Anf-03 v.x.ii Pg 6 To the following effect also, in Deuteronomy: “Hear, O Israel; The Lord thy God is one: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and all thy might, and with all thy soul.”8232
Ex. xx. 22, 23.
Npnf-201 iii.xiii.xiii Pg 9 But there were two other virgins in the same city of Antioch who served God in all things, and were true sisters, illustrious in family and distinguished in life, young and blooming, serious in mind, pious in deportment, and admirable for zeal. As if the earth could not bear such excellence, the worshipers of demons commanded to cast them into the sea. And this was done to them.
Eusebius evidently approved of these women’s suicide, and it must be confessed that they had great provocation. The views of the early Church on the subject of suicide were in ordinary cases very decided. They condemned it unhesitatingly as a crime, and thus made a decided advance upon the position held by many eminent Pagans of that age, especially among the Stoics. In two cases, however, their opinion of suicide was somewhat uncertain. There existed in many quarters a feeling of admiration for those who voluntarily rushed to martyrdom and needlessly sacrificed their lives. The wiser and steadier minds, however, condemned this practice unhesitatingly (cf. p. 8, above). The second case in connection with which the opinions of the Fathers were divided, was that which meets us in the present passage. The majority of them evidently not only justified but commended suicide in such an extremity. The first Father distinctly to condemn the practice was Augustine (De civ. Dei. I. 22–27). He takes strong ground on the subject, and while admiring the bravery and chastity of the many famous women that had rescued themselves by taking their own lives, he denounces their act as sinful under all circumstances, maintaining that suicide is never anything else than a crime against the law of God. The view of Augustine has very generally prevailed since his time. Cf. Leckey’s History of European Morals, 3d edition (Appleton, New York), Vol. II. p. 43 sq.