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fore the Roman judge, are, however, fried together in a caldron of melted “pitch, fat, and wax,” from which they come out quite able to be carried to Nicomedia, where they are put to death by the almost infallible means of the sword or the axe. I say almost, because I find an instance where even this method had nearly disappointed the persecutors. That happened in the case of St. Cecilia. This saint, of musical celebrity, having been forced to marry a certain Valerius, cautioned most earnestly her bridegroom to avert from himself the vengeance of an angel who had the charge of her purity. The good-natured Valerius agreed to forego his rights, provided he was allowed to see his heavenly rival; and for this purpose submitted to be baptized. After the ceremony the angel showed himself to Valerius, and subsequently to a brother of his, who had been let into the secret. This Cecilia is the martyr on whom, as I mentioned before, a whole house flaming about her for a natural day, had not the smallest effect. Even when the axe was employed, the lictor exerted his strength in vain on the delicate neck
of his victim, which being but half divided, yet allowed her miraculously to live for three days more, at the end of which she fairly died*.
* * Cyprianus, primum magus, postea martyr cum Justinam Christianum virginem, quam juvenis quidem ardenter amabat, cantionibus ac veneficiis ad ejus libidinis assensum allicere conaretur, dæmonem consuluit, quânam id re consequi posset. Cui dæmon respondit, nullam illi artem processuram adversus eos, qui vere Christum colerent. Quo responso conmotus Cyprianus, vehementer dolere cœpit vitæ superioris institutum, Itaque relictis magicis artibus, se totum ad Christi domini fidem convertit. Quam ob causam unà cum virgine Justina comprehensus est, et ambo colaphis flagellisque cæsi, mox in carcerem conjecti ... in sartaginem plenam ferventis picis, adipis et ceræ injecti sunt. Demum Nicomediæ securi feriuntur.
“ Cæcilia virgo Romana, mobili genere nata, a prima ætate Christianæ fidei præceptis instituta, virginitatem suam Deo vovit. Sed cum postea contra suam voluntatem data esset in matrimonium Valeriano, primâ nuptiarum nocte hunc cum eo sermonem habuit : Ego Valeriane, in Angeli tutelâ sum, qui virginitatem meum custodit : quare ne quid in me committas, quo ira Dei in te concitetur. Quibus verbis commotus Valerianus, illam attingere non est ausus: quin etiam addidit, se in Christum crediturum, si eum Angelum videret. Cui Cæcilia cum sine baptismo negaret id fieri posse, incensus cupiditate videndi Angelum, se baptizari velle respondet.. (Baptizatus, et) ad Cæciliam reversus, orantem et cum ea Angelum divino splendore fulgentem, invenit. Quo aspectu obstupefactus, ut primum ex timore confirmatus est, Tiburtium fratrem suum accersit qui a Cæcilia Christi fide imbutus ... ipse etiam ejusdem Angeli quem frater ejus viderat, aspectu dignatus est. Uterque autem paulo post Almachio
After the romantic miracles of the early martyrs, I have to mention the stories by which the Breviary endeavours to support the extravagant veneration for the Popes and their see, which at all times has been the leading aim of the Roman court. The most notorious forgeries are, for this purpose, sanctioned and consecrated in her Prayer Book. That these legends are often given in the words of those whom the church of Rome calls fathers, shows the weakness both of the Popish structure, and of the props that support it. We thus find the fable about the contest between St. Peter and Simon Magus, before Nero, gravely repeated in the words of St. Maximus. “The holy apostles (Peter and Paul) lost their lives, he says, because, among other miracles, they also, by their prayers, precipitated Simon from the vacuity of the air. For Simon calling
himself Christ, and engaging to ascend to the
Praefecto, constanter martyrium subit. Qui mox Caeciliam comprehendi imperat... eamque in ipsius aedes reductam, in balneo comburi jussit. Quo in loco cum diem noctemque ita fuisset, ut ne flamma quidem illam attingeret; eo immissus est carnifex, quiter securi ictam, cum caput abscindere non potuisset, semivivam reliquit,” &c. &c.
Father, was suddenly raised in flight, by means of his magic art. At this moment Peter, bending his knees, prayed to the Lord, and by his holy prayer defeated the magician's lightness; for the prayer reached the Lord sooner than the flight; the right petition outstripped the unjust presumption. Peter, on earth, obtained what he asked, much before Simon could reach the heavens to which he was making his way. Peter, therefore, brought down his rival from the air as if he had held him by a rope, and dashing him against a stone, in a precipice, broke his legs: doing this in scorn of the fact itself, so that he who but a moment before, had attempted to fly, should not now be able to walk; and having
affected wings, should want the use of his The use which the Breviary makes of the forged epistles of the early Popes, known by the name of false Decretals, is frequently obvious to those who are acquainted with both. As these Decretals were forged about the eighth century, with a view to magnify the power of the Roman see, nothing in their contents is more prominent than that object. The Breviary, therefore, never omits an opportunity of establishing the Papal supremacy by tacit reference to these spurious documents. Yet as this would have but a slight effect upon the mass of the faithful, a more picturesque story is related in the life of Pope St. John.
* “Hodierna igitur die beati Apostoli sanguinem profuderunt. Sed videamus causam quare ista perpessi sunt; scilicet, quod inter caetera mirabilia etiam magum illum Simonem orationibus suis de aeris vacuo praecipiti ruina prostraverunt. Cum enim idem Simon se Christum dicerit, et tanquam filium ad patrem assereret volando se posse conscendere, atque elatus subitomagicis artibusvolare coepisset; tunc Petrus fixis genibus precatus est Dominum, et precatione sancta vicit magicam levitatem. Prior enim ascendit ad Dominum oratio quâm volatus; et ante pervenit justa petitio, quam iniqua prae
His Holiness being on a journey to Corinth, and in want of a quiet and comfortable horse, borrowed one, which the lady of a certain nobleman used to ride. The animal carried the Pope sumptio: ante Petrus in terris positus obtinuit quod petebat, quam Simon perveniret in coelestibus, qué tendebat. Tunc igitur Petrus velut vinctum illum de sublimi aere deposuit, et quodam praecipitio in saxo elidens, ejus crura confregit; et hoc in opprobrio facti illius, ut qui paulo ante volare tentaverat, subito ambulare non posset; et qui pennas assump
serat, plantas amitteret.” Septima die infra Octavam SS. Apost. Petri et Pauli.