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A History Of The Church In Nine Books by Sozomen

AT this period, Athanasius, who had long remained in concealment, having heard of the death of Constantius, appeared by night in the church at Alexandria. His unexpected appearance excited the greatest astonishment. He had escaped falling into the hands of the governor of Egypt, who, at the command of the emperor, and at the request of the friends of George, had formed plans to arrest him, and had concealed himself in the house of a holy virgin, in Alexandria. It is said that she was endowed with such extraordinary beauty, that those who beheld her regarded her as a phenomenon of nature, and that men of gravity and reflection kept aloof from her, for fear of giving rise to slander, or of exciting disadvantageous reports. She possessed in the flower of youth such modesty and such wisdom as would have conferred beauty on an individual who had not received that gift from nature. For it is not true, as some assert, that, “as is the body, so is the soul.” On the contrary, the body is the index of the mind, and by it our thoughts and affections are reflected and indicated. This is a truth admitted by all who have accurately investigated the subject. It is related that Athanasius sought refuge in the house of this holy virgin by the revelation of God, who designed to save him in this manner. When I reflect on the result which ensued, I cannot doubt but that all the events were directed by Providence. The friends and relatives of Athanasius would thus have been preserved from danger had search been made for him among them, and had they been compelled to swear that he was not concealed with them. There was nothing to excite suspicion of a bishop being concealed in the house of so lovely a virgin. However, she had the courage to receive him, and sufficient prudence to preserve his life. She alone ministered to him and supplied him with what nature requires. She washed his feet, brought him food, provided him with the books lie wanted, and acted so prudently that during the whole time of his residence with her, none of the inhabitants of Alexandria suspected the place of his retreat.








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