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107 [94]

Actes and Monumentes of the Church.

except onely in the court of Rome by appellation, wherby who seeth not the traine of our latter bishops goyng about craftely to aduaunce the dignitye of the court of Rome, vnder and by the pretenced title of Cornelius, and of such auncient bishops. If Cornelius dyd wryte any epistles to any in deede in those so turbulent times of persecution, no doubt but some signification thereof he would haue touched in the sayde his letters, either in ministring consolation to hys brethren, or in requiring consolatiō and prayers of others. Neither is there any doubt, but he would haue geuen some touch also of the matter of Nouatus, with whom he had so much to doo, as in deede he did: for so we finde it recorded both in Eusebius, and in Hierome that he wrote vnto Fabius bishop of Antioche, of the decreementes of the councell of Rome, and an other letter of the maner of the councel: the third also of the cause of Nouatus, and agayne of the repentaunce of such as fell, wherof ther is no word touched at al in these foresaid epistles decretall.

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Marginalia The constancie of Cornelius in hys tryal.
Ciprian. lib. 1. epist. 1.
What trouble this Cornelius had wt Nouatus, it is sufficiently before signified. In this persecution of Decius he demeaned him selfe very constantlye and faithfully, which sustained great conflictes with the aduersaries, as S. Cyprian geueth witnes, lib. 1. epist. 1. Hierom testifieth that he remayned Bishoppe after the death of Decius, to the time of Gallus, and so appeareth also by S. Cyprian, which hath these words: et tyrannū armis et bello postmodum victum, prior sacerdotio suo vicit. But Damasus and Sabellicus, hys follower, affirme that he was both exiled and also Martyred vnder the tyrānous reigne of Decius. Of whom Sabellicus writeth this storye, taken out (as it seemeth) of Damasus, and sayeth: that Cornelius by the commaundement of Decius, was banished to a towne called Centumcellas, bordering in Hetruria, from whence he sent letters to Cyprian Byshop of Carthage, and Cyprian agayne to him. Marginalia Cornelius accused for writing letters to Cyprian.Thys comming to the eares of Decius the Emperour, he sendeth for Cornelius, asking hym: how he durste bee so bolde to shewe such stubburnes, that he neyther caring for the Gods, nor fearing the displeasure of his princes, durste, agaynst the common wealth, geue and receaue letters from other. To whom Cornelius aunswering agayne, thus purged himselfe, declaring to the Emperour, that letters in deede he had written and receaued agayne concerning the prayses & honouring of Christ, and of saluation of soules, but nothyng as touching any matter of the common wealth. And it followeth in the story: Then Decius moued with anger cōmaunded hym to be beaten with plumbattes Marginalia Plumbatris cædi.(which is sayth Sabellicus, a kinde of scourging) and so to be brought to the temple of Mars: eyther there to doe sacrifice, or to suffer the extremitie. But he rather willing to dye, then to committe such iniquitie, prepared himselfe to Martyrdome, being sure that he shoulde die. Marginalia Cornelius martyred.And so commending the charge of the church vnto Stephanus hys Archdeacon, was brought to the way of Appius, where he ended hys lyfe in faythfull Martyrdome. Eusebius in one place saith, that he sat. iij. yeares, in an other place saith, that he sat. iij. yeres, and so doth Marianus Scotus, following also the diuersitie of the said Eusebius, Damasus geueth hym onely two yeares.

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In this foresayd persecution of Decius, it seemeth by some writers also that Cyprian was banished, but I suppose rather hys banishment to bee referred to the reigne of Gallus next Emperour after Decius, wherof more shall be sayd, (Christ willing) in his place hereafter. In the meane tyme the sayd Cyprian in hys second booke, epist. 5. & 6. maketh mention of. ij. that suffered eyther in the tyme of this Decius, or much aboute the same tyme. Marginalia Aurelius,
Of whom one was Aurelius a worthye and valiaunt young mā, who was twyse in tormentes for hys confession, which he neuer denied, but manfullyand boldlye withstode the aduersarye, till he was banyshed, and also after. And therefore was commended of Cyprian to certayne brethren, to haue hym for theyr lectorer, as in the forenamed epistle of Cyprian appeareth. Marginalia Mappalicus,
The other was named Mappalicus, who the daye before he suffered, declaring to the Proconsull, in the midst of hys tormentes, and saying: Videbis cras agonē: that is, to morowe you shall see the running for a wager. &c. was brought forth according as he forespake, to Martyrdome, and there with no lesse constancie then pacience dyd suffer.

