Letters of the Blessed Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrus
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 Irenaeus.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."3 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 law4 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.5 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.6 For what looks discreditable is made honourable by the divine command. In the same manner the Apostle called himself at one time a Pharisee7 and at another a Roman,8 not because he was afraid of death, but acting quite fairly in fight.9 In the same way when he had learnt the Jews' plot against him he appealed to Caesar10 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.11 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.12 In like manner 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.13 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,14 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,"15 and taught us to pray "Lead us not into temptation."16 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.
The Creator of our 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 our 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.
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.
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 our 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 bethinking 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 everyday. 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 despise all my troubles as trifles.17
X. To the Learned Elias.
Legislators have made laws in aid of the oppressed, and advocates have 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 had no hesitation in owning his proceedings. I have sent him to you with an account of his doings, the parties he 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 had 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 comfort, 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.18
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?"19 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 painter's 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.20 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 under 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."21 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,"22 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 all 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.23
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"?24 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"?25 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 body 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.26 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."27 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 bonds28 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 Primate29
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,30 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 from 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."31
XVI. To Bishop Irenaeus.32
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."33 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."34 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 and 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,35 and Samson slew thousands on one day with the jawbone of an ass.36 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, and 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 had 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.37
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 us 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 true 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,"38 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,"39 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.40 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."41
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.'"42
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."43
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."44
Behold, my friend, the flame of apostolic affection; see the torch of love.45
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 Meletus46 can kill me, but they cannot harm me." And the orator of Paeania,47 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."48
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."49 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.'"50
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.51
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.52
XXIII. To the Patrician Areobindas.53
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 can 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."54 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.55
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.
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."56 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, and I am telling him how generous is your right hand.57
XXX. To Aerius the Sophist.58
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, and 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.59
Persuade I beg you any of your society who are capable of so doing to emulate the hospitality of Alcinous,60 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 strangers 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.61
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.62
If the God of all had 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,"63 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,64 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.65
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.66 I beg to introduce this guest to your excellency, and beseech you that he 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 Irenaeus.67
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.68
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 former 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 colophon69 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.
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.
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.70
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 full 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.71
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 bethink 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.72 While saluting your magnificence I beseech you to give me news of your much-wished for health.
XLII. To Constantius the Perfect.73
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,74 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 Isidorus75 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,76 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.77
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.78 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 Patrician79 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 colophon80 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.81 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;82 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 you 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,83 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.84
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 me 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 hand, 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,85 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 in- duced 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 the 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.86
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,87 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.88
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.89
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.90
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 look 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,91 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,92 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.93
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.
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.
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.
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.94
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.95
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.96
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 respect, 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.97
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;"98 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 and 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.99 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 have 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.
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 Saviour. 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,101 how can we forbear from lamentation when all the body is distressed? And it intensifies our dis- couragement 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."102 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.
When the Master underwent the Passion of salvation for the sake of mankind, the company of the sacred Apostles was much disheartened, for they knew 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.103
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.104
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.105
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"106 -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 Aegooe.107
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,108 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 re- 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.109
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.110
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.111
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 Beroea.
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,112 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 colophon113 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."114
LXXVI. To Uranius, Governor of Cyprus.
True friendship is strengthened by intercourse, but separation cannot sunder it, for its bonds are strong. This truth might easily be shewn by many other examples, but it is enough for us to verify what I say by our own case. Between me and you are indeed many things, mountains, cities, and the sea, yet nothing has destroyed my recollection of your excellency. No sooner do we behold any one arriving from those towns which lie on the coast, than the conversation is turned on Cyprus and on its right worthy governor, and we are delighted to have tidings of your high repute. And lately we have been gratified to an unusual degree at learning the most delightful news of all: for what, most excellent sir, can be more pleasing to us than to see your noble soul illuminated by the light of knowledge? For we think it right that he who is adorned with many kinds of virtue should add to them also its colophon, and we believe that we shall behold what we desire. For your nobility will doubtless eagerly seize the God-given boon, moved thereto by true friends who clearly understand its value, and guided to the bountiful God "Who wills all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truths"115 netting men by men's means to salvation, and bringing them that He captures to the ageless life. The fisherman indeed deprives his prey of life, but oar Fisher frees all that He takes alive from death's painful bonds, and therefore "did he shew himself upon earth, and conversed with men,"116 bringing men His life, conveying teaching by means of the visible manhood, and giving to reasonable beings the law of a suitable life and conversation. This law He has confirmed by miracles, and by the death of the flesh has destroyed death. By raising the flesh He has given the promise of resurrection to us all, after giving the resurrection of His own precious body as a worthy pledge of ours. So loved He men even when they hated Him that the mystery of the aeconomy fails to obtain credence with some on account of the very bitterness of His sufferings, and it is enough to show the depths of His loving kindness that He is even yet day by day calling to men who do not believe. And He does so not as though He were in need of the service of men,-for of what is the Creator of the universe in want?-but because He thirsts for the salvation of every man. Grasp then, my excellent friend, His gift; sing praises to the Giver, and procure for us a very great and right goodly feast.
LXXVII. To Eulalius, Bishop of Persian Armenia.117
I know that Satan has sought to sift you as wheat,118 and that the Lord has allowed him so to do that He may shew the wheat, and prove the gold, crown the athletes, and proclaim the victors` names. Nevertheless I fear and tremble, not indeed distressed for the sake of you who are noble champions of the truth, but because I know that it comes to pass that some men are of feebler heart. If among twelve apostles one was found a traitor, there is no doubt that among a number many times as great any one might easily discover many falling short of perfection. Thus reflecting I have been confounded and filled with much discouragement, for, as says the divine Apostle, "whether one member suffer all the members suffer with it."119 "We are members one of another,"120 and form one body, having the Lord Christ for head.121 Yet one consolation I have in my anxiety, when I bethink me of your holiness. For brought up as you have been in the divine oracles, and taught by the arch-shepherd what are the good shepherd's marks, there is no doubt that you will lay down your life for the sheep. For, as the Lord says, "he that is an hireling" when he sees "the wolf coming," "fleeth because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep," but "the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep."122 Just so it is not in peace that the best general shews his inborn valour, but in time of war, by at once stimulating others and himself exposing himself to peril for his men. For it would be preposterous that he should enjoy the dignity of his command, and, in the hour of need, run out of danger's way. Thus the thrice blessed prophets ever acted, making light of the safety of their bodies, and, for the sake of the Jews who hated and rejected them, underwent all kinds of peril and toil. Of them the divine apostle says "they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain by the sword; they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented, of whom the world was not worthy; they wandered in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth."123 Thus the divine apostles travelled preaching over all the world, without home, bed, bedding, board, or any of the necessaries of life, but scourged, racked, imprisoned, and undergoing countless kinds of death. And all this they underwent, not for the sake of their friends, but voluntarily facing these perils for the sake of the men who were persecuting them. A far stronger claim is made on you now to accept the peril at present assailing you, for the sake of fellow-believers and brothers and children. This affection is shown even by unreasoning animals, for sparrows may be seen fighting with all their force in behalf of their brood, and putting out in their defence all the strength they have; other kinds of birds moreover undergo danger for their young. But why do I speak of birds? Bears too, and leopards, wolves, and lions, voluntarily suffer any pain for the safety of their offspring, for instead of fleeing from the hunter they will await his attack and do battle for their young.
I have adduced these instances not as though anointing your piety for endurance and courage by the example of brute beasts, but to console myself in my despondency, and to be assured that you will not leave Christ's flock without a shepherd when wolves make their attack, but will invoke the Lord of the flock to help you and will heartily do battle in its behalf. A crisis like this proves who is a shepherd and who a hireling; who diligently feeds the flock and who on the other hand feeds on the milk and thinks little of the safety of the sheep. "But God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape that ye may be able to bear it."124 But one thing I do beseech your reverence, and that is to have greater heed of the unsound; and not only to strengthen the unstable but also to raise the fallen, for shepherds by no means neglect those of their flock who have fallen sick, but keep them apart from the rest, and try in every possible way to restorethem, and so must we do. We must make them that are slipping stand up, and givethem a helping hand and a word of encouragement. When they are bitten we mustheal them; we must not give up the attempt to save them nor leave them in the devil's maw. Thus ever acted the divine Apostle Paul; and when the Galatians, after receiving the baptism of salvation, and the gift of the divine Spirit, fell away into the sickness of Judaism, and received circumcision, he wailed and lamented more exceedingly than the most affectionate mother, and tended them and freed them from that infirmity. We can hear him exclaiming, "My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you."125 So too the teacher of the Corinthians, who had committed that abominable fornication, he both chastised as might a father, and very skilfully treated, and after cutting him off in the first Epistle, readmitted him in the second and says, "So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him and comfort him lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow."126 And again, "Lest Satan should get an advantage of us for we are not ignorant of his devices."127 In the same manner too those who partook of things offered to idols he properly rebuked, suitably exhorted, and freed from their grievous error.
Wherefore our Lord Jesus Christ permitted the first of the apostles, whose confession He had fixed as a kind of groundwork and foundation of the Church, to waver to and fro, and to deny Him, and then raised Him up again. And thus He gave us two lessons: not to be confident in our own strength, and to strengthen the unstable. Reach out, therefore, I beseech you, a hand to them that are fallen, "draw them out of the horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set their feet upon a rock," and "put a new song into their mouth, even praise unto our God,"128 that their example of life may become an example of salvation, that "many shall see it and fear and shall trust in the Lord."129 Let them be prevented from participating in the holy mysteries, but let them not be kept from the prayer of the catechumens, nor from hearing the divine Scriptures and the exhortation of teachers,130 and let them be prohibited from partaking of the sacred mysteries, not till death, but during a given time, till they recognise their ailment, covet health, and are properly contrite for having abandoned their true Prince and deserted to a tyrant, and for having left their benefactor and gone over to their foe.
The same lessons are given us by the precepts of the holy and blessed Fathers. I write as I do, not to teach you piety, but to remind you as a brother might, knowing well that even the best of pilots in the moment of the storm needs monition even from his men. So the great and famous Moses, renowned throughout the world, who did those mighty works of wonder, did not refuse the counsel of Jethro, a man still sunk in idolatrous error; for he did not regard his impiety, but acknowledged the soundness of his advice. Moreover I implore your piety to offer earnest prayer to God in my behalf that for the remaining days of my life I may live in accordance with His laws.
Thus have I written by the most honourable and religious presbyter Stephanus, whom on account of the goodness of his character I have seen with great pleasure.
LXXVIII. To Eusebius, Bishop of Persian Armenia.
Whenever anything happens to the helmsman, either the officer in command at the bows, or the seaman of highest rank, takes his place, not because he becomes a self-appointed helmsman, but because he looks out for the safety of the ship. So again in war, when the commander falls, the chief tribune assumes the command, not in the attempt to lay violent hands on the place of power, but because he cares for his men. So too the thrice blessed Timothy when sent by the divine Paul took his place.131 It is therefore becoming to your piety to accept the responsibilities of helmsman, of captain, of shepherd, gladly to run all risk for the sake of the sheep of Christ, and not to leave His creatures abandoned and alone. It is rather yours to bind up the broken, to raise up the fallen, to turn the wanderer from his error, and keep the whole in health, and to follow the good shepherds who stand before the folds and wage war against the wolves. Let us remember too the words of the patriarch Jacob; "In the day the drought consumed me and the frost by night and my sleep departed from my eyes. The rams of thy flock I have not eaten. That which was born of beasts I brought not unto thee. I bare the loss of it. Of my hand didst thou require it, whether stolen by day or stolen by night."132 These are the marks of the shepherd; these are the laws of the tending of the sheep. And if of brute cattle the illustrious patriarch had such care, and offered this defence to him who trusted them to his charge, what ought not we to do who are entrusted with the charge of reasonable sheep, and who have received this trust from the God of all, when we remember that the Lord for them gave up His life? Who does not fear and tremble when he hears the word of God spoken through Ezekiel? "I judge between shepherd and sheep because ye eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool and ye feed not the flocks."133 And again, "I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; when thou speakest not to warn the wicked from his wicked way, the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity but his blood shall I require at thine hand."134 With this agree the words spoken in parables by the Lord. "Thou wicked and slothful servant...Thou oughtest to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received the same with usury."135 Up then, I beseech you, let us fight for the Lord's sheep. Their Lord is near. He will certainly appear and scatter the wolves and glorify the shepherds. "The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh Him."136 Let us not murmur at the storm that has arisen for the Lord of all knoweth what is good for us. Wherefore also when the Apostle asked for release from his trials He would not grant his supplication but said, "My grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness."137 Let us then bravely bear the evils that befall us; it is in war that heroes are discerned; in conflicts that athletes are crowned; in the surge of the sea that the art of the helmsman is shewn; in the fire that the gold is tried. And let us not, I beseech you, heed only ourselves, let us rather have forethought for the rest, and that much more for the sick than for the whole, for it is an apostolic precept which exclaims "Comfort the feeble minded, support the weak."138 Let us then stretch out our hands to them that lie low, let us tend their wounds and set them at their post to fight the devil. Nothing will so vex him as to see them fighting and smiting again. Our Lord is full of loving-kindness. He receives the repentance of sinners. Let us hear His own words: "As I live saith the Lord I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live."139 So He prefaced His words with an oath, and He who forbids oaths to others swore Himself to convince us how He desires our repentance and salvation. Of this teaching the divine books, both the old and the new, are full, and the precepts of the holy Fathers teach the same.
But not as though you were ignorant have I written to you; rather have I reminded you of what you know, like those who standing safe upon the shore succour them that are tossed by the storm, and shew them a rock, or give warning of a hidden shallow, or catch and haul in a rope that has been thrown. "And the God of peace shall bring Satan under your feet shortly"140 and shall gladden our ears with news that you have passed from storm to calm, at His word to the waves "Peace be still."141
And do you too offer prayers for us, for you who have undergone peril for His sake can speak with greater boldness.142
LXXIX. To Anatolius the Patrician.143
The Lord God has given your excellency to us to be at the present time a source of very great comfort, and has afforded us a meet haven for the storm. We have therefore confidence in informing your lordship of our distress. Not long ago we acquainted your excellency that the right honourable Count Rufus had shewn us an order written in the imperial handwriting commanding the gallant general to provide with prudence and diligence for our residence at Cyrus, and not to suffer us to depart to another city, on the ground that we are endeavouring to summon synods to Antioch, and are disturbing the orthodox.144 Now I make known to you that in obedience to the imperial letter I have come to Cyrus. After an interval of six or seven days they sent the devoted Euphronius, the commander, with a letter begging me to acknowledge in writing that the imperial order had been shown me. I therefore promised to remain in Cyrus and its adjacent district, and to tend the sheep entrusted to my care. I therefore beseech your excellency to make exact enquiry, both whether these orders had really been issued, and for what reason. I am indeed conscious of many other sins, but I do not know that I have erred either against the Church of God, or against public order. And I write as I do, not because I take it ill to have to live at Cyrus, for in truth she is dearer to me than any of the most famous cities, because my office in her has been given me by God. But the fact of my being bound to her not by preference but by compulsion does seem somewhat grievous, and besides it does give a handle to the wicked to grow bold and to refuse to obey our exhortations.
Under these circumstances I beseech your lordship, if no order of the kind has really been issued, to let me know; but if the letter really comes from the victorious emperor, tell his pious majesty not readily to believe calumnies, nor give ear to accusers alone, but to demand an account from the accused. Though really the evidence of the facts alone was quite enough to persuade his piety that the charges against me were false. For when did I ever make myself offensive about anything to his serene majesty or his chief officers? Or when was I ever obnoxious to the many and illustrious owners here? It is on the contrary well known to your excellency that I have spent a considerable portion of my ecclesiastical revenues in erecting porticoes and baths, building bridges, and making further provision for public objects. But if any persons take it ill that I mourn over the ruin of the churches of Phoenicia, be it known to your lordship that it is impossible for me not to grieve when I see the horn of the Jews exalted on high and the Christians in tears and sorrow, though they send them to the very ends of the earth.145 We cannot fight against the apostolic decrees, for we remember the word of the Apostle which says, "We ought to obey God rather than men,"146 and more terrible to us than any of the pains of this life is the "judgment seat of Christ"147 the Lord, before whom we shall all stand to render an account of our words and of our deeds. On account of that judgment seat the hardships of this present life must be endured. For them that suffer wrong the hope of what is to come is consolation enough, but to us the loving Lord has given further comfort in you, most excellent sir, whose life is brightwith piety and faith.
LXXX. To the Prefect Eutrechius.148
I have been much astonished that no information has been sent me by your lordship of the plots against me. To counteract them would very likely have been a difficult matter to any one not having the means of convicting their promoters of lies; but to give information of what was going on needed not so much power as friendliness. and we had hoped that when your excellency had been summoned to the imperial city, and had been chosen to adorn the prefect's exalted seat, every tempest of the Church would be calmed down. But we suffer from such disturbances as we did not see even in the beginning of the dispute. The churches of Phoenicia are in trouble; in trouble are those of Palestine, as all unanimously report; and the distress is proved by the letters of the most pious bishops. All the saints among us groan and every pious congregation is lamenting. While looking for a cessation of our former troubles we have been afflicted with new ones. I myself have been forbidden to quit the coasts of Cyrus, if the dispatch is true which has been shewn me, and which is said to be an autograph of our victorious emperor. It runs as follows "Since so and so the bishop of this city is continually assembling synods and this is a cause of trouble to the orthodox, take heed with proper diligence and wisdom that he resides at Cyrus, and does not depart from it to another city." I have accepted the sentence, and remain still. Your lordship can bear witness to my sentiments, for you know how on my arrival at Antioch I departed in a hurry, on account of those who wished to detain me there. And those were unquestionably wrong who gave both their ears to my calumniators and would not keep one for me. Even to murderers, and to them that despoil other men's beds, an opportunity is given of defending themselves, and they do not receive sentence till they have been convicted in their own presence, or have made confession of the truth of the charges on which they are indicted.But a high priest who has held the office of bishop for five and twenty years149 after passing his previous life in a monastery, who has never troubled a tribunal, nor yet on any single occasion been prosecuted by any man, is treated as a mere plaything of calumny, without being allowed even the common privilege of grave-robbers of being questioned as to the truth of the accusations brought against them. Yet they have done wrong; I have done no wrong. But I am ready for even more serious troubles. Though they be ever so much annoyed at my bewailing the calamities of Phoenicia I shall not cease so to do so long as I behold them. The only judgment that is awful to me is the judgment of God. For them, nevertheless, I pray that from the God of all they may obtain forgiveness; for your excellency, that you may ever live in honour, excel in all good things, speak boldly against lies, and fight on the side of the truth. And let the contrivers of this plot know that, though I depart to the uttermost ends of the earth, God will not suffer the confirmation of impious doctrines, but will nod His head and destroy them that bow down to doctrines of abomination.
LXXXI. To the Consul Nomus.150
For but a brief portion of a day I enjoyed the society of your lordship, for I was deprived by unavoidable circumstances of what I so earnestly desired. I had hoped that our short interview would have kindled good will and friendly intercourse, but I was disappointed. I have now written you two letters, without receiving any reply; and by the imperial decree I am forbidden to travel beyond the boundaries of Cyrus. For this apparent punishment cause there is none, except the fact of my convening an episcopal synod. No indictment was published; no prosecutor appeared; the defendant was not convicted; but the sentence was given. We submit, for we know the reward of the wronged. I am aware however that Festus the Procurator who was entrusted with the government of the Jews when they demanded the death of the divine Paul, publicly replied, "It is not lawful to us Romans to deliver any man before that he which is accused have the accusers face to face, and have license to answer for himself concerning the crime laid against him."151 Now these words were spoken by one who was no believer in our Master, Christ, but was a slave to the errors of polytheism. I was never asked whether I was assembling synods or not, or for what reason I was assembling them, or what umbrage this could give, either to the Church or to the government; yet just as though I had been a very guilty criminal I am prohibited from visiting other cities; while to every one else every city lies open, and that not only to Arians and Eunomians, but to Manichees and Marcionists, to them that are sick with the unsoundness of Valentinus and Montanus, aye to pagans and Jews, while I, a foremost champion of the teaching of the Gospels, am from every city excluded. Some however maintain that I do not adhere to it. Then let there be a council: let there be assembled there the godly bishops who are capable of judging: then let there be assembled those in office and in rank who have been instructed in divine lore. Let me state what I hold, and let the judges declare what opinion is agreeable to the teaching of the Apostles. I have not thus written from any desire to see the great city, nor from trying to travel to any other. In fact I rather love the quiet of them whose wish is to administer the churches in a monastic state. I should like your excellency to know that neither in the time of the blessed and sainted Theodotus, nor in that of John of blessed memory, nor in that of the very holy lord bishop Domnus, did I of my own accord enter Antioch; five or sixtimes I was invited but I with difficulty assented, and when I did assent it was in obedience to the canon of the Church which orders him who is summoned to a synod and refuses to be present to be held guilty. And when I appeared, what thing unpleasing to God did I do? Was it that I removed from the sacred lists the names of such and such a man guilty of unspeakable wickedness? Was it that I ordained to the priesthood men of character and of honourable life? Was it that I preached the gospel to the people? If these things are worthy of indictment and punishment, I gladly welcome yet severer punishments for their sake. My accusers compel me to speak. Even before my conception my parents promised to devote me to God; from my swaddling-band, they devoted the according to their promise and educated me accordingly; the time before my episcopate I spent in a monastery and then was unwillingly consecrated152 bishop. Five and twenty years I so lived that I was never summoned to trial by any one nor ever brought accusation against any. Not one of the pious clergy who were under me ever frequented a court. In so many years I never took an obol nor a garment from any one. Not one of my domestics ever received a loaf or an egg. I could not endure the thought of possessing anything save the rags I wore. From therevenues of my see I erected public porticoes; I built two large bridges; I looked after the public baths. On finding that the city was not watered by the river running by it, I built the conduit, and supplied the dry town with water. But not to mention these matters I led eight villages of Marcionists with their neighbourhood into the way of truth; another full of Eunomians and another of Arians I brought to the light of divine knowledge, and, by God's grace, not a tare of heresy was left among us. All this I did not effect with impunity; many a time I shed my blood; many a time was I stoned by them and brought to the very gates of death. But I am a fool in my boasting, yet my words are spoken of necessity, not of consent. Once the thrice blessed Paul was compelled to act in the same way to stop the mouths of his accusers. Yet I put up with seeming ignominy and count it high honour, for I hear the voice of the Apostle crying, "All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."153
But I beseech your excellency to give heed to the affairs of the Church, and calm the storm that has arisen, for in fact not even at the beginning of the dispute was the Church beset by such confusion. No one informs you of the greatness of the peril, of the lamentations of the Christians in Phoenicia and of the wails of our holiest monks. Wherefore I have written to you at some length, that on learning the agitation of the Church your excellency might stay it, and reap. the fruits of the benefit which such action will produce.
LXXXII. To Eusebius, Bishop of Ancyra.154
I had hoped at this time to hear frequently from your holiness. Suffering as I do under charges which are plain calumny I stand in need of brotherly consolation. For they who are now renewing the heresy of Marcion, Valentinus, Manes, and of the other Docetae, annoyed at my publicly pillorying their heresy, have endeavoured to deceive the imperial ears, by calling me a heretic and falsely accusing me of dividing into two sons our one Lord Jesus Christ, the divine Word made man. Their utterances did not meet with the success that they expected. A despatch was therefore written to the right honourable and glorious commander and consul, containing indeed no accusation of heresy, but certain other charges no less unfounded. They alleged that I was endeavouring to assemble frequent synods at Antioch; that certain persons thereupon took umbrage; that for this reason I ought to desist from these proceedings and manage the churches entrusted to my charge. When this communication was shewn me I caught at the sentence as an opportunity of good. For in the first place I gained the rest I so much longed for; furthermore I trust in the wiping out of the stains of the many errors I have committed, on account of the wrong devised against me by the enemies of truth. Even in this present life our supreme Ruler very plainly shews us what care He takes of them that suffer wrong. While I have been remaining at rest, prisoned within the boundaries of my own country; while throughout the East all men have been distressed and have been bitterly lamenting though compelled to silence by the terror that has fallen on them (for what has befallen me has stricken terror into the hearts of all) the Lord has stooped from heaven, has convicted my calumniators of their falsehood, and laid bare their impious intent. They armed even Alexandria against me and by means of their worthy instruments are dinning into all men's ears that I am preaching two sons instead of one.
I, on the contrary, am so far from holding this abominable opinion, that, on finding some of the holy fathers of the Nicene Council opposing in their treatises the madness of Arius and forced in their struggle against their opponents to make too marked a distinction, I have objected, and refused to admit such distinction, for I know how the exigencies of the distinction result in exaggeration.
