[About the year 910, we again refer to Giselbert (see our Account of Holy Baptism), who teaches, as it were, for the consolation of the martyrs who could not receive water baptism, that it is in God's power to show mercy to them on account of their good will.
Lamentable persecution of the Christians in the region of Cordova, by the Arabians, instituted by their King Habdarrhaghman, A. D. 923.
Eugenia, an upright Christian woman, beheaded for the testimony of Jesus Christ, near Cordova, in said year, 923.
Pelagius, a lad of thirteen years, beheaded after his arms and legs were cut off, on account of the true Christian faith, at Cordova, A. D. 925.
An extract from the account of P. J. Twisck, touching the martyrdom of the youth Pelagius.
Note containing further explanation respecting the confession of faith of Eugenia and Pelagius.
Of the cruel persecution instituted by the Danish King Worm against the Christian believers, A. D. 926.
A note containing further explanatory remarks concerning the last-mentioned persecution, and that other similar persecutions are to be understood and explained in the same manner.
A deplorable persecution of the Christians, caused by Udo, the Sclavonian prince, A. D. 950.
Marginal note, of the terrible pillage and burning perpetrated by the Saracens among the Christians in Syria, A. D. 964.
Circumstantial account of the severe persecution of Christians by the Vandals, in the borders of Hamburg, Brandenburg, Havelburg, and the adjacent countries, A. D. 984.
Marginal note, how, seven years afterwards. namely, A. D. 991, the Normans came from Denmark into Germany, and there, for about forty years, greatly vexed the Christians; and that the Arabians, from A. D. 622 to 1300, committed much mischief in nearly every country of Europe, or Christendom.]
In our account of holy baptism for A. D. 910, we introduced the very learned, but, by his adversaries, much accused, Giselbert, who, through the exigency of that time, had to live under the Roman church, though he decidedly opposed her superstitions, especially in the matter of baptism. He taught concerning holy baptism as connected with regeneration and a good will. He also added, for explanation (on John 3:5), "If any one (through obstacles, or otherwise) cannot receive external baptism, it is in God's power to graciously accept his good will." Ex. Cent. Magd. 10, cap. 4. Bapt. Hist., 2d part, page 567.
Hence, when Giselbert here consoles, in some measure, those who, from necessity, had to remain without baptism, with the mercifulness of God, who has it in His power to show mercy, even in the absence of baptism, to those who are of a good will, it seems that at that time there must have been an oppression or persecution of the Christian believers; for at such times it frequently happens that there are people of a good will, namely, who desire to be baptized upon the true faith on Jesus Christ, but who nevertheless, on account of the persecution, and the dispersion of the churches and their teachers, cannot attain to it, as we have shown by living examples, in different places of our account of the martyrs.
Thus, when people who had not been baptized, yet had a desire to be baptized, were apprehended and put in bonds for the testimony of the Lord, it was frequently seen, that they could not obtain complete peace in their hearts, though they firmly believed in the Lord, and had resolved to give expression to, and confirm, such faith not only by words, but also in deed, yea, with their blood and steadfast death. On these occasions, or against these emergencies, the pious and soul-seeking teachers often consoled such people, strengthened their hearts, and caused them to hope instead of despair; since God has it in His power, to show mercy to, yea, to save, such, even without baptism, for the sake of their good will or intention, if it has not been neglected on purpose and presumptuously.
This the above-mentioned Giselbert taught, and thus he consoled the well-disposed unbaptized; hence, our foregoing conclusion may be regarded as true, namely, that there was, at that time, a persecution on account of the word of the Lord, which made it necessary to add said consolation for the afore-mentioned persons. But as this is based merely on a probable conjecture, since it is not expressed in clear words, we will leave it, and give an account of a certain persecution which, about thirteen years after this, was raised by the Arabians against the Christians, and ended after much misery and distress.
A. D. 923, a terrible persecution was raised by the Arabians against the Christian believers, in the region of Cordova. This occurred mainly through the wickedness of the Arabian King Habdarrhaghman IV, who allowed himself to be called protector of the law of God, and king of the believers; but, being filled with bitter hatred against the true law of Jesus Christ, and, consequently, also against the true Christian believers, he considered and declared
all Christians unbelievers and despisers of the law of God. But he did not stop at this, but raged against therri in an awful manner, yea, persecuted them with fire and sword. One thing, however, in connection with this grieves us to the very heart, namely, that the records of the pious witnesses of Jesus Christ who were killed by him, have all been lost, except of two, namely, Eugenia and a youth of thirteen years; of whom we shall give an account presently. Touching said persecution, compare A. Mell., 2d book, fol. 312, col. 2, with Ruderic., Archiep. Tolet., and AM. Rer. Hisp. Script.
