Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sunday Martyr Moment: Sanctus, Blandina, and Ponticus

Foxe's Book of Martyrs. According to this summary from Christian Book Summaries,

Writing in the mid-1500s, John Foxe was living in the midst of intense religious persecution at the hands of the dominant Roman Catholic Church. In graphic detail, he offers accounts of Christians being martyred for their belief in Jesus Christ, describing how God gave them extraordinary courage and stamina to endure unthinkable torture.

From the same link, the book's purpose was fourfold:
  • Showcase the courage of true believers who have willingly taken a stand for Jesus Christ throughout the ages, even if it meant death,
  • Demonstrate the grace of God in the lives of those martyred for their faith,
  • Expose the ruthlessness of religious and political leaders as they sought to suppress those with differing beliefs,
  • Celebrate the courage of those who risked their lives to translate the Bible into the common language of the people.
Text from Foxe's Book of Martyrs:

Continuing the Fourth Persecution under Marcus Aurelius, 162AD

Some of the restless northern nations having risen in arms against Rome, the emperor marched to encounter them. He was, however, drawn into an ambuscade, and dreaded the loss of his whole army. Enveloped with mountains, surrounded by enemies, and perishing with thirst, the pagan deities were invoked in vain; when the men belonging to the militine, or thundering legion, who were all Christians, were commanded to call upon their God for succor. A miraculous deliverance immediately ensued; a prodigious quantity of rain fell, which, being caught by the men, and filling their dykes, afforded a sudden and astonishing relief. It appears that the storm which miraculously flashed in the face of the enemy so intimidated them, that part deserted to the Roman army; the rest were defeated, and the revolted provinces entirely recovered.

This affair occasioned the persecution to subside for some time, at least in those parts immediately under the inspection of the emperor; but we find that it soon after raged in France, particularly at Lyons, where the tortures to which many of the Christians were put, almost exceed the powers of description.

Sanctus, a deacon of Vienna; red hot plates of brass were placed upon the tenderest parts of his body; and kept there till they burned through to his bones.

Blandina, a Christian lady, of a weak constitution; who was not thought to be able to resist torture, but whose fortitude was so great that her tormentors became exhausted with their devilish work, and was afterward taken into an amphitheater with three others, suspended on a piece of wood stuck in the ground, and exposed as food for wild lions. While awaiting her suffering, she prayed earnestly for her companions and encouraged them. But none of the lions would touch her, so she was put back into prison. This happened twice.

When she was again produced for the third and last time, she was accompanied by Ponticus, a youth of fifteen, and the constancy of their faith so enraged the multitude that neither the sex of the one nor the youth of the other were respected, being exposed to all manner of punishments and tortures. Being strengthened by Blandina, he persevered unto death; and she, after enduring all the torments heretofore mentioned, was at length slain with the sword.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Lord, I am weak of fortitude, but I can be strengthened supernaturally, like Blandina, to endure all things. Would I be strong enough to pray for and encourage compatriots whilst impaled on a stick, suspended above milling and hungry lions? No. But I can do all things through You who strengthens me. You did not desert Blandina in her trial, and no matter what comes for me and my faithful brethren now or in the future, you will not desert us. You are Lord, and You are faithful.

4 comments:

  1. Elizabeth, I'm guessing the "prayer"/psalm at the end is your own?

    In which case, praying for you!! You lift us up & encourage us daily (I come here to get a dose of "Blessed Hope" myself! Even though I have my own site called Blessed Hope! ~ it's such an unorganized mess! EIKS!.... I keep saying some day I'm gonna' start all over... but I dunno' ....seems life's DAILY struggles/routines & challenges constantly get in the way!! Plus lots of stress for the past couple of years and a 6 month bout of hives hasn't made life any easier...

    Anyway, yes, the Lord can & will sustain you, Elizabeth. Sometimes we just have to "pull back" though. Remember when life got heavy for the disciples ~ the Lord told them to "come away and be by themselves for a little while"... REF: Mark 6:31 ALSO after John was beheaded, Jesus Himself went away to be by Himself for a little while.

    A time & a season for everything under heaven!! A time to post & keep your blog up & going ~ a time to be a newshound, but also should that *heavy* news be getting to you -- there's also a time to be by yourself for a little while. Take a needed break! Before the cops come with the handcuffs & cart you off!! (for resisting a rest!!)

    LOL!!

    Remember what we are told to THINK ON!! True.. Noble.. Right... Pure.... Lovely... Admirable... Things! "Think on THESE things" Sometimes that's tough to do when the horrendous news of end time living cuts us to the core. So we must PURPOSELY think on these things to keep from getting drained... or from circling the drain in our thoughts like the rest of the world.

    If life does not offer/afford a mini-trip any time soon (and I know it doesn't since school just started for you) ~ then maybe you can pull out your camera & enjoy some of the Lord's landscape!!

    Praying for you!

    You do a good job of 1 Thess 5:11
    Refresh yourself in the Lord!
    We'll eagerly and yet patiently wait for you -- for when you are ready to come back!
    Lovingly, Reva

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww, Reva, thanks so much!! You are a sweet person and your Spirit-led care is sweetly accepted.

      I have been thinking about the martyrs. Yes, that was my prayer. They were so blessedly strong, the Spirit with them and the strength the exhibited under such torture. I am encouraged by them in knowing the Lord does not desert us under any circumstance. (Lo, I am with you, even until the end of the age Mt 28:20). I think persecution is coming but I don't know to what extent here in the US. In Egypt, it is already there. Soon in the US I think it will be no different. The race hatred we see rising I believe will turn to Christian hatred. Hatred expressed thru mindless violence is present in the US on a consistent basis. It would not take much to turn that hatred on a dime toward the Jesus lovers.

      Personally I'm doing good :) We just finished our first week of school with the kids so this week was tiring, and I took Friday night "off" and for the first time in a few years didn't post something on a daily basis. Instead I ate a calzone and a bag of chips and collapsed on the couch, lol.

      I will take your advice though and get my camera and take some photos of the Lord's creation.

      Have a good week ahead, sister. :)

      Delete
  2. It was odd/unreal reading this today; I am having a few issues (medical) and just when I think I've had enough, more comes and then I pray and find that once again I am strengthened. Sometimes, it's hard to wrap my head around how much He loves me-to give me the grace and mercy He does when my "thorn in the side" rears its ugly head.

    It's odd in the sense that I just ordered Foxe's Book of Martyrs and have noticed that my mind is continually on the persecution to come. Watching what is happening in Syria and the gassing of its people again remind me that the time is coming soon. All I can do is remained buried in His word, hiding it in my heart- because for some reason, I just know that one day soon, that will be the only place I'll be able to see it.

    I love coming here, less than a week and it feels like home!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad to hear that, Tara! I'm thrilled you are visiting. I read the original Foxe's Book online but I also bought the updated version (martyrs thru 20th century) in hard copy and I read that too. I have an affinity for missionaries and martyrs, and try to respect them by doing as Foxe stated as one of his purposes for writing of them, "Celebrate the courage of those who risked their lives to translate the Bible into the common language of the people" and who died for their stand for Jesus.

      Syria has me concerned too. I read on Drudge just now that US & UK are joining forces and will arrive at the seas off Syria and will attack as the news states, "in days." Russia is not happy with this, and with the tensions in the Middle East overall this could be a match that lights an end of last days scenario. At the very least, many will die and go to their eternal doom, and this always makes me sad

      Delete

Prata Potpourri: Hate watching, Loving our neighbor, Four reasons why, Bible books in 1 word, more

He said He will come, He said to look up when we see these things come to pass, and He IS coming soon. When the rapture happens, the unbelie...