LETTERS OF
THE BLESSED THEODORET
BISHOP OF CYRUS
LETTERS I TO LXXV

I. To an unknown correspondent.

In the words of the prophet we find the wise hearer mentioned with the excellent councillor.[1] I, however, send the book I have written on the divine Apostle, not as much to a wise hearer as to a just and clever judge. When goldsmiths wish to find out if their gold is refined and unalloyed, they apply it to the touchstone; and just so I sent my book to your reverence, for I wish to know whether it is what it should be, or needs some fining down. You have read it and returned it, but have said nothing to me on this point. Your silence leads me to conjecture that the judge has given sentence of condemnation, but is unwilling to hurt my feelings by telling me so. Pray dismiss any such idea, and do not hesitate to tell me your opinion about the book.

II. To the same.

When men love warmly, I doubt whether in the case of the children of those whom they love, they can be impartial judges. Justice is carried away by affection. Fathers fancy that their ugly boys are beautiful, and sons do not see the uncomeliness of their fathers. Brother looks at brother in the light of affection rather than of nature. It is thus that I am afraid your holiness has judged what I have written, and that the sentence has been delivered by warmth of feeling. For truly the power of love is very great, and not seldom it keeps out of sight considerable errors in our friends. It is because you have so much of it, my dear friend, that you have wreathed what I have written with your kindly praises. All I can do is to ask your piety to beseech the good Lord to ratify your eulogy, and make the man you have praised something like the picture painted in the words of his admirers.

III. To Bishop Irenoeus.[2]

Comparisons of this kind are forbidden by the divine Apostle. In his Epistle to the Romans he writes "Therefore judge nothing before the time until the Lord come who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and will make manifest the counsels of the heart: and then shall every man have praise of God."[1] And he is quite right; for we can see only outward deeds, but the God of all knows also the intention of the doers, and when He delivers his sentence judges not so much the work as the will. So He will crown the divine Apostle who became to the Jews as a Jew, to them that were under the law as under the law, and to them that were without law as without law[2] for his object in thus assuming an actor's mask was that he might do good to mankind. His was no time-server's career. The gain he got was loss, but he secured the good of them whom he taught. As I said, then, the divine Paul bids us wait for the judgment of God. But we are venturing on high themes; we are handling a theology passing understanding and words; not like the unholy heretics, seeking blasphemous positions, but endeavouring to confute their impiety, and as far as in us lies to give praise to the Creator; we shall therefore do nothing unreasonable in attempting to reply to your enquiry.

You have suggested the case of an impious judge giving to two athletes of piety the alternative of sacrificing to demons, or flinging themselves into the sea. You describe the one as choosing the latter and plunging without hesitation into the deep, while the other, refusing both, shews quite as much abhorrence of the worship of idols as his companion, but declines to commit himself to the waves, and waits for this fate to be violently forced upon him. You have suggested these circumstances, and you ask which of these two took the better course. I think that you will agree with me that the latter was the more praiseworthy. No one ought to withdraw himself from life unbidden, but should await either a natural or a violent death. Our Lord gave us this lesson when He bade those that are persecuted in one city flee to another and again commanded them to quit even this and depart to another.[3] In obedience to this teaching the divine Apostle escaped the violence of the governor of the city, and had no hesitation in speaking of the manner of his flight, but spoke of the basket, the wall, and the window, and boasted and glorified in the act.[1] For what looks discreditable is made honourable by the divine command. In the same manner the Apostle called himself at one time a Pharisee[2] and at another a Roman,[3] not because he was afraid of death, but acting quite fairly in right.[4] In the same way when he had learnt the Jews' plot against him he appealed to Caesar[5] and sent his sister's son to the chief captain to report the designs hatched against him, not because he clung to this present life, but in obedience to the divine law. For assuredly our Lord does not wish us to throw ourselves into obvious peril; and this is taught us by deed as well as by word, for more than once He avoided the murderous violence of the Jews. And the great Peter, first of the Apostles, when he was loosed from his chains and had escaped from the hands of Herod, came to the house of John, who was surnamed Mark, and after removing the anxiety of his friends by his visit and bidding them maintain silence, betook himself to another house in the endeavour to conceal himself more effectually by the removal.[6] And we shall find just the same kind of wisdom in the old Testament, for the famous Moses, after playing the man in his struggle with the Egyptian and finding out the next day that the homicide had become known, ran away, travelled a long journey, and arrived at the land of Midian.[7] In like mariner the great Elias when he had learnt Jezebel's threats did not give himself up to them which wished to kill him, but left the world and hurried to the desert.[8] And if it is right and agreeable to God to escape the violence of our enemies, surely it is much more right to refuse to obey them when they order a man to become his own murderer. Our Lord did not give in to the devil when he bade Him throw Himself down,[9] and when he had armed against Him the hands of the Jews by means of the scourge and the thorns and the nails, and the creature was urging Him to bring wholesale destruction on His wicked foes, the Lord Himself forbade, because He knew that His Passion was bringing salvation to the world, and it was for this reason that just before His Passion He said to His Apostles "Pray that ye enter not into temptation,"[1] and taught us to pray "Lead us not into temptation."[2] Now let us shift our ground a little, and we shall see our way more clearly. Let us eliminate the sea from the argument, and suppose the judge to have given each of the martyrs a sword, and ordered the one who refused to sacrifice to cut off his own head; who in his senses would have endured to redden his hand with his own blood, become his own headsman, lift his hand against himself, in obedience to the judge's order?

Clearly your second martyr deserves the higher praise. The former indeed deserves credit for his zeal, bat the latter is adorned by right judgment as well.

I have answered you according to the measure of the wisdom given me; He who knows thoughts as well as acts, will shew which of the two was right in the day of His appearing.

IV. Festal.

The Creator of oar souls and bodies has given His bounty to both, and at one and the same time has overwhelmed us with good things that both heart and senses can feel. At the time of the sacred feast He has given us the rain we so much longed for, that our celebration might be clear of sadness. We have praised oar bountiful Lord, and now as we are wont write a festal letter and address your piety with the request that you will aid us with your prayers.

V. Festal.

The God who made us gives us care and sorrow after our sin. But He has furnished us with divine occasions of consolation by appointing divine feasts. The thoughts they suggest both remind us of God's gifts to us, and promise complete freedom from all our troubles. Enjoying these good things and filled with cheerfulness, we address your magnificence, and, according to the custom of the festival, pay friendship's debt.

VI. Festal.

Our loving Lord has allowed us, with the zeal of folks who love the Christ, to celebrate the divine feast of salvation and enjoy the fruit of the spiritual blessing that flows from it. Since we know the disposition of your Piety toward us, we write to tell yon this. For they who have friendly thoughts to others are always pleased to hear cheering intelligence of them.

VII. To Theonilla.

Had I heard of the death of your dignity's most honourable husband I should have written long ago, and now my object in writing is not to lull your great sorrow to sleep by consolatory words. They are unnecessary. They who have learnt the wisdom of philosophers and consider what this life is, find reason strong enough to meet and break grief's rising surge. And even while you are remembering your long companionship, reason recognises the divine decrees, and to meet the forces of the tears of sorrow marshals at once the course of nature, the law of God, and the hope of the resurrection. Knowing this as I do, there is no necessity to use many words. I only beseech you to avail yourself of good sense in the hour of need. Think of the death of him who is gone as no more than a long journey, and wait for the promise of our God and Saviour. For He who promised the resurrection cannot lie, and is the fount of truth.

VIII. To Eugraphia.

It is needless for me to bring once more to bear upon your grief the spells of the spirit. The mere mention of the sufferings that wrought oar salvation is enough to quench distress, even at its worst. Those sufferings were all undergone for humanity. Our Lord did not destroy death to make one body victorious over death, hut through that one body to effect our common resurrection, and make our hope of it a sure and certain hope. And if even while our holy celebrations are bringing you manifold refreshment of soul, you cannot overcome your sense of sorrow, let me beg you, my honoured friend, to read the very words of the marriage contract which follow on the mention of the dowry, and to see how the wedding is preceded by the reminder of death. Knowing as we do that men are mortal, and be thinking us of the peace of survivors, it is customary to lay down what are called conditions, and for no hesitation to be shewn at the mention of death before the joining together in marriage. These are the plain words "If the husband should die first it is agreed that so and so be done; if this lot should first fall to the wife, so and so." We knew all this before the wedding; we are waiting for it so to say every day. Why then take it amiss? The union must needs be broken either by the death of the husband or the departure of the wife. Such is the course of life. You know, my excellent friend, alike God's will and human nature; dispel then your despondency and wait for the fulfilment of the common hope of the just.

IX. To an anonymous correspondent.

Your piety is annoyed and distressed at the sentence passed on me unjustly and without a trial. I am comforted that you are so feeling. Had I been justly condemned I should have been sorry at having given my judges reasonable grounds for what they have done, but, as it is, my conscience is quite clear, and I feel joyful and exultant and look forward to the remission of other sins on account of this injustice. Naboth lives in men's memories only because he suffered that unjust death. Only pray that we be not abandoned of God and let the enemy continue to do his worst. God's good will is enough to make me very cheerful and if He is on my side I despite all my troubles as trifles.[1]

X. To the learned Elias.

Legislators have made laws in aid of the oppressed, and advocates bare practised the orator's arts to help them that stand in need of fair defence. You, my friend, have studied eloquence and the law. Now put your art in practice, and by it put down the oppressors, help them that are put down by them, and defend them with the law as with a shield. Let no guilty client enjoy the benefit of your advocacy, even though he be your friend.

