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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
a name of reproach by which the early Christians, in times of persecution, were stigmatized. Lactantius says," Those who set a value on their faith, and will not deny their God, they first torment and butcher with all their might, and then call them desperate, because they will not spare their own bodies; as if anything could be more desperate than to torture and tear in pieces those whom you cannot but know to be innocent." — Bingham, Orig. Eccl. bk. 1, ch. 2, § 9.
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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Desperati'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/d/desperati.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.