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"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15
Thieleman J. van Braght
Taken from Martyrs Mirror, 1660
MAXIMUS, A PIOUS CHRISTIAN, AFTER MANY TORMENTS STONED TO DEATH, AT EPHESUS, ABOUT THE YEAR 255
It is stated that shortly after the death of Pionius and the preceding martyrs, there suffered a certain pious Christian, called Maximus, a citizen of Ephesus; concerning whom, we, in order to present the matter in the briefest, clearest and plainest manner, shall, (instead of the testimony of the fathers) copy the records themselves, which were approved by the Proconsul, and written by the clerk of the court.
They read thus: “Maximus, a citizen of Ephesus, having been apprehended and brought before Optimus, the Proconsul of Asia, the latter asked him: What is thy name?”
“Maximus answered: ‘My name is Maximus.’
“The Proconsul asked: ‘What is thy estate?’ which meant, whether he was free-born, or a servant.
“Maximus said: ‘I belong to myself, and am free-born. Nevertheless, I am a servant of Christ, and manage my own affairs.’
“The Proconsul said: ‘Art thou a Christian?’
“Maximus replied: ‘Notwithstanding I am a sinner, I am nevertheless a servant of Christ.’
“The Proconsul questioned: ‘Knowest thou not the decrees of the invincible Princes, which have now been brought hither?’
“Maximus asked back: ‘What are they?’
“The Proconsul answered: ‘That all the Christians are to forsake their superstitions, acknowledge the only true Prince, to whose power all things are subject, and worship his gods.’
“Maximus said: ‘Yea, I have heard the unjust decree of this Prince or Emperor, and hence have come, openly to declare myself against it.’
“The Proconsul spoke: ‘Then sacrifice to the gods.’
“Maximus said: ‘I sacrifice to none, except to God; and I rejoice that from my childhood’s days I have offered myself only to God.’
“The Proconsul again said: ‘Sacrifice, lest I cause thee to be tormented in divers manners.’
“Maximus said: ‘This is just what I have always longed for: to be deprived of this temporal and frail life, and thereby attain life eternal.’
“The Proconsul then commanded his soldiers to beat Maximus with sticks.
“While he was being beaten, the Proconsul said to him: ‘Sacrifice, Maximus, that you may be released from these torments.’
“Maximus said: ‘These torments, which I gladly and willingly receive for the name of my Lord Jesus Christ, are no torments at all; but if I apostatize from Christ, I must expect the real and everlasting torments.’
“The Proconsul therefore had him suspended on the torture stake and dreadfully tormented; and said to him: ‘See, now, where thou hast come to by thy folly; sacrifice, therefore, that thou mayest save thy life.’
“Maximus replied: ‘If I sacrifice not, I shall save my life; but if I do, I shall lose it. For neither thy sticks, hooks, claws, pincers, nor thy fire hurt me; nor do I feel any pain through it, because the grace of Christ abides in me.’
“Then the Proconsul pronounced the sentence of death, which was as follows: ‘I command, that Maximus be stoned to death, as an example and terror to other Christians; because he would not submit to the laws, and sacrifice to the great Diana of Ephesus.’ Acta Proconsularia.”
Thus far extend the words which the clerk of the court himself wrote.
The Christian who copied these records, adds the following:
“And presently this faithful champion of Christ was taken away by the servants of Satan, brought without the city walls, and stoned. While he was being led away, and stoned, he thanked God with all his heart, who had made him worthy to overcome the devil in the conflict; and thus committed his soul into the hands of his Lord Jesus Christ.”
Thus this pious witness of Jesus laid down his life amidst a volley of stones, for the honour of his Saviour, and thus was registered among the holy and steadfast martyrs.