Quibus ergo vos laudibus praedicem, fortissimi fratres? robur pectoris vestri et perseverantiam fidei quo praeconio vocis exornem? tolerastis usque ad consummationem gloriae durissimam quaestionem, nec cessistis suppliciis, sed vobis potius supplicia cesserunt. finem doloribus quem tormenta non dabant coronae dederunt. laniena gravior ad hoc diu perseveravit, non ut stantem fidem deiceret, sed ut homines Dei ad Dominum velocius mitteret. vidit admirans praesentium multitudo caeleste certamen Dei et spiritale, proelium Christi, stetisse servos eius voce libera, mente incorrupta, virtute divina, telis quidem saecularibus nudos, sed armis fidei credentis armatos. steterunt torti torquentibus fortiores et pulsantes ac laniantes ungulas pulsata ac laniata membra vicerunt. inexpugnabilem fidem superare non potuit saeviens diu plaga repetita, quamvis rupta compage viscerum torquerentur in servis Dei iam non membra sed vulnera. fluebat sanguis qui incendium persecutionis extingueret, qui flammas et ignes gehennae glorioso cruore sopiret. o quale illud fuit spectaculum Domini, quam sublime, quam magnum, quam Dei oculis sacramento ac devotione militis eius acceptum, sicut scriptum est in Psalmis Spiritu Sancto loquente ad nos pariter et monente: ‘pretiosa est in conspectu Dei mors iustorum eius’ [cf. Ps. 115.6]. pretiosa mors haec est quae emit immortalitatem pretio sui sanguinis, quae accipit coronam de consummatione virtutis.
(Cyprian, Epist. 10.2)
With what praises then should I commend you, most valiant Brethren? With what laudation of the voice should I extol the strength of your heart and the perseverance of your faith? You have endured, even to the consummation of glory, the hardest questioning; you have not yielded to torments, but rather the torments have yielded to you. An end of sorrows which torments did not give, crowns have given. The butcher’s stall has persisted for a time for this, not to cast down your abiding faith, but to send men of God more quickly to the Lord. The multitude of those present, admiring the celestial and spiritual combat of God, the battle of Christ, saw that His servants stood with a free voice, an incorruptible mind, a divinely inspired valor, stripped, indeed, of worldly weapons, but, believing, armed with the arms of faith. The tortured stood braver than the torturers; and battered and wounded limbs conquered hammering and tearing nails. Long repeated cruel flogging was not able to overcome an unconquerable faith although, with the structure of their internal organs ruptured, no longer members, but wounds, of the servants of God were tortured. Blood which might extinguish the conflagration of persecution, which might quiet the flames and fires of hell with glorious gore, was flowing. Oh, what was that spectacle of the Lord, how sublime, how exalted, how acceptable to the eyes of God in the solemn pledge and devotion of His army, as it is written in the Psalms when the Holy Spirit speaks to us likewise and warns: ‘Precious in the sight of God is the death of His faithful ones’! This death which has bought immortality at the price of its blood, which has received the crown from the consummation of its valor, is precious. (tr. Rose Bernard Donna)