”Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the
mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of [cruel] mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and [in] mountains, and [in] dens and caves of the earth.” – Hebrews 11:33-38


(c. 30 A.D. – 100 A.D.)

Upon hearing Simon Peter’s confession that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, Christ uttered these most hopeful words: "upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." By these words Christ teaches us at least three things. First, that Christ will have a Church in this world. Secondly, that the same Church should mightily be opposed, not only by the world, but also by the uttermost strength and powers of all hell. And, thirdly, that the same Church, notwithstanding the uttermost of the devil and all his malice, should continue.

This prophecy of Christ we see wonderfully to be confirmed by subsequent history. First, we see that Christ obviously has set up a Church. Secondly, we see what force of princes, kings, monarchs, governors, and rulers of this world, with their subjects, publicly and privately, with all their strength and cunning, have bent themselves against this Church! And, thirdly, we see how the Church, all this notwithstanding, has yet endured! What storms and tempests it has overcome-wondrous it is to behold!

As it is not our business to enlarge upon our Savior's history, either before or after His crucifixion, we shall only find it necessary to remind our readers of the way the Jews were so disturbed by Christ’s subsequent resurrection. Although one apostle had betrayed Him; although another had denied Him, under the solemn sanction of an oath; and although the rest had forsaken Him, unless we may except "the disciple who was known unto the high-priest";

the history of His resurrection gave a new direction to all their hearts, and, after the mission of the Holy Spirit, imparted new confidence to their minds. The powers with which they were endued emboldened them to proclaim His name, to the confusion of the Jewish rulers, and the astonishment of Gentile proselytes.


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 era 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 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 Judaea and Samaria, except the

apostles." About two thousand Christians, with Nicanor, one of the seven deacons, suffered martyrdom during the "persecution that arose about Stephen."

James the Great

The next martyr we meet with, according to Luke, in the History of the Apsotles' Acts, was James the son of Zebedee, the elder brother of John, and a relative of our Lord. It was not until ten years after the death of Stephen that the second martyrdom took place. No sooner had Herod Agrippa been appointed governor of Judea, than, with a view to ingratiate himself with them, he raised a sharp persecution against the Christians, and determined to make an effectual blow, by striking at their leaders. An accuser of James had him arrested. As James was led to the place of martyrdom, his accuser was brought to repent of his conduct by the apostle's extraordinary courage. This accuser fell down at his feet to request his pardon, professing himself a Christian, and resolving that James should

not receive the crown of martyrdom alone. Hence they were both beheaded at the same time. Thus did the first apostolic martyr cheerfully and resolutely receive that cup, which he had told our Savior he was ready to drink.

5 Timon and Parmenas suffered martyrdom about the same time; the one at Philippi, and the other in Macedonia. These events took place in 44 A.D.


Philip was born at Bethsaida, in Galilee and was first called by the name of "disciple." He labored diligently in Upper Asia, and suffered martyrdom at Heliopolis, in Phrygia. He was scourged, thrown into prison, and afterwards crucified around 54 A.D.


Matthew’s occupation was that of a toll-gatherer. He was born at Nazareth. He wrote his gospel concerning the life, resurrection and testimony of Jesus Christ. The scene of his labors was Parthia and Ethiopia, in which latter country he suffered martyrdom, being slain with a halberd in the city of Nadabah around 60 A.D.

James the Less

James the Less was half-brother of our Lord Jesus Christ, being the son of Mary and Joseph. He was elected to the oversight of the churches of Jerusalem as one of the presbyters in the city. He was the author of the Epistle ascribed to James in the sacred canon. At the age of ninety-four he was beat and stoned by the Jews, and finally he had his brains dashed out with a fuller's club.


Matthias is less is known than of most of the other Apostles of Christ. He was elected to fill the vacant place of Judas. He was stoned at Jerusalem and then beheaded.


Andrew was the brother of Peter. He preached the gospel to many Asiatic nations. But on Andrew’s arrival at Edessa he was taken and crucified on a cross, the two ends of which were fixed transversely in the ground like an ‘X’. From the manner of the cross upon which this Apostle was crucified we have the term ‘St. Andrew's Cross’.


Mark was born of Jewish parents of the tribe of Levi. He is supposed to have been converted to Christianity by Peter, whom he served as an amanuensis. (An ‘amanuensis’ is one write writes out a letter or book while another person dictates what its contents are to be.) Under the inspection of Peter, Mark wrote his Gospel account of Jesus

Christ. Mark was dragged to pieces by the people of Alexandria, at the great solemnity of Serapis their idol, ending his life under their merciless hands.


Among many other saints, the blessed Apostle Peter was probably condemned to death and crucified at Rome. Jerome says that he was crucified, his head being down and his feet upward. Apparently Peter requested this position at crucifixion, because he said he was unworthy to be crucified after the same form and manner as the Lord Jesus Christ was.


Paul, the apostle, who before was called Saul, after his great travail and unspeakable labors in promoting the Gospel of Christ, suffered also in this first persecution under Nero. Abdias declares that under his execution Nero sent two of his esquires, Ferega and Parthemius, to bring him word of Paul’s death. They, coming to Paul as Paul was instructing the people, desired Paul to pray for them, that they might believe. The Apostle Paul told them that shortly after they should believe and be baptized at His sepulcher. This done, the soldiers came and led him out of the city to the place of execution. Paul, after he had prayed, gave his neck to the sword of his executioners.


Jude, the brother of James, was commonly called Thaddeus. He was crucified at Edessa, A.D. 72.


Bartholomew preached in several countries, and having translated the Gospel of Matthew into the language of India, he propagated it in that country. He was at length cruelly beaten and then crucified by the impatient idolaters.


Thomas, called Didymus, preached the Gospel in Parthia and India, where exciting the rage of the pagan priests, he was martyred by being thrust through with a spear.


Luke, the evangelist, was the author of the Gospel which goes under his name. He traveled with Paul through various countries, and is supposed to have been hanged on an olive tree, by the idolatrous priests of Greece.


Surnamed Zelotes, Simon preached the Gospel in Mauritania, Africa, and even in Britain, in which latter country he was crucified in 74 A.D.


John, the "beloved disciple," was brother to James the Great. The churches of Smyrna, Pergamos, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea, and Thyatira, were founded by him. From Ephesus he was ordered to be sent to Rome, where it is affirmed he was cast into a cauldron of boiling oil. He escaped by miracle, without injury. Domitian afterwards banished him to the Isle of Patmos, where he wrote the Book of Revelation. Nerva, the successor of Domitian, recalled him. He was the only apostle who escaped a violent death.


Barnabas was of Cyprus, but of Jewish descent. His death is supposed to have taken place about 73 A.D.

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