Saturday, September 12, 2009

“O Lord, Thou hast proved us with fire, as silver is tried.”

In the year 303 two brothers, Primus and Felician, were brought prisoners before the criminal judge of the city of Numenta, in Italy. He first examined Felician, and asked him, whether he would rather sacrifice to the gods, and live in honors, and see good days, or be tortured unto death with all manner of torments?

Felician answered, "How canst thou speak to me of pleasant days? I am now eighty years old, and have been enlightened with the saving knowledge of Christ for about thirty years; yea, I,am still finding the greatest joy of my heart in His service. And thou wouldst persuade me to forsake my Saviour, and accept instead of Him the vain lusts of this world! Far -be it from me; for I have resolved to cleave to Christ, my Lord and my God, to the very last breath of my life."

Thereupon this good old man was put in prison, and his brother Primus brought forth, whom the judge endeavored to persuade that Felician, his dear old brother, had apostatized. But Primus was confident that the contrary was true; therefore he said that it was a lie. Upon this he was beaten with sticks, and burned on his loins with lamps. But he sang with the prophet David, "O Lord, Thou hast proved us with fire, as silver is tried."

Then both were tormented, in different ways. Molten lead was poured down Primus' throat, while Felician was beaten with leaded scourges, nailed with his hands and feet to a stake, and inhumanly tortured. Both were cast before the lions and bears; but as these would not harm them the judge caused the martyrs to be beheaded and their dead bodies laid on the ground for the dogs and the birds of the air. However, they were buried by the Christians.

(From Martyrs Mirror by Thieleman J. van Braght, page 181)

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