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Home > Fathers of the Church > Letters (Theodoret) > Letter 71

Letter 71

To Zeno, General and Consul.

Your fortitude rouses universal admiration, tempered as it is by gentleness and meekness, and exhibited to your household in kindliness, to your foes in boldness. These qualities indicate an admirable general. In a soldier's character the main ornament is bravery, but in a commander prudence takes precedence of bravery; after these come self-control and fairness, whereby a wealth of virtue is gathered. Such wealth is the reward of the soul which reaches after good, and with its eyes fixed on the sweetness of the fruit, deems the toil right pleasant. For to virtue's athletes the God of all, like some great giver of games, has offered prizes, some in this life, and some in that life beyond which has no end. Those in this present life your excellency has already enjoyed, and you have achieved the highest honour. Be it also the lot of your greatness to obtain too those abiding and perpetual blessings, and to receive not only the consul's robe, but also the garment that is indescribable and divine. Of all them that understand the greatness of that gift this is the common petition.

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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/2707071.htm>.

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