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entering the temple of Fortune with great exultation, while two priests stood on each side of the door to sprinkle water on whoever they might deem fit; some of the water was thrown upon the robe of Valentinian, who was walking before the emperor. He immediately struck the priest, and told him that he had defiled instead of cleansing him. By this act he deserved to obtain both empires Julian, who witnessed the deed, banished him to a fortress situated by a desert. But scarcely had one year and a few months elapsed, when his fidelity to the faith was rewarded by the possession of the imperial authority. It is not only in this life that piety is rewarded by Divine Justice. Yet even here, good works receive those recompences which are as a foretaste and the earnest of the future blessedness for which we hope.
The tyrant adopted another stratagem against religion. It was an ancient usage for the emperor to sit upon his throne, and to distribute pieces of gold among his soldiery. But, contrary to custom, he ordered incense and fire to be placed on a table near the altar; and he commanded, that whoever should come forward to receive the gold, should first throw incense upon the altar, and should then receive the gold from his hand. Many persons did not discern the trap which was laid for them: those who did perceive it avoided the snare by feigning illness. Others, grasping after the money, neglected their own salvation. Others, from cowardice, betrayed their religion.
CHAP. XVII.-OTHER CONFESSORS OF THE FAITH.
AFTER this destructive distribution of money, some of those who had accepted it met together at table. One of them, taking up a goblet, made on it the sign of the cross before he drank. He was reproved for doing so by one of the others, who told him, that this act was quite inconsistent with what he had so recently done. He asked what act of inconsistency he had committed. He was told that he had offered incense upon the altar of idols, and had denied the faith, and that this was contrary to the Christian religion. On hearing this, many of those who were at table uttered exclamations of grief and distress, tore their hair, and ran out into the market-place, loudly proclaiming that they were Christians, and that they
had been deceived and inveigled by the artifices of the emperor, and that they desired to retract the error into which they had been led through ignorance. They ran shouting these words till they reached the palace, and there they inveighed against the deception of the tyrant, and demanded to be burnt alive; because, as they had been defiled by means of fire, they also desired to be cleansed by fire. These, and similar declarations, excited the fury of the emperor. He immediately ordered their heads to be struck off. As they were being led out of the city, the people followed in crowds, admiring their fortitude and boldness in defending religion. When they had arrived at the place where executions generally took place, the eldest of the company requested the executioner to behead the youngest person present first, in order that his courage might not be shaken by witnessing the slaughter of the others. The youngest man had already knelt upon the ground, and the executioner had unsheathed his sword, when an act of pardon was brought, and shouts proceeding from afar prohibited the massacre. The young man was angry at having escaped the sentence of death, and exclạimed, “ Romanus (for that was his name) is not worthy of being called the martyr of Christ.” The emperor, in prohibiting this massacre, was actuated by the most malign jealousy; for he envied them the glory of martyrdom. He would not, however, permit these soldiers to continue to dwell in any of the cities, but banished them to the farthest extremities of the Roman empire.
CHAP. XVIII.-MARTYRDOM OF ARTEMIUS. ARTEMIUS, who held the office of military commander in Egypt, having, during the reign of Constantine, destroyed some idols, was, in consequence, not only deprived of all his property, but was also beheaded. Such were the actions of him who was called by the irreligious party, “ The mildest and the least passionate of men.” I shall here relate an admirable deed performed by a woman; for women were likewise
Gregory Nazianzen vehemently inveighs against this deceit practised by the emperor Julian on his Christian soldiers, adding to the story as told by Theodoret, the fact that some of the soldiers who had received their pay from the emperor, as soon as they found out their mistake, cast it at his feet as a polluted and unholy thing.
animated by divine zeal, and enabled to despise the fury of
CHAP. XIX.- BOLDNESS OF PUBLIA, THE DEACONESS, IN
ADHERING TO RELIGION, A CERTAIN woman, named Publia, had about this time acquired great celebrity by her eminent virtues. She had been married a short time, and had had a child, which she had offered to God. This child, whose name was John, was afterwards enrolled among the presbytery at Antioch,' and was several times elected to the bishopric of Antioch ; but he as often from modesty declined the dignity. She had at her house an assembly of young women who had vowed perpetual virginity, and who continually sung the praises of the Creator and Saviour. When the emperor was passing, they sang louder than usual, to show the contempt with which they regarded his profanity: they chiefly sang those psalms in which the weakness of idols is derided ; and they exclaimed, with David, “ The idols of the nations are but silver and gold, the works of men's hands.” And after having described the senselessness of idols, they said, “Let those who made them, and all those who trust in them, become like unto them.”. When Julian heard them singing, he was much vexed, and commanded them to be silent whenever he should pass that way. Far from obeying this mandate, Publia directed the virgins to sing still louder than before, and to repeat this verse, “ Let God arise, and let his enemies be scattered.” Julian, more enraged than ever, desired that the leader of the choir should be brought before him. He showed no respect for her age or virtue; but called one of the soldiers, and commanded him to give her a blow on each side of the face. Publia esteemed this insult as the highest honour. She returned to her house, and continued to harass the emperor with spiritual songs, in the same way as he who wrote the psalms repressed the evil spirit which agitated Saul.
