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sors condemned to death, made up the little contingent of the noble army of martyrs.

The prefect Naso, from his place in the tribune, near the Emperors, read the sentence of the court, that the accused having been proven by ample testimony to be the enemies of the Cæsars and of the gods, had been condemned to death by exposure to wild beasts.

"Nay, not the enemies of the Cæsars," exclaimed the aged Demetrius. “We are the friends of all, the enemies of none.* We pray for the Cæsars at all our assemblies.”

“Will you do homage to the gods ?” demanded Diocletian. “Will you burn incense to Neptuue? Here is his altar and here are his priests.”

“ We worship the true God who made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that in them is,” replied the venerable man, with uplifted and reverent coun*enance, “and Him only will we serve. They be no gods which are made by man's device, and 'tis idolatry to serve them.”

“Away with the Atheists,” cried the priests of Neptune; “they blaspheme the holy gods.”

“The Christians to the lions !” roared the mob, and at the signal from the Emperor to the master of the games, the dens of the wild beasts were thrown open, and the savage brutes, starved into

*This famous phrase dates from the time of Tertullian, in the 3rd century, and is also recorded in the Catacombs.

madness, bounded into the arena. The defencele is martyrs fell upon their knees in prayer, and seemed conscious only of the presence of Him who stood with the three Hebrews in the fiery furnace, so rapt was the expression of faith and courage on their upturned faces.

The fierce Numidian lions, and tigers from the Libyan desert, instead of bounding upon their prey, began to circle slowly around them, lashing their tawny flanks meanwhile, glaring at their victims from bloodshot fiery eyes, and uttering horrid growls.

At this moment a loud shout was heard, and a soldier, clad in Lurnished mail, and with his drawn sword in his hand, one of the body guards of the Emperors, leaped from the tribune anul bounded with clashing armour into the arena. Striding across the sand, he hurled aside his iron helmet and his sword, and flung himself at the feet of the aged priest, with the words :

" Father, your blessing; Caliirhoë, your parting kiss. I, too, am a Christian. Long time have I sought you, alas! only to find you thus. But gladly will I die with you, and, separated in life, we are united in death and forever.”

Nunc dimittis, Domine !exclaimed the old man, raising his eyes to heaven. “Now, Lord, lettest thou thy servant depart in peace.'” And he laid his hands in blessing on the head of his long-lost son.

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“Ezra, my brother!” exclaimed Callirhoë, folding him in her arms. “ To think we were so near, yet knew not of each other. Thank God, we go to heaven together; and, long divided on earth, we shall soon, with our beloved mother, be a united family forever in the skies. “And God shall wipe away all tears from our eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain.”

“Amen! even so, come, Lord Jesus !” spake the young soldier, as he enfolded, as if in a sheltering embrace, the gray-haired sire and the fairfaced girl.

The utmost consternation was exhibited on the countenance of the olul Emperor Diocletian. “ What! have we Christians and traitors even in our Lody guard ? Our very life is at the mercy of those wretches !”

“I would feel safer with them," said the more stoical or more courageous Galerius, “than with the dclators and informers who betray them," and he glanced with mingled contempt and aversion at Naso, the prefect, and Furca, the priest. " When a Christian gives his word, 'tis sacred as all the oaths of Hecate. I want no better soldiers than those of the Thundering Legion."*

* The Legio Tonans, tradition affirms, was a legion composed wholly of Christians, whose prayers in a time of drought brought on a violent thunder-storm, which confounded the enemy and saved the army.

upon their

Meanwhile the wild beasts, startled for a moment by the sudden apparition of the mail-clad soldier, seemed roused thereby to ten-fuld fury. Crouching stealthily for the fatal spring, they bounded

prey, and in a moment crashing bones and streaming gore appeased the growing impatience of the cruel mol, who seemed, like the very wild beasts, to hunger and thirst for human flesh and blood.

We dwell not on the painful spectacle. The gallant young soldier was the first to die. The brave girl, with a gesture of maiden modesty, drew her dishevelled robe about her person, and with a qucenly dignity awaited the wild beast's fatal spring. She was mercifully spared the spectacle of her father's dying agony.

Her overstrung nerves gave way, and she fell in a swoon upon the sands. Demetrius met his fate praying upon his knees. Like Stephen, he gazed steadfastly up into heaven, and the fashion of his countenance was suddenly transfigured as he exclaimed : “ Lord Jesus ! Rachel, O my beloved ! we come, we come.” And above the roar of the ribald mob and the growl of the savage beasts, fell sweetly on his inner ear the song of the redeemed, and burst upon his sight the beatific vision of the Lord he loved, and for whom he gladly died.

So, too, like brave men, victorious o'er their latest foe, Adauctus, Aurelius, and the others calmly met their fate. When all the rest were slain, a lordly lion approached the prostrate form of Caliirhoë, but she was already dead. She had. passed from her swoon, without a pang, to the marriage supper of the Lamb --to the presence of the Celestial Bridegroom—the fairest among ten thousand, the one altogether lovely—to whom the homaze of her young heart had been fully given. She was spared, too, the indignity,of being mangled by the lion's jaws. When the king of beasts found that she was already dead, he raised his massy head, gave a mournful howl, and strode haughtily away.

In the great gallery of Doré paintings at London, is one of this Flavian Amphitheatre after a human sacrifice such as we have described. There lie the mangled forms upon the gory and trampled sands. The sated wild beasts prowl listlessly over the arena. The circling seats rise tier abuve tier, empty and desolate. But poised in air, with outspread wings, above the slain, with a countenance of light and a palm of victory, is a majestic angel ; and sweeping upward in serried ranks, amid the shining stars, is a cloud of bright-winged angels, the convoy of the martyrs' spirits to the skies. So, doubtless, God sent a cohort of sworded seraphim to bear the martyrs of our story blessed company, and to sweep with them through the gates into the city.

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