worship. He determined that another should rival his kinsman, and that that other
should be his eldest son.
Firm in this resolution, he at once devoted his child to the great design which he
now held continually in view. He knew well that Paganism, revived though it was,
was not the universal worship that it had been; that it was now secretly resisted,
and might soon be openly opposed, by the persecuted Christians throughout the
Empire; and that if the young generation were to guard it successfully from all
future encroachments, and to rise securely to its highest honours, more must be
exacted from them than the easy attachment to the ancient religion require from
the votaries of former days. Then, the performance of the most important offices
in the priesthood was compatible with the possession of military or political rank.
Now, it was to the temple, and to the temple only, that the future servant of the
gods should be devoted. Resolving thus, the father took care that all the son's
occupations and rewards should, from his earliest years, be in some way
connected with the career for which he was intended. His childish pleasures were
to be conducted to sacrifices and auguries; his childish playthings and prizes were
images of the deities. No opposition was offered on the boy's part to this plan of
education. Far different from his younger brother, whose turbulent disposition
defied all authority, he was naturally docile; and his imagination, vivid beyond his
years, was easily led captive by any remarkable object presented to it. With such
encouragement, his father became thoroughly engrossed by the occupation of
forming him for his future existence. His mother's influence over him was
jealously watched; the secret expression of her love, of her sorrow, at the prospect
of parting with him, was ruthlessly suppressed whenever it was discovered; and
his younger brother was neglected, almost forgotten, in order that the parental
watchfulness might be entirely and invariably devoted to the eldest son.
When Emilius had numbered fifteen years, his father saw with delight that the
time had come when he could witness the commencement of the realisation of all
his projects. The boy was removed from home, taken to Alexandria, and gladly
left, by his proud and triumphant father, under the especial guardianship of
Macrinus, the high priest.
The chief of the temple full sympathised in his brother's designs for the young
Emilius. As soon as the boy had entered on his new occupations, he was told that
he must forget all that he had left behind him at Rome; that he must look upon the
high priest as his father, and upon the temple, henceforth, as his home; and that
the sole object of his present labours and future ambition must be to rise in the
service of the gods. Nor did Macrinus stop here. So thoroughly anxious was he to
stand to his pupil in the place of a parent, and to secure his allegiance by
withdrawing him in every way from the world in which he had hitherto lived, that
he even changed his name, giving to him one of his own appellations, and
describing it as a privilege to stimulate him to future exertions. From the boy
Emilius, he was now permanently transformed to the student Ulpius.
With such a natural disposition as we have already described, and under such
guardianship as that of the high priest, there was little danger that Ulpius would
disappoint the unusual expectations which had been formed of him. His attention
to his new duties never relaxed; his obedience to his new masters never wavered.