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Chapter XII.—Of Maris Bishop of Chalcedon; Julian forbids Christians from entering Literary Pursuits.

About this time, Maris bishop of Chalcedon in Bithynia being led by the hand into the emperor’s presence,—for on account of extreme old age he had a disease in his eyes termed ‘cataract,’—severely rebuked his impiety, apostasy, and atheism. Julian answered his reproaches by loading him with contumelious epithets: and he defended himself by words calling him ‘blind.’ ‘You blind old fool,’ said he, ‘this Galilæan God of yours will never cure you.’ For he was accustomed to term Christ ‘the Galilæan,’517517    Cf. John i. 46, and Acts ii. 7. Later the word was used by the heathen also, contemptuously, as a term of reproach. 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 honored 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 been practiced under Diocletian; he did not however altogether abstain from persecution (for any measures adopted to disquiet and molest I regard as persecution). This then was the plan he pursued: he enacted a law518518    Chap. 16. 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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