And lest any one should suppose that I am speaking as I do through fear, let any one who likes get hold of my ancient writings written before the Council of Ephesus, and those written after it twelve years ago. For by God's grace I interpreted all the Prophets and the Psalms and the Apostles: I wrote long ago against the Arians, the Macedonians, the sophistry of Apollinarius and the madness of Marcion: and in every one of my books by God's grace the mind of the Church shines clear. Moreover I have written a book on the Mysteries, another on Providence, another on the Questions of the Magi, a life of the Saints, and besides these, not to name every one in detail, many more.155
I have enumerated them not for ambition's sake, but to challenge my accusers and my judges to put any of my writings they may choose to the test. They will find that by God's grace I hold no other opinion than just that which I have received from holy Scripture.
When, then, your holiness has heard this from me, I beg you to inform the ignorant and to persuade the unbridled tongues that revile me and all who are deceived by them, not to believe what they have heard of me from my calumniators. Beg them to believe rather the Lawgiver when he exclaims "Men shall not receive a false report."156 Ask them to wait till the facts are proved.
My prayer is that the churches may enjoy a calm and that this long and painful storm may vanish away. But if the multitude of our sins suffer not this to come to pass; if for their sakes we are delivered to the sifter; we pray that we may share the perils undergone for the faith, in order that since we have not the confidence that comes from this life, at least for guarding the faith in its integrity we may meet with pity and pardon in the day of the appearance of the Lord. And for this we beseech your holiness to join us in our prayers.
LXXXIII. Of Theodoretus, Bishop of Cyrus, to Dioscorus, Archbishop of Alexandria.
To them that suffer under false accusation the greatest comfort is given by the words of Scripture. When such a sufferer is wounded by the lying words of an unbridled tongue, and feels the sharp stings of distress, he remembers the story of the admirable Joseph, and as he beholds that model of chastity, an exemplar of every kind of virtue, suffering, under a calumnious charge, imprisoned and fettered for invading another man's bed, and spending a long time in a dungeon, his pain is lightened by the remedy that the story furnishes. So again when he finds the gentle David, hunted as a tyrant by Saul, and then catching his enemy and letting him go unharmed, an anodyne is given him in his distress. But when he sees the Lord Christ Himself, Maker of the ages, Creator of all things, very God, and Son of the very God, called a gluttonous man and a wine bibber by the wicked Jews, it is not only consolation but rather great joy that is given him in that he is deemed worthy of sharing the sufferings of the Lord.
Thus I was compelled to write when I read the letters of your holiness to the most pious and sacred archbishop Domnus, for there was contained in them the statement that certain men have come to the illustrious city administered by your holiness, and have accused me of dividing the one Lord Jesus Christ into two sons, and this when preaching at Antioch, where innumerable hearers swell the congregation. I wept for the men who had the hardihood to contrive the vain calumny against me. But I grieved, and, my Lord, forgive me, forced as I am by pain to speak, that your pious excellency did not reserve one ear unbiassed for me instead of believing the lies of my accusers. Yet they were but three or four or about a dozen while I have countless hearers to testify to the orthodoxy of my teaching. Six years I continued teaching in the time of Theodotus bishop of Antioch, of blessed and sacred memory, who was famous alike for his distinguished career and for his knowledge of the divine doctrines. Thirteen years I taught in the time of bishop John of sacred and blessed memory, who was so delighted at my discourses as to raise both his hands and again and again to start up: your holiness in your own letters has borne witness how, brought up as he was from boyhood with the divine oracles, the knowledge which he had of the divine doctrines was most exact. Besides these this is the seventh year of the most pious lord archbishop Domnus.157 Up to this present day, after the lapse of so long a time, not one of the pious bishops, not one of thedevout clergy has ever at any time found any fault with my utterances. And with how much gratification Christian people hear our discourses your godly excellency can easily learn, alike from those who have travelled thence hither, and from those who reached your city from us.
All this I say not for the sake of boasting, but because I am forced to defend myself. It is not the fame of my sermons to which I am calling attention; it is their orthodoxy alone. Even the great teacher of the world who is wont to style himself last of saints and first of sinners, that he might stop the mouths of liars was compelled to set forth a list of his own labours; and in shewing that this account of his sufferings was of necessity, not of free will, he added "I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me."158 I own myself wretched-aye thrice wretched. I am guilty of many errors. Through faith alone I look for finding some mercy in the day of the Lord's appearing. I wish and I pray that I may follow the footprints of the holy Fathers, and I earnestly desire to keep undefiled the evangelic teaching which was in sum delivered to us by the holy Fathers assembled in council at the Bithynian Nicaea. I believe that there is one God the Father and one Holy Ghost proceeding from the Father:159 so also that there is one Lord Jesus Christ, only begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages, brightness of His glory and express image of the Father's person,160 on account of man's salvation, incarnate and made man and born of Mary the Virgin in the flesh. For so are we taught by the wise Paul "Whose are the Fathers and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen,"161 and again "Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness."162 On this account we also call the holy Virgin "Theotokos,"163 and deem those who object to this appellation to be alienated from true religion.
In the same manner we call those men corrupt and exclude them from the assembly of the Christians, who divide our one Lord Jesus Christ into two persons or two sons or two Lords, for we have heard the very divine Paul saying "One Lord, one faith, one baptism"164 and again "One Lord Jesus Christ by Whom are all things"165 and again "Jesus Christ the same yesterday and to-day and for ever"166 and in another place-"He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens."167 And countless other passages of this kind may be found in the Apostle's writings, proclaiming the one Lord.
So too the divine Evangelist exclaims, "And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."168
And his namesake exclaimed, "After me cometh one who is preferred before me for He was before me."169 And when he had shewn one person, he expressed both the divine and the human. for the words "man" and "comes" are human, but the phrase "He was before me" expresses the divine. But nevertheless he did not recognise a distinction between Him who came after and Him who was before, but owned the same being to be eternal as God, but born man, after himself, of the Virgin.
Thus too, the thrice blessed Thomas, when he had put his hand on the flesh of the Lord, called Him Lord and God, saying "My Lord and my God."170 For through the visible nature he discerned the invisible.
So do we know no difference between the same flesh and the Godhead but we own God the Word made man to be one Son.
These lessons we bare learnt alike from the holy Scripture and from the holy Fathers who have expounded it, Alexander and Athanasius, loud voiced heralds of the truth, who have been ornaments of your apostolic see; from Basil and from Gregory and the rest of the lights of the world; and that, in our endeavour to shut the mouths of them that dare to oppose the blessed Theophilus and Cyril, we use their works, our own writings testify. For we are most anxious by the medicines supplied by very holy men to heal them that deny the distinction between the Lord's flesh and the Godhead, and who maintain at one moment that the divine nature was changed into flesh, and at another that the flesh was transmuted into nature of Godhead.
For they clearly instruct us in the distinction between the two natures, and proclaim the immutability of the divine nature, calling the flesh of the Lord divine as being made flesh of God the Word; but the doctrine that it was transmuted into nature of Godhead they repudiate as impious.
I think that your excellency is well aware that Cyril of blessed memory often wrote to me, and when he sent his books against Julian to Antioch, and in like manner his book on the scapegoat, he asked the blessed John, bishop of Antioch, to shew them to the great teachers of the East; and in compliance with this request the blessed John sent us the books. I read them with admiration, and I wrote to Cyril of blessed memory; and he wrote back to me praising my exactitude and kindness. This letter I have preserved.
That I twice subscribed the writings of John of blessed memory concerning Nestorius my own hand bears witness, but this is the kind of thing whispered about me by men who try to conceal their own unsoundness by calumniating me.
Therefore I implore your holiness to turn your back on the liars; to give heed to the Church's quiet and either to heal by salutary medicines them that are trying to destroy the doctrines of the truth, or, if they refuse to accept your treatment, to expel them from the fold, to the end that the sheep may be spared from contagion. I beg you to give me your customary salutation. That I have written you my true sentiments is proved by my works on the holy Scriptures and against the Arians and Eunomians.
I will in addition write yet a brief word. If any one refuses to confess tile holy Virgin to be "Theotokos," or calls our Lord Jesus Christ bare man, or divides into two sons Him who is one only begotten and first born of every creature, I pray that he may fall from hope in Christ, and let all the people say amen, amen.
Now that I have thus spoken, deign, my lord, to give me your sacred prayers, and to cheer me by a letter in reply telling me that your holiness has turned your back on my accusers.
I and my household salute all thy brotherhood in piety in Christ.
LXXXIV. To the Bishops of Cilicia.171
Your piety has heard of the calumnies directed against me. The opponents of the truth allege that I divide our one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, into two sons, and it is said by some that a ground for their calumny is derived from a handful of men among you who hold these opinions, and who divide God the Word made man into two sons. They ought to listen to those words of the Apostle which openly declare "out Lord Jesus Christ by whom are all things,"172 and again "one Lord, one faith, one baptism."173 They ought to have followed the Master's teaching, for the Lord Himself says "And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in Heaven."174 And again "If ye shall see the Son of Man ascend up where He was before."175 And the tradition of holy baptism teaches us that there is one Son, just as there is one Father and one Holy Ghost. I hope then that your piety will deign, if there really are any, though I cannot believe it, who disobey the apostolic doctrines to close their mouths, to rebuke them as the laws of the Church require, and teach them to follow the footsteps of the holy Fathers and preserve undefiled the faith laid down at Nicaea in Bithynia by the holy and blessed Fathers, as summing up the teaching of Evangelists and Apostles. For it becomes you who love God to give heed both to God's glory and our common credit, and not to overlook the attacks which are made upon us all through the ignorance or contentiousness of these few men-if they really are guilty, and if they are not, like ourselves, suffering from the whetted tongues of false accusers.
Deign to remember us in your prayers to God, for so the law of love ordains.
LXXXV. To the Bishop Basil.176
The chief good is said by the divine Paul to be love,177 and by love he ordered the nurslings of the faith to be fed. Of this love your piety possesses great wealth, and so has told me what was befitting and given me pleasant news. For to them that fear the Lord what can be pleasanter than the health and harmony of the doctrines of the truth? Be well assured, most godly sir, that we were much delighted to hear the intelligence of our common friend; and in proportion to our previous distress at hearing that he described the nature of flesh and of Godhead as one, and openly attributed the passion of salvation to the impossible Godhead, so were all rejoiced to read the letters of your holiness, and to learn that he maintains in their integrity the properties of the natures and denies both the change of God the Word into flesh, and the mutation of the flesh into the nature of Godhead, maintaining on the contrary that in the one Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, God the Word made man, the properties of either nature abide unconfounded. We praise the God of all for the harmony of divine faith. We have however written to either Cilicia,178 although our intelligence is imperfect, as to whether there are really any opponents of the truth, and have charged the godly bishops to search and examine if there are any who divide the one Lord Jesus Christ into two sons, and either to bring them to their senses by admonition, or cut them off from the roll of the brethren. For in fact we equally repudiate both those who dare to assert one nature of flesh and Godhead, and those who divide the one Lord Jesus Christ into two sons and strive to go beyond the definitions of the Apostles.
But let your holiness be well assured that we are disposed to peace. For if the prophet says, "With them that hate peace I was peaceful."179 much more readily do we welcome the peace of God.
Some of those men who have been fed on lies have hurried to Alexandria and patched up calumnies against me, with the result that the godly bishop of that city, led away by their statements, although he had been fully informed by my letters, has sent a pious bishop to the imperial city. I beg you therefore to shew your accustomed kindness to him, and to confront falsehood with the truth.
LXXXVI.180 To Flavianus, Bishop of Constantinople.
At the present time, most God-beloved lord, I have received many buffetings of billows, but I called upon the great Pilot, and have been able to stand firm against the storm; the attacks, however, now made upon me transcend every story in tragedy. In relation to the attacks which are being plotted against the apostolic faith, I thought that I should find an ally and fellow-worker in the most godly bishop of Alexandria, the lord Dioscorus,181 and so sent him one of our pious presbyters, a man of remarkable prudence, with a synodical letter informing his piety that we abide in the agreement made in the time of Cyril of blessed memory, and accept the letter written by him as well as that written by the very blessed and sainted Athanasius to the blessed Epictetus, and, before these, the exposition of the faith laid down at Nicaea in Bithynia by the holy and blessed Fathers. We exhorted him to induce those who are unwilling to abide by these documents at once to abide by them. But one of the opposite party, who keep up these disturbances, by tricking some of those who are on the spot and contriving countless calumnies against myself has stirred an iniquitous agitation against me.
But the very godly bishop Dioscorus has written us a letter such as never ought to have been written by one who has learnt from the God of all not to listen to vain words. He has believed the charges brought against me as though he had made personal enquiry into every one of them, and had arrived at the truth after questioning, and has thus condemned me. I however have bravely borne the calumnious charge, and have written him back a courteous letter, representing to his piety that the whole charge is false, and that not one of the godly bishops of the East holds opinions contrary to the apostolic decrees. Moreover the pious clergy whom he sent as messengers have been convinced by the actual evidence of the facts. These however he has dismissed unheeded, and, lending his ears to my calumniators, has acted in a manner quite incredible, were it not that the whole church bears witness to if. He put up with them that were crying Anathema against me; nay he stood up in his place and confirmed their words by adding his voice to theirs. Besides all this he sent certain godly bishops to the imperial city, as we learnt, in the hope of increasing the agitation against me. I in the first place have for champion Him who seeth all things, for it is on behalf of the divine decrees that I am wrestling-next after Him I invoke your holiness to fight in defence of the faith that is attacked, and do battle on behalf of the canons that are being trodden under foot. When the blessed Fathers were assembled in that imperial city182 in harmony with them that had sat in council at Nicaea, they distinguished the dioceses, and assigned to each diocese the management of its own affairs, expressly enjoining that none should intrude from one diocese into another. They ordered that the bishop of Alexandria should administer the government of Egypt alone, and every diocese its own affairs.183
Dioscorus, however, refuses to abide by these decisions; he is turning the see of the blessed Mark upside down; and these things he does though he perfectly well knows that the Antiochene metropolis possesses the throne of the great Peter, who was teacher of the blessed Mark, and first and coryphaeus of the chorus of the apostles.184
But I know the majesty of the see, and I know and take measure of myself. I have learnt from the first the humility of the Apostles. I beseech your holiness not to overlook the trampling underfoot of the holy canons, and to stand forward zealously as champion of the divine faith, for in that faith we have hope of our salvation and on its account are confident that we shall meet with mercy.
But that your holiness may not be ignorant of this, know, my lord, that he shewed his ill-will towards me from the time of my assenting, in obedience to the canons of the holy Fathers, to the synodical letters issued in your see in the time of Proclus of blessed memory; on this point he has chidden me once and again on the ground of my violating the rights of the church of Antioch and, as he says, of that of Alexandria. Remembering this, and finding, as he thinks, an opportunity, he has exhibited his hostility. But nothing is stronger than the truth. Truth is wont to conquer even with few words. I beseech your holiness to remember me in your prayers to the Lord that I may have power to prevail against the waves that are beating me hither and thither.
LXXXVII. To Domnus, Bishop of Apamea.185
The law of brotherly love demanded that I should receive many letters from your godliness at this time. For the divine Apostle charges us to weep with them that weep and rejoice with them that do rejoice.186 I have not received a single one, although just lately I was visited by some of the pious monks of your monastery with the pious presbyter Elias. Nevertheless I have written, and I salute your holiness; and I make you acquainted with the fact that the consolation of the Master has stood me in stead of all other, for in truth not even had I as many mouths as I have hairs on my head, could I worthily praise Him for my being deemed worthy of suffering on account of my confession of Him, and for the apparent disgrace which I hold more august than any honour. And if I be banished to the uttermost parts of the earth all the more will I praise Him as being counted worthy of greater blessings. Nevertheless I hope your holiness will put up prayers for the quiet of the holy churches. It is because of the storm that is assailing them that I wail and groan and lament. That quiet, as I know, was driven away by the Osrhoene clergy,187 who poured out countless words against me, although I had no share in their condemnation, nor in the sentence passed upon them; on the contrary, as your holiness knows, I besought that the communion might be given to them at Easter. But slanderers find no difficulty in saying what they like. My consolation lies in the blessing of the Master who said, "Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake; rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."188
LXXXVIII. To Taurus the Patrician.189
Slanderers have forced me to go beyond the bounds of moderation, and compel me to write to you who have adorned the highest offices, and obtained the most distinguished honours. I therefore implore you to pardon me, for I do not write in self sufficiency, but because I am thrust forward by necessity. It is not because I expect to fall unjustly into trouble and distress, for this is the common fate of all who have sincerely served God, but because I desire to persuade your excellency that those who accuse my opinions are producing false charges against me. From my mother's breast I have been nurtured on apostolic teaching, and the creed laid down at Nicaea by the holy and blessed Fathers I have both learnt and teach. All who bold any other opinion I charge with impiety, and if any one persists in asserting that I teach the contrary, let him not bring a charge which I cannot defend, but convict me to my face. For this is agreeable to the laws alike of God and of man, but to whom is it so becoming to champion the wronged as to you, O friend of Christ, to whom boldness of utterance is given by the splendour of your lineage, the greatness of your rank and your foremost place in the law?
LXXXIX. To Florentius the Patrician.190
In sending a letter to your greatness I am daring what is beyond me, but the cause of my daring is not self-confidence, but the slanders of my calumniators. I have thought it well worth while to instruct your righteous ears how openly the impugners of my opinions are calumniating me. I have been guilty, I own, of many errors, but up to now I have ever kept the faith of the apostles undefiled, and on this account alone I have cherished the hope that I shall meet with mercy on the day of the Lord's appearing. On behalf of this faith I continue to contend against every kind of heresy; this faith I am ever giving to the nurslings of piety; by means of this faith I have metamorphosed countless wolves into sheep, and have brought them to the Saviour who is the Arch-shepherd of us all. So have I learnt not only from the apostles and prophets but also from the interpreters of their writings, Ignatius,Eustathius, Athanasius, Basil, Gregory, John, and the rest of the lights of the world; and before these from the holy Fathers in council at Nicaea, whose confession of the faith I preserve in its integrity, like an ancestral inheritance, styling corrupt and enemies of the truth all who dare to transgress its decrees. I invoke your greatness, now that you have heard from me in these terms, to shut the mouths of my calumniators. It is in my opinion wholly unreasonable to accept as true what is charged against men in their absence; rather is it lawful and right that those who wish to appear as prosecutors should accuse the defendants in their presence, and endeavour to convict them face to face. Under these conditions the judges will without difficulty be able to arrive at the truth.
XC. To Lupicinus the Master.191
I have passed through the contests of my prime. I see before me the confines of old age, and have expected as an old man to have more honour given me. But I am a mark for the shafts of slander, and am driven to meet by defence accusations levelled against me. Under these circumstances, I beseech your excellency not to believe the lies of my accusers. Had I been living a life of silence, there might have been room for the suspicion of unorthodoxy. But I am continually discoursing in the churches, and therefore have, by God's grace, innumerable witnesses to the soundness of what I teach. I follow the laws and rules of the apostles. I test my teaching by applying to it, like a rule and measure, the faith laid down by the holy and blessed Fathers at Nicaea. If any one maintain that I hold any contrary opinion, let him accuse me face to face; let him not slander me in my absence. It is fair that even the defendant should have an opportunity of speech, and meet with his defence the charges brought against him, and that then and not till then should the judges lawfully pronounce their sentence. This favour I beg through your excellency's assistance. If any men wish to condemn me unheard, I accept with willingness even their unjust sentence. For I wait for the judgment of the Master, where we need neither witnesses nor accusers. Before Him, as says the divine Apostle, "all things are naked and opened."192
XCI. To the Prefect Eutrechius.193
I well know, and need no words to tell me, how your excellency regards me. Actions speak more clearly than words, but I have been anxious for you to know the cause of the accusation that is brought against me. For I am suffering under a most extraordinary charge, being at one and the same time attacked as unmarried, and as having been married twice.194 If my present calumniators assert that I am falsifying the apostolic doctrine, why in the world, instead of accusing me in my absence, do they not attempt to convict me face to face? This fact alone is enough to give utter refutation to their lies, for it is because they know that I have innumerable witnesses to the apostolic character of my doctrines that they have urged an undefended indictment against me. Lawful judges must on the contrary keep one ear unbiassed for the accused. If they give both to the pleadings of the opponents, and deliver a sentence acceptable to them, I shall put up with the injustice as bringing me nearer to the kingdom of heaven, and shall await that impartial tribunal, where there is neither prosecutor, nor counsel, nor witness, nor distinction in rank, but judgment of deeds and words and righteous retribution. "For," it is said, "we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ that every one may receive the things done in his body according to that he hath done whether it be good or bad."195
XCII. To Anatolius the Patrician.196
The very holy lord archbishop Domnus has arranged for the most pious bishops to repair to the imperial city, with a view to the complete refutation of the false accusation made against us all. At this time we stand in especial need of the aid of your magnificence, since the Lord of all has endowed you with the gifts of pure faith, of warm zeal in its behalf, of intelligence and capacity, and power withal to carry out your prudent counsels. I beg you therefore to defend the cause of the wronged, to contend against lies, and champion the apostolic teaching now assailed. Without doubt the master and guide of the churches will bless your endeavour, will scatter the lowering cloud, and bless the nurslings of the faith with clear sky. Even should He permit the tempest to prevail, your greatness will reap your perfect reward, and we shall bow our heads before the storm, ready to live with cheerfulness wheresoever it may drive us, and waiting the judgment of God and his true and righteous sentence.
XCIII. To Senator the Patrician.
I cherish an indelible memory of your magnificence, and now by very religious and holy bishops I salute you. The very holy lord bishop Domnus has arranged for them to journey to the imperial city in order to put an end to the false charges raised against me. For certain men have contrived manifest calumnies against me, and have grievously disturbed the churches for whose sake the Lord Christ "endured the Cross despising the shame";197 in whose behalf the band of the divine apostles and companies of victorious martyrs were delivered to many kinds of death. On behalf of their peace I call on your magnificence to contend. It had been easy for the God of all to have nodded His head and scattered the lowering clouds; but He bides His time, and thereby at once shews the endurance of them that are assailed, and gives us opportunities of doing good.
XCIV. To Protogenes198 The Praefect.
The loving-kindness of the Lord has already given you an opportunity of carrying out your good intentions. He has given you a greater opportunity now, that your excellency may the more easily champion the cause of the truth that is assailed, bring lies to nought, and give the churches the calm for which they so intensely long. Your excellency has already learned from many other sources bow great is the surge by which the churches in the East are overwhelmed, but you will acquire more accurate information concerning it from the very religious bishops who, on account of it, have undertaken their long journey in the winter, relying, next after the Grace of God, on the providence of your authority. Disperse for us, then, O Christian man, the storm, change the moonless night into clear sunshine, and bridle the tongues set wagging against us. We by God's grace are ever fighting for the apostolic decrees, and we preserve undefiled the faith laid down at Nicaea, and style impious all who dare to violate its dogmas. In evidence of the truth of what I say may be cited my catechumens, those who are from time to time baptized by me, and the hearers of my discourses in the churches. If they mean to accuse me in accordance with the law, they must convict the in my presence, not slander me in my absence. In this manner your excellency, when giving judgment in other cases, is wont to deliver your sentences, perceiving on which side lies the right from the pleadings both of the prosecution and of the defence.
XCV. To the Praefect Antiochus.199
You have laid aside the cares of your very important government, but your fame flourishes among all; for they that have reaped the fruit of your benevolence, and they are many and everywhere, persistently extol it, proclaiming your good report in all directions, and stirring their hearers' tongues to join in the chorus of acclamation. When I behold the worthy fruit which adorns with its beauty its far-famed stem, I am delighted. For this reason I call your excellency to greater and higher deeds, and beseech you to give heed to the tranquillity of the churches. They have been overwhelmed with a great storm by the contrivers of calumnies against me, and under these circumstances the very religious bishops, making light of a long journey, of infirmity, and of old age, have left their own flocks unshepherded, and undertaken to travel this great distance, in their eagerness to confute the lies told against us all. I beseech your greatness to give them your protection, to shew care for the calumniated East, and your forethought for the welfare of the apostolic faith. It is only fitting that you should add this further glory to the rest of your good deeds.
XCVI. To Nomus the Patrician.200
I have written to you two letters, indeed I think three, but without getting any answer. I had wished to say no more, but to know my own place and the greatness of dignities, and to beg you to inform me of the cause of your silence. Really I do not know what offence I can have given to your excellency. We err unwillingly as well as willingly, and sometimes are quite ignorant in what way we are transgressing. I therefore beg your greatness, remembering the divine laws which plainly charge us "If thy brother shall trespass against thee go and tell him his fault between him and thee alone"201 to deign to make plain to me the origin of the annoyance, that I may either prove myself innocent, or, made aware of where I was wrong, may beg your pardon. In my confidence in the evidence of my conscience I hope for the former. All men are adorned by magnanimity, and not least those who, following the example of your excellency, trained in outside education as well as instructed in divine principles, both hear the apostolic laws loudly exclaiming "Let not the sun go down upon your wrath"202 and remember the words of Homer203
"In fit bounds contain thy mighty mind;
Benignity is best."
