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A History Of The Church In Five Books by Theodoret

A CERTAIN young man, the son of an idolatrous priest, who had been brought up in Paganism, was, about this time, led to embrace the true religion. A certain woman of great piety, who had been raised to the dignity of deaconess, was very intimate with his mother, and used frequently to visit her when he was a child: on these occasions she used to caress him and to exhort him to piety. In the mean time the mother died; and the young man used then to repair to the woman to receive her instructions. When he was fully convinced of the truth of what she had imparted, he asked his teacher by what means he could throw off the superstition of his father, and follow out the truth which she had preached to him. She replied, that he must flee from his father, and honour his Creator above his earthly parent. She told him to go to some other city, and to remain there in concealment, lest he should fall into the hands of the impious emperor. She promised to take upon herself the management of this affair. The youth replied, “From henceforth I shall come to you; and I shall commit my life into your keeping.” A short time subsequently, Julian went to Daphne to hold a public festival. The father of this young man repaired thither also, because he was a priest, and had long been accustomed to follow the emperor. This young man and his brother accompanied their father. It was the custom for these youths to sprinkle water which had been offered to idols on the viands prepared for the emperor. The festival celebrated at Daphne usually lasted seven days. The first day of the festival, the young man above-mentioned stood by the couch of the emperor, and sprinkled the water on his food, according to custom; but he had no sooner completed this iniquitous ceremony, than he hastened back to Antioch. He went to his admirable instructress, and said to her, “I am come to you, according to my promise; do you fulfil yours, and take measures for my deliverance.” She conducted him to Meletius, a man of God; he kept the young man concealed for a long time in part of his house. The father, after having traversed Daphne in search of his son, returned to Antioch, ran through all the streets of the city, and examined every spot, anxiously seeking some traces of him. When he arrived at the quarter of the city where the house of St. Meletius was situated, he looked up, and perceived his son peeping through the rails. He ran into the house, seized him, and led him away. He took him home, and immediately flogged him severely; he then took a pointed instrument, made it red hot, and forced it into his hands, feet, and back. After that he shut him up in a room, fastened it securely outside, and returned to Daphne. I have heard all these incidents related by the son himself in his old age. He likewise told us that, being inspired with divine grace, he destroyed all his father’s idols, and ridiculed their helplessness; and that afterwards, on reflecting on what he had done, he dreaded the return of his father, and called upon the Lord Christ to assist him, and to burst the bolts of the door, saying, “These things have I done and suffered for thy sake. As I was saying these words,” continued he, “the bolts fell down, and the doors burst open. I then ran back to my teacher. She disguised me in the dress of a female, and drove with me in a vehicle to St. Meletius. He gave me into the care of Cyril, bishop of Jerusalem, with whom I set out by night for Palestine.” After the death of Julian, he led his father to receive the truth. This, with many other incidents, he related to us. Such is the delivery wrought out for those who are brought to the knowledge of God.








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