued, and he, having commended his soul unto God was thus released from this vale of sorrows. Compare A. Mell., 1st book, fol. 104, col. 3, 4, with J. Gys., fol. 24, col. 1, ex Prudent., in Hymno, Steph. Hym., 9. Petr. de Nat., lib. 7.



At this time there was a Christian maiden, called Eulalia, not more than twelve or thirteen years old, 171who was filled with such a desire and ardor of the spirit, to die for the name of Christ, that her parents had to take her out of the city of Merida, to some distant country-seat, and closely confine her there. But this place could not extinguish the fire of her spirit, or long confine her body; for, having escaped on a certain night, she went very early the following day before the tribunal, and with a loud voice said to the Judge and the whole magistracy: “Are you not ashamed to cast your own souls and those of others at once into eternal perdition by denying the only true God, the Father of us all, and the Creator of all things? O ye wretched men! do you seek the Christians, that you may put them to death? Behold, here am I, an adversary of your satanical sacrifices. I confess with heart and mouth God alone; but Isis, Apollo, and Venus are vain idols.”

The Judge before whose tribunal Eulalia spoke thus boldly, was filled with rage, and called the executioner, commanding him to take her away speedily, strip her, and inflict various punishments on her; so that she, said he, may feel the gods of our fathers, through the punishment, and may learn that it will be hard for her, to despise the command of our Prince (that is, of Maximian).

But before he allowed matters to proceed so far, he addressed her with these soft words: “How gladly would I spare thee! O that thou mightest renounce before thy death thy perverse views of the Christian religion? Reflect once, what great joy awaits thee, which thou mayest expect in the honorable state of matrimony. Behold, all thy friends weep for thee, and thy sorrow-stricken, well-born kindred sigh over thee, that thou art to die in the tender bloom of thy young life. See, the servants stand ready to torture thee to death with all sorts of torments; for thou shalt either be beheaded with the sword, or torn by the wild beasts, or singed with torches, which will cause thee to howl and wail, because thou wilt not be able to endure the pain; or, lastly be burned with fire. Thou canst escape all these tortures with little trouble, if thou wilt only take a few grains of salt and incense on the tips of thy fingers, and sacrifice it. Daughter, consent to this, and thou shalt thereby escape all these severe punishments.”

This faithful martyr did not think it worth the trouble to reply either to the entreating or the threatening words of the Judge, but, to say it briefly, pushed far away from her and upset113 the images, the altar, censor, sacrificial book, etc.

Instantly two executioners came forward, who 172tore her tender limbs, and with cutting hooks or claws cut open her sides to the very ribs.

Eulalia, counting and recounting the gashes on her body, said: “Behold, Lord Jesus Christ! thy name is being written on my body; what great delight it affords me to read these letters, because they are signs of thy victory! Behold, my purple blood confesses thy holy name.”

This she spoke with an undaunted and happy countenance, evincing not the least sign of distress, though the blood flowed like a fountain from her body. After she had been pierced through to her ribs with pincers, they applied burning lamps and torches to the wounds in her sides, and to her abdomen. Finally the hair of her head was ignited by the flame, and taking it in her mouth, she was suffocated by it. This was the end of this heroine, young in years, but old in Christ, who loved the doctrine of her Savior more than her own life. A. Mell., 1st book, fol. 105, col. 4, and fol. 106, col. 1, 2, compared with J. Gys., fol. 23, col. 3, ex Prudent. Steph. Hym. 3.

This happened in Lusitania, at Emerita, now called Merida or Medina del Rio Sacco, in the uttermost or lowest part of Spain, under the Emperor Maximian and the Proconsul Dacian, as may clearly be seen in ancient writers, and also in the aforementioned authors.


After the death of Eulalia an account is given (from Prudentius) of another Christian maiden, called Eucratis, who by her steadfastness in suffering, and the violence with which she took the kingdom of heaven, put to shame the spirit of this world, at Cæsar Augusta. The ancients tell us in what manner this heroine of Jesus Christ was martyred, namely, that she was not only tormented on her sides with rods and other iron instruments, but that her breasts were cut off, so that her liver could be seen; hence, having been put back into prison, she very miserably died (yet with a glad hope), in consequence of the putrefaction of the wounds, which she had received for the name of Jesus Christ. See Mell. as cited above, from Steph. Hym. 4. Flos. Sanct. Hisp. Mart. Rom., 16 April.


The persecution did not yet cease, though it had already risen to a very high degree. But it may have pleased God to bring his people through much tribulation into his kingdom. Acts 14:22,23.


On the 12th of August, A. D. 303, a certain pious Christian, called Euplius, was surprised by the inquisitors of the Romans, in the city of Catana in Sicily, as he was engaged in reading the Gospel, and instructing other Christians. They apprehended him and brought him near the tribunal, in which sat the clerk of the criminal court and the Judge.

Meanwhile Euplius cried aloud: “I am a Christian, and wish to die for the name of Christ.”

Calvisianus, the Proconsul, hearing this, said: “Bring him in here, who cried thus.”

When Euplius had entered the tribunal, carrying with him the Gospel books, one of the Proconsul’s friends said: “It is not right for him to carry such papers with him contrary to the prohibition of the Emperors.”

The Proconsul asked Euplius, whence he had these writings? Whether he brought them from his house?

Euplius answered: “I have no house. My Lord Jesus Christ knows that I have no house.”

Then the Proconsul commanded him with a loud voice, to read something out of the writings.

Euplius, having opened the book, read these words: “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Also: “Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself,” etc.

When he had read these and like passages, the Proconsul said: “What does all this mean?”

Euplius replied: “This is the law of my Lord, of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God.”

The Proconsul, having heard this confession of Christ, said: “Let him be delivered unto the executioners, put to the rack, and thus examined.”

He was then very grievously, yea, inhumanly tormented, and commanded to deliver up the Scriptures he had with him, and to have them burned to the dishonor of Jesus Christ. All of this he steadfastly refused to do; moreover, he openly invoked the name of Jesus Christ, because he had been found worthy to suffer for his name’s sake.

Thereupon he was again led to the rack and dreadfully tormented in the same manner as before. But he suffered it patiently, and called upon the Lord, saying: “I thank thee, O Christ! help me, O Christ! for thy sake I suffer all this, O Christ!”

In short, the Proconsul, still more enraged by this, went into the tribunal, and gave the sentence of death to the clerk of the criminal court, that he might write it out against this good man. Then, coming out again from the tribunal, and bringing with him the tablet containing the death sentence, he read the latter aloud, as follows: “I command that Euplius, the Christian, be slain with the sword, because he despises the gods of the Emperors, blasphemes the other gods, and does not repent.” He further said: “Lead him away.”

This sentence having been read, the Gospel book which he had with him when he was apprehended, was forthwith suspended to his neck, and the crier 173 went before him, crying thus: “Euplius, the enemy of the gods and the Emperors, is led to death.” Euplius went joyfully to the place where he was to be put to death, continually thanking Christ for his grace. Having arrived at the place of execution, he with great reverence bowed his knees, and prayed to the Lord his God. As soon as he had finished, he offered his neck to the sword, and poured out his blood as a drink offering unto the Lord. His dead body was afterwards removed by the Christians and buried. This happened at Catana, in Sicily, A. D. 303, after the twelfth day of the month of August had passed. Acta M. S. Proconsular. Baron., edit. in Annal 1, 2, A. D. 303. Alia per Metaphrastem, compared with A. Mell., 1st book, fol. 117, col. 2–4.


There was at that time a Christian youth of fourteen years, called Pancratius, who, when he was brought before the Emperor Diocletian found such special favor in the eyes of the latter, that he promised to adopt him as his son, if he would abandon Christ, and show honor to the gods of the Romans. But this youth, who was old in the knowledge and love of his Savior, showed such steadfastness in defending his faith and despising the gods, that the Emperor, filled with rage, commanded that he should be decapitated, on the Aurelian way, just out of the city of Rome. Thus this youth loved the honor of his Savior more than his own life, and hence he is justly reckoned among the number of the pious martyrs. Acta per Sicrium, bona fide edita, secundum Mellinum, in Tract super, fol. 139, col. 4.


