The two first books formed a complete whole, but it was intimated that there might be more to come when Jerome should have received Rufinus' work in full. The two first books were brought to Rufinus by the captain of a merchant-ship trading with Aquileia, together with a copy of Jerome's friendly letter which had been suppressed by Pammachius. The bearer had (as stated by Rufinus, though Jerome mocks at this as impossible) only two days to wait. Chromatius the Bishop of Aquileia urged that the strife should now cease, and prevailed so far as that Rufinus made no public reply. He wrote a private letter, however, to Jerome, which has not come down to us, and which does not seem, from the extracts given in c. 4, 6, etc., to have been of a pacific tenor. Its details may be gathered from Jerome's reply. Jerome intimates that it sought to involve him in heresy, that it renewed and aggravated the former accusations, speaking of him in language fit only for the lowest characters on the stage; and that it declared that, if its writer had been so minded, he could have produced facts which would have been the destruction of his adversary. Jerome, though receiving some expressions of the desire of Chromatius that he should not reply (perhaps also the regretful expostulation of Augustine,— Jer. Letter cx, 6, Aug. Letter 73) declared that it was impossible for him to yield. He could not refrain from defending himself from a capital charge, nor could he spare the heretics. Peace could only come by unity in the faith.
1. I have read the letter which you in your wisdom have written me. You inveigh against me, and, though you once praised me and called me true partner and brother, you now write books to summon me to reply to the charges with which you terrify me. I see that in you are fulfilled the words of Solomon:
In the mouth of the foolish is the rod of contumely, and
A fool receives not the words of prudence, unless you say what is passing in his heart; and the words of Isaiah:
The fool will speak folly, and his heart will understand vain things, to practise iniquity and speak falsehood against the Lord. For what need was there for you to send me whole volumes full of accusation and malediction, and to bring them before the public, when in the end of your letter you threaten me with death if I dare to reply to your slanders— I beg pardon— to your praises? For your praises and your accusations amount to the same thing; from the same fountain proceed both sweet and bitter. I beg you to set me the example of the modesty and shamefacedness which you recommend to me; you accuse another of lying: cease to be a liar yourself. I wish to give no one an occasion of stumbling, and I will not become your accuser; for I have not to consider merely what you deserve but what is becoming in me. I tremble at our Savior's words.
Whosoever shall cause one of these little ones that believe in me to stumble, it were better for him that a great mill stone were hanged about his neck and he were drowned in the depths of the sea; and
Woe unto the world because of occasions of stumbling: for it must needs be that occasions arise; but woe to the man through whom the occasion comes. It would have been possible for me too to pile up falsehoods against you and to say that I had heard or seen what no one had observed, so that among the ignorant my effrontery might be taken for veracity, and my violence for resolution. But far be it from me to be an imitator of you, and to do myself what I denounce in you. He who is capable of doing filthy things may use filthy words.
The evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth that which is evil; for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. You may count it as good fortune that one whom you once called friend but now accuse has no mind to make vile imputations against you. I say this not from any dread of the sword of your accusation, but because I prefer to be accused than to be the accuser, to suffer an injury than to do one. I know the precept of the Apostle:
Dearly beloved avenge not yourselves but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written Vengeance is mine, I will repay says the Lord. Therefore, if your enemy hunger feed him, if he thirst give him drink; for in so doing you shall heap coals of fire upon his head. For he that avenges himself cannot claim the vindication of the Lord.
2. But, before I make my answer to your letter, I must expostulate with you; you who are first in age among the monks, good presbyter, follower of Christ; is it possible for you to wish to kill your brother, when even to hate him is to be a homicide? Have you learned from your Saviour the lesson that if one strike you on the one cheek you should turn to him the other also? Did not he make answer to the man who struck him, virtue. We read of Apostles quarrelling, namely Paul and Barnabas who were angry with each other on account of John whose surname was Mark; those who were united by the bonds of Christ's gospel were separated for a voyage; but they still remained friends. Did not the same Paul resist Peter to the face because he did not walk uprightly in the Gospel? Yet he speaks of him as his predecessor in the Gospel, and as a pillar of the church; and he lays before him his mode of preaching, 'lest he should be running, or had run in vain.' Do not children differ from parents and wives from husbands in religious matters, while yet domestic affections remain unimpaired. If you are as I am, why should you hate me? Even if you believe differently, why should you wish to kill me? Is it so, that whoever differs from you is to be slain? I call upon Jesus who will judge what I am now writing and your letter also, as a witness upon my conscience, that when the reverend bishop Chromatius begged me to keep silence, my wish was to do so, and thus to make an end of our dissensions, and to overcome evil with good. But, now that you threaten me with destruction, I am compelled to reply; otherwise, my silence will be taken as an acknowledgment of the crime, and you will interpret my moderation as the sign of an evil conscience.
3. The dilemma in which I am placed is of your making: it is brought out, not from the resources of dialectics, of which you are ignorant, but from among the tools of the murderer and with an intention like his. If I keep silence, I am held guilty: if I speak, I become an evil speaker. You at once forbid me to answer and compel me. Well, then; I must shun excess on both sides. I will say nothing that is injurious; but I must dissipate the charges made against me, for it is impossible not to be afraid of a man who is prepared to kill you. And I will do this in the order of what you have now set before me, leaving the rest as they are in those most learned books of yours which I confuted before I had read them.
You say that 'you sent your accusation against me not to the many but only to those who had been offended by what I had said; for one ought to speak to Christians not for display but for edification.' Whence then, I beg you to consider, did the report of your having written these books reach me? Who was it that sowed them broadcast through Rome and Italy and the islands of the coast of Dalmatia? How did these charges against me ever come to my ears, if they were only lurking in your desk, and those of your friends? How can you dare to say that you are speaking as a Christian not for display but for edification when you set yourself in mature age to say things against your equal which a murderer could hardly say of a thief, or a harlot against one of her class, or a buffoon against a farce-player? You have for ever so long been labouring to bring forth these mountains of accusations against me and sharpening these swords to pierce my throat. Your cries have been as loud as Ceres' complaints or a driver's shouts to his horses. Was this to make all the provinces through which they resounded read the praise you wrote of me? And recite your panegyrics upon me in every street, every corner, even in the weaving-shops of the women? This is the religious restraint and Christian edification of which you speak. Your reserve, your reticence is such that men come to me from the West, crowd upon crowd, and tell me of your abuse of me; and this, though only from memory, yet with such exact agreement that I was obliged to make my answer, not to your writings which I had not then read, but to what was said to be contained in them, and to intercept with the shield of truth the missiles of mendacity which were flying about through all the world.
4. Your letter goes on:
Pray do not trouble yourself to give a large sum of gold to bribe my secretary, as your friends did in the case of my papers containing the Περὶ ᾿Αρχῶν, before they had been corrected and brought to completion, so that they might more easily falsify documents which no one possessed, or at least very few. Accept the document which I send you gratis, though you would be glad to pay a large sum to buy it.
I should have thought you would be ashamed of such a beginning of your work. What! I bribe your Secretary! Is there any one who would attempt to vie with the wealth of Crœsus and Darius? who is there that does not tremble when he is suddenly confronted with a Demaratus or a Crassus? Have you become so brazen-faced, that you put your trust in lies and think lies will protect you and that we shall believe every fiction which you choose to frame? Who then was it who stole that letter in which you were so highly praised, from the cell of our brother Eusebius? Whose artfulness was it, and whose accomplices, through which a certain document was found in the lodgings of that Christian woman Fabiola and of that wise man Oceanus, which they themselves had never seen? Do you think that you are innocent because you can cast upon others all the imputations which properly belong to you? Is every one who offends you, however guiltless and harmless he may be, at once held to become a criminal? You think so, I suppose, because you are possessed of that through which the chastity of Danaë was broken down, that which had more power with Gihazi than his master's sacred character, that for which Judas betrayed his Master.
5. Let us understand what was the wrong done by my friend who, you say 'falsified parts of your papers when they had not yet been corrected nor carried to completion, and it was the more possible to falsify them because very few if any as yet possessed them.' I have already said, and I now repeat, with protestations in the presence of God, that I did not approve his accusing you, nor of any Christian accusing another Christian; for what need is there that matters which can be corrected or set right in private should be published abroad to the stumbling and fall of many? But since each man lives for his own gullet, and a man does not by becoming your friend become master of your will, while I blame the accusing of a brother even when it is true, so also I cannot accept against a man of saintly character this accusation of falsifying your papers. How could a man who only knows Latin change anything in a translation from the Greek? Or how could he take out or put in anything in such books as the Περὶ ᾿Αρχῶν, in which everything is so closely knit together that one part hangs upon another, and anything that may be taken out or put in to suit your will must at once show out like a patch on a garment? What you ask me to do, it is for you to do yourself. Put on at least a small measure of natural if not of Christian modesty in your assertions; do not despise and trample upon your conscience, and imagine yourself justified by a show of words, when the facts are against you. If Eusebius bought your uncorrected papers for money in order to falsify them, produce the genuine papers which have not been falsified: and if you can show that there is nothing heretical in them, he will become amenable to the charge of forgery. But, however much you may alter or correct them, you will not make them out to be catholic. If the error existed only in the words or in some few statements, what is bad might be cut off and what is good be substituted for it. But, when the whole discussion proceeds on a single principle, namely, the notion that the whole universe of reasonable creatures have fallen by their own will, and will hereafter return to a condition of unity: and that again from that starting point another fall will begin: what is there that you can amend, unless you alter the whole book? But if you were to think of doing this, you would no longer be translating another man's work but composing a work of your own.