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Marginalia The death and destruction of Decius.And thus much of þe tyrannie of thys wicked Decius agaynst God hys saintes,  

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Divine punishmrent of Decius and reign of Gallus

The Foxe Project was not able to complete the commentary on this section of text by the date by which this online edition was compiled (23 September 2008).

now to touch also the power of God hys vengeaunce and punishment agaynst him, like as we see commonlye a tempest that is vehement, not long to continue: so it happened with this tyrannicall tormentour, who reigning but. ij. yeares as sayth Eusebius, or.iij. at moste, as writeth Orosius, Marginalia Orosius lib. 7. cap. 14.among the midle of the Barbarians, with whom he dyd warre, was there slayne wt his sonne, like as he had slayne Philippus and hys sonne his predecessours before, so was he with hys sonne slaine by the ryghteous iudgement of God himself. Marginalia The iust reuenge of god against persecutorsEuseb. Lib. 7. cap. 1. Platin. Pomponius affyrmeth that he warring agaynst the Gotthians, and being by them ouercome, least he shoulde fall into theyr handes, ranne into a whurlepyt, where he was drowned, and his body neuer found after.

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Marginalia The iust punishmēt of God vpon the Heathē multitude, for persecuting hys people.Neither dyd the iuste hand of God plage the Emperour onely, but also reuenged as well the heathen Gentiles and persecutours of hys worde, through out all prouinces and dominions of the Romaine Monarchie, amongst whom the Lord immediatly after the death of Decius, sent such a plage and pestilence, lasting for the space of. x. yeares together, that horrible it is to heare, and almost incredible to beleue. Of thys plage or pestilence, testifieth Dionysius to Heriax a bishop in Egypt. Euseb. Lib. 7. cap. 21. 22. Where he declareth the mortalitie of thys plage to bee so greate in Alexandria, where he was Byshop, that there was no house in the whole citie free. And although the greatnes of the plage touched also the Christians somewhat, yet it scourged the heathen Idolaters much more: beside that þe order of their behauiour in the one, and in þe other was much diuers. Marginalia The brotherly loue and pietie among the Christians, shewed in type of plage.For, as the foresayd Dionysius doth recorde, the Christians through brotherlie loue and pietie, dyd not refuse one to visite and comforte an other, and to minister to hym, what neede requyred. Notwithstanding it was to them great daunger: so diuerse there were, who in closing vp theyr eyes, in washing theyr bodyes, and interring them in the grounde, were nexte themselues which followed them to theyr graues. Yet al this stayed not them from doing their duetie, and shewing mercye one to an other. Where as the Gentiles contrarilye, being extremelye visited by the hande of God, felte the plage, but considered not the striker, neyther yet considered they theyr neighbour, but euery man shifting for himself, neither cared for one nor for an other: but such as were infected, some they would caste out of the dores halfe dead, to be deuoured of dogges and wilde beastes, some they let dye within their houses, without all succour, some they suffered to lye vnburyed, for that no man durste come nere them. Marginalia A terrible pestilence raigning through all the Roman Monarchy.And yet notwithstanding for all their voyding and shifting, the pestilence followed them, whether so euer they went, and miserably consumed them. In so much, that Dionysius Byshop the same tyme of Alexandria, thus reporteth of hys own citie: that suche a greate mortalitie was then amonge them, that the sayd citie of Alexandria had not in number of all together, both olde and younge, as it was wonte to containe before of olde men onely, from the age of. xl. to. lxx. such as were founde in tyme paste, by common almoste in that citie. Pomponius Lætus, and

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