I have thus written not as though giving you information, but to remind one who is much occupied, and I do so in remembrance of the law of the Lord, who says "Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother and then come and offer thy gift."204 In obedience to these words I have thought it right to salute your excellency by the most pious bishops, and to exhort you to give heed to the tranquillity of the churches. They are indeed overwhelmed by a great storm.
XCVII. To the Count Sporacius.205
I am delighted with your excellency's letter. My pleasure has been increased by the very religious presbyter and monk Iamblichus, who has told me of your warm zeal, your earnestness in religion, and your real goodwill to me. On hearing of this as well as of the efforts of the glorious and pious lord Patricius206 on my behalf I give you the apostolic blessing which the blessed Onesiphorus obtained from that holy tongue; "The Lord give mercy to your house, for he oft refreshed. me and was not ashamed of my chain;" "The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day."207 This I pray for you, even though the enemies of the truth inflict on me yet greater miseries as they suppose; for we have been taught to regard men's purpose; but be sure of this, that with true religion death to me is very pleasant, and exile to the ends of the earth. Still we are distressed at the storm of the churches, which the Lord of all is mighty to disperse.
XCVIII. To Pancharius.
WE are distressed to see the tempest of the churches, but their Master and Ruler ever through mighty billows shows to men His own wisdom and power. He rebukes the winds and brings about a calm as He did when He was in the apostles boat.208 So though I am distressed, nevertheless because I know this power of our Saviour and am aware of what He arranges for us, even though adversity befall me. I give thanks and accept it as a gift of God. I have learned the lesson to care little for the present, and to wait for the expected blessings. But it behoves your excellency zealously to defend the apostolic faith, that you may receive from the God of all the recompense of such conduct.
XCIX. To Claudianus the Antigrapharius.209
Although you have not yet met me, I think that your excellency is aware of the open calumnies that have been published against me, for you have often heard me preaching in church, when I have proclaimed the Lord Jesus, and have pointed out the properties alike of the Godhead and of the manhood; for we do not divide one Son into two, but, worshipping the Only-begotten, point out the distinction between flesh and Godhead. This, indeed, is I think confessed even by the Arians, who do not call the flesh Godhead, nor address the Godhead as flesh. Holy Scripture clearly teaches us both natures. Nevertheless, though I have ever thus spoken, certain men are uttering lying words against me. But I rely on my conscience and have as witness to my teaching Him who looks into the hearts. So, as the prophet says, I regard the contrivances of calumny as "a spider's web."210 I await the great judgment which needs no words, but makes manifest what in the meanwhile is unknown.
I send this by the very religious bishops, thinking it worth while to salute your excellency by them and to remind you of your promise. For attacked as I am I do not cease to go a-hunting, for I know that even the sacred apostles in the midst of the assaults made upon them did not cease to ply the net of the spirit.
C. To Alexandra.211
I have recently received your excellency's letter. For the zeal you have shewn on my behalf I thank you, and pray the God of all to guard the goods you have, to increase them with further boons, and to grant you the enjoyment of future and everlasting blessings. I think that He hears the prayer even of them that are sentenced to relegation, and all the more when it is for the sake of His divine doctrine that they are undergoing apparent disgrace. I am writing by the very religious bishops, and I beg that they may meet with your kindly care. It is for the sake of the faith of the gospel and the peace of the churches that they have undertaken this long journey.
CI. To the Deaconess Celarina.
The flames of the war against us have been lit up again. After yielding awhile, the enemy of men has once more armed against us men nurtured in lies, who utter open slander against me, and say that I divide our one Lord Jesus Christ into two sons. I however know the distinction between Godhead and manhood, and confess one Son, God the Word made man. I assert that He is God eternal, who was made man at the end of days, not by the change of the Godhead, but by the assumption of the manhood. It is however needless for me to inform your piety of my sentiments, for you have exact knowledge of what I preach, and how I instruct the ignorant. I beseech you therefore since the workers of lies have poured their insults upon all the godly bishops of the East at once, and overwhelmed the churches with a storm, that your piety will show all possible zeal on behalf of the doctrines of the gospel anti the peace of the churches. On this account the very godly bishops have left the churches shepherded by them, have disregarded the inclemency of winter, and endured the labours of their long journey, that they may calm the tempest which has arisen. I am sure that your godly excellency will regard them as champions of piety and governors of the churches.
CII. To Bishop Basilius.212
There is nothing remarkable in the reproaches that are directed against me being heard in silence by men who do not know me; but that your holiness should not refute the lies of my revilers, or at least should do so only to a certain extent, and with no great heartiness, passes the belief of any one who knows your character and conduct. And I say this not because friendship ought to be preferred to truth, but because the witness of truth is on the side of friendship. Your reverence has very often heard me preaching in church, and, in other assemblies where I have spoken on doctrinal questions; you have listened to what I have said, and I do not know of any occasion on which you have found fault with me for expressing unorthodox opinions. But what is the case at the present moment? Why in the world, my dear friend, do you not utter a word against falsehood, while you allow a friend to be calumniated and the truth to be assailed? If this is because you disregard the helpless and insignificant, remember the plain proclamation of the commandment of the Lord "Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones which believe in me, for I say unto you that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven."213 If however it is the influence of my calumniators which imposes silence upon you, you must listen to the other law which says "Thou shalt not honour the person of the mighty"214 and "Judge righteous judgment"215 and "Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil"216 and "He that shutteth his eyes from seeing evil and stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood."217 You may find innumerable similar passages in holy Scripture, which I have thought it needless to collect when writing to a man brought up in the divine oracles, and watering Christian people with his teaching. But this I will say, that we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ, and shall give account of our words and deeds. I, who for every other reason dread this tribunal, now that Iam encompassed with calumny, find my chief consolation in the thought of it.
CIII. To the Count Apollonius.218
The very godly bishops have been led to travel to the imperial city by the calumnies uttered against me, and I by their holinesses send your excellency my salutation, and pay the debt of friendship, not indeed to wipe out the cherished obligation, but to make it greater. For in truth the obligations of friendship are increased by their discharge. That I should now be reaping the fruits of calumny is not extraordinary, for, in that I am human, there is nothing that I must not expect. All troubles of this kind must be borne by them that have learned wisdom; one thing only is distressing-that harm should accrue to the soul.
CIV. To Flavianus,219 Bishop of Constantnople.
I have already in another letter informed your holiness how openly the calumniators of our teaching are slandering us.220 Now in like manner by means of the very godly bishops I do the same, having not only these as witnesses of the orthodoxy of my teaching but also countless other men who are my hearers in the churches of the East. Above and beyond all these I have my conscience, and Him who sees my conscience. And I know too how the divine Apostle often appealed to the testimony of his conscience, for "our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience"221 and again "I say the truth in Christ I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost."222 Know then, O holy and godly sir, that no one has ever at any time heard us preaching two sons; in fact this doctrine seems to the abominable and impious, for there is one Lord Jesus Christ through whom are all things. Him I acknowledge both as everlasting God and as man in the end of days, and I give Him one worship as only begotten. I have learned however the distinction between flesh and Godhead, for the union is unconfounded. Thus drawn up as it were in battle array to oppose the madness of Arius and Eunomius, we very easily refute the blasphemy hazarded by them against the only begotten, by applying what was spoken in humility about the Lord, and suitably to His assumed nature, to man, and, on the other hand, what becomes the divine and signifies the divine nature, to God; not dividing Him into two persons, but teaching that both the former and latter attributes belong to the only begotten, the latter to Him as God the Creator and Lord of all, and the former as made man on our account. For divine Scripture says that He was made man, not by mutation of the Godhead, but by assumption of human nature, of the seed of Abraham. This the divine Apostle openly says in the words "For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels, but He took on Him the seed of Abraham, wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren."223 And again "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made: he saith not and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ."224
These and similar passages have been cut out of divine Scripture by Simon, Basilides, Valentinus, Bardesanes, Marcion, and the man who is named after his maniacal heres.225 So they style the Master Christ God only, and describe Him as having nothing human about Him, but appearing in imagination and appearance as man to men. On the other hand the Arians and Eunomians say that God the Word assumed only a body, and that He Himself supplied the place of a soul in the body. And Apollinarius describes the Master's body as endued with a soul;226 but, deriving, I know not whence. the idea of a distinction between soul and intelligence,227 deprives intelligence of its share in the achieved salvation.228 The teaching of the divine Apostles lays down on the contrary that a soul both reasonable and intelligent was assumed together with flesh, and the salvation of which the hope is held out to them that believe is complete.
There is yet another gang of heretics who hold differently.Photinus,229 Marcellus,230 and Paul of Samosata,231 assert that our Lord and God was only man. When arguing with these we are tinder the necessity of advancing proofs of the Godhead, and of shewing that the Master Christ is everlasting God. When, on the other band, we are contending with the former faction, which calls our Lord Jesus Christ God only, we are obliged to marshal against them the forces of the divine Scripture, and collect from it evidence of the assumption of the manhood. For a physician must use remedies appropriate to the disease, and suit the medicine to the case.
Now, therefore, I beseech your holiness to scatter the slander raised against me, and bridle the tongues now vainly reviling me. For, after the incarnation, I worship one Son of God, one Lord Jesus Christ, and denounce as impious all who hold otherwise. Deign, sir, to give me too your holy prayers, that, by God's grace, I may reach the other side of the ocean of danger, and drop my anchor in the windless haven of the Lord.
CV. To Eulogius the Oeconomus.232
We have heard from many sources of your piety's efforts on behalf of true religion. It is therefore right that you should readily succour one who is calumniated for the same cause, and should refute the reviler's lies. You, O godly Sir, know what I hold, and what I teach, and that no one has ever heard of my preaching two sons. Exert, I implore you, in this case too your divine energy, and stop the months of the evil speakers. In conflicts of this kind one must help not only one's friends but even those who have caused us pain.
CVI. To Abraham the Oeconomus.
By the godly bishops I salute you. I beseech you to give heed to the churches' calm, and to disperse the waves of calumny. "Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap,"233 as says the divine Apostle. Without doubt then he who fights for the apostolic doctrines shall reap the fruit of the apostolic blessing and enjoy the Apostles' devotion.
CVII. To the Presbyter Theodotus.
The struggles which your piety has undergone on behalf of the apostolic doctrines are not unknown, but are frequently mentioned alike by those who have known them by experience, and by others who have heard of them from these. Continue, my dear sir, your efforts, and fight for the doctrines of the Fathers. For these I too am buffeted in all directions and, while I receive the shock of the great waves, I beseech our Governor either to nod his head and scatter the tempest, or enable the victims of the storm by His grace to play the man.
CVIII. To Acacius the Presbyter.
True indeed is the promise of David's Psalm, for through him the Spirit of truth gave this promise to them that believe, "Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust also to him; and he shall bring it to pass; and he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light and thy judgment as the noonday."234 This we find too has come to pass in the case of your piety. For the great care you bestow upon them that are weeping for their orphanhood, and your struggles on behalf of the apostolic doctrines, are in every one's mouth, and so, as the prophets say, "Hidden things are made manifest." Since I too have beard of your piety's admirable exertions I write to salute you, most godly sir, and beseech you to increase your glory by adding to your labours, and to fight on behalf of the doctrine of the Gospels, that we may both keep the inheritance of our fathers unimpaired, and bring our Master His talent with good usury.235
CIX. To Eusebius, Bishop of Ancyra.236
Many are the devices secretly plotted against me, and through me patched up against the faith of apostles. I am however comforted by the sufferings of the Saints, Prophets, Apostles, Martyrs, and men famous in the churches in the word of Grace; and besides these by the promises of our God and Saviour, for in this present life He has promised us nothing pleasant or delightful, but rather trouble, toil, and peril, and attacks of enemies. "In the world," He says, "ye shall have tribulation,"237 and "if they have persecuted me they will also persecute you,"238 and "If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub how much more shall they call them of his household,"239 and "The time cometh when whosoever killeth you will think he doeth God service,"240 and "Straight is the gate and narrow the way which leadeth unto life,"241 and "When they persecute you in this city flee you into another,"242 and I might quote all similar passages. The divine Apostle too speaks in the same strain. "Yea and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution, but evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived."243 These words give me the greatest comfort in this distress. As the calumnies uttered against me have probably reached your holiness's ears, I beseech your holiness to give no credence to the lies of my slanderers. I am not aware of ever having taught anyone up to the present time to believe in two sons. I have been taught to believe in one only begotten, our Lord Jesus Christ, God the Word made man. But I know the distinction between flesh and Godhead, and regard as impious all who divide our one Lord Jesus Christ into two sons, as well as those who, travelling in an opposite direction, call the Godhead and manhood of the master Christ one nature. For these exaggerations stand opposed to one another, while between them lies the way of the doctrines of the Gospel, beautified by the footprints of prophets and apostles, and of all who after them have been conspicuous for the gift of teaching. I was anxious to adduce their opinions, and to point out how they bear witness in favour of my own, but I want more words than a letter allows room for, wherefore I have written summarily what I have been taught about the incarnation of the only begotten; I send my statement to your godly excellency.244 I bare written not with the object of teaching others, but of making my defence against the accusations brought against me, and of explaining my sentiments to those who are ignorant of them. After your holiness has read what I have written, if you find it in conformity with the apostolic doctrines, I hope you trill confirm my opinion by what you reply-if, on the contrary, anything that I have said jars with the divine teaching, I request to be told of it by your holiness. For, though I have spent much time in teaching, I still need one to teach me. "We know," says the divine Apostle "in part,"245 and again he says, "If any man think that he knoweth anything he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know."246 So I hope that I may hear the truth from your holiness, and that you may also give heed to the calm of the Church, and fight for the divine doctrines. It is for their sakes that the very godly bishops, making light of the difficulties of the journey, and of the winter, have set out for the imperial city, in the endeavour to bring about some end to the storm. Send them I pray you, on their way with your prayers and with your prayers too strengthen me.247
CX. To Domnus, Bishop of Antioch.248
When I read your letter I remembered the very blessed Susannah, who when she saw the famous villains, and believed that the God of all was present, uttered that remarkable cry, "I am straitened on every side;"249 but nevertheless preferred to fall into the snares of slander rather than to despise the just God. And I, sir, have two alternatives as I have often said, to offend God and wound my conscience, or to fall by man's unjust sentence. The most pious emperor, I think, knows nothing of this. For what hindered him from writing, and ordering the ordination to take place, if in truth it so pleased him? Why in the world do they utter threats without and cause alarm, and yet do not send letters openly ordering it? One of two things must be true; either the very pious emperor is not induced to write, or they are trying to make us break the law and afterwards be indicted by them for illegality. I have before me the example of the blessed Principius,250 for in that case, when they had given orders by writing, they punished him for obedience. Moreover the letters which I read on the very day of the letter-bearer's arrival are of a contrary tenour. For one of the holy monks has written to some one that he fins received letters both from the very illustrious guardsman and the very glorious ex-magister stating that the case of the very godly lord bishop Irenaeus will stand more favourably, and in return for this good will they ask prayers on their behalf. I think therefore that a reply ought to be written to the clergy who have written from the imperial city to the effect that251 "in obedience to the sentence of the very godly bishops of Phoenicia, and knowing both the zeal and the magnanimity and love for the poor and all the other virtues of the very godly bishop Irenaeus, and in addition to this the orthodoxy of his opinions, I have ordained him. I am not aware that he has ever objected to apply to the holy Virgin the title `Theotokos,' or has ever held any other opinions contrary to the doctrines of the Gospel. As to the question of digamy, I have followed my predecessors; for Alexander of blessed and sacred memory, the ornament of this apostolic see, as well as the very blessed Acacius, bishop of Beroea, ordained Diogenes of blessed memory who was a `digamus;'252 and similarly the blessed Praylius ordained Domninus of Caesarea who was a `digamus.'253 We have therefore followed precedent, and the example of men well known and illustrious both for learning and character. Proclus, bishop of Constantinople, of blessed memory well aware of this and many other instances, both himself accepted the ordination, and wrote in praise and admiration of it. So too did the leading godly bishops of the Pontic Diocese,254 and all the Palestinians.
"No doubt has been raised about the matter, and we hold it wrong to condemn a man illustrious for many and various noble actions." In my opinion it is becoming to write in these terms. If your holiness holds any other view, let what seems good to you be done. I, as they suppose, have undergone one punishment, and am ready by God's help to undergo yet another. Even a third and fourth, if they like, by the stay of God's grace I will endure, praising the Lord. If your holiness thinks right, let us see what answer comes from Palestine, and, after considering more exactly what course is to be taken, let us so write to Constantinople.
CXI. To Anatolius the Patrician.255
Your excellency will be recompensed for the kindness you have shewn me by the God of all, for all that is done for His sake has its reward. I laugh at all my slanderers. The bodies of them who are most severely scourged do not feel the pain, because the scourged flesh is deadened. Still I lament over them whose unrestrained mouths utter such lies. In what way have the accusers of the godly bishop Ibas256 been wronged by me that they should utter such calumnies against me? To begin with, I was not even one of the judges, for in obedience to the imperial decree I was living at Cyrus. Moreover, as I have heard from many, they all along treated my absence as a grievance, for I had arranged for their partaking of the Holy Communion at the Easter feast of salvation,257 and as they often expressed a wish to meet me, I received them with kindness and advised them as to the proper course to take. But that I may also speak in the defence of the very godly bishop the lord Domnus, what was the proper course for him to take? He was openly attacked; he saw men deposed by a synodical sentence sent into another diocese, and resuming their priestly functions in violation of the laws of the Church; he saw things holy and divine laughed at and turned into ridicule by the enemies of the Church; what was he to do? When he knew this he handed over the case to others, and not only to the very godly lord Ibas, but also to the holy lord bishop Symeon of Amida, that the metropolitans of the two provinces might hear the charges. What fairness is there in charging the same persons with cruelty and kindness? If we ex-communicate, we run into danger; if we do not excommunicate, we do not escape it. We alone of all the world are objects of attack. Other dioceses are at peace. We alone are exposed to calumniators,-specially I myself, though I took no part in the trial, and am absolutely without responsibility in the matter.
Thus have I been forced to write on reading your lordship's letter, and on learning from it how for these reasons a great commotion has been made against me, a man confined to my diocese; a man of peace; one not evendeliberating with the godly bishops of the province. As a matter of fact, although there have been already two episcopal ordinations in our province, I took part in neither. Were I not restrained by the imperial decree I would have gone away, and spent the remainder of my days in some remote spot. I am faint for the plots hatched against me. I am sure those Edessenes never put together their slander against me of their own accord. They were prompted to these attacks on me by their truly truthful neighbours. I thank our Saviour that he has deemed me worthy of the beatitudes of the Gospel, all unworthy though I be. For this reason I have gladly accepted the sentence of relegation. I am ready for exile, and, for the sake of the "hope laid up for me,"258 welcome whatever fate they may inflict. I pray without ceasing for your excellency, and beseech all the saints to share in my petitions.
CXII. To Domnus, Bishop of Antioch.259
When news was brought to me that the pettiness of the victorious emperor had been put an end to, a reconciliation effected between him and the very godly bishop,260 the summons to the council cancelled, and the peace of the churches restored, I hoped that our troubles were a thing of the past. But I am deeply distressed at what I hear from your holiness. It is impossible to hope for any good from this notorious council, unless the merciful Master with His wonted providence shall undo the riotous demons' devices. Even in the great synod, I mean that of Nicaea, the Arian party voted with the orthodox and set their hands to the apostolic exposition. But they did not cease to war against the truth till they had torn asunder the body of the Church. For thirty years the supporters of the apostolic doctrines and they who were infected with the Arian blasphemy continued in communion with one another. But at Antioch,261 when the latest council was finished, when they had seated the man of God, the great Meletius, on the apostolic throne, and then after a few days ejected him by the imperial authority, Euzoius who was affected with the undoubted plague of Arius was put forward, and straightway the champions of apostolic doctrines seceded and thereafter the division continued.
As I look back on what happened then, and look forward to similar events in the future, my wretched spirit sighs and wails, for I see no prospect of good. The men of the other dioceses do not know the poison which lies in the Twelve Chapters;262 having regard to the celebrity of the writer of them, they suspect no mischief, and his successor in the see263 is I think adopting every means to confirm them in a second synod. For supposing he who lately wrote them at command, and anathematized all who did not wish to abide by them, were presiding over an oecumenical council, what could he not effect? And be well assured, my lord, that no one who knows the heresy they contain will brook to accept them, though twice as many men of this sort decree them. Before now, though a larger number have rashly confirmed them, I resisted at Ephesus, and refused to communicate with the writer of them till he had agreed to the points laid down by me, and had harmonized his teaching with them, without making any mention of the Chapters. This your holiness can ascertain without any difficulty if you order the acts of the synod to be investigated; for they are preserved as is customary with the synodical signatures, and there are extant more than fifty synodic acts shewing the accusation of the Twelve Chapters. For before the journey to Ephesus the blessed John264 had written to the very godly bishops Eutherius of Tyana, Firmus of Caesarea, and Theodotus of Ancyra, denouncing these Chapters as Apollinarian,265 And at Ephesus the exposition and confirmation of these Chapters was the cause of our deposition of the Alexandrian and of the Ephesian.266 Moreover at Ephesus many synodic letters were written both to the victorious emperor, and to the great officers, about these Chapters; and in like manner to the laity at Constantinople and to the reverend clergy. Moreover when we were summoned to Constantinople we had five discussions in the imperial presence, and afterwards sent the emperor three protestations. And to the very godly bishops of the West, of Milan I mean, of Aquileia, and of Ravenna, we wrote on the same subject, protesting that the Chapters were full of the Apollinarian novelty. Furthermore their writer received a letter from the blessed John by the hands of the blessed Paul,267 openly blaming them; and in like manner from Acacius of blessed memory. And to give your holiness concise information on the subject I have sent you both the letter of the blessed Acacius, as well as that of the blessed John to the blessed Cyril, in order that you may perceive that though they were writing to him on the subject of agreement they blamed these Chapters. And the blessed Cyril himself, in his letter to the blessed Acacius plainly indicated the drift of these Chapters in the words "I have written this against his innovations and when peace is made they will be made manifest." The very defence proves the accusation. I have sent you the copy of what he wrote at the time of the agreement, that you may see, my lord, that he made no mention of them, and that those who attend the Council are under an obligation to bring forward what was written at the time of the agreement, and to state plainly what had caused the difference and on what terms the sundered parts were atoned. For they who are summoned to fight for the truth must flinch from no toil, and must invoke the divine aid, that we may preserve unimpaired the heritage bequeathed us by our forefathers.
Your holiness must look out for men of like mind among the godly bishops and make them companions of your journey; and likewise of the reverend clergy those who are zealous for the truth, lest betrayed even by them of our own side we are either driven to do something displeasing to the God of all, or, in our abandonment, fall an easy prey to our foes.
It is faith in which we have our hopes of salvation, and we must leave no means untried to prevent aught spurious being brought into it, and the apostolic teaching from being corrupted.
I write you these words from far away, with sighs and with groans, and I beseech our common Master to scatter this dark cloud and bestow on us once more the boon of the bright sunshine.
CXIII. To Leo, Bishop of Rome.
If Paul, the herald of the truth, the trumpet of the Holy Ghost, hastened to the great Peter268 in order that he might carry from him the desired solution of difficulties to those at Antioch who were in doubt about living in conformity with the law, much more do we, men insignificant and small, hasten to your apostolic see269 in order to receive from you a cure for the wounds of the churches. For every reason it is fitting for you to hold the first place, inasmuch as your see is adorned with many privileges. Other cities are indeed adorned by their size, their beauty, and their population; and some which in these respects are lacking are made bright by certain spiritual boons. But on your city the great Provider has bestowed an abundance of good gifts. She is the largest, the most splendid, the most illustrious of the world, and overflows with the multitude of her inhabitants. Besides all this, she has achieved her present sovereignty, and has given her name to her subjects. She is moreover specially adorned by her faith, in due testimony whereof the divine Apostle exclaims "your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world."270 And if even after receiving the seeds of the message of salvation her boughs were straightway heavy with these admirable fruits, what words can fitly praise the piety now practised in her? In her keeping too are the tombs that give light to the souls of the faithful, those of our common fathers and teachers of the truth, Peter and Paul.271 This thrice blessed and divine pair arose in the region of sunrise, and spread their rays in all directions. Now from the region of sunset, where they willingly welcomed the setting of this life, they illuminate the world. They have rendered your see most glorious; this is the crown and completion272 of your good things; but in these days their God has adorned their throne273 by setting on it your holiness, emitting, as you do, the rays of orthodoxy. Of this I might give many proofs, but it is enough to mention the zeal which your holiness lately shewed against the ill-famed Manichees, proving thereby your piety's earnest regard for divine things. Your recent writings, too, are enough to indicate your apostolic character. For we have met with what your holiness has written concerning the incarnation274 of our God and Saviour, and we have marvelled at the exactness of your expressions.
