« ZurückWeiter »
piteous callings he kept repeating, he could not help thinking of the wicked lies be bad told Hans, on their way, about the use he was going to make of this treasure ; for nothing was farther from his thoughts than to give any part to him or the poor. Indeed he had made every arrangement before he started, to murder Hans as soon as he was done with him, and so get his wealth too.
All this time Hans outside was wondering what kept him so long, and trembling lest something had happened. He listened, but not a sound could be heard but the beating of his own heart and the sound of the wind among the trees. At last he was sure ho beard a cry of agony and terror, followed by the howl of a dog. In an instant he struck the door, pronounced the magie words, and with a little unspoken prayer for help and protection, rushed into the dark passage. A fearful sight was there! The torn and bloody miser stretched upon his bags, that, except the one he had placed near the door, and which had fallen out when that opened, were filled with cinders and ashes.
Hans took hold of the body to drag it out, but suddenly perceived that the tower was sinking. He had only time to rush out himself and pick up the bag of gold, when the tower sank slowly into the earth, and has never been beard of since. Pale and agitated llans went home, humbly thanking the good God for having given him a contented spirit that was satisfied with enough for his daily wants, and for the heart as well as power to help the poor and needy. IIe brought up his children to babits of industry and economy, and at this day there are none who are more deservedly respected than the sons and daughters of Hans the wood-cutter. N. Y. Methodist.
Der HEIDELBERGER CATECHISMUS. The original in future editions are indicated, Heidelberg Catechism.
which furnishes the reader the ground
upon which the text here adopted is Thisis a critical edition of this venerable based. These notes are valuable. The symbol of the Reformed Church accord
original Scriptural proof texts are given, ing to the edition of 1563, in modern
to which are added some contained in German, by Dr. Schaff; published by 1 | later editions, as also some new ones by Kohler. No. 202 North 4th St. Philadel- the author, distinguished by brackets. pbia. More than one half of the little As this work presents itself as a critical volume of 160 pages is taken up with a 1 edition, our Magazine is not the place concise but very satisfactory History of to institute an examination of its merits the Catechism. The whole is designated in this respect. The book furnishes inas a contribution to the 300th anni
ternal evidence of much research and versary of the Heidelberg Catechism,
pains, and the well known scholarsbip which is celebrated during this year in
of Dr. Schaff always commands confithe Reformed Church of America. The
urch of America. The dence and respect. The Historical part Text of the Catechism is accompanied is a wonderful illustration of the saw : with notes in which variations from the
| multum in parvo_"much in little."
Polycarp, the venerable bishop of the Church of Smyrna, is ono of the most beautiful characters among the earliest fathers of the Church. Though much of his life is hidden, and much that is related rests on tradition, yet enough is historically reliable to show, that bis life was bid with Christ in God, and that his martyr death was one of the noblest testimonies to the power of Christianity on rec. ord. In our sketch we pass over the legendary, and confine our. selves to that which is historically reliable.
Polycarp was born, according to some, in the city of Smyrna, or at least in Asia Minor, of parents who had been converted from Paganism to Christianity, toward the close of the reign of Nero, about A. D., 67. It is said that his parents were poor and humble, and that he at first sustained the character of a slave, and as such was brought up in the family of a noble matron named Callisto, who made him her heir. At an early age, according to one account, he became a pupil of Bucolus, the Bishop of Smyrna, and was made deacon and catechist in his church, Later, as is known from reliable evidence, he became a disciple of the Apostle John, and on account of the excellence of his character, and devotion to the cause of Christ, he was by St. John ordained about A. D. 82, Bishop of Smyrna, as the successor of Bucolus. He also enjoyed the ac. quaintance of other Apostles, and had, according to the testimony of Irenaeus, much intercourse with those who had seon our Saviour in the flesh.
The history of bis ministry at Smyrna was quiet, but powerful and attended with great success. Though he was at times induced to take part in affairs pertaining to the Church in general, and is mentioned in such position in the history of the Church, his talents and energies were chiefly devoted to his own flock during a long life. As a minister of Jesus Christ he was, however, universally known as a model pastor. Like his teacher, "the beloved disciple," he lived a century; and he was enbalmed in the hearts of the generation, whose fathers and grand-fathers, had been the friends of his youth and his middle life, or the children of his flock. In old age, as in youth, he was zealous, faithful and true. His beautiful life unfolded in steady and ever increasing glory. Through storms and trials he firmly held on in his course, till his long and useful life ended in victorious glory in the crown of martyrdom A. D. 167.
Though the proconsul of Asia Minor at the time seems to have been willing to look with tolerance upon Christians, he was constantly urged by the violent populace to persecute Christians. Many suffered nobly as witnesses for Christ. "They made it evident to us all," says the Church, "that in the midst of those sufferings they were absent from the body: or rather, that the Lord, stood by them and walked in the midst of them; and staying themselves on the graze of Christ, they despised the torments of the world." With the utmost tranquility they contemplated the instruments of torture, which were shown them with a view to sbake their steadfastness, welcoming the torture of savage animals, and the flames of the stake, “not accepting deliverance” on condition of a denial of their faith.
In the midst of this wild heathen rage, Polycarp was demanded as a victim. On account of his prominent position, it was thought his death would arrest the zeal and overcome the firmness of Christians. On a day of public entertainment, which it was customary to wind up with some display of their indignation against the meek and quiet followers of Christ, and after they bad just wreaked their vengeance upon a noble youth named Germanicus, and others, who stood firm to the death, the sport began to seem too tame for them, when the populace began to cry out: “Away with these wicked wretches. Let Polycarp be brought."
