PASSION

BLANDINA, PERPETUA, AND FELICITAS

And chapter 6;   Reproving its history writers

             Introduction        TO INDEX

These words are an extract of a rendition of the history of the Christian church in the Dutch language printed in the year 1852.  The particulars as I pass them on are again as these writers passed on who said

 "The particulars which we pass on to you are again of the same documents of the old Christian literature which has been kept for us by the father of the church Eusebius."

There is of course no father of any church called Eusebius.  The person that spoke these words is no more than a hypocrite himself as far from Christianity as one can be, since he mocked with God degrading the Father to something no more than a man, to a worm so to say, which will not remain unpunished. 

As much as is feasible however I will give you their words translated from the old style language taking extracts to confine ourselves to the main story of these three victorious jewels of womanhood.

 

Additionally, an inconceivable amount of cruelty has been performed on who knows how many persons throughout all the ages since - to this present day by a host of tyrants.

One of the most barbarian and relentless practitioners of all manner of cruelties has been the roman catholic so called church, headed by their devils captains or popes as they are commonly called.

The Nazi regime were barbarians, yet the Japanese as a whole surpassed them in cruelty.  And while as of late Saddam Hussein has come to be known for its cruelties, none of them surpass the inhumane cruelties that throughout the centuries has been perpetrated under the name of a church.

For a detailed account on some of these matters see the "Fox files", (Fox book on martyrs  edited by William Byron Forbush.

Not one of those bastards to the human race (as they are rightfully called) will however outrun their reward, for the Lord knows very well how to reward each and everyone of them into eternity.

 

      Chapter 1

     Blandina.

1.  Blandina was born and raised in the toiling and despised class of servants.  She was a slave, or maidservant at Vienne, and came most probably to the knowledge of the truth together with and through the influence of her mistress.  (Her owner) both of which together were taken and brought to the dungeon.

2.  It now was feared that because of her youth and her delicate body the faith of Blandina would falter under the first painful trial, that she would not find the strength and boldness to profess the faith during the questioning under the pains of the trial.

3.  This fear was not unwarranted, for there had been examples of Heathen slaves interned in Christian homes who later - through the cunning of others, and the very thought of the pain - had allowed themselves to be deceived to express the most filthy mockery and accusations against the Christians.

4.  This therefore was cause for concern, if during that cruel and painful torture they sought to wring an accusation from the youthful Blandina.

5.  While now those that were around her trembled for fear for her sake, and even her mistress - who herself boldly withstood the torture did not consider Blandina to have the strength to endure so many pains, this appeared to be unfounded for the delicate youthful maiden.

6.  Accordingly these as also her mistress came to admire Blandina for the heroism and the determination of her soul.

7.  The confession that with every new torture flowed from her lips was; "I am a Christian, and among us no evil is done".

8.  The marvelous strength of the Spirit reinforced in the faith that worked within her, added to the delicate and tender body, for from morning till evening the torture was continued.

9.  The bulls (torturers) relieved each other in this cruel labor until they had fruitlessly exhausted all the tortures at their disposal till at last they gave up on their inhumane cruelty knowing they had suffered defeat at the determination of the heroic lady.

10.  And they could hardly conceal their admiration for her, that in such a stretched out and tortured body there was yet a breath of life left.

11.  It appeared that in the midst of the pains Blandina had received new strength, as if for a while she forgot her pains, as if she received a moment of rest, since so often she repeated the words; "I am a Christian, and among us we do not perform evil."

12.  It was therefore not strange that the report of her cruel persecution which came to Asia from the brothers at Lyon and Vienne - that they saw the extra ordinary strength of the Lord in supporting her.

 

     Chapter 2

     Blandina appointed for the beasts.

1.  Blandina then together with other martyrs were thus led in the amphitheater, but while her companions were to freely meet the lions - her body was tied to a post in the posture of one put to a cross.

2.  And while her face was prayingly turned to heaven, she not only had to watch the curious multitude, but also witness the death of her companions.  And this sight (according to the old story) gave her the boldness to admonish and encourage those who were fighting their last battle.

3.  It is notable that Blandina who had already commended her soul to God her Savior, that she had to fear the expectation that one of the animals with his bloodthirsty mouth would cause no harm, to bring no deadly wound.

