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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. III:
Moral Treatises of St. Augustin: Section 8

Early Church Fathers  Index     

8. We read in the Ecclesiastical History which Eusebius wrote in Greek, and Ruffinus turned into the Latin tongue, of Martyr’s bodies in Gaul exposed to dogs, and how the leavings of those dogs and bones of the dead were, even to uttermost consumption, by fire burned up; and the ashes of the same scattered on the river Rhone, lest any thing should be left for any sort whatever of memorial. 2729 Which thing must be believed to have been to no other end divinely permitted, but that Christians should learn in confessing Christ, while they despise this life, much more to despise sepulture. For this thing, which with savage rage was done to the bodies of Martyrs, if it could any whit hurt them, to impair the blessed resting of their most victorious spirits, would assuredly not have been suffered to be done. In very deed therefore it was declared, that the Lord in saying, “Fear not them which kill the body, and afterward have no more that they can do,” 2730 did not mean that He would not permit them to do any thing to the bodies of His followers when dead; but that whatever they might be permitted to do, nothing should be done that could lessen the Christian felicity of the departed, nothing thereof reach to their consciousness while yet living after death; nothing avail to the detriment, no, not even of the bodies themselves, to diminish aught of their integrity when they should rise again.



Eusebius, H. E. book v. chap. i. relates, that the bodies of these martyrs of Lyons lay exposed in the open air for six days successively, and were then burned and cast into the Rhone.—Ben. ed.


Matt. 10:28, Luke 12:4Matt. x. 28; Luke xii. 4

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