The Second Persecution Under Domitian A D 81

The emperor Domitian, who was naturally inclined to cruelty, first slew

his brother, and then raised the second persecution against the

christians. In his rage he put to death some of the Roman senators, some

through malice; and others to confiscate their estates. He then

commanded all the lineage of David to be put to death.

Among the numerous martyrs that suffered during this persecution was

Simeon, bis
op of Jerusalem, who was crucified; and St. John, who was

boiled in oil, and afterward banished to Patmos. Flavia, the daughter of

a Roman senator, was likewise banished to Pontus; and a law was made,

"That no christian, once brought before the tribunal, should be exempted

from punishment without renouncing his religion."

A variety of fabricated tales were, during this reign, composed in order

to injure the christians. Such was the infatuation of the pagans, that,

if famine, pestilence, or earthquakes afflicted any of the Roman

provinces, it was laid upon the christians. These persecutions among the

christians increased the number of informers and many, for the sake of

gain, swore away the lives of the innocent.

Another hardship was, that, when any christians were brought before the

magistrates, a test oath was proposed, when, if they refused to take it,

death was pronounced against them; and if they confessed themselves

christians, the sentence was the same.

The following were the most remarkable among the numerous martyrs who

suffered during this persecution.

Dionysius, the Areopagite, was an Athenian by birth, and educated in all

the useful and ornamental literature of Greece. He then travelled to

Egypt to study astronomy, and made very particular observations on the

great and supernatural eclipse, which happened at the time of our

Saviour's crucifixion.

The sanctity of his conversation, and the purity of his manners,

recommended him so strongly to the christians in general, that he was

appointed bishop of Athens.

Nicodemus, a benevolent christian of some distinction, suffered at Rome

during the rage of Domitian's persecution.

Protasius and Gervasius were martyred at Milan.

Timothy was the celebrated disciple of St. Paul, and bishop of Ephesus,

where he zealously governed the church till A. D. 97. At this period, as

the pagans were about to celebrate a feast called Catagogion, Timothy,

meeting the procession, severely reproved them for their ridiculous

idolatry, which so exasperated the people, that they fell upon him with

their clubs, and beat him in so dreadful a manner, that he expired of

the bruises two days after.