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Chapter XIX.—Wrath of the Emperor, and Firmness of Theodore the Confessor.

Then indeed the emperor’s real temper and disposition, which he had hitherto kept as much as possible from observation, became fully manifested: for he who had boasted so much of his philosophy, was no longer able to restrain himself; but being goaded almost to madness by these reproachful hymns, he was ready to inflict the same cruelties on the Christians, with which Diocletian’s agents had formerly visited them. Since, however, his solicitude about the Persian expedition afforded him no leisure for personally executing his wishes, he commanded Sallust the Prætorian Prefect to seize those who had been most conspicuous for their zeal in psalm-singing, in order to make examples of them. The prefect, though a pagan, was far from being pleased with his commission; but since he durst not contravene it, he caused several of the Christians to be apprehended, and some of them to be imprisoned. One young man named Theodore, whom the heathens brought before him, he subjected to a variety of tortures, causing his person to be so lacerated and only released him from further punishment when he thought that he could not possibly outlive the torments: yet God preserved this sufferer, so that he long survived that confession. Rufinus, the author of the Ecclesiastical History written in Latin, states that he himself conversed with the same Theodore a considerable time afterwards: and enquired of him whether in the process of scourging and racking he had not felt the most intense pains; his answer was, that he felt the pain of the tortures to which he was subjected for a very short time; and that a young man stood by him who both wiped off the sweat which was produced by the acuteness of the ordeal through which he was passing, and at the same time strengthened his mind, so that he rendered this time of trial a season of rapture rather than of suffering. Let this suffice concerning the most wonderful Theodore. About this time Persian ambassadors came to the emperor, requesting him to terminate the war on certain express conditions. But Julian abruptly dismissed them, saying, ‘You shall very shortly see me in person, so that there will be no need of an embassy.’

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