It is recorded that A. D. 923, an upright Christian woman, called Eugenia, was apprehended in the afore-mentioned persecution, and, remaining steadfast in the confession of the faith in the Son of God, was beheaded, on the sixteenth of March, A. D. 923, through the tyrant and persecutor Habdarrhaghman.
It is stated that in digging the foundation of some building, in a village called Marmolejos, near Cordova, where she was martyred, an epitaph was found, the first letters of each line of which spelled her name: Eugenia Martyr, that is, Eugenia the Witness (namely, of Jesus), as a token that she had died for the testimony of Jesus her Saviour. There could be gathered from it, further, the time when this took place, as well as the manner in which she was put to death, namely, that she was beheaded with the sword, at the time indicated above.*
It is stated that about two years after, namely, A. D. 925, a lad of thirteen years, called Pelagius, was put to death for the name of Christ, in Cordova, which occurred as follows: His uncle, Ermoigus (who by some writers is called a bishop), having been apprehended and imprisoned at Cordova, by the Arabian King Habdarrhaghman, said Ermoigus, in order to be released, left his nephew, who was then only about thirteen years old, in his stead, as a pledge, which for more than three years was not redeemed, either through the neglect of his friends, or because the king would not let go the youth, who was now very comely and wellmannered.
In the meantime, this lad exercised himself diligently in the Christian religion, to prepare himself for his martyrdom, which seemed to him to be drawing near. When he was about thirteen and a half years old, he was brought before the king, and, standing there, immediately began to confess his faith, declaring that he was ready to die for it.* But the king, having in view something else than to hear the confession of the Son of God, or of the Christian faith, proposed to the youth, who was quite innocent in evil, some improper things, which this hero of Christ valiantly and in a Christian manner refused, willing rather, to die an honorable death for the name of Christ, than to live shamefully with the devil, and pollute both soul and body with such an abominable sin. The king, hoping that he could yet be persuaded, commanded his servants to ply him with fair promises, to the effect, that, if he would apostatize, he should be brought up with royal splendor at the court of the king. But the Lord, in whom he trusted, strengthened him against all the allurements of this world, so that he said, "I am a Christian, and will remain a Christian, and obey only Christ's commands all the days of my life.
The king, seeing that he remained steadfast, was filled with rage, and commanded his guards to take him, suspend him by iron tongs, and pinch him and haul him up and down until he should either die or renounce Christ as his Lord. But having undergone all this, he was as fearless as ever, and refused not to suffer still more tortures, even unto death.
When the tyrant perceived the immovable steadfastness of this youth, he commanded that they should cut him limb from limb, and throw the pieces into the river. As he thus stood before the king, dripping with blood, from his previous tortures, he prayed to none than to Jesus Christ our Lord, saying, "O Lord, deliver me out of the hands of my enemies." When he lifted up his hands to God [in prayer], the executioners pulled them apart and cut off first one arm, and then the other; thus also his legs, and, lastly, his head. When this was done, the pieces were thrown into the river.
Thus this young hero and pious witness of Jesus Christ ended his life, on the 29th of June, A. D. 925, his martyrdom having lasted from seven o'clock in the morning until evening. See the firstmentioned writer, who has given the account of the Arabian persecution, on the page referred to, third column, compared with Raguele in Append., ab Eulog., super Pelagium.
him with redhot tongs; and, having been torn limb from limb, he was thrown into the nearest river, when he was scarcely thirteen years old." Chron., 10th book, fol. 329, col. 1, from Merulae., fol. 621.
NOTE.-Neither of Eugenia nor of the youth Pelagius have we been able (as in the case of other martyrs before these), to ascertain the particulars of their confession of faith, though we have exerted ourselves not a little in this direction. It is almost as if the records which no doubt treated more fully of it, were buried in the earth, like the epitaph of Eugenia. Oh, that this were certain, and that the spot were known-without contradiction, no pains would be spared to obtain them, if it were possible; since thereby, .according to our opinion, the bright light of evangelical truth would come to light pure and clear in many points; whereas now, others, especially those of the Roman church, have, whenever it has pleased them, dimmed and perceptibly obscured, with the smoke of their human inventions, the blessed confessors of Jesus Christ and their confessions.
But what do our lamentations avail? We must content ourselves with what has remained. It may be that said particular confessions, together with the records of the suffering and death of many other martyrs (of which we spoke in the beginning) were lost through the violence of the persecution, or perished in some other way.
