By Philip Schaff
8 quantity sequence. therefore Tertullian tells of a firm of Christians in Ephesus, who begged martyrdom from the heathen governor, yet after a number of have been accomplished, the remainder have been despatched away by way of him with the phrases: "Miserable creatures, in the event you relatively desire to die, you might have precipices and halters enough." notwithstanding this mistake was once a ways much less discreditable than the other severe of the cowardly worry of guy, but it was once opposite to the guideline and the instance of Christ and the apostles,6 three and to the spirit of actual martyrdom, which is composed within the union of honest humility and gear, and possesses divine energy within the very recognition of human weak point.
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Extra info for Ante-Nicene Christianity: History Of The Christian Church Volume II
Number of Persecutions. 132 This number was suggested by the ten plagues of Egypt taken as types (which, however, befell the enemies of Israel, and present a contrast rather than a parallel), and by the ten horns of the Roman beast making war with the Lamb, taken for so many emperors14 But the number is too great for the general persecutions, and too small for the provincial and local. Only two imperial persecutions—those, of Decius and Diocletian—extended over the empire; but Christianity was always an illegal religion from Trajan to Constantine, and subject to annoyance and violence everywhere15 Some persecuting emperors—Nero, Domitian, Galerius, were monstrous tyrants, but others—Trajan, Marcus Aurelius, Decius, Diocletian—were among the best and most energetic emperors, and were prompted not so much by hatred of Christianity as by zeal for the maintenance of the laws and the power of the government.
Eccl. IV. 15, and separately edited from various MSS. by Ussher (1647) and in nearly all the editions of the Apostolic Fathers, especially by O. v. Gebhardt, Harnack, and Zahn, II. 132–168, and Prolog. L-LVI. The recension of the text is by Zahn, and departs from the text of the Bollandists in 98 places. Best edition by Lightfoot, S. Ign. and S. Polycarp, I. , and II. 1005–1047. Comp. the Greek Vita Polycarpi, in Funk, II. 315 sqq. Ignatius: Ad. Polycarpum. c. Irenaeus: Adv. Haer. III. 3. 4. His letter to Florinus in Euseb.
The similar passage in Tertullian, Apolog. c. 24, where after enumerating the various forms of idolatry which enjoyed free toleration in the empire he continues: "Videte enim ne et hoc ad irreliqiositatis elogium concurrat, adimere libertatem reliqionis et interdicere optionem divinitatis, ut non liceat mihi colere quem velim sed cogar colere quem nolim. " 7 1 Apol. I. c. 2, 4, 12 8 1 Instit. div. V. 20. 27 Hist of Christ'n Church 2 Philip Schaff Grätz: Gesch. der Juden. Vol. IV. (Leipz. 1866).
Ante-Nicene Christianity: History Of The Christian Church Volume II by Philip Schaff