For both writings agreed in setting forth both the everlasting Godhead of the Only-begotten derived from the everlasting Father, and the manhood derived from the seed of Abraham and David; and that the nature assumed was in all things like unto us, being unlike to us in this respect alone, that it remained free from all sin; since it springs not of nature but of free will.
The letters moreover contain this, that the Only-begotten Son of God is one, and his God head impassible, immutable, and invariable, like the Father who begat Him and the Holy Spirit; and that on this account He took the passible nature, divine nature being incapable of suffering, that by the suffering of His own flesh He might bestow freedom from suffering on them that have believed in Him. These statements and others of like nature were contained in your letters. We, in admiration of your spiritual wisdom, have lauded the grace of the Holy Ghost uttered through you, and we invoke and beseech and beg and implore your highness to protect the churches of God that are now assailed by the storm.
We had expected that through the instrumentality of the representatives275 sent by your holiness to Ephesus, the tempest would have been done away, but we have fallen under severer attacks of the storm. For the very righteous bishop of Alexandria was not content with the illegal and very unrighteous deposition of the most holy and godly bishop of Constantinople, the lord Flavianus, nor was his soul satisfied with a similar slaughter of the rest of the bishops, but me too in my absence he stabbed with a pen, without summoning me to the bar, without trying me in my presence, without questioning me as to my opinions about the incarnation of our God and Saviour. Even murderers, tomb-breakers, and adulterers, are not condemned by their judges until they have themselves confirmed by confession the charges brought against them, or have been clearly convicted by the testimony of others. Yet I, nurtured as I have been in the divine laws, have been condemned by him at his pleasure, when all the while I was five and thirty days' march away.
Nor is this all that he has done. Only last year when two fellows tainted with the unsoundness of Apollinarius had gone thither and patched up slanders against me, he stood up in church and anathematized me, and that after I had written to him and explained my opinions to him.
I lament the disturbance of the church, and long for peace. Six and twenty years have I ruled the church entrusted to me by the God of all, aided by your prayers. Never in the time of the blessed Theodotus,276 the chief bishop of the East; never in the time of his successors in the see of Antioch, did I incur the slightest blame. By the help of God's grace working with me more than a thousand souls did I rescue from the plague of Marcion; many others from the Arian and Eunomian factions did I bring over to our Master Christ. I have done pastoral duty in eight hundred churches, for so many parishes does Cyrus contain; and in them, through your prayers, not even one tare is left, and our flock is delivered from all heresy and error. He who sees all things knows how many stones have been cast at me by evil heretics, how many conflicts in most of the cities of the East I have waged against pagans, against Jews, against every heresy. After all this trial and all this danger I have been condemned without a trial.
But I await the sentence of your apostolic see. I beseech and implore your holiness to succour me in my appeal to your fair and righteous tribunal. Bid me hasten to you, and prove to you that my teaching follows the footprints of the apostles. I have in my possession what I wrote twenty years ago; what I wrote eighteen, fifteen, twelve, years ago; against Arians and Eunomians, against Jews and pagans; against the magi in Persia; on divine Providence; on theology; and on the divine incarnation. By God's grace I have interpreted the writings of the apostles and the oracles of the prophets. From these it is not difficult to ascertain whether I have adhered to the right rule of faith, or have swerved from its straight course. Do not, I implore you, spurn my prayer; regard, I implore you, the insults piled after all my labours on my poor grey head.
Above all, I implore you to tell me whether I ought to put up with this unrighteous deposition or not; for I await your decision. If you bid me abide by the sentence of condemnation, I abide; and henceforth I will trouble no man, and will wait for the righteous tribunal of our God and Saviour. God is my witness, my lord, that I care not for honour and glory. I care only for the scandal that has been caused, in that many of the simpler folk, and especially those whom I have rescued from various heresies, cleaving to the authority of my judges and quite unable to understand the exact truth of the doctrine, will perhaps suppose me guilty of heresy.
All the people of the East know that during all the time of my episcopate I have not acquired a house, not a piece of ground, not an obol, not a tomb, but of my own accord have embraced poverty, after distributing, at the death of my parents, the whole of the property which I inherited from them.
Above all I implore you, O holy sir, beloved of God, to grant me the help of your prayers. I have told you this by the reverend and godly presbyters Hypatius and Abramius chorepiscopi277 and by Alypius exarch278 of our monks. I would hasten to you myself were I not kept back by the chains of the imperial order, which imprison me as they do others. Treat my messengers, I beseech you, as a father might his sons; give them kindly and unbiassed audience; deign to grant your protection to my old age,279 slandered as it is and attacked in vain. Above all, regard, to the utmost of your power, the faith conspired against; preserve for the churches the inheritance of their fathers unimpaired. So will your holiness receive the recompense due for such deeds from the great Giver of all good gifts.280
CXIII. (A).281 From Pope Leo to Theodoret.
To our much beloved brother Theodoretus, bishop, Leo, bishop.
CXIV.282 To Andiberis.
The reverend presbyter Peter is distinguished not only by his priestly rank, but also by his wise practice in medicine. During his long residence with us he has won all hearts by his conciliatory manners. On learning of my departure he has now determined to leave Cyrus; I therefore commend him to your excellency, and hope that,, fully capable as he is of doing good service to the city,-for when he lived at Alexandria he practised the same profession,-he will meet with kindness at your hands.
CXV. To Apella.
When I undertook the direction of the see of Cyrus, I procured for it from all directions men who practised necessary arts, and besides this induced skilful physicians to live there. Of these one is the reverend presbyter Peter, who practises his profession with wisdom, and adorns it by his character. On my departure, several have left the city and Peter also has determined to leave. Under these circumstances I beseech your excellency to give him your kind care. He is well able to attend the sick and to wage war against their ailments.
CXVI.283 To the Presbyter Renatus.
We have heard of the warm and righteous zeal of your holiness, and the just and lawful boldness of speech which you employed in condemning the audacious proceedings at Ephesus. Nor is this known to us alone, but the fame of your orthodoxy has gone out into all lands, and all men are celebrating your righteousness, your zeal, your boldness, and your denunciation of my unfair treatment. And your holiness took this course after seeing one massacre. If you had seen the others which took place after your departure you would perhaps have emulated the fervour of the famous Phinehas.284 I am one of those who was subsequently condemned, being forbidden by the imperial order to attend the council, and sentenced in my absence.285
Six and twenty years have I been a bishop; innumerable labours have I undergone; I have struggled hard for the truth; I have freed tens of thousands of heretics from their errors and brought them to the Saviour; and now they have stripped me of my priesthood; they are exiling me from the city. For my old age, for my hairs grown gray in the truth, they have no respect. Wherefore, I beseech your sanctity, persuade the very sacred and holy archbishop286 to bid me hasten to your council. For that holy see has precedence over all churches in the world, for many reasons; and above all for this, that it is free from all taint of heresy, and that no bishop of heterodox opinion has ever sat upon its throne, but it has kept the grace of the apostles undefiled.287 Confident in your justice I shall accept your decisions, whatever they may be, and shall claim to be judged by my writings. More than thirty books have I written against Arius and Eunomius, against Marcion, against Macedonius, against the heathen and against Jews; I have interpreted the holy Scriptures, and any one who likes may easily learn that I have followed in the steps of the apostles, proclaiming the one Son, one Father, and one Holy Ghost; one Godhead of the Trinity, one sovereignty, one power, eternity, immutability, impassibility, one will;288 that the Godhead of the Lord Jesus Christ was perfect, perfect the manhood taken for our salvation and for our sakes delivered unto death. I do not know one Son of man and another Son of God, but one and the same, Son of God and Godbegotten of God, and Son of man, through the form of the servant, of the seed of Abraham and David. These and like doctrines I continue to teach; these also I have found in the writings of the most holy and sacred lord archbishop Leo, and I praise the Lord of all that I agree with his apostolic doctrines. Receive, I beseech you, my supplication, and do not overlook the wrongs under which I suffer. On this account I have sent to your holiness the godly presbyters Hypatius and Abramius, chorepiscopi, and Alypius exarch of our monks, adorned as they are by good lives, and able by word of mouth to give you exact information as to the affairs of my insignificant self.
CXVII. To the Bishop Florentius.289
Truly the grace of our God and Saviour has not yet abandoned the human race, but has left us a seed in your holiness "lest we should become as Sodom, and be made like unto Gomorrah."290 This seed suffers us not altogether to faint, but charges us to wait for the passing away of the dire storm; this renders us hopeful.
We have therefore sent to your holiness. the very godly presbyters Hypatius and Abramius, chorepiscopi, and Alypius, exarch of our monks, that you may put an end to the disaster which has befallen the churches of the East; that in the first place you may confirm the faith handed down to us from the first by the holy Apostles, may proscribe the heresy that has started up, and openly convict the men who have the hardihood to debase the preaching of the Oeconomy;291 and secondly may fight as champion of them who are being attacked for the truth's sake. For it is in the cause of the apostolic Faith, most holy, that we have undergone that unrighteous massacre, because we refused to abandon the truth of the Gospel doctrines. Now it behoves your holiness not to overlook the unjust persecution of men of like mind with yourself, but by your just help to put a stop to injustice, and teach the assailants of the truth that men who strive to act unscrupulously at their own good pleasure cannot be allowed to work out their ends.
CXVIII. To the Archdeacon of Rome.292
A terrible storm has attacked our churches, but the adherents of the apostolic faith have in your holiness a safe and quiet haven. Not only do you champion the cause of the doctrines of the Gospel, but you utterly detest the wrong done to me. I was living far away at a distance of thirty-five days' journey, when I was condemned at their good pleasure by those most righteous judges. Teaching which has obtained in the churches from the coming of God our Saviour till this day they have abandoned. They have introduced a novel and bastard doctrine, diametrically contrary to the tradition of the apostles, and are openly at war with them that hold to the ancient instruction. Deign, then, most godly sir, to kindle the zeal of the very sacred and holy archbishop, that the churches of the East too may enjoy your kindly care. Above all fight in behalf of the faith delivered from the beginning by the holy apostles; preserve the heritage of our fathers unimpaired, and scatter the mist that oppresses us. Give us instead of moonless night clear sunshine, and condemn the wickedness of the massacre unrighteously wrought against us. It is becoming to your holiness to add yet this act of zeal to your other good deeds.
CXIX. To Anatolius the Patrician.293
Your excellency has been fully informed as to the acts of the most righteous judges at Ephesus, for their sound has gone out into all lands and their most just judgment to the ends of the world.294 What church has not felt the storm that has been raised by it? The one side wronged, the other were wronged, but they who neither suffered nor did the wrong share the distress of the wronged, and lament over them that so savagely and against all laws human and divine massacred their own members. Even house breakers caught in the very act are first tried and then punished by their judges; even murderers, violators of sepulchres, and adulterers, are first haled before the bench, and their accusers ordered to make their indictment, and the motive of the witnesses is tested to see that they are not giving evidence to curry favour with the prosecutors, or are prejudiced against the defendants; and after this they are bidden to make their defence to the charges brought against them. This is done twice, thrice; sometimes even four times; and then, and not till then, after the truth has been sought in the words of both accuser and accused, the sentence is given. As to how these men judged in the case of the rest I will say nothing, lest I may seem a meddler in what does not concern me. I am forced to speak on behalf of myself alone, for the unrighteous deed of violence compels me. The imperial order kept me at home, and prevented me from travelling beyond the bounds of the city placed under my pastoral care. The decision of the synod went against me, and a man was condemned who was five and thirty days' journey away.
Now the God of all said to the patriarch Abraham about Sodom and Gomorrah: "Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is very great and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it which is come unto me; and if not, I will know."295 He knew quite well the wickedness of those men, and nevertheless He said, "I will go down and see," so teaching us to wait for the proof of facts. But these men never summoned me to trial, they never heard the sound of my voice, they refused to hear from me a statement of my opinions, and handed me over, as a victim to be slaughtered, to the rage of the enemies of the truth.
I, however, welcome my rest, and especially so at the present time, when the apostolic decrees have been by many destroyed, and the new heresy strengthened. But lest any one who does not know me should believe that the slanders uttered against me are true, and should be scandalized at the idea of my holding opinions other than those of the gospel, I implore your excellency to ask as a favour from the victorious sovereign that I may go to the West, and there plead my cause before the very godly and holy bishops; and if I be found transgressing in the least degree the rule of the faith, that I may be plunged into the midst of the deep sea. If he will not grant you this request, let him at least command me to inhabit my monastery,296 which is a hundred and twenty miles away from Cyrus, seventy-five from Antioch. and lies three miles away from Apamea.
Of these petitions, if possible, I ask the former; if not at least I implore that, through your excellency's interposition, the second may be granted me. I shall ever carry the memory of your kindness in my heart and on my lips, supplicating the Lord of hosts to requite your excellency as well with present as with future blessings. I am compelled to write to you in these terms because I have heard that certain persons are endeavouring to compass my removal from this place.
CXX. To Lupicius.297
Even the enemies of the truth must, I think, be indignant at the injustice and illegality of the violence done us. It is only reasonable that the nurslings of the truth, at whose head stands your excellency, should be still more distressed at this new and surprising tragedy. It is only right that those who are the more grieved should show the more earnestness and zeal to counteract the deeds impiously and illegally done; and restore to its previous concord the Church's body now in peril of being torn asunder. Wherefore I beseech your excellency to reckon the present crisis an opportunity for spiritual reciprocity; to give on your side earnestness on behalf of the truth, and to receive from our generous Master alike His kindly care in this present life and in the life to come the kingdom of heaven.
CXXI. To Anatolius the Patrician.298
The Lord who overlooks and governs all things has shewn both the apostolic truth of my doctrines, and the falsehood of the slander laid at my door. For the writings sent from the right godly and holy lord Leo, archbishop of Great Rome, to Flavianus of holy memory and to the rest assembled at Ephesus, are entirely in harmony with what I myself have written and have always preached in church. So soon therefore as I had read them, I praised the loving-kindness of the Lord, in that He had not wholly forsaken the churches, but had protected the spark of orthodoxy; or-shall I not rather say?-not a spark, but a very great torch, such as might enkindle and enlighten the world; for he has truly, in his writings, observed the apostolic stamp, and in them we have found at once what has been delivered by the holy and blessed prophets and apostles, and their successors in the preaching of the Gospel, and moreover the holy Fathers assembled at Nicaea. By these I confess that I abide, and indict all who hold other doctrines as guilty of impiety. Side by side with these writings of mine I have set one of the letters sent by him to Ephesus, to the end that when your excellency reads them you may remember the words which I have often spoken in church, may recognise the harmony of the doctrines, and may bate the utterers of the lie as well as those who have set up their new heresy in opposition to the doctrines of the Apostle.
I have been greatly delighted that we who correspond in character should have corresponded by letter. But I do not quite see what you mean by saying "Are not these my words?" If it were said only for the sake of salutation, I am not annoyed at it; but if it is intended to remind me of the advice which recommended silence, and of the so-called oeconomy,301 I am very much obliged, but I do not accept the suggestion. For the divine Apostle charges us to take quite the opposite course. "Be instant in season and out of season."302 And the Lord says to this very spokesman, "Be not afraid, but speak"303 and to Isaiah, "Cry aloud, spare not"304 and to Moses "Go down, charge the people"305 and to Ezekiel "I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel," and it shall be "if thou warn not the wicked,"306 and the like: for I think it needless to write at length to one who knows. Not only therefore are we not distressed at having spoken freely, but we even rejoice and are glad, and laud Him who has thought us worthy of these sufferings; aye and call on my friends to encounter the same perils.
If they know that we do not keep the apostolic rule of the faith, but swerve to the right hand or the left, let them hate us; let them join the opposite side; let them be ranked with them that are at war with us.But if they bear witness to our holding the right teaching of the gospel message, we hail them with the cry, "Do you too `stand having your loins girt about with truth,...and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace,'"307 and so on, for it is said that virtue comprises not only temperance, righteousness, and prudence, but also courage, and that by means of courage the rest of its component parts are preserved. For righteousness needs the alliance of courage in its war against wrong; temperance vanquishes intemperance by the aid of courage. And for this reason the God of all said to the prophet "The just shall live by his faith, and if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him."308 Shrinking he calls cowardice. Hold fast then, my dear friend, to the apostolic doctrines, for "He that shall come will come, and will not tarry,"309 and "He shall render to every man according to his deeds,"310 for "the fashion of this world passeth away,"311 and the truth shall be made manifest.
CXXIII. To the Same.
Your letter was a long one, and a pleasant one, and it shews how warm and genuine is your affection. So delighted am I with it that I am not at all sorry for having erroneously conjectured the meaning of the beginning of your former one. For my misapprehension of the intention of your letter has disclosed your brotherly love, made plain the sincerity of your faith, and shewn your zeal for the true religion. We have indeed shared between us the words and the trials of the prophet; your holiness has used the words; I am buffeted by the hurricane and billows, and against the towers of the ship I exclaim in his words "They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy."312 Perhaps He who is Jonah's Lord and mine will grant that I too may rise and be released from the monster. But if the surge continue to boil I trust that even thus I shall enjoy the divine protection, and learn by my own experience how His strength is "made perfect in weakness,"313 for He has measured the peril by my infirmity. The divine prophet whom I have mentioned was flung into the sea by his shipmates one and all, but I am granted the consolation of your holiness, and of other godly men. For them and for your godliness I pray that the blessing bestowed upon the excellent Onesiphorus may be yours, for you have not blushed at my gibes; nay rather you have shared in my afflictions for the faith's sake.
And one thing which I wish you to know is that, though other godly bishops have sent me their bounty, I have declined to receive it;-not from any want of respect to the senders, God forbid;-but because hitherto food convenient for me has been provided by Him Who gives it even to the ravens without stint. In the case of your reverence I have acted differently, for really the warmth of your affection has overcome what has hitherto been my fixed principle. For be well assured, thy godly friend, that ever since friendship grew up between us the fire of our love has been kindled to greater heat.
CXXIV. To the Learned Maranas.314
I too am distressed at the calamities of the Church, and wail over the storm that is raging; for myself I am glad to be quit of agitation, and to be enjoying a calm which is delightful to me. As to the men whom your learning states to be still carrying on their iniquities, the day is not far distant when they will pay the penalty of their present rash lawlessness. All things are governed by the Lord of all with weight and rule, and whenever any fall away into unbounded iniquity His long suffering comes to an end, and He then acts as Judge and appoints punishment. Foreseeing this I pray that they may cease from their license that I may not be compelled to weep once more for them as I behold them undergoing chastisement.
Your excellency I can never forget, and I beg our common Master to fill your house with blessing.
CXXV. To Aphthonius, Theodoritus, Nonnus, Scylacius, Apthonius, Joannes, Magistrates of the Zeugmatensis.
I know the strength and stability of your faith, and have been filled with the greatest possible delight, for, since we worshippers of the eternal Trinity constitute one body, it is only natural that together with the members that are sound the rest of the members should rejoice. So says the divine Apostle; "Whether one member be honoured all the members rejoice with it."315 I therefore rejoice with you in your struggles on behalf of the apostolic doctrines and your following of the famous Naboth in more excellent things. Naboth for his vineyard's sake suffered most unrighteous slaughter, because he would not give up the heritage of his fathers. You are fighting not for vineyards, but for divine doctrines, and reject this new-fangled and spurious heresy as blackening the brightness of the teaching of the gospel; you do not suffer the number of the blessed Trinity to be diminished or increased. For it is diminished by those who ascribe the passion of the only begotten to the Godhead; it is increased by those who have the audacity to introduce a second son. You believe in one only begotten, as you do in one Father and in one Holy Ghost. In the only begotten made flesh you behold the assumed nature which He took from us and offered on our behalf. The denial of this nature puts our salvation far from us; for if the Godhead of the only begotten is impassible, as the nature of the Trinity is impassible, and we refuse to acknowledge that which is by nature adapted to suffer, then the preaching of a passion which never happened is idle and vain. For if that which suffers has no existence how could there be a passion? We declare that the divine nature is impassible;-a doctrine confessed by our opponents as well as by ourselves. How then could there be a passion when there is no subject capable of suffering? The great mystery of the oeconomy will appear an appearance, a mere seeming instead of the reality. This is the fable started by Valentinus, Bardesanes, Marcion and Manes. But the teaching handed down to the churches from the beginning recognises, even after the incarnation, one Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and confesses the same to be everlasting God, and man made at the end of days; made man not by the mutation of the Godhead but by the assumption of the manhood. For suppose the divine nature to have undergone mutation into the human nature, then it did not remain what it was; and if it is not what it was, they who have these objects of worship are false in calling Him God. We, on the contrary, recognise the only begotten Son of God to be immutable as God, and Son of the very God. For we have learnt from the divine Scripture that being in the form of God He took the form of the servant;316 and took on Him the seed of Abraham, not was changed into Abraham's seed; and shared just as we do both in flesh and blood and in a soul immortal and immaculate. Preserving these for our sinful bodies He offered His sinless body and for our souls His soul free from all stain. It is for this reason that we have the hope of the common resurrection for the race will assuredly share with its first fruits, and as we have shared with Adam in his death, so too with Christ our Saviour shall we be sharers in His life. This the divine Apostle has plainly taught us, for "now" he says "is Christ risen from the dead and become the first fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead for as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."317
I write thus not to inform you but to remind you. I have tried to be brief, but I fear I have transgressed the limits of a letter. I was however urged to write by the very reverend and godly presbyter and archimandrite Mecimas, who, in obedience to the law of love, has undertaken so long a journey, told us of your excellency's zeal, and begged us to inflame it by a letter. I have therefore granted his supplication, and written my letter, and I implore the Lord of all to keep you safe in the faith and make stronger than him who sifts us.318
CXXVI. To the Bishop Sabinianus.319
I praised your holiness on your quitting the envied see. Once it was venerable; now it is ridiculous, for we have made it a thing to be bought and sold. I was astounded to hear of your having appealed to the men who ejected you. You ought to have done just the contrary, and, on being invited to grasp the tiller, to have declined to do so, on the ground that your shipmates had become your foes. Are you not aware, most godly sir, what our Saviour, through His sacred apostles, taught us to preach? Do you not know what the heirs of the apostolic doctrines have just now laid down as objects of worship? For who of the old teachers from the time when the message was first preached down to the period of the darkness that now obtains, ever listened to any one preaching one nature of flesh and Godhead or dared at any time to call the nature of the only begotten passible? These doctrines in our day are by some men openly and boldly uttered, while among others their utterance is overlooked, and by silence men become participators in the blasphemy. What then, may well be asked, is the proper course to be taken by, those who abominate such doctrines? They have, I should reply, two alternatives before them; they may either come to close quarters, and prove the spuriousness of the doctrines, or they may decline communion with their opponents as openly impious.
I, indeed, have received the wrong done me as a divine blessing. I do not mean that I have thanked them that have wronged me; how could I thank fratricides, and men who have become followers of Cain?
But I praise my Master for thinking me worthy of the lot of them that suffer wrong, for separating me from wrong-doers and blasphemers, and for giving me my most delightful rest.
CXXVII. To Jobius, Presbyter and Archimandrite.320
The patriarch Abraham won a victory in his old age.321 The great Moses was now an old man when, so long as he stretched out his hands in prayer, he vanquished Amalek.322 The divine Samuel323 was an old man when he put the aliens to flight. These are emulated by your venerable old age. In our wars for true religion's sake you are playing the man, and championing the cause of the gospel doctrines, and putting young men in the shade by the vigour of your spirit.
I rejoice to hear it, and am glad, and long to embrace your right venerable gray hairs. This I cannot do, for your reverence is kept at home by your years, and I am kept in durance here by the imperial decree. But I cheat my love by this letter, and give your piety this most loving embrace. I call upon you in your prayers to help the churches now whelmed in the storm, and to win for me the divine support, assailed as I am for the sake of the doctrines of the gospel, and standing sorely in need of help from above.
CXXVIII. To Candidus, Presbyter and Archimandrite.324
I am afraid that the vigour of your godly soul has been overcome by old age, and that you do not keep your hands stretched out as usual. So Amalek is trying to win. May there be some to succour your weakness, as once of old Ur and Aaron supported the hands of the law-giver, that you may overthrow Amalek and save Israel. These are days when we specially need more earnest prayers, when Gentiles and Jews and every heresy are at peace, and the Church alone is beaten by the storm and surrounded by the boisterous billows.
We indeed specially need the aid of your prayers, for those whom we reckoned to be fighting on our side are fighting on that of our foes.