Now one of these guilty men is that villain Abraham. After being settled for a considerable time on an estate belonging to the church, he then took several partners in his rascality, and has bad no hesitation in owning his proceedings. I have sent him to you with an account of his doings, the parties be has wronged, and the reverend sub-deacon Gerontius. I do not want you to deliver the guilty man to the authorities, but in the hope that when his victims have told you all they have bad to put up with, and have made you, my learned friend, feel sympathy for their case, you may be induced to compel the wicked fellow to restore what he has stolen.

XI.To Flavianus bishop of Constantinople.

The Creator and Guide of the Universe has made you a luminary of the world, and changed the deep moonless night into clear noon. Just as by the haven's side, the beacon light shews sailors in the night time the harbour mouth, so shines the bright ray of your holiness to give great comfort to all that are attacked for true religion's sake, and shews them the safe port of the Apostles' faith. They that know it already are filled with comforts and they that knew it not are saved from being dashed upon the rocks. I indeed am especially bound to praise the giver of all good, because I have found a noble champion who drives away fear of men by the power of the fear of God, fights heartily in the front rank for the doctrines of the Gospel, and gladly bears the brunt of the apostolic war. So to-day every tongue is moved in eulogy of your holiness, for it is not only the nurslings of true religion who admire the purity of your faith, but the praises of your courage are sung even by the enemies of the truth. Falsehood vanishes at truth's lightning flash.

I write thus knowing that the very reverend and pious Hypatius the reader, both readily obeys the bidding of your holiness, and constantly, my Lord, mentions your laudable deeds. I salute you as holy and right dear to God. I exhort you to support us with your prayers that we may lead the rest of our lives according to God's laws.

XII. To the bishop Irenaeus.(1)

Job, that famous tower of adamant and noble champion of goodness, was not shaken even by blows of continuous troubles of every sort and kind, but stood impregnable and firm. At the end however of all his trials the righteous Law-giver explained the reason of them in the words, "Dost thou think that I answered thee for any other reason than that thou mightest appear just?"(2) I think that these words are known to your piety which is able to support the many and various attacks of troubles and anxieties, and so far from shrinking from them, exhibits the strength and stability of your administration. So the bountiful Lord, seeing the bravery and holiness of your soul, has refused to keep a worthy champion in concealment, and has brought him forth to the contest to adorn your venerable head with a crown of victory, and give your struggles as a high example of good service to the rest. So, my dear friend, conquer in this battle too, and bear bravely the death of your son-in-law, my own dear friend. Conquer in your wisdom the claims of kinsmanship and the memory of a noble and generous character, a memory which must always recall something beyond painters art or rhetorician's skill. Repel the assault of sorrow by the thought of Him who wisely administers all the affairs of men, with perfect knowledge of the future and right guidance of it for our good. Let us join in the joy of him who has been delivered from this life's storms. Let us rather give thanks because, wafted by kindly winds, he has cast anchor in the windless haven and has escaped the grievous shipwrecks whereof this life is full. But need I say all this to one who is a tried gladiator of goodness? Need I, as it were, anoint for endurance one who is a trainer of other athletes? Still I write. It is a comfort to myself to write as I do. I am really and truly grieved when I remember an intimacy that I esteemed so highly. Once more I praise the great Guide of all, Who both knows what would be good for us and guides our life accordingly. I have dictated this after writing my former communication, on one of my friends in Antioch telling me that the end had come.

XIII. To Cyrus.

I had heard of the island of Lesbos, and its cities Mitylene, Methymna, and the rest; but I was ignorant of the fruit of the vine cultivated in it.(1) Now, thanks to your diligence, I have become acquainted with it, and I admire both its whiteness and the delicacy of its flavour. Perhaps time may even improve it, unless it turns it sour; for wine, like the body, and plants, and buildings, and other things made by hand, is damaged by time. If, as you say, it makes the drinker longlived, I am afraid it will be of little use to me, for I have no desire to live a long life, when life's storms are so many and so hard.

I was however much pleased to hear of the health of the monk. Really my anxiety about him was quite distressing, and I wrongly blamed the doctors, for his complaint required the treatment they gave. I have sent you a little pot of honey which the Cilician bees make from storax flowers.

XIV. To Alexandra.

Had I only considered the character of the loss which you have sustained, I should have wanted consolation myself, not only because I count that what concerns you concerns me, be it agreeable or otherwise, but because I did so dearly love that admirable and truly excellent man. But the divine decree has removed him from us and translated him to the better life. I therefore scatter the cloud of sorrow from my soul, and urge you, my worthy friend, to vanquish the pain of your sorrow by the power of reason, and to bring your soul in this hour of need trader the spell of God's word. Why from our very cradles do we suck the instruction of the divine Scriptures, like milk from the breast, but that, when trouble falls upon us, we may be able to apply the teaching of the Spirit as a salve for our pain? I know how sad. how very grievous it is, when one has experienced the worth of some loved object, suddenly to be deprived of it, and to fall in a moment from happiness to misery. But to them that are gifted with good sense, and use their powers of right reason, no human contingency comes quite unforeseen; nothing human is stable; nothing lasting; nor beauty, nor wealth, nor health, nor dignity; nor any of all those things that most men rank so high. Some men fall from a summit of opulence to lowest poverty; some lose their health and struggle with various forms of disease; some who are proud of the splendour of their lineage drag the crushing yoke of slavery. Beauty is spoilt by sickness and marred by old age, and very wisely has the supreme Ruler suffered none of these things to continue nor abide, with the intent that their possessors, in fear of change, may lower their proud looks, and, knowing how all such possessions ebb and flow, may cease to put their confidence in what is short lived and fleeting, and may fix their hopes upon the Giver of all good. I am aware, my excellent friend, that you know all this, and I beg you to reflect on human nature; you will find that it is mortal, and received the doom of death from the beginning. It was to Adam that God said "Dust thou art and to dust thou shalt return."(1) The giver of the law is He that never lies, and experience witnesses to His truth. Divine Scripture tells us "all men have one entrance into life and the like going out,"(2) and every one that is born awaits the grave. And all do not live a like length of time; some men come to an end fill too soon; some in the vigour of manhood, and some after they have experienced the trials of old age. Thus, too, they who have taken on them the marriage yoke are loosed from it, and it must needs be that either husband first depart or wife reach this life's end before him. Some have but just entered the bridal chamber when their lot is weeping and lamentation; some live together a little while. Enough to remember that the grief is common to give reason ground for overcoming grief. Besides all this, even they who are mastered by bitterest sorrow may be comforted by the thought that the departed was the father of sons; that he left them grown up; that he had attained a very high position, and in it, so far from giving any cause for envy, made men love him the more, and left behind him a reputation for liberality, for hatred of all that is bad, for gentleness and indeed for every kind of moral virtue.(1)

But what excuse for despondency will be left us if we take to heart God's own promises and the hopes of Christians; the resurrection, I mean, eternal life, continuance in the kingdom, and all that "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him"?(2) Does not the Apostle say emphatically, "I would not have you to be ignorant brethren concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not even as others which have no hope"?(3) I have known many men who even without hope have got the better of their grief by the force of reason alone, and it would indeed be extraordinary if they who are supported by such a hope should prove weaker than they who have no hope at all. Let us then, I implore you, look at the end as a long journey. When he went on a Journey we used indeed to be sorry, but we waited his return. Now let the separation sadden us indeed in some degree, for I am not exhorting what is contrary to human nature, but do not let us wail as over a corpse; let us rather congratulate him on his setting forth and his departure hence, because he is now free from a world of uncertainties, and fears no further change of soul or booty or of corporeal conditions. The strife now ended, he waits for his reward. Grieve not overmuch for orphanhood and widowhood. We have a greater Guardian whose law it is that all should take good care of orphans and widows and about whom the divine David says "The Lord relieveth the fatherless and widow, but the way of the wicked He turneth upside down.(1) Only let us put the rudders of our lives in His hands, and we shall meet with an unfailing Providence. His guardianship will be surer than can be that of any man, for His are the words "Can a woman forget her sucking child that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yet will I not forget thee."(2) He is nearer to us than father and mother for He is our Maker and Creator. It is not marriage that makes fathers, but fathers are made fathers at His will.

I am now compelled thus to write because my bonds(3) do not suffer me to hasten to you, but your most God-loving and most holy bishop is able unaided to give all consolation to your very faithful soul by word and by deed, by sight and by communication of thought and by that spiritual and God-given wisdom of his whereby I trust the tempest of your grief will be lulled to sleep.