However, I hardly see which way your argument tends. I suppose you mean that the papers being uncorrected and not having undergone a final revising were more easily falsified by Eusebius. Perhaps I am stupid; but the argument appears to me somewhat foolish and pointless. If the papers were uncorrected and had not undergone their final revision, the errors in them must be imputed not to Eusebius but to your sloth and delay in putting off their correction; and all the blame that can be laid upon him is that he circulated among the body of Christians writings which you had intended in course of time to correct. But if, as you assert, Eusebius falsified them, why do you put forward the allegation that they were uncorrected, and that they had gone out before the public without their final revision? For papers whether corrected or uncorrected are equally susceptible of falsification. But, No one, you say possessed these books, or very few. What contradictions this single sentence exhibits! If no one had these books, how could they be in the hands of a few? If a few possessed them, why do you state falsely that there were none? Then, when you say that a few had them, and by your own confession the statement that no one had them is overthrown, what becomes of your complaint that your secretary was bribed with money? Tell us the secretary's name, the amount of the bribe, the place, the intermediary, the recipient. Of course the traitor has been cast off from you, and one convicted of so great a crime has been separated from all familiarity with you. Is it not more likely to be true that the copies of the work which Eusebius obtained were given him by those few friends whom you speak of, especially since these copies agree and coincide with one another so completely that there is not the difference of a single stroke. We might ask also whether it was quite wise to give a copy to others which you had not yet corrected? The documents had not received their last corrections, and yet other men possessed these errors of yours which needed correction. Do you not see that your falsehood will not hold together? Besides, what profit was there for you, at that particular moment— how would it have helped you in escaping from the condemnation of the bishops— that the book which was the subject of discussion should be open to everyone, and that you should thus be refuted by your own words? From all this it is clear, according to the epigram of the famous orator, that you have a good will for a lie, but not the art of framing it.
6. I will follow the order of your letter, and subjoin your very words as you spoke them.
I admit, that, as you say, I praised your eloquence in my Preface; and I would praise it again now were it not that contrary to the advice of your Tully, you make it hateful by excessive boastfulness. Where have I boasted of my eloquence? I did not even accept willingly the praise which you bestowed on it. Perhaps your reason for saying this is that you do not wish, yourself, to be flattered by public praise given in guile. Rest assured you shall be accused openly; you reject one who would praise you; you shall have experience of one who openly arraigns you. I was not so foolish as to criticize your illiterate style; no one can expose it to condemnation so strongly as you do whenever you write. I only wished to show your fellow disciples who shared your lack of literary training what progress you had made during your thirty years in the East, an illiterate writer, who takes impudence for eloquence, and universal evil speaking a sign of a good conscience. I am not going to administer the ferule; I do not assume, as you put it, to apply the strokes of the leather thong to teach an aged pupil his letters. But the fact is your eloquence and teaching is so sparkling that we mere tract-writers cannot bear it, and you dazzle our eyes with the acuteness of your talents to such an extent that we must all seem to be envious of you; and we must really join in the attempt to suppress you, for, if once you obtain the primacy among us as a writer, and stand on the summit of the rhetorical arch, all of us who profess to know anything will not be allowed to mutter a word. I am, according to you, a philosopher and an orator, grammarian, dialectician, one who knows Hebrew, Greek and Latin, a 'trilingual' man. On this estimate, you also will be 'bilingual,' who know enough Latin and Greek to make the Greek think you a Latin scholar and the Latin a Greek: and the bishop Epiphanius will be a 'pentaglossic man' since he speaks in five languages against you and your favorite. But I wonder at the rashness which made you dare to say to one so accomplished as you profess to think me:
You, whose accomplishments give you so many watchful eyes, how can you be pardoned if you go wrong? How can you fail to be buried in the silence of a never ending shame? When I read this, and reflected that I must somewhere or other have made a slip in my words (for
if any man does not go wrong in word, the same is a perfect man) and was expecting that he was about to expose some of my faults; all of a sudden I came upon the words:
Two days before the carrier of this letter set out your declamation against me was put into my hands. What became then of those threats of yours, and of your words:
How can you be pardoned if you go wrong? How can you fail to be covered with the silence of a never ending shame? Yet perhaps, notwithstanding the shortness of the time, you were able to put this in order; or else you were intending to hire in one of the learned sort, who would expect to find in my works the ornaments and gems of an eloquence like yours. You wrote before this:
Accept the document which I send which you wished to buy at a great price; but now you speak with the pretence of humility.
I intended to follow your example; but, since the messenger who was returning to you was hurrying back again I thought it better to write shortly to you than at greater length to others. In the meantime you boldly take pleasure in your illiteracy. Indeed you once confessed it, declaring that 'it was superfluous to notice a few faults of style, when it was acknowledged that there were faults in every part.' I will not therefore find fault with you for putting down that a document was acquired when you meant that it was bought; though acquiring is said of things like in kind, whereas buying implies the counting out of money: nor for such a sentence as
as he who was returning to you was hurrying back again which is a redundancy worthy of the poorest style of diction. I will only reply to the arguments, and will convict you, not of solæcisms and barbarisms, but of falsehood, cunning and impudence.
7. If it is true that you write a letter to me so as to admonish me, and, because you wish that I should be reformed, and that you do not wish that men should have a stumbling block put in their way, and that some may be driven mad and others be put to silence; why do you write books addressed to others against me, and scatter them by your myrmidons for the whole world to read? And what becomes of your dilemma in which you try to entangle me,
Whom, best of masters, did you think to correct? If those to whom you wrote, there was no fault to find with them; if me whom you accuse, it was not to me that you wrote? And I will reply to you in your own words: Whom did you wish to correct, unlearned master? Those who had done no wrong? Or me to whom you did not write? You think your leaders are brutish and are all incapable of understanding your subtlety, or rather your ill will, (for it was in this that the serpent was more subtle than all the beasts in paradise,) in asking that my admonition to you should be of a private character, when you were pressing an indictment against me in public. You are not ashamed to call this indictment of yours an Apology: And you complain that I oppose a shield to your poniard, and with much religiosity and sanctimoniousness you assume the mask of humility, and say:
If I had erred, why did you write to others, and not try to confute me? I will retort on you this very point. What you complain that I did not do, why did you not do yourself? It is as if a man who is attacking another with kicks and fisticuffs, and finds him intending to show fight, should say to him:
Do you not know the command, 'If a man smites you on the cheek, turn to him the other'? It comes to this, my good sir, you are determined to beat me, to strike out my eye; and then, when I bestir myself ever so little, you harp upon the precept of the Gospel. Would you like to have all the windings of your cunning exposed?— those tricks of the foxes who dwell among the ruins, of whom Ezekiel writes, heretic. After I repelled your charges, that is your praises, and without showing ill will to you personally, answered the accusations, not the accuser, and inveighed against the heretics, to show that, though defamed by you, I was a catholic; you grew angry, and raved and composed the most magnificent works against me; and when you had given them to all men to read and repeat, letters came to me from Italy, and Rome and Dalmatia, showing each more clearly than the last, what all the encomiums were worth with which in your former laudation you had decorated me.
8. I confess, I immediately set to work to reply to the insinuations directed against me, and tried with all my might to prove that I was no heretic, and I sent these books of my Apology to those whom your book had pained, so that your poison might be followed by my antidote. In reply to this, you sent me your former books, and now send me this last letter, full of injurious language and accusations. My good friend, what do you expect me to do? To keep silence? That would be to acknowledge myself guilty. To speak? But you hold your sword over my head, and threaten me with an indictment, no longer before the church but before the law-courts. What have I done that deserves punishment? Wherein have I injured you? Is it that I have shown myself not to be a heretic? Or that I could not esteem myself worthy of your praises? Or that I laid bare in plain words the tricks and perjuries of the heretics? What is all this to you who boast yourself a true man and a catholic, and who show more zeal in attacking me than in defending yourself? Must I be thought to be attacking you because I defend myself? Or is it impossible that you should be orthodox unless you prove me to be a heretic? What help can it give you to be connected with me? And what is the meaning of your action? You are accused by one set of people and you answer only by attacking another. You find an attack made on you by one man, and you turn your back upon him and attack another who was for leaving you alone.
9. I call Jesus the Mediator to witness that it is against my will, and fighting against necessity, that I come down into the arena of this war of words, and that, had you not challenged me, I would have never broken silence. Even now, let your charges against me cease, and my defence will cease. For it is no edifying spectacle that is presented to our readers, that of two old men engaging in a gladiatorial conflict on account of a heretic; especially when both of them wish to be thought Catholics. Let us leave off all favouring of heretics, and there will be no dispute between us. We once were zealous in our praise of Origen; let us be equally zealous in condemning him now that he is condemned by the whole world. Let us join hands and hearts, and march with a ready step behind the two trophy-bearers of the East and West. We went wrong in our youth, let us mend our ways in our age. If you are my brother, be glad that I have seen my errors; if I am your friend, I must give you joy on your conversion. So long as we maintain our strife, we shall be thought to hold the right faith not willingly but of necessity. Our enmity prevents our affording the spectacle of a true repentance. If our faith is one, if we both of us accept and reject the same things, (and it is from this, as even Catiline testifies, that firm friendships arise), if we are alike in our hatred of heretics, and equally condemn our former mistakes, why should we set out to battle against each other, when we have the same objects both of attack and defence? Pardon me for having praised Origen's zeal for Scriptural learning in my youthful days before I fully knew his heresies; and I will grant you forgiveness for having written an Apology for his works when your head was grey.
10. You state that my book came into your hands two days before you wrote your letter to me, and that therefore you had no sufficient leisure to make a reply. Otherwise, if you had spoken against me after full thought and preparation, we might think that you were casting forth lightnings rather than accusations. But even so veracious a person as you will hardly gain credence when you tell us that a merchant of Eastern wares whose business is to sell what he has brought from these parts and to buy Italian goods to bring over here for sale, only stayed two days at Aquileia, so that you were obliged to write your letter to me in a hurried and extempore fashion. For your books which it took you three years to put into complete shape are hardly more carefully written. Perhaps, however, you had no one at hand then to amend your sorry productions, and this is the reason why your literary journey is destitute of the aid of Pallas, and is intersected by faults of style, as by rough places and chasms at every turn. It is clear that this statement about the two days is false; you would not have been able in that time even to read what I wrote, much less to reply to it; so that it is evident that either you took a good many days in writing your letter, which its elaborate style makes probable; or, if this is your hasty style of composition, and you can write so well off-hand, you would be very negligent in your composition to write so much worse when you have had time for thought.
11. You state, with some prevarication, that you have translated from the Greek what I had before translated into Latin; but I do not clearly understand to what you are alluding, unless you are still bringing up against me the Commentary on the Ephesians, and hardening yourself in your effrontery, as if you had received no answer on this head. You stop your ears and will not hear the voice of the charmer. What I have done in that and other commentaries is to develop both my own opinion and that of others, stating clearly which are catholic and which heretical. This is the common rule and custom of those who undertake to explain books in commentaries: They give at length in their exposition the various opinions, and explain what is thought by themselves and by others. This is done not only by those who expound the holy Scriptures but also by those who explain secular books whether in Greek or in Latin. You, however, cannot screen yourself in reference to the Περὶ ᾿Αρχῶν by this fact; for you will be convicted by your own Preface, in which you undertake that the evil parts and those which have been added by heretics have been cut off but that all that is best remains; so that all that you have written, whether good or bad, must be held to be the work, not of the author whom you are translating, but of yourself who have made the translation. Perhaps, indeed, you ought to have corrected the errors of the heretics, and to have set forth publicly what is wrong in Origen. But on this point, (since you refer me to the document itself,) I have made you my answer before reading your letter.
