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An Ecclesiastical History To The 20th Year Of The Reign Of Constantine by Eusebius

THE same author before his conflict makes mention in his first Apology, of others that suffered martyrdom before him, in which he fitly introduces the following statement: “A certain woman,” says he, “had a husband that was intemperate. She herself had also previously led a dissolute life; but after she was made acquainted with the doctrines of Christ, she became modest, and endeavoured to persuade her husband also to lead a virtuous life, presenting to his mind the doctrines of Christianity, and the punishment of eternal fire awaiting those that would not live virtuously, and according to right reason; but he still continuing in the same lascivious habits, wholly alienated his wife’s affections by his practices. Finally, the woman considering it wicked to live with one who, contrary to the law of nature and propriety, was intent upon every course to gratify his lusts, contemplated a divorce. But when she was advised by her friends to remain with him, in hope of his reformation, she did violence to herself, and remained. Afterwards, however, her husband, who had gone to Alexandria, was reported to be acting much worse. Fearing, therefore, lest she should become a sharer in his unrighteousness and impieties, if she continued united to him, and should be his companion, she sent him what is called the bill of divorce, and was separated. This good and excellent husband, however, who ought to have rejoiced that his wife, who had formerly delighted in debauchery and all manner of vice, had now ceased from those deeds in which she had formerly been wantonly engaged with servants and hirelings, and that she now wished him, also, to cease from doing the same things, would not do thus, when she left him, but he brought an accusation against her, asserting that she was a Christian. And she delivered to you, the Emperor, a petition, requesting that she might first be permitted to regulate her domestic affairs, and then, after the regulation of her affairs, she would make her defence in reference to the accusation. And this you granted. But he, who had formerly been the husband of the woman, not being able to say any thing against her now, turned upon a certain Ptolemy, whom Urbicius had punished, and who had become her instructor in the principles of Christianity, in the following manner:

“He had persuaded the centurion to seize Ptolemy his friend, and cast him in prison, and to ask him only this, whether he was a Christian? Ptolemy, who was a lover of truth, and averse to all deceit and falsehood, confessed himself a Christian; in consequence of which he was cast into prison, and punished by the centurion in this way for a long time. At last, when the man came before Urbicius in like manner, only this one thing was asked, whether he was a Christian? And as he was conscious of deriving every happiness and blessing from the doctrine of Christ, he again professed the principles of celestial virtue: for he that denies that he is a Christian, either denies because he despises, or because he is conscious that he is unworthy of this religion, and a stranger to its excellency; and thus avoids the confession. Neither of these things can apply to the true Christian. Urbicius, however, having commanded him to be led forth, a certain Lucius, who was also a Christian, seeing the judgment so unjustly passed, says to Urbicius, ‘What charge is this, that you should punish one who is neither an adulterer, nor fornicator, nor a murderer, nor a thief, nor a robber; nor convicted, indeed, of any crime, but simply confessing the name of a Christian? O Urbicius, you do not judge what becomes our pious emperor, nor the philosophic son of Cæsar, nor the sacred senate.’ But without any other reply, he said to Lucius, ‘Thou appearest also to be one such as these,’ and as Lucius answered, ‘By all means,’ he in like manner commanded him to be led forth. But he (Lucius) said, he thanked him; ‘for now,’ he added, ‘he was liberated from wicked masters, and was going to the good Father and King, even GOD.’ And a second and third coming up, were punished in the same way.” To these Justin, next in order, adds the passages that we quoted above, where he says: “But I am now waiting to be waylaid by a certain one of those called philosophers,” etc.








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