CXXIX. To Magnus Antoninus the Presbyter.325
Sailors at night are cheered by the sight of the harbour lights, and so are they who are in peril for the sake of the apostolic faith by the zeal of them that share the faith. We have great comfort in what we hear of your godliness's efforts on behalf of the divine doctrines, for this mind has been given you by the Giver of all good gifts and for the safe keeping of these doctrines you undergo every toil. Now I, comforted by your zeal, make an insignificant return, calling on you to persevere in your divine labours, to despise your adversaries as an easy prey, (for what is weaker than they who are destitute of the truth?) and to trust in Him who said "I will not fail thee nor forsake thee,"326 and "Lo I am with you alway even unto the end of the world."327 Help me too with your prayers that I may confidently say "The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?"328
CXXX. To Bishop Timotheus.329
Not without purpose does the supreme Ruler allow the spirits that are against us to agitate the waves of impiety. He does so that He may try the courage of the sailors, and, while He exhibits some men's manliness, convicts others of cowardice, stripping the mask from the faces of some who put on an appearance of piety, and proclaiming others as foremost fighters in the ranks of the truth. We have seen an instance of this in the present time. The storm rose high; some shewed their secret impiety; some abandoned the truth which they were holding, went over to the phalanx of our foes, and now, with them, are smiting the very men whom they used to call their chiefs. The witnesses of these things detest the enemy and pity the deserters, but are afraid to give aid to the victims of the attack upon the apostolic doctrines. Nay, suppose the traitors to urge them with greater insistency, they will perhaps themselves pass over to the side of the assailants, will give no quarter to their fellow-believers, but will drive against them their barbs side by side with the very men whom they accuse. They will act thus though they have been taught by the divine Scripture that a wrong done to one's neighbour incurs punishment, while the suffering of injustice entails great and lasting rewards.
Your own piety, your zeal for the faith, and your good will to myself, have been proved by this agitation. Twice you have written me a letter in contempt of all that might deter you, and have thus shewn your brotherly affection. You have also indicated the conflict you are sustaining on behalf of the apostolic doctrines. You ask me to tell you by letter what we ought to think and preach concerning the passion of salvation. I have received your request with delight, and, not indeed to give you information but only to remind one who is beloved of God, will proceed to tell you what I have learnt from the divine Scripture and from the Fathers who have interpreted it.
Know then, most godly sir, that before all things it is necessary to observe the distinction of terms, and, in addition to this, the cause of the divine incarnation. Once let these be made clear, and there will be no ambiguity left about the passion. We will therefore first, to those who endeavour to contradict us, put this enquiry. Which of the names given to the only begotten Son of God are anterior to the incarnation, and which posterior, or rather, connected with the operation of the oeconomy? They will reply that the terms anterior are, "God the Word," "only begotten Son," "Almighty," and "Lord of all creation"; and that the names "Jesus Christ" belong to the incarnation. For, after the incarnation, God the Word, the only begotten Son of God is called Jesus Christ; for "Behold" He says "unto you is born this day Christ the Lord"330 and because others had been called christs, priests, kings, and prophets, lest any one should suppose Him to be like unto them, the angels conjoined the title Lord with that of Christ, in order to prove the supreme dignity of Him that was born. And, again, Gabriel says to the blessed Virgin, "Behold thou shall conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son and shalt call His name Jesus"331 "for He shall save His people from their sins."332 Before the incarnation, however, He was never called either Christ or Jesus. For truly the divine Prophets, in their predictions of things to come, used the words, just as they prophesied about the birth, the cross, and the passion, when the events had not yet come to pass. Nevertheless, even after the incarnation He is called God the Word, Lord, Almighty, only begotten Son,Maker, and Creator. For He was not made man by mutation, but, remaining just what He was, assumed what we are, for "Being in the form of God," to use the words of the divine Apostle "He took the form of a servant."333 On this account, therefore, even after the incarnation, He is called also by the titles which are anterior to the incarnation, since His nature is invariable and immutable. But when relating the passion the divine Scripture nowhere uses the term God, since that is the name of the absolute nature. No one on hearing the words "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God"334 and similar expressions, would suppose that the flesh existed before the ages, or is of one substance with the God of the universe, or was Creator of the world. Every one knows that these terms are proper to the Godhead. Nor would any one on reading the genealogy of St. Matthew suppose that David and Abraham according to nature were forefathers of God, for it is the assumed nature which is derived from them.
Since then these points are plain and indubitable even among extreme heretics, and we acknowledge both the nature which is before the ages, and that which is of recent time, so are we bound to recognise at once the passibility of the flesh, and the impassibility of the Godhead, not dividing the union nor separating the only begotten into two persons, but contemplating the properties of the natures in the one Son. In the case of soul and body, which are of natures contemporary and naturally united, we are accustomed to make this distinction, describing the soul as simple, reasonable, and immortal, but the body as complex, passible, and mortal. We do not divide the union, nor cut one man in two. Far rather, then, in the case of the Godhead, begotten of the Father before the ages, and of the manhood assumed of David's seed, is it becoming to adopt a similar course, and distinctly to recognise the everlasting, eternal, simple, uncircumscribed, immortal, and invariable character of the one nature, and the recent, complex, circumscribed, and fluctuating nature of the other. We acknowledge the flesh to be now immortal and incorruptible, although before the resurrection it was susceptible of death and of passion; for how otherwise was it nailed to the tree, and committed to the tomb? And though we recognise the distinction of the natures, we are bound to worship one Son, and to acknowledge the same as Son of God and Son of man, form of God, and form of a servant, Son of David, and Lord of David, seed of Abraham, and creator of Abraham. The union causes the names to be common, but the community of names does not confound the natures. With them that are right-minded some names are plainly appropriate as to God, and others as to man; and in this way both the passible and the impassible are properly used of the Lord Christ, for in His humanity He suffered, while as God He remained impassible. If, according to the argument of the impious, it was in the Godhead that He suffered, then, I apprehend, the assumption of the flesh, was supererogatory; for suppose the divine nature to have been capable of undergoing passion, then He did not need the passible manhood. But grant that, as even their own argument contends, the Godhead was impassible, and the passion was real, let them beware of denying that which suffered, lest they deny with it the reality of the passion; for if that which suffers does not exist, then the passion is unreal. Now for any one who likes to open the quaternion335 of the sacred evangelists, it is easy to perceive that the divine Scripture distinctly proclaims the passion of the body, and to learn from them how Joseph of Arimathaea came to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus; how Pilate ordered the body of Jesus to be delivered, how Joseph took down the body of Jesus from the tree and wrapped the body of Jesus in the linen cloth, and laid it in the new tomb. All this is described by the four evangelists with frequent mention of the body. But if our opponents adduce the words of the angel to Mary and her companions, "Come where the Lord lay,"336 let them be referred to the passage in the Acts which states that devout men "carried Stephen to his burial"337 and observe that it was not the soul, but the body, of the victorious Stephen, to which the customary rites were paid. And to this very day, when we approach the shrines of the victorious martyrs, we commonly enquire what is the name of him who is buried in the grave, and those who are acquainted with the facts reply peradventure"Julian the martyr," or "Romanus," or, "Timotheus."338
Very often it is not entire bodies that are buried, but only very small remains, yet nevertheless we speak of the body by the name that belongs to the whole man. It was in this sense that the angel called the body of the Lord,"Lord," because it was the body of the Lord of the universe. Moreover the Lord Himself promised to give on behalf of the life of the world, not His invisible nature, but His body. "For," He says, "the bread that I will give is my flesh which I will give for the life of the world,"339 and when He took the symbol of divine mysteries, He said,"This is my body which is given for you."340 Or according to the version of the Apostle, "broken."341 In no place where He spoke of the passion did He mention the impossible Godhead.
It is therefore before all things necessary that the question should be put to those who are endeavouring to contradict us whether they confess that the perfect manhood was assumed by God the Word, and assert the union to have been made without confusion. Once let these points be admitted, and the rest will follow in due course, and the passion will be attributed to the passible nature. I have now summed up these heads and have exceeded the limits of my letter. I have sent also what I lately wrote at the suggestion of a very godly and holy man of God, the lord-342 in the form of a concise instruction designed to teach the truth of the apostolic doctrines. Should I find a good copyist, I will also send your holiness what I have written in the form of a dialogue,343 extending the argument, and strengthening my positions, by the teaching of the Fathers. I have moreover now sent a few statements of the ancient teachers, sufficient to shew the drift of their instruction. Give me in return, most godly sir, the succour of your prayers, that I may pass through the terrible tempest and reach the quiet haven of the Saviour.
CXXXI. To Longinus, Archimandrite of Doliche.344
You have shewn alike your zeal for the true religion, and your love for your neighbour,both of which are at the present time clearly connected, for it is for the sake of the apostolic decrees that I am being attacked, because I refuse to give up the heritage of my fathers, and prefer to undergo any suffering to looking lightly on the robbery of one tittle from the faith of the Gospel. You have accepted fellowship in my sufferings, not only by comforting me by means of your letter, but further by sending to me the very honourable and pious Matthew and Isaac. You shall hear, I am well assured. from the lips of the righteous Lord, "I was in prison, and ye visited me."345 We are small and of no account, and burdened by a great load of sins, but the Lord is bountiful and generous. He remembers the small rather than the great, and says, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these"346 "which believe in me"347 "ye have done it unto me."348 I pray you in that yon are conspicuous for right doctrine, and shine by worthiness of life, and therefore have great boldness before God, help me in your prayers, that I may be able "to stand," to use the words of the Apostle,349 "against the wiles of error," escape the sins of the destroyer, and stand, though with little boldness, in the day of the appearing before the righteous Judge.
CXXXII. To Ibas, Bishop of Edessa.350
The Lord has taught them that suffer wrong not to be east down, but to rejoice, and to derive consolation from the examples of old. For from the period of the first men down to our own days we find instances of men who have been zealous in the worship of the God of all, and yet have been wronged by those with whom their lot was cast, and have fallen into many and grievous troubles. Of these I would have gone through the entire list, had I not been writing to one of accurate knowledge of the divine Scriptures. But since you, O beloved of God, have been nurtured from your boyhood in tim divine oracles, I have thought it needless so to do. I only ask you to cast your eyes on them, and to look on all the kind-hearted clergy that have done wrong, with sorrow; on all that look lightly on wrong doing, with pity; and to be sorrowful for the disquiet of the Church. I ask you to rejoice and be glad that I am a sharer in suffering for the sake of true religion, and to praise without ceasing Him who has imposed this lot on me. As for honour and comfort and the dignity of sees and wretched reputation, let us yield them to the murderers.351
Let us cleave only to the doctrines of the gospel, and with them, if need be, endure any extremity of pain, and choose honourable penury rather than wealth with its many cares.
I am not writing ill these terms in order to give you exhortation, for I know the courage of your holiness in trouble. My object is to make my own mind known to your piety, and to inform you that you have on your side comrades who are gladly incurring peril for the truth's sake. I have been anxious for some time to write thus to you, but I have been unable to find anyone to convey my letter. Now I have met with the very honourable and pious presbyter Ozeas, a man who is at once engaged in the battle for truth and attached to your piety. So I write and salute your holiness, and beg you to give me both the prop of your prayers and the comfort of a letter from you.
CXXXIII. To John, Bishop of Germanicia.352
I have always known, sir, that you are not unmindful of our friendship. And it has ever been my wish and prayer that your piety should give heed to exact truth, and shun the communion of traitors to true religion, ascribing to the Supreme Ruler His care on our behalf. For indeed, while I have been silent and inactive, He has put an end to our very keen and terrible sufferings, and has replaced the dire tempest by this bright calm. And now that the loving-kindness of the Lord has granted us this blessing, I find the quiet of my retreat indeed delightful, for I feel the necessity of persuading those who have been led away by the slanders launched against me, and of both convincing them of the truth of the teaching of the gospels, and refuting the attack of falsehood. When once this refutation is finished, and the victory of the truth is secured, it is my purpose to quit public life, and withdraw to the rest that I so greatly long for. As to the foes of the truth I cry with the prophet, "Their memorial is perished with a noise, but the Lord shall endure for ever."353 As to ourselves, I sing with the Psalmist, "He sent from above, He took me, He drew me out of many waters, He delivered me from my strong enemy."354
This letter is in reply to two received from your holiness, one conveyed by Anastasius, the presbyter of Beroea, and one by the standard-bearer Theodotus. In your last letter you mention another, but this has not been delivered. As to my journey thither I can say nothing till I know what orders are given concerning me by the most pious emperor. His letter has not yet arrived.
CXXXIV. To Theoctistus, Bishop of Beroea.355
Our Saviour, Lawgiver, and Lord, was once asked, "What is the first commandment?" His reply was "Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." And He added "This is the first commandment: and the second is like unto it, Thou shall love the neighbour as thyself." Then He said further "On these two commandments bang all the law and the prophets."356
He then who keeps these, according to the definition of the Lord, plainly fulfils the Law; and he who transgresses them is guilty of transgressing the whole Law. Let us then examine, before the exact and righteous tribunal of our conscience, whether we have fulfilled the divine commandments. Now the first is kept by him who guards the faith given by God in its integrity, who abominates its assailants as enemies of the truth and hates heartily all those who hate the beloved; and the second by him who most highly esteems the care of his neighbour and who, not only in prosperity but also in apparent misfortunes, observes the laws of friendship. They, on the other hand, who look after their own safety, as they suppose, who on its account make little of the laws of friendship and take no heed of their friends when assaulted and attacked, are reckoned to belong to the number of the wicked and of them that are without. The Lord of all requires better things at the hands of His disciples."Love" He says "your enemies, for if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? for the sinners and the publicans do this"357 I, however, have not received even such kindness as publicans receive. Publicans, do I say? I have not even received the consolation given to murderers and wizards in their dungeons. If every one had imitated this cruelty, nothing else would have been left then for me in my life time but to be wasted by want, and, at my death, instead of being committed to a tomb, to be made meat358 for dogs and wild beasts. But I have found support in those who care nought for this present life, but await the enjoyment of everlasting blessings, and these furnish me with manifold consolation. But the loving Lord "caused judgment to be heard from heaven; the earth feared and was still, when God arose to judgment."359 But the wicked shall perish.360 The falsehood of the new heresy has been proscribed, and the truth of the divine Gospels is publicly proclaimed. I for my part exclaim with the blessed David, "Blessed be the Lord God whet only doeth wondrous things, and blessed be His glorious name: and let the whole earth be filled with His glory; amen and amen."361
CXXXV. To Bishop Romulus.362
You have reminded me of the ancient story, and remarked how the King of the Syrians, bethinking him of the loving kindness of the kings of lsrael, assumed the form of a suppliant and failed not to obtain his petition. Remember therefore, sir, the divine wrath. God delivered Ahab to utter destruction for using mercy, and delivered his sentence through the mouth of the prophet, saying "Thy life shall go for his life and thy people for his people."363 We are thus commanded to temper mercy with justice, since not every kind of mercy is pleasing to the God of all. The present state of affairs specially requires prudent council; for we are contending on behalf of the divine doctrines, wherein we have the hope of our salvation. But herein, too, may be seen the great difference between man and man. Some men are verily infected with the common impiety; while others, without distinction, advance at one time one doctrine, and at another its opposite. Some who know the truth conceal it in the secret chambers of their soul, while they preach impiety with the rest; others again who are filled with envy have made their private ill-will an occasion of waging war against the truth, and wreak all kinds of mischief against the prophets of the truth. Again, there are who embrace the truth of the apostolic doctrines, and yet because they are afraid of the power of the dominant party are too cowed to proclaim it, and though they lament at the abundance of our misfortunes, nevertheless side with them that set the mighty surge a-rolling. It is in this last category that we place your reverence. We have believed you to be sound in the divine doctrines, and think that you keep your affection for me, and are borne along with the time for no other reason than your cowardice. Under these circumstances though I am not writing to any of the rest, I write to year holiness, and receive your reply. I see your drift and to some extent I pardon your pusillanimity. But the loving Lord has now removed all occasions of cowardice, by exhibiting the new-fangled impiety, and shewing the plain truth of the gospels. I, even though my mouths were as many as my hairs, cannot praise as I ought the loving-kindness of the Lord for compelling my strongest opponents openly to preach what has been preached by me. For I have heard that he who shares your holiness's roof, when he heard that anathemas had been published in the great cities, ceased to imitate the crooked gait of crabs, and, after disputing in a certain assembly about doctrines, walked in the straight road. Never must we suit our words to the season, but ever preserve the unbending rule of truth.
CXXXVI. To Cyrus Magistrianus.364
I was very much distressed to hear of the trouble which had befallen you. How indeed could I fail to suffer, making as I do your interest mine, and remembering the apostolic law which bids us not only "rejoice with them that do rejoice, but also weep with them that weep"?365 Suffering itself is able to draw even those that are at enmity with one another into sympathy.
What is so grievous as to lose a wife; one who bore blamelessly the yoke of wedlock. one who made her husband's life pleasant, one who shared the care of the family; one who managed the household and shared in the direction of everything; one who was ready to suggest whatever might be likely to be of service, and to comply with the wishes of her husband? But what sorrow could surpass the committal to the tomb of the mother at the same moment as the son whom she bore; a son who had been carefully trained and had received a learned education; one who, you hoped, would be the stay of your old age; buried in the very spring of his manhood, when the down was just beginning to grow upon his cheeks? Did we only look at the character of the calamity, it admits of no consolation. But when we bethink us how our race is doomed to die; that against that race the divine fiat has gone forth; that suffering is common, for life is full of such woes; we shall bravely bear what has happened, shall repel the assaults of despair, and shall raise that wonderful song of praise "The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; the Lord hath done what seemed to him good; blessed be the name of the Lord."366 But we have many more reasons for consolation. We have been distinctly taught the hopes of the resurrection, and we look for the time when the dead shall live again. We know how the Lord many times called death sleep. If we trust, as in truth we do, the Saviour's words we are bound not to mourn those that have fallen asleep, even though their sleep lasts somewhat longer than it is wont. We must await the resurrection. We must remember that the Ruler of the world in His wisdom, and clearly knowing as He does not the present only but the future also, guides events for our good. A wise man who knew all this full well reasons about deaths of this kind and says, "Yea; speedily was he taken away, lest that wickedness should alter his understanding."367
Let us submit I beg you to the wise Ruler of all; let us submit to His decrees. Whether they be pleasant or whether they be grievous, they are good and profitable, they make men wise; for them that endure they ordain crowns.
CXXXVII. To the Archimandrite John.368
The blessed David fell into several errors, which God, who wisely orders all things, has caused to be recorded for the good of them that were to come after. But it was not on their account that Absalom, parricide, murderer, impious, and altogether vile, started his wild war against his father. The reason of his beginning that most unrighteous struggle was because he coveted the sovereignty. The divine David, however, when these events were coming to pass, began to remember the wrong that he had done. I too am conscious within myself of the guilt of many errors, but I have kept undefiled the dogmatic teaching of the Apostles. And they who have trampled upon all laws human and divine, and condemned me in my absence, have not sentenced me for what I have done wrong, for my secret deeds are not made manifest to them; but they have contrived false witness and calumny against me, or rather in their open attack upon the doctrines of the Apostles have proscribed me for my obedience to them. "So the Lord awaked as one out of sleep; He smote His enemies in the hinderparts and put them to a perpetual shame."369 Counterfeit and spurious doctrines tie has scattered to the winds, and has provided for the free preaching of those which He has handed down to us in the holy Gospels. To me this suffices for complete delight. I do not even long for a city in which I have passed all my time in hard work; all I long for is to see the establishment of the truth of the Gospels. And now the Lord has satisfied this longing. I am therefore very glad and happy, and I sing praises to our generous Lord, and I invite your reverence to rejoice with the, and, with our praises, to put up the earnest prayer that the men who say now one thing and now another and change about to suit the hour, like the chameleons who assume the colour of the leaves, may be strengthened by the loving-kindness of the Lord, established upon the rocks and, of His mercy, made to pay the highest honour to the truth.
CXXXVIII. To Anatolius the Patrician.370
I have cordially welcomed the rest which has fallen to my lot, and am harvesting its beneficial and pleasant results. Our Christ-loving Emperor,371 after reaping the empire as fruit of his true piety, has offered as first-fruits of his sovereignty to Him that bestowed it, the calm of the storm-tossed churches, the triumph of the invaded faith, the victory of the doctrines of the Gospel. To these he has added the righting of the wrong done to me. Of a wrong so great and of such a kind who ever heard? What murderer was ever doomed in his absence? What violator of wedlock was ever condemned without a hearing? What burglar, grave-breaker. wizard, church-robber, or doer of any other unlawful deed, was ever prevented, when eager to appeal to the law, and slain when far away by the sentence of his judge? In their cases nothing of the kind was ever known. For, by our law, plaintiff and defendant are bidden to stand face to face before the judge, while the judge has to wait for the production of plain truth, and then and not till then, either dismiss the accused as innocent, or punish him as being reached by the indictment. In my case the course pursued has been just the opposite. The emperor's letter forbade me to approach the far-famed synod, and the most righteous judges condemned me in my absence, not after fair trial. but after extravagant laudation of the documents which were produced to incriminate me. Neither the law of God nor shame of man staved the deed of blood. Orders were given by the president,372 flinging the truth to the winds, and courting the power of the hour. He was obeyed by men who think as I do, whose doctrines are my doctrines, and who had expressed admiration of me and mine. None the less did that day convict some men of treachery;some of cowardice; while to me a ground of confidence was given by my sufferings for the truth's sake. And to me our master Christ hath granted the boon "not only of believing on Him but also of suffering for His sake."373 For the greatest of all gifts of grace are sufferings for the Master's sake, and the divine Apostle puts them even before great marvels.
In these boons I too glory, humble and insignificant as I am, and having no other ground of boasting. And I beseech your excellency to offer on behalf of my poor self expressions of thanksgiving to the emperor, lover of Christ, and to the most pious Augusta,374 dear to God, instructress of the good, for that she has requited our generous Lord with such gifts, and has made her zeal for true religion the Connotation and groundwork of bet sway. Besides this, beg their godly majesties to complete the work that has been so well marked out, and to summon a council, not, like the last, composed of a turbulent rabble, but-kept quite clear of all of these-of men who decide on and highly value divine things, and esteem all human affairs as of less account than the truth. If their majesties wish to bring about the ancient peace for the churches, and I am sure that they do, beg their pious graces to take part in the proceedings, that their presence may overawe those of a contrary mind and the truth may have none to gainsay her, but may herself by her own unaided powers examine into the position of affairs, and the character of the apostolic doctrines.
I make this request to your excellency, not because I long to see Cyrus again, for your lordship knows what a solitary town it is, and how I have somehow or other managed to conceal its ugliness by my great expenditure on all kinds of buildings, but to the end that what I preach may be shewn to be in agreement with apostolic doctrines while the inventions of my opponents are counterfeit and base. Once let this come to pass, by God's help be it spoken, and I shall pass the remainder of my days in cheerful contentment, wherever the Master may bid me dwell. To you who have been brought up in the true religion, and are dowered with the wealth of goodness it is becoming to make this effort, and by your urgent counsel to render yet more zealous our most pious emperor and the Christ-loving Augusta, zealous already as they are to strengthen their glorious empire by laudable and rightful energy.
CXXXIX. To Aspar, Consular and Patrician.375
To the other good deeds of your excellency must be added your having acquainted our pious and most christian emperor, whom God's grace has appointed for the blessing of his subjects, of the enormous wrong done against me, and your having by a righteous edict annulled an edict which was nothing of the kind. Supported by divine Providence I have made what they reckoned a punishment a means of good, and I have welcomed my rest with delight; but none the less I have been wrongly and illegally treated, though in no single point guilty of the errors which the enemies of the truth slanderously laid at my door, but yet made to suffer the penalty of the greatest criminals. Nay, my fate has been yet harder than theirs. I was judged without a trial; I was doomed in my absence; when forbidden by the emperor's orders to go to Ephesus I received the most righteous sentence of my holy judges. All this has now been undone by his most serene majesty, through the active interposition of your excellency. I, for my part, feeling that I should be wrong to keep silent and not offer yon my thanks, have availed myself of this letter, whereby I beseech your excellency to speak in warm terms in my behalf both tothe victorious and Christian emperor and to the very godly and pious Augusta. On their behalf I implore our good Lord as earnestly as lies in my power to guard their empire in security, and to grant that it may be at once a source of loving protection for their subjects, and of terror to their foes, and establish honourable peace for all. May your excellency be induced to petition them completely to put an end to the agitation of the Church, and order the assembling of the council; not, like the last, of men who from their habits of unruliness throw the synod into confusion, but, in peace and quiet, of members instructed in divine things, and in the habit of confirming the apostolic decrees and rejecting what is spurious and at variance with the truth. And I express this hope to the end that your excellency may reap the good which such a course of conduct is likely to produce.
CXL. To the Master Vincomalus.376
I have been much astonished to learn that your magnificence, though quite unacquainted with me and mine, and knowing only the wrong that had been done me, stood up as my advocate, and left no means untried to undo the results of the conspiracy against me. But your excellency will assuredly receive recompense from our bountiful Lord, for He who promised to give a reward for a little water will doubtless give greater recompense to the givers of greater gifts.
I have indeed endured such sufferings as none, or at least very few, of the ancients have undergone, and this not only from my open foes, but, as I apprehend, from my real friends. The former attacked me, the latter betrayed me.
