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A History Of The Church In Five Books by Theodoret

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 those who were within it were destroyed. On that very 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 radiant 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.








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