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them, would certainly have sold again for the benefit of the poor, but that he feared to raise the jealousy of his persecutors. The Official surprised him, or, I should more truly say, thought he had. For what is there to surprise, as though by unforeseen attack, the mind which is always ready? He went forward therefore, now certain that that would be accomplished, which had long been held back; he went forward with high and erect mind, with cheerfulness in his look, and constancy in his heart. But being remanded till the morrow, he turned from the Prætorium to the Official's house, when suddenly the report spreads throughout Carthage, that “ Thascius was now brought out,” whom all knew, not only
by the reputation in which he was honourably held, but also viz. in from the recollection of his great achievement. All men the plague. throng together to a sight, which for us was glorious from
the self-sacrifice of his faith, but to the Gentiles deplorable. However, during his lodgment for one night in the house of the Official, his confinement was not rigorous, so that we his intimates and friends were in his company as usual. Meanwhile the whole people, conscious lest ought might be done in the night without its own knowledge, kept watch at the door of the house. The Divine goodness granted to him at that time, deserving as he was of it, that God's people should even then keep vigil to usher in the day of their Priest's Martyrdom. Some one, however, may perhaps ask, what
, was the reason why he returned from the Prætorium to the Official; and some think this, that on his part the Proconsul was then unwilling. Far be it from me in things divinely overruled to complain of indolence or caprice in the Proconsul. Far be it from me to allow such an evil within the thoughts of a scrupulous mind, as that the idle words of man should give sentence upon so blessed a Martyr. But that next day, which a year before God's condescension had predicted, was destined to be truly the morrow.
16. At length that other day dawned, that appointed, promised, divine day"; which though the tyrant himself had desired to put off, he would not at all have been able; a day pleasant in the secret knowledge of the Martyr who was to 9 S. Cyprian suffered on the same
years after him. day as Cornelius of Rome, and six
be, all clouds being dispersed throughout the world's circuit, and the sun shining brightly. He left the Official's house, he an Official of Christ and God, being hemmed in by the crowds of a mixed multitude on every side. So infinite an army joined his train, it seemed as though he was coming with troops in array to subdue death. As he went, he had to pass the race-course. Well did it happen, and as if with a meaning, that he should pass by the place of a corresponding contest, who was running for the crown of righteousness, and had just finished his labours. When he reached the Prætorium, the Proconsul not yet having arrived, a private was allowed him.
There, while he sate profusely perspiring after his long journey, (it so happened that his seat was covered with linen', as if to secure to him the honours of the episcopate even under the very stroke of Martyrdom, one of the officers', who was formerly a Christian, offered him clothes of his own; thinking he might be willing to exchange his moist garments for his own dry ones, and for himself ambitious of nothing further in return for his gift, than to possess the now bloody sweat of the Martyr on his road to God. But he made answer, “ That were seeking remedy for discomforts, which perchance may not last out the day.” Is it surprising that he thought light of weariness in body, who in soul had made light of death? But, to be brief, suddenly the Proconsul is announced; and he is brought out, placed before him, asked his name; he says who he is, and
17. Upon this the judge reads from the tablet the sentence, which before in the vision he had not read; a divine sentence, not lightly to be spoken; a sentence worthy of such a Bishop and such a Witness; a glorious sentence, in which he is called standard-bearer of the sect,” and “
an enemy of the gods,” and one who should be made“ an example to his followers,” and whose blood should now be shed “in vindi- vid.infra
Procons, cation of the law.” Most satisfactory, most true is this sentence; for every thing that was said, though said by a Gentile, is divine. Nor surely is it wonderful, that High Priests are apt to prophesy of the passion. He had been a
r“ The Bishop's seat used anciently s tesserariis ; those who communi. to be covered with linen." Ed. Ben. cated the tessera through the century,
standard-bearer, who was in the practice of teaching concerning the bearing of Christ's cross; an enemy of the gods, who bade destroy idols; he was an example to his own, who unto the many who were about to follow in the same way, first of his province presented these first-fruits of Martyrdom. In his blood too “the law began to be ratified," but the law of Martyrs, who rivalling their teacher in an initiation of a like glory, themselves too ratified the law of his example in their own blood.
18. And when he passed out of the doors of the Prætorium, a crowd of soldiers accompanied him, and that nothing might be wanting in his passion, centurions and tribunes were at his side. The place where he was to suffer is level, surrounded with numerous trees so as to afford a sublime spectacle. But, whereas its exceeding breadth hindered the view amid that tumultuous crowd, persons who favoured him had climbed up the branches, that he might gain this distinction also, (as in Zacchæus's history,) of being seen from the trees. And now his eyes being bound with his own hands, he tried to hasten the delay of the executioner, whose business is the steel; and who with failing hand and trembling fingers scarce could grasp it, until, when the hour was ripe for his glorification, that centurion was granted strength to consummate the death of a rare man, his hand being nerved with power from above. O blessed people of the Church, who in eyes and other senses and in uplifted voice, suffered together with such a Bishop, and thus, as they had always heard him discourse, were crowned by God the Judge! For although it could not happen, as the common wish was, that the whole people at once should suffer in partnership of his glory, yet whoever had the hearty will to suffer under the eyes of Christ and in the ears of His Priest, did by the sufficient witness of his wish, send up his name God-wards, as if by a representative. And thus, his passion being consummated, it came about, that Cyprian, who had been an example to all good men, was moreover the first in Africa to die his priestly diadems"
? i. e. in the province so called, the passages as this allude to the tonsure. Eastern or Proconsular Africa.
