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A History Of The Church In Five Books by Theodoret

JULIAN, unable to bear the humiliation which this procedure cast upon him, commanded the next day that the leaders of the procession should be arrested. Salustius, who was at this period a vice-governor, and who had enlisted in the service of impiety, persuaded the tyrant not to grant to the Christians the glory of martyrdom, which they so earnestly desired. But when he perceived that the emperor was unable to curb his fury, he commanded the arrest of a young man deeply imbued with divine zeal, who was then walking in the market-place. He had him stretched on the rack in the presence of all the people, and ordered his shoulders to be torn with scourging, and his sides with nails. To this treatment he was subjected from the dawn of day until its close. He was then bound with iron chains and cast into prison. The next morning Salustius informed Julian of these inflictions, described the fortitude of the young man, and said, that such cruelties were degrading to their own party, and conferred glory on the Christians. This impious emperor was induced by these arguments to desist from further acts of vengeance; and he released Theodore (for this was the name of the young and generous defender of the truth) from prison. Some persons having afterwards asked the young man whether he did not suffer extreme anguish while subjected to these cruel and severe tortures, he replied, that at first he did suffer a few pangs; but that afterwards there appeared one who wiped off the perspiration from his face with soft and cooling linen, and who animated him to take courage. He said that, when the people ceased from torturing him, he did not rejoice, but was, on the contrary, grieved, because his solacer quitted him at the same time.

The imposture practised at the oracle by artful demons was detected, and the fame of the martyrs increased. A thunderbolt fell from heaven, burnt the whole of the temple, and reduced the statue of Apollo to ashes; for this statue was only composed of wood, with a gilded surface. Julian, the governor of the East, who was the uncle of the emperor Julian, being informed during the night of the conflagration, immediately hastened to the assistance of the god whom he adored. Perceiving, on his arrival at Daphne, that his god was reduced to ashes, he suspected that this act of incendiarism had been committed by the Christians, and put those who guarded the temple to the torture in order to elicit the truth. But they could not be compelled, by torture, to declare that which was false. They said that the fire had fallen down from heaven, and that some peasants who were returning from the neighbourhood had witnessed its descent.








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