“At the height of the [Roman] persecution, a plague broke out. Fearing contagion, pagans dumped members of their own families in the street when they got sick. But Christians, Eusebius said, ‘heedless of the danger, took charge of the sick, attending to their every need and ministering to them. . . drawing on themselves the sickness of neighbors. . . . The best of our brothers lost their lives in this manner. . . so death in this form, the result of great piety and strong faith, seems in every way the equal of martyrdom.'”
John W. Cowart, People whose Faith Got Them Into Trouble: Stories of Costly Discipleship. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1990, page 28.