Emperors of Salvation
At birth, the precious light of his glorious flames filled the country. He was smart and wise when young, and kind and benevolent when grown up. He devoted the entire state treasury to all sentient beings, the poor and suffering, the deserted and single, the hungry and disabled.
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After another billion aeons, he ascended to the station of Jade Emperor. He has the power to order the Immortals of the Nine Heavens and to invoke the spirits of the four seas and five sacred mountains. All the spirits follow and attend to him in queue, just like the emperor and his ministers in the human world. To his holy majesty I look up and bow to pay my sincere respect. Therefore, the Jade Emperor is the master of the three fundamentals in charge of the pivot of Heaven, Earth and Man. The holy birthday of the Jade Emperor is the 9th of the first month of the lunar calendar.
Scythes of the Emperor
All members of the family, after fasting and bathing, burn incense, prostrate, offer food, and recite scriptures. In some places, operas are performed to please the deity. In north China, sacrifices to the Jade Emperor were held in the past, where an image of the Jade Emperor was paraded around the village.
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The 25th of the twelfth month is the legendary day when the Jade Emperor descends and inspects the human world; folk people and temples all welcome and see off the Jade Emperor by burning incense and reciting scriptures. When he grew up, he declined the throne and renounced his family for cultivation.
He taught various Buddhas to understand the orthodox Great Vehicle and approach the empty sublime Dao. After cultivating for another million kalpas, he was ranked as the Jade Emperor. The common people do not quite know the origin of the Jade Emperor. He announced that all heretics were "demented and insane," and he proclaimed that the places where they met would not be recognized as churches. This ruling became law in the entire empire. In Spain a bishop named Priscillian, who taught that matter was evil and took other unorthodox positions, became the first Christian executed by Christians for his religious beliefs.
Theodosius revised laws to fit what he saw as Christian principles.
He banned public and private activities of a non-religious nature on Sundays, he made Easter and Christmas legal holidays, and he attacked Jews. Christians saw Judaism and Christianity as absolutely separate and Judaism as the work of the devil. They saw Judaism as a special competitor.
The Jews were burdened by an odium that pagans were spared: the Jews had rejected Jesus.
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Christians saw Jews collectively as responsible for killing Jesus — no matter how remote the ancestor of an individual Jew might have been from that event that had occurred almost four centuries earlier. And with Jews uninfluenced by the asceticism and asexuality of Jesus, and not seeing sexuality as tainted by lust and filth as Christians did, Christians were beginning to describe Jews as carnal.
At Christian torchlight meetings, angry slogans were shouted against Jews and "Jew lovers. As Roman citizens, Jews were protected from attack by law, and when a Christian mob burned a synagogue, Theodosius ordered it rebuilt, the cost to be paid by the Church.
Bishop Ambrose intervened. Outraged, he told Theodosius that he, Theodosius, was threatening the Church's prestige. He convinced Theodosius to let the destruction of the synagogue stand. Here and there across the Roman Empire, the burning of synagogues continued.
Emperors against Pagans, Jews and Arian Christians
In Judea, entire villages of Jews were set ablaze. Jews living in the empire had their privileges withdrawn. They were excluded from holding any state office, from joining the army, and they were not to proselytize Christians or intermarry with them. Theodosius agreed to do penance, and in gratitude for his reconciliation with Ambrose he acted on Ambrose's views as to what should be done about paganism.
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Theodosius banned the Olympic games — which were considered pagan. He prohibited visits to pagan temples and forbade all pagan worship. Ordinary Christians were delighted at this move, and mobs of Christians joined the anti-pagan program by robbing pagan temples of their treasures and looting temple libraries. Pagans in the eastern half of the empire tried to defend their freedom to worship, and in the west some pagans rallied in an attempt to overthrow Gratian's successor and brother, Valentinian II.
Valentinian II was assassinated.
go to link A military commander in the west, being a German and not eligible to be emperor, created an anti-Christian puppet named Eugenius, who announced that the hour of deliverance from Christianity was at hand. In response, Theodosius cracked down harder on pagans in the eastern half of the empire. He made pagan worship punishable by death. In , he led an army of Visigoth cavalry and others against the reign of Eugenius, defeating Eugenius' forces at the Frigidus River, in the extreme northeast of Italy, a victory the Church was later to interpret as the work of God triumphing over paganism.