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A History Of The Church In Seven Books by Socrates

THE cruel disposition of the emperor was at this time abused by an execrable demon, who induced certain persons to institute an enquiry by means of necromancy respecting the successor of Valens. To their magical incantations the demon gave responses not distinct and unequivocal, but as the general practice is, full of ambiguity; for displaying the four letters θ, ε, ο, and δ, he declared that the compounded name of the emperor’s successor began with these. When Valens was apprised of this oracle, instead of committing to God, who alone can penetrate futurity, the decision of this matter, in contravention of those Christian principles to which he pretended the most zealous adherence, he put to death all of whom he had the slightest suspicion that they aimed at the sovereign power: thus such as were named Theodore, Theodotus, Theodosius, Theodulus, and the like, were sacrificed to the emperor’s fears; and among the rest was Theodosiolus, a very brave man, descended from a noble family in Spain. Many persons therefore, to avoid the danger to which they were exposed, changed the names which they had received from their parents in infancy.








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