From Rev. Alban Butler’s The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Principal Saints; edited by Dan Leo, Assistant Professor of Theosophical Studies, Olney Community College; author of Famous Apostates: A Biographical Dictionary; Olney Community College Press.
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Nihil Obstat: Rev. C.K. Scott Molloy, S.J., Papal Censor.
THE TIME of this saint’s martyrdom is not mentioned in his acts; some place it under Valerian, others under Dioclesian; he seems to have suffered in some city of Mauritania, probably the capital, Cæsarea.
The fury of the tyrants raged violently, and the devil had instigated his soldiers to wage, like so many wolves, a bloody war against the servants of Jesus.
Upon the least suspicion they broke into houses, made rigorous searches, and if they found a Christian, they treated him upon the spot with the greatest cruelty, their impatience not suffering them to wait the bringing him before a judge.
Every day new sacrileges were committed; the faithful were compelled to assist at superstitious sacrifices, to lead victims crowned with flowers through the streets, to burn incense before idols, and to celebrate the enthusiastic feasts of Bacchus.
Arcadius, seeing his city in great confusion, left his estate, and withdrew to a solitary place in the neighbouring country, serving Jesus Christ in watching, prayer, and other exercises of a penitential life.
His flight could not be long a secret; for his not appearing at the public sacrifices made the governor send soldiers to his house, who surrounded it, forced open the doors, and finding one of his relations in it, who said all he could to justify his kinsman’s absence, they seized him, and the governor ordered him to be kept in close custody till Arcadius should be taken.
The martyr, informed of his friend’s danger, and burning with a desire to suffer for Christ, went into the city, and presenting himself to the judge, said:
“If on my account you detain my innocent relation in chains, release him; I, Arcadius, am come in person to give an account of myself, and to declare to you, that he knew not where I was.”
“I am willing,” answered the judge, “to pardon not only him, but you also, on condition that you will sacrifice to the gods.”
Arcadius replied, “How can you propose to me such a thing? Do you not know the Christians, or do you believe that the fear of death will ever make me swerve from my duty? Invent what torments you please; but know that nothing shall make me a traitor to my God.”
The governor, in a rage, paused to devise some unheard-of torment for him.
Iron hooks seemed too easy; neither plummets of lead, nor cudgels could satisfy his fury; the very rack he thought by much too gentle.
At last imagining he had found a manner of death suitable to his purpose, he said to the ministers of his cruelty, “Take him, and let him see and desire death, without being able to obtain it. Cut off his limbs joint by joint, and execute this so slowly, that the wretch may know what it is to abandon the gods of his ancestors for an unknown deity.”
The executioners dragged Arcadius to the place, where many other victims of Christ had already suffered: a place dear and sweet to all who sigh after eternal life. Here the martyr lifts up his eyes to heaven, and implores strength from above; then stretches out his neck, expecting to have his head cut off; but the executioner bid him hold out his hand, and joint after joint chopped off his fingers, arms, and shoulders.
Laying the saint afterwards on his back, he in the same barbarous manner cut off his toes, feet, legs, and thighs. The holy martyr held out his limbs and joints, one after another, with invincible patience and courage, repeating these words,
“Lord teach me thy wisdom:” for the tyrants had forgot to cut out his tongue.
After so many martyrdoms, his body lay a mere trunk weltering in its own blood. The executioners themselves as well as the multitude, were moved to tears and admiration at this spectacle, and at such an heroic patience.
But Arcadius, with a joyful countenance, surveying his scattered limbs all around him, and offering them to God, said,
“Happy members, now dear to me, as you at last truly belong to God, being all made a sacrifice to him!”
Then turning to the people, he said,
“You who have been present at this bloody tragedy, learn that all torments seem as nothing to one, who has an everlasting crown before his eyes. Your gods are not gods; renounce their worship. He alone for whom I suffer and die, is the true God. He comforts and upholds me in the condition you see me. To die for him is to live; to suffer for him is to enjoy the greatest delights.”