4.  As then the animals strove and ran past her, and the show came to an end, the half maimed bodies of the Christian martyrs laid about, their parts scattered around, it was then when the first human mercy was awarded them; to be finished off with the sword.

5.  The thirst of blood for the Heathens had at least for this day been satisfied.  Blandina however was found unharmed, and while the heathen idolatry should have seen a judgment of God therein, they nonetheless did not release her but returned her to the cellar that she had just left.

6.  The crown that was to enhance her as martyr ­came close but was not yet hers, but for another day.

7.  The life of this weak and tender maiden had to be spared as long as possible that the weak and failing faith of her brothers - which she again found in the cellar might be refitted in the victorious strength of her faith.

8.  From that time on no day passed wherein the wrath of the offended gods did not ask for new offerings, no offering was made in which Blandina was not forced to witness the final battle.

9.  They wished for her to die a thousand deaths before she herself was allowed to die, as if by drops they wished to make her taste the bitter suffering right down to the bottom of the cup.

10.  It was in this way that they yet hoped to undermine her determination so as to deny her firmly confirmed faith, which of course would have been a most glorious victory for the idols that had suffered such defeat in the triumph of so many martyrs.

11.  But since even this appeared to be fruitless, their hatred and bitterness rose against her to know no bounds, the brutality of the people demanded more exemplar punishment.

12.  Finally, at the last day of the shows Blandina was seen in the amphitheater with a young lad of fifteen years named Ponticus standing at her side.

13.  It appeared as if this persecution was destined to show to the entire world the marvelous strength of faith that triumphs over every bodily weakness as it had also proven with the late Pothinus.

14.  And even as Blandina having shown heroism and greatness of soul above and beyond her youthful years, so this young lad who had barely outgrown his childhood, in this his last battle was equipped with all the boldness that we so admire in others holding firm in their faith.

15.  It seemed as though the heathens had some compassion for his youth, which was not because they were less cruel, but more to undermine the determination of his inner self.

16.  For just as Blandina, they had also forced him in previous days to witness the bloodthirsty show convinced that at the sight of such cruel death's he would tremble and turn back.

17.  But since he remained firm - the voice of mercy died quickly, and began to thirst that much the more for his blood.

18.  Meanwhile Blandina had spoken to him with all the tenderness of an elder, and as an intimately loving sister encouraging him with words and expressions in the language of faith till he breathe his last.

19.  But now the final hour for Blandina had come, she was the last remaining of the many brothers and sisters.  But no trace of fear was to be found in her face, but as one condemned to death, as one called to a dinner, so she stood there.

20.  And though we condemn the excessive longing to die in most Christian martyrs (see chap 6) who would reprove her for having this wish?

21.  Nothing however what men could lack in cruelty was spared in order to punish her for her convictions, to make her death so much the worse.

22.  Our heart is torn in compassion as we behold her being dragged around in the arena with the sound of the cracks of whips till she is wrapped in a net, and a bull, driven to madness, casts her into the air and catches her again on his horns.

23.  Yet still the suffering beautiful maiden is giving some signs of life, then a sword fighter steps near and ends the suffering of the lamb.

24.  Blandina was no longer on earth, and the eye of her faith now finds her in the midst of those blessed ones that had gone before her, who now received her with great joy.

25.  The suffering and death of Blandina forced the heathens to confess that they knew of no other woman who with so much heroism withstood so much cruelty.

26.  Having thus witnessed her heroism, we wish yet to record the praise, which was given her by the officials of Lyon and of Vienne.  Stating how that which is small and of no account and despised among men, is counted with the greatest of honor by God.

 

      Chapter 3 

      Perpetua and Felicitas.

1.  "He who loves father or mother more than Me - is Me not worthy."  Thus spoke the Lord of our faith.

2.  On the North-side of Africa, at Carhago is where this takes place, with the year being Apr 207 AD.

3.  The edict of the Kaiser did not appear as stringent as the bloody acts proved them to be.  It forbade under punishment of death to go over to the Jewish and Christian religion.

4.  But it did not appear to direct itself so much to those who were already established as Christians as it did to new Christian converts.

5.  The first to fall to this bloody harvest were three young men named; Renovates, Saturnius, and Secundulus, and two youthful women Felicitas and Perpetual

6.  Felicitas, like Blandina, was a slave, while Perpetua belonged to the higher class of the citizens, yet while these two were separate in class - they were one in the embracing of the same faith.