When the soldiers of the Emperor Diocletian were engaged in apprehending the Christians, a certain father, called Mattheus, and his two sons, Justinian and Justus, were journeying toward Auxerre, in Burgundy, their place of residence. But having been denounced, in the meantime, by some evil informers, they were pursued by the aforesaid soldiers and four horsemen sent by the Emperor’s Proconsul. The younger son, Justus, perceiving this, communicated it to his father and his brother, who hid themselves in a cave, but Justus kept watch without. When he saw the horsemen, he went to meet them. Being asked by them, who he was, and where his companions were, he replied: “I am called Justus, and I freely confess that I am also a Christian; but since I regard you as persecutors of the Christians, it is not lawful for me to betray my companions.”

When they drew their swords, and threatened him with them, he answered: “Truly, I shall consider myself happy, if I may be permitted to suffer all manner of punishment, nay, death itself, for the name of Christ; for I am ready to lose my soul in this world, that I may keep it unto life eternal.”

Thereupon one of the soldiers drew his sword, and struck off his head. His father and his brother buried his dead body at Luperam, which place was near by. This occurred A. D. 303. Abr. Mell., ex Acta per Surium edita, ut apparet ex Bede Acris Rit. Micis de Sumpta.


When Constantinus Chlorus and Galerius Maximianus were Cæsars for the fourth time, the Emperors Diocletian and Maximian issued an edict to the whole world, which was transmitted to the authorities of all the colonies or free cities of the Romans, and read to this effect: that they should demand the divine books and laws of the Christians at the hands of their bishops and teachers. A copy of this edict, among others, was posted up in the city of Thibaris, in Africa, on the fifth day of the month of June.

Now when it came to pass that the fiscal Procurator of that place demanded of Felix the divine and Christian books, in order to burn them, Felix answered: “It were better, that I should be burned, than the divine Scriptures, because we must obey God rather than men.”

The Procurator said: “Nevertheless, the command of the Emperors must have the precedence to thy word.”

Felix replied: “God’s command comes before the commands of men.”

The Procurator said: “Consider well, what thou doest.”

NOTE.—Here we might produce the whole of the court proceedings as believed to have been recorded by the clerk of the criminal court; but in order to avoid prolixity, we shall present to the kind reader, word for word, only the last and principal part of those proceedings.

Having arrived there, the Proconsul or General commanded them to loose Felix, and asked him, saying: “O Felix, why wilt thou not deliver up the books of the Lord thy God? Or perhaps, thou dost not have any?”

Felix answered: “Indeed, I have them, but I do not wish to give them to you.”

The Proconsul said: “Put Felix to death with the sword.”

When Felix had received the sentence of death, he said with a loud voice: “I thank thee, O Lord, that thou hast redeemed me!” He was immediately led to the place where he was to die; at which time the moon was changed as into blood. This happened on the 30th of August.


Having arrived at the place of execution, Felix lifted up his eyes toward heaven, and said with a loud voice: “O Lord God, I thank thee, that I have lived to be fifty-six years old. I have kept myself pure; have kept the Gospels or evangelical books; and have preached the faith and truth in their purity. O Lord God of heaven and earth, Jesus Christ! I bow my neck to the sword, as an offering unto thee, who abidest in eternity, with whom there is and abideth glory and majesty forever and ever, Amen.”

Thus far the account of the martyrdom of Felix has been translated word for word from the Acta Proconsularia, that is, the records of the proceedings which were approved by the heathen judges and proconsuls. Compare Abr. Mell., 1st book, fol. 117, col. 1, 2, with Act. Proconsul. extant sur tom 5, Octob. 24.


In the year 303 two brothers, Primus and Felician, were brought prisoners before the criminal Judge of the city of Numenta, in Italy. He first examined Felician, and asked him, whether he would rather sacrifice to the gods, and live in honors, and see good days, or be tortured unto death with all manner of torments?

Felician answered: “How canst thou speak to me of pleasant days? I am now eighty years old, and have been enlightened with the saving knowledge of Christ for about thirty years; yea, I am still finding the greatest joy of my heart in his service. And thou wouldst persuade me to forsake my Savior, and accept instead of him the vain lusts of this world! Far be it from me; for I have resolved to cleave to Christ, my Lord and my God, to the very last breath of my life.”

Thereupon this good old man was put in prison, and his brother Primus brought forth, whom the Judge endeavored to persuade that Felician, his dear old brother, had apostatized. But Primus was confident that the contrary was true; therefore he said that it was a lie. Upon this, he was beaten with sticks, and burned on his loins with lamps. But he sang with the prophet David: “O Lord, thou has proved us with fire, as silver is tried.”

Then both were tormented, in different ways. Molten lead was poured down Primus’ throat, while Felician was beaten with leaded scourges, nailed with his hands and feet to a stake, and inhumanly tortured. Both were cast before the lions and bears; but as these would not harm them the Judge caused the martyrs to be beheaded and their dead bodies laid on the ground for the dogs and the birds of the air. However, they were buried by the Christians. Acta per eundem. Also, A. Mell., 1st book, fol. 114, col. 2.


In the third year of the persecution, the obdurate heart of the bloodthirsty Emperor Diocletian had not yet softened, seeing he and his associate Maximian steadily went on putting to death the poor Christian believers, as appears from the death of the following persons.


When the third year of the aforementioned persecution had begun, the second oppression of the Christians arose in Palestine, through letters which had been sent in the Emperor’s name to Urbanus, the Proconsul; whereby the magistrates of every city were commanded: to exert the utmost diligence, that all Christians, men and women, old and young, would sacrifice to the gods; and that the criers should call together in the city of Cesarea, men, women, and children, to assemble in the temples of the idols; and also that the chief men of every quarter of the city should read off from their lists, the name of every citizen, so as to make it impossible for any one to conceal himself. This caused great misery and distress throughout the whole city.

When it came to pass, on the feast-day of the goddess Hecate, that the Proconsul of Palestine was engaged in offering his sacrifice, Apphian, who was not yet twenty years old, went undauntedly to the Proconsul, and reproved him for his wicked idolatry, admonishing him to desist from it. Instantly the youth was frightfully torn as by wild beasts by the body-guards of the Proconsul, suffering stripes without number from them, which he endured with great steadfastness. Thereupon he was imprisoned for a while, but was then brought forth again, and dreadfully tormented. He was beaten so inhumanly in his face and on his neck, that owing to the wounds and the swelling of his face he was so disfigured, that those who formerly knew him well, now no longer recognized him. At the command of the Proconsul they also took linen cloths, which they had saturated with oil, wound them around his bare legs, and then set them on fire, so that the flames leaped up high, consuming not only the flesh off the bones, but even melting the marrow within them, causing it to trickle down; which must have caused a pain beyond all comparison. But in all this he remained steadfast. Three days after this he was again brought before the Judge, and received sentence of death, namely, that he should be drowned in the sea; which sentence was executed on the second of April, A. D. 304. Compare Abr. Mell., 1st book, fol. 123, col. 1, 2, with Eus., lib. 8, cap. 14.



About that time, almost in those very days, another youth, named Ulpian, was brought forth in the city of Tyre, who, after having been long and very severely tormented, was finally sentenced to an unusual death, for the testimony of Jesus Christ, namely: to be wrapped stark naked, together with a dog and an adder, in the fresh hide of an ox or cow and thus thrown into the sea. This sentence was executed near the city of Tyre; but the sea shall give up its dead, and then shall this pious witness of Jesus Christ, and his fellow-brethren be rewarded and crowned by the Lord with the crown of immortality. Vide supra Mellin., ex Euseb. Hist., lib. 8, cap. 15.


