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A History Of The Church In Seven Books by Socrates

ABOUT this time, Maris bishop of Chalcedon in Bithynia being led by the hand into the emperor’s presence, because of his great age, and a disease which he had in his eyes termed the pin and web, or cataract, severely rebuked his impiety, apostasy, and atheism. Julian answered his reproaches by loading him with contumelious epithets: “You blind old fool,” said he, “this Galilæan God of yours will never cure you.” For he was accustomed to term Christ the Galilæan, and Christians Galilæans. Maris with still greater boldness replied, “I thank God for bereaving me of my sight, that I might not behold the face of one who has fallen into such awful impiety.” The emperor suffered this to pass without farther notice at that time; but he afterwards had his revenge. Observing that those who suffered martyrdom under the reign of Diocletian were greatly honoured by the Christians, and knowing that many among them were eagerly desirous of becoming martyrs, he determined to wreak his vengeance upon them in some other way. Abstaining therefore from the excessive cruelties which had formerly been practised, he nevertheless directed a persecution against them of a less outrageous kind: (for any measures adopted to disquiet and molest may justly be regarded as persecution). This then was the plan he pursued: he enacted a law by which Christians were excluded from the cultivation of literature; “Lest,” said he, “when they have sharpened their tongue, they should be able the more readily to meet the arguments of the heathen.”








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