XV. To Silvanus the Primate.(4)

I know that in my words of consolation I am somewhat late, but it is not without reason that I have delayed to send them, for I have thought it worth while to let the violence of your grief take its course. The cleverest physicians will never apply their remedies when a fever is at its height, but wait for a favourable opportunity for using the appliances of their skill. So after reckoning how sharp your anguish must be, I have let these few days go by, for if I myself was so distressed and filled with such sorrow by the news, what must not have been the sufferings of a husband and yoke-fellow, made, as the Scripture says, one flesh,(5) at the violent sundering of the union cemented both by time and love? Such pangs are only natural; but let reason devise consolation by reminding you that humanity is frail and sorrow universal, and also of the hope of the resurrection and the will of Him who orders our lives wisely. We must needs accept the decrees of inestimable wisdom, and own them to be for our good; for they who reflect thus piously shall reap piety's rewards, and so delivered froth immoderate lamentations shall pass their lives in peace. On the other hand they whom sorrow makes its slaves will gain nothing by their wailing, but will at once live weary lives and grieve the Guardian of us all. Receive then, my most honoured friend, a fatherly exhortation "The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away. He hath done whatsoever pleased Him. Blessed be the name of the Lord."(1)

XVI. To Bishop Irenaeus.(2)

There is nothing good, it seems, in prospect for us, so, far from calming down, the tempest troubling the Church seems to rise higher every day. The conveners of the Council have arrived and delivered the letters of summons to several of the Metropolitans including our own, and I have sent a copy of the letter to your Holiness to acquaint you how, as the poet has it, "Woe has been welded by woe."(3) And we need only the Lord's goodness to stay the storm. Easy it is for Him to stay it, but we are unworthy of the calm, yet the grace of His patience is enough for us, so that haply by it we may get the better of our foes. So the divine apostle has taught us to pray "for He will with the temptation also make a way to escape that ye may be able to bear it."(4) But I beseech your godliness to stop the mouths of the objectors and make them understand that it is not for them who stand, as the phrase goes, out of range, to scoff at men fighting in the ranks anti giving and receiving blows; for what matters it what weapon the soldier uses to strike down his antagonists? Even the great David did not use a panoply when he slew the aliens' champion,(5) and Samson slew thousands on one day with the jawbone of an ass.(6) Nobody grumbles at the victory, nor accuses the conqueror of cowardice, because he wins it without brandishing a spear or covering himself with his shield or throwing darts or shooting arrows. The defenders of true religion must be criticized in the same way, nor must we try to find language which will stir strife, but rather arguments which plainly proclaim the truth and make those who venture to oppose it ashamed of themselves.

What does it matter whether we style the holy Virgin at the same time mother of Man and mother of God, or call her mother and servant of her offspring, with the addition that she is mother of our Lord Jesus Christ as man, but His servant as God, anti so at once avoid the term which is the pretext of calumny, and express the same opinion by another phrase? And besides this it must also be borne in mind that the former of these titles is of general use, and the latter peculiar to the Virgin; and that it is about this that all the controversy has arisen, which would God had never been. The majority of the old Fathers have applied the more honourable title to the Virgin, as your Holiness yourself has done in two or three discourses; several of these, which your godliness sent to me, I have in my own possession, and in these you have not coupled the title mother of Man with mother of God but have explained its meaning by the use of other words. But since you find fault with me for having left out the holy and blessed Fathers Diodorus and Theodorus in my list of authorities, I have thought it necessary to add a few words on this point.

In the first place, my dear friend, I have omitted many others both famous and illustrious. Secondly this fact must be borne in mind, that the accused party is bound to produce unimpeachable witnesses, whose testimony even his accusers cannot impugn. But if the defendant were to call into court authorities accused by the prosecutors, even the judge himself would not consent to receive them. If I had omitted these holy men in compiling an eulogy of the Fathers, I should, I own, have been wrong, and should have proved myself ungrateful to my teachers. But if when under accusation I have brought forward a defence, and have produced unimpeachable witnesses, why do men who are unwilling to see any of these testimonies lay me under unreasonable blame? How I reverence these writers is sufficiently shewn by my own book in their behalf, in which I have refuted the indictment laid against them, without fear of the influence of their accusers or even of the secret attack made upon myself. These people who are so fond of foolish talk bad better get some other excuse for their sleight of words. My object is not to make my words and deeds fit the pleasure of this man or that man, but to edify the church of God, and please her bridegroom and Lord. I call my conscience to witness that I am not acting as I do through care of material things, nor because I cling to the honour with all its cares, which I shrink from calling an unhappy one. I would long ago have withdrawn of my own accord, did I not fear the judgment of God. And now know well that I await my fate. And I think that it is drawing near, for so the plots against me indicate.(1)

XVII. To the Deaconess Casiana.

Had I only considered the greatness of your sorrow, I should have put off writing a little while, that I might make time my ally in my attempt to cure it, but I know the good sense of your piety, and so I make bold to offer you some words of consolation suggested partly by human nature, and partly by divine Scripture. For our nature is frail, and all life is full of such calamities, and the universal Governor and Ruler of the World,--the Lord who wisely orders our concerns,--gives us by means of His divine oracles consolation of various kinds, of which the writings of the holy Evangelists and the divine utterances of the blessed prophets are full. But I am sure it is needless to cull these passages, and suggest them to your piety, nurtured as you have been from the beginning in the inspired word, ruling your life in accordance with them, and needing no other teaching. But I do implore you to remember those words that charge us to master our feelings, and promise us eternal life, proclaim the destruction of death, and announce the common resurrection of its all. Besides all this, nay, before all this, I ask you to reflect that He who has bidden these things so be is the Lord, that He, is a Lord all wise and all good, Who knows exactly what is best for us, and to this end guides all our life. Sometimes death is better than life, and what seems distressing is really pleasanter than fancied joys. I beg your piety to accept the consolation offered by my humility, that you may serve the Lord of all by nobly bearing your pain, and affording to men as well as women an example of trite wisdom. For all will admire the strength of mind which has bravely borne the attack of grief and broken the force of its violent assault by the magnanimity of its resolution. And we are not without great comfort in the living likenesses of your departed son; for he has left behind him offspring worthy of deep affection, who may be able to stay the excess of our sorrow.

Lastly I implore you to remember in your grief what your bodily infirmity can endure, and to avoid increasing your sufferings by mourning overmuch; and I implore our Lord of His infinite resources to give you ground of consolation.

XVIII. To Neoptolemus.

Whenever I cast my eyes on the divine law which calls those who are joined together in marriage "one flesh,"(1) I am at a loss how to comfort the limb that has been sundered, because I take account of the greatness of the pang. But when I consider the course of nature, and the law which the Creator has laid down in the words "Dust thou art and to dust thou shalt return,"(1) and all that goes on daily in all the world on land and sea--for either husbands first approach the end of life or this lot first befalls the wives--I find from these reflections many, grounds of consolation; and above all the hopes that have been given us by our Lord and Saviour. For the reason of the accomplishment of the mystery of the incarnation was that we, being taught the defeat of death, should no more grieve beyond measure at the loss by death of those we love, but await the longed-for fulfilment of the hope of the resurrection. I entreat your Excellency to reflect on these things, and to overcome the pain of your grief; and all the more because the children of your common love are with you, and give you every ground of comfort. Let us then praise Him who governs our lives wisely, nor rouse His anger by immoderate lamentation, for in His wisdom He knows what is good for us, and in His mercy He gives it.

XIX. To the Presbyter Basilius.

I have found the right eloquent orator Athanasius to be just what your letter described him. His tongue is adorned by his speech, and his speech by his character, and all about him is brightened by his abundant faith. Ever, most God-beloved friend, send us such gifts. You have given me, be assured, very great pleasure through my intercourse with him.

XX. To the Presbyter Martyrius.

Natural disposition appears in us before resolution of character, and, in this sense, takes the lead; but disposition is overcome by resolution, as is plainly proved by the right eloquent orator Athanasius. Though an Egyptian by birth, he has none of the Egyptian want of selfcontrol, but shews a character tempered by gentleness.(2) He is moreover a warm lover of divine things. On this account he has spent many days with me, expecting to reap some benefit from his stay. But I, as you know, most God-beloved friend, shrink from trying so to derive good from others, and am far from being able to impart it to those who seek it, and this not because I grudge, but because I have not the wherewithal, to give. Wherefore let your holiness pray that what is said of me may be confirmed by fact, and that not only may good things be reported of me by word, but proved in deed.

XXI. To the learned Eusebius.

The disseminators of this great news, with the idea that it would be very distasteful to me, fancied that they might in this way annoy me. But I by God's grace welcomed the news, and await the event with pleasure. Indeed very grateful to me is any kind of trouble which is brought on me for the sake of the divine doctrines. For, if we really trust in the Lord's promises, "The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us."(1)

And why do I speak of the enjoyment of the good things which are hoped for? For even if no prize had been offered to them that struggle for the sake of true religion, Truth alone by her own unaided force would herself have been sufficient to persuade them that love her to welcome gladly all perils in her cause. And the divine Apostle is witness of what I say, exclaiming as he does, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril or sword? As it is written, 'For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.'"(2)

And then to teach us that he looks for no reward, but only loves his Saviour, he adds straightway "Nay in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved US."(3)

And he goes on further to exhibit his own love more clearly. "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."(4)

Behold, my friend, the flame of apostolic affection; see the torch of love.(5)

I covet not, he says, what is His. I only long for Him; and this love of mine is an unquenchable love and I would gladly forego all present and future felicity, aye, suffer and endure again all kinds of pain so as to keep with me this flame in all its force. This was exemplified by the divine writer in deed as well as in word and everywhere by land and sea he has left behind him memorials of his sufferings. So when I turn my eyes on him and on the rest of the patriarchs. prophets, apostles, martyrs, priests, what is commonly reckoned miserable I cannot but hold to be delightful. I confess to a feeling of shame when I remember how even they who never learnt the lessons we have learnt, but followed no other guide but human nature alone, have won conspicuous places in the race of virtue. The famous Socrates, son of Sophroniscus, when under the calumnious indictment, not only treated the lies of his accusers with contempt, but expressed his cheerfulness in the midst of his troubles in the words. "Anytus and Meletus(1) can kill me, but they cannot harm me." And the orator of Paeania,(2) who was as wise as he was eloquent, enriched both the men of his own day and them that should come after him with the saying: "to all the race of men the end of life is death, even though one shut himself up for safety in a cell; so good men are bound ever to put their hand to every honourable work, ever defending themselves with good hope as with a shield, and bravely to bear whatever lot may be given them by God."(3)

Moreover a writer of earlier date than Demosthenes, I mean the son of Olorus, wrote many noble sentiments, and among them this "We must bear what the gods send us of necessity and the fortune of war with courage."(4) Why need I quote philosophers, historians, and orators? For even the men who gave higher honour to their mythology than to the truth have inserted many useful exhortations in their stories; as Homer in his poems introduces the wisest of the Hellenes preparing himself for deeds of valour, where he says

"He chid his angry spirit and beat his breast,

And said 'Forbear my mind, and think on this:

There hath been time when bitterer agonies

Have tried thy patience.'"(5)

Similar passages might easily be collected from poets, orators, and philosophers, but for us the divine writings are sufficient.