Discoursing in this manner to those about him, he expired on the 12th of January, the pagans being struck with astonishment at such a miracle of patience.
The Christians gathered together his scattered limbs, and laid them in one tomb.
The Roman and other Martyrologies make honourable mention of him on this day.
Edited by Dan Leo, LL.D., Associate Professor of Forgotten Masterworks, Assistant Gym Moderator, Olney Community College; author of Bozzie and Dr. Sam: The Case of the Protestant Papist, the Olney Community College Press.
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This year his old pupil and friend, David Garrick, having become joint patentee and manager of Drury-lane theatre, Johnson honoured his opening of it with a Prologue, which for just and manly dramatick criticism, on the whole range of the English stage, as well as for poetical excellence, is unrivalled. Like the celebrated Epilogue to the Distressed Mother, it was, during the season, often called for by the audience. The most striking and brilliant passages of it have been so often repeated, and are so well recollected by all the lovers of the drama and of poetry, that it would be superfluous to point them out.
In the Gentleman's Magazine for December this year, he inserted an 'Ode on Winter,' which is, I think, an admirable specimen of his genius for lyrick poetry.
But the year 1747 is distinguished as the epoch, when Johnson's arduous and important work, his DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, was announced to the world, by the publication of its Plan or Prospectus.
How long this immense undertaking had been the object of his contemplation, I do not know. I once asked him by what means he had attained to that astonishing knowledge of our language, by which he was enabled to realise a design of such extent, and accumulated difficulty.
He told me, that 'it was not the effect of particular study; but that it had grown up in his mind insensibly.'
I have been informed by Mr. James Dodsley, that several years before this period, when Johnson was one day sitting in his brother Robert's shop, he heard his brother suggest to him, that a Dictionary of the English Language would be a work that would be well received by the publick; that Johnson seemed at first to catch at the proposition, but, after a pause, said, in his abrupt decisive manner, 'I believe I shall not undertake it.'
That he, however, had bestowed much thought upon the subject, before he published his Plan, is evident from the enlarged, clear, and accurate views which it exhibits; and we find him mentioning in that tract, that many of the writers whose testimonies were to be produced as authorities, were selected by Pope; which proves that he had been furnished, probably by Mr. Robert Dodsley, with whatever hints that eminent poet had contributed towards a great literary project, that had been the subject of important consideration in a former reign.
The booksellers who contracted with Johnson, single and unaided, for the execution of a work, which in other countries has not been effected but by the co-operating exertions of many, were Mr. Robert Dodsley, Mr. Charles Hitch, Mr. Andrew Millar, the two Messieurs Longman, and the two Messieurs Knapton. The price stipulated was fifteen hundred and seventy-five pounds.
The Plan was addressed to Philip Dormer, Earl of Chesterfield, then one of his Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State; a nobleman who was very ambitious of literary distinction, and who, upon being informed of the design, had expressed himself in terms very favourable to its success.
There is, perhaps in every thing of any consequence, a secret history which it would be amusing to know, could we have it authentically communicated.
Johnson told me, 'Sir, the way in which the Plan of my Dictionary came to be inscribed to Lord Chesterfield, was this: I had neglected to write it by the time appointed. Dodsley suggested a desire to have it addressed to Lord Chesterfield. I laid hold of this as a pretext for delay, that it might be better done, and let Dodsley have his desire.
I said to my friend, Dr. Bathurst, "Now if any good comes of my addressing to Lord Chesterfield, it will be ascribed to deep policy, when, in fact, it was only a casual excuse for laziness."'
It is worthy of observation, that the Plan has not only the substantial merit of comprehension, perspicuity, and precision, but that the language of it is unexceptionably excellent; it being altogether free from that inflation of style, and those uncommon but apt and energetick words, which in some of his writings have been censured, with more petulance than justice; and never was there a more dignified strain of compliment than that in which he courts the attention of one who, he had been persuaded to believe, would be a respectable patron.