Who in the world ever heard of such a trial? Who ever commanded a criminal to be tried in his absence after chaining him up at a distance of more than five and thirty stages? What judge has ever been so savage and inhuman as not only to try men, aye but to condemn men the sound of whose voice he has never heard, and this in most savage and inhuman fashion? The Lord has ordered the erring brother, who spurns advice, after a first, second and third admonition, to be treated as "an heathen man and a publican"377 Now these most equitable and righteous judges have not even given to them of the same faith with themselves the treatment which they give to heathen men and publicans. These indeed they do see and occasionally converse with, and that with all honour and deference where they appear to be of rank and dignity. But they have ordered me to be cut off from home, from water, from everything. This is the way in which they have wished to become imitators of our Father in heaven "Who maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust."378 But of these men I will say no more. The tribunal of the Lord is at hand where is required not stage pretence but the reality of life. Now I beseech your excellency to express my thanks to the emperor, the lover of Christ and victorious, and to the very pious and godly Augusta, for having made true religion the firm root of their pious empire, and to implore their majesties to make the peace of the churches firm by commanding the assembling of a council, not · of men of violence who throw the discussion into confusion, but of the lovers of the truth who confirm the apostolic teaching, and repudiate this new fangled and spurious heresy. And I pray that of these honourable endeavours you may reap the fruit at the hands of our loving Lord.
CXLI. To Marcellus, Archimandrite of the Acoemetoe.379
Bright is made your holiness by your goodly life, exhibiting on earth the image of the conversation of the angels, but it is made still brighter by your zeal for the apostolic faith. As keel to boat, as corner-stone to house, so to them that choose to live in piety is the truth of the doctrines of the Gospel. For this truth when assailed you have bravely fought, not striving to protect it as though it were weak, but shewing your godly disposition; for the teaching of our Master Christ is gifted with stability and strength, in accordance with the promise of the same Saviour, "that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."380 It is the loving and bountiful Lord who has thought right that I too should be dishonoured and slain on behalf of this doctrine. For truly we have reckoned dishonour honour, and death life. We have heard the words of the apostle "For unto us it is given by God not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake."381 But the Lord arose like the sleeper, and stopped the mouths of them that uttered blasphemy against God and injustice against me. But He has made the tongues of the pious pour forth their fountains in their wonted message. I, however, am gathering the delightful fruits of rest; as I look at the agitation of the churches I am grieved, but I rejoice and am glad at being freed from cares. I have ever been gratified at your admirable piety, but heretofore I have not written, not from any lack of regard for the dictates of charity, but because I have waited for some suitable occasion. Just now, having fallen in with the most pious and prudent monks who have been sent by your holiness on other business, I have lost no time in carrying out my wish. I salute your godliness. I beg you in the first place to support me with your prayers, and further to cheer me by a letter, for by God's grace I have been attacked for the Gospel's sake.
CXLII. To the Same.
I have already addressed your reverence in another letter, and have delivered it to your much respected brethren. Now again I address your holiness. I am induced to do so both by your admirable life, and by the praiseworthy zeal which you have shewn on behalf of the apostolic faith, fearless alike of imperial power and of episcopal combination. For granted that the majority of the council consented under coercion, still they did confirm the new fangled heresy by their signatures. Your holiness, however, was shaken by none of these things, but abided by the ancient doctrines which the Lord, by means of both the prophets and the apostles, has taught the churches to hold. These decrees I pray that I may preserve, and keep to the end my faith and confession in one Father, one Son and one Holy Ghost. For the incarnation of the only begotten made no addition to the number of the Trinity.Even after the incarnation the Trinity is still a Trinity. This is the teaching I have received from the beginning; this has been my faith; in this was I baptized; this have I preached; in this have I baptized, this I continue to hold. Of them that utter a lie about the Father the Lord has said "When he speaketh a lie he speaketh of his own,"382 for what is said of the teacher is appropriate to the disciples. So these men who employ lies against me speak of their own, and do not describe what is mine. I am comforted by my Master's words "Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad for great is your reward in heaven."383
I entreat your piety to pray that I may not have my part among the wrong doers, but among them that suffer wrong on account of the truth of the Gospels.
CXLIII. To Andrew, Monk of Constantinople.384
I have never seen your piety nor have we ever communicated by letter, but I have become warmly attached to you. What has wrought the charm and continues to inflame it is the report unanimously brought by the tasters of your honey. All express admiration of the orthodoxy of your faith, the brightness of your life, the constancy of your soul, the harmoniousness of your character, the attractiveness and sweetness of your society and all the other characteristics of the true foster child of philosophy. For all these reasons I am attached to your godliness, and my longing has made me even begin a correspondence; but, my dear sir, grant me as soon as possible what I desire and let me have written communication from you. For when friends are at a distance considerable comfort is given them by epistolary communication. You will write to no man of heterodox opinions, but to one nurtured in the teaching of the apostles and preacher not of a quaternity but of a Trinity, for in reality I see little difference in the impiety of those who have the hardihood to endeavour to contract into one the two natures of the Only-begotten and those who endeavour to divide our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, God the Word made man, into two sons; if such indeed there be; I cannot think so; but Arians, Eunomians, and Apollinarians too have ever shamelessly fabricated this slander against the Church, and indeed laborious students may easily perceive that our far famed Fathers,385 lights of the churches, laboured at the hands of the foes of the truth under this accusation which is now levelled against me by the most excellent champions of the new fangled heresy. Our wise Lord has laid bare their impiety, for He could not endure to confirm the unholy heresy by His long suffering.
Be sure then, sir, that you will be writing to one of like sentiments with your own; and of this you can easily assure yourself from my copious writings.
Write then to me in return, and again your letter, by God's leave, shall serve to kindle affection. And before you write, give me the help of your prayers, and beseech our good Lord to guide my feet into the right road, that I may travel the rest of my journey in accordance with His laws. You who have won right of access from your unstained life will easily persuade Him Who is eager to give us His good gifts.
CXLIV. To the Soldiers.386
Human nature is everywhere the same, but pursuits in life are many and various. Some men prefer a sailor's career, some a soldier's; some men become athletes, some husbandmen; some ply one craft trod some another. To pass by all other differences, some men are zealous and diligent about divine things, and get themselves instructed in the exact teaching of the apostolic doctrines; while others, on the contrary, become slaves of the belly, and suppose that the enjoyment of base pleasures is happiness. Others again are there, lying in a mean between these two extremes, who do not exhibit this praiseworthy enthusiasm, nor embrace a life of incontinence, but still honour the simplicity of the faith. Men who attack the statement that some things are altogether impossible with God must not, I apprehend, be classed with the zealous and the well instructed in divine things, but rather either with those who have no exact knowledge of the apostolic doctrines, or those who have been enslaved by pleasures and shift hither and thither at the caprice of a moment, setting forth now one thing and now another.
You have asked me to write on these points. I should prefer at the present time to keep silence. But in obedience to the commandment of the Lord, "Give to every man that asketh of time,"387 I am constrained briefly to reply.
I say then that the God of the universe can do all things, but that in the word "all" is comprehended only what is right and good, for He who is naturally both wise and good admits of nothing that is of a contrary nature, but only what becomes his nature. If any objectors gainsay this statement, ask them if the God of the universe, the lawgiver of truth, can lie. If they say that lying is possible to God, expel them from your company as impious and blasphemous. Should they agree that lying is not possible to the God of the universe, ask them in the second place, if He who is the fount of justice can become unjust. Should they allow that this too is impossible to the God of all, you must yet again enquire if the unfathomable depth of wisdom can become unwise, God cease to be God, the Lord cease to be the Lord, the Creator be no Creator, the Good not good but evil and the true Light not light but its opposite. If they admit that all these things and the like are impossible to God, you must say to them therefore many things are impossible with God; and that their being impossible so far from being a proof of want of power, indicates on the contrary the greatest power.
Even in the case of our own soul, when we say that it cannot die, we do not predicate weakness of it, but we proclaim its capacity of immortality. And similarly when we confess the immutability, impassibility, and immortality of God, we cannot attribute to the divine nature change, passion, or death. Suppose them to urge that God can do whatever He will, you must reply to them that He wishes to do nothing which it is not His nature to do; He is by nature good, therefore He does not wish anything evil; He is by nature just, therefore He does not wish anything unjust He is by nature true, therefore He abominates falsehood; He is by nature immutable, therefore He does not admit of change; and if He does not admit of change He is always in the same state and condition. This He Himself asserts through the prophet. "I am the Lord I change not."388 And the blessed David says "Thou art the same and Thy years shall have no end."389 If He is the same He undergoes no change. If He is naturally superior to change and mutation He has not become from immortal, mortal nor from impassible, passible, for had this been possible He would not have taken on Him our nature. But since He has an immortal nature, He took a body capable of suffering, and with the body a human soul. Both of these He kept unstained from the defilements of sin, and gave His soul for the sake of the souls that had sinned, and His body for the sake of the bodies that had died. And since the body that was assumed is described as body of the very only begotten Son of God, He refers the passion of the body to Himself. But the four evangelists testify that it was not the divine nature but the body which was nailed to the cross, all teaching with one voice that Joseph of Arimathea came to Pilate and begged the body of Jesus; that he took down the body of Jesus from the tree and wrapped in fine linen, and laid in his own new tomb the body of Jesus; that Mary the Magdalene came to the tomb seeking the body of Jesus and ran to His disciples, and reported these things when she could not find the body of Jesus.
This is the unanimous teaching of the evangelists. But if your opponents urge that the angels said "Come see the place where the Lord lay"390 let the foolish folk learn that the divine Scripture says also about the victorious Stephen "And devout men carried Stephen to his burial."391 And yet it was the body only which was deemed proper for burial, while the soul was not buried together with the body; nevertheless the body alone was spoken of by the common name. Similarly the blessed Jacob said to his sons "Bury me with my fathers."392 He did not say "Bury my body." Then he went on "There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah."393 He did not say "their bodies." The names are common to bodies or souls, but nevertheless it is only the bodies which he called by the common names. In this manner too we constantly describe the shrines of the holy apostles, prophets and martyrs, one it may be of Dionysius, another of Julianus another of Cosmas.394 And yet we know that only fragmentary remains of bodies lie there, while the souls in diviner regions are at rest. Precisely the same custom is to be found in common use, for such an one, We say, died; and such all one lies in this place; although we know that the soul is immortal and does not share the tomb with the body. In this sense the angel said "Come see the place where the Lord lay"395 not because he shut the Godhead in the tomb, but because he spoke of the Lord's body by the Lord's name.
In proof of this being the view of the holy Fathers let them mark the words of Athanasius, illustrious archbishop of Alexandria, who adorned his episcopate with confession. He exclaims "Life cannot die, but rather quickens the dead."
Let them hear too the words of the farfamed Damasus bishop of Rome, "If anyone allege that on the cross pain was undergone by the Godhead and not by the body with the soul, the form of the servant which He had taken in its completeness, let him be anathema."396
Let them hear too the very sacred and holy bishop of the Church of the Romans, the lord Leo, who has now written "The Son of God suffered as He was capable of suffering, not according to the nature which assumed but that which was assumed. For the impassible nature assumed the passible body, and gave it for us, to the end that He might work out our salvation and at the same time preserve His own nature impassible."
And again "For He did not come to destroy His own nature but to save ours."397
If therefore they accuse us for saying that God can do what He wishes, but that He wishes what is becoming to His own nature, and what is unbecoming He neither wishes nor is capable of; let them accuse too these saints and all the rest who maintain this position. Let them accuse even the Apostle who say's "That by two immutable things in which it was impossible for God to lie."398 And again "If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful: He cannot deny Himself."399
Repeat these passages to your opponents, and if they are convinced, praise the good Lord for that, by means of your zeal, He has benefited them. If they remain unconvinced, enter into no discussion with them about doctrines, for it is forbidden by the divine apostle to "strive about words to no profit but to the subverting of the hearers."400 But do you keep inviolate the teaching of the Gospels, that in the day of His appearing you may bring to the righteous Judge what has been entrusted to you with its due interest, and may hear the longed for words "Well done good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things I will make thee ruler over many things. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."401
CXLV. To the Monks of Constantinople.402
There is nothing new or surprising in the fact that the men who have made their tongues weapons against our God and Saviour should also aim their shahs of falsehood against His right minded servants. It must needs be that the servants who grieve sorely at the outrage inflicted on their Master should share it. That so it should be they have been forwarned by their Lord Himself, Who consoles His holy disciples with the words "If they have persecuted me they will also persecute you."403 "If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of His household."404 Then He cheered them by pointing out that calumny is easily detected, for He went on "There is nothing covered that shall not be revealed and hid that shall not be known."405 I have often seen the truth of the divine prediction, but I see it with special clearness now. The authors of the calumny against me, who have bought my destruction for large sums of money, have been distinctly seen to be involved in the unsoundness of Valentinus and Bardesanes. They had hoped to cloke their own iniquity if only they could whet their tongues on the hone of falsehood in order to wound me. For ever since I saw that the heresy long ago extinguished had been renewed by these men I never ceased to cry aloud, hearing my testimony in private and in public, as well in social gatherings as in the temples of God, and strive to confute their conspiracy against the faith. They have consequently poured out their insults on my head, and allege that I preach two sons. But they ought to have convicted me to my face, not slandered me behind my back. They have done just the contrary. They tied me band and foot at Cyrus by the imperial decree; they compelled the very righteous judges to condemn me without a trial, and delivered their most equitable sentence against a man who was five and thirty stages away. Such treatment was never suffered by any criminal charged with witchcraft or robbery of the dead, by murderer or by adulterer. But for the present I will leave the judges alone, for the Lord is at hand "Who judges the world with righteousness and the people with his truth;"406 Who exacts an account not only of words and deeds, but even of evil thoughts. But think it right to refute the false charge which has been made. What proof have they of my asserting two sons? Had I been one of the silent kind there might have been some ground for the suspicion, but my task has been to contend on behalf of the apostolic decrees, to bring the pasture of instruction to the Lord's flocks, and to this end I have written five and thirty books interpreting the divine Scripture, and proving the falsehood of the heresies. The falsehoods these men have concocted are therefore easy of refutation. Tens on tens of thousands of hearers testify that I have taught the truth of the doctrines of the Gospel, and for any one who likes to bring them to the test my writings lie before the world. Not on behalf of a duality of sons, but of the only begotten Son of God, against the heathen, against Jews, against the recipients of the plague of Arius and Eunomius, against the supporters of the madness of Apollinarius, against the victims of the corruption of Marcion, I have never ceased to struggle; trying to convince the heathen that the Eternal Son of the ever living God is Himself Creator of the Universe; the Jews that about Him the prophets: uttered their predictions, the Arians and Eunomians that He is of one substance, of one dignity and of equal power with the Father; Marcion's mad adherents that He is not only good but just; and Saviour not, as they fable, of another's works, but of His own. Once for all, fighting against each heresy, I charge men to fall clown and worship the one Son.
And what need is there of many words, when it is possible to refute falsehood in few? We provide that those who year by year come up for holy baptism should carefully learn the faith set forth at Nicaea by the holy and blessed Fathers; and initiating them as we have been bidden,407 we baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, pronouncing each name singly. Furthermore when performing divine service in the churches, both at the beginning and the decline of day and when dividing the day itself into three parts, we glorify the Father the Son and the Holy Ghost.408 If, as our slanderers allege, we preach two sons, which do we glorify and which do we leave unworshipped? It were the wildest folly to believe that there are two sons, and to give the doxology to one alone. And who is so distraught as, while hearing the words of the divine Paul "one Lord, one faith, one baptism,"409 and again "there is one Lord Jesus Christ by Whom are all things,"410 to lay down the law at variance with the teaching of the Spirit, and cut the one in two. But I am prating unnecessarily, for these men, nurtured in falsehood as they are, do not even dare to assert that they have ever heard me say anything of the kind; but they affirm that I preach two sons because I confess the two natures of our Master Christ.And they refuse to perceive that every human being has both an immortal soul and a mortal body; yet no one has hitherto been found to call Paul two Pauls because he has both soul and body, any more than Peter two Peters or Abraham or Adam. Everyone recognises the distinction of the natures, and does not call one man two Pauls. Precisely in the same way, when styling our Lord Jesus Christ the only begotten Son of God, God the Word incarnate, both Son of God and Son of Man, as we have been taught by the divine Scripture, we do not assert two sons, but we do confess the peculiar properties of the Godhead and of the manhood. The party however who deny the nature assumed of us men cannot hear these arguments without irritation.
It is only right that I should point out from what sources they have derived this impiety. Simon, Menander, Cerdo, and Marcion absolutely deny the incarnation, and call the birth from a Virgin fable. Valentinus, however, Basilides, Bardesanes, and Harmonius and their following, accept the conception of the Virgin and the birth; but they deny that God the Word took anything from the Virgin, but made as it were a transit through her as through a conduit, and appeared to mankind in semblance only, and seeming to be a man, in like manner as He was seen by Abraham and certain others of the ancients: Arius and Eunomius on the contrary held that He assumed a body, but that the Godhead played the part of the soul, in order that they may attribute to it what was lowly in His words and deeds. Apollinarius did indeed assert that He assumed a soul with the body, not the reasonable soul, but the soul which is called animal or phytic.411 Their contention is that the Godhead took the part of the mind. He had learnt the distinction of soul and of mind from the philosophers that are without while divine Scripture says that man consists of soul and body. For we read "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul."412 And the Lord in the sacred Gospels said to His apostles "Fear not them which kill the body but are not able to kill the soul."413
So great is the divergence between the doctrines. These men have now done their best to outdo Apollinarius, Arius and Eunomius, in their impiety and have now endeavoured to plant anew the heresy sown of old by Valentinus and Bardesanes, and afterwards uprooted by most excellent husbandmen. Like Valentinus and Bardesanes they have denied that the body of our Lord was assumed of our nature. But the Church, following the footprints of the Apostles, contemplates in the Lord Christ both perfect Godhead and perfect manhood. For just as He took a body, not that He needed a body, but by its means to give immortality to all bodies; so too He took a soul, the guide of the body, that every soul by its means might share His immutability. For even if souls are immortal, they are not however immutable; for they undergo many and frequent changes, as they experience pleasure, now from one object, and now from another. Whence it cometh about that we err when we are changed and are inclined to what is worse. But after the resurrection our bodies enjoy immortality and incorruptibility, and our souls impassibility and immutability. For this reason the only begotten Son of God took both a body and a soul, preserved them free from all blame, and offered the sacrifice for the race. And this is why He is called our high priest; and He is named high priest not as God but as man. He makes the offering as man, and accepts the sacrifice with the Father and the Holy Spirit as God. If only Adam's body had sinned, it alone should have benefited by the cure. But since the soul not only shared in the sin but was first in the sin, for first the thought forms an image of the sin and then carries it out by means of the body, it was just, I ween, that the soul too should be healed. But it is perhaps superfluous to demonstrate these points by reasoning, when the divine Scripture clearly proclaims them. This doctrine is distinctly taught by the holy David and the very divine Peter, the one foretelling from distant ages, and the other interpreting his prediction. The words of the first of the apostles are "David therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, He would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; he seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ that His soul was not left in hell neither His flesh did see corruption."414
Now he has given us much instruction on the same point in these few words. First he states that the assumed nature derives its descent from the loins of David; secondly that He took not a body only, but also an immortal soul, and thirdly that He delivered body and soul to death, and, after taking them again, raised them as He would. His own words are "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up."415 But we have learnt that the divine nature is immortal. What suffered was the passible, and the impassible remained impassible. For God the Word was made math not to render the impassible nature passible, but on the passible nature, by means of the Passion, to bestow the boon of impassibility. And the Lord Himself in the holy Gospels at one time says "I have power to lay down my life and I have power to take it again, no man taketh it from me but I lay it down of myself;" "That I may take it again."416 And again "Therefore doth my Father love me because I lay down my life for the sheep,"417 and again "Now is my soul troubled"418 "my soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death."419 and of His body He says "The bread that I will give is my flesh which I will give for the life of the world,"420 and when He delivered the divine mysteries and broke the symbol and distributed it, He added "This is my body which is being broken for you for the remission of sins,"421 and again "This is my blood which is shed for many for the remission of sins,"422 and again "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood ye have no life in you"423 and "Whosoever eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life" "in himself" he adds.424 Innumerable passages of the same character may be quoted, both in the old Testament find the new, pointing out the assumption both of the body and of the soul, and that they are descended from Abraham and David. Joseph of Arimathea when he came to Pilate begged the body of Jesus, and the fourfold authority425 of the holy Gospels tells us how he received the body, wrapped it in the linen cloth, and committed it to the tomb. I do, indeed, sorrow and lament that I am compelled by the attacks of error to adduce against men supposed to be of one and the same faith with myself the arguments which I have already urged against the victims of the plague of Marcion,-of whom, by God's grace, I have converted more than ten thousand, and brought them to Holy Baptism. What child of the church ever had any doubts on these points? Who has not cited this teaching of the holy Fathers? The works of the great Basil are full of it; as well, as those of his fellow soldiers Gregory and Amphilochius, and of those who in the West have been illustrious teachers of grace, Damasus, bishop of great Rome, and Ambrose of Milan; and Cyprian of Carthage who for the sake of these doctrines won the martyr's crown. Five times was the famous Athanasius driven from his flock and compelled to dwell in exile; and in the cause of these doctrines strove too his master Alexander. Eustathius, Meletius, and Flavianus, luminaries of the East, and Ephraim, harp of the Spirit, who daily waters the people of Syria with the streams of grace; John and Atticus, lend heralds of the truth; and men of an earlier age than they, Ignatius, Polycarp, Irenaeus, Justin, and Hippolytus, of whom the more part not only shine at the head of the company of bishops, but also adorn the martyr's band.
He, too, who now rules great Rome and diffuses in all directions from the West the rays of right teaching, the most holy Leo, has expressed to me this distinctive mark of the faith in his own letters. All these have clearly taught that the only begotten Son of God and everlasting God, ineffably begotten of the Father, is one Son; and that after the incarnation He was called both Son of man and man, not because He was changed into manhood, for His nature is immutable, but because He took what was ours. They teach too that He was both impassible and immortal as God, and mortal and passible as man; but after the resurrection even in relation to His humanity He received impassibility and immortality, for, though the body remained a body, still it is impassible and immortal, verily a divine body and glorified with divine glory. This is distinctly told us by the blessed Paul in the words "For our conversation is in heaven from whence also we look for the Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto the body of His glory."426 He does not say to "His glory" but to"the body of His glory," and the Lord Himself, when He had said to His apostles "There be some standing here which shall not taste of death till they see the Son of man coming in His Father's glory,"427 took them after six days into an exceeding high mountain, and was transfigured before them, and His face became as the sun, and His raiment was bright like the light.428 By these means He shewed the manner of the second advent. He taught that the assumed nature is not uncircumscribed (for this is characteristic of the Godhead alone) but that it shall send forth flashes of the divine glory, and emit rays of light transcending the powers of the sense of sight. With this glory He was taken up; with this the angels said that He should come; for their words were "He who was taken from you into heaven shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."429 When moreover He was seen by the divine apostles after the resurrection, He shewed them both hands and feet; and to Thomas He shewed also His side and the wounds of the nails and of the spear. For on account of those men who positively deny the assumption of the flesh, and further of those others who assert that after the resurrection the nature of the body was changed into the nature of Godhead, He preserved unaltered the prints of the nails and of the spear. And while raising all other bodies free from every disfigurement,430 in His own body He left the marks of His sufferings. to the end that deniers of the assumption of the body may be convicted of their error by means of His sufferings; and holders of the notion that His body was changed into another nature may be taught by the print of the nails that it abides in its own proper qualities. Suppose any one to imagine that he has a proof that the body of the Lord did not remain a body after the resurrection in the fact that He came in to the disciples when the doors were shut, let such an one remember how He walked upon the sea while His body was still mortal, how He was born after keeping the seals of virginity intact, and how again when encircled by them that were plotting against Him He frequently escaped from their hands. But why need I mention the Lord, who was not only man, but God before the ages, and to whom it was easy to do whatsoever He would? Let them tell how Habakkuk was translated from Judaea into Babylon in a moment of time and passed through the covering of the den, and brought the food to Daniel, and returned again. without destroying the seals of the den.431 It is sheer foolishness to enquire into the manner of the miracles of the Lord, but in addition to what has been said it ought also to be known that after the resurrection our bodies also will be incorruptible and immortal, and being released from what is earthly will become light and aethereal. This moreover is distinctly taught us by the divine Paul in the words "It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption, it is sown in weakness it is raised in power; it is sown in dishonour it is raised in glory; it is sown a natural body it is raised a spiritual body"432 and in another place "We shall be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air."433 If then the bodies of the saints become light and aethereal and easily travel through the air, we cannot wonder that the Lord's body united to the Godhead of the only begotten, when, after the resurrection, it had become immortal, entered in when the doors were shut.