12. About the book of Pamphilus, what happened to me was, not comical as you call it, but perhaps ridiculous; namely that after I had asserted it to be by Eusebius not by Pamphilus, I stated at the end of the discussion that I had for many years believed that it was by Pamphilus, and that I had borrowed a copy of this book from you. You may judge how little I fear your derision from the fact that even now I make the same statement. I took it from your manuscript as being a copy of a work of Pamphilus. I trusted in you as a Christian and as a monk: I did not imagine that you would be guilty of such a wicked imposture. But, after that the question of Origen's heresy was stirred throughout the world on account of your translation of his work, I was more careful in examining copies of the book, and in the library of Cæsarea I found the six volumes of Eusebius' Apology for Origen. As soon as I had looked through them, I at once detected the book on the Son and the Holy Spirit which you alone have published under the name of the martyr, altering most of its blasphemies into words of a better meaning. And this I saw must have been done either by Didymus or by you or some other (it is quite clear that you did it in reference to the Περὶ ᾿Αρχῶν) by this decisive proof, that Eusebius tells us that Pamphilus published nothing of his own. It is for you therefore to say from whence you obtained your copy; and do not, for the sake of avoiding my accusation, say that it was from some one who is dead, or, because you have no one to point to, name one who cannot answer for himself. If this rivulet has its source in your desk, the inference is plain enough, without my drawing it. But, suppose that the title of this book and the name of the author has been changed by some other lover of Origen, what motive had you for turning it into Latin? Evidently this, that, through the testimony given to him by a martyr, all should trust to the writings of Origen, since they were guaranteed beforehand by a witness of such authority. But the Apology of this most learned man was not sufficient for you; you must write a treatise of your own in his defence, and, when these two documents had been widely circulated, you felt secure in proceeding to translate the Περὶ ᾿Αρχῶν itself from the Greek, and commended it in a Preface, in which you said that some things in it had been corrupted by the heretics, but that you had corrected them from a study of others of Origen's writings. Then come in your praises of me for the purpose of preventing any of my friends from speaking against you. You put me forward as the trumpeter of Origen, you praise my eloquence to the skies, so that you may drag down the faith into the mire; you call me colleague and brother, and profess yourself the imitator of my works. Then, while on the one hand you cry me up as having translated seventy homilies of Origen, and some of his short treatises on the Apostle, in which you say that I so smoothed things down that the Latin reader will find nothing in them which is discrepant from the Catholic faith; now on the other hand you brand these very books as heretical; and, obliterating your former praise, you accuse the man whom you had preached up when you thought he would figure as your ally, because you find that he is the enemy of your perfidy. Which of us two is the calumniator of the martyr? I, who say that he was no heretic, and that he did not write the book which is condemned by every one; or you, who have published a book written by a man who was an Arian and changed his name into that of the martyr? It is not enough for you that Greece has been scandalized; you must press the book upon the ears of the Latins, and dishonor an illustrious martyr as far as in you lies by your translation. Your intention no doubt was not this; it was not to accuse me but to make me serve for the defence of Origen's writings. But let me tell you that the faith of Rome which was praised by the voice of an Apostle, does not recognize tricks of this kind. A faith which has been guaranteed by the authority of an Apostle cannot be changed though an Angel should announce another gospel than that which he preached. Therefore, my brother, whether the falsification of the book proceeds from you, as many believe, or from another, as you will perhaps try to persuade us, in which case you have only been guilty of rashness in believing the composition of a heretic to be that of a martyr, change the title, and free the innocence of the Romans from this great peril. It is of no advantage to you to be the means of a most illustrious martyr being condemned as a heretic: of one who shed his blood for Christ being proud to be an enemy of the Christian faith. Take another course: say, I found a book which I believed to be the work of a martyr. Do not fear to be a penitent. I will not press you further. I will not ask from whom you obtained it; you can name some dead man if you please, or say you bought it from an unknown man in the street: for I do not wish to see you condemned, but converted. It is better that it should appear that you were in error than that the martyr was a heretic. At all events, by some means or other, draw out your foot from its present entanglement: consider what answer you will make in the judgment to come to the complaints which the martyrs will bring against you.
13. Moreover, you make a charge against yourself which has been brought by no one against you, and make excuses where no one has accused you. You say that you have read these and in my letter:
I want to know who has given you leave when translating a book, to remove some things, change others, and again add others. And you go on to answer yourself, and to speak against me:
I say this to you Who I pray, has given you leave, in your Commentaries, to put down some things out of Origen, some from Apollinarius, some of your own, instead of all from Origen or from yourself or from some other? All this while, while you are aiming at something different, you have been preferring a very strong charge against yourself; and you have forgotten the old proverb, that those who speak falsehood should have good memories. You say that I in my Commentaries have set down some things out of Origen, some from Apollinarius, some of my own. If then these things which I have set down under the names of others are the words of Apollinarius and of Origen; what is the meaning of the charge which you fasten upon me, that, when I say
Another says this,
The following is some one's conjecture, that
some one means myself? Between Origen and Apollinarius there is a vast difference of interpretation, of style, and of doctrine. When I set down discrepant opinions on the same passage, am I to be supposed to accept both the contradictory views? But more of this hereafter.
14. Now I ask you this: Who may have blamed you for having either added or changed or taken away certain things in the books of Origen, and have put you to the question like a man on the horse-rack; Are those things which you put down in your translation bad or good? It is useless for you to simulate innocence, and by some silly question to parry the force of the true inquiry. I have never accused you for translating Origen for your own satisfaction. I have done the same, and so have Victorinus, Hilary, and Ambrose; but I have accused you for fortifying your translation of a heretical work by writing a preface approving of it. You compel me to go over the same ground, and to walk in the lines I myself have traced. For you say in that Prologue that you have cut away what had been added by the heretics; and have replaced it with what is good. If you have taken out the false statement of the heretics, then what you have left or have added must be either Origen's, or yours, and you have set them down, presumably, as good. But that many of these are bad you cannot deny.
What is that, you will say,
to me? You must impute it to Origen; for I have done no more than alter what had been added by the heretics. Tell us then for what reason you took out the bad things written by the heretics and left those written by Origen untouched. Is it not clear that parts of the false doctrines of Origen you condemned under the designation of the doctrines of heretics, and others you accepted because you judged them to be not false but true and consonant with your faith? It was these last about which I inquired whether those things which you praised in your Preface were good or bad: it was these which you confessed you have left as perfectly good when you cut out all that was worst; and I thus have placed you, as I said, on the horse-rack, so that, if you say that they are good, you will be proved to be a heretic, but if you say they are bad, you will at once be asked:
Why then did you praise these bad things in your Preface? And I did not add the question which you craftily pretend that I asked;
Why did you by your translation bring evil doctrines to the ears of the Latins? For to exhibit what is bad may be done at times not for the sake of teaching them but of warning men against them: so that the reader may be on his guard not to follow the error, but may make light of the evils which he knows, whereas if unknown they might become objects of wonder to him. Yet after this, you dare to say that I am the author of writings of this kind, whereas you, as a mere translator would be going beyond the translator's province if you had chosen to correct anything, but, if you did not correct anything, you acted as a translator alone. You would be quite right in saying this if your translation of the Περὶ ᾿Αρχῶν had no Preface; just as Hilary, when he translated Origen's homilies took care to do it so that both the good and evil of them should be imputed not to the translator but to their own author. If you had not boasted that you had cut out the worst and left the best, you would, in some way or other, have escaped from the mire. But it is this that brings to nought the trick of your invention, and keeps you bound on all sides, so that you cannot get out. And I must ask you not to have too mean an opinion of the intelligence of your readers nor to think that all who will read your writings are so dull as not to laugh at you when they see you let real wounds mortify while you put plasters on a healthy body.
15. What your opinions are on the resurrection of the flesh, we have already learned from your Apology.
No member will be cut off, nor any part of the body destroyed. This is the clear and open profession which you make in your innocence, and which you say is accepted by all the bishops of Italy. I should believe your statement, but that the matter of that book which is not Pamphilus' makes me doubt about you. And I wonder that Italy should have approved what Rome rejected; that the bishops should have accepted what the Apostolic see condemned.
16. You further write that it was by my letters that you had been informed that the pope Theophilus lately put forth an exposition of the faith which has not yet reached you and you promise to accept whatever he may have written. I am not aware that I ever said this, or that I sent any letters of the sort. But you consent to things of which you are still in uncertainty, and things as to which you do not know what and of what kind they will turn out to be, so that you may avoid speaking of things which you know quite well, and may not be bound by the consent you have given to them. There are two letters of Theophilus, a Synodal and a Paschal letter, against Origen and his disciples, and others against Apollinarius and against Origen also, which, within the last two years or thereabouts, I have translated and given to the men who speak our language for the edification of the church. I am not aware that I have translated anything else of his. But, when you say that you assent to the opinion of the pope Theophilus in everything, you must take care not to let your masters and disciples hear you, and not to offend these numerous persons who call me a robber and you a martyr, and also not to provoke the wrath of the man who wrote letters to you against the bishop Epiphanius, and exhorted you to stand fast in the truth of the faith, and not to change your opinion for any terror. This epistle in its complete form is held by those to whom it was brought. After this you say, after your manner:
I will satisfy you even when you rage against me, as I have in the matter you spoke of before. But again you say,
What do you want? Have you anything more at which you may shoot with the bow of your oratory? And yet you are indignant if I find fault with your distasteful way of speaking, though you take up the lowest expressions of the Comedians, and in writing on church affairs adopt language fit only for the characters of harlots and their lovers on the stage.
