“There is no God but one.”
–1 Cor. 8:4
In the first ages of the Church of Christ, in the city of Antioch…
…a believer was carried forth to die as a martyr. “Ask any little child,” said he, “whether it were better to worship one God, the maker of heaven and earth, and one Savior, who is able to save us, or to worship the many false gods whom the heathen serve.” Now it was so that a Christian mother had come to the spot, holding in her hand a little son, of about nine or ten years old, named Cyril.
The heathen judge no sooner heard the martyr’s words than his eyes rested on the child, and he desired the question to be put to him. The question was asked, and to the surprise of those who heard it, the boy replied, “God is one, and Jesus Christ is one with the Father.” The judge was filled with rage. “O base Christian,” he cried, “thou hast taught that child to answer thus.” Then turning to the boy he said more mildly, “Tell me, child, how did you learn this faith?”
The boy looked lovingly into his mother’s face, and said, ” It was God’s grace that taught it to my dear mother, and she taught it to me.” “Let us now see what the love of Christ can do for you,” cried the cruel judge; and, at a sign from him, the officers, who stood ready with their wooden rods of the fashion of the Romans, instantly seized the boy. Gladly would the mother have saved her timid dove, even at the cost of her own life, but she could not do so; yet she did whisper to him to trust in the love of Christ, and to speak the truth. “What can the love of Christ do for him now ?” asked the judge. “It enables him to endure what his Master endured for him and for us all,” was the reply. And again they smote the child. “What can the love of Christ do for him?”
And tears fell even from the eyes of the heathen, as that mother, as much tortured as her son, answered, “It teaches him to forgive his persecutors.” The boy watched his mother’s eyes as they rose up to heaven for him; and when his tormentors asked whether he would not now acknowledge the gods they served, and deny Christ, he still said, “No; there is no other God but one; and Jesus Christ is the Redeemer of the world. He loved me, and I love Him for His love.”
The poor boy now fainted beneath the repeated strokes, and they cast the bruised body into the mother’s arms, crying, “See what the love of your Christ can do for him now.” As the mother pressed the child gently to her own crushed heart, she answered, “That love will take him from the wrath of man to the rest of heaven.” “Mother,” cried the dying boy, ” give me a drop of water from our cool well upon my tongue.” The mother said, “Already, dearest, hast thou tasted of the well that springeth up to everlasting life—the grace which Christ gives to His little ones. Thou hast spoken the truth in love. Arise now, for thy Saviour calleth for thee. May He grant thy poor mother grace to follow in the bright path.”
The little martyr faintly raised his eyes, and said again, “There is but one God, and Jesus Christ whom He has sent;” and so saying he gave up his life.
Story taken and adapted from Anecdotes Illustrative of New Testament Texts, Author Unknown