I have quoted what I have to prove how disgraceful it were for the mere disciples of nature to get the better of us who have had the teaching of the prophets and the apostles, trusting in the Saviour's sufferings and looking for the resurrection of the body, freedom from corruption, the gift of immortality and the kingdom of heaven.

So, my dear friend, comfort those who are discouraged at the stories bruited abroad, and if anybody is pleased at them, tell them that we are happy too, that we are exulting and dancing with joy, and that what they call punishment we are looking for as the kingdom of heaven itself.

To inform those who do not know in what mind we are, be assured, most excellent friend, that we believe, as we have been taught, in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. There is no truth in the slander of some that we have been taught to believe, or have been baptized, or do believe, or teach others to believe, in two Sons. As we know one Father and one Holy Ghost so we know one Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, God the Word who was made man. We do not however deny the properties of the natures. We hold them to be in error who divide the one Lord Jesus Christ into two Sons, and we also call them enemies of the truth who endeavour to confound the natures. We believe an union to have been made without confusion, and we reckon some qualities to be proper to the manhood and others to the Godhead; for just as the man--I mean man in general--reasonable and mortal being, has a soul and has a body, and is reckoned to be one being, just so the distinction between the two natures does not divide the one man into two persons, but we recognise in the one man both the immortality of the soul and the mortality of the body, and acknowledge the invisible soul and the visible body, but, as I said, one being at once reasonable and mortal; so do we recognise our Lord and God, I mean the Son of God our Lord Christ, even after His incarnation, to be one Son; for the union is indivisible, as we know it is without confusion. We acknowledge too that the Godhead is without beginning, and that the manhood is of recent origin; for the one nature is of the seed of Abraham and David, from whom descended the holy Virgin, but the divine nature was begotten of the God and Father before the ages without time, without passions, without severance. But suppose the distinction between flesh and Godhead to be destroyed, what weapons shall we use in our war with Arius and Eunomius? How shall we undo their blasphemy against the only begotten? As it is, we apply the words of humiliation as to man, the words of exaltation and divinity as to God, and the setting forth of the truth is very easy to us.

But this disquisition on the faith is exceeding the limits of a letter. Still even these few words are enough to show the character of the apostolic faith.(1)

XXII. To Count Ulpianus.

It is said that what is faulty in men's ways may be brought to order and improved by words. But I think that characters made beautiful by nature, themselves make words fair, though they stand in need of none, just as bodies naturally beautiful need no artificial colouring. These qualities are conspicuous in the right eloquent orator Athanasius, and I have been the more pleased with him because he is an ardent lover of your Excellency, and is constantly sounding your praises. Here, however, I have striven with him, and in enumerating your high qualities, have outdone him, for I know more about good deeds of yours than he. I am however vexed at not being able to praise them all, and to see that my summary of your virtues falls short of what might be said in your praise, but if God grant it even to approach the truth you will hold the pre-eminence in every kind of virtue among all your contemporaries.(2)

XXIII. To the Patrician Areobindas.(3)

In distributing wealth and poverty among men the Creator and Governor of all gives no unjust judgment, but gives the poverty of the poor to the rich as a means of usefulness. So He brings chastisement upon men not merely in the infliction of punishment for their faults, but to provide the wealthy with opportunities for shewing kindness to mankind. This year the Lord has sent us scourges, far less than our sins, but enough to distress the husbandmen, of whose sufferings I lately made your magnificence acquainted through your own hinds. Pity, I beseech you, the tillers of the ground, who have spent their toil with but very little result. Be this bad year a suggestion of spiritual abundance, and do ye through the exercise of compassion gather in the harvest of the compassion of God. On this account the excellent Dionysius has hurried to your greatness to tell you of the trouble, that he may receive the remedy. He carries this letter, like a suppliant's branch of olive, in the hope that by its means he may receive greater kindness.

XXIV. To Andreas Bishop of Samosata.

Your piety, nursling of God's love, longs, I am sure, for my society. But I am all the more eager for yours in proportion as I know that from it more advantage will accrue to me. Want somehow naturally makes our wishes the stronger, but the Lord of all is able to give us what we long for. He rules all things Himself; knows what is sure to do us good, and never ceases to give every man this boon. I really cannot tell you how much delighted I was with your letter, and the very honourable and devout deacon Thalassius increased my pleasure by telling me what I was very anxious to know, for what call be more welcome to me than news that all goes well with you ? And what is it that so increases your welfare as the moderation of the great men among us ? You have acted like a wise and active physician who does not wait to be sent for, but comes of his own accord to them that need his care. This has given me great pleasure, and I have learnt by my own experience what the poet means when he says "laughing through her tears."(1) May the bountiful Giver of all good things grant your holiness to excel in them, and to make us emulous of what is praiseworthy in all good men. Help us then my dear friend, and persuade him who can to grant our petition."

XXV. Festal.

When the only begotten God had been made Man, and had wrought out our salvation, they who in those days saw Him from whom these bounties flowed kept no feast. But in our time, land and sea, town and hamlet, though they cannot see their benefactor with eyes of sense, keep a feast in memory of all He has done for them; and so great is the joy flowing from these celebrations that the streams of spiritual gladness run in all directions. Wherefore we now salute your piety, at once to signify the cheerfulness which the feast has caused in us, and to ask your prayers that we may keep it to the end.

XXVI. Festal.

The fountains of the Lord's kindness are ever gushing forth with good things for them that believe; but some further good is conveyed by the celebrations which preserve the memory of the greatest of benefits to them that keep the feasts with more good will. We have just now celebrated the rites and enjoyed their blessing, and thus salute your piety, for so the custom of the feast and law of love enjoins.

XXVII. To Aquilinus, deacon and Archimandrite.

No one who has won the divine adoption weeps for orphanhood, for what guardian care can be more powerful than that of our Father which is on high, because of Him fathers of earth are fathers. By His will some are made fathers by nature, some by grace. To Him then let us hold fast and keep alive the memory of them that are dead. For we shall be the better for the recollection of them that have lived well, rousing us to imitation of them.

XXVIII. To Jacobus, presbyter and monk.

They who have made the vigour of their manhood bright by virtuous industry hasten happily towards old age, gladdened by the recollection of their former victories, and for old age's sake rid of further struggle. This joy I think your own piety possesses, and that you bear your old age the more easily for the recollection of the labours of your youth.

XXIX. To Apellion.

The sufferings of the Carthaginians would demand, and, in their greatness, perhaps out-task, the power of the tragic language of an AEschylus or a Sophocles. Carthage of old was with difficulty taken by the Romans. Again and again she contended with Rome for the mastery of the world, and brought Rome within danger of destruction. Now the ruin has been the mere byplay of barbarians. Now dignified members of her far-famed senate wander all over the world, getting means of existence from the bounty of kindly strangers, moving the tears of beholders, and teaching the uncertainty and instability of the lot of man.

I have seen many who have come thence and I have felt afraid, for I know not, as the Scripture says, "what the morrow will bring forth."[1] Not least do I admire the admirable and most honourable Celestinianus, so bravely does he bear his misfortune, and makes the loss of his happiness an occasion for philosophy, praising the governor of all, and holding that to be good which God either ordains or suffers to be. For the wisdom of divine Providence is unspeakable. He is travelling with his wife and children, and I beg your excellency to treat him with an hospitality like that of Abraham. With perfect confidence in your benevolence I have undertaken to introduce him to you, anti I am telling him how generous is your right hand.[1]

XXX. To Aerius the Sophist.[2]

Now is the time for your Academy to prove the use of your discussions. I am told that a brilliant assemblage collects at your house, of which the members are both illustrious by birth and polished of speech, and that you debate about virtue and the immortality of the soul, anti other kindred subjects. Show now opportunely your nobility of soul and wealth of virtue, and receive the most admirable and honourable Celestinianus in the spirit of men who have learnt the rapid changes of human prosperity. He was formerly an ornament of the city of Carthage, where he flung open the doors of his house to many priests, and never thought to need a stranger's kindness. Be his spokesman, my friend, and aid him in his need of your voice, for he cannot suffer the advice of the poet which bids him that needeth speak though he be ashamed.[3]

Persuade I beg you any of your society who are capable of so doing to emulate the hospitality of Alcinous,[4] to remove the poverty which has unexpectedly befallen him, and to change his evil fortune into good. Let them praise our kindly Lord for making us wise by other men's calamities, not having sent us to strangers' houses and having brought stranger's to our doors. To men that shew kindness He promises to give what words cannot express and no intelligence can understand.