This persecution has not been so fortunate an one for the searchers of ancient memoirs, as some of the preceding ones of which we know; for these other persecutions already spoken of, however severe and fierce they may have been, besides giving clearer light as regards the confessions, have through the carefulness of some writers, generally furnished and left for remembrance, a respectable number of martyrs either mentioned or unmentioned; while this persecution, although very many were slain in it, tells us of but two persons.
But though we, unable to obtain more, must content ourselves with the bare circumstances, still the afore-mentioned martyrs, Eugenia and Pelagius, shall not be esteemed the less by us; yet not, that we would regard them without fault in all points, for who on earth is perfect? but we hold that they were free from such blemishes as separate one from Christ or deprive him of the name of a true martyr, though he might suffer for his faith's sake. The uprightness of said persons, in faith as well as in life, may readily be inferred from the circumstances mentioned in the account of the ancients, which, though brief and few, nevertheless indicate these things.
What the faith of Eugenia and Pelagius was, appears from their confessions. Eugenia is for this reason called martyr, which signifies according to the Greek language, the witness; by which name, even in and about the time of the apostles, those were wont to be called, who had laid down their lives, or, at least, had suffered much, for the pure and genuine testimony of Jesus their Saviour. Of the youth Pelagius, the authors write that he confessed his faith and declared that he was ready to die (upon said faith) for the name of Christ. Also, that in his suffering he called upon no other than his Lord Jesus Christ, saying, "O Lord, deliver me out of the hands of my enemies."
Concerning the life of both of these martyrs, it appears to have been upright in every respect, as regards the grand resolution which each severally had-not only to confess the Lord with the mouth, and to follow Him with works in the regeneration, but also to honor and magnify His holy name, by offering up their lives through a violent death; as well as that they not only had resolved and determined to do this, but also actually fulfilled their resolution, which is the most important of all.
From the accounts given we have learned that Pelagius said, "I am a Christian, and will remain a Christian, and obey only the commandments of Christ all the days of my life." He desired to obey only the commands of his Saviour, and not human inventions, and this, to the end of his life; which he also did, according to his ability. Moreover, we have not found anything, either of Eugenia or of Pelagius, in authentic writers, which conflicts with the above good testimony respecting the faith and life of said two persons; nor of priestcraft, nor of papal or episcopal inventions, nor of Roman factitious practices, although these things were much in vogue at that time. With this, we think to have treated the matter sufficiently, and hence we will leave it and proceed in our account.
It is recorded that A. D. 926, there appeared, from another quarter than the one of which we have spoken, namely, from Denmark, a cruel tyrant who was king of said country, and whose name accorded well with his deeds. His name was Worm, and whatever he did was gnawing, biting, and devouring, so that he inflicted much vexation, misery and grief upon the followers of the Christian faith, in persecuting, tormenting, and, as appears, killing and destroying them.
Of this tyrant, P. J. Twisck makes mention with these words, "At this time, there was in Denmark, King Worm, a cruel tyrant and persecutor of the Christian faith." Chron., fol. 329, col. 1, from Leonh., lib. 4, fol. 190.
NOTE.-King Worm was not the first tyrant that had arisen in Denmark, seeing we spoke in the preceding century of the tyranny which the Danes then practiced against the Christian believers. Just before the account of this Danish persecution we lamented, and this, for good reasons, that not more than two martyrs are mentioned in the whole persecution; and but very little of their confessions, except the circumstances. But here we have still more reason for regret, since not a single person
is mentioned of all those who were persecuted and martyred, though their number, it seems, was very great. Moreover, their confession of faith, upon which, nevertheless many; to all appearance, suffered and were martyred or put to death, is not mentioned at all. Still, this matter, is not utterly devoid of light or information, seeing it is stated of the tyrant who instituted said persecution, that he was a persecutor of the Christian faith.
Whether, then, he persecuted all who bore the name of Christians, or only the Christian believers (who seem to have been had in view here), it is evident, that the true and sincere believers, who, having no settled place of abode, being scattered throughout the world, did not escape; for they necessarily often had to live among the nominal, yea, among the wicked Christians, with whom they frequently, when distress arose, had to suffer, though not for the same reason. I will not speak of the fact that the wicked Christians themselves, whenever it pleased them, persecuted the faithful and good Christians exceedingly, and, after many torments, put them to death in a worse manner than the heathen did; so that, to all appearance, said tyrant, when he persecuted the Christian believers, or, as our author says, the Christian faith, he puts to death not a few, or, at least here, and there some, of the orthodox and true Christians, on account of their faith; besides what they often had to suffer from others.
