Gregory Nazianzen said of Athanasius that he was both a lodestone and an adamant: a lodestone for the sweetness of his disposition, and an adamant for the invincibleness of his resolution. When the emperor Valens promised Basil great preference if he would subscribe to the Arian heresy, Basil responded, “Sir, these speeches are fit to catch little children, but we who are taught by the Spirit are ready to endure a thousand deaths rather than suffer one syllable of Scripture to be altered.” A righteous man is willing to take the cross for his jointure and, with Ignatius, wear Christ’s sufferings as a collar of pearl. “We glory in tribulation” (Rom 5:3). St . Paul rattled his chain and gloried in it as a woman who is proud of her jewels, said Chrysostom. “It is to my loss,” said Gordius the martyr, “if you abate me anything of my sufferings.” Of what heroic undaunted spirits were the primitive Christians who could scorn preferments, laugh at imprisonments, snatch up torments as crowns, and whose love to Christ burned hotter than the fire insomuch that the heathens cried out, “Great is the God of the Christians!”

—Thomas Watson