XXXI. To Domnus bishop of Antioch.[5]

The most admirable and honourable Celestinianus is a native of the famous Carthage, and of an illustrious family in that city. Now he has been exiled from it. He is wandering in foreign parts, and has to look to the benevolence of them that love God. He carries with him a burden from which he cannot escape and which increases his care--I mean his wife, his children and his servants, for whom he is at great expense. I wonder at his spirit. For he praises the great Pilot as though he were being borne by favourable breezes, and cares nothing for the terrible storm. From his calamity he has reaped the fruit of piety, and this thrice blessed gain has been brought him by his misfortune; for while he was in prosperity he never accepted this teaching, but when the evil day left him bare, among the rest of his losses he lost his impiety too, and now possesses the wealth of the faith, and for its sake thinks little of his ruin.

I therefore beseech your holiness to let him find a fatherland in these foreign parts, and to charge them that abound in riches to comfort one who once was endowed like themselves, and to scatter the dark cloud of his calamity. It is only right and proper that among men of like nature, where all have erred, they that have escaped chastisement should bring comfort to them that have fallen on evil days, and by their sympathy for these latter propitiate the mercy of God.

XXXII. To the Bishop Theoctistus.[1]

If the God of all hall forthwith inflicted punishment on all that err he would utterly have destroyed all men. But He spares; He is a merciful Judge; and therefore some He chastises, and to others He gives the lesson of the punishment of the chastised. An instance of this merciful dealing has been shewn in our times. Exiles from what was once known as Libya, but is now called Africa, have been brought by Him to our doors, and by shewing us their sufferings He moves us to fear, and by fear rouses us to sympathy; thus He accomplishes two ends at once, for He both benefits us by their chastisement, and to them by our means brings comfort. This comfort I now beg you to give to the very admirable and honourable Celestinianus, a man who once was an ornament of the Africans' chief city, but now has neither city nor home, nor any of the necessaries of life. Now it is proper that those who in the jurisdiction of your holiness have been entrusted with the pastoral care of souls should bring before their fellow citizens what is for their good, for indeed they need such teaching. For this reason, as we know, the divine Apostle in his Epistle to Titus writes "Let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses,"[1] for if our city, solitary as it is, and with only a small population, and that a poor one, succours the strangers, much rather may Beroea,[2] which has been nurtured in true religion, be expected to do so, especially under the leadership of your holiness.

XXXIII. To Stasimus, Count and Primate.[3]

To narrate the sufferings of the most honourable and dignified Celestinianus would require tragic eloquence. Tragic writers set forth fully the ills of humanity, but I can only in a word inform your excellency that his country is Libya, so long on all men's tongues, his city the far famed Carthage, his hereditary rank a seat in her famous council, his circumstances affluent. But all this is now a tale, mere words stripped bare of realities. The barbarian war has deprived him of all this. But such is fortune; she refuses to remain always with the same men and hastens to change her abode to dwell with others.[4] I beg to introduce this guest to your excellency, and beseech you that be may enjoy your far famed beneficence. I beg also that through your excellency he may become known to all those who are in office and opulence, in order that you may both become a means of advantage to them and win the higher reward from our merciful God.

XXXIV. To the Count Patricius.

All kinds of goodness are praiseworthy, but all are made more beautiful by loving kindness. For it we earnestly pray the God of all; through it alone we obtain forgiveness when we err; it makes wealth stoop to the poor. and because I know that your Excellency is richly endowed with it I confidently commend to you the admirable and excellent Celestinianus, once lord of vast wealth and possessions and suddenly stripped of all, but bearing his poverty as easily as few men bear their riches. The subject of the tragedy involving the fall of his fortunes is the barbarian invasion of Libya and Carthage. I have introduced him to your greatness; pray suggest his case to others, and move them to pity. You will win greater gain by giving many a lesson in loving kindness:

XXXV. To the Bishop Irenoeus.[1]

You are conspicuous, my Lord, for many forms of goodness, and your holiness is beautified in an especial degree by loving-kindness, by contempt of riches, and by a generosity that gushes forth for the help of them that need. I know too that you deem worthy of more than ordinary attention those who have been brought up in prosperity and have fallen from it into trouble. Knowing this as well as I do I venture to make known to you the very admirable and excellent Celestinianus. He was once well known in Carthage for wealth and position, now stripped of these he is favourably known by his piety and philosophy, for he bears what men call misfortune with resignation because it has brought him to the salvation of his soul. He came to me with a letter which described his former prosperity, and after he had passed several days with me I proved the truth of what was said of him by experience. I have therefore no hesitation in commending him to your Holiness, and begging you to make him known to the well-to-do men of the city. It is probable that when they have learnt what has befallen him, in fear of a like fate befalling themselves, they will endeavour to escape judgment by shewing mercy. He has no resource but to go about begging, as he is put to the greater expense because he has with him his wife and children, and the domestics who with him escaped the violence of the barbarians.

XXXVI. To Pompianus, Bishop of Emesa.

I know very well that your means are small and your heart is great, and that in your case generosity is not prevented by limited resources. I therefore introduce to your holiness the admirable and excellent Celestinianus, once enjoying much wealth and prosperity, but now escaped from the hands of the barbarians with nothing but freedom, and having no means of livelihood except the mercy of men like your piety. And cares crowd round him, for travelling with him are his wife, children and servants, whom he has brought with him from no motives but those of humanity, for he cannot think it right to dismiss them when they refuse to abandon him. I beg you of your goodness to make him known to our wealthy citizens, for I think that, after being informed by your holiness and seeing how soon prosperity may fall away, they will bethink them of our common humanity, and, in imitation of your magnanimity, will give him such help as they can.

XXXVII. To Salustius the Governor.[1]

When rulers keep the scales of justice true, and let them hang in even balance, they confer all kinds of benefits upon their subjects; if they are also gifted with prudence and further show loving-kindness to him that needs it, manifold advantages accrue from their rule to them that live under it. Having enjoyed these good things through your excellency, and having experienced them in your refiner administration, they have now been moved with joy at the information that to your munificence the helm of government has been entrusted. I pray that they may gain yet greater good, that your excellency may win still higher praise, and that the encomiums of your eulogists may be vindicated by the addition to all your other honourable titles to fame of that colophon[2] of good things--true religion. As I was compelled to pass several days in Hierapolis I hoped to have the pleasure of meeting your excellency, and persistently enquired of new comers if the insignia of office had been conveyed to you. But I was compelled by the divine feast of salvation to return in haste to the city entrusted to me. Now however that I have received your excellency's letter, with very great pleasure I return your salutation. and without delay have sent, as you requested, the honourable and pious deacon who is by God's grace a water-finder. May the Lord in His loving kindness grant him both to do good service to the city and increase your excellency's glory.

XXXVIII. Festal.

The divine feast of salvation has brought us the founts of God's good gifts, the blessing of the Cross, and the immortality which sprang from our Lord's death, the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ which gives promise of the resurrection of us all. These being the gifts of the feast, such its exhibition of the bounty of divine grace, it has filled us with spiritual gladness. But encompassed as we are on every side by many and great calamities, the brightness of the feast is dimmed, and lamentation and wailing are mingled with our psalmody. Such sorrows does sin bring forth. It is sin which has filled our life with pangs; it is on account of sin that death is lovelier to us than life; it is on account of sin that when we think in imagination of that incorruptible tribunal we shudder even at the life to come. So may your piety pray that God's loving-kindness may light on us, and that this gloomy and terrible cloud may be dispersed and sunshine again quickly give us joy.

XXXIX. Festal.

My wish was to write in cheerful terms and sound the note of the spiritual joy of the feast, but I am prevented by the multitude of our sins, which are bringing on us the judgment of God. For who indeed can be so insensible as not to perceive the divine wrath? May your piety then pray that affairs may undergo a change for the better; that so we too may change the style of our letter, and write words of cheerfulness instead of those of wailing.

XL. To Theodorus the Vicar.[1]

The custom of the feast bids me write a festal letter, but the cloud of our calamities suffers me not to gather the usual happy fruit from it. Who is so stony-hearted as not to be shocked and affrighted at the anger and grief of the Lord? Who is not stirred to the memory of faults? Who does not look for the righteous sentence? All this dims the brightness of the feast, but the Lord is frill of loving-kindness, and we trust He will not actually fulfil His threats, but will look mercifully on us, scatter our sadness, open the springs of mercy, and shew His wonted long suffering. I salute your greatness, and beseech you to send me news of the health I sincerely trust you are enjoying.

XLI. To Claudianus.[2]

The divine Celebration has as usual conferred on us its spiritual boons; but the sour fruits of sin have not suffered us to enjoy them with gladness. They have had their usual results; in the beginning they caused thorns, caltrops, sweats, toil and pain to sprout; at the present moment sin sets the earth quaking against us, and makes nations rise against us on every side. And we lament because we force the good Lord, who is wishful to do us good, to do us ill, and compel Him to inflict punishment.

Yet when we be think us of the unfathomable depths of His pity we are comforted, and trust that the Lord will not cast off His people, neither will He forsake His inheritance.[1] While saluting your magnificence I beseech you to give me news of your much-wished for health.

