Polycarp was martyred in the second century. The historian says:  

"Three days before he was seized, he had a vision while he was praying. He saw his pillow consumed by fire; and turning to the company, he said prophetically, 'I must be burnt alive!' Upon hearing that the persons in search of him were just at hand, he retired to another village. Immediately the officers came to his house, and not finding him, they seized two servants, one of whom was induced, by torture, to confess the place of his retreat. Certainly it was impossible to conceal him, since even those of his own household discovered him. And the Tetrarch, called Cleronomus Herod, hastened to introduce him into the stadium; that so he might obtain his lot as a follower of Christ; and that those who betrayed him, might share with Judas. Taking then the servant as their guide, they went out about supper time, with their usual arms, as against a robber; and arriving late, they found him lying in an upper room at the end of the house, whence he might have made his escape, but he would not, saying, 'The will of the Lord be done.' Hearing that they were arrived, he came down and conversed with them; and all who were present admired his age and constancy. Some said, 'Is it worth while to take pains to apprehend so aged a person?' He immediately ordered meat and drink to be set before them, as much as they pleased, and begged them to allow him one hour to pray without molestation; which being granted, he prayed standing, and was so full of the grace of God, that he could not cease from speaking for two hours. The hearers were astonished, and many of them repented that they were come to seize so divine a character.  

"When he had finished his prayers, having made mention of all whom he had ever known, small and great, noble and vulgar, and of the whole Catholic 1 church throughout the world, the hour of departing being come, they set him on an ass and led him to the city. {1862 MEC,  

"The Irenarch, Herod, and his father Nicetes, met him, who taking him up into their chariot, began to advise him, asking, 'What harm is it to say, Lord Caesar!--and to sacrifice and be safe?' At first he was silent, but being pressed, he said, 'I will not follow your advice.' When they could not persuade him, they treated him abusively, and thrust him out of the chariot, so that in falling he bruised his thigh. But he, still unmoved as if he had suffered nothing, went on cheerfully under the conduct of his guards to the stadium. There the tumult being so great that few could hear anything, a voice from heaven said to Polycarp, as he entered on the stadium, 'Be strong, Polycarp, and behave yourself like a man!' 2 None saw the speaker, but many of us heard the voice. When he was brought to the tribunal, there was a great tumult, as soon as it was generally understood that Polycarp was apprehended. The proconsul asked him if he was Polycarp, to which he assented. The former then began to exhort him,-- 'Have pity on thy own great age, and the like. Swear by the fortune of Caesar, repent; say, 'Take away the atheists.' Polycarp, with a grave aspect, beholding all the multitude, waving his hand to them, and looking up to heaven, said, 'Take away the atheists.' The proconsul urging him, and saying, 'Swear and I will release thee,--reproach Christ,' Polycarp said, 'Eighty and six years have I served him, and he hath never wronged me, and how can I blaspheme my King who hath saved me?' The proconsul still urging, 'Swear by the fortune of Caesar.' Polycarp said, 'If you still vainly contend to make me swear by the fortune of Caesar, as you speak, affecting an ignorance of my real character, hear me frankly declaring what I am. I am a Christian; and if you desire to learn the Christian doctrine, assign me a day, and hear.' The proconsul said, 'Persuade the people.' Polycarp said, 'I have thought proper to address you; for we are taught to pay all honor to magnistracies and powers appointed by God, which is consistent with a good conscience. But I do not hold them worthy that I should apologize before them.' 'I have wild beasts,' says the proconsul: 'I will expose you to them, unless you repent.' 'Call them, replies the martyr.' 'Our minds are not to be changed from the better to the worse; but it is a good thing to be changed from evil to good.' 'I will tame your spirit by fire,' says the other, 'since you despise the wild beasts, unless you repent.' 'You threaten me with fire,' answers Polycarp, 'which burns for a moment, and will be soon extinct; but you are ignorant of the future judgment, and of the fire of eternal punishment reserved for the ungodly. But why do you delay? Do what you please.' Saying this and more, he was filled with confidence and joy, and grace shone in his countenance; so that he was far from being confounded by the menaces; on the contrary the proconsul was visibly embarrassed: he sent, however, the heralds to proclaim thrice, in the midst of the assembly, 'Polycarp hath professed himself a Christian.' Upon this all the multitude, both of Gentiles and of Jews, who dwelt at Smyrna, with insatiate rage shouted aloud, 'This is the doctor of Asia, the father of Christians, the subverter of our gods, who hath taught many not to sacrifice nor to adore.' They now begged Phillip, the Asiarch, to let out a lion against Polycarp, but he refused, observing, that the amphitheatrical spectacles of the wild beasts were finished. They then unanimously shouted, that he should be burnt alive (for his vision was of necessity to be accomplished) . . . . . Immediately the usual appendages of burning were placed about him. And when they were going to fasten him to the stake, he said, 'Let me remain as I am; for He who giveth me strength to sustain the fire, will enable me also, without your securing me with nails, to remain unmoved in the fire.' Upon which they bound him without nailing him. And he, putting his hands behind him, and being bound as a distinguished victim selected from a great flock, a burnt offering acceptable to God Almighty, said, 'O Father of thy beloved and blessed Son, Jesus Christ, through whom we have attained a knowledge of thee, O God of angels and principalities, and of all creation, and of all the just who live in thy sight, I bless thee, that thou hast accounted me worthy of this day, and this hour, to receive my portion in the number of martyrs, in the cup of Christ, for the resurrection to eternal life both of soul and body in the incorruption of the Holy Ghost; among whom may I be received before thee this day as a sacrifice well favored and acceptable, which thou, the faithful and true God, hast prepared, promised beforehand, and fulfilled accordingly. Wherefore I praise thee for all these things, I bless thee, I glorify thee, by the eternal High Priest, Jesus Christ, thy well-beloved Son; through whom, with him in the Holy Spirit, be glory to thee, both now and forever, Amen.'  