Shortly after the death of the martyrs Apphian and Ulpian, the enemies of the divine and Christian truth laid their hands on Aedesius, the brother of Apphian. After making many excellent confessions for the name of the Lord, he was sentenced to be sent as a slave to the mines of Palestine.

Finally, when he happened to see, in the city of Alexandria, how the Proconsul pronounced sentence of death upon the Christians, and sometimes caused manifold indignities to be heaped upon aged persons, together with other wickednesses practiced by him, he boldly went into the court to the Judge, and openly reproved him on account of the unjust and wicked sentences he pronounced upon the innocent Christians. For this he was most unmercifully tormented, which pains he meekly and not less steadfastly endured. He was then thrown into the sea, and drowned, even as had been done with his brother. See the above cited books.


In that same year, two pious Christians of Thessalonica, Agathopus, a deacon, and Theodulus, a lector, of the Thessalonian church, were apprehended for the testimony of Jesus Christ, and brought before Faustin, the Governor of the city. He first took up Theodulus, the younger, to torment him, causing him to be stripped and bound. While Theodulus was being tormented, the crier called to him: “Sacrifice, and thou shalt be released.” Theodulus answered: “You may strip my body, but you shall never turn my heart and mind from the faith in God.”

As they both went to hear their sentence of death, their friends cried and wailed most bitterly, so that the sound of it seemed to ascend to heaven; but Theodulus said to them, with a happy countenance: “If you weep for our old friendship’s sake, I tell you, that you ought rather to rejoice, because we are tried in so honorable a conflict; but if you envy us this happiness, and are sad because you are not partakers of it, the door of blessedness stands open for you, too, and the proclamation of faith calls: Come ye all to Christ; but it gives the crown of eternal life only to those who are drawn back neither by riches, nor by voluptuousness, nor by the honor of this world.”

Finally, the Judge gave sentence, that their hands should be tied behind their backs, and heavy stones be fastened to their necks, and that they should thus be drowned; which they steadfastly endured, and are therefore reckoned among the number of the holy martyrs. A. M., fol. 140, col. 1, ex Act. per Metaph.


When Diocletian’s persecution was at its highest, a certain widow of Iconia tried to flee from it; wherefore she went with her child, which was three years old, from Lyconia to Seleucia, and from there to Tarsus, in Cilicia. But she could not remain concealed there from the heat of that persecution; for Alexander, the Proconsul who had jurisdiction there, apprehended her. After many vain efforts to persuade her to renounce the Christian faith, he caused her to be scourged with tough cowhides.

In the meantime he endeavored to quiet the frightened child, called Quiricus, by many pleasant and coaxing words; but the child resisted with hands and feet, refusing to be caressed by the tyrant, and finally ran to his mother. However, the tyrant caught him up again; but this did not turn out very peacefully or pleasantly, for the child scratched his face, and kicked his sides, so that the pain quite enraged him. He therefore took the child by his legs and pitched him head foremost down the stone stairs. The mother, seeing this, thus addressed the tyrant: “Thou needst not think that I am so timid as to be conquered by thy cruelties; for the tearing of my body shall not intimidate me, nor the racking of my members move my spirit; neither shall the threats of the fire, nor death itself be able to separate me from the love of Christ. The greater the torments are with which you threaten me, the more acceptable they are to me; for I hope thereby the sooner to come to my dear son, and to receive with him the crown of righteousness at the hand of Christ.”


Upon this confession, the Proconsul had her suspended to the torture-stake, her flesh torn with iron combs, melted pitch poured over her naked body and fresh wounds, and finally caused her to be beheaded. Acta Fidelia, per Metaphrastem, compared with A. Mell., 1st book, fol. 140, col. 1, 2.


When the east as well as the west was exceedingly disturbed on account of the violence of the persecution, there manifested themselves in the east, namely at Antioch, forty pious youths, as valiant champions of Jesus Christ, inasmuch as they openly and boldly confessed the Son of God, Jesus Christ, as their Savior. Thereupon, the Governor of that place, after they had been apprehended, strenuously exerted himself to move them from the faith; but when all his efforts proved unsuccessful, he had them stripped naked, in the coldest part of the winter, and cast into a very cold pool. But as they were still alive the next day, he caused them to be burned to powder.

One of them, who in consideration of his extreme youthfulness had, through compassion, been restored to his mother, was placed by the latter with her own hands upon the wagon in which the others lay, and exhorted, to finish this blessed course with his fellow brethren. This happened in the third year of the persecution, A. D. 304. Joh. Gys., fol. 23, col. 3, ex Bas. de 40 Martyr.


Galerius Maximian, continuing in the persecution which had been begun, and carried into execution, with great bitterness, by Diocletian and Maximian, exercised much cruelty, through Peucetius, Quintinian, Theotecnus, and other Proconsuls, against the poor Christians; burning them alive; throwing them before the wild beasts, to be torn by them; nailing them to crosses; drowning multitudes of them in the sea; starving them to death in the prisons; beheading them; cutting off their hands and feet, and then giving them their life; but when they would make use of the favor granted them, spoiling them of all their goods, and driving them away into misery.

Touching those who were slain there, the following, among others, are mentioned by name.


Sylvanus, Bishop of the church of Emissa, a city of Apamea, in Syria, was, with many others, thrown before the wild beasts, to be devoured by them.

Januarius, Bishop of the church of Beneventum; Sosius, a deacon of the church of Misenum; Proculus, deacon, at Pussolis, and others, were beheaded together.

Pelagia was suffocated in a redhot ox.

Theonas, with his companions, Cyrenia and Juliana, were deprived of life by other methods. Joh. Gys., about the death of Januarius and Sosius. Abr. Mell., fol. 141, ex Act. per Johannem Januarii Diaconum conscripta per surium edita.


In this year the persecution was not so severe as in some of the preceding ones; wherefore there were not many martyrs at this time. However, the ancients have recorded a few, whom we shall presently mention.


When the fifth year of the tenth persecution had come, on the second day of the month of April, the Sunday of the resurrection of our Savior, Theodosia, a godfearing maiden of the city of Tyre, about eighteen years old, came to some bound martyrs at Cesarea, as they were standing before the tribunal, to receive their sentence of death. Her reason in doing so was affectionately to greet them, and to comfort them in their extremity.

Thereupon she was instantly seized by the soldiers, and brought before the Proconsul, who forthwith caused her to be maltreated as though he had been bereft of reason; for he did not have her tortured with all manner of dreadful torments, on her sides only, as was generally the custom, but he also caused her breasts to be torn open to the very bones, and then cut off. All this she suffered steadfastly and with a happy countenance; but when by reason of the intensity of the pain she could scarcely draw her breath any longer, so that it seemed that she would soon cease to live, the Proconsul had her thrown into the sea; and thus this faithful heroine of Jesus Christ was numbered among her slain fellow-brethren and sisters. See A. Mell., 1st book, fol. 124, col. 2, 3, from Euseb., lib. 8. Also, J. Gys. on the name Theodosia.


This Pamphilius was an elder of the church at Cesarea, and a very eloquent, learned and godly man. It is stated of him that after much suffering and tribulation he underwent the conflict of martyrdom, 177 for the name of Christ, and was thus numbered among the heroes of the bloody banner of Jesus Christ. It appears that he was a special friend of Eusebius Pamphilius, so that some are of the opinion, that the latter took his surname Pamphilius from him. This much is certain, that he wrote the following concerning him, as ancient authors have informed us: “Among those who were variously afflicted and vexed, and kept in chains and bonds at Cesarea, by Urban, the Proconsul of Palestine, was also Pamphilius, my most faithful friend, who probably was the chiefest martyr of our time, and the most celebrated in all manner of virtue and godliness.” A. Mell., 1st book, fol. 124, col. 3, 4, from Eusebius and Jerome, compared with J. Gys., fol. 26, col. 4.


