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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol I:
The Church History of Eusebius.: Chapter XVII

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XVII.—The Martyrs whom Justin mentions in his Own Work.

1. The same man, before his conflict, mentions in his first Apology 1183 others that suffered martyrdom before him, and most fittingly records the following events.

2. He writes thus: 1184 “A certain woman lived with a dissolute husband; she herself, too, having formerly been of the same character. But when she came to the knowledge of the teachings of Christ, she became temperate, and endeavored to persuade her husband likewise to be temperate, repeating the teachings, and declaring the punishment in eternal fire which shall come upon those who do not live temperately and conformably to right reason.

3. But he, continuing in the same excesses, alienated his wife by his conduct. For she finally, thinking it wrong to live as a wife with a man who, contrary to the law of nature and right, sought every possible means of pleasure, desired to be divorced from him.

4. And when she was earnestly entreated by her friends, who counseled her still to remain with him, on the ground that her husband might some time give hope of amendment, she did violence to herself and remained.

5. But when her husband had gone to Alexandria, and was reported to be conducting himself still worse, she—in order that she might not, by continuing in wedlock, and by sharing his board and bed, become a partaker in his lawlessness and impiety—gave him what we 1185 call a bill of divorce and left him.

6. But her noble and excellent husband,—instead of rejoicing, as he ought to have done, that she had given up those actions which she had formerly recklessly committed with the servants and hirelings, when she delighted in drunkenness and in every vice, and that she desired him likewise to give them up,—when she had gone from him contrary to his wish, brought an accusation concerning her, declaring that she was a Christian.

7. And she petitioned you, the emperor, that she might be permitted first to set her affairs in order, and afterwards, after the settlement of her affairs, to make her defense against the accusation. And this you granted.

8. But he who had once been her husband, being no longer able to prosecute her, directed his attacks against a certain Ptolemæus, 1186 who had been her teacher in the doctrines of Christianity, and whom Urbicius 1187 had punished. Against him he proceeded in the following manner:

9. “He persuaded a centurion who was his friend to cast Ptolemæus into prison, and to take him and ask him this only: whether he were a Christian? And when Ptolemæus, who was a lover of truth, and not of a deceitful and false disposition, confessed that he was a Christian, the centurion bound him and punished him for a long time in the prison.

10. And finally, when the man was brought before Urbicius he was likewise asked this question only: whether he were a Christian? And again, conscious of the benefits which he enjoyed through the teaching of Christ, he confessed his schooling in divine virtue.

11. For whoever denies that he is a Christian, either denies because he despises Christianity, or he avoids confession because he is conscious that he is unworthy and an alien to it; neither of which is the case with the true Christian.

12. And when Urbicius commanded that he be led away to punishment, a certain Lucius, 1188 who was also a Christian, seeing judgment so unjustly passed, p. 196 said to Urbicius, ‘Why have you punished this man who is not an adulterer, nor a fornicator, nor a murderer, nor a thief, nor a robber, nor has been convicted of committing any crime at all, but has confessed that he bears the name of Christian? You do not judge, O Urbicius, in a manner befitting the Emperor Pius, or the philosophical son 1189 of Cæsar, or the sacred senate.’

13. And without making any other reply, he said to Lucius, ‘Thou also seemest to me to be such an one.’ And when Lucius said, ‘Certainly,’ he again commanded that he too should be led away to punishment. But he professed his thanks, for he was liberated, he added, from such wicked rulers and was going to the good Father and King, God. And still a third having come forward was condemned to be punished.”

14. To this, Justin fittingly and consistently adds the words which we quoted above, 1190 saying, “I, too, therefore expect to be plotted against by some one of those whom I have named,” &c. 1191


Footnotes

195:1183

Eusebius in this chapter quotes what we now know as Justin’s second Apology, calling it his first. It is plain that the two were but one to him. See chap. 18, note 3.

195:1184

Justin, Apol. II. 2.

195:1185

Our authorities are divided between μῖν and μῖν, but I have followed Heinichen in adopting the former, which has much stronger ms. support, and which is in itself at least as natural as the latter.

195:1186

Of this Ptolemæus we know only what is told us here. Tillemont, Ruinart, and others have fixed the date of his martyrdom as 166, or thereabouts. But inasmuch as the second Apology is now commonly regarded as an appendix to, or as a part of, the first, and was at any rate written during the reign of Antoninus Pius, the martyrdom of Ptolemæus must have taken place considerably earlier than the date indicated, in fact in all probability as early as 152 (at about which time the Apology was probably written). We learn from the opening of the second Apology that the martyrdoms which are recorded in the second chapter, and the account of which Eusebius here quotes, happened very shortly before the composition of the Apology (χθὲς δὲ καὶ πρώην, “yesterday and the day before”).

195:1187

Ουρβίκιος, as all the mss. of Eusebius give the name. In Justin the form Ούρβικος occurs, which is a direct transcription of the Latin Urbicus.

195:1188

Of this Lucius we know only what is told us here.

196:1189

Marcus Aurelius. See above, chap. 12, note 2.

196:1190

In chap. 16, §3.

196:1191

Justin, Apol. II. 3. These words, in Justin’s Apology, follow immediately the long account quoted just above.


Next: Chapter XVIII

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