'With regard to questions of purity or propriety, (says he) I was once in doubt whether I should not attribute to myself too much in attempting to decide them, and whether my province was to extend beyond the proposition of the question, and the display of the suffrages on each side; but I have been since determined by your Lordship's opinion, to interpose my own judgement, and shall therefore endeavour to support what appears to me most consonant to grammar and reason. And I may hope, my Lord, that since you, whose authority in our language is so generally acknowledged, have commissioned me to declare my own opinion, I shall be considered as exercising a kind of vicarious jurisdiction; and that the power which might have been denied to my own own claim, will be readily allowed me as the delegate of your Lordship.'
This passage proves, that Johnson's addressing his Plan to Lord Chesterfield was not merely in consequence of the result of a report by means of Dodsley, that the Earl favoured the design; but that there had been a particular communication with his Lordship concerning it.
Dr. Taylor told me, that Johnson sent his Plan to him in manuscript, for his perusal; and that when it was lying upon his table, Mr. William Whitehead happened to pay him a visit, and being shewn it, was highly pleased with such parts of it as he had time to read, and begged to take it home with him, which he was allowed to do; that from him it got into the hands of a noble Lord, who carried it to Lord Chesterfield. When Taylor observed this might be an advantage, Johnson replied,
'No, Sir; it would have come out with more bloom, if it had not been seen before by any body.'
That he was fully aware of the arduous nature of the undertaking, he acknowledges; and shews himself perfectly sensible of it in the conclusion of his Plan; but he had a noble consciousness of his own abilities, which enabled him to go on with undaunted spirit.
(To be continued, as the still relatively young and unheralded Sam Johnson steadfastly treads the path leading to immortality.)
From Rev. Alban Butler’s The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Principal Saints; edited by Dan Leo, Professor of Comparative Theodicies, Olney Community College; author of Rattling the Collection Basket: Reminiscences of a Parish Usher, Vol.I; Olney Community College Press.
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HE was of the royal blood of the Mercian kings, devoted himself to the divine service in his youth, and succeeded Ostfor in the episcopal see of Worcester, in 692. By his zeal and severity in reproving vice, he stirred up some of his own flock to persecute him, which gave him an opportunity of performing a penitential pilgrimage to Rome.
Some legends tell us, that setting out he put on his legs iron shackles, and threw the key into the river Severn, others say the Avon; but found it in the belly of a fish, some say at Rome, others in his passage from France to England.
After his return, with the assistance of Coenred or Kenred, king of Mercia, he founded the famous abbey of Evesham, under the invocation of the Blessed Virgin.
After this he undertook a second journey to Rome, in the company of Coenred, king of the Mercians, and of Offa, of the East Saxons, who gave up their temporal principalities to labour with greater earnestness to secure an eternal crown.
St. Egwin died on the 30th of December, in 717, and was buried in the monastery of Evesham.
St. Salvius, or Sauve, Bishop of Amiens
ST. SALVIUS, famous for miracles, succeeded Ado in 672, and flourished in the reign of Theodoric III.
His relics rest at Montreuil, in Picardy, in the Benedictin Abbey which bears his name, whither they were translated from the cathedral of Amiens, several years after his death, as is related in his anonymous life, a piece of uncertain authority with regard to his actions.
A relic of this saint was formerly kept with great veneration in the cathedral of Canterbury, mentioned in the history of that church, &c.
This saint must not be confounded with St. Salvius of Albi, nor with the martyr of this name in Africa, on whose festival St. Austin made a sermon.
St. Bonet, Bishop of Auvergne
ST. BONET was referendary or chancellor to Sigebert III. the holy king of Austrasia; and by his zeal, religion, and justice, flourished in that kingdom under four kings.
After the death of Dagobert II, Thierry III made him governor of Marseilles and all Provence, in 680. His elder brother St. Avitus II bishop of Clermont, in Auvergne, having recommended him for his successor, died in 689, and Bonet was consecrated. But after having governed that see ten years, with the most exemplary piety, he had a scruple whether his election had been perfectly canonical; and having consulted St. Tilo, or Theau, then leading an eremitical life at Solignas, resigned his dignity, led for four years a most penitential life in the abbey of Manlieu, now of the order of St. Bennet, and after having made a pilgrimage to Rome, died of the gout at Lyons on the fifteenth of January in 710, being eighty-six years old.