Countless other proofs might be quoted without difficulty from apostles and prophets. But what has been already said is enough to show the drift of my teaching. I believe in one Father, one Son and one Holy Ghost; and I confess one Godhead, one Lordship, one substance and three hypostases. For the incarnation of the only begotten did not add to the number of the Trinity, and make the Trinity a quaternity, but, even after the incarnation the Trinity was still a Trinity. And while confessing that the only begotten Son of God was made man I do not deny the nature which He took, but confess, as I have said, both the nature which took and the nature which was taken. The union did not confound the properties of the natures. For if the air by receiving the light through all its parts does not cease to be air, nor yet at the same time destroy the nature of the light, for with our eves we behold the light and by our feeling we recognise the air, as it meets us cold or hot, or moist or dry, so it were sheer folly to call the union of the Godhead and the manhood confusion. If created natures which share at once subordinate anti temporal existence, when united and in some sense mingled, yet remain unimpaired, and, when the light withdraws, the nature of the air is left alone, much more proper is it, I apprehend, for the nature which fashioned all things, when conjoined with and united to the nature which it assumed from us, to be acknowledged to continue itself in its purity, and in like manner to preserve unimpaired that which it had assumed. Gold, too, when brought in contact with the fire, participates both in the colour and power of fire, but it does not lose its own nature, but at the same time remains gold and has the active qualities of fire. In this manner also the Lord's body is a body, but impassible, incorruptible, immortal, of the Lord, divine and glorified with the divine glory. It is not separated from the Godhead, nor yet is of any one else, save of the only begotten Son of God Himself. For it does not show to us another person, but the only-begotten Himself clad in our nature.
This is the doctrine which I am continually preaching. They on the other hand who deny the incarnation wrought on our behalf have called me a heretic, adopting a course something like that of unchaste females, who, while they sell their own charms, assail honest women with the insults of their profession, and apply language proper to their own wantonness to women who hold such wantonness in abhorrence. This is how Egypt has acted. She has herself fallen willingly into the thraldom of base desire. She has lavished her servile adulation on a man of chaste character. Then, failing to entice him by her wiles, or to trap him in the snares of her voluptuous passion, she describes one who is faithful to purity as an adulterer.
But these men will be called to account by God, as well for their devices against the faith as for the snares they have laid against me. I only charge those who have been influenced by the false accusations uttered against me to keep one ear for the accused, and not to give both to the accusers. In this manner they will fulfil the divine law which lays down "Thou shall not raise a false report,"434 and "Judge righteously between every man and his brother."435 In these words the divine law charges us not to believe the calumnies uttered against the absent but to judge the accused face to face.
CXLVI. To John the Oeconomus.436
Rest and a life free from care are very grateful to me. I have therefore blocked the door of the monastery, and decline intercourse with my friends.
But I have received information that fresh attacks are being made against the Faith of the Gospels, and therefore conclude that there may be danger in my silence. When wrong has been done some mortal prince, not only the guilty authors of the outrage but they also who have been standing by and made no effort to drive off the assailants, are in peril of punishment: What penalty then ought not to be undergone by men who can venture to look lightly on the utterance of blasphemy against our God and Saviour? This is the fear which has impelled me now to write and expose the innovations of which I have been informed.
It is said that a common report in the city represents that after certain presbyters had offered prayer, and concluded it in the wonted manner, while some said "For to Thee belongs glory and to thy Christ and to the Holy Ghost;" and others "Through grace and loving kindness of thy Christ, with whom belongs glory to Thee with thy holy Spirit," the very wise archdeacon prohibited the use of the expression, "the Christ" and said that the "only begotten" ought to be glorified. If this is true it were impossible to exceed the impiety. For he either divides the one Lord Jesus Christ into two sons and regards the only begotten Son as lawful and natural, but the Christ as adopted and spurious, and consequently unmeet for being honoured in doxology; or else he is endeavouring to support the heresy which has now burst in on us with the riot of wild revelry. Had a grievous tempest been now oppressing us, any one might have supposed that the blasphemer suited his blasphemy to the necessity of the moment. through fear of the power of the originators of the heresy. But now that He who is blasphemed has rebuked the winds and the sea, and blessed the storm-tossed churches with a calm, while everywhere by land and sea the proclamation of the apostles is preached, what room is there for the blasphemy? While not even they who have lately basely inserted among the doctrines of the Church that flesh and godhead are of one and the same nature have ever forbidden the offering of praise to the Lord Christ. This fact may be easily ascertained from those who have returned thence. A man holding the foremost place in the ecclesiastical rank ought to have known the divine Scripture, and to have learnt from it that just as the heralds of the truth rank the only begotten Son with the Father, so accordingly using the title of "the Christ" instead of that of "Son" they number Him sometimes with the Father and sometimes with the Holy Ghost; for the Christ is none other than the only begotten Son of God. So we may quote the divine Paul writing to the Corinthians, but teaching the world, that "There is one God the Father of whom are all things... and one Lord Jesus Christ by whom are all things."437 Thus he calls the same person, Christ, Jesus, Lord, and Creator of all things. And writing to the Thessalonians he says "Now God Himself and our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ direct our way unto you."438 And in his second epistle to the same he puts the Christ before the Father, not to invert the order, but to teach that the order of the haines does not indicate a distinction of dignity and nature. His words are "Now our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work."439 And at the end of his Epistle to the Romans after certain exhortations he adds "I beseech you brethren for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake and for the love of the spirit."440 Now if he had known the Christ as being any other than the Son he would not have put Him before the Holy Ghost. Writing to the Corinthians, at the very beginning of his letter, he mentions the name of Christ as alone sufficient to influence the faithful. "Now I beseech you brethren by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that ye all speak the same thing"441 and when writing to them a second time he thus concludes "The peace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God the Father and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all."442 Here he puts the name of Christ not only before the Spirit, but also before the Father and this in all the churches is the beginning of the Liturgy of the Mystery.
According, then, to this extraordinary regulation the august name of our God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, ought to be omitted from the mystic writings. But it is unnecessary to say more on this point. The opening of every one of his letters is distinguished by the divine Apostle with this address. At one time it is "Paul a servant of Jesus Christ called to be an apostle."443 At another "Paul called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ."444 At another "Paul a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ."445 And suiting his benediction to his exordium he deduces it from the same source and links the title of the Son with God the Father, saying "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."446 And he graces the conclusion of his letters with the blessing "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all, amen."447
Copious additional evidence may be found whereby it may be learnt without difficulty that our Lord Jesus Christ is no other person than the Son which completes the Trinity. For the same before the ages was only begotten Son and God the Word, and after the resurrection He was called Jesus and Christ. receiving the names from the facts. Jesus means Saviour; "Thou shall call His name Jesus for He shall save His people from their sins."448
He is named Christ from being as man anointed with the Holy Ghost, and called our High Priest, Apostle, Prophet and King. Long ago the divine Moses exclaimed "The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet, from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me."449 And the divine David cries "The Lord hath sworn and will not repent, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedek."450 This prophecy is confirmed by the divine Apostle.451 And again "seeing then that we have a great High Priest that has passed into the heavens. Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession."452
That as God, He is king before the ages that prophetic minstrelsy teaches us in the words "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; the sceptre of Thy kingdom is a right sceptre."453
His majesty as man is also shown us. For having the sovereignty of all things as God and Creator, He assumes this majesty as man, wherefore it is added "Thou lovest righteousness and hatest wickedness, therefore God thy God hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows."454 And in the second psalm the anointed one himself says "Yet was I set as king by Him upon the holy hill of Sion, I will declare the decree of the Lord. The Lord hath said unto me `Thou art my Son this day have I begotten Thee; ask of me and I shall give Thee the heathen for thine inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.'"455 This He said as man, for as man He receives what as God He possesses. And at the very beginning of the psalm the gift of prophecy ranks Him with God the Father in the words "Why do the heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing. The kings of the earth set themselves and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His anointed."456
Let no one then foolishly suppose that the Christ is any other than the only begotten Son. Let us not imagine ourselves wiser than the gift of the Spirit. Let us hear the words of the great Peter, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."457 Let us hear the Lord Christ confirming this confession, for "On this rock," He says, "I will build my church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it."458 Wherefore too the wise Paul, most excellent master builder of the churches, fixed no other foundation than this. "I," he says, "as a wise master builder have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ."459 How then can they think of any other foundation, when they are bidden not to fix a foundation, but to build on that which is laid? The divine writer recognises Christ as the foundation, and glories in this title, as when he says, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I but Christ liveth in me."460 And again "To me to live is Christ and to die is gain,"461 and again "For I determined not to know anything among you save Jesus Christ and Him crucified."462 And a little before he says, "But we preach Christ crucified to the Jews a stumbling-block and to the Greeks foolishness, but unto them which are called both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God."463 And in his Epistle to the Galatians be writes, "But when it pleased God who separated me from my mother's womb and called me by His grace to reveal His Son in me that I might preach Him among the heathen."464 But when writing to the Corinthians he does not say we preach "the Son" but "Christ crucified," herein doing no violence to his commission, but recognising the same to be Jesus, Christ, Lord, only begotten, and God the Word. For the same reason too at the beginning of his letter to the Romans he calls himself "servant of Jesus Christ" and describes himself as "separated unto the gospel of God, which He had promised afore by His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power"465 and so on. He calls the same both Jesus Christ, and Son of David, and Son of God, as God and Lord of all, and yet in the middle of his epistle, after making mention of the Jews, he adds, "whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all God blessed for ever, amen."466 Here he says that He who according to the flesh derived His descent froth the Jews is eternal God and is praised by the right minded as Lord of all created things. The same teaching is given us in the Apostle's words to the excellent Titus "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ."467 Here he calls the same both Saviour, and great God, and Jesus Christ. And in another place he writes, "In the kingdom of Christ and of God."468 Moreover the chorus of the angels announced to the shepherds "Unto you is born this day in the city of David ...Christ the Lord."469
But to men who meditate on God's law day and night, it is indeed needless to write all the proofs of this kind; the above are sufficient to persuade even the most obstinate opponents not to divide the divine titles. One point, however, I cannot endure to omit. He is alleged to have said that there are many Christs but one Son. Into this error I suppose he fell through ignorance. For if he had read the divine Scripture, he would have known that the title of the Son has also been bestowed by our bountiful Lord on many. The lawgiver Moses, the writer of the ancient history, says "And the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair and they took them wives of them,"470 and the God of all Himself said to this Prophet "Thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Israel is my son even my first-born."471 In the great song he says "Rejoice O ye nations with His people and let all the sons of God be strong in Him;"472 and by the mouth of the prophet Isaiah He says "I have nourished and brought up sons (children) and they have rebelled against me;"473 and through the thrice blessed David "I have said ye are gods and all of you are children of the Most High,"474 and to the Romans the wise Paul wrote in this manner, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the I spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. For the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God. And if children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ: if so be that we suffer with Him that we may be also glorified together;"475 and to the Galatians he writes "And because ye are sons God hath sent forth the spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant but a son; and if a son then an heir of God through Jesus Christ."476 The lesson he gives to the Ephesians is "in love having predestinated us into the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself."477
If then, because the name of the Christ is common, we ought not to glorify the Christ as God, we shall equally shrink from worshipping Him as Son, since this also is a name which has been bestowed upon many. And why do I say the Son? The very name of God itself has been given by God to many. "The Lord the God of gods hath spoken and called the earth."478 And "I have said Ye are gods,"479 and "Thou shalt not revile the gods."480 Many too have appropriated tiffs name to themselves. The daemons who have deceived mankind have given this title to idols; whence Jeremiah exclaims, "The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth even they shall perish from the earth and from under these heavens;"481 and again "They made to themselves gods of silver and gods of gold;"482 and the prophet Isaiah when he had mocked the making of the idols, and said "He burneth part thereof in the fire with part thereof he eateth flesh he warmeth himself and saith Aha I am warm I have seen the fire,"483 went on "and the residue thereof he maketh a god and falleth down unto it and saith `Deliver me for thou art my god'"484 and so the prophet laments over them and says "Know that their heart is ashes."485 And the Psalmist David has taught us to sing "For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens."486
But this common use of titles gives no offence to men who are instructed in true religion. We are aware that the daemons have falsely bestowed upon themselves and on idols the divine name, while the saints have received this honour of free grace.
In reality and by nature it is the God of all, and His only-begotten Son and the Holy Spirit which are God. This is distinctly taught us by the admirable Paul in the words "For though there be that are called gods whether in heaven or in earth, as there are gods many and lords many, but to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in Him; and one Lord by whom are all things and we by Him."487 And the Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of God and so also is the soul of man, for, it is written, "His breath goeth forth,"488 and "O ye spirits and souls of the righteous bless ye the Lord,"489 and the Psalmist David called the angels spirits. "Who maketh His angels spirits and His ministers a flame of fire."490 Why indeed do I mention the angels and the souls of men? Even the daemons are so called by the Lord "He shall take unto him seven other spirits more wicked than himself and they shall enter in, and the last state of that man shall be worse than the first."491 But even this application of the name does not offend the pious reader, for the Father and His only begotten Son and His Holy Spirit are one God by nature; and the divine Word made man, our Lord Jesus Christ, is by nature one Son, only begotten of the Father; and the Comforter who completes the number of the Trinity is one Holy Ghost. Thus though many are named fathers, we worship one Father, the Father before the ages, who Himself gave this title to men, as the Apostle says, "For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom every fatherhood in heaven and earth is named."492 Let us not then, because others are called christs, rob ourselves of the worship of our Lord Jesus Christ. For just as though many are called gods and fathers, there is one God and Father over all and before the ages;and though many are called sons, there is one real and natural Son; and though many are styled spirits there is one Holy Ghost; just so though many are called christs there is one Lord Jesus Christ by Whom are all things. And very properly does the Church cling to this name; for she has heard Paul, escorter of the Bride, exclaiming "I have espoused you to one husband that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ,"493 and again "Husbands love your wives as Christ also loved the Church,"494 and again "For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery; but I speak concerning Christ and the Church."495 Listen to him as he says "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us,"496 and elsewhere "Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized unto Jesus Christ were baptized into His death,"497 and in another place, "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ,"498 and again "Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lust thereof."499
They who are blessed by the boons of God and have learnt to know these passages and others like them, kindled with warm love for their bountiful Master, constantly carry on their lips this His dearest name and cry in the words of the Song of Songs "My beloved is mine and I am his;" "I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste."500 And besides all this that name of ours which we love so well we have derived from the name of Christ. We are called Christians.501
Of this name the Lord of all says, "The Lord God shall call His servants by another name which shall be blessed on the earth"502 and the following is the reason why the Church specially clings to this name. When the only-begotten Son of God was made man, then He was named Christ, then human nature received the beams of intellectual light; then the heralds of the truth shed their beams upon the world. Teachers of the Church, however, constantly used the names of the only begotten without distinction; at one time they glorify the Father the Son and the Holy Ghost; at another the Father with Christ and the Holy Ghost; yet as far as the sense is concerned there is here no difference. Wherefore after the Lord had commanded to baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost the blessed Peter said to them who received his preaching and asked what they must do, "Believe and be baptized every one of you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,"503 as though this name contained in itself all the potency of the divine command. The same teaching is clearly given us by the great Basil, luminary of the Cappadocians,504 or rather of the world. His words are "the ham e of Christ is the confession of the whole." It indicates at once the Father, who anointed, the Son, who was anointed, and the Holy Ghost whereby He was anointed. Furthermore the thrice blessed Fathers assembled in council at Nicaea, after saying that we must believe in one God, the Father, added "and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God." Thereby they teach that the Lord Jesus Christ is Himself the only begotten Son of God.
To what has been said it must also be added that we must not affirm that after the ascension the Lord Christ is not Christ but only begotten Son. The divine Gospels and the history of the Acts and the Epistles of the Apostle himself were, as we know, written after the ascension. It is after the ascension that the divine Paul exclaims "Seeing then that we have a great High Priest that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession."505 And again, "For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into Heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us."506 And again after speaking of our hope in God he adds "which hope we have as an anchor both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus made an High Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec."507 And when, writing to the blessed Titus about the second advent he says, "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ."508 And to the Thessalonians he wrote in similar terms "For they themselves show of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how we turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come."509 And again "And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: to the end he may stablish your hearts unblamable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints."510 And again when writing to the same a second time he says, "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him."511 And a little further on when predicting the destruction of antichrist he adds, "Whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming."512 And when exhorting the Romans to concord he says, "But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at naught thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, as I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God."513 And the Lord Himself when announcing His second advent besides other things says too this "Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be."514
And after the immortality and incorruptibility of His body He called Himself Son of Man, naming Himself from the nature which was seen, inasmuch as the divine nature is indeed invisible to angels, as the Lord Himself had said "No one hath seen God at any time."515 And to the great Moses He said "There shall no man see me and live."516
The words "Henceforth know we no man after the flesh; yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh; yet now henceforth know we Him no more,"517 were not written by the divine Apostle in order to annul the assumed nature, but for the confirmation of our own future incorruption, immortality, and spiritual life.
The Apostle therefore continues "Therefore if any man be in Christ he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold all things are become new."518 He speaks of what is to be in the future as though it had already come to pass. We have not yet been gifted with immortality, but we shall be; and when so gifted we shall not become bodiless, but we shall put on immortality. "For" says the divine Apostle, "we would not be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life."519 And again "For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality."520 Thus he did not speak of the Lord as bodiless, but taught us to believe that even the visible nature is incorruptible, and glorified with the divine glory. This instruction he has given us yet more clearly in the Epistle to the Philippians; "For our conversation" he writes "is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ; who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body."521 By these words he teaches us distinctly that the body of the Lord is a body, but a divine body, and glorified with the divine glory.
Let us, then, not shun the name whereby we enjoy salvation, and whereby all things are made new, as says our teacher himself in his Epistle to the Ephesians,-"According to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself; that in the dispensation of the fulness of time He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in Him."522 Let us rather learn from this blessed language how we are bound to glorify our benefactor, by connecting the name of Christ with our God and Father. In his Epistle to the Romans the Apostle says "my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith; to God only will be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen."523 Writing to the Ephesians he thus gives praise-"Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen."524 And a little before he says, "For this cause I bow my knee unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named."525 And considerably farther on he says "Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."526 And when he requites with benediction the liberality of the Philippians he says "But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."527 And for the Hebrews he prayed, "Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work, to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."528 And not only when glorifying, but also when exhorting and protesting, the Apostle conjoins the Christ with God the Father. To the blessed Timothy he exclaims "I charge thee therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ."529 And again "I give thee charge in the sight of God who quickeneth all things, and before Jesus Christ, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; that thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ; which in His times He shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords; who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see; to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen."530
These are the lessons we have learnt from the divine Apostles; this is the teaching given us by John and Matthew, those mighty rivers of the gospel message. The latter says "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham;"531 and the former when he shewed the things which were before the ages wrote, "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him."
CXLVII.532 To John, Bishop of Germanicia.
Immediately on receipt of your holiness's former letter I replied. About the present state of affairs, it is impossible to entertain any good hope. I apprehend that this is the beginning of the general apostasy. For when we see that those who lament what was done as they say, by violence, at Ephesus, show no signs of repentance, but abide by their unlawful deeds and are building up a superstructure at once of injustice and of impiety; when we see that the rest take no concerted action to deny their deeds and do not refuse to hold communion with men who abide by their unlawful action, what hope of good is it possible for us to entertain? Had they been expressing their admiration of what has happened as though all had been well and rightly done, it would only have been proper for them to abide by what they themselves commend. But if, as they say, they are lamenting what has been done and stating it to have been done by force and violence, why in the world do they not repudiate what has been unlawfully done? Why is the present, which lasts for such a little time, preferred before what is sure to come to pass? Why in the world do they openly lie and deny that any innovation has been introduced into doctrine? On account of what murders and witchcrafts have I been expelled? What adulteries did the man commit? What tombs did the man violate? It is perfectly clear even to outsiders that it was for doctrine that I and the rest were expelled. Why the Lord Domnus too, because he would not accept "the Chapters"533 was deposed by these excellent persons who called them admirable and confessed that they abided by them. I had read their propositions, and they rejected me as the head and front of the heresy and expelled others for the same reason.534
What has happened proves plainly enough that they supposed the Saviour to have laid down the law of practical virtue rather for Hamaxobians535 than for them. When some men had given in charges against Candidianus, the Pisidian,536 accusing him of several acts of adultery and other iniquities, it is said that the president of the council remarked, "If you are bringing accusation on points of doctrine, we receive your charges; we have not come here to decide about adulteries." Accordingly Athenius and Athanasius537 who had been expelled by the Eastern Synod were bidden to return to their own churches; just as though our Saviour had laid down no laws about conduct, and had only ordered us to observe doctrines-which those most sapient persons have been foremost in corrupting. Let them then cease to mock; let them no longer attempt to conceal the impiety which they have confirmed by blows as well as by words. If this is not the case, let them tell us the reasons of the massacres; let them own in writing the distinction between the natures of our Saviour, and that the union is without confusion; let them declare that after the union both Godhead and manhood remained unimpaired. "God is not mocked."538 Let the chapters be denied which they have often repudiated, and now at Ephesus have sanctioned. Do not let them trick your holiness by their lies. They used to praise my utterances at Antioch, being brethren, and when made readers, and ordained deacons, presbyters and bishops; and at the end of my discourse they used to embrace me and kiss me, on head, on breast, on hands; and some of them would cling to my knees, calling my doctrine apostolic,-the very doctrine that they have now condemned, and anathematized. They used to call me luminary, not only of the East, but of the whole world, and now I forsooth have been proscribed and, so far as lies in their power, I have not even bread to eat. They have anathematized even all who converse with me. But the man whom but a little while ago they deposed and called Valentinian and Apollinarian they have honoured as a martyr of the faith, rolling at his feet, asking his pardon and calling him spiritual father. Do even woodlice change their colour to match the stones or chameleons their skin to suit the leaves, as these men do their mind to match the times? I give up to them see, dignity, rank, and all the luxury of this life. On the side of the apostolic doctrines I await the evils which they deem terrible, finding sufficient consolation in the thought of the judgment of the Lord. For I hope that for the sake of this injustice the Lord will remit me many of my sins.
Now I implore your holiness to beware of the fellowship of iniquity and to insist on their repudiation of what has been done. If they refuse shun them as traitors to the faith. That your reverence should wait awhile to see if the tempest will pass, we have not thought subject for blame. But after the ordination of the primate of the East539 every man's mind will be made manifest. Deign, Sir, to pray for me. At this time I am sorely in want of that help that I may hold out against all that is being devised against me.
CXLVIII in the Edition of Garnerius
Is "the minute of the most holy bishop Cyril, delivered to Posidonius, when sent by him to Rome, in the matter of Nestorius." (Cyrill.Ep. XI.tom. lxxvii. 85.)
CXLIX "Copy of the Letter Written by John, Bishop of Antioch, to Nestorius."
This letter has sometimes been supposed to have been really composed by Theodoret.540
CL. Letter of Theodoretus, Bishop of Cyrus, to Joannes, Bishop of Antioch.541
I have been much distressed at reading the anathematisms which you have sent to request me to refute in writing, and to make plain to all their heretical sense. I have been distressed at the thought that one appointed to the shepherd's office, entrusted with the charge of so great a flock and appointed to heal the sick among his sheep, is both himself unsound, and that to a terrible degree, and is endeavouring to infect his lambs with his disease and treats the sheep of his folds with greater cruelty than that of wild beasts. They, indeed, tear and rend the sheep that are dispersed and separated from the flock; but be in its very midst, and while thought to be its saviour and its guardian introduces secret error among the victims of their confidence in him. Against an open assault it is possible to take precautions, but when an attack is made in the guise of friendship, its victim is found off his guard and hurt is easily done him. Hence foes who make war from within are far more dangerous than those who attack from without.
I am yet more grieved that it should be in the name of true religion and with the dignity of a shepherd that he should give utterance to his heretical and blasphemous words, and renew that vain and impious teaching of Apollinarius which was long ago stamped out. Besides all this there is the fact that he not only supports these views but even dares to anathematize those who decline to participate in his blasphemies;-if he is really the author of these productions and they have not proceeded from some enemy of the truth who has composed them in his name and, as the old story has it, flung the apple of discord542 in the midst, and so fanned the flame on high.
But whether this composition comes from himself or from some other in his name, I, for my part, by the aid of the light of the Holy Ghost, in the investigation of this heretical and corrupt opinion, according to the measure of the power given me, have refuted them as best I could. I have confronted them with the teaching of evangelists and apostles. I have exposed the monstrosity of the doctrine, and proved how vast is its divergence from divine truth. This I have done by comparing it with the words of the Holy Spirit, and pointing out what strange and jarring discord there is between it and the divine.
Against the hardihood of this anathematizing, thus much I will say, that Paul, the clear-voiced herald of truth, anathematized those who had corrupted the evangelic and apostolic teaching and boldly did so against the angels, not against those who abided by the laws laid down by theologians; these he strengthened with blessings, saying, "And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them and mercy and on the Israel of God."543 Let then the author of these writings reap from the Apostle's curse the due rewards of his labours and the harvest of his seeds of heresy. We will abide in the teaching of the holy Fathers.