17. Now, as to the question which you raise, when it was that I began to admit the authority of the pope Theophilus, and was associated with him in community of belief. You make answer to yourself:
Then, I suppose, when you were the supporter of Paul whom he had condemned and made the greatest effort to help him, and instigated him to recover through an imperial rescript the bishopric from which he had been removed by the episcopal tribunal. I will not begin by answering for myself, but first speak of the injury which you have here done to another. What humanity or charity is there in rejoicing over the misfortunes of others and in exhibiting their wounds to the world? Is that the lesson you have learned from that Samaritan who carried back the man that was half dead to the inn? Is this what you understand by pouring oil into his wounds, and paying the host his expenses? Is it thus that you interpret the sheep brought back to the fold, the piece of money recovered, the prodigal son welcomed back? Suppose that you had a right to speak evil of me, because I had injured you, and, to use your words, had goaded you to madness and stimulated you to evil speaking: what harm had a man who remains in obscurity done you, that you should lay bare his scars, and when they were skinned over, should tear them open by inflicting this uncalled for pain? Even if he was worthy of your reproaches, were you justified in doing this? If I am not mistaken, those whom you wish to strike at through him (and I speak the open opinion of many) are the enemies of the Origenists; you use the troubles of one of them to show your violence against both. If the decisions of the pope Theophilus so greatly please you, and you think it impious that an episcopal decree should be nullified, what do you say about the rest of those whom he has condemned? And what do you say about the pope Anastasius, about whom you assert most truly that no one thinks him capable as the bishop of so great a city, of doing an injury to an innocent or an absent man? I do not say this because I set myself up as a judge of episcopal decisions, or wish what they have determined to be rescinded; but I say, Let each of them do what he thinks right at his own risk, it is for him alone to consider how his judgment will be judged. Our duties in our monastery are those of hospitality; we welcome all who come to us with the smile of human friendliness. We must take care lest it should again happen that Mary and Joseph do not find room in the inn, and that Jesus should be shut out and say to us,
I was a stranger and you took me not in. The only persons we do not welcome are heretics, who are the only persons who are welcomed by you: for our profession binds us to wash the feet of those who come to us, not to discuss their merits. Bring to your remembrance, my brother, how he whom we speak of had confessed Christ: think of that breast which was gashed by the scourges: recall to mind the imprisonment he had endured, the darkness, the exile, the work in the mines, and you will not be surprised that we welcomed him as a passing guest. Are we to be thought rebels by you because we give a cup of cold water to the thirsty in the name of Christ?
18. I can tell you of something which may make him still dearer to us, though more odious to you. A short time ago, the faction of the heretics which was scattered away from Egypt and Alexandria came to Jerusalem, and wished to make common cause with him, so that as they suffered together, they might have the same heresy imputed to them. But he repelled their advances, he scorned and cast them from him: he told them that he was not an enemy of the faith and was not going to take up arms against the Church: that his previous action had been the result of vexation not of unsoundness in the faith; and that he had sought only to prove his own innocence, not to attack that of others. You profess to consider an imperial rescript upsetting an episcopal decree to be an impiety. That is a matter for the responsibility of the man who obtained it. But what is your opinion of men who, when they have been themselves condemned, haunt the palaces of the great, and in a serried column make an attack on a single man who represents the faith of Christ? However, as to my own communion with the Pope Theophilus, I will call no other witness than the very man whom you pretend that I injured. His letters were always addressed to me, as you well know, even at the time when you prevented their being forwarded to me, and when you used daily to send letter carriers to him repeating to him with vehemence that his opponent was my most intimate friend, and telling the same falsehoods which you now shamelessly write, so that you might stir up his hatred against me and that his grief at the supposed injury done him might issue in oppression against me in matters of faith. But he, being a prudent man and a man of wisdom, came through time and experience to understand both our loyalty to him and your plots against us. If, as you declare, my followers stirred up a plot against you at Rome and stole your uncorrected manuscripts while you were asleep; who was it that stirred up the pope Theophilus against the public enemy in Egypt? Who obtained the decrees of the princes against them, and the consent of the whole of this quarter of the world? Yet you boast that you from your youth were the hearer and disciple of Theophilus, although he, before he became a bishop, through his native modesty, never taught in public, and you, after he became a Bishop, were never at Alexandria. Yet you dare, in order to deal a blow at me, to say
I do not accuse, or change, my masters. If that were true it would in my opinion throw a grave suspicion on your Christian standing. As for myself, you have no right to charge me with condemning my former teachers: but I stand in awe of those words of Isaiah:
Woe unto them that call evil good and good evil, that put darkness for light and light for darkness, that call bitter sweet and sweet bitter. But it is you who drink alike the honeywine of your masters and their poisons, who have fallen away from your true master the Apostle, who teaches that neither he himself or an angel, if they err in matters of faith, must not be followed.
19. You allude to Vigilantius. What dream this is that you have dreamed about him I do not know. Where have I said that he was defiled by communion with heretics at Alexandria? Tell me the book, produce the letter: but you will find absolutely no such statement. Yet with your wonted carelessness of statement or rather impudence of lying, which makes you imagine that every one will believe what you say, you add:
When you quoted a text of Scripture against him in so insulting a way that I do not dare to repeat it with my own mouth. You do not dare to repeat it because you can make the charge seem worse by keeping silence; and, because your accusation has no facts to rest upon, you simulate modesty, so that the reader may imagine that you are acting from consideration towards me, although your lies show that you do not consider your own soul. What is this text of Scripture which is too shameful to proceed out of that most shameless mouth of yours? What shameful thing, indeed, can you mention in the sacred books? If you are ashamed to speak, at any rate you can write it down, and then I shall be convinced of wantonness by my own words. I might be silent on all other points, and I should still prove by this single passage how brazen is your effrontery. You know how little I fear your impeachment. If you produce the evidence with which you threaten me, all the blame which now rests on you will rest on me. I gave my reply to you when I dealt with Vigilantius; for he brought the same charges against me which you bring first in the guise of friendly eulogy, afterwards in that of hostile accusation. I am aware who it was that stirred up his ravings against me; I know your plots and vices; I am not ignorant of his simplicity which is proclaimed by every one. Through his folly your hatred against me found an outlet for its fury; and, if I wrote a letter to suppress it, so that you should not be thought to be the only one who possesses a literary cudgel, that does not justify you in inventing shameful expressions which you can find in no part of my writings whatever. You must accept and confess the fact that the same document which answered his madness aroused also your calumnies.
20. In the matter of the letter of the pope Anastasius, you seem to have come on a slippery place; you walk unsteadily, and do not see where to plant your feet. At one moment you say that it must have been written by me; at another that it ought to have been transmitted to you by him to whom it was sent. Then again you charge the writer with injustice; or you protest that it matters nothing to you whether he wrote it or not, since you hold his predecessor's testimonial, and, while Rome was begging you to give her the honor of your presence, you disdained her through love of your own little town. If you have any suspicion that the letter was forged by me, why do you not ask for it in the chartulary of the Roman See and then, when you discover that it was not written by the bishop, hold me manifestly guilty of the crime? You would then instead of trying to bind me with cobwebs, hold me fast bound in a net of strong cords. But if it is as written by the Bishop of Rome, it is an act of folly on your part to ask for a copy of the letter from one to whom it was not sent, and not from him who sent it, and to send to the East for evidence the source of which you have in your own country. You had better go to Rome and expostulate with him as to the reproach which he has directed against you when you were both absent and innocent. You might first point out that he had refused to accept your exposition of faith, which, as you say, all Italy has approved, and that he made no use of your literary cudgel against the dogs you spoke of. Next, you might complain that he had sent to the East a letter aimed at you which branded you with the mark of heresy, and said that by your translation of Origen's books Περὶ ᾿Αρχῶν the Roman church which had received the work in its simplicity was in danger of losing the sincerity of faith which it had learned from the Apostle; and that he had raised yet more ill will against you by daring to condemn this very book, though it was fortified by the attestation of your Preface. It is no light thing that the pontiff of so great a city should have fastened this charge upon you or have rashly taken it up when made by another. You should go about the streets vociferating and crying over and over again,
It is not my book, or, if it is, the uncorrected sheets were stolen by Eusebius. I published it differently, indeed I did not publish it at all; I gave it to nobody, or at all events to few; and my enemy was so unscrupulous and my friends so negligent, that all the copies alike were falsified by him. This, my dearest brother, is what you ought to have done, not to turn your back upon him and to direct the arrows of your abuse across the sea against me; for how can it cure your wounds that I should be wounded? Does it comfort a man who is stricken for death to see his friend dying with him?
21. You produce a letter of Siricius who now sleeps in Christ, and the letter of the living Anastasius you despise. What injury you ask, can it do you that he should have written (or perhaps not written at all) when you knew nothing of it? If he did write, still it is enough for you that you have the witness of the whole world in your favor, and that no one thinks it possible that the bishop of so great a city could have done an injury to an innocent man, or even to one who was simply absent. You speak of yourself as innocent, though your translation made all Rome shudder; you say you were absent, but it is only because you dare not reply when you are accused. And you so shrink from the judgment of the city of Rome that you prefer to subject yourself to an invasion of the barbarians than to the opinion of a peaceful city. Suppose that the letter of last year was forged by me; who then wrote the letters which have lately been received in the East? Yet in these last the pope Anastasius pays you such compliments that, when you read them, you will be more inclined to set to work to defend yourself than to accuse me.
I should like you to consider how inevitable is the wisdom which you are shunning and the Attic Salt and the eloquence of your diction in religious writing. You are attacked by others, you are pierced through by their condemnation, yet it is against me that you toss yourself about in your fury, and say:
I could unfold a tale as to the manner of your departure from Rome; as to the opinions expressed about you at the time, and written about you afterwards, as to your oath, the place where you embarked, the pious manner in which you avoided committing perjury; all this I could enlarge upon, but I have determined to keep back more than I relate. These are specimens of your pleasant speeches. And if after this I say anything sharp in answer to you threaten me with immediate proscription and with the sword. You are a most eloquent person, and have all the tricks of rhetoric; you pretend to be passing over things which you really reveal, so that what you cannot prove by an open charge, you may make into a crime by seeming to put it aside. All this is your simplicity; this is what you mean by sparing your friend and reserving your statements for the judicial tribunal; you spare me by heaping up a mass of charge against me.