7.  The inmost voice of the soul had closed that ravine to become sisters in a common death, together striving for the faith and hope of Christian heroism, wherein their names became woven with a single crown in the record of history.

8.  According to the record of Tertulliaan, who lived in that same time period, there was in the congregation at Carthago a holy zeal to eternalize the memory of martyrs and everything that pertained to it?

9.  It is because of that passion that there remains a letter written by Perpetua's own hand.  Most likely written by her in her cellar during the last days of her life as a holy and dear memorandum.  Which came not only for her friends and family, but also for the whole Christian world.

10.  Perpetua at that time was 22 years of age, and was raised in the midst of wealth, and her marriage no less gave her a good place in the honor of society.

11.  Both her parents were yet alive and she had two brothers, the youngest of which had recently joined the Catechumenen, while the older - most likely had already embraced Christianity some time before this.

12.   From her letter it shows that her mother, either openly or secretly had accepted the Christian faith.  Her father on the other hand held very strongly to the heathen insights if not more for fear of the terrible persecution and the contempt of the name of Christians, than for any conviction thereof.

13.   And on top of all this she had a son which she suckled on her breast, but some of the most bitter drops which she had to drink belonged to the repeated trials of her father to bring her to deny her convictions.

14.  She was barely taken prisoner or her father came and managed to secure a meeting, but even at this first confrontation she held her noble desire, while the gray-haired man repeatedly attempted to obtain a denial of her conviction.

15.  She spoke to him to show the firmness of her conviction saying; "Father, do you see that cup laying on the ground there, can you call that object anything else than what it is?"  The old man of course had to concur, and she said;

16.  "Well on, just so neither can I testify any different of myself except that I am truly a Christian."

17.  This calm and worthy answer stirred up so much bitterness in her father that in anger and desperation he cast himself on her as if to quench the life of his child which meant more to him than the light of his eyes.  And so, very much depressed, he left.

18.  Perpetua however, although she was educated in the Christian doctrine had not yet received the token of Baptism.  And that of course could no longer be postponed, nor was her isolation such that this token could not be awarded to both her and her cellmates by a formal occasion.

19.  And with this she now clearly understood her first commitment to fully give herself to the suffering that awaited her, a few days thereafter she and her cellmates were removed to the town's prison.

20.  In her own report this delicate and virtues woman spoke of her entering the prison as follows;

21.  "It was no small scare, and I was deeply touched in entering that prison, for never had I found myself in such thick darkness, O what a terrible and fearful day it was.

22.  That horrible darkness, and the breathtaking heat that was in that cellar over-filled with people, and the rough treatment of the soldiers by whom we were guarded, and on top of all this the restless fear concerning my baby."

23.  Yet in this unbearable situation a little help was afforded her, for the congregation had not forgotten her, nor her cellmates.

24.  And two deacons, Tertius and Pomponius beggingly with gifts managed to work it thus that from time to time they were led to a better and larger room, where if nothing else they could breath some fresh air, and whereas an added consolation their families and friends awaited them.

25.  There it was that Perpetua found her child to give him the food so long withheld, and her younger brother was there whom she sisterly admonished to follow in her footsteps.

26.  There it was where once again with all affections she embraced her mother to whom she committed the care for her suckling child.

27.   Not withstanding the joy of the reunion, it did however not escape her family to read her hearts sorrow displayed upon her face.  And no less the feeling that for all her family she was an object of great care and sorrow.  And then again in having to depart from them, and also from her child.

28.  This feeling together with being torn away from her child brought her to a grieving which day by day became of more concern.

29.  But the same Christian love which previously had brought her some relief brought her still greater relief, for it was consented her that her baby now remain with her.

30.     Thus she was now able to press her darling with all her hearts consent to her and to give herself fully to caress and feed him, this joy then gave her new strength of life counting herself blessed.

31.  This joy however came to be of short duration, for word came that the open hearing for the Christian prisoners would now be any day.  Her father then, on hearing this, hasted himself to the prison to once again beg for her denial, and this meeting is best said in her own words;

32.  Have mercy, so spoke my father to me.  Have mercy with my gray hair if I still deserve to be called your father, with these hands I brought you up to the flower of life, yes, and I loved you above your brothers, do not therefore put me to shame before the people.