From among those who were put to death in the sixth year of Diocletian’s persecution, we have selected the following.


When some Christians, in their zeal for the truth, had reproved Firmilian, the Proconsul of Palestine, for his great idolatry, and were put to death on this account, on the thirteenth of November, A. D. 307, a certain young maiden, named Ennathas, a native of the city of Scythopolis, came there on the same day, not of her own accord, however, but through compulsion, and, together with the others, boldly laid down her life for the name of Jesus Christ. She was at first most unmercifully treated, nay, in a manner too shameful and horrible for description. Finally, when she remained steadfast nevertheless, in the confession of her faith, the Judge pronounced sentence of death upon her, namely, that she should be burnt alive; and thus this pious martyr pressed through the strait gate, leaving her flesh on the posts; which the Lord shall afterwards crown and reward with glory and majesty. See, A. Mell., 1st book, fol. 125, col. 4, from Euseb., J. Gys., fol. 26, col. 4.


It is stated that on the 25th of November of the same year, Catharina, an honorable maiden of Alexandria, was beheaded, for the faith in Jesus Christ, after having suffered many torments. J. Gys., fol. 26, col. 4.


It is stated that in the seventh year of the persecution the following persons were slain for the confession of the evangelical truth.


About the beginning of the year 308, some godfearing Christians left Egypt, with the intention of journeying to Cilicia, to supply those, who for the confession of the faith had been banished to the mines there, with some needful things in their misery and poverty. They were apprehended at Cesarea by the guard at the gate of the city. Some of them were sent into misery and slavery through the same sentence, which consisted in this, that the right eye was to be put out, and the left knee-pan cut away, and the wound seared; and thus with one eye and one leg they were compelled to labor in this hard slavery.

Three of their number were apprehended at Askalon, in Palestine, and were tormented in various ways, because they steadfastly confessed their faith. One of them, named Ares, was burnt alive; the other two, Promus and Elias, were beheaded, and thus departed this life in a godly manner. A. Mell., 1st book, fol. 126, col. 1, from Euseb.


Shortly afterwards (on the 11th of January), a pious man, called Peter, and surnamed Apselamus, was apprehended. He was a native of Amea, a village in the neighborhood of Elentheropolis. For some time he had led the life of a recluse, having retired into solitude to give himself over to divine meditations.

Though the Judge and the other members of the tribunal had begged him again and again, to have compassion upon himself and his youth (for he was yet in the bloom of life), he disregarded it all, putting his entire confidence in the living and true God, whom he loved more than all this world contains, yea, than his own life. Finally he suffered his confidence in Christ, his Savior, to be tried, as precious gold, by fire, and was burned alive at Cesarea, for the name of Jesus Christ, having commended his soul into the hands of God. Idem, Ibidem, ex Euseb., lib. 8.



Among various other martyrs who suffered for the testimony of Jesus Christ in the seventh year of Diocletian’s persecution, we have noticed that there were also several honorable Christian women who, from love to their Savior, did not hesitate to give their lives for the truth. They were called Biblis, Aquilina, a girl of twelve years, and Fortunata, a maiden of Cesarea; who together laid down their lives for the truth, in Palestine. J. Gys., fol. 26, col. 3, compared with A. M., fol. 131, col. 3, ex Mart. Rom. Menol. Grec. Metaphrast. 13 Junii.


It is related that at this time the modes of torture and of putting to death were various. Some were beheaded with the axe, as was mostly done with the martyrs in Arabia. Some had their legs broken on the wheel, as was the case with those who confessed the name of Christ in Cappadocia. Others were hung up by their heels, with the head close to the ground, and then suffocated by a small fire, as was the case in Mesopotamia. Some had their noses, ears, hands, feet, and other members, cut off, as was done to those at Alexandria. At Antioch some were roasted on frying-pans, not unto death, but to intensify the pain. But the sufferings inflicted upon the poor martyrs in Pontus are horrible to relate; for some had sharp splints of reed thrust between the nails and the flesh of their fingers; others had melted lead poured over their naked bodies; some had their secret parts singed and seared, in the invention of which tortures the judges and proconsuls vied with one another, even as though they wished thereby to manifest their great ingenuity, and their tyranny against the Christians. See concerning, this, A. Mell., fol. 128, col. 1, 2.


In the eighth year of Diocletian’s persecution, that is, A. D. 309, there were at Antioch two sisters, young maidens, of modest manners and pious life, intelligent and well-informed in the way of godliness; so that the world was not worthy, to contain them any longer. They were apprehended and examined, and, clinging steadfastly to Christ, cast into the depths of the sea, and drowned, by the servants of Satan. See the above named author, in the same book, fol. 129, col. 1, from Euseb.


In the records written, through the clerk of the criminal court, by the Proconsul Dulcetius, concerning some pious martyrs, there is pronounced, at the close, a certain sentence of death over three sisters, who steadfastly continued in the truth of Christ. The last part of the aforementioned records contain, in regard to this, the following words: “And when he (Dulcetius) had demanded paper, he wrote this sentence of death: ‘Whereas Irene would not obey the decree of the Emperors, and sacrifice to the gods, and does still remain a Christian, therefore I command that she be burned alive, as her two sisters were.’ ”

When the criminal Judge had pronounced this sentence upon Irene, the soldiers took her and brought her upon an elevated place, where her sisters had died; and when they had built a great fire of wood, they made her climb upon it, and there, after singing sweet psalms and hymns of praise to the honor of God, she was consumed by the flames. A. Mell., fol. 130 and 131, col. 1, ex Act. Ver. Proconsular. apud Metaph. Also, Acta cognitionis novissime diei.


It is stated that besides the aforementioned martyrs there were put to death by fire in Egypt, for the name of the Lord, three pious Christians, named Peter, Nilus, and P. Mythius; forty others were beheaded; and for the same reason, Martionilla, Euphratesia, seven brothers, and various others, also laid down their lives for the truth. J. Gys., fol. 27, col. 1.


The ancients tell us that Maximinus Jovius instituted at this time a special persecution at Antioch, through the instrumentality of one Theotecnus; to which end he caused an image to be erected, in honor of Jupiter Philius (the god of friendship), by which—whether through Satan or through jugglery—certain oracles were uttered, to the effect, that God had commanded that the Christians, as his special enemies, should be driven out of every country, city, and field, and be exterminated, the sooner the better. A. Mell., fol. 134, from Euseb.

It is easy to judge that this false and blood-thirsty voice, having fallen as a true oracle into the hearts of the heathen, caused not a little shedding of blood, oppression, and burning among the innocent and defenseless lambs of Christ, as we shall presently in some measure show.



Among the many pious witnesses of Jesus Christ, who laid down their lives for the truth, Lucian, who was an elder of the church at Antioch, was not one of the least; for it is stated of him, that he was a very godly, wise, and eloquent man, well versed in the Scriptures, but above all, that he boldly sealed all this with his blood and death, to the honor of God.

The Judge asked him as he stood before his judgment seat, saying: “O Lucian, how does it come that thou, who art such a wise man, dost follow this sect, for which thou canst give no reason at all? Or, if thou hast any, let us hear it.”

Having obtained permission to speak, he made a very excellent and glorious profession of his faith; which would well deserve a place here, were we not, in order to avoid prolixity, compelled to omit it. As soon as he had ended his confession, and the people had, in some measure, been drawn over to his views, the Judge commanded them to lock him up again in prison, and to put him to death there; which, as the ancient writers relate, was accordingly done. But God shall reveal it all on the last day, and reward every one according to his works. Compare with A. M., fol. 135, col. 1–4, ex Eusebio and Ruffino, in Hist. Eccles. Hier. Catal. in Luciano.

NOTE.—Some place this Lucian in the tenth year of the persecution, namely, in A. D. 311.


