Chapter XXXI.—Of Isaac 804 the monk of Constantinople and Bretanio the Scythian Bishop.
It is related that Isaac, who lived as a solitary at Constantinople, when he saw Valens marching out with his troops, cried aloud, “Whither goest thou, O emperor? To fight against God, instead of having Him as thy ally? Tis God himself who has roused the barbarians against thee, because thou hast stirred many tongues to blasphemy against Him and hast driven His worshippers from their sacred abodes. Cease then thy campaigning and stop the war. Give back to the flocks their excellent shepherds and thou shalt win victory without trouble, but if thou fightest without so doing thou shalt learn by experience how hard it is to kick against the pricks. 805 Thou shalt never come back and shalt destroy thy army.” Then in a passion the emperor rejoined, “I shall come back; and I will kill thee, and so exact punishment for thy lying prophecy.” But Isaac undismayed by the threat exclaimed, “If what I say be proved false, kill me.”
Bretanio, a man distinguished by various virtues, and entrusted with the episcopal government of all the cities of Scythia, fired his soul with enthusiasm, and protested against the corruption of doctrines, and the emperors lawless attacks upon the saints, crying in the words of the godly David, “I spoke of thy testimonies also before Kings and was not ashamed.” 806
Psalm cxix. 46. The text quotes the Sept. ἐλὰλουν ἐν τοῖς μαρτυρίοις σου ἐναντίον βασιλέων καὶ ούκ ᾐσχυνόμην
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