33.  Look to your brothers and your mother and her sister, and look at your own son who after your death will not remain alive, deny then that high conviction of yours which can only cast you and all of us to destruction.

34.  Thus spoke my father in his love for me, and he covered my hands with his kisses, he threw himself before my feet, and with weeping called me not his daughter but master of his predicament.

35.  And O with how much suffering I beheld the gray hairs of my father, how very much my inwards grieved for him that he was the only one of my family who in my suffering found cause for sorrow, and not at the same time for joy also.

36.  And in order to console him I said, "this only my father will occur at the place of the hearing namely that which God will and ordains."  Consider that our fate is no longer in our own hands but in God's hand.  And so he left still not being consoled."

 

      Chapter 4

      The hearing.

1.  The time then that would mark their fate had indeed come near, proconsul Hilarianus had ordered that the Christian prisoners were to appear in an open hearing at the catasta, and again we will let Perpetua herself describe the event.

2.  "The other day when they brought our morning meal, we were suddenly called and led away to be judged, the word that we were coming had preceded us with high speed throughout the city streets and surrounding areas.

3.  A great multitude of people had assembled themselves on the market place when we ascended the catasta and everyone being questioned had confessed that they were Christians, and so my turn had come.

4.  But suddenly before I could speak, my father stood before me with my son in his arms.  Have compassion on your child.  So he begged me, and also the judge added his plea with those of my father.

5.  Justify the gray hairs of your father, have compassion for the youth of your child, acknowledge the blessings of Caesar.  So he said; but I answered;  "I will not."  Then he said; "Are you then a Christian?"  To which I answered; "Yes I am a Christian."

6.  On this bold answer then followed the judgment, and her father hearing that heart-breaking word took a defiant posture towards his daughter and made an attempt to drag her along with himself.

7.  The proconsul then ordered to remove them forcefully from one another.  And when the grieving old man resisted, still showing himself defiant, he was beaten with a rod by the guards.

8.  This sight however cut Perpetua through the heart.  "These beatings, so she spoke, hurt me as if I received them myself, O how I felt what my father had to suffer in those moments, O how I felt sorrow for him and his old age."

9.  The verdict spoken over Perpetua and her companions held in that they were to be thrown before the animals at the celebration of geta, being named Caesar, but of course the Christian martyrs had not expected any other fate, and were fully ready and braced to bear that terrible verdict.

       Return to the prison.

10.  And so being brought back to the cellars, she took her breath more freely that now the fearful and determining moment had passed in which not one of them had stumbled to fall.

11.  The stone thus was now cast, and without forgetting her duties as a mother or a daughter, she had acted according to the words of the Lord, not to love father or mother over Him.

12.  But although she praised God with thanksgiving that she had been given to remain firm to the higher love amidst the trials of her feelings as a mother, there was yet a more fearful trial awaiting her, namely that of having to part with her son.

13.  And O what must have passed through her soul which only the heart of a mother can comprehend, for having been returned to her cellar it was as she had expected, her son was not there.

14.  She therefore sent the deacon Pomponius to her father to ask back her child, to keep her child with her in the dark cellar to feed him.

15.  But this request was answered with a stern refusal, for it was yet the vain hope of her father to thus overthrow the mind of his daughter, and though she begged and prayed, it was in vain.

16.  The day of execution then having come near, her father once again managed to come to her cellar, his face was evidently fallen from grief, yet as one who is determined to try the utmost he pulled out the hairs of his beard and cast himself down on the ground,

17.  And spoke with such words that had nearly to break her heart, but even though her heart may have been rented, and her tears flowed with those of her father, her conviction remained unshaken, she did not deny Christ.

 

     Chapter 5 

     Felicitas.

1.  In all this at the side of Perpetua was Felicitas, she had not yet given birth to a child, but was in the advanced state of her pregnancy.

2.  And since the roman laws were yet humane enough not to allow a woman in that condition to be cast before the animals, she feared to be left alone in the dungeon only to face the same end a bit later on.

3.  She therefore prayed fervently that the natural course might be hastened on her, and her wish was indeed fulfilled to her, for a few days before the execution was to take place, her pains came on her.