Edited by Dan Leo, LL.D., Associate Professor of Boswellian Studies, Assistant Scrabble Team Coach, Olney Community College; author of Bozzie and Dr. Sam: “‘Tis Pity He’s a Whoreson”, the Olney Community College Press.
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His schoolfellow and friend, Dr. Taylor, told me a pleasant anecdote of Johnson's triumphing over his pupil David Garrick.
When that great actor had played some little time at Goodman's fields, Johnson and Taylor went to see him perform, and afterwards passed the evening at a tavern with him and old Giffard.
Johnson, who was ever depreciating stage-players, after censuring some mistakes in emphasis which Garrick had committed in the course of that night's acting, said, 'the players, Sir, have got a kind of rant, with which they run on, without any regard either to accent or emphasis.'
Both Garrick and Giffard were offended at this sarcasm, and endeavoured to refute it;
upon which Johnson rejoined, 'Well now, I'll give you something to speak, with which you are little acquainted, and then we shall see how just my observation is. That shall be the criterion. Let me hear you repeat the ninth Commandment, "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour."'
Both tried at it, said Dr. Taylor, and both mistook the emphasis, which should be upon ‘not’ and ‘false witness’.
Johnson put them right, and enjoyed his victory with great glee.
In 1745 he published a pamphlet entitled Miscellaneous Observations on the Tragedy of Macbeth, with remarks on Sir T.H.'s (Sir Thomas Hammer's) Edition of Shakspeare. To which he affixed, proposals for a new edition of that poet.
As we do not trace any thing else published by him during the course of this year, we may conjecture that he was occupied entirely with that work. But the little encouragement which was given by the publick to his anonymous proposals for the execution of a task which Warburton was known to have undertaken, probably damped his ardour.
His pamphlet, however, was highly esteemed, and was fortunate enough to obtain the approbation even of the supercilious Warburton himself, who, in the Preface to his Shakspeare published two years afterwards, thus mentioned it:
'As to all those things which have been published under the titles of Essays, Remarks, Observations, &c. on Shakspeare, if you except some critical notes on Macbeth, given as a specimen of a projected edition, and written, as appears, by a man of parts and genius, the rest are absolutely below a serious notice.'
Of this flattering distinction shewn to him by Warburton, a very grateful remembrance was ever entertained by Johnson, who said,
'He praised me at a time when praise was of value to me.'
In 1746 it is probable that he was still employed upon his Shakspeare, which perhaps he laid aside for a time, upon account of the high expectations which were formed of Warburton's edition of that great poet.
It is somewhat curious, that his literary career appears to have been almost totally suspended in the years 1745 and 1746, those years which were marked by a civil war in Great-Britain, when a rash attempt was made to restore the House of Stuart to the throne. That he had a tenderness for that unfortunate House, is well known; and some may fancifully imagine, that a sympathetick anxiety impeded the exertion of his intellectual powers: but I am inclined to think, that he was, during this time, sketching the outlines of his great philological work.
None of his letters during those years are extant, so far as I can discover. This is much to be regretted. It might afford some entertainment to see how he then expressed himself to his private friends, concerning State affairs.
In 1747 it is supposed that the Gentleman's Magazine for May was enriched by him with five short poetical pieces, distinguished by three asterisks. The first is a translation, or rather a paraphrase, of a Latin Epitaph on Sir Thomas Hanmer. The others are 'To Miss——, on her giving the Authour a gold and silk net-work Purse of her own weaving;' 'Stella in Mourning;' 'The Winter's Walk;' 'An Ode;' and, 'To Lyce, an elderly Lady.'
It is remarkable, that in this first edition of ‘The Winter’s Walk’, the concluding line is much more Johnsonian than it was afterwards printed; for in subsequent editions, after praying Stella to 'snatch him to her arms,' he says,
'And shield me from the ills of life.'