22. If any one wishes to hear the arrangements for my journey from Rome, they were these. In the month of August, when the etesian winds were blowing, accompanied by the reverend presbyter Vincentius and my young brother, and other monks who are now living at Jerusalem, I went on board ship at the port of Rome, choosing my own time, and with a very large body of the saints attending me, I arrived at Rhegium. I stood for a while on the shore of Scylla, and heard the old stories of the rapid voyage of the versatile Ulysses, of the songs of the sirens and the insatiable whirlpool of Charybdis. The inhabitants of that spot told me many tales, and gave me the advice that I should sail not for the columns of Proteus but for the port where Jonah landed, because the former of those was the course suited for men who were hurried and flying, but the latter was best for a man who was imprisoned; but I preferred to take the course by Malea and the Cyclades to Cyprus. There I was received by the venerable bishop Epiphanius, of whose testimony to you you boast. I came to Antioch, where I enjoyed the communion of Paulinius the pontiff and confessor and was set forward by him on my journey to Jerusalem, which I entered in the middle of winter and in severe cold. I saw there many wonderful things, and verified by the judgment of my own eyes things which had before come to my ears by report. Thence I made my way to Egypt. I saw the monasteries of Nitria, and perceived the snakes which lurked among the choirs of the monks. Then making haste I at once returned to Bethlehem, which is now my home, and there poured my perfume upon the manger and cradle of the Saviour. I saw also the lake of ill-omen. Nor did I give myself to ease and inertness, but I learned many things which I did not know before. As to what judgment was formed of me at Rome, or what was written afterwards, you are quite welcome to speak out, especially since you have writings to trust to; for I am not to be tried by your words which you at your will either veil in enigma or blurt out with open falsehood, but by the documents of the church. You may see how little I am afraid of you. If you can produce against me a single record of the Bishop of Rome or of any other church, I will confess myself to be chargeable with all the iniquities which I find assigned to you. It would be easy for me to tell of the circumstances of your departure, your age, the date of sailing, the places in which you lived, the company you kept. But far be it from me to do what I blame you for doing, and in a discussion between churchmen, to make up a story worthy of the ravings of quarrelling hags. Let this word be enough for your wisdom to remember. Do not adopt a method with another which can at once be retorted on yourself.
23. As regards our reverend friend Epiphanius, this is strange shuffling of yours, when you say that it was impossible for him to have written against you after his giving you the kiss and joining with you in prayer. It is as if you were to contend that he would not be dead if a short time before he had been alive, or as if it were not equally certain that he had first reproved you and then, after the kiss of peace, excommunicated you.
They went out from us, it is said,
but they were not of us; otherwise they would no doubt have continued with us. The apostle bids us avoid a heretic after first and second admonition: of course this implies that he was a member of the flock of the church before he was avoided or condemned. I confess I cannot restrain my laughter when, at the prompting of some clever person, you strike up a hymn in honour of Epiphanius. Why, this is the 'silly old man,' the 'anthropomorphite,' this is the man who boasted in your presence of the six thousand books of Origen that he had read, who 'thinks himself entrusted with the preaching of the Gospel against Origen among all nations in their own tongue' who 'will not let others read Origen for fear they should discover what he has stolen from him.' Read what he has written, and the letter, or rather letters, one of which I will adduce as a testimonial to your orthodoxy, so that it may be seen how worthy he is of your present praise.
May God set you free, my brother, and the holy people of Christ which is entrusted to you, and all the brethren who are with you, and especially the Presbyter Rufinus, from the heresy of Origen, and all other heresies, and from the perdition which they bring. For if many heresies have been condemned by the Church on account of one word or of two, which are contrary to the faith, how much more must that man be counted a heretic who has invented so many perverse things, so many false doctrines! He stands forth as the enemy of God and of the church. This is the testimony which this saintly man bears to you. This is the garland of praise which he gives you to parade in. Thus runs the letter which your golden coins extracted from the chamber of our brother Eusebius, so that you might calumniate the translator of it, and might fix upon me the guilt of a most manifest crime— that of rendering a Greek word as 'dearest' which ought to have been 'honourable!' But what is all this to you who can control all events by your prudent methods, and can trim your path between different possibilities, first saying, if you can find any one to believe you, that neither Anastasius nor Epiphanius ever wrote a line against you; and, secondly, when their actual letters cry out against you, and break down your audacious effrontery, despising the judgment of them both, and say it does not matter to you whether they wrote or not, since it was impossible for them to write against an innocent and an absent man.
Then again, you have no right to speak evil of that saintly man, as you do when you say
that it may be seen that he gave me peace with his words and his kiss, but kept evil and deceit in his heart— for this is your reasoning, and it is thus that you defend yourself. That this is the letter of Epiphanius and that it is hostile to you, all the world knows: and that it came in its genuine form into your hands we can prove; and it is therefore an astounding shame or rather utter shamelessness in you to deny what you cannot doubt to be true. What! Is Epiphanius to be befouled with the imputation that he gave you the sign of peace but had deceit in his heart? Is it not much truer to believe that he first admonished you because he wished to save you from error and bring you back to the right way; and that therefore he did not reject your Judas kiss, wishing to break down by his forbearance the betrayer of the faith—but that afterwards when he found that all his toil was fruitless, and that the leopard could not change its spots nor the Ethiopian his skin, he proclaimed in his letter what had before been only a suspicion in his mind?
24. It is somewhat the same argument which you use against the pope Anastasius, namely, that, since you hold the letters of the bishop Siricius, it was impossible that he should write against you. I am afraid you suspect that some injury has been done you. I cannot understand how a man of your acuteness and capacity can condescend to such nonsense; you suppose that your readers are foolish, but you show that you are foolish yourself. Then after this extraordinary argumentation, you subjoin this little sentence:
Far be such conduct from these reverend persons. It is from your school that such actions proceed. You gave us all the signs of peace at our departure, and then threw missiles charged with venom from behind our backs. In this clause or rather declamatory speech, you intended, no doubt, to show your rhetorical skill. It is true we gave you the signs of peace, but not to embrace heresy; we joined hands, we accompanied you as you set forth on your journey, on the understanding that you were catholic not that we were heretical. But I want to learn what these poisoned missiles are which you complain that I threw from behind your back. I sent the presbyters, Vincentius, Paulinianus, Eusebius, Rufinus. Of these, Vincentius went to Rome long before you; Paulinianus and Eusebius set out a year after you had sailed; Rufinus two years after, for the cause of Claudius; all of them either for private reasons, or because another was in peril of his life. Was it possible for me to know that when you entered Rome, a nobleman had dreamed that a ship full of merchandise was entering with full blown sails? Or that all questions about fate were being solved by a solution which should not itself be fatuous? Or that you were translating the book of Eusebius as if it were Pamphilus'? Or that you were putting your own cover upon Origen's poisoned dish by lending your majestic eloquence to this translation of his notorious work Περὶ ᾿Αρχῶν? This is a new way of calumniating a man. We sent out the accusers before you had committed the crime. It was not, I repeat, it was not by our plan, but by the providence of God, that these men, who were sent out for another reason, came to fight against the rising heresy. They were sent, like Joseph, to relieve the coming famine by the fervour of their faith.
25. To what point will not audacity burst forth when once it is freed from restraints? He has imputed to himself the charge made against another so that we may be thought to have invented it. I made a charge against some one unnamed, and he takes it as spoken against himself; he purges himself from another man's sins, being only sure of his own innocence. For he takes his oath that he did not write the letter that passed under my name to the African bishops, in which I am made to confess that I had been induced by Jewish influence to make false translations of the Scriptures; and he sends me writings which contain all these things which he declares to be unknown to him. It is remarkable to know how his subtlety has coincided with another man's malice, so that the lies which this other told in Africa, he in accord with him declared to be true; and also how that elegant style of his could be imitated by some chance and unskilled person. You alone have the privilege of translating the venom of the heretics, and of making all nations drink a draught from the cup of Babylon. You may correct the Latin Scriptures from the Greek. and may deliver to the Churches to read something different from what they received from the Apostles; but I am not to be allowed to go behind the Septuagint version which I translated after strict correction for the men of my native tongue a great many years ago, and, for the confutation of the Jews, to translate the actual copies of the Scriptures which they confess to be the truest, so that when a dispute arises between them and the Christians, they may have no place of retreat and subterfuge, but may be smitten most effectually with their own spear. I have written pretty fully on this point if I rightly remember, in many other places, especially in the end of my second book; and I have checked your popularity-hunting, with which you seek to arouse ill will against me among the innocent and the inexperienced, by a clear statement of fact. To that I think it enough to refer the reader.
26. I think it a point which should not be passed over, that you have no right to complain that the falsifier of your papers holds in my esteem the glorious position of a confessor, since you who are guilty of this very crime are called a martyr and an apostle by all the partisans of Origen, for that exile and imprisonment of yours at Alexandria. On your alleged inexperience in Latin composition I have answered you above. But, since you repeat the same things, and, as if forgetful of your former defence, again remind me that I ought to know that you have been occupied for thirty years in devouring Greek books, and therefore do not know Latin, I would have you observe that it is not a few words of yours with which I find fault, though indeed all your writing is worthy of being destroyed. What I wished to do was to show your followers, whom you have taken so much pains in teaching to know nothing, to understand what amount of modesty there is in a man who teaches what he does not know, who writes what he is ignorant of, so that they may expect to find the same wisdom in his opinions. As to what you add
That it is not faults of words which are offensive, but sins, such as lying, calumny, disparagement, false witness, and all evil speaking, and that the mouth which speaks lies kills the soul, and your deprecation,
Let not that ill-savour reach my nostrils; I would believe what you say, were it not that I discover facts inconsistent with this. It is as if a fuller or a tanner in speaking to a dealer in pigments should warn him that he had better hold his nose as he passed their shops. I will do what you recommend; I will stop my nose, so that it may not be put to the torture by the delightful odour of your truth-speaking and your benedictions.
27. In reference to your alternate praise and disparagement of me, you argue with great acuteness that you have the same right to speak good and evil of me that I have to find fault with Origen and Didymus whom I once praised. I must instruct you, then, wisest of men and chief of Roman dialecticians, that there is no fault of logic in praising a man in certain respects while you blame him in others, but only in approving and disapproving one and the same thing. I will take an example, so that, though you may not understand, the wise reader may join me in understanding the point. In the case of Tertullian we praise his great talent, but we condemn his heresy. In that of Origen we admire his knowledge of the Scriptures, but nevertheless we do not accept his false doctrine. As to Didymus, however, we extol both his powers of memory, and the purity of his faith in the Trinity, while on the other point in which he erred in trusting to Origen we withdraw from him. The vices of our teachers are not to be imitated, their virtues are. There was a man at Rome who had an African, a very learned man, as his grammar teacher; and he thought that he was rising to an equality with his teacher because he copied his strident voice and his faulty pronunciation. You in your Preface to the Περὶ ᾿Αρχῶν speak of me as your brother and call me your most eloquent colleague, and proclaim my soundness in the faith. From these three points you cannot draw back; carp at me on all other points as you please, so long as you do not openly contradict this testimony which you bear to me; for in calling me friend and colleague, you confess me worthy of your friendship; when you proclaim me an eloquent man, you cannot go on accusing me of ignorance; and when you confess that I am in all points a catholic, you cannot fix on me the guilt of heresy. Beyond these three points you may charge me with anything you like without openly contradicting yourself. From all this calculation the net result is that you are wrong in blaming in me what you formerly praised; but that I am not in fault when, in the case of the same men, I praise what is laudable and blame what is censurable.