Here we will let the matter rest, and will take a similar view, and judge in like manner, according to the nature and rule of divine love, also of other persecutions of the Christian believers, of which we may subsequently speak; taking care, however, not to present persecutions concerning which there may be evidence that those persecuted were not faithful and sincere, but merely apparent or professed Christians; for the former, we shall search, but the latter we shall avoid. We shall now proceed in our task.
About twenty-four years after the beginning of the afore-mentioned persecution, instituted by the Danish king, a very dark cloud arose over the Christian believers, from Slavonia, which threatened a heavy rain or outpouring of the blood of the innocent and defenseless Christians. For, one Udo, Prince of the Slaves, manifested himself very cruelly against the Christian believers, and proved to be a great tyrant over them. But he finally received his reward from one of his own stamp, though a Saxon, who took his life. Concerning this, we read in Chran. van den Onderg., page 334, col. 2, the following words (except the parenthesis), "Udo, the Prince of the Slaves, an atrocious persecutor of the Christians, and a great tyrant (who lived at his time), was thrust through by a Saxon" From Hist. Andy., fol. 182.
Compare this account with the explanation contained in the note on the persecution of A. D. 926; as the circumstances of the persecution of A. D. 950 must be explained in the same manner.
NOTE. A. D: 964, fourteen years after the last persecution, the Christians in Syria had to suffer much; yet not so much on their bodies as in their property. This was done through the violent pillage and burning perpetrated by the Saracens, of which I have found this account, among others, "A. D. 964, in the reign of this Emperor (namely, N.. Phocas, the fifty-seventh who reigned in the Orient, at Constantinople), the Saracens did great damage to the Christians in Syria, by robbing and burning." See P. J. Twisck, page 340, col. 1, from Chron, Meldncth., lib. 4. Who shall say that this was not brought upon them on account of the confession of the Christian faith? or that among said people there were not some faithful and sincere Christians, who suffered for living according to their true faith? This could hardly be said, much less proved, since the orthodox, though sometimes few in number, could be found in almost every country; however, since said matter is obscure, we will not enter further into it.
In the time of Emperor Otho III, or A. D. 984, Mistavus, King of the Vandals, instituted (according to the testimony of the ancients) a severe persecution against the Christian believers, in the borders of Hamburg, Brandenburg, Havelburg, and the adjacent countries; we will say nothing of his tyranny at Altenburg, since this, as can be seen, was directed chiefly against the Romanists.
This persecution was caused by the hatred which the King of the Vandals held against Otho III, because the latter, having intended to give him his daughter in marriage, afterwards refused to do it, on account of the opposition of Theodoric, Margrave of Brandenburg, who said that he ought not to give such a noble maiden to a dog (so he called Mistavus, the King of the Vandals). Mistavus, enraged at this, resolved to revenge himself of it, yet not on those who had injured him, namely, Otho and Theodoric, who were the chiefs of said countries; but on their subjects, who were certainly quite innocent of that which their chiefs had done; but this is generally the case that subjects must suffer for the misdeeds of their rulers.
He then assailed those Christians who lived nearest, persecuting them in an atrocious manner, a grievous matter for human nature, but pleasant for the spirit, namely, of those who, through love, were inseparably united to their God and Saviour, and,
hence, could say with Paul, "Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 8:38, 39) .
Concerning the tyrant Mistavus, the author of their distress, it is stated that he raised a violent persecution, A. D. 984, against the Christians living in the countries lying nearest; also, that Hamburg, Brandenburg, and Havelburg, had their share of said persecution. Compare P. J. Tzwisck, page 248, col. 2, with the account of Merula, fol. 649, and Georg. Hist., lib. 5.
The reader, in order to understand aright our object in noting this persecution, will please read, and accept as explanatory of the last-mentioned persecution, the different notes which we have placed throughout this century.
NOTE.-Seven years after the persecution which we have just related, namely A. D. 991, the Normans came from Denmark into Germany, where they began to greatly vex the Christians, which lasted about forty years, that is, for over thirty years after the close of this century. P. J. Twisck, Chron., page 351, col. 1, from Chron. Avont, lib. 4. hinc., fol. 502. Moreover, that the Arabians (of whom we made mention in our account of the first open persecution in this century, for the year 923), not only at this time, but from A. D. 622 to 1300, like a swarm of destructive grasshoppers, overran nearly every country of the known world, to the great distress and misery of many Christian believers, can be read at large in the history of the Turks; of which brief mention is made in A. Mell., 2d book, fol. 312, ,col. 4, and fol. 313, col. 1.