I've had Foxe's Book of Martyrs for a while now but just recently decided to read it. That book is hard to read. Not because it's old and boring but because it's so action packed that if you read it in one sitting you'll probably have a heart-attack by the end of the book. It's so surreal, you'd think its fiction. Unfortunately, it's not... Here are a few excerpts:
“Julianus, an old man, lame with gout, and Cronion, another christian, were bound on the backs of camels, severely scourged, and then thrown into a fire and consumed. Also, forty virgins, at Antioch, after being imprisoned and scourged, were burned.”
“Symphorosa, a widow, and her seven sons, were commanded by the emperor to sacrifice to the heathen deities. She was carried to the temple of Hercules, scourged, and hung up, for some time, by the hair of her head: then being taken down, a large stone was fastened to her neck, and she was thrown into the river, where she expired. With respect to the sons, they were fastened to seven posts, and being drawn up by pullies, their limbs were dislocated: these tortures, not affecting their resolution, they were martyred by stabbing, except the Eugenus, the youngest, who was sawed asunder.”
After reading that, it'd be hard not to ask why God allowed that to happen. Why didn't God bless the early church the way He's blessing the church today?
The answer to that lies in the question.