The African Bishops cut their hair in a ui. e. his crowns of sanctity and circle. Vallars. in Hieron. Ep. 142. priesthood became a crown of martyr. vid. also August. Ep. 33. §. 5. Bingham dom. The Romanists would make such does not dissent; though he is not con
in blood. For from the time that the Episcopal Order is catalogued in Carthage, none is ever related, even of the holiest Priests, to have attained unto passion*, though service devoted to God is always counted in dedicated men as if a martyrdom. But Cyprian reached even unto the perfect crown the Lord consummating; so that in that very city in which he had so lived, and had been the first to do such noble deeds, he was the first also to decorate the ensigns of the heavenly priesthood with glorious bloodshed. What shall I here do? between joy at his passion, and grief at bereavement, my mind is divided, and two sorts of feelings oppress a breast too straitened for them. Shall I grieve that I was not his companion ? but his triumph is to be celebrated. Shall I celebrate his triumph? but I am in grief that I am not his companion. To you, however, the truth is to be avowed, and simply, as you know it, that it was in my purpose to be so. In his glory I exult much and more than much, and yet I grieve more that I remain behind.
The Confession and Martyrdom of St. Cyprian, from the
Proconsular Acts. When the Emperor Valerian was Consul for the fourth, A.D. and Gallienus for the third time, on the third of the Kalends 257.
Aug. 30. of September, Paternus Proconsul at Carthage in his councilchamber thus spoke to Cyprian the Bishop. • The most sacred Emperors Valerian and Gallienus have honoured me with letters, wherein they enjoin that all those who use not the religion of Rome, shall formally make profession of their return to the use of Roman rites; I have made accordingly enquiry of your name; what answer do you make to me?'
fident that this was the reason of the supra 17. Baronins, Lumper and others name coronati.” Antiqu. vi. 4. §. 17. interpretitof Carthage only, referring to
* S. Cyprian himself seems to say the words which follow in Pontius' text. that African Bishops had already been Others understand Pontius to speak only martyred. Ep.66. ed. Fell. Accordingly, of the Valerian Persecution." Gibbon Tillemont suggests that Pontius speaks eagerly seizes on Pontius' assertion only of Africa in a restricted sense, or in its broadest sense, and uses it for the Carthaginian territory, which was his own purposes. called especially “ the Province.” vid.
Cyprian the Bishop spake, “I am a Christian and Bishop; I know no other Gods besides the One and true God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all things therein; this God we Christians serve, to Him we pray day and night, for ourselves, for all mankind, for the health of the Emperors themselves' Paternus Proconsul said, “Do you persist in this pur
'. pose?' Cyprian Bishop answered, “ That good purpose, which hath once acknowledged God, cannot be changed.' Paternus Proconsul said, “Will you then, obeying the mandate of the Emperors, depart into exile to the city of Curubis ?" Cyprian Bishop said, 'I go.' Paternus Proconsul said, “The letters, wherewith I have been honoured by the Emperors, speak of Presbyters as well as of Bishops; I would know of you therefore, who be they, who are Presbyters in this city?' Cyprian Bishop answered, “By your laws you have righteously and with great benefit forbidden any to be informersz; therefore they cannot be discovered and denounced by me; but they will be found in their own cities. Paternus Proconsul said, “ I am accordingly inquisitor in this place.' Cyprian said, “ Our rules forbid any man to offer himself for punishment, and your ordinances discourage the same; they may not therefore offer themselves', but they will be discovered by your inquisition.' Paternus Proconsul said, “ They shall be discovered by me;' and added, they further ordain, that no conventicles be held in any place, and that the Christians shall not enter their cemeteries; if any transgress this wholesome ordinance, it shall be capital.' Cyprian Bishop answered, · Do as you have been instructed.'
Then Paternus the Proconsul bade them lead away the Bishop Cyprian into exile. During his long abode in this
. place, Aspasius Paternus was succeeded by Galerius Maximus, A.D. who bade the Bishop Cyprian be recalled from exile, and 258.
brought before him. Cyprian, the holy Martyr, chosen of God, returned from Curubis, to which he had been exiled by order of Aspasius Paternus then Proconsul, and by sacred
y Vid. in like manner Polycarp. ad 2 Vid. August. contr. Gaudent. i. 40. Phil. 12. Just. M. A pol.l.i. 17. Athenag. (31.) where this passage is referred to. Leg. 37. Tertullian, Apol. 30. Origen, vid. also Cypr. Ep. 81. ed. Fell. Those in Cels. viii. 73. Euseb. Hist. vii. il. who studiously exposed themselves to
z For this law vid. Justinian Cod. persecution were called Professores. x. 11.
vid. Lumper in Vit. Cypr.