Chapter XVII.—Of the boldness of speech of the decurion of Berœa. 652
After starting with these threats he was put down by one single Berœan. Illustrious as this man was from the fact of his holding the chief place among the magistrates, he was made yet more illustrious by his zeal. On seeing his son falling into the prevailing paganism, he drove him from his home and publicly renounced him. The youth made his way to the emperor in the near neighbourhood of the city and informed him both of his own views and of his fathers sentence. The emperor bade him make his mind easy and promised to reconcile his father to him. When he reached Berœa, he invited the men of office and of high position to a banquet. Among them was the young suppliants father, and both father and son were ordered to take their places on the imperial couch. In the middle of the entertainment Julian p. 105 said to the father, “It does not seem to me to be right to force a mind otherwise inclined and having no wish to shift its allegiance. Your son does not wish to follow your doctrines. Do not force him. Even I, though I am easily able to compel you, do not try to force you to follow mine.” Then the father, moved by his faith in divine truth to sharpen the debate, exclaimed “Sir,” said he “are you speaking of this wretch whom God hates 653 and who has preferred lies to truth?”
Once more Julian put on the mask of mildness and said “Cease fellow from reviling,” and then, turning his face to the youth, “I,” said he, “will have care for you, since I have not been able to persuade your father to do so.” I mention this circumstance with a distinct wish to point out not only this worthy mans admirable boldness, but that very many persons despised Julians sway.
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