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Chapter I.—Of the reign of Julianus; how from a child he was brought up in piety and lapsed into impiety; and in what manner, though at first he kept his impiety secret, he afterwards laid it bare.
Constantius, as has been narrated, departed this life groaning and grieving that he had been turned away from the faith of his father. Julian heard the news of his end as he was crossing from Europe into Asia and assumed the sovereignty with delight at having now no rival.
In his earlier days, while yet a lad, Julian had, as well as Gallus595595 On the murder of the Princes of the blood Gallus was first sent alone to Tralles or Ephesus, (Soc. iii. 1,) and afterwards spent some time with his brother Julian in Cappadocia in retirement, but with a suitable establishment. On their relationship to Constantius vide Pedigree in the prolegomena. his brother, imbibed pure and pious teaching.
In his youth and earlier manhood he continued to take in the same doctrine. Constantius, dreading lest his kinsfolk should aspire to imperial power, slew them;596596 The massacre “involved the two uncles of Constantius, seven of his cousins, of whom Dalmatius and Hannibalianus were the most illustrious, the patrician Optatus, who had married a sister of the late Emperor, and the præfect Abcavius.” “If it were necessary to aggravate the horrors of this bloody scene we might add that Constantius himself had espoused the daughter of his uncle Julius, and that he had bestowed his sister in marriage on his cousin Hannibalianus.” “Of so numerous a family Gallus and Julian alone, the two youngest children of Julius Constantius, were saved from the hands of the assassins, till their rage, satiated with slaughter, had in some measure subsided.” Gibbon, Chap. xviii. Theodoretus follows the opinion of Athanasius and Julian in ascribing the main guilt to Constantius, but, as Gibbon points out, Eutropius and the Victors “use the very qualifying expressions;” “sinente potius quam jubente;” “incertum quo suasore;” and “vi militum.” Gregory of Nazianzus (Or. iv. 21) ascribes the preservation of both Julian and his brother Gallus to the clemency and protection of Constantius. and Julian, through fear of his cousin, was enrolled in the order of Readers,597597 Tertullian (De Præsc. 41) is the earliest authority for the office of Anagnostes, Lector, or Reader, as a distinct order in the Church. Henceforward it appears as one of the minor orders, and is frequently referred to by Cyprian (Epp. 29. 38, etc.). By one of Justinian’s novels it was directed that no one should be ordained Reader before the age of eighteen, but previously young boys were admitted to the office, at the instance of their parents, as introductory to the higher functions of the sacred ministry. Dict. Christ. Ant. 1. 80. and used to read aloud the sacred books to the people in the assemblies of the church.
He also built a martyr’s shrine; but the martyrs, when they beheld his apostasy, refused to accept the offering; for in consequence of the foundations being, like their founder’s mind, unstable, the edifice fell down598598 Sozomen (v. 2) tells us that when the princes were building a chapel for the martyr Mamas, the work of Gallus stood, but that of Julian tumbled down. A more famous instance of the care of Gallus for the christian dead is the story of the translation of the remains of the martyr Babylas from Antioch to Daphne, referred to by our author (iii. 6) as well as by Sozomen v. 19, and by Rufinus x. 35. cf. Bishop Lightfoot, Ap. Fathers II. i. 42. before it was consecrated. Such were the boyhood and youth of Julian. At the period, however, when Constantius was setting out for the West, drawn thither by the war against Magnentius, he made Gallus, who was gifted with piety which he retained to the end,599599 Gallus was made Cæsar by the childless Constantius in 350, in about his 25th year. “Fuit” says Am. Marcellinus (xiv. 11. 28) “forma conspicuus bona, decente filo corporis, membrorumque recta compage, flavo capillo et molli, barba licet recens emergente lanugine tenera.” His government at Antioch was not successful, and at the instigation of the Eunuch Eusebius he was executed in 354 at Pola, a town already infamous for the murder of Crispus. Cæsar of the East. Now Julian flung away the apprehensions which had previously stood him in good stead, and, moved by unrighteous confidence, set his heart on seizing the sceptre of empire. Accordingly, on his way through Greece, he sought out seers and soothsayers, with a desire of learning if he should get what his soul longed for. He met with a man who promised to predict these things, conducted him into one of the idol temples, introduced him within the shrine, and called upon the demons of deceit. On their appearing in their wonted aspect terror compelled Julian to make the sign of the cross upon his brow. They no sooner saw the sign of the Lord’s victory than they were reminded of their own rout, and forthwith fled away. On the magician becoming acquainted with the cause of their flight he blamed him; but Julian confessed his terror, and said that he wondered at the power of the cross, for that the demons could not endure to see its sign and ran away. “Think not anything of the sort, good sir;” said the magician, “they were not afraid as you make out, but they went away because they abominated what you did.” So he tricked the wretched man, initiated him in the mysteries, and filled him with their abominations.
So lust of empire stripped the wretch of all true religion. Nevertheless after attaining the supreme power he concealed his impiety for a considerable time; for he was specially apprehensive about the troops who had been instructed in the principles of true religion, first by the illustrious Constantine who freed them from their former error and trained them in the ways of truth, and afterwards by his sons, who confirmed the instruction given by their father. For if Constantius, led astray by those under whose influence he lived, did not admit the term ὁμοούσιον, at all events he sincerely accepted the meaning underlying it, for God the Word he styled true Son, begotten of his Father before the ages, and those who dared to call Him a creature he openly renounced, absolutely prohibiting the worship of idols.
I will relate also another of his noble deeds, as satisfactory proof of his zeal for divine things. In his campaign against Magnentius he once mustered the whole of his army, and counselled them to take part all together in the divine mysteries, “for,” said he, “the end of life is always uncertain, and that not least in war, when innumerable missiles are hurled from either side, and swords and battle axes and other weapons are assailing men, whereby a violent death is brought about. Wherefore it behoves each man to wear that precious robe which most of all we need in yonder life hereafter: if there be one here who would not now put on this garb let him depart hence and go home. I shall not brook to fight with men in my army who have no part nor lot in our holy rites.”600600 ἀμυήτοις
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