28. You pass on to the origin of souls, and at great length exclaim against the smoke which you say I raise. You want to be allowed to express ignorance on a point on which you advisedly dissemble your knowledge; and therefore begin questioning me about angels and archangels; as to the mode of their existence, the place and nature of their abodes, the differences, if there be any, existing between them; and then as to the course of the sun, the waxing and waning of the moon, the character and movements of the stars. I wonder that you did not set down the whole of the lines:
Whence come the earthquakes, whence the high-swoll'n seas
Breaking their bounds, then sinking back to rest;
The Sun's eclipse, the labours of the moon;
The race of men and beasts, the storm, the fire,
Arcturus' rainy Hyads, and the Bears:
Why haste the winter's suns to bathe themselves
Beneath the wave, what stays its lingering nights.
Then, leaving things in heaven, and condescending to those on earth, you philosophize on minor points. You say:
Tell us what are the causes of the fountains, and of the wind; what makes the hail and the showers; why the sea is salt, the rivers sweet; what account is to be given of clouds and storms, thunderbolts, and thunder and lightning. You mean that if I do not know all this, you are entitled to say you know nothing about the origin of souls. You wish to balance your ignorance on a single point by mine on many. But do not you, who in page after page stir up what you call my smoke, understand that I can see your mists and whirlwinds? You wish to be thought a man of extensive knowledge, and among the disciples of Calpurnius to enjoy a great reputation for wisdom, and therefore you raise up the whole physical world in front of me, as if Socrates had said in vain when he passed over to the study of Ethics:
What is above us is nothing to us. So then, if I cannot tell you why the ant, which is such a little creature, whose body is a mere point, has six feet, whereas an elephant with its vast bulk has only four to walk on; why serpents and snakes glide along on their chests and bellies; why the worm which is commonly called the millipede has such a swarming array of feet; I am prohibited from knowing anything about the origin of souls! You ask me what I know about souls, so that, when I make any statement about them, you may at once attack it. And if I say that the church's doctrine is that God forms souls every day, and sends them into the bodies of those who are born, you will at once bring out the snares your master invented, and ask, Where is God's justice if he grants souls to those who are born of adultery or incest? Is he not an accessory to men's sins, if he creates souls for the adulterers who make the bodies? As if, when you hear that seed grain had been stolen, you are to suppose the fault to lie in the nature of the grain, and not in the man who stole the wheat; and that therefore the earth had no business to nourish the seed in its bosom, because the hands of the sower who cast them in were unclean. Hence comes also your mysterious question, Why do infants die? Since it is because of their sins, as you hold, that they received bodies. There exists a treatise of Didymus addressed to you, in which he meets this inquiry of yours, with the answer, that they had not sinned much, and therefore it was enough punishment for them just to have touched their bodily prisons. He, who was your master and mine also, when you asked this question, wrote at my request three books of comments on the prophet Hosea, and dedicated them to me. This shows what parts of his teaching we respectively accepted.
29. You press me to give my opinions about the nature of things. If there were room, I could repeat to you the views of Lucretius who follows Epicurus, or those of Aristotle as taught by the Peripatetics, or of Plato and Zeno by the Academics and the Stoics. Passing to the church, where we have the rule of truth, the books of Genesis and the Prophets and Ecclesiastes, give us much information on questions of this kind. But if we profess ignorance about all these things, as also about the origin of souls, you ought in your Apology to acknowledge your ignorance of all alike, and to ask your calumniators why they had the impudence to force you to reply on this single point when they themselves know nothing of all those great matters. But Oh! How vast was the wealth contained in that trireme which had come full of all the wares of Egypt and the East to enrich the poverty of the city of Rome.
You are that hero, well-nam'd Maximus,
You who alone by writing sav'st the state.
Unless you had come from the East, that very learned man would be still sticking fast among the mathematici, and all Christians would still be ignorant of what might be said against fatalism. You have a right to ply me with questions about astrology and the cause of the sky and the stars, when you brought to land a ship full of such wares as these. I acknowledge my poverty; I have not grown rich to this extent in the East like you. You learned in your long sojourn under the shadow of the Pharos what Rome never knew: Egypt instructed you in lore which Italy did not possess till now.
30. Your Apology says that there are three opinions as to the origin of souls: one held by Origen, a second by Tertullian and Lactantius (as to Lactantius what you say is manifestly false), a third by us simple and foolish men, who do not see that, if our opinion is true, God is thereby shown to be unjust. After this you say that you do not know what is the truth. I say, then, tell me, whether you think that outside of these three opinions any truth can be found so that all these three may be false; or whether you think one of these three is true. If there is some other possibility, why do you confine the liberty of discussion within a close-drawn line? And why do you put forward the views which are false and keep silence about the true? But if one of the three is true and the two others false, why do you include false and true in one assertion of ignorance? Perhaps you pretend not to know which is true in order that it may be safe for you, whenever you may please, to defend the false. This is the smoke, these are the mists, with which you try to keep away the light from men's eyes. You are the Aristippus of our day: you bring your ship into the port of Rome full of merchandize of all kinds; you set your professorial chair on high, and represent to us Hermagoras and Gorgias of Leontinum: only, you were in such a hurry to set sail that you left one little piece of goods, one little question, forgotten in the East. And you cry out with reiteration that you learned both at Aquileia and at Alexandria that God is the creator of both our bodies and our souls. This then, forsooth, is the pressing question, whether our souls were created by God or by the devil, and not whether the opinion of Origen is true that our souls existed before our bodies and committed some sin because of which they have been tied to these gross bodies; or whether, again, they slept like dormice in a state of torpor and of slumber. Every one is asking this question, but you say nothing about it; nobody asks the other, but to that you direct your answer.
31. Another part of my 'smoke' which you frequently laugh at is my pretence, as you say, to know what I do not know, and the parade I make of great teachers to deceive the common and ignorant people. You, of course, are a man not of smoke but of flame, or rather of lightning; you fulminate when you speak; you cannot contain the flames which have been conceived within your mouth, and like Barchochebas, the leader of the revolt of the Jews, who used to hold in his month a lighted straw and blow it out so as to appear to be breathing forth flame: so you also, like a second Salmoneus, brighten the whole path on which you tread, and reproach us as mere men of smoke, to whom perhaps the words might be applied,
Thou touchest the hills and they smoke. You do not understand the allusion of the Prophet when he speaks of the smoke of the locusts; it is no doubt the beauty of your eyes which makes it impossible for you to bear the pungency of our smoke.
32. As to your charge of perjury, since you refer me to your book; and since I have made my reply to you and Calpurnius in the previous books, it will be sufficient here to observe that you exact from me in my sleep what you have never yourself fulfilled in your waking hours. It seems that I am guilty of a great crime because I have told girls and virgins of Christ, that they had better not read secular works, and that I once promised when warned in a dream not to read them. But your ship which was announced by revelation to the city of Rome, promises one thing and effects another. It came to do away with the puzzle of the mathematici: what it does is to do away with the faith of Christians. It had made its run with sails full set over the Ionian and Ægean, the Adriatic and Tyrrhenian seas, only to make shipwreck in the Roman port. Are you not ashamed of hunting up nonsense of this kind and putting me to the trouble of bringing up similar things against you? Suppose that some one had seen a dream about you such as might make you vainglorious; it would have been modest as well as wise in you not to seem to know of it, instead of boasting of other people's dreams as a serious testimony to yourself. What a difference there is between your dream and mine! Mine tells how I was humbled and repressed; yours boasts over and over again how you were praised. You cannot say, It matters nothing to me what another man dreamed, for in those most enlightening books of yours you tell us that this was the motive which led you to make the translation; you could not bear that an eminent man should have dreamed in vain. This is all your endeavour. If you can make me out guilty of perjury, you think you will be deemed no heretic.
33. I now come to the most serious charge of all, that in which you accuse me of having been unfaithful after the restoration of our friendship. I confess that, of all the reproaches which you bring against me or threaten me with, there is none which I would so much deprecate as that of fraud, deceit and breach of faith. To sin is human, to lay snares is diabolical. What! Was it for this that I joined hands with you over the slain lamb in the Church of the Resurrection, that I might 'steal your manuscripts at Rome'? Or that I might 'send out my dogs to gnaw away your papers before they were corrected'? Can any one believe that we made ready the accusers before you had committed the crime? Is it supposed that we knew what plans you were meditating in your heart? Or what another man had been dreaming? Or how the Greek proverb was having its fulfilment in your case,
the pig teaches Minerva? If I sent Eusebius to bark against you, who then stirred up the passion of Aterbius and others against you? Is it not the fact that he thought that I also was a heretic because of my friendship with you? And, when I had given him satisfaction as to the heresies of Origen, you shut yourself up at home, and never dared to meet him, for fear you should have to condemn what you wished not to condemn, or by openly resisting him should subject yourself to the reproach of heresy. Do you think that he cannot be called as a witness against you because he is your accuser? Before ever the reverend bishop Epiphanius came to Jerusalem, and gave you the signs of peace by word and kiss, 'yet having evil thoughts and guile in his heart'; before I translated for him that letter which was such a reproof to you, and in which he wrote you down a heretic though he had before approved you as orthodox; Aterbius was barking against you at Jerusalem, and, if he had not speedily taken himself off, would have felt not your literary cudgel but the stick you flourish in your right hand to drive the dogs away.
