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vengeance against the innocent bishop. He assembled a body of armed men, and marched to Leodium on the Meuse, then a small village, on the site of the present city of Liege. S. Lambert was resting after matins, when they arrived. As they were forcing their way into his house, his servants ran to awake him. His first act was to seize a sword, but he instantly threw it away, and forbade his nephews to fight in his defence, saying to them, If you love me truly, love Jesus Christ, and confess your sins to Him. As for me, it is time that I go to live with Him. He also reminded them that they were guilty of murder, and deserved punishment. Then sending every one out of the chamber, he threw himself on the ground, and stretched out his arms in the form of Thus he lay waiting for his enemies, who soon rushed in, and slew the holy bishop with a lance, and put his nephews and all his domestics to the sword. This unjust death endured with such patience and meekness, joined with the eminent sanctity of his life, has been regarded by the Church as a lower degree of martyrdom. It happened on the 17th of September 709, or in 708, according to Fleury.
His body was sent in a boat to Maestricht, and was buried in the church of S. Peter. The house where he had met his death became the scene of frequent miracles; and the faithful built a church on the spot. And thither S. Hubert, his successor in the see of Maestricht, translated his remains, in 721, with great pomp and solemnity. The see also was removed to the church where his body rests, and
thus the village of Liege became a city. The bishopric of Maestricht had originally been removed from Tongres.
Happy he that passeth
Love of God-for ever in his heart to reign.
Happy he, when sadness,
Chance, and change are o'er,
And Earth's sighing and gladness
Who shall see where Love lights up the eternal shore.
Baptistery, p. 251.
S. Cyprian, Archbishop and Martyr.
THASCIUS CYPRIAN, "the most sweet doctor, and blessed martyr," as S. Augustin has called him, was originally a pagan. His family was of senatorial rank in the city of Carthage, where he was born. He was for many years a distinguished teacher of rhetoric, and enjoyed great fame for eloquence. When he was verging on old age, it pleased God to turn his heart. A priest named Cæcilius prepared him for baptism, and at his second birth in its cleansing laver he prefixed the name of his spiritual father to his own. And Cæcilius, in his last sickness, commended his wife and children to the care of Cyprian.
The feelings of the neophyte regarding the grace of that holy sacrament are recorded in a letter which he wrote to his friend Donatus, soon after his baptism. "While I lay in darkness and blind night," he says, "and while on the sea of a tossing world I was hurried along upon erratic courses, wavering and changeful, I was ignorant of my life, and a stranger to light and truth. And I deemed it difficult and hard that any one, out of those manners, should be born again, which was promised, for my salvation, by the divine indulgence; and that being animated to a new life in the laver of the healthgiving water, he should lay aside what he was before; so that, the fetters of the body remaining, he should become a changed man in heart and mind. But after the impurity of my former life was washed away, by the help of the water of my birth, into my hallowed and cleansed heart the light from above poured; and when I had drunk in the heavenly Spirit, a second birth restored me a new man. Immediately, in a wonderful manner, doubtful things were made certain, what had been closed was opened, dark became light, power was given where formerly was difficulty. So that I could recognise it to have been of the earth that I had long lived in the flesh, and defiled by sin; and it began to be of God that now the Holy Spirit animated me'.
His heathen friends reproached him with weakness when they saw his change, and heaped abuse and ridicule upon him. But, as if he had resolved to become yet more vile for Christ's sake, he sold all
1 Ep. ii. ad Donat.
his lands, and divided his great wealth among the poor; and devoted himself to perpetual continence. He studied Holy Scripture deeply, and particularly the character of those whom God has specially praised, that he might make them the model of his own. Of all the ecclesiastical writers, Tertullian was his favourite, and he used to call him his master. He had not been long in the Church, before he was advanced to the priesthood. The rule of S. Paul was less strictly enforced, owing to his singular merit. Donatus, bishop of Carthage, dying soon after, he was elected to succeed him, by the voice of all the clergy except five. But he thought himself unworthy of the honour, and hid himself in his own house to avoid their importunity. The people guarded all the approaches to prevent his escape; and in the end he was persuaded to accept the dignity, in 248,
His government was marked by justice and vigour, tempered with great piety and charity. Such was the sanctity which beamed from his countenance, that no one could behold him without regard. His gravity was mingled with gaiety, but it was neither a gloomy severity, nor an excessive complaisance; so that one hardly knew which was rather due to him, love or veneration. This is the picture which Pontius, his deacon and familiar attendant, has given of him. He made a resolution to do nothing without the advice of his clergy and the approbation of the people. He had a tender regard for the poor of his flock.
In 249, Decius became emperor, and published sanguinary laws against the Christians. This was the beginning of the seventh general persecution. In the amphitheatre and the circus at Carthage, the G g
pagans loudly demanded that Cyprian should be thrown to the lions. He therefore deemed it prudent to withdraw for a time, in compliance with the command which our blessed Lord had given. For he alone was then sought for, and he hoped that the peace of his Church might be secured by his retreat, while his presence only inflamed the minds of its enemies. He was immediately proscribed, and his goods were confiscated. But he continued to assist his flock by his instructions, and the might of his prayers. He wrote many letters to his clergy, urging them to preserve discipline, and to see that the confessors in prison, and the poor, and strangers, and widows, were provided with what they needed. He recommended that the faithful should not go in crowds to visit the confessors, for fear of provoking the heathen. We learn from his letters that the holy Sacrifice was frequently offered in the prisons for their comfort. He also encouraged them to persevere, by setting before them the hope of eternal joys. And out of what the Church contributed for his maintenance, he sent a sum of money for their relief.
S. Fabian, Bishop of Rome, received the reward of martyrdom in 250: and the clergy, who governed the Church for some months during the vacancy of the see, wrote to inform S. Cyprian of the happy end of their father. He replied in a letter full of encouragement. They also wrote to the clergy of Carthage, exhorting them to stedfastness, and to treat with gentleness those who had failed in the day of trial, but who, if their courage were renewed by compassionate brethren, might yet follow Christ to