XLII. To Constantius the perfect.[2]

Did no necessity compel me to address a letter to your greatness, I might haply be found guilty of presumption, for neither taking due measure of myself nor recognising the greatness of your power. But now that all that is left of the city and district which God has committed to my charge is in peril of utterly perishing, and certain men have dared to bring calumnious charges against the recent visitation, I am sure your magnificence will pardon the boldness of my letter when you enquire into the necessity of the case, my own object in writing. I groan and lament at being compelled to write against a man over whose errors one ought to throw a veil, because he is of the clerical order. Nevertheless I write to defend the cause of the poor whom he is wronging. After being charged with many crimes and excluded from the Communion, pending the assembly of the sacred Synod, in alarm at the decision of the episcopal council he has made his escape from this place, thereby trampling, as he supposed, on the laws of the Church, and, by his contempt of the sentence of excommunication has laid bare his motive. He has undertaken an accusation not even fit for men of mean crafts, and in consequence of his ill-feeling towards the illustrious Philip has proceeded against the wretched tax-payers. I feel that it is quite needless for me to mention his character, his course of life from the beginning and the greatness of his wrong-doings, but this one thing I do beseech your Excellency, not to believe his lies, but to ratify the visitation, and spare the wretched tax-payers. Aye, spare the thrice wretched decurions who cannot exact the moneys demanded of them. Who indeed is ignorant of the severity of the taxation of the acres among us? On this account most of our landowners have fled, our hinds have run away, and the greater part of our lands are deserted. In discussing the land there will be no impropriety in our using geometrical terms. Of our country the length is forty milestones, and the breadth the same. It includes many high mountains, some wholly bare, and some covered with unproductive vegetation. Within this district there are fifty thousand free jugers,[1] and besides that ten thousand which belong to the imperial treasury. Now only let your wisdom consider how great is the wrong. For if none of the country had been uncultivated, and it had all furnished easy husbandry for the hinds, they would nevertheless have sunk under the tribute unable to endure the severity of the taxation. And here is a proof of what I say. In the time of Isidorus[2] of glorious memory, fifteen thousand acres were taxed in gold, but the exactors of the Comitian assessment unable to bear the loss, frequently complained, and by offerings besought your high dignity to let them off two thousand five hundred for the unproductive acres, and your excellency's predecessors in this office ordered the unproductive acreage to be taken off the unfortunate decurions, and an equivalent number to be substituted for the Comitian; and not even thus are they able to complete the tale.

So with many words I ask your favour, and beseech your magnificence to put aside the false accusations that are made against the wretched tax-payers, to stem the tide of distress in this unhappy district, and let it once more lift its head. Thus you will leave an imperishable memory of honour to future generations. I am joined in my supplication to you by all the saints of our district, and especially by that right holy and pious man of God, the Lord Jacobus.[3] who holds silence in such great esteem that he cannot be induced to write, but he prays that our city, which is made illustrious by having him as neighbour and is protected by his prayers, may receive the boon which I ask.

XLIII. To the Augusta Pulcheria[4]

Since you adorn the empire by your piety and render the purple brighter by your faith, we make bold to write to you, no longer conscious of our insignificance in that you always pay all due honour to the clergy. With these sentiments I beseech your majesty to deign to show clemency to our unhappy country, to order the ratification of the visitation which has been several times made, and not to accept the false accusations which some men have brought against it. I beseech you to give no credit to him who bears indeed the name of bishop, but whose mode of action is unworthy even of respectable slaves.[1] He has been himself under serious charges and subject to the bann of excommunication under the most holy and God-beloved archbishop of Antioch, the Lord Domnus, pending the summoning of the episcopal council for the investigation of the charges against him. He has now made his escape, and betaken himself to the imperial city, where he plies the trade of an informer, attacking the country which is his mother country with its thousands of poor, and, for the sake of his hatred to one, wags his tongue against all. Out of regard to what is becoming to me I will say nothing as to his character and education, and indeed he shows only too plainly what he has at present in hand. But of the district I will say this, that when the whole province had its burdens lightened, this portion, although it bore a very heavy share of the burden, never enjoyed the benefit of relaxation. The result is that many estates are deprived of husbandmen; nay, many are altogether abandoned by their owners, while the wretched decurions have demands made on them for these very properties, and, being quite unable to bear the exaction, betake themselves some to begging, and some to flight. The city seems to be reduced to one man, and he will not be able to hold out unless your piety supplies a remedy. But I am in hopes that your serenity will heal the wounds in the city and add yet this one more to your many good deeds.

XLIV. To the patrician[2] Senator.

Thanks be to the Saviour of the world because to your greatness He is ever adding dignity and honour. The reason of my not writing up to this time to exhibit the delight which I have felt at the colophon[2] of your honour, has been my wish not to trouble your magnificence. At the moment of my now thus writing, the district which Providence has committed to my care stands as the proverb has it on a razor's edge.[4] You will remember the visitation which was made at the time when we first were benefited by your presence among us; how it was with difficulty established in the time of the most excellent prefect the Lord Florentius;(1) and how it was confirmed by the present holder of the office. An individual who bears the name of bishop, but of ways unworthy even of stage players, has fled from the episcopal synod at a time when he was lying under sentence of excommunication and is endeavouring to calumniate and discredit the visitation, while through his hatred to the illustrious Philip be assails the truth. I therefore beseech your excellency to make his lies of none effect, and that the visitation lawfully confirmed may remain undisturbed. It is indeed becoming to your greatness to reap the fruit of this good deed among the rest, to receive the acclamations of those whom yon are benefiting, and so to do honour at once to the God of all and to his true servant the very man of God the Lord Jacob,(2) who joins with me in sending you this supplication. Had it been his wont to write he would have written himself.

XLV. To the Patrician Anatolius.(3)

Your greatness knows full well how all the inhabitants of the East feel towards your magnificence, as sons feel towards an affectionate father. Why then have you shewn hate to them that love you, deprived them of your kindly care, and driven them all to weeping and lamentation by putting your own advantage before the service of others? In truth I think there is not one of them that fear the Lord who is not much grieved at losing your official sway, and I think that even all the rest, although they have not right knowledge about divine things, when they reflect on the kindnesses you have conferred share in these sentiments of distress. I for my part am specially sorry when I bethink the of your dignity and your unaffected character, and I pray the God of all ever to bestow on you the bulwark of His invincible right hands and supply you with abundance of all kinds of blessings. We beseech your excellency no less when absent than when present to extend to us your accustomed protection, and to undo the rage of that unworthy bishop of ours whose purposes are perfectly well known to your greatness. He is endeavouring, as I am informed, to work the entire ruin of our district, and has accepted the part of an informer to culumniate the recent visitation, and this when all in a word know that the taxation of our district is very heavy, and that in consequence many estates have been abandoned by the husbandmen. But this man, in contempt of his excommunication, and in flight from the holy synod, has thrust out his tongue against the unhappy poor. May your magnificence then consent to look to it that the truth be not vanquished by a lie. And I bring the same supplication about the Cilicians. For we cease not to wail till the iniquity be undone. The Lord, who promises to reward even a drop of water, will requite you for this trouble.

XLVI. To the learned Petrus.

Nothing is able to stay the praiseworthy purpose of them that highly esteem what is right. That this is the case is confirmed by the grief shown by your magnificence at the news you have lately received, and your re-refusal to overlook the attack that right has suffered. You have opportunely put away your distress, and righteously stopped the mouth of the enemy of the truth. No sooner did we hear of this, and found true philosophy so coupled with rhetorical skill, than we felt the more warmly disposed towards your' excellence. Now we beseech you the more earnestly to counteract this fine fellow's lies and confirm the comfort given to the unhappy poor.

XLVII. To Proclus,(1) Bishop of Constantinople.

A year ago, thanks to your holiness, the illustrious Philip governor of our city was delivered from serious danger. After entering into the enjoyment of the security which he owed to your kindness, he filled our ears with your praises. But all your labour a certain most pious personage was endeavouring to make null and void. The visitation made several times twelve years ago he calumniates, and has adopted a style of slander which would be unbecoming even in a respectable slave. Now I beseech your sanctity to put a stop to his lies, and to induce the illustrious praefects to ratify the decision which they duly and mercifully gave. As a matter of fact our city was taxed more severely than all the cities of the provinces, and after every city had been relieved ours continued to this day assessed at over sixty-two thousand acres. At last the occupants of that seat of honour were with difficulty induced to send inspectors of the district; their report was first received by Isidorus of famous memory and confirmed by the glorious and Christ-loving lord Florentius, and tile whole matter was very carefully enquired into by our present ruler, whose equity adorns the throne, and he confirmed the assessment by an imperial decree. But this truth-loving person, all for his hatred of one single individual, the excellent Philip, has declared war against the poor. Under these circumstances I implore your holiness to array the forces of your righteous eloquence against his eloquence of wrong, to throw your shield over the truth which is attacked and at once prove her strength and the futility of lies.

XLVIII. To Eustathius, bishop of Berytus.(1)

I have gladly received the accusation, although I have no difficulty in disproving the indictment. I have written not three letters only but four; and I suspect one of two things; either those who promised to convey the letters did me wrong in the matter of their delivery, or else your piety, though in receipt of them, is yet anxious for more, and so gets up a charge of idleness against me. I, as I said before, am not distressed at the accusation, for it is plain proof to me of the warmth of your affection. Continue then to ply your craft, cease not to prefer your complaint and so to cause pleasure to myself.

XLIX. To Damianus,(2) bishop of Sidon.

It is the nature of mirrors to reflect the faces of them that gaze into them, and so whoever looks at them sees his own form. This is the same too with the pupils of the eyes, for they shew in them the likeness of other people's features. Of this your holiness furnishes an instance, for you have not seen my ugliness, but have beheld with admiration your own beauty. I really have none of the qualities which you have mentioned. It is nevertheless my prayer that your words may be vindicated by actual fact, and I beseech your piety by your prayers to cause it to come to pass that your praises may not fall to the ground through having no reality to correspond with them.