At this time there were persecuted, by virtue of the bloody decree of Maximian, a number of godfearing and learned men, who adhered to Christ by a true confession; of whom we shall briefly present a few, mentioning also the place and time of their death. Peter, bishop of the church of Christ at Alexandria, and Faustus, Didius, and Ammonius, all three elders, were put to death for the faith in Jesus Christ, on the 28th day of November, A. D. 310. There were also several other bishops in Egypt, who laid down their lives for the same reason. Compare J. Gys., fol. 27, col. 1, with A. Mell., 1st book, fol. 136, col. 4, from Eusebius, Epiphanius, Athanasius.


Anysia, a girl of Thessalonica, born of wealthy Christian parents, was slain in the temple at Alexandria, because of her Christian faith, at the time when Maximian had issued a decree authorizing every one to kill the Christians wherever they might be found. J. Gys., fol. 27, col. 2.


At the same time and place, also Demetrius, a remarkably virtuous and zealous teacher, sealed the genuine, divine and Christian truth with his blood. Idem, Ibidem.


Besides the preceding ones, we find that there were put to death, for the name of the Lord, and their love to their Savior, Theodorus, a bishop of the church of Christ, Philemon, and Cyrilla. See the abovementioned author, in the same book, fol. 27, col. 3, ex Vinc., lib. 12, cap. 149.


We shall speak but briefly of the last year of this persecution, since ancient writers have left us little information in regard to it. Nevertheless, there were some at that time, who laid down their lives for the truth; among whom the following are mentioned.


Eugenius, because he confessed Christ, and had reproved the wickedness of the heathen, had his tongue cut out, and his arms and legs broken, and thus departed this life, steadfastly continuing in the Lord.

Auxentius, a deacon of the Christian church at Auracea, in Asia, was beheaded for the same reason—for the faith in Christ.

Maodatius was hung up by his toes, and, having been pierced with red-hot awls, and burned with torches, was deprived of life, for the testimony of Jesus.

Besides these, many others were put to death for the faith, whose names cannot be given; hence we shall content ourselves with those already mentioned. See J. Gys., fol. 27, col. 4, at the foot, and fol. 28, col. 1.


In the Introduction to the Martyrs Mirror, fol. 44 and 45, there are mentioned, besides the ten general persecutions, which we have described, two others, there called the eleventh and the twelfth persecutions; of which the former is said to have begun, A. D. 316, under Lucinius, who, together with Constantine the Great, reigned in the east; and the second, A. D. 362, under Julian the Apostate. But since other eminent writers do not pronounce these persecutions as general ones, we shall give no special account of them; however, if any true martyrs were put to death at that time, we hope to mention each in his proper place. Under Lucinius, there laid down their lives for the faith in the Son of God, according to the testimony of the ancients, the following persons.


When it was thought that the previous persecutions, especially that under Diocletian and Maximian, should have quenched the blood-thirstiness of the great, Lucinius, who occupied the imperial throne in the east, was still not content therewith. For when the winds of blood, fanned on by Satan, blew through his head, he caused to be put to death without mercy, various pious Christians, namely: Basileus, bishop of the church of Christ at Amasen, in Pontus; Ammon, a deacon; and about forty women, whom he had killed, some by fire, and some by water; as well as various other pious martyrs, whom he had put in the cold ice, thus causing their death. This happened about the tenth year of the reign of Lucianius, which agrees with A. D. 316. Introd., fol. 44, col. 1, 2.


There were two brothers, Donotian and Rogatian, natives of Italy; one of whom, Donotian, had accepted the true Christian faith, and been baptized upon it; but the other, Rogatian, had not yet received baptism, was however a neophyte or catechumen, having been brought to the knowledge of the Christian truth through the instrumentality of his brother. Both were apprehended. Then Rogatian wished greatly that he had been baptized, for he knew that he would have to die; but that could not be, as there was no opportunity. His brother, Donotian, therefore prayed to God, that his blood might be accounted to him for the sacrament of baptism. The next day both were beheaded, A. D. 360. P. J. Twisck, Chron., 4th book, fol. 106, col. 2, from the tract, Grondig Bewijs van den Heyligen Doop, letter B. Also, Leonh., in tract., lib. 2. These authors must be compared with each other.

The persecution which took place under Julian, the Apostate, did not destroy the bodies as much as the souls. For since he was a very crafty man, and had an eloquent, yet deceitful, tongue, he did more harm to the church of God by his flattery, than by tyranny. Nevertheless, several of the true Christians were martyred under his reign; who would rather through the way of death enter life eternal, than through the way of temporal life, by flattery, fall into eternal death and damnation; as shall presently be shown.


There were two special friends, John and Paul, who opposed war and bloodshed. They were called to war, and urged to engage in it, but as they would not consent to it, they were therefore, as well as because of their true Christian confession, put to death as heretics. Concerning this, different authors write thus: “John and Paul had to die, because they would not engage in warfare, but replied to the Apostate: ‘We are Christians; it is not lawful for us to engage in war.’ ” In Grondelijke Verklaringe Danielis, en Johannis Openbaringe, printed at Harlem, A. D. 1635, page 56, from various other authors.


After the death of the Emperor Julian, Jovian reigned, and after the death of the latter, the empire devolved on Valentinian, who is commonly called Valens. He, too, stained his hands with the blood of the Christians, yet not so excessively as some of his predecessors. Nevertheless, he cannot be excused, seeing he caused some pious people who observed the doctrine of Christ to be put to a very cruel death, because they, like the abovementioned John and Paul, refused to perform military service. Compare P. J. Twisck, Chron., 4th book, p. 114, col. 1, with Jan. Crespin, in his tract, treating of the oppressions, fol. 114.

We might have adduced more martyrs for this century, but since that which the ancients have written with respect to their lives, as well as their faith and religion is doubtful, we have not deemed it well to proceed further, and shall, therefore, content ourselves with the true martyrs of whom we have already given an account, and those of whom we hope to give an account in the following centuries.




[We have begun this century with the fifth chapter of the Centuriæ Magdeburgenses, the contents of which may be examined.

Vincent Victor opposes Augustine in the matter of infant baptism.

Synesius Syrenus, baptized on his faith, by Theophilus.

The fourth council of Carthage establishes, that those who desire to be baptized, must first be examined, and sounded relative to their faith.

Sedulius maintains that baptism is a regeneration, and, moreover, exhorts the young to baptism.

Hilarius of Syracuse asserts the salvation of children that die unbaptized.

The edict of Honorius and Theodosius against the Anabaptists.

The council held at Carthage, under Aurelius, against those who denied original sin, infant baptism, and predestination, adopts resolutions entirely different from the decree of the aforementioned fourth council of Carthage.

The edicts of Honorius and Theodosius, in support of said council.

Maximus teaches the baptism of Christ; Cresconius and his adherents are pronounced Anabaptists; Cyril of Alexandria speaks soundly on baptism, and opposes the errors of the Nastorians and Valentinians.

An account, from Socrates, of many persons at Alexandria, who hastened to baptism, and were baptized on confession of their sins; as also, of a sick Jew, who was baptized, and of one who received baptism after much fasting.

Faustus Regiensis teaches that for baptism the will [consent] of him that is baptized is necessary.

Evragius makes mention of the baptism of the candidates, that is, of those who had previously been instructed.

Eucherius maintains that that believer who dies unto sin is rightly baptized.

Carthaginian women who waited for baptism.

In the Council of Arausica rules are made respecting the baptism of the dumb, the weak, and catechumens.

Nazarius, the son of Perpetua, a Christian woman, is baptized after previous instruction.

In the margin mention is made of one Montluck, who adduces the resolutions of various councils, against the killing of heretics; as also, the views of Gelasius concerning the holy Supper.

Salvian of Marseilles, on renouncing Satan, confessing the faith in God, which it was customary to do at baptism.

Authymius, Sisinnius, and Sociorus, baptized after having been instructed for seven days.