Whereas in the first edition it is
And hide me from the sight of life.'
A horrour at life in general is more consonant with Johnson's habitual gloomy cast of thought.
From Rev. Alban Butler’s The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Principal Saints; edited by Dan Leo, Professor of Ancient Religions, Olney Community College; author of Knights of Columbus: An Anecdotal History; Olney Community College Press.
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Imprimatur: Bishop John J. “Black Jack” Graham, D.Phil..
HE was placed in the chair of St. Peter after the martyrdom of St. Telesphorus, in the year 139. The church then enjoyed some sort of calm, under the mild reign of the emperor Antoninus Pius; though several martyrs suffered in his time by the fury of the populace, or the cruelty of certain magistrates. The emperor himself never consented to such proceedings; and when informed of them by the governors of Asia, Athens, Thessalonica, and Larissea, he wrote to them in favour of the Christians, as is recorded by St. Justin and Eusebius.
But the devil had recourse to other arts to disturb the peace of God’s church. Cerdo, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, in the year 140, came from Syria to Rome, and began to teach the false principles which Marcion adopted afterwards with more success. He impiously affirmed that there were two Gods;
the one rigorous and severe, the author of the Old Testament; the other merciful and good, the author of the New, and the father of Christ, sent by him to redeem man from the tyranny of the former; and that Christ was not really born of the Virgin Mary, or true man, but such in shadow only and appearance. Our holy pope, by his pastoral vigilance, detected that monster, and cut him off from the communion of the church. The heresiarch, imposing upon him by a false repentance, was again received; but the zealous pastor having discovered that he secretly preached his old opinions, excommunicated him a second time.
Another minister of Satan was Valentine, who being a Platonic philosopher, puffed up with the vain opinion of his learning,
and full of resentment for another’s being preferred to him in an election to a certain bishopric in Egypt, as Tertullian relates, revived the errors of Simon Magus, and added to them many other absurd fictions, as of thirty Æônes or ages, a kind of inferior deities, with whimsical histories of their several pedigrees. Having broached these opinions at Alexandria, he left Egypt for Rome. At first he dissembled his heresies, but by degrees his extravagant doctrines came to light. Hyginus, being the mildest of men, endeavoured to reclaim him without proceeding to extremities; so that Valentine was not excommunicated before the first year of St. Pius, his immediate successor.
St. Hyginus did not sit quite four years, dying in 142.
We do not find that he ended his life by martyrdom, yet he is styled a martyr in some ancient calendars, as well as in the present Roman Martyrology; undoubtedly on account of the various persecutions which he suffered, and to which his high station in the church exposed him in those perilous times.
AGATHO, a Sicilian by birth, was remarkable for his charity and benevolence, a profound humility, and an engaging sweetness of temper.
Having been several years treasurer of the church of Rome, he succeeded Domnus in the pontificate in 679.
He presided by his three legates in the sixth general council and third of Constantinople, in 680, in the reign of the pious emperor Constantine Pogonatus, against the Monothelite heresy, which he confuted in a learned letter to that emperor, by the tradition of the apostolic church of Rome.
This epistle was approved as a rule of faith by the same council, which declared, “that Peter spoke by Agatho”.
Anastatius says, that the number of his miracles procured him the title of Thaumaturgus.
He died in 682, having held the pontificate two years and a half.
The style of this pope’s letters is inferior to that both of his predecessors and successors.
The reason he alleges in excusing the legates whom he sent to Constantinople for their want of eloquence, is because the graces of speech could not be cultivated amidst the incursions of Barbarians, whilst with much difficulty they earned their daily subsistence by manual labour; “but we preserve,” said he, with simplicity of heart, “the faith, which our fathers have handed down to us.”
The bishops, his legates, say the same thing:
“Our countries are harassed by the fury of barbarous nations. We live in the midst of battles, inroads, and devastations: our lives pass in continual alarms and anxiety, and we subsist by the labour of our hands.”