Christian Martyrs Given to the Lions in the Coliseum of Rome
The first Christian Martyrs were those who suffered under the persecution of the Romans in the early ages of the Church. For two hundred and forty years, or from about the year 64 after Christ to the time of the emperor Constantine (306), the cruel punishments inflicted upon the Christians by their heathen enemies are described by the ancient historians as being as various and horrible as the mind of man, inspired by the devil, could invent.
"Some," we are told, "were slain with the sword; some burned with fire; some scourged with whips; some stabbed with forks of iron; some fastened to the cross or gibbet; some drowned in the sea; some had their skins plucked off; some were stoned to death; some killed with cold; some starved with hunger; some, with their hands cut off or otherwise disabled, were left naked, to the open shame of the world. Yet, notwithstanding the sharpness of their torments, such was the constancy of those who suffered--or rather, such was the power of the Lord in his saints--that they generally remained faithful to the end."
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