4.  And while thus in pain seeking some support on the hard dirt and letting out the cries of pain so common with giving birth, one of the guards in the cruelty of his mind remarked to her;

5.  "If you cry out so much with this, how do you think it will be when you are cast before the wild beasts?"  You certainly should have thought of that when you contemptuously refused to offer to the gods."

6.  Her answer then was something that with all rights may be set in stone, as she replied;

7.  "Right now I suffer for myself, but then it will be for another stronger than me who will suffer with me and within me, since I am ready to suffer for Him and to die for Him."

8.  The child that she brought into the world was a girl, and one of her sisters took her into her care to raise her as her daughter.

9.  The day now had come on them, and like so many other that are condemned, they were allowed to have their last meal together and in the open, and they utilized this opportunity to have a holy meal together while a whole crowd of people watched them with all curiosity.

10.  And while they were thus breaking bread before their last battle, one of them named Saturus rose up in their midst.  And he spoke to the crowd pointing them to the day of judgment when Christ was to return at which time they would again come to behold them in who's death they were soon to take a feasting.

       The sentence of victory begins.

11.  And so the bloodthirsty day arrived which for them was to be a day of victory and glory, the train of people was set in motion that brought the martyrs to the amphitheater.

12.  The young men up front, and though their hearts beat faster it was more for the joy of the hope than for fear of death.

13.  The two youthful women followed, Perpetua showed no unrest though she turned her eyes down for the curious crowd that stared at her.

14.  Felicitas showed an inward joy as one that praises God that she was given to become a mother before the fateful day, allowing her to partake of this battle and its consequent victory.

15.  Having then come to the entrance of the theater the pagans wished them to change their clothing, the men that they should wear a purple overcoat of that of the priests of saturnus.  And the women to have their hair braid and be dressed in the dress that was sanctioned to the idol ceres.

16.  But with firm determination they opposed this saying; "No, for because of this it is that we have come here freely that we should keep our freedom, since it is for that reason that we are giving our lives, that we should not lower ourselves to perform anything that strives against our conscience,

17.  This in fact is the contract between you and us, on which you cannot renege."

18.  Once on the battleground the stronger manly spirit of the youth showed itself in distinction from that of the more timid and humble character of the woman.

19.  For in passing the seat of the ruler Hilarianus they could not resist to cast a threatening eye, which in words is said "You condemn us but God will judge you."

20.  This at least is how the embittered crowd interpreted the same, who in turn with all malice demanded that they be whipped for this daring act.

21.  And to spare you the gruesome details we will remark only on the general proceedings, the youths were given for a pray to leopards and bears, while the furious bull was let lose against the women.

22.  And both women being undone of their clothing and wrapped in a net were led forwards.  And beholding the two, one so young and delicate, with the other yet trembling from the ordeal in becoming a mother, this was enough to raise the voice of compassion in the hearts of many a person.

23.  And accordingly a cry of disapproval let itself be heard from the crowd with a sound of lamentation that grew louder and louder.

24.  And thus they were called back from the battleground, and taken out of their nets, and again received their clothes.

25.  Perpetua was first to receive the attack, and being thrown to the ground she found her clothing torn from her.  As then in her feelings of chaste she attempted to cover herself as best as she could with what remained of her covering, she also attempted to redo her hair so she might not die as one who mourns.

26.  A small distance from her was Felicitas wounded as she was, and turning to her she reached for her hand lifting her up again.

27.  And so there stood the two friends, the color gone from their faces with torn clothing, hand in hand as a monument of Christian humility awaiting what was next to come for them.

28.  This sight touched the hearts of the crowd once again, and they demanded that they be led off the battleground.

29.  Perpetua then, having come to the entrance, found herself in the arms of her younger brother as if she awakened out of a dream, for with surprise and fearful eyes she looked around her and asked "When is that mad bull to be let lose against us?"

30.  And it took some convincing to show her in view of her wounds and torn clothing that such had already occurred.

31.  Her brother then and still another Christian youth in taking leave of her she spoke to both of them saying; "Remain firm in your faith, love one another, and above all do not fall, nor become unfaithful in the suffering in which you see us suffer."

32.  And no less heart-breaking was the leave that Saturus took of Pudens the keeper of the prison who had since fully embraced the Christian faith and now saw the martyrs as his brothers in faith.

