The Instructions Of Commodianus by Commodianus
LXII.--To Him Who Wishes for Martyrdom.
Since, O son, thou desirest martyrdom, hear. Be thou such as Abel was, or such as Isaac himself, or Stephen, who chose for himself on the way the righteous life. Thou indeed desirest that which is a matter suited for the blessed. First of all, overcome the evil one with thy good acts by living well; and when He thy King shall see thee, be thou secure. It is His own time, and we are living for both; so that if war fails, the martyrs shall go in peace. Many indeed err who say, With our blood we have overcome the wicked one; and if he remains, they are unwilling to overcome. He perishes by lying in wait, and the wicked thus feels it; but he that is lawful does not feel the punishments applied. With exclamation and with eagerness beat thy breast with thy fists. Even now, if thou hast conquered by good deeds, thou art a martyr in Him. Thou, therefore, who seekest to extol martyrdom with thy word, in peace clothe thyself with good deeds, and be secure.