L. To the Archimandrite Gerontius.(1)

The characters of souls are often depicted in words and their unseen forms revealed; so now your reverence's letter exhibits the piety of your holy soul. Your waiting for that sentence, your anxiety, your search for advocates and preparation for a defence, clearly indicate your soul's zeal about divine things. We on the contrary are in a manner inactive and sleepy; we are nurtured in idleness, and stand in need of much assistance from prayers. Give them to us, O man beloved of God, that now at all events we may wake up and give some care to the soul.

LI. To the presbyter Agapius.(2)

The works of virtue are admirable in themselves, but yet more admirable do they appear if they find an eloquence able to report them well. Neither of these advantages has been lacking in the case of the bishop beloved of God, the lord Thomas, for he himself has contributed his own labours on behalf of piety, and has found in your holiness a tongue to bestow meet praise on those labours. Coming as he did with such testimony in his favour we have been all the more delighted to see him, and, after enjoying his society for a short space, have dismissed him to his charge.

LII. To Ibas, bishop of Edessa. (3)

It is, I think, of His providential care for our common salvation that the God of all brings on some men certain calamities, that chastisement may prove to be to them that have erred a healing remedy; to virtue's athletes an encouragement to constancy; and to all who look on a beneficial exemplar. For it is natural that when we see others punished we should be filled with fear ourselves. In view of these considerations I look on the trouble of Africa as a general advantage. In the first place when I bear in mind their former prosperity and now took on their sudden overthrow, I see how variable are all human affairs, and learn a twofold lesson;--not to rejoice in felicity as though it would never come to an end, nor be distressed at calamities as hard to bear. Then I recall the memory of past errors, and tremble lest I fall into like sufferings. My main motive in now writing to you is to introduce to your holiness the very God-beloved bishop Cyprianus,(1) who starting from the famous Africa is now compelled, by the savagery of the barbarians, to travel in Foreign lands.

He has brought a letter to us from the very holy bishop the lord Eusebius,(2) who wisely rules the Galatians. When your piety has received him with your wonted kindness I beg you to send him with a letter to whatever pious bishops you may think fit so that while he enjoys their kindly consolation he may be the means of their receiving heavenly and lasting benefits.

LIII. To Sophronius, bishop of Constantina.(3)

Since I know, O God-beloved, how generous and bountiful is your right hand, I put a coveted boon within your reach; for just as men hungry for this world's gain are annoyed at the sight of them that stand in need of pecuniary aid, so the liberal are delighted, because the riches they reach after are heavenly. A man who furnishes this excellent opportunity is the God-beloved bishop Cyprianus, formerly known among them that minister to others, but now, while he gives a deplorable account of the African calamities, he has to look to the benevolence of others, and depends on the bounty of pious souls. I hope that he too will enjoy your brotherly kindness, and will be forwarded with letters to other havens of refuge.

LIV. Festal.

By our divine and saving celebrations both the down-hearted are cheered, and the joyous made yet more joyful. This I have learnt by experience, for, when whelmed in the waves of despair, I have risen superior to the surge at sight of the haven of the feast. May your piety pray that I may be wholly rescued from this storm, and that our loving Lord may grant me forgetfulness of my sorrow.

LV. Festal.

We are much distressed, for we are gifted with the nature not of rocks but of men, but the recollection of the Lord's Epiphany has been to me a very potent medicine; so at once I write, according to the custom of the feast, and salute your magnificence with a prayer that you may live in prosperity and repute.

LVI. Festal.

My grief is now at its height and my mind is seriously affected by it, but I have thought it right to fulfil the custom of the feast, so now I take my pen to salute your reverence and pay the debt of affection.

LVII. To the praefect Eutrechius.(1)

Besides other boons the Ruler of the universe has granted to us that of hearing of your excellency's honour, and of congratulating at once yourself on your elevation and your subjects on so gentle a rule. I have thought it wrong to give no expression to my satisfaction and to refrain from manifesting it by letter. Your magnificence knows quite well how warm is our affection towards you--an affection most warmly reciprocated. And being so filled with love we beseech the Giver of all good things ever to pour on you His manifold gifts.

LVIII. To the consul Nomus.(2)

I am divided in mind at the idea of sending a letter to your greatness. On the one hand I know how everything depends on your judgment; I see you under the weight of public anxieties, and so think it better to be silent. On the other hand, being well aware of the breadth and capacity of your intelligence, I cannot bear to say nothing, and am afraid of being charged with negligence. I am moreover stimulated by the longing regret left with me by the short taste I had of your society. My full enjoyment of it was prevented by the disease and death of that most blessed man, so now I think writing will be a comfort. I pray the Master of all to guide your life that it be ever borne on favourable breezes and so we may reap the benefit of your kindly care.

LIX. To Claudianus.(3)

Sincere friendships are neither dissolved by distance of place nor weakened by time. Time indeed inflicts indignities on our bodies, spoils them of the bloom of their beauty, and brings on old age; but of friendship he makes the beauty yet more blooming, ever kindling its fire to greater warmth and brightness. So separated as I am from your magnificence by many a day's march, pricked by the goad of friendship I indite you this letter of salutation. It is conveyed by the standard-bearer Patroinus, a man who on account of his high character is worthy of all respects for he endeavours with much zeal to observe the laws of God. Deign, most excellent sir, to give us by him information of your excellency's precious health, and of the desired fulfilment of your promise.

LX. To Dioscorus, bishop of Alexandria.(1)

Among many forms of virtue by which, we hear that your holiness is adorned (for all men's ears are filled by the flying fame of your glory, which speeds in all directions) special praise is unanimously given to your modesty, a characteristic of which our Lord in His law has given Himself as an ensample, saying, "Learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart;"(2) for though God is high, or rather most high He honoured at His incarnation the meek and lowly spirit. Looking then to Him, sir, you do not behold the multitude of your subjects nor the exaltation of your throne, but you see rather human nature, and life's rapid changes, and follow the divine laws whose observance gives us the kingdom of heaven. Hearing of this modesty on the part of your holiness, I take courage in a letter to salute a person sacred anti dear to God, and I offer prayers whereof the fruit is salvation. Occasion is given me to write by the very pious presbyter Eusebius, for when I heard of his journey thither I immediately indited this letter to call upon your holiness to support us by your prayers, and by your reply to give us a spiritual feast, sending to us who are hungry the blessed banquet of your words.

LXI. To the presbyter Archibius.

I did not let the two letters which I had just received from you go unheeded, but wrote without delay, and gave my letter to the very devout presbyter Eusebius.(3) In consequence of some delay, it was for the time postponed, for the weather kept the vessels within the harbour, inasmuch as it indicated a coming storm at sea and bade sailors and pilots wait awhile. So I discharged this debt for the time, not that I may cease to be a debtor but that I may increase the debt. For this obligation becomes many times greater by being discharged, inasmuch as they who try to observe the laws of friendship increase the potency of its love, and, blowing sparks into a flame, kindle a greater warmth of affection, while all who are fired thereby strive to surpass one another in love. Receive then my defence, my venerable friend; forgive me; and send me a letter to tell me how you are.

LXII. To the presbyter John.

A saying of one of the men who used to be called wise was, "Live unseen." I applaud the sentiment, and have determined to confirm the word by deed, for I see no impropriety in gathering what is good from others, just as bees, it is said, gather their honey and draw forth the sweet dew from bitter herbs as well as from them that are good to eat, and I myself have seen them settling on a barren rock and sucking up its scanty moisture. Far more reasonable is it for them that are credited with reason to harvest what is good from every source; so, as I said, I try to live unseen, and above all men am I a lover of peace and quiet. On his recent return from your part of the world the very pious presbyter Eusebius announced that you had held a certain meeting, and that in the course of conversation mention had been made of me, and that your piety spoke with praise of my insignificant self. I have therefore deemed it ungrateful, and indeed unfair, that he who spoke thus well and kindly of me should fail to be paid in like coin; for although we bare done nothing worthy of praise still we admire the intention of them that thus praise us, for such praise is the off-spring of affection. Wherefore I salute your reverence, using as a means of conveyance of my letter him who has brought to me the unwritten words which you have spoken about me. When, most pious sir, you have received my letter, write in reply. You were first in speech; I in writing; and I answer speech by letter. It remains now to you to answer letter for letter.

LXIII. Festal.(1)

We have enjoyed the wonted blessings of the Feast. We have kept the memorial Feast of the Passion of Salvation; by means of the resurrection of the Lord we have received the glad tidings of the resurrection of all, and have hymned the ineffable loving kindness of our God and Savior. But the storm tossing the churches has not suffered us to take our share of unalloyed gladness. If, when one member is in pain the whole body is partaker of the pang,(2) how can we forbear from lamentation when all the body is distressed? And it intensifies our discouragement to think that these things are the prelude of the general apostasy. May your piety pray that since we are in this plight we may get the divine succour, that, as the divine Apostle phrases it, we may ''be able to withstand the evil day."(1) But if any time remain for this life's business, pray that the tempest may pass away, and the churches recover their former calm, that the enemies of the truth may no more exult at our misfortunes.

LXIV. Festal.

When the Master underwent the Passion of salvation for the sake of mankind, the company of the sacred Apostles was much disheartened, for they know not clearly what was to be the Passion's fruit. But when they knew the salvation that grew therefrom, they called the proclamation of the Passion glad tidings, and eagerly offered it to all mankind. And they that believed, as being enlightened in mind, cheerfully received it, and keep the Feast in memory of the Passion, and make the moment of death an opportunity for entertainment and festivity. For the close connexion with it of the resurrection does away with the sadness of death, and becomes a pledge for the resurrection of all. After just now taking part in this celebration, we send you these tidings of the feast as though they were some fragrant perfume, and salute your piety.