The order for his arrest was at once issued in answer to the demands of the infuriated people. “When he heard the shouts of the people demanding his death," says Neander, “it was bis intention, at first, to remain quietly in the city, and await the issue which God might ordain for him; but the prayers of the Church prevailed on him to take refuge in a neighboring villa. Here he spent the time, with a few friends,occupied, as was his custom,day and night,in pray. ing for all the churches throughout the world. When search was made for him, he retired to another villa. But he had scarcely reached it before the officers of the proconsul appeared, to whom his place of refuge had been betrayed by some who, unworthy of the honor, enjoyed his confidence. The bishop himself had again fled : but they found two slaves, and from one, whom they put to the torture, they extracted the secret of the bishop's hiding place. As they were approaching, Polycarp, who was in the highest story of the dwelling, might have escaped by the flat roof to another housea mode of flight made easy by the peculiar style of oriental build
ing; but he said, "The will of the Lord be done.” Coming down to the officers of justice, be ordered whatever they chose to eat and drink to be placed before them, requesting only that they would indulge him with an hour for quiet prayer. But the fullness of his heart carried him through two hours, so that the pagans themselves were touched by his devotion.”
Under cover of night, they placed the venerable man, now ono hundred years of age, upon an ass, and so started for the city. Meeting on the way the Chief Officer, in a chariot, they commanded him to mount it. With the chief of the police in the chariot was his father Nicetas. As soon as he was seated they began to persuade bim to recant.
“What harm is it to say, Lord Cæsar, and sacrifice, and to be safe ?”
Polycarp was silent. When they still continued to urge him, he answered firmly: “I shall not do what you advise me."
Whereupon they first began to rail him; and at length thrust him out of the chariot, whereby he received a severe injury in bis thigh. He was perfectly meek and silent under the pain of his in. jury. Quietly rising from his fall, he pursued his onward way, notwithstanding his lameness, rejoicing that he was counted worthy to suffer for Christ.
When it was rumored in the city, that the venerable victim was coming "every avenue was thronged with weeping friends, eager not only to catch a last sight of his venerable form, but to beBeech him to continue firm and faithful to the last.” Neither fears nor threats could danıpen the enthusiasm of love, of the hosts which burst forth from the lips of Christians, who knew they were thus exposing themselves to be led next as lambs to the slaughter. "Be strong, Polycarp, and quit thyself like a man,” was the shout that rent the air.
With a firm step he reached the stadium. As soon as the confusion which his arrival had occasioned had subsided, the Proconsul asked him : "Are you Polycarp ?” The venerable saint replied that he was. "Have regard to your age; and renounce Christ. Swear by the genius of Ceasar. Repent and say, Away with those that deny the
Polycarp, with a grave and serious countenance, contemplated the multitudes around him, and while beckoning to them with his hands, raised his eyes to heaven with a sigb, and said:
“Away with the impious.”
"Swear, and I will set thec at liberty; revile Christ,” said the Gov. ernor, endeavoring to persuade him.
Polycarp replied: "Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He never did me nothing but good; and how can I now curse my King, who has saved me?"
Still urging, the Governor said again: "Swear by the genius of Cæsar.”
Polycarp replied: "If you are so vain as to think that I should swear by the genius Cæsar, as you say, pretending not to know who I am, hear my confession : I am a Christian. But if you wish to learn what the doctrine of Christianity is, appoint an hour and listen to me."
The Governor seemed anxious at this point to save the venerable man if he could appease the populace, and said to Polycarp : “Do but persuade the people.”
Polycarp replied: "To you I have felt myself bound to give account, for our religion teaches us to pay due honor to the powers ordained of God, so far as it can be done without prejudice to our salvation. But I do not consider those the proper ones before whom I should deliver my defence.”
"I bave wild beasts at hand,” said the Governor, “I will cast you to these, unless you change your mind.”.
“Call them,” Polycarp replied; “for we Christians are fixed in our minds not to change from good to evil, but it is well to change from evil to good."
"If you despise the wild beasts, I will cause you to be consumed by fire, unless you change your mind.”
"You threaten fire, which burns for a moment and is soon extinguished; but you know nothing of the judgment to come, and the fire of eternal punishment reserved for the wicked. But why do you delay ? Bring what you will !”.
All efforts to demoralize him failing, the Governor caused the herald to proclaim in the circus : “Polycarp has confessed himself a Christian !" to which words was also attached the sentence of death.
With an infuriated shout, the heathen populace, replied: "This is the teacher of atheism, the father of the Christians, the enemy of our gods, who teaches so many to turn from the worship of the gods and not to sacrifice.”
The sentence being that he should die at the stake, Jews and Pagans vied with each other in bringing wood from the workshops and baths. When they were ready to fasten him with nails to the stake of the pile, he said : “Let me alone as I am ; for He that gives me strength to bear the fire, will also give me power, without being secured by you with these nails, to remain unmoved on the pile."
To this they consented; and only tied him fast to the stake. Then closing his hands behind him, and lifting his eyes toward heaven, be prayed, saying:
“O Lord God Almighty, the Father of Thy well-beloved Son, Jesus Christ, by whom we have attained the knowledge of Thee; the God of angels and powers, and of every creature, and especially of the whole race of just men who live in Thy presence, I give Thee hearty thanks that Thou hast vouchsafed to bring me to this day and to this hour; that I should have part in the number of thy martyrs, in the cup Thy Christ drank to the resurrection of eternal life, both of soul and body, in the incorruption of the Holy Ghost; among which, may I be accepted this day before Thee, as a fat and acceptable