The Fourth Persecution, under Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, 162 AD

The sight of cruelties suffered by Christians became too much to behold by spectators. At the writing of these words, as I read through the account of the fourth wave of persecutions, I shuddered with disgust and anger:

Some of the martyrs were obliged to pass, with their already wounded feet, over thorns, nails, sharp shells, etc. upon their points, others were scourged until their sinews and veins lay bare, and after suffering the most excruciating tortures that could be devised, they were destroyed by the most terrible deaths. 

Polycarp, the bishop of Smyrna, the church to which the Lord Jesus had sent these prophetic words –  “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (Rev.2:10) – had this to answer to his tormentor who had offered him freedom if he denounced Christ: “Eighty and six years have I served him, and he never once wronged me; how then shall I blaspheme my King, Who hath saved me?”

> The Fifth Persecution

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