It has been thought that this John was no other than St. John Chrysostom. Valesius, however, is of opinion that he is the John mentioned below, (book v. ch. 4,) and who was ordained by Meletius to the bishopric of Apamea.
CHAP. XX.-- ATTEMPT MADE BY THE JEWS TO REBUILD THE
TEMPLE, AND THE JUDGMENTS WHICH TAEY SUFFERED IN CONSEQUENCE.
JULIAN, being possessed by the most evil demons, became like the Corybantes, and raved against religion. This fury led him to arm the Jews against the Christians. He sent for them, and asked them why they did not offer sacrifices according to the injunctions of the law. When they told him that it was written, that sacrifices should be offered only at Jerusalem, this impious man commanded them to rebuild their temple, foolishly imagining to confute the prediction of the Lord concerning it. Yet he thus manifested more fully the truth of the prophecy. The Jews, who had gladly hearkened to the proposal of the emperor, made it known to all those of their nation who were dispersed throughout the habitable globe. These eagerly hastened from all quarters, and joyfully offered their wealth and their labour in furtherance of so great a work. Julian also contributed largely to the enterprise, not from the love of honour, but merely to combat the truth; and he sent an officer worthy of superintending so impious an undertaking. It is even said that they had the spades, mattocks, and baskets made of silver. Innumerable multitudes of men began to dig the ground, and to bear away to a valley the mounds of earth dug from the excavations: but all the mounds which they carried away during the day, spontaneously returned during the night to their former location. They destroyed whatever remained of the edifice, in the hope of constructing it entirely anew. When they had succeeded in obtaining an immense quantity of plaster and of clay, violent winds, whirlwinds, and tempests arose, which scattered about these materials in all directions.
As they could not be led by the long-suffering of God to desist from their evil attempts, a violent earthquake took place, which filled all those who had not been instructed in religion with terror and consternation. · But as the Jews were not moved to fear by this occurrence, fire was made to burst from the excavations dug for the foundations. Many of those who were at work there were burnt, and all the others were compelled to flee. That night also a portico, within which many were sleeping, fell down, with the roof of the building, and all
On that very
those who were within it were destroyed. night, and likewise on the following one, the figure of the Saviour's cross appeared in the heavens. The garments of the Jews seemed covered with crosses ; but they were not radi ant like those in the heavens, but were of a blackish hue. When they had thus perceived that God was hostile to their undertaking, they trembled lest still greater judgments should fall upon them : and they therefore returned to their own dwellings, confessing that He whom their forefathers had crucified was God in truth. These facts, being rumoured far and wide, reached the ears of Julian; but, like Pharaoh, he madly hardened his heart.
CHAP. XXI.-EXPEDITION OF JULIAN AGAINST PERSIA.
When the Persians heard of the death of Constantius, they became more bold, and carried war into the Roman territories. Julian, accordingly, determined to march against them, although he had not God for his protection. He first sent, however, to the oracles of Delphi, of Delos, of Dodona, and of other places, to inquire whether he ought to enter upon the
The oracles desired him to undertake it, and promised him the victory. I shall here insert the reply of one of these oracles, in order to demonstrate the imposture. It was couched in those words: “We, the gods, are ready to bear the trophies of victory along the river which bears the name of a wild beast. I, the fierce and warlike Mars, will lead the others.” Those who style Apollo the god of eloquence and the patron of the Muses, must surely smile at the inanity of these words. I see through this imposture, and pity him who can be deceived. By the river bearing the name of a wild beast, Julian understood that the Tigris was meant. This river rises in the mountains of Armenia, flows through Assyria, and falls into the Persian Gulf. The wretched emperor being thus deceived by the oracles, promised himself the victory, and resolved that after he had terminated the Persian war, he would commence another against the Galileans. He named the Christians Galileans, in order to cast dishonour on them ; but being a learned man he ought to have known that the mutation of a name could not lessen the estimation in which they were held. Had Socrates been called Critias, or had Pythagoras been