St Stephen





ST. STEPHEN suffered the next in order. His death was occasioned by the

faithful manner in which he preached the gospel to the betrayers and

murderers of Christ. To such a degree of madness were they excited, that

they cast him out of the city and stoned him to death. The time when he

suffered is generally supposed to have been at the passover which

succeeded to that of our Lord's crucifixion, and to the aera of his

ascension, in the following spring.



Upon this a great persecution was raised against all who professed their

belief in Christ as the Messiah, or as a prophet. We are immediately

told by St. Luke, that "there was a great persecution against the

church, which was at Jerusalem;" and that "they were all scattered

abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the

apostles."



About two thousand christians, with Nicanor, one of the seven deacons,

suffered martyrdom during the "persecution which arose about Stephen."





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