And when he had pronounced amen, aloud, and finished prayer, the officers lighted the fire, and a great flame bursting out,--we, to whom it was given to see, and who also were reserved to relate to others that which happened,--saw a wonder. For the flame, forming the appearance of an arch, as the sail of a vessel filled with wind, was as a wall round about the body of the martyr; which was in the midst, not as burning flesh, but as gold and silver refined in a furnace. We received also in our nostrils such a fragrance, as arises from frankincense, or some other precious perfume. At length the impious, observing that his body could not be consumed by the fire, 1 ordered the confector to approach, and to plunge his sword into his body. Upon this a quantity of blood gushed out, so that the fire was extinguished, and all the multitude were astonished to see the difference thus providentially made between the unbelievers and the elect; of whom the admiral personage before us was doubtless one, in our age an apostolical and prophetical teacher, the bishop of the Catholic church of Smyrna. For, whatever he declared, was fulfilled and will be fulfilled."--Milner's History, Church pp. 76-78. See also Eusebius' Eccl. Hist., Book iv, chap. 15. 

The following miracle was said to have been wrought in the fifth century. Wesley relates that

"Hunneric, an Arian prince, in his persecution of the orthodox in Afric, ordered the tongues of a certain society of them to be cut out by the roots. But, by a surprising instance of God's good providence, they were enabled to speak articulately and distinctly without their tongues. And so continuing to make open profession of the same doctrine, they became not only preachers, but living witnesses of its truth."--Wesley's Works, Vol. v, p. 746.  

Abraham Holmes was martyred about the beginning of the seventh century. On the scaffold he prayed fervently for the downfall of antichrist and deliverance of England. On his trial, when urged by the king and council to retract, he made the following noble reply:

"I am an aged man, and what remains to me of life is not worth a falsehood or a baseness. I have always been a republican; and I am so still." "He was," says the historian "sent back to the West and hanged. The people remarked with awe and wonder that the beasts which were to drag him to the gallows became restive and went back. Holmes himself doubted not that the angel of the Lord, as in the old time, stood in the way, sword in hand, invisible to human eyes, but visible to the inferior animals. 'Stop, gentlemen,' he cried, 'let me go on foot.' There is more in this than you think. Remember how the ass saw him whom the prophet could not see."--Macaulay's Hist. of England, Vol. I, p. 435. 



1862 MEC, MIRP 60-64