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Home > Fathers of the Church > Letters (Theodoret) > Letter 22

Letter 22

To Count Ulpianus.

It is said that what is faulty in men's ways may be brought to order and improved by words. But I think that characters made beautiful by nature, themselves make words fair, though they stand in need of none, just as bodies naturally beautiful need no artificial colouring. These qualities are conspicuous in the right eloquent orator Athanasius, and I have been the more pleased with him because he is an ardent lover of your Excellency, and is constantly sounding your praises. Here, however, I have striven with him, and in enumerating your high qualities, have outdone him, for I know more about good deeds of yours than he. I am however vexed at not being able to praise them all, and to see that my summary of your virtues falls short of what might be said in your praise, but if God grant it even to approach the truth you will hold the pre-eminence in every kind of virtue among all your contemporaries.

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Source. Translated by Blomfield Jackson. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 3. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1892.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/2707022.htm>.

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