33.  Saturus, mortally wounded by a leopard and covered with blood, motioned Pudens to come near.  And asking him for the ring on his finger, he dipped it in his blood and handed it to him again as a memorial saying.  "Farewell remember how you saw me die, and let not this sight shock you, but rather strengthen yourself in your faith."

34.  Then having been called to the center of the amphitheater to there receive the blow of mercy, the martyrs fell into each other arms and gave each other the kiss of brotherhood, and motioned one of the waiting sword fighters to make an end to so much suffering.

35.  Perpetua had yet the daring to come to the help of the youthful inexperienced sword fighter whose hands were trembling to fulfill the deadly act that he was to perform on her.

36.  It was as if this very noble lady could not be killed until she herself gave the order thereto.

 

       Chapter 6 

      The expose of hypocrisy. (By Leonard)

1.  Most marvelous are the works of the Lord, His children, the works of His hand.  O how marvelous Thy children O Lord that with such conviction they suffered all pains looking forward to be joined to Thee.

2.  I took to recount the legacy of these three jewels of Christianity from the words of the seemingly Christians, for that in itself also provides a note to the wise.

3.  I said; "seemingly Christens, for O what fair facade many can put on as they convince themselves to be such dear-hearted and pious followers of Christ, counting themselves above reproach and in every way blessed to inherit eternal life.

4.  But O how many will be undone and altogether surprised on that great day of judgment to discover how they have run their lives in vain, that thinking to be righteous is not the same as in fact being righteous.

5.  And to hit the nail on the head with these and all other seeming to be Christians.  To them it was that the word was framed where the Lord said; "They honor Me with the mouth, but their heart is far from Me", and; "Not them that say Lord, Lord, but them that perform My will".

6.  It is on that great day when expecting to be raised to life that they shall hear "Depart from Me you workers of iniquity."

7.  For though they attempt to justify themselves saying; "Did we not preach in Thy name, and did we not cast out devils, and brought many to salvation?"  These very words will be counted to them for lies and deceit.

8.  And to furnish that evidence, even now, before these things shall be spoken on that great day, note as I pronounce.

9.  The minds of the writers of these and other historic events, as well as the people and the teachers of the pagans (so called Christians) of today, have been poisoned by the venom of the devil.

10.  For while they profess themselves to be so well knowledged and civilized, they show themselves as some of the most backwards of all creatures.

11.  This I say, Shall it not be a just judgment to condemn those that with all of history at their disposal, and the writing readily available to them, to remain so ignorant of the most simple facts, more than those who lacked all such information to them?

12.  Consequently I judge the people of this twentieth century more severe than those of a century in which the people were dependent on their condemned priests for right information.

13.  Many of these so-called professors of the scriptures have the gall not only to suggest but also to affirm that the command against eating blood was only a temporary command.

14.  They seem to refer to the book of Acts as if that were the only place or time when that law was in force.  And for that abominable ignorance alone their titles as doctors of the scripture is a joke.

15.  These then are hypocrites, for while we just heard them condemn the pagans of old for depriving themselves of life for their taste of the blood of these youthful women, they themselves also deprive themselves of their life in the consumption of blood.

16.  For to consume blood, is to consume life, blood being the token of life and as such the essence of life's being.  He therefore that kills - consumes blood, in that he sheds blood.  And she who draws a man in adultery consumes blood in the murder of a man.

17.  And he who lies concerning a law of God to any man, and that man falls thereby, is guilty of blood, for any blood, of man or of beast, is the moving essence, the very breath of the creature which shall not be consumed of any man.

18.  But they will say; but what harm is it to eat blood, for do we not kill the animal without incurring guilt, and eat its meat sanctioned of the Lord?

19.  But then in the same token O you man of ignorance, why shall man be condemned in Adam in that he ate of the fruit of the tree, for what is so harmful in eating figs or apples?  (Some say grapes, but grapes grow on vines not trees)

20.  Thus, be it figs, or blood, what is so harmful?  I will tell you what is so harmful in these.  It is the will and command of God, because He said, You shall not.

21.  When therefore in your hypocrisy or in your ignorance you make a mockery of the command of God concerning blood, you make a mockery of the whole fall of man, and consequently of Christ, and of God's command to Adam not to eat of that one tree.