Nolanus mentions the hymns which it was customary to sing at baptism.

Anabaptism condemned in the fourth council of Rome.

An account of many who separated from the church of Rome, and, though baptized in their infancy, were baptized upon faith; as also, what the Pope (or Bishop of Rome) decreed against this.

Primasius’ explanation of 1 Tim. 6:12; its application to adult candidates for baptism.

Fulgentius calls baptism a sacrament of faith and repentance.

In the margin it is stated how vehemently Leo inveighed against the bishops of Campania, etc., who, according to his judgment, did not administer baptism aright.

The conclusion is from P. J. Twisck, who says that ancient church history, other writers excepted, makes no mention of infant baptism before A. D. 500.]

We shall begin the fifth century, concerning baptism, with the fifth chapter of Jacob Mehrn. History of Baptism, who commences his account of baptism at that time thus: “Henceforth we shall not dwell upon quite so many testimonies taken from the ancient fathers and church historians, as had necessarily to be the case in the preceding centuries, in order to prove that during the first four centuries after the birth of Christ, infant baptism had neither in the holy Scriptures nor in the authentic books of the teachers of the church, a firm foundation; that is, that it had been ordained by Christ, or that it was an apostolic institution or tradition. But we shall in future content ourselves with such testimonies and historical records as best agree with the truth of the ordinance of the baptism of Jesus Christ, in order that we may thereby strengthen ourselves in that truth and in the true faith.” Bapt. Hist., page 394.

A. D. 401.—About the beginning of this century, opposition was made against infant baptism and its advocates, among which advocates in favor of infant baptism Augustine showed himself none of the least, although he himself had been baptized upon faith, as has previously been mentioned. He was opposed by a certain bishop, by the name of Vincent Victor, who, notwithstanding Augustine’s authority, attacked infant baptism, and, as it appears, withstood it with conclusive arguments from holy Scripture. But how it finally ended between the two parties, of this I find no account; mention is made, however, of the matter itself, by Vicecomes (lib. 2, cap. 1), who says that Augustine (lib. 3, de anima, et ijus orig., cap. 14), mentions a bishop called Vincent Victor, who contended with him about infant baptism. Bapt. Hist., page 448.

NOTE.—Vincent taught that in the Supper the figures of the body and the blood of Christ are administered. Also, that the bread and the wine continue in their own substance. Book of the two natures. Also, Samuel Veltius, in Geslacht-register, page 124.

A. D. 402.—About this time, the very old and excellent orator Victorinus was baptized on confession of his faith; of which we find the following in the 2d chapter of the 8th book of Augustine’s 182 Confessions: “O Lord God, who hast bowed the heavens under thy feet; thou hast come down and touched the mountains, and smoke has issued from them; how wonderfully hast thou long since come into the heart of this Victorinus!”

“He read the holy Scriptures, as Simplician told me, and most diligently examined and investigated whatever he found written concerning the Christian religion. He then said to Simplician, not openly, but secretly, as friend speaks to friend: ‘Know that I am now a Christian.’ Simplician answered: ‘I shall not believe it, I shall not count thee among the Christians, unless I see thee in the Christian church.’ (A little further on:) But suddenly and quite unexpectedly he said to Simplician, as the latter told me: ‘Come, let us go to the church; I will become a Christian.’ Simplician, not knowing where he was, for joy, accompanied him there.

“Having been instructed in the principles of the faith, Victorinus soon after had his name registered, that he might be regenerated through the sacrament of baptism.

“Finally, when the hour had come for him to make his confession (for which confession, at Rome, a customary formula was learned, and then delivered from an elevated place, in the presence of all the Christians, by those who prepared themselves for baptism), the overseers, as Simplician told me, offered to let him make it privately, as was the custom to propose to those who it was feared might, through diffidence, be unable to proceed. But he said that he would rather profess his salvation in the hearing of all the Christians, than otherwise.

“When he had ascended the elevated place to make his confession, all who knew him pronounced his name with secret joy. But who was there that did not know him? For, from the mouths of all that were assembled, in mutual rejoicing with him, there arose the glad shout: Victorinus! Victorinus!”

A brief account of this is also given in Bapt. Hist., page 461.

From the above words quoted by us from Augustine, it certainly appears that at the time when said Vistorinus was baptized, there existed even in Rome, where this baptism took place, churches which, notwithstanding Antichrist began to lift up his head there in some measure, endeavored with all diligence to observe the true baptism of Jesus Christ, which is administered upon faith. For, the statement, that in Rome, that is, in the church which is spoken of here, was the custom, that those who prepared themselves for baptism, learned, for their confession, a customary formula, and then delivered it from an elevated place in the presence of all the Christians, incontrovertibly indicates that there the pure doctrine of Jesus Christ was still observed in this respect.

Matt. 10:32: “Whosoever therefore,” says Christ, “shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.” Again, Rom. 10:10: “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” This faith and this confession are necessary to baptism. Acts 8:37; 22:16.

Bapt. Hist., page 459; Vicecom., lib. 3, cap. 24. At the time of Augustine, that is, at the time of the aforementioned Victorinus, when virtue and Christian simplicity were still reigning, the examinations of the catechumens were conducted with much strictness, and great frequency, in the night-watches of the believers, as is shown by his words. Lib. 2, de Symbola ad Catechum., cap. 1.

A. D. 402.—Synesius Syrenus, an upright, pious man, became, from a heathen, a Christian; was baptized by Theophilus, and afterwards appointed by him bishop of Ptolemais. P. J. Twisck, Chron., 5th book, page 138, col. 1, from Evagrius, lib. 1, cap. 15. Mer., fol. 334.

It is true, that it is stated of Synesius Syrenus, that his faith was not perfect with regard to all the parts of the Christian religion, concerning which historians specially mention one particular point; but it is also stated that Bishop Theophilus, who baptized him, was in hopes, that, in the course of time, he would judge better on this point, which, it seems was also the case, since, as it is stated, Theophilus afterwards appointed him bishop of Ptolemais.

However, we would not commend this part of the matter, namely, to baptize any one without perfect faith or confession, especially if an essential point is wanting; but this we commend, that not children, but adult persons, who are commended as pious are baptized, and, from heathen, desire to become Christians, as is stated to have been the case here.

A. D. 406.—At this time it was resolved at Carthage, “That the candidates shall give in their names, and after they shall have been examined long, and diligently tried, with the imposition of hands, they shall be baptized.” Also: “That a bishop, before he be allowed to minister, shall be well examined in doctrine and life.” Also: “That fellowship with the excommunicated shall be avoided, and the penitent received back again.” P. J. Twisck, Chron., 5th book, page 139, col. 2, from Grond. Bew., letter B. B. Valent. Beyer, fol. 603. Also, Bapt. Hist., page 447. ex Conc. Carth. 4, cap. 88.

Here applies the annotation of P. J. Twisck, in Chron., 5th book, page 153, col. 1: “In the fourth council of Carthage,” he writes, “it was decreed, That applicants for baptism shall first be examined for a long time, shall abstain for a time from wine and meat, and, having been diligently tried with imposition of hands, shall be baptized.” From Chron., Seb. Franck, of the Latin councils held in Africa and Europe, letter C. The time of this council is fixed by P. J. Twisck (from Seb. Fr.) A. D. 436; but he has previously given A. D. 406 as the date, and hence we leave it thus; others, however, give A. D. 416 as the date.

