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A History Of The Church In Nine Books by Sozomen

AMONG so many remarkable events which occurred during the reign of Julian, I must not omit to mention one which affords a manifest proof of the power of Christ, and of the Divine wrath against the emperor. Having heard that at Cæsarea Philippi, otherwise called Paneades, a city of Phœnicia, there was a celebrated statue of Christ, which had been erected by a woman whom the Lord had cured of a flow of blood, Julian commanded it to be taken down, and a statue of himself erected in its place; but fire from heaven was poured down upon it, the head and breast were broken, and it was transfixed to the ground with the face downwards: it is still to be seen on the spot where it fell, blackened by the effects of the thunder. The statue of Christ was dragged round the city and mutilated by the Pagans; but the Christians recovered the fragments, and deposited the statue in the church in which it is still preserved. Eusebius relates, that at the base of this statue grew a herb which was unknown to the physicians and empirics, but was efficacious in the cure of all disorders. It does not appear a matter of astonishment to me, that, after God has vouchsafed to dwell with men, He should condescend to bestow benefits upon them. It appears that innumerable other miracles were wrought, of which accounts have been handed down to the people of the country, and with which they only are acquainted: one instance may be cited in proof. There is a city, now called Nicopolis, in Palestine, which was formerly only a village, and which was mentioned by the holy evangelists under the name of Emmaus. The name of Nicopolis was given to this place by the Romans, in consequence of the conquest of Jerusalem and the victory over the Jews. Just beyond the city, where three roads meet, is the spot where Christ, after his resurrection, said farewell to Cleophas and his companions, as if he were going to another village; and here is the fountain in which the Saviour washed his feet, and which has ever since possessed the property of removing every species of disease from man and other animals. At Ermopolis in Thebais is a tree called Persea, of which the branches, the leaves, and the least portion of the bark, are said to heal disease when touched by the sick: for it is related by the Egyptians, that when Joseph fled with Christ and Mary the holy Mother from the wrath of Herod, they went to Ermopolis; and as they were entering the city, this tree bent down and worshipped Christ. I relate precisely what I have heard from many sources concerning this tree. I think that this phenomenon was a sign of the presence of God in the city; or, perhaps, as seems most probable, it may have arisen from the fear of the demon, who had been worshipped in this large and beautiful tree by the people of the country: for at the presence of Christ, the idols of Egypt were shaken, even as Isaiah the prophet had foretold. On the expulsion of the demon, the tree was permitted to remain as a monument of what had occurred, and was endued with the property of healing those who believed. The inhabitants of Egypt and of Palestine testify to the truth of these events, which took place among themselves.








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