But why, you ask,
did you accept my manuscripts which had been falsified? And why, when I had translated the Περὶ ᾿Αρχῶν did you dare to put your pen to the same work? If I had erred, as any man may, ought you not to summon me to reply by a private letter, and to speak smoothly to me, as I am speaking smoothly in my present letter? My whole fault is this that, when accusations were brought against me in the guise of disingenuous praise, I tried to purge myself from them, and this without invidiously introducing your name. I wished to refer to many persons a charge which you alone had brought, not so as to retort the charge of heresy upon you, but to repel it from myself. Could I know that you would be angry if I wrote against the heretics? You had said that you had taken away the heretical passages from the works of Origen. I therefore turned my attacks not upon you but upon the heretics, for I did not believe that you were a favourer of heresy. Pardon me, if I did this with too great vehemence. I thought that I should give you pleasure. You say that it was by the dishonest tricks of those who acted for me that your manuscripts were brought out before the public, when they were kept secretly in your chamber, or were in possession only of the man who had desired to have the translation made for him. But how is this reconcilable with your former statement that either no one or very few had them? If they were kept secret in your chamber, how could they be in the possession of the man who had desired to have the translation made for him? If the one man for whom the manuscripts had been written had obtained them in order to conceal them, then they were not kept secret in your chamber, and they were not in the hands of those few who, as you now declare, possessed them. You accuse us of having stolen them away; and then again you reproach us with having bought them for a great sum of money and an immense bribe. In a single matter, and in one little letter, what a tissue of various and discordant falsehoods! You have full liberty for accusation, but I have none for defence. When you bring a charge, you think nothing about friendship. When I begin to reply, then your mind is full of the rights of friendship. Let me ask you: Did you write these manuscripts for concealment or for publication? If for concealment, why were they written? If for publication, why did you conceal them?
35. But my fault, you will say, was this, that I did not restrain your accusers who were my friends. Why, I had enough to do to answer their accusations against myself; for they charged me with hypocrisy, as I could show by producing their letters, because I kept silence when I knew you to be a heretic; and because by incautiously maintaining peace with you, I fostered the intestine wars of the Church. You call them my disciples; they suspect me of being your fellow disciple; and, because I was somewhat sparing in my rejection of your praises, they think me to be initiated, along with you, into the mysteries of heresy. This was the service your Prologue did me; you injured me more by appearing as my friend than you would had you shown yourself my enemy. They had persuaded themselves once for all (whether rightly or wrongly is their business) that you were a heretic. If I should determine to defend you, I should only succeed in getting myself accused by them along with you. They cast in my teeth your laudation of me, which they suppose to have been written not in craft but sincerity; and they vehemently reproach me with the very things which you always praised in me. What am I to do? To turn my disciples into my accusers for your sake? To receive on my own head the weapons which were hurled against my friend?
36. In the matter of the books Περὶ ᾿Αρχῶν, I have even a claim upon your gratitude. You say that you cut off anything that was offensive and replaced it by what was better. I have represented things just as they stood in the Greek. By this means both things are made to appear, your faith and the heresy of him whom you translated. The leading Christians of Rome wrote to me: Answer your accuser; if you keep silence, you will be held to have assented to his charges. All of them unanimously demanded that I should bring to light the subtle errors of Origen, and make known the poison of the heretics to the ears of the Romans to put them on their guard. How can this be an injury to you? Have you a monopoly of the translation of these books? Are there no others who take part in this work? When you translated parts of the Septuagint, did you mean to prohibit all others from translating it after your version had been published? Why, I also have translated many books from the Greek. You have full power to make a second translation of them at your pleasure; for both the good and the bad in them must be laid to the charge of their author. And this would hold in your case also, had you not said that you had cut out the heretical parts and translated only what was positively good. This is a difficulty which you have made for yourself, and which cannot be solved, except by confessing that you have erred as all men err, and condemning your former opinion.
37. But what defence can you make in reference to the Apology which you have written for the works of Origen, or rather in reference to the book of Eusebius, though you have altered much, and translated the work of a heretic under the title of a martyr, yet you have set down still more which is incompatible with the faith of the church. You as well as I turn Latin books into Greek; can you prohibit me from giving the works of a foreigner to my own people? If I had made my answer in the case of some other work of yours in which you had not attacked me, it might have been thought that, in translating what you had already translated, I was acting in hostility to you, and wishing to prove you inaccurate or untrustworthy. But this is a new kind of complaint, when you take it amiss that an answer is made you on a point on which you have accused me. All Rome was said to have been upset by your translation; every one was demanding of me a remedy for this; not that I was of any account, but that those who asked this thought me so. You say that you who had made the translation were my friend. But what would you have had me do? Ought we to obey God or man? To guard our master's property or to conceal the theft of a fellow-servant? Can I not be at peace with you unless I join with you in committing acts which bring reproach? If you had not mentioned my name, if you had not tricked me out in your flatteries, I might have had some way of escape, and have made many excuses for not translating what had already been translated. But you, my friend, have compelled me to waste a good many days on this work, and to bring out before the public eye what should have been engulfed in Charybdis; yet still, though I had been injured, I observed the laws of friendship, and as far as possible defended myself without accusing you. It is a too suspicious and complaining temper which you show when you take home to yourself as a reproach what was spoken against the heretics. If it is impossible to be your friend unless I am the friend of heretics, I shall more easily put up with your enmity than with their friendship.
38. You imagine that I have contrived yet another piece of falsehood, namely, that I have composed a letter to you in my own name, pretending that it was written long ago, in which I make myself appear kindly and courteous; but which you never received. The truth can easily be ascertained. Many persons at Rome have had copies of this letter for the last three years; but they refused to send it to you knowing that you were throwing out insinuations against my reputation, and making up stories of the most shameful kind and unworthy of our Christian profession. I wrote in ignorance of all this, as to a friend; but they would not transmit the letter to an enemy, such as they knew you to be, thus sparing me the effects of my mistakes and you the reproaches of your conscience. You next bring arguments to show that, if I had written such a letter, I had no right to write another containing many reproaches against you. But here is the error which pervades all that you say, and of which I have a right to complain; whatever I say against the heretics you imagine to be said against you. What! Am I refusing you bread because I give the heretics a stone to crush their brains? But, in order to justify your disbelief in my letter, you are obliged to make out that of pope Anastasius rests upon a similar fraud. On this point I have answered you before. If you really suspect that it is not his writing, you have the means of convicting me of the forgery. But if it is his writing, as his letters of the present year also written against you prove, you will in vain use your false reasonings to prove my letter false, since I can show from his genuine letter that mine also is genuine.
39. In order to parry the charge of falsehood, it is your humour to become quite exacting. You are not to be called to produce the six thousand books of Origen, of which you speak; but you expect me to be acquainted with all the records of Pythagoras. What truth is there in all the boastful language, which you blurted out from your inflated cheeks, declaring that you had corrected the Περὶ ᾿Αρχῶν by introducing words which you had read in other books of Origen, and thus had not put in other men's words but restored his own? Out of all this forest of his works you cannot produce a single bush or sucker. You accuse me of raising up smoke and mist. Here you have smoke and mist indeed. You know that I have dissipated and done away with them; but, though your neck is broken, you do not bow it down, but, with an impudence which exceeds even your ignorance, you say that I am denying what is quite evident, so as to excuse yourself, after promising mountains of gold, for not producing even a leatherlike farthing from your treasury. I acknowledge that your animosity against me rests on good grounds, and that your rage and passion is genuine; for, unless I made persistent demands for what does not exist, you would be thought to have what you have not. You ask me for the books of Pythagoras. But who has informed you that any books of his are extant? It is true that in my letter which you criticize these words occur:
Suppose that I erred in youth, and that, having been trained in profane literature, I at the beginning of my Christian course had no sufficient doctrinal knowledge, and that I attributed to the Apostles things which I had read in Pythagoras or Plato or Empedocles; but I was speaking not of their books but of their tenets, with which I was able to acquaint myself through Cicero, Brutus, and Seneca. Read the short oration for Vatinius, and others in which mention is made of secret societies. Turn over Cicero's dialogues. Search through the coast of Italy which used to be called Magna Græcia, and you will find there various doctrines of Pythagoras inscribed on brass on their public monuments. Whose are those Golden Rules? They are Pythagoras's; and in these all his principles are contained in a summary form. Iamblicus wrote a commentary upon them, following in this, at least partly, Moderatus a man of great eloquence, and Archippus and Lysides who were disciples of Pythagoras. Of these, Archippus and Lysides held schools in Greece, that is, in Thebes; they retained so fully the precepts of their teacher, that they made use of their memory instead of books. One of these precepts is:
We must cast away by any contrivance, and cut out by fire and sword and contrivances of all kinds, disease from the body, ignorance from the soul, luxury from the belly, sedition from the state, discord from the family, excess from all things alike. There are other precepts of Pythagoras, such as these.
Friends have all things in common.
A friend is a second self.
Two moments are specially to be observed, morning and evening: that is, things which we are going to do, and things which we have done.
Never go beyond the Stater, that is,
Do not transgress the rule of justice;
Never stir the fire with the sword, that is,
Do not provoke a man when he is angry and excited with hard words.
We must not touch the crown, that is
We must maintain the laws of the state.
Do not eat out your heart, that is,
Cast away sorrow from your mind.
When you have started, do not return, that is,
After death do not regret this life.
Do not walk on the public road, that is,
Do not follow the errors of the multitude.
Never admit a swallow into the family, that is,
Do not admit chatterers and talkative persons under the same roof with you.
Put fresh burdens on the burdened; put none on those who lay them down; that is,
When men are on the road to virtue, ply them with fresh precepts; when they abandon themselves to idleness, leave them alone. I said I had read the doctrines of the Pythagoreans. Let me tell you that Pythagoras was the first to discover the immortality of the soul and its transmigration from one body to another. To this view Virgil gives his adherence in the sixth book of the Æneid in these words:
These, when the wheel full thousand years has turned,
God calls, a long sad line, in Lethe's stream
To drown the past, and long once more to see
The skies above, and to the flesh return.