Beloved reader, this is a very different decree from an earlier one, also one made at Carthage, in the time of Cyprian, about A. D. 250, by sixty-six bishops, in which it was established, Contra Fidum, that infants should be baptized immediately. This is certainly, we say, a very different decree, since infant baptism is not confirmed, but, much more, annulled by it; and thus we see that in the course of time some had grown wiser. Not, that it is our 183 purpose to prove by councils, our view touching the true baptism, which must be administered upon faith; not at all, for we find in nothing less pleasure, than in the decrees of councils, in so far as they come short of the word of God. Besides, this point needs not to be proved by councils, as it is expressed in the holy Scriptures; we simply mean to show thereby that also at that time there were persons who, even in the very place where infant baptism had been ratified, confirmed the true baptism of Jesus Christ, which must be administered upon previous examination, and has its foundation in the holy Scriptures. As to this, that the candidates were commanded, first to abstain for a time from wine and meat, we leave that as it is, neither commending nor condemning it, as being a thing which, without sin, may be observed or omitted, provided no superstition is connected therewith.

A. D. 410.Bapt. Hist., page 408. Sedulius writes, on Rom. 5: “No man suffers condemnation, except through Adam; from which men are redeemed through the washing of regeneration.”

But what else is the washing of regeneration, than the death of the old man, and the putting on of a new life, which is signified by baptism? See Rom. 6:3,4; Eph. 5:26,27; Tit. 3:5; 1 Pet. 3:21.

Again, Sedulius, on Rom. 6, says: “Paul would have baptism so sure and perfect as to make it impossible for the recipient to sin any more. When the grace of God came upon us through Christ, and the spiritual washing reigned in us through faith, we began to live unto God, being dead unto sin, that is, the devil. And thus, baptism is an earnest and figure of the resurrection; and hence it is administered with water, that, as water washes away impurities, and even so we through baptism, we believe, are spiritually cleansed and purified from all sin.”

Further: “Know that through baptism you, who have become a member of his body are crucified with Christ. He hung on the cross with an innocent body, that you might hang on the cross the guilty one.”

Again, on 1 Cor. 5: “O that you may be a new leaven; that you may be mixed with the grace of holy baptism, as flour is mixed with water.” This he seems to speak to those, who, though they had reached adult years, yet did not make any preparations, but deferred both their baptism and their regeneration.

Again, on 2 Cor. 5: “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:” that is, he that is renewed through the sacrament of baptism.

We will not detain you, dear reader, with explanations on the above passages of Sedulius, since they, without explanation, are so clear, that even he that has but little understanding in divine things, can manifestly see, yea feel, that the baptism described by Sedulius savors not in the least of infant baptism, since the conditions he mentions in connection with it, as faith, regeneration, crucifying the old man, can not be comprehended, much less fulfilled by infants.

A. D. 411.Bapt. Hist., page 444, ex Centuria 5. Magdeburgensis, fol. 664. Augustine writes that Hilarius, a teacher at Syracuse, wrote: “When an unbaptized child dies, it can not justly be damned, since it was born without sin.”

A person unacquainted with the condition of things at that time, may perhaps think that with these words Hilarius of Syracuse, contributed but little to the abolishment of infant baptism; but he that is familiar with it, will instantly see that thereby he utterly denied infant baptism, and stripped it of its virtues. It deserves mention, that in those times infant baptism was based upon original sin, so that it was thought that infants, for the removal of said original sin, must necessarily be baptized; from which the conclusion was derived, that infants that were not baptized, and, consequently (in their opinion), not cleansed from original sin, must necessarily be damned, as is still taught at the present day by the Papists.

Whenever then, any one denied original sin, the foundation of infant baptism, he denied infant baptism itself, yea utterly annihilated it. This did Hilarius of Syracuse, who denied original sin in newborn infants, and, consequently, infant baptism; wherefore he, according to Augustine, frankly said: “When an unbaptized child dies, it cannot justly be damned, since it was born without sin.”

A. D. 412.Bapt. Hist., page 407. Theodoretus, in chap. 10, says: “In the law they used sprinklings, and frequently washed the body; but they who order their life according to the New Testament, purify the soul by holy baptism, and free the conscience from previous stains.”

Again, in Epist. Divin. Decret.: “But instead of those sprinklings, the gift of holy baptism is sufficient for those who believe; for it grants not only remission of old or previous sins, but it also implants (that is, into those who are thus baptized), the hope of promised good things; it makes us partakers of the death and resurrection of the Lord; it imparts the communion and gifts of the Holy Ghost; it makes us children of God, and not only children, but also heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ.”

Again, quaest. 19 on Levit.: “He that believes in Christ the Savior, when he is sanctified by the water of holy baptism, is also cleansed from the stains of sin.”

Again, quaest. 1 on Jos.: “As the priests who bore the ark, went first into Jordan, whereupon all the people, with Joshua, the princes, and the prophets, passed through; even so, when John began to baptize, Jesus the Savior hallowed, as it were the nature of the water; and the believing people entered through holy baptism into the kingdom of God.”

Who does not see that Theodoretus who wrote A. D. 412, and afterwards, indicates with all the circumstances, that he recognized no baptism, than that which is accompanied with faith and repentance; for when, in the first place, he says: “Those who order their lives according to the New Testament, purify the soul by holy baptism,” and then says: “Instead of those sprinklings, the gift of holy baptism is sufficient for those who believe,” and finally adds: “The believing people entered, through 184 baptism, into the kingdom of God,” he certainly indicates that he does not in any wise speak of the baptism of infants, since they have neither the knowledge nor the ability, to order their lives in accordance with the New Testament, or to believe, which are here put down as absolute conditions in the candidates for baptism.

NOTE.—Theodoretus taught that the figures of the Supper, namely, the bread and the wine, in no wise change their nature, but remain as they are, after consecration. Dialog. 2, Sam. Velt., in Geslaght-register, pages 123, 124.

A. D. 413.—As those Christians greatly increased, who valued only the baptism which is administered upon faith, and, consequently rebaptized (as not having been baptized aright) those who had been baptized by unbelievers or in infancy, when they attained to the true faith, the Emperor Theodosius, A. D. 413, issued an edict, against the Anabaptists, commanding that they should be put to death. Introduction, page 47, col. 2, from Chron. Baron., num. 6.

But lest any one should think that the people who, under the name of Anabaptists, were threatened with death by the Emperor Theodosius, held, with regard to this point, views different from those maintained by the Baptists of the present day, who are likewise called Anabaptists, it is expedient to mention what was said about their views by the inquisitor of Leeuwærden, in opposition to one of our latest martyrs, namely, Jagues d’Auchi. When Jagues wanted the inquisitor, who appealed to the Emperor’s edict, to prove that said edict was just or founded on holy Scripture, the inquisitor made this reply to him: “I believe you think that all our fathers were deceived, and that your sect is saved: what do you say? It is now 1200 or 1300 years since the Emperor Theodosius issued an edict, that the heretics should be put to death, namely, those who were rebaptized like your sect.” See the year 1558, and, in the index, the name Jagues d’Auchi.

When, therefore, the inquisitor says that they “were rebaptized like your sect,” he certainly indicates thereby, that they were people like Jagues d’Auchi was, and, consequently, like the Anabaptists who at that time, namely, A. D. 1558, gave their lives for the truth.

A. D. 415.Bapt. Hist., page 407, Prosperus, Resp. 2, ad Object. Gallorum, says: “Every one who, believing on the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, is regenerated in baptism, is freed from his own, voluntary and actual, sins, as well as from original sin.”

Page 413. Prosperus, in his Epigrams, puts the martyrs and the candidates for baptism on an equal footing, when he says:

“Sanctify, baptism will indeed;
But the martyr’s crown doth all complete.”

In the first passage of Prosperus we see that faith, regeneration, baptism, forsaking of voluntary sins, etc., are all joined together, even as this is done in the holy Scriptures of the New Testament. Compare Mark, 16:16; Eph. 5:26,27; Tit. 3:5; 1 Pet. 3:21, with Matt. 3:6; Mark 1:5; Luke 3:3; Acts 2:37,38; Rom. 6:4. Hence it is a scriptural confession; and there we will let it rest.

