Sebastian Shot With Arrows
Among those who lost their lives during this bloody persecution was Sebastian, a holy man who was born at Narbonne in Gaul, instructed in Christianity at Milan, and made an officer of the emperor's guard at Rome.
Sebastian remained a true Christian in the midst of idolatry, unaffected by the splendors of a court, and untainted by evil example. Esteemed by the most eminent, beloved by his equals, and admired by his inferiors, he lived happily, and kept his faith and his place, until the rigors of the persecution deprived him of life. He was informed against, and betrayed to Fabian, the Roman general, by Torquatus, a pretended Christian. Sebastian was of too high rank to be put to death without the emperor's express command, so an appeal was made to Diocletian.
The emperor, on hearing the accusation, sent for Sebastian, and charged him with ungratefully betraying the confidence he had placed in him, by being, at heart, an enemy to the gods of the empire and to himself.
To this charge Sebastian answered, that his religion was of a good, not an evil tendency, that it did not influence him to do anything against the welfare of the empire; and that the greatest proof he could give of his good will, was by praying to the only true God for the health and prosperity of the emperor.
Angered at this reply, the emperor ordered him to be taken to a field near the city, called the Campus Martius, there to be shot with arrows; and this cruel sentence was immediately carried out.
But a few Christian friends, who came to the place of execution to bury Sebastian's body, perceived signs of life in him, and moving him to a place of safety, he in a shout time recovered.
This, however, only prepared him for a second martyrdom; for as soon as he was able to walk, he placed himself in the emperor's way as he was going to the temple. The unexpected appearance of a man supposed to be dead, naturally startled the emperor, nor did his words less astonish him; for Sebastian sternly reproved the tyrant for his various cruelties, and for his unreasonable hatred of Christianity.
As soon a Diocletian had recovered from his surprise, he ordered Sebastian to be seized, carried to a place near the palace, and beaten to death; and in order that the Christians should not again help him back to life, or even bury his dead body, he ordered that it should be thrown into a deep ditch. Nevertheless, a Christian lady, named Lacina, found a way to remove his remains, and bury them in the catacombs.
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