40. Pythagoras taught, accordingly, that he had himself been originally Euphorbus, and then Callides, thirdly Hermotimus, fourthly Pyrrhus, and lastly Pythagoras; and that those things which had existed, after certain revolutions of time, came into being again; so that nothing in the world should be thought of as new. He said that true philosophy was a meditation on death; that its daily struggle was to draw forth the soul from the prison of the body into liberty: that our learning was recollection, and many other things which Plato works out in his dialogues, especially in the Phædo and Timæus. For Plato, after having formed the Academy and gained innumerable disciples, felt that his philosophy was deficient on many points, and therefore went to Magna Græcia, and there learned the doctrines of Pythagoras from Archytas of Tarentum and Timæus of Locris: and this system he embodied in the elegant form and style which he had learned from Socrates. The whole of this, as we can prove, Origen carried over into his book Περὶ ᾿Αρχῶν, only changing the name. What mistake, then, was I making, when I said that in my youth I had imputed to the Apostles ideas which I had found in Pythagoras, Plato and Empedocles? I did not speak, as you calumniously pretend, of what I had read in the books of Pythagoras, Plato and Empedocles, but of what I had read as having existed in their writings, that is, what other men's writings showed me to have existed in them. This mode of speaking is quite common. I might say, for instance Plato and others of the Socratic school, though Socrates himself wrote no books. So I might say, I wished to imitate the deeds which I had read of in Alexander and Scipio, not meaning that they described their own deeds, but that I had read in other men's works of the deeds which I admired as done by them. Therefore, though I may not be able to inform you of any records of Pythagoras himself as being extant, and proved by the attestation of his son or daughter or others of his disciples, yet you cannot hold me guilty of falsehood, because I said not that I had read his books, but his doctrines. You are quite mistaken if you thought to make this a screen for your falsehood, and to maintain that because I cannot produce any book written by Pythagoras, you have a right to assert that six thousand books of Origen have been lost.
41. I come now to your Epilogue, (that is to the revilings which you pour upon me,) in which you exhort me to repentance, and threaten me with destruction unless I am converted, that is, unless I keep silence under your accusations. And this scandal, you say, will recoil upon my own head, because it is I who by replying have provoked you to the madness of writing when you are a man of extreme gentleness and of a meekness worthy of Moses. You declare that you are aware of crimes which I confessed to you alone when you were my most intimate friend, and that you will bring these before the public; that I shall be painted in my own colours; and that I ought to remember that I am lying at your feet, otherwise you might cut off my head with the sword of your mouth. And, after many such things, in which you toss yourself about like a madman, you draw yourself up and say that you wish for peace, but still with the intimation that I am to keep quiet for the future, that is that I am not to write against the heretics, nor to answer any accusation made by you; if I do this, I shall be your good brother and colleague, and a most eloquent person, and your friend and companion; and, what is still more, you will pronounce all the translations I have made from Origen to be orthodox. But, if I utter a word or move a step, I shall at once be unsound and a heretic, and unworthy of all connection with you. This is the way you trumpet forth my praises, this is the way you exhort me to peace. You do not grant me liberty for a groan or a tear in my grief.
42. It would be possible for me also to paint you in your own colours, and to meet your insanity with a similar rage; to say what I know and add what I do not know; and with a license like yours, or rather fury and madness, to keep up things false and true alike, till I was ashamed to speak and you to hear: and to upbraid you in such a way as would condemn either the accused or the accuser; to force myself on the reader by mere effrontery, make him believe that what I wrote unscrupulously I wrote truly. But far be it from the practice of Christians while offering up their lives to seek the life of others, and to become homicides not with the sword but the will. This may agree with your gentleness and innocence; for you can draw forth from the dung heap within your breast alike the odour of roses and the stench of corpses; and, contrary to the precept of the Prophet, call that bitter which once you had praised as sweet. But it is not necessary for us, in treating of Christian topics, to throw out accusations which ought to be brought before the law courts. You shall hear nothing more from me than the vulgar saying:
When you have said what you like, you shall bear what you do not like. Or if the coarse proverb seems to you too vulgar, and, being a man of culture, you prefer the words of philosophers or poets, take from me the words of Homer.
What words you speak, thou the like shall hear.
One thing I should like to learn from one of such eminent sanctity and fastidiousness, (whose holiness is such that in the presence of your very handkerchiefs and aprons the devils cry out); whom do you take for your model in your writings? Has any one of the catholic writers, in a controversy of opinions, imputed moral offenses to the man with whom he is arguing? Have your masters taught you to do this? Is this the system in which you have been trained, that, when you cannot answer a man, you should take off his head? That when you cannot silence a man's tongue, you should cut it out? You have nothing much to boast of, for you are doing only what the scorpions and cantharides do. This is what Fulvia did to Cicero and Herodias to John. They could not bear to hear the truth, and therefore they pierced the tongue that spoke truth with the pin that parted their hair. The duty of dogs is to bark in their masters' service; why may I not bark in the service of Christ? Many have written against Marcion or Valentinus, Arius or Eunomius. By which of them was any accusation brought of immoral conduct? Did they not in each case bring their whole effort to bear upon the refutation of the heresy? It is the machination of the heretics, that is of your masters, when convicted of betrayal of the faith, to betake themselves to evil speaking. So Eustathius the Bishop of Antioch was made into a father unawares. So Athanasius Bishop of Alexandria cut off a third hand of Arsenius; for, when he appeared alive after having been supposed to be dead, he was found to have two. Such things also now are falsely charged against the Bishop of the same church, and the true faith is assailed by gold, which constitutes the power of yourself and your friends. But I need not speak of controversy with heretics, who, though they are really without, yet call themselves Christians. How many of our writers have contended with those most impious men, Celsus and Porphyry! But which of them has left the cause he was engaged in to busy himself with the imputation of crime to his adversary, such as ought to be set down not in church-writings but in the calendar of the judge? For what advantage have you gained if you establish a man's criminality but fail in your argument? It is quite unnecessary that in bringing an accusation you should risk your own head. If your object is revenge, you can hire an executioner, and satisfy your desire. You pretend to dread a scandal, and yet you are ready to kill a man who was once your brother, whom you now accuse, and whom you always treat as an enemy. Yet I wonder how a man like you, who knows what he is about, should be so blinded by madness as to wish to confer a benefit upon me by drawing forth my soul out of prison, and should not suffer it to remain with you in the darkness of this world.
43. If you wish me to keep silence, cease from accusing me. Lay down your sword, and I will throw away my shield. To one thing only I cannot consent; that is, to spare the heretics, and not to vindicate my orthodoxy. If that is the cause of discord between us, I can submit to death, but not to silence. It would have been right to go through the whole of the Scriptures for answers to your ravings, and, like David playing on his harp, to take the divine words to calm your raging breast. But I will content myself with a few statements from a single book; I will oppose Wisdom to folly; for I hope if you despise the words of men you will not think lightly of the word of God. Listen, then, to that which Solomon the wise says about you and all who are addicted to evil speaking and contumely:
Foolish men, while they desire injuries, become impious and hate wisdom. Devise not evil against your friend. Be not angry with a man without a cause. The impious exalt contumely. Remove from you the evil mouth, keep far from you the wicked lips, the eyes of him that speaks evil, the tongue of the unjust, the hands which shed the blood of the just, the heart that devises evil thoughts, and the feet which hasten to do evil. He that rests upon falsehood feeds the winds, and follows the flying birds. For he has left the ways of his own vineyard, and has made the wheels of his tillage to err. He walks through the dry and desert places, and with his hands he gathers barrenness. The mouth of the froward is near to destruction, and he who utters evil words is the chief of fools. Every simple man is a soul that is blessed; but a violent man is dishonourable. By the fault of his lips the sinner falls into a snare. All the ways of a fool are right in his own eyes. The fool shows his anger on that very day. Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord. He that keeps his lips guards his own soul; but he that is rash with his lips shall be a terror to himself. The evil man in his violence does evil things, and the fool spreads out his folly. Seek for wisdom among the evil and you shall not find it. The rash man shall eat of the fruit of his own ways. The wise man by taking heed avoids the evil; but the fool is confident, and joins himself to it. A long-suffering man is strong in his wisdom; the man of little mind is very unwise. He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker. The tongue of the wise knows good things, but the mouth of fools speaks evil. A quarrelsome man preferrs strife, and every one that lifts up his heart is unclean before God. Though hand join with hand unjustly, they shall not be unpunished. He that loves life must be sparing to his mouth. Insolence goes before bruising, and evil thoughts before a fall. He who closes his eyes speaks perverse things, and provokes all evil with his lips. The lips of a fool lead him into evil, and the foolhardy speech calls down death. The man of evil counsel shall suffer much loss. Better is a poor man who is just than a rich man that speaks lies. It is a glory to a man to turn away from evil words; but he that is foolish binds himself therewith. Love not detraction, lest you be rooted out. The bread of lying is sweet to a man, but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel. He that gains treasures with a lying tongue follows vanity, and shall come into the snares of death. Say thou nought in the ear of a fool, lest haply the wise mock at your words. The bludgeon and the sword and the arrow are hurtful things; so is the man who bears false witness against his friend. As the birds and the sparrows fly away, so the curse shall be vain and shall not overtake him. Answer not an unwise man according to his lack of wisdom, lest you become like him; but answer a fool according to his folly, lest he appear to himself to be wise. He who lays wait for his friends when he is discovered says, I did it in sport. A faggot for the coals, and wood for the fire, and a man of evil words for the tumult of strife. If your enemy ask you anything, sparingly but with a loud voice, consent thou not to him, for there are seven degrees of wickedness in his heart. The stone is heavy, and the sand hard to be borne; but the anger of a fool is heavier than either; indignation is cruel, anger is sharp, and envy is impatient. The impious man speaks against the poor; and he that trusts in the audacity of his heart is most foolish. The unwise man puts forth all his anger, but the wise deals it out in parts. An evil son— his teeth are swords, and his grinders are as harrows, to consume the weak from off the earth, and the poor from among men.
Such are the lessons in which I have been trained and therefore I was unwilling to return bite for bite, and to attack you by way of retaliation; and I thought it better to exorcise the madness of one who was raving, and to pour in the antidote of a single book into his poisoned breast. But I fear I shall have no success, and that I shall be compelled to sing the song of David, and to take his words for my only consolation:
The wicked are estranged from the womb, they go astray even from the belly. They have spoken lies. Their madness is like the madness of the serpent; like the deaf adder which stops her ears, which will not hear the voice of the charmers, and of the magician wisely enchanting. God shall break their teeth in their mouth; the Lord shall break the great teeth of the lions. They shall come to nothing, like water that runs away. He bends his bow until they be brought low. Like wax that melts, they shall be carried away; the fire has fallen upon them and they have not seen the sun.
The righteous shall rejoice when he sees the vengeance upon the impious; he shall wash his hands in the blood of the sinner. And man shall say, Verily, there is a reward for the righteous; verily, there is a God that judges those that are on the earth.
44. In the end of your letter you say:
I hope that you love peace. To this I will answer in a few words: If you desire peace, lay down your arms. I can be at peace with one who shows kindness; I do not fear one who threatens me. Let us be at one in faith, and peace will follow immediately.
Source. Translated by W.H. Fremantle. 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/27103.htm>.
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