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Chapter VIII.

But to return to Avitianus: while at every other place, and in all other cities, he displayed marks of horrible cruelty, at Tours alone he did no harm. Yes, that beast, which was nourished by human blood, and by the slaughter of unfortunate creatures, showed himself meek and peaceable in the presence of the blessed man. I remember that Martin one day came to him, and having entered his private apartment, he saw a demon of marvelous size sitting behind his back. Blowing upon him from a distance (if I may, as a matter of necessity, make use of a word which is hardly Latin134134    “exsufflans.”, Avitianus thought that he was blowing at him, and exclaimed, ‘Why, thou holy man, dost thou treat me thus?’ But then Martin said, ‘It is not at you, but at him who, in all his terribleness, leans over your neck.’ The devil gave way, and left his familiar seat; and it is well known that, ever after that day, Avitianus was milder, whether because he now understood that he had always been doing the will of the devil sitting by him, or because the unclean spirit, driven from his seat by Martin, was deprived of the power of attacking him; while the servant was ashamed of his master, and the master did not force on his servant.

“In a village of the Ambatienses, that is in an old stronghold, which is now largely inhabited by brethren, you know there is a great idol-temple built up with labor. The building had been constructed of the most polished stones and furnished with turrets; and, rising on high in the form of a cone, it preserved the superstition of the place by the majesty of the work. The blessed man had often enjoined its destruction on Marcellus, who was there settled as presbyter. Returning after the lapse of some time, he reproved the presbyter, because the edifice of the idol-temple was still standing. He pleaded in excuse that such an immense structure could with difficulty be thrown down by a band of soldiers, or by the strength of a large body of the public, and far less should Martin think it easy for that to be effected by means of weak clerics or helpless monks. Then Martin, having recourse to his well-known auxiliaries, spent the whole night in watching and prayer—with the result that, in the morning, a storm arose, and cast down even to its foundations the idol-temple. Now let this narrative rest on the testimony of Marcellus.


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