In the second passage the martyrs and the candidates for baptism are compared to one another; but who does not know that infants cannot be martyrs, seeing they can neither believe nor confess, much less can they voluntarily confirm said confessed faith with death, which, nevertheless, is the own work of all the orthodox and faithful martyrs. Now then, if infants are not qualified for martyrdom, they are not fit for baptism. Therefore judge whether this is not comprised in the words of Prosperus which we have just mentioned.

A. D. 418.—The doctrine of infant baptism having been openly controverted ever since the beginning of this century, its foundation, namely, original sin, being denied and refuted, it occurred, A. D. 418, that those of the Roman church in Africa, through the urgent request of Augustine and his fellow-bishops, obtained the convocation of a council or synod under Aurelius, bishop of Carthage, composed of two hundred and fourteen bishops; which council, in the name of the See of Rome, absolutely anathematized or condemned the views of those who did not admit infant baptism or recognize original sin in infants, as well as of those who, opposing predestination, held that the will of man was free. The 112th Canon contains the following resolution respecting original sin and baptism: “It is likewise thought proper, that every one who denies that infants who are baptized from their birth, are baptized for the remission of sins, and that they derive from the sin of the first father, Adam, that from which they must be cleansed through the washing of regeneration, be anathema, that is, accursed.”

It is true, this anathema was aimed particularly at Pelagius and Celestius, as being the ones who had shown themselves the principal rejecters of infant baptism, since they positively said (according to Seb. Franck, Chron., letter P.): “There is no original sin; hence, baptism is not needful for children, yea, is useless to them.” Again, article 7: “Children are born without original sin; baptism avails them nothing.” Again, article 13: “Though children be not baptized, they nevertheless have eternal life.”

But nevertheless this council, Canon 112, also anathematized or cursed all those who assented to these views (the rejection of infant baptism and original sin), for this is specially expressed with these words: “Every one who denies that infants who are baptized from their birth, are baptized for the remission of sins, be Anathema.” For, we know that the words every one do not mean any particular person, but many persons.

It appears therefore, that at that time many people separated from the Roman church, on account of this view respecting original sin and infant baptism. However, we would not defend the views of Pelagius and Celestius, concerning some other points; it suffices us, that there were people in those times, who, notwithstanding the excommunication of the pope, and the persecution of the councils, still opposed the Roman church, especially through 185 the rejection of infant baptism, and even, some of them, sacrificed their lives.

A. D. 419–421.—As the Anabaptists were not yet deterred by the above council, from maintaining their doctrine that baptism ought only to be administered upon true faith, therefore, in order to quench their doctrine, the authority of said council was confirmed A. D. 419, by the edicts of the Emperors Honorius and Theodosius, and A. D. 421, by the additional edict of Constantius; whereby said council forcibly prevailed throughout the entire Roman empire. See concerning this, H. Montan. Nietigh., page 79.

From this it appears that this doctrine of baptizing only upon true faith, was accepted by very many at that time; for otherwise it would not have been necessary for the Emperors to threaten its defenders with the great power of their edicts, and, as it appears, to persecute them even unto death.

A. D. 425.Bapt. Hist., page 411, Maximus (Homil. 71, de Baptism. Christi) says: “Jesus was baptized, not for himself, but for us; not that he might be purified with the water, but that he (so to speak), might sanctify the water. The new man was baptized, that he might confirm the mystery of the new baptism.”

When, therefore, Maximus introduces here the baptism of Christ, which took place when the latter was about thirty years old, and says that it was not done for himself, but for us, that is, for an example to be followed, and that he thereby confirmed the mystery of the new baptism, he certainly indicates thereby, that he is not speaking of the baptism of infants, since Christ, who, through his baptism, confirmed baptism, was not a child when he was baptized, but an adult person. Moreover, as no other, contrary testimony concerning him is found in the history of holy baptism, it seems probable, that he was not acquainted with any other baptism, and, consequently, not with infant baptism, or, at least, did not observe it.

A. D. 428.—There were many persons accused, through the writings of Augustine, of being Anabaptists, or at least, of defending Anabaptism, inasmuch as they maintained that baptism administered by heretics or unbelievers was not to be regarded as true baptism, and that, therefore, those who had been baptized by such persons, ought to be rebaptized; in short, that there was no true baptism except that administered in the true church, and upon true faith. Among those thus accused Cresconius was not one of the least; in Augustine’s writings the following things are laid to his charge:

Bapt. Hist., page 416: “That there is but one true baptism; for it is written: One God, one faith, one baptism, one undefiled, true church: those who are not in it, the same cannot have any baptism.”

Again: “In baptism, regard is had to the certainty that he who administers it is such a one that does it in a holy manner; but this certainty respecting the one who baptizes, is not judged by the uprightness of his heart, which cannot be seen, but according to his good reputation, and the respect in which he is held.”

Again: “It is written: ‘The oil of the sinner shall not anoint my head’: hence it follows it is not the will of God, that an open sinner shall baptize.”

Again: “In view of this passage, can anything more absurd be said, than that one polluted person should purify another? that one impure person should wash another? that one unclean person should cleanse another? or that a blasphemer should make any one innocent?”

Again: “You, our gainsayers, do not distinguish between a believer and an unbeliever.”

Again: “If it were wrong [what we confess], and baptism may not be annulled [or re-administered], no matter who has administered it, then the apostles would not have baptized those who had been baptized by John; but the contrary is seen,” Acts 19:5.

Again: “In Acts 2:38, Peter commands every Jew to be baptized upon (or in) the name of Christ, though their forefathers had been baptized in the Red Sea (1 Cor. 10:2); hence, the previous baptism (that is, the one which has not been administered rightly), may justly be annulled or changed.”

These are the words, or, at least, the meaning, of Cresconius and his companions, as described by Augustine, and quoted in the History of Holy Baptism; from which it may be seen that also at that time but one baptism was recognized, which must be administered in the true church, by blameless teachers, and upon true faith, as stated elsewhere. Leaving this, we proceed to others, who at that time, and afterwards, confessed the same faith, or, at least, as far as we know, did not oppose it.

A. D. 429.—It is recorded that at this time there flourished Cyril, bishop of Alexandria, who, writing, among other things, on baptism, has left some sound testimony concerning it.

In Bapt. Hist., page 443, the Centuriatores Magdeburgenses have made some extracts from Cyril of Alexandria, page 613, where they say that he taught as follows, book 6, on John 14: “Through the water of the flood, the sins of the whole world were reconciled (or brought to an end), and those who were concealed in the ark, were preserved through the water (of the flood). This was a type of baptism, by which the impurity of all sin is put off, and the old life taken away.”

Again: “A catechumen is anointed (that is, instructed with the word of God), that he may be taught; for the Greek word catechumenos means, in Latin, one that is being instructed; and he is baptized, that he may know the true light, and receive the remission of all sins; therefore, the virtue or significance of baptism ought not to be esteemed lightly, since it dispels the darkness of the soul, and imparts the light of heaven.”

Page 463, Vicecomes, lib. 2, cap. 24, Cyril of Alexandria (lib. 7, Contra Julianum) writes: “When we have put off the darkness of our mind, repelled the legions of Satan, and wisely cast off all their pomp and service, we confess the faith in God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and are baptized thereupon.”

This finishes the testimonies respecting baptism which I have been able to find from Cyril of Alexandria. There is certainly nothing contained in 186 them, which in the least resembles infant baptism, nay, everything he says concerning baptism, opposes it. For, when, in the first place, he says that the impurity of all sin is put off, and the old life taken away, it is certainly obvious that he does not speak of the baptism of infants, since they, having no previous impurity of sin, cannot put it off by baptism, and, having never walked in the old life, they cannot forsake it or put it away. When he, secondly, says of the catechumens, that they are baptized, it is certainly also obvious from it, that it does not concern infants, since these have not the qualification of being instructed. The third passage is so clearly opposed to infant baptism, that it requires no explanation, inasmuch as it expressly speaks of confessing t