LXV. To the general Zeno.(2)

To be smitten by human ills is the common lot of all men; to endure them bravely and rise superior to their attack is no longer common. The former is of human nature; the latter depends upon resolution. It is on this account that we wonder how the philosophers resolved on the noblest course of life and conquered their calamities by wisdom. And philosophy is produced by our reason's power, which rules our passions and is not led to and fro by them. Now one of human ills is grief, and it is this which we exhort your excellency to overcome, and it will not be difficult for you to rise victorious over this feeling, if you consider human nature, and take to heart the uselessness of sorrow. For what gain will it be to the departed that we should wail and lament? When, however, we reflect upon the common birth, the long years of intercourse, the splendid service in the field, and the far-famed achievements, let us reflect that he who was adorned by them was a man subject to the law of death; that moreover all things are ordained by God, who guides the affairs of men in accordance with His sacred knowledge of what will be for their good. Thus have I written so far as the limits of a letter would allow me, beseeching your eminence for all our sakes to preserve your health, which is wont to be maintained by cheerfulness and ruined by despondency. Wherefore in my care for the advantage of us all I have penned this letter.

LXVI. To Aerius the Sophist.(1)

She that gave you birth and nurtured you invites you to the longed-for feast. The holy shrine is crowned by a roof; it is fitly adorned; it is eager for the inhabitants for whom it was erected. These are Apostles and Prophets, loud-voiced heralds of the old and new covenant. Adorn, therefore, the feast with your presence; receive the blessing which swells forth from it, and make the feast more joyous to us.

LXVII. To Maranas.

It was thy work, my good Sir, to call the rest also to the feast of the dedication. Through thy zeal and energy the holy temple has been built, and the loud-voiced heralds of the truth have come to dwell therein, and guard them that approach thither in faith. Nevertheless I write and signify the season of the feast.

LXVIII. To Epiphanius.

It was my wish to summon you to the feast of holy Apostles and Prophets, not only as a citizen, but as one who shares both my faith and my home. But I am prevented by the state of your opinions. Therefore I put forward no other claims than those of our country, and I invite you to participate in the precious blessing of the holy Apostles and Prophets. This participation no difference of sentiment hinders.

LXIX. To Eugraphia.(2)

Had I not been unavoidably prevented, I should no sooner have heard that your great and glorious husband had fallen asleep than I should straightway have hurried to your side. I have enjoyed at your hands many and various kinds of honour, and I owe you full many thanks. When hindered, much against my will, from paying my debt, I deemed it ill-advised to send you a letter at the very moment, when your grief was at its height; when it was impossible for my messenger to approach your excellency, and when grief prevented you from reading what I wrote. But now that your reason has had time to wake from the intoxication of grief, to repress your emotion, and to discipline the license of sorrow, I have made bold to write and to beseech your excellency to bethink you of human nature, to reflect how common is the loss you deplore, and, above all, to accept the divine teaching, and not let your distress go beyond the bounds of your faith. For your most excellent husband, as the Lord Himself said, "is not dead but sleepeth"(1)--a sleep a little longer than he was wont. This hope has been given us by the Lord; this promise we have received from the divine oracles. I know indeed how distressing is the separation, how most distressing; and especially so when affection is made stronger by sympathy of character and length of time. But let your grief be for a journey into a far country, not for a life ended. This kind of philosophy is particularly becoming to them that be brought up in piety, and it is of this philosophy that I beseech you, my respected friend, to seek the adornment. And I do not offer you this advice as a man labouring himself under insensibility; in truth my heart was grieved when I learnt of the departure of one I loved so well. But I call to mind the Ruler of the world and His unspeakable wisdom, which ordains everything for our good. I implore your holiness to take these reflections to heart, to rise superior to your sorrow, and praise God who is the Master of us all. It is with ineffable providence that He guides the lives of men.

LXX. To Eustathius, bishop of AEgoe.(2)

The story of the noble Mary is one fit for a tragic play. As she says herself, and as is attested by several others, she is a daughter of the right honourable Eudaemon. In the catastrophe which has overtaken Libya she has fallen from her father's free estate, and has become a slave. Some merchants bought her from the barbarians, and have sold her to some of our countrymen. With her was sold a maiden who was once one of her own domestic servants; so at one and the same time the galling yoke of slavery fell on the servant and the mistress. But the servant refused to ignore the difference between them, nor could she forget the old superiority: in their calamity she preserved her kindly feeling, and, after waiting upon their common masters, waited upon her who was reckoned her fellow slave, washed her feet, made her bed, and was mindful of other like offices. This became known to the purchasers. Then through all the town was noised abroad the free estate of the mistress and the servant's goodness. On these circumstances becoming known to the faithful soldiers who are quartered in our city (I was absent at the time) they paid the purchasers their price, and rescued the woman from slavery. After my return, on being informed of the deplorable circumstances, and the admirable intention of the soldiers, I invoked blessings on their heads, committed the noble damsel to the care of one of the respectable deacons, and ordered a sufficient provision to be made for her. Ten months had gone by when she heard that her father was still alive, and holding high office in the West, and she very naturally expressed a desire to return to him. It was reported that many messengers from the West are on the way to the fair which is now being held in your parts. She requested to be allowed to set out with a letter from me. Under these circumstances I have written this letter, begging your piety to take care of a noble girl, and charge some respectable person to communicate with mariners, pilots, and merchants, and commit her to the care of trusty men who may be able to restore her to her father. There is no doubt that those who, when all hope of recovery has been lost, bring the daughter to the father, will be abundantly rewarded.

LXXI. To Zeno,(1) General and Consul.

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

LXXII. To Hermesigenes the Assessor.(1)

At the time when men were whelmed in the darkness of ignorance, all did not keep the same feasts, but celebrated distinct ceremonies in different cities. In AElis were the Olympian games, at Delphi the Pythian, at Sparta the Hyacinthian, at Athens the Panathenaic, the Thesmophoria, and the Dionysian. These were the most remarkable, and further some men celebrated the revel feast of some daemons and some of others. But now that those mists have been scattered by intellectual light, in every land and sea mainlanders and islanders together keep the feast of our God and Saviour, and whithersoever any one may wish to travel abroad, journey he either towards rising or towards setting sun, everywhere he will find the same celebration observed at the same time. There is no longer necessity, in obedience to the law of Moses which was adapted to the infirmity of the Jews, to come together into one city and keep the feast in memory of our blessings, but every town, every village, the country and the farthest frontiers, are filled with the grace of God, and in every spot divine shrines and precincts are consecrated to the God of all. So through every town we observe our several festivals and communicate with one another in the feast. It is the same God and Lord who is honoured in our hymns and to whom our mystic sacrifices are offered. On this account, as is well known, we neighbours address one another by letter and signify the joy that comes to us in the feast. So now do I to you and offer the festal salutation to your excellency. You will without doubt reply and honour the custom of the feast.

LXXIII. To Apollonius.(2)

Themistocles the son of Neocles, the far-famed and admirable general, is described by the admiring historian as endowed with natural virtue alone. Of Pericles, however, the son of Xanthippus, it is said that he also derived ability from his education to charm his hearers by his persuasive eloquence, and was gifted with the power alike of knowing what measures should be taken and of enforcing them by word of mouth. In writing about him there is no impropriety in my using his own words. These things illustrate your magnificence, for God, our Creator, hath given you natural capacity, and your education makes its brilliance the more conspicuous. Nothing then is wanting to the full complement of your high qualities save only knowledge of their Author; be but this added, and the tale of virtues which we shall have will be complete. Thus I write to you on receiving news of your arrival, beseeching the Giver of all good to grant a beam of light to your soul's eye, to show you the greatness of His boon, to kindle your love of that possession, and to grant the longed for favour to him that longs for it.(1)

LXXIV. To Urbanus.

It has been granted to us by our generous Lord once again to enjoy the feast and to send to your excellency the festal salutation. We pray that you may be well and prosperous, and share the ineffable and divine boon which to them that approach supplies the seeds of the blessings hoped for, and gives the symbols of the life and kingdom that have no end. These things we beseech the loving Lord to impart to you, for it is natural for friends to ask that their friends may be blessed.

LXXV. To the Clergy of Beraea.

I perceive that it is with reason that I am well disposed to your reverences, for I have been assured by your kindly letter that my affection was returned. For this affection of mine towards you I have many reasons. First of all there is the fact that your father, that great and apostolic man, was my father too. Secondly I look upon that truly religious bishop,(2) who now rules your church, as I might on a brother both in blood and in sympathy. Thirdly there is the near neighbourhood of our cities, and fourthly our frequent intercourse with one another, which naturally begets friendship and increases it when it is begotten. If you like, I will name yet a fifth, and that is that we have the same close connexion with you as the tongue has with the ears, the former uttering speech, and the latter receiving it; for you most gladly listen to my words, and I am delighted to let fall my little drop upon you. But the colophon(1) of our union is our harmony in faith; our refusal to accept any spurious doctrines; our preservation of the ancient and apostolic teaching, which has been brought to you by hoary wisdom and nurtured by virtue's hardy toil. I beseech yon therefore to take greater care of the flock, to preserve it unharmed for the Shepherd, and boldly to utter the famous words of the patriarch "that which was born of beasts I offered not unto Thee."(2)

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