A man who in the body imitated the lives of the bodiless, namely Julianus, surnamed in Syrian Sabbas, whose life I have written in my “Religious History,” continued all the more zealously to offer his prayers to the God of all, when he heard of the impious tyrants threats. On the very day on which Julian was slain, he heard of the event while at his prayers, although the Monastery was distant more than twenty stages from the army. It is related that while he was invoking the Lord with loud cries and supplicating his merciful Master, he suddenly checked his tears, broke into an ecstasy of delight, while his countenance was lighted up and thus signified the joy that possessed his soul. When his friends beheld this change they begged him to tell them the reason of his gladness. “The wild boar,” said he, “the enemy of the vineyard of the Lord, has paid the penalty of the wrongs he has done to Him; he lies dead. His mischief is done.” The whole company no sooner heard these words than they leaped with joy and struck up the song of thanksgiving to God, and from those that brought tidings of the emperors death they learnt that it was the very day and hour when the accursed man was slain that the aged Saint knew it and announced it. 658
The emperor Julian was wounded in the neighbourhood of Symbria or Hucumbra on the Tigris on the morning of June 26th, 363, and died at midnight. On the somewhat similar stories of Apollonius of Tyana mounting a lofty rock in Asia Minor and shouting to the crowd about him well done, Stephanus; excellent, Stephanus; smite the blood-stained wretch; thou hast struck, thou hast wounded, thou hast slain, at the very moment when Domitian was being murdered at Rome (Dion Cass, 67. 18); and of Irenæus at Rome hearing a voice as of a trumpet at the exact hour when Polycarp suffered at Smyrna proclaiming Polycarp has been martyred (Vid. Ep. Smyrn.). Bp. Lightfoot (Apostolic Fathers 1. 455) writes “The analogies of authenticated records of apparitions seen and voices heard at a distance at the moment of death have been too frequent in all ages to allow us to dismiss the story at once as a pure fiction.” Such narratives at all events testify to a wide-spread belief.
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