22.  Even without the command of God, the eating of blood was an abomination to Adam, as it is to every righteous person, the very nature of nature it as a defilement of the life of any creature, it is enough that we should take its breath let alone its blood.

23.  The command however was stated to Adam and taught by Enoch and Noah and Moses and all through the years including the apostles and nothing since has changed whereby righteousness should belong to the devil.

24.  It is no small matter when one sanctions the consumption of blood, since only the pagan-mind in a pagan spirit can possibly condone such gruesome behavior, and where then may I ask is the Holy Spirit in such souls?

25.  Are not these perverters of the law of sanity the same who also abolished the due respect that all men should have for those in superiority to them?

26.  For in nature it has been throughout all the ages' common practice as a sign of respect that a man uncovers his head, while a woman retains a cover.  And that sign of respect, which is virtues among men, was duly commanded to the children of God in their approach to God.

27.  But these foul teachers who claim to be interpreters of the scriptures have in these last decades of this generation abolished this as if that belonged to the uncivilized, and not to their excellence.

28.  Accordingly, therefore, since you have called my Lord and Savior uncivilized, and raised yourself as more excellent than God the Creator of all.  The Lord however will assuredly show you who is more excellent.

29.  For in this vile cunning of yours, you have become worse than the Satan, for the Satan thought to set his throne equal with God, but you in your accursed ignorance raised yourself over God.

30.  It then is no wonder that they also condemn what they determine as "excessive longing for death," to be granted the greatest of all gifts of God here on this earth, to be allowed to offer one's own self for the name of Christ.

31.  Do you think that God was pleased in a burnt offering of animals?  Or that they were without purpose?  Note that it says "Burnt" offering, meaning to give fully, not anything for retention.

32.  The offering pointed to Christ, so one will say.  And yes that is true, but it also taught that we should fully give ourselves to the will of God, body and soul

33.  The Lord then does not require our bodies, but our souls He does require that even at the cost of our bodies accepting them as a most pleasing burnt offering, and they that are so fortunate to be so called are indeed blessed.

34.  As then it was strange to these writers, whose words I translated, it is indeed strange to them since they love the life of this world - having no reliance in the life of the world to come.

35.  For to us - to live, is as natural as it is for them wishing to live, the difference is - that our life is after death, while theirs is before it.

36.  This life is a hell to us, with death as the entrance into life, what then is so strange or so excessive in us that we should desire life like everyone else desires life?

37.  For they fail to understand that while we abide here - we are in death - with its escape as life.

38.  And to such as it seems a natural desire to renounce God rather than to endure the torture, and who for that reason turn a blind eye, or make an excuse, I can only acclaim them as cowards, and blind creatures.

39.  For such desire, however natural, is an earthly love, which if we come to love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ, we put off as a filthy garment, to put on the garment of faith, which in the truth thereof, comes with endurance.

40.   The Lord does not fully reject them which save themselves from the torture, but even as the gold which is taken out of the oven before it is fully melted is not pure, neither shall they be.

41.  So then I say.  If indeed it was gold which was partially melted, a place shall yet be found for it.  But make a distinction my dear friends if indeed that which began in the oven was of that noble metal, and not some iron that melts at the low point of the oven and which rusts again no matter what.

42.  How many have it in their hearts saying; Thank Thee O God that we no longer have these persecutions as in the past, where a painful offering was demanded for Thy faith, for today we live in a civilized time when God no longer asks for such commitments?

43.  Wake up you blind creatures, do you not know the scriptures, how it is said that in these last days God will try those that are His as gold in the furnace?

44.  If you are not up to having your fingernails pulled out, and being burned alive, perhaps you should reconsider calling yourself Christian, for such and other tests will be imposed on them.

45.  Do not consider the world of this day more civilized, but rather more barbaric, for the days will soon demonstrate how degenerate the race of men has become in the end of their days.

46.  For quite some time there have been no Christian persecutions, not because of any civilization among men, but because there have been no Christians to persecute.

47. The Jews were persecuted and their lives were offered by the millions, the Lord required it of them so He might have compassion on them.

48. But when I look to the Gentiles in these last generations I behold very few who gave themselves in such manner, for though the Lord has called Gentiles, He has not called them as He called Israel His first-born.