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He was a philosophizer and a man of self-control. But the character of his mind may be inferred from his naming Plato and Iamblichus as equals.' The higher philosophic side of Julian's temperament shows in the magnanimous contempt with which he treated the scurrilous citizens of Antioch, and in the principles of toleration which he enunciated at the outset of his reign, and reiterated too, though in practice his prejudices caused deviations from them. "Men should be taught and persuaded by reason, not by blows, invectives, and corporal punishments. I therefore again and again admonish those who embrace the true religion, in no respect to injure or insult the Galileans. We should rather pity than hate those who in the most important concerns act ill." So he wrote in a letter to the people of Bostra, in which he ordered them to expel a Christian bishop who had insulted the true worshippers. He writes to the Christian bishops to worship as they choose, only keep the peace. Julian's practical intolerance appeared in his decree excluding Christians from professorships in the schools. There pagan literature was taught; it is absurd, reasons the emperor, to let them teach what they must disapprove, and if they teach for the sake of the stipend, they are not fit instructors of youth. Let them go to their churches and teach Matthew and Luke. The Emperor knew that pagan literature was the sole means of liberal education, and this decree may have looked to make the Christians impotent and despised by keeping them illiterate. Julian further attacked the Church by forbidding the bishops to judge those who submitted themselves to their jurisdiction, and by depriving the Church of its right to receive legacies.
In the main, Julian was a philosopher only as Iambli
1 See the oration in honor of King Sun, and frequent mention in his epistles. There was also a sophist of the time named Iamblichus, from whose letters Julian derived extreme delight. See Julian's letters to this person.
chus was, looking to philosophy as a means of justifying and-for he was an emperor regulating his realm—reforming religious beliefs and practices. He wished to furnish more definite beliefs, dogmas even, for polytheism; as appears in his treatise on King Sun.' Under diverse names, the sun had become the most prominent pagan deity of the third and fourth centuries, the Unconquered Sun, Apollo, Mithra. This cult was spread through Gaul, and had been the mode of worship of Constantius Chlorus, and of Constantine the Great before the latter's conversion to Christianity. Julian devoted his most interesting philosophic treatise to setting forth this worship. The sun is the vital principle of the universe, causing the birth and growth of all on earth, regulating the movements of the spheres, and constituting the central source of the harmony of the heavens. But the visible luminary is only the image of another sun which eyes may not see. So the visible universe is modelled on the unseen perfect world of intelligible principles, a conception of which may be reached by abstracting from the visible world all imperfections arising from matter, and by raising towards absolute perfection the elements of good which are seen in the world. The One, or, in Platonic language, the Good, is the centre of the unseen perfect world, giving perfection and being and unity to the intelligible principles constituting that world, just as the sun is the centre of the planets and the heavens circling about it. But this world of perfect principles is so far removed from the visible world that an intermediary world is needed, which is the immediate reflection of the highest world, as in turn the sensible world is the image of it. Hence there is a triad of worlds; so there is a corresponding triad of suns. The visible luminary is too
1 See Boissier, Fin du Paganisme, i, 130, etc.
2 There is an extensive analysis of this treatise in A. Naville's l'Empereur Julien et la Philosophie du Polytheisme, which M. Boissier follows, Fin du Paganisme, i, 130, etc. I have followed these two writers.
material to form the final object of adoration, which should rise to the central God-the absolute Good-of the highest world. This God is King Sun.
All of this was fanciful speculation. So Julian seemed to feel. In accord with the trend of his time, he felt that men needed authority and revelation as practical foundations of belief. So he turned to the authority of the sages who had heard gods and dæmons, and to the popular tales of revelations and disclosures of divine intent and actions. He would found a renovated polytheism on Platonic and mystical interpretations of mythology, with reliance on such divine manifestations as still came to men through prayer and ecstasy, sacrifice and divination.'
Julian borrowed from the Christianity he despised the two practical means by which he hoped to establish his renovated polytheistic faith: organization of a priesthood, and the combination of moral instruction with worship. Pagan priests had been ordinary magistrates. Now they should be learned philosophers of exemplary life. He sought to establish a hierarchy among them, giving to the high priests throughout the provinces, who presided over the worship of the deified emperors, authority to supervise the rest. "That Hellenism does not succeed as we wish," he writes to Arsacius, high priest of Galatia, "is because of those who profess it. Entreat all priests to be blameless; let them with their wives and children and servants attend the worship of the gods or be deprived of office." Again he writes: "Let them not frequent brothels or obscene shows nor be intimate with charioteers; let them read appropriate books, Plato, not Epicurus; Homer, not Archilochus." He urged on all the doing of good works. "When none of the Jews beg, and the impious Galileans relieve both their own poor and ours, it is shameful that ours should ? See Boissier, ib., i, 140, etc.
1 See Boissier, ib., 134, etc.
3 On the Duties of a Priest.
be destitute of our assistance." The pagan religion had left moral and religious instruction to philosophy and its professors. But Julian's priests should hold discourses, teach morality in the temples, and explain the concealed sense of myths and the true nature of the gods, all constituting the dogmas of the new Hellenism. For the renovated paganism, with the ideas borrowed from Christianity, was a novel system deserving the novel name of Hellenism, which Julian gave it. And in this temple-preaching, no doubt, prominence was given to doctrines of a future life, in which Julian was deeply interested, and as to which the new paganism was to hold a more assured belief than heretofore; for otherwise, again, how could it compete with the Christian faith?
So with sincerity and zeal Julian endeavored to re-create pagan beliefs. He failed. Many men whose hearts were in the classic past, went with him. But the zeal of pagan worship had passed away in the preceding reigns. The people had begun to throng the churches. The Emperor could not turn back the tide to the forsaken temples.
However much paganism might evolve new fantasies and assimilate strange gods, its power of organic growth was gone. It might still argue in the schools, still cling to its superstitions, even to its higher thoughts. But its grand course was run. Its life must cast itself anew. The store of human foolishness in paganism was indeed to be reclothed in Christian form, while the strength of its reason and the stanchness of its fortitude should draw deep draughts from the new wine of Christ. Thenceforth, his teachings held the progress of mankind. The heart and understanding of the pagan world, its noble elements of devoted thought, could find a place within the larger universality of Christianity, which also held the godward-turned mind and heart of its own antecedent, Israel. 1 Epistle to Arsacius.
ISRAEL: DELIVERANCE AND CONSECRATION.
HERE are no close divisions in which may be scheduled the contributions of the races to the progress
of mankind. Yet those brought by the Hebrew and the Greek are readily distinguishable. Within his sphere, either of these mighty opposites held the component attainments of peoples who in time or faculty were antecedent. The Hellenic personality compassed the antecedent growth of
mortal life,—the strength, the thought, the freedom, and the beauty of the world of man. Likewise the Hebrew in his more single, loftier sphere.
That was the thought of God, one, living, personal, righteous, immediate in his governance of the world he made; and then the supplementing thought of man created in his image, bound to obey his will and imitate his ways. The development and greatening of the Hebrew personality was to lie in the enlargement of the thought of God, and in the endeavor to conform human conduct to his will and ways ever more largely known. Herein Israel reasoned and felt consistently and far, drawing inspired inferences which more than included their lesser analogues from other peoples. The Egyptian might attribute to some god full divine function, lifegiving and controlling. Israel alone added the inference, that beside such a sole god there were no other gods. Again, the Babylonian and the Assyrian might keep the sense of sin as deflection from the standard of the god,