To this letter I bare appended my counter arguments, that on reading them you may judge whether I have effectively destroyed the heretical propositions. Setting down each of the anathematisms by itself, I have annexed the counter statement that readers may easily understand, and that the refutation of the dogmas may he clear.544
CLI. Letter or Address of Theodoret to the Monks of the Euphratensian, the Osrhoene, Syria, Phoenicia, and Cilicia.545
When I contemplate the condition of the Church at the present crisis of affairs,-the tempest which has recently beset the holy ship, the furious blasts, the beating of the waves, the deep darkness of the night, and, besides all this, the strife of the mariners, the struggle going on between oarsmen the drunkenness of the pilots, and, lastly, the untimely action of the bad.-I bethink me of the laments of Jeremiah anti cry with him, "my bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart, my heart maketh a noise in me,"546 and to put away despondency's great cloud by the drops from my eyes, I have recourse to founts of tears. Amid a storm so wild it is fitting that the pilots be awake, to battle wills the tempest, and take heed for the safety of the ship: the sailors ought to cease from their strife, and strive to undo the danger alike by prayer and skill: the mariners ought to keep the peace, and quarrel neither with one another nor with the pilots, but implore the Lord of the sea to banish the darkness by His rod. No one now is willing to do anything of the kind; and, just as happens in a night-engagement, we cannot recognise one another, we leave our enemies alone, and waste our weapons against our own side; we wound our comrades for foes, while all the while the bystanders laugh at our drunken folly, enjoy our disasters, and are delighted to see us engaged in mutual destruction. The responsibility for all this lies with those who have striven to corrupt the apostolic faith, and have dared to add a monstrous doctrine to the teaching of the Gospels; with them that have accepted the impious "Chapters" which they have sent forth with anathematisms to the imperial city, and have confirmed them, as they have imagined, by their own signatures. But these "Chapters" have sprouted without doubt from the sour root of Apollinarius; they are tainted with Arian and Eunomian error; look into them carefully, and you will find that they are not clear of the impiety of Manes and Valentinus.547
In his very first chapter he rejects the dispensation548 which has been made on our behalf, teaching that God the Word did not assume human nature, but was Himself changed into flesh, thus laying down that the incarnation took place not in reality but in semblance and seeming. This is the outcome of the impiety of Marcion, Manes, and Valentinus.
In his second and third chapters, as though quite oblivious of what he had stated in his preface, he brings in the hypostatic union, and a meeting by natural union, and by these terms he represents that a kind of mixture and confusion was effected of the divine nature and of the form of the servant. This comes of the innovation of the Apollinarian heresy.
In his fourth chapter he denies the distinction of the terms of evangelists and apostles, and refuses to allow, as the teaching of the orthodox Father's has allowed, the terms of divine dignity to be understood of the divine nature, while the terms of humility, spoken in human sense, are applied to the nature assumed; whence the rightminded can easily detect the kinship with impiety. For Arius and Eunomius, asserting the only begotten Son of God to be a creature, and made out of the non-existent, and a servant, have ventured to apply to His godhead what is said in lowly and human sense; establishing by such means the difference of substance and the unlikeness. Besides this, to be brief, he argues that the very impassible and immutable Godhead of the Christ suffered, and was crucified, dead, and buried. This goes beyond even the madness of Arius and Eunomius, for this pitch of impiety has not been reached even by them that dare to call the maker and creator of the universe a creature. Furthermore he blasphemes against the Holy Ghost, denying that It proceeds from the Father, in accordance with the word of the Lord, but maintaining that It has Its origin of the Son. Here we have the fruit of the Apollinarian seed; here we come near the evil husbandry of Macedonius. Such are the offspring of the Egyptian, viler children of a vile father. This growth, which men, entrusted with the healing of souls, ought to make abortive while yet in the womb, or destroy as soon as it is born, as dangerous and deadly to mankind, is cherished by these excellent persons, and promoted with great energy, alike to their own ruin and to that of all who will listen to them.We, on the contrary, earnestly desire to keep our heritage untouched; and the faith which we have received, and in which we have been ourselves baptized, and baptize others, we strive to preserve uninjured and undefiled. We confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, perfect God and perfect man, of a reasonable soul and body, was begotten of the Father before the ages, as touching the Godhead; and in the last days for us men and our salvation (was born) of the Virgin Mary; that the same Lord is of one substance with the Father as touching the Godhead, and of one substance with us as touching the manhood. For there was an union of two natures. Wherefore we acknowledge one Christ, one Son, one Lord; but we do not destroy the union; we believe it to have been made without confusion, in obedience to the word of the Lord to the Jews, "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up."549 If on the contrary there had been mixture and confusion, and one nature was made out of both, He ought to have said "Destroy me and in three days I shall be raised." But now, to show that there is a distinction between God according to His nature, and the temple, and that both are one Christ, His words are "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up," clearly teaching that it was not God who was undergoing destruction, but the temple. The nature of this latter was susceptible of destructions while the power of the former raised what was being destroyed. Furthermore it is in obedience to the divine Scriptures that we acknowledge the Christ to be God and man. That our Lord Jesus Christ is God is asserted by the blessed evangelist John "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was. God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him and without Him was not anything made that was made."550 And again, "That was the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world."551 And the Lord Himself distinctly teaches us, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father."552 And "I and my Father are one"553 and "I am in the Father and the Father in me,"554 and the blessed Paul in his epistle to the Hebrews says "Who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power"555 and in the epistle to the Philippians "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus; who being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God but made Himself of no reputation and took upon Him the form of a servant."556 And in the Epistle to the Romans, "Whose are the fathers and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came who is over all God blessed for ever. Amen."557 And in the epistle to Titus "Looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ."558 And Isaiah exclaims "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called, Angel of great counsel, Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, powerful, the Prince of Peace, the Father of the Age to come."559 And again "In chains they shall come over and they shall fall unto thee. They shall make supplication unto thee shying, surely God is in thee anti there is none else, there is no God. Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour."560 The name Emmanuel, however, indicates both God and man, for it is interpreted in the Gospel to mean "God with us,"561 that is to say "God in man," God in our nature. And the divine Jeremiah too utters the prediction "This is our God and there shall none other be accounted of in comparison with him. He hath found out all the way of knowledge and hath given it unto Jacob His servant and to Israel His beloved and afterward did He show Himself upon earth and conversed with men."562 And countless other passages might be found as well in the holy gospels and in the writings of the apostles as in the predictions of the prophets, setting forth that our Lord Jesus Christ is very God.
That after the Incarnation He is spoken of as Man our Lord Himself teaches in His words to the Jews "Why go ye about to kill me?" "A man that hath told you the truth."563 And in the first Epistle to the Corinthians the blessed Paul writes "For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead,"564 and to show of whom he is speaking he explains his words and says, "For as in Adam all die even so in Christ shall all be made alive."565 And writing to Timothy he says, "For there is l one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."566 In the Acts in his speech at Athens "The times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent; because He hath appointed a day in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that than whom He hath ordained, whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised him from the dead."567 And the blessed Peter preaching to the Jews says, "Ye men of Israel, hear these words Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs which God did by Him in the midst of you,"568 and the prophet Isaiah when predicting the sufferings of the Lord Christ, whom but just before he had called God, calls man in the passage "A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." "Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows."569 I might have collected other consentient passages of holy Scripture and inserted them in my letter had I not known yon to be practised in the divine oracles as befits the man called blessed in the Psalms.570 I now leave the collection of evidence to your own diligence and proceed with my subject.
We confess then that our Lord Jesus Christ is very God and very man. We do not divide the one Christ into two persons, but we believe two natures to be united without confusion. We shall thus be able without difficulty to refute even the manifold blasphemy of the heretics: for many and various are the errors of those who have rebelled against the truth, as we shall proceed to point out. Marcion and Manes deny that God the Word assumed human nature and do not believe that our Lord Jesus Christ was born of a Virgin. They say that God the Word Himself was fashioned in human form and appeared as man rather in semblance than in reality.
Valentinus and Bardesanes admit the birth, but they deny the assumption of our nature and affirm that the Son of God employed the Virgin as it were as a mere conduit.
Sabellius the Libyan, Photinus, Marcellus the Galatian, and Paul of Samosata say that a mere man was born of the Virgin, but openly deny that the eternal Christ was God.
Arius and Eunomius maintain that God the Word assumed only a body of the Virgin.
Apollinarius adds to the body an unreasonable soul, as though the incarnation of God the Word had taken place not for the sake of reasonable beings but of unreasonable, while the teaching of the Apostles is that perfect man was assumed by perfect God, as is proved by the words "Who being in the form of God took the form of a servant;"571 for "form" is put instead of "nature" and "substance" and indicates that having the nature of God He took the nature of a servant.
When therefore we are disputing with Marcion, Manes and Valentinus, the earliest inventors of impiety, we endeavour to prove from the divine Scriptures that the Lord Christ is not only God but also man.
When, however, we are proving to the ignorant that the doctrine of Arius, Eunomius and Apollinarius about the oeconomy is incomplete, we show from the divine oracles of the Spirit that the assumed nature was perfect.
The impiety of Sabellius, Photinus, Marcellus, and Paulus, we refute by proving by the evidence of divine Scripture that the Lord Christ was not only man but also eternal God, of one substance with the Father. That He assumed a reasonable soul is stated by our Lord Himself in the words "Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father save me from this hour; but for this cause came I unto this hour."572 And again "My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death."573 And in another place "I have power to lay down my soul (life A. V.) and I have power to take it again. No man taketh it from me."574 And the angel said to Joseph, "Take the young child and His mother and go into the land of Israel; for they are dead which sought the young child's soul (life A. V.)"575 And the Evangelist says "Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in favour with God and man." Now what increases in stature and wisdom is not the Godhead which is ever perfect, but the human nature which comes into being in time, grows, and is made perfect.
Wherefore all the human qualities of the Lord Christ, hunger, I mean, and thirst and weariness, sleep, fear, sweat, prayer, and ignorance, and the like, we affirm to belong to our nature which God the Word assumed and united to Himself in effecting our salvation. But the restitution of motion to the maimed, the resurrection of the dead, the supply of loaves, and all the other miracles we believe to be works of the divine power. In this sense I say that the same Lord Christ both suffers and destroys suffering; suffers, that is, as touching the visible, and destroys suffering as touching the ineffably indwelling Godhead. This is proved beyond question by the narrative of the holy evangelists, from whom we learn that when lying in a manger and wrapped in swaddling clothes, He was announced by a star, worshipped by magi and hymned by angels. Thus we reverent discern that the swaddling bands and the want of a bed and all the poverty belonged to the manhood; while the journey of the magi and the guiding of the star and the company of the angels proclaim the Godhead of the unseen. In like manner He makes His escape into Egypt and avoids the fury of Herod by flight,576 for He was man; but as the Prophet says "He shakes the idols of Egypt,"577 for He was by nature God. He is circumcised; He keeps the law; and offers offerings of purification, because He sprang from the root of Jesse. And, as man, He was under the law; and afterwards did away with the law and gave the new covenant, because He was a lawgiver and had promised by the prophets that He Himself would give it. He was baptized by John; and this shews His sharing what is ours. He is testified to by the Father from on high and is pointed out by the Spirit; this proclaims Him eternal. He hungered; but He fed many thousands with five loaves; the latter is divine, the former human. He thirsted and He asked for water; but He was the well of life; the former of His human weakness, the latter of His divine power. He fell asleep in the boat, but he put the tempest of the sea to sleep; the former of His human nature, the latter of His efficient and creative power which has gifted all things with their being. He was weary as he walked; but He healed the halt and raised dead men from their tombs; the former of human weakness, the latter of a power passing that of this world. He feared death and He destroyed death; the former shows that He was mortal, the latter that He was immortal or rather giver of life. "He was crucified," as the blessed Paul says "through weakness."578 But as the same Paul says "Yet He liveth by the power of God."579 Let that word "weakness" teach us that He was not nailed to the tree as the Almighty, the Uncircumscribed, the Immutable and Invariable, but that the nature quickened by the power of God, was according to the Apostle's teaching dead and buried, both death and burial being proper to the form of the servant. "He broke the gates of brass and cut the bars of iron in sunder"580 and destroyed the power of death and in three days raised His own temple. These are proofs of the form of God in accordance with the Lord's words "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up."581 Thus in the one Christ through the sufferings we contemplate the manhood and through the miracles we apprehend the Godhead. We do not divide the two natures into two Christs, and we know that of the Father God the Word was begotten and that of the seed of Abraham and David our nature was assumed. Wherefore also the blessed Paul says when discoursing of Abraham "He saith not and to seeds as of many; but as of one, and to thy seed which is Christ,"582 and writing to Timothy he says "Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel."583 And to the Romans he writes "Concerning His son Jesus Christ ...which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh."584 And again "Whose are the fathers and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came."585 And the Evangelist writes "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham,"586 and the blessed Peter in the Acts says David "being a prophet and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his loins, He would raise up Christ to sit on his throne, he seeing this before spake of his resurrection,"587 and God says to Abraham "In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed,"588 and Isaiah "There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse and a branch shall grow out of His roots; and there shall rest upon Him589 the spirit of wisdom and understanding the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of piety and the spirit of the fear of the Lord shall fill Him."590 And a little further on "And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek; and His rest shall be glorious."591
From these quotations it is made plain that according to the flesh, the Christ was descended from Abraham and David and was of the same nature as theirs; while according to the Godhead He is Everlasting Son and Word of God, ineffably and in superhuman manner begotten of the Father, and co-eternal with Him as brightness and express image and Word. For as the word in relation to intelligence and brightness in relation to light are inseparably connected, so is the only begotten Son in relation to His own Father. We assert therefore that our Lord Jesus Christ is only begotten, and first born Son of God; only begotten both before the incarnation arid after the incarnation, but firstborn after being born of the Virgin. For the name first-born seems to be in a sense contrary to that of only begotten, because the only Son begotten of any one is called only begotten, while the eldest of several brothers is called first-born. The divine Scriptures state God the Word alone to have been begotten of tile Father; but the only begotten becomes also first-born, by taking our nature of the Virgin, and deigning to call brothers those who have trusted in Him; so that the same is only begotten in that He is God, first born in that He is Man. Thus acknowledging the two natures we adore the one Christ and offer Him one adoration, for we believe that the union took place from the moment of the conception in the Virgin's holy womb. Wherefore also we call tile holy Virgin both Mother of God592 and Mother of man, since the Lord Christ Himself is called God and man in the divine Scripture. The name Emmanuel proclaims the union of the two natures. If we acknowledge the Christ to be both God and Man and so call Him, who is so insensate as to shrink from using the term "Mother of man" with that of "Mother of God"? For we use both terms of the Lord Christ. For this reason the Virgin is honoured and called "full of grace."593 What sensible man then would object to name the Virgin in accordance with the titles of the Saviour, when on His account she is honoured by the faithful? For He who was born of her is not worshipped on her account, but she is honoured with the highest titles on account of Him Who was born from her.
Suppose the Christ to be God only, and to have taken the origin of His existence froth the Virgin, then let the Virgin be styled and named only "Mother of God" as having given birth to a being divine by nature. Bat if the Christ is both God and man and was God from everlasting (inasmuch as He did not begin to exist, being co-eternal with the Father that begat Him) and in these last days was born man of His human nature, then let him who wishes to define doctrine in both directions devise appellations for the Virgin with the explanation which of them befits the nature and which the union. But if any one should wish to deliver a panegyric and to compose hymns, and to repeat praises, and is naturally anxious to use the most august names; then, not laying down doctrine as in the former case, but with rhetorical laudation, and expressing all possible admiration at the mightiness of the mystery, let him gratify his heart's desire, let him employ high names, let him praise and let him wonder. Many instances of this kind are found in the writings of orthodox teachers. But on all occasions let moderation be respected. All praise to him who said that "moderation is best," although he is not of our herd.594
This is the confession of the faith of the Church; this is the doctrine taught by evangelists and apostles. For this faith, by God's grace I will not refuse to undergo many deaths. This faith we have striven to convey to them that now err and stray, again and again challenging them to discussion, and eager to show them the truth, but without success. With a suspicion of their probably plain confutation, they have shirked the encounter; for verily falsehood is rotten and yokefellow of obscurity. "Every one," it is written "that doeth evil cometh not to the light lest his deeds should be reproved"595 by the light.
Since, therefore, after many efforts, I have failed in persuading them to recognise the truth, I have returned to my own churches, filled at once with sorrow and with joy; with joy on account of my own freedom from error; and with sorrow at the unsoundness of my members. I therefore implore you to pray with all your might to our loving Lord, and to cry unto Him, "`Spare Thy people, O Lord and give not Thy heritage to reproach.'596 Feed us O Lord that we become not as we were in the beginning when Thou didst not rule over us nor was Thy name invoked to help us. `We are become a reproach to our neighhours, a scorn and derision to them that are round about us,'597 because wicked doctrines have come into Thy inheritance. They have polluted Thy holy temple in that the daughters of stranger's have rejoiced over our troubles. A little while ago we were of one mind and one tongue and now are divided into many tongues. But, O Lord our God, give us Thy peace which we have lost by setting Thy commandments at naught. O Lord we know none other than Thee. We call Thee by Thy name. `Make both one and break down tile middle wall of the partition,'598 namely the iniquity that has sprung up. Gather us one by one, Thy new Israel, building up Jerusalem and gathering together the outcasts of Israel.599 Let us be made once more one flock600 and all be fed by Thee; for Thou art the good Shepherd `Who giveth His life for the sheep '601 `Awake,why sleepest Thou O Lord, arise cast us not off forever'602 Rebuke the winds and the sea; give Thy Church calm and safety from the waves."
These words and words like these I implore yon to utter to the God of all; for He is good anti full of loving-kindness anti ever fulfils the will of them that fear Him. He will therefore listen to your prayer, and will scatter this darkness deeper than the plague of Egypt. He will give you His own calm of love, and will gather them that are scattered abroad and welcome them that have been cast out. Then shall be heard "the voice of rejoicing and salvation in the tabernacles of the righteous."603 Then shall we cry unto Him we have been "glad according to the days wherein Thou hast afflicted us and the years wherein we have seen evil,"604 and you when you have been granted your prayer shall praise Him in the words "Blessed be God which not turned away my prayer nor His mercy from me."605
Proof that after the Incarnation our Lord Jesus Christ, was one Son.
The authors of slanders against me allege that I divide the one Lord Jesus Christ into two sons. But so far am I from holding this opinion that I charge with impiety all who dare to say so. For I have been taught. by the divine Scripture to worship one Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, God the Word incarnate. For we confess the same to be both God eternal, and made man in the last days for the sake of man's salvation; but made man not by the change of the Godhead but by the assumption of the manhood. For the nature of this godhead is immutable and invariable, as is that of the Father who begat Him before the ages. And whatever would be understood of the substance of the Father will also be wholly found in the substance of the only begotten; for of that substance He is begotten. This our Lord taught when the said to Philip "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father"606 and again in another place "All things that the Father hath are mine,"607 and elsewhere "I and the Father are one,"608 and very many other passages may be quoted setting forth the identity of substance.
It follows that He did not become God: He was God. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God; and the Word was God."609 He was not man: He became man, and the so became by taking on Him our nature: So says the blessed Paul-"Who being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God, hut made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant."610 And again: "For verily He took not on Him the nature of angel's; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham."611 And again; Forasmuch then as the children are partaker's of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same.<mindy>"612 Thus He was both passible and impassible; mortal and immortal; passible, on the one hand, and mortal, as man; impassible, on the other, and immortal, as God. As God He raised His own flesh, which was dead;-as His own words declare: "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."613 And as man, He was passible and mortal up to the time of the passion. For, after the resurrection, even as man He is impassible, immortal, and incorruptible; and He discharges divine lightnings; not that according to the flesh tie has been changed into the nature of Godhead, but still preserving the distinctive marks of humanity. Nor yet is His body uncircumscribed, for this is peculiar to the divine nature alone, but it abides in its former circumscription. This He teaches in the words He spake to the disciples even after His resurrection "Behold my hands and feet that it is I myself; handle me and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have."614 While He was thus beheld He went up into heaven; thus has He promised to come again, thus shall He be seen both by them that have believed and them that have crucified, for it is written "They shall look on Him whom they pierced."615 We therefore worship the Son, but we contemplate in Him either nature in its perfection, both that which took, and that which was taken; the one of God and the other of David. For this reason also He is styled both Son of the living God and Son of David; either nature receiving its proper title. Accordingly the divine scripture calls him both God and man, and the blessed Paul exclaims "There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave Himself a ransom for all."616 But Him whom here he calls man in another place he describes as God for he says "Looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ."617 And yet in another place he uses both names at once saying "Of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came who is over all God blessed for ever. Amen."618
Thus he has stated the same Christ to be of the Jews according to the flesh, and God over all as God. Similarly the prophet Isaiah writes "A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. ...Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows,"619 and shortly afterwards he says "Who shall declare His generation?"620 This is spoken not of man but of God. Thus through Micah God says "Thou Bethlehem in the land of Judah art not the least among the princes of Judah, for out of thee shall come a governor that shall rule my people Israel, whose goings forth have been as of old from everlasting."621 Now by saying "From thee shall come forth a ruler" he exhibits the oeconomy of the incarnation; and by adding "whose goings forth have been as of old from everlasting" he declares the Godhead begotten of the Father before the ages.
Since we have been thus taught by the divine scripture, and have further found that the teachers who have been at different periods illustrious in the Church, are of the same opinion, we do our best to keep our heritage inviolate; worshipping one Son of God, one God the Father, and one Holy Ghost; but at the same time recognising the distinction between flesh and Godhead. And as we assert them that divide our one Lord Jesus Christ into two sons to trangress flora the road trodden by the holy apostles, so do we declare the maintainers of the doctrine that the Godhead of the only begotten and the manhood have been made one nature to fall headlong into the opposite ravine. These doctrines we hold; these we preach; for these we do battle.
The slander of the libellers that represent me as worshipping two sons is refuted by the plain facts of the case. I teach all persons who come to holy Baptism the faith put forth at Nicaea; and, when I celebrate the sacrament of regeneration I baptize them that make profession of their faith in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, pronouncing each name by itself. And when I am performing divine service in the churches it is my wont to give glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost; not sons, but Son. If then I uphold two sons, whether of the two is glorified by me, and whether remains unhonoured? For I have not quite come to such a pitch of stupidity as to acknowledge two sons and leave one of them without any tribute of respect. It follows then even from this fact that the slander is proved slander,-for I worship one only begotten Son, God the Word incarnate. And I call the holy Virgin "Mother of God"622 because she has given birth to the Emmanuel, which means "God with us."623 But the prophet who predicted the Emmanuel a little further on has written of him that "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulders; and his name is called Angel of great counsel, wonderful, counsellor, mighty God, powerful, Prince of peace, Father of the age to come."624 Now if the babe born of the Virgin is styled "Mighty God," then it is only with reason that the mother is called "Mother of God." For the mother shares the honour of her offspring, and the Virgin is both mother of the Lord Christ as man, and again is His servant as Lord and Creator and God.
On account of this difference of term He is said by the divine Paul to be "without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days nor end of life."625 He is without father as touching His humanity; for as man He was born of a mother alone. And He is without mother as God, for He was begotten from everlasting of the Father alone. And again He is without descent as God while as man He has descent. For it is written "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham."626 His descent is also given by the divine Luke.627 So again, as God, He has no beginning of days for He was begotten before the ages; neither has He an end of life, for His nature is immortal and impassible. But as man He had both a beginning of days, for He was born in the reign of Augustus Caesar, and an end of life, for He was crucified in the reign of Tiberius Caesar. But now, as I have already said, even His human nature is immortal; and, as He ascended, so again shall He come according to the words of the Angel-"This same Jesus which is taken up from you into Heaven shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into Heaven."628
This is the doctrine delivered to us by the divine prophets; this is the doctrine of the company of the holy apostles; this is the doctrine of the great saints of the East and of the West; of the far-famed Ignatius, who received his archpriesthood by the right hand of the great Peter, and for the sake of his confession of Christ was devoured by savage beasts;629 and of the great Eustathius, who presided over the assembled council, and on account of his fiery zeal for true religion was driven into exile.630 This doctrine was preached by the illustrious Meletius, at the cost of no less pains, for thrice was he driven from his flock in the cause of the apostles` doctrines;631 by Flavianus,632 glory of the imperial see; and by the admirable Ephraim, instrument of divine grace, who has left us in the Syriac tongue a written heritage of good things;633 by Cyprian, the illustrious ruler of Carthage and of all Libya, who for Christ's sake found a death in the fire;634 by Damasus, bishop of great Rome,635 and by Ambrose, glory of Milan, who preached and wrote it in the language of Rome.636
The same was taught by the great luminaries of Alexandria, Alexander and Athanasius, men of one mind, who underwent sufferings celebrated throughout the world. This was the pasture given to their flocks by the great teachers of the imperial city, by Gregory, shining friend and supporter of the truth; by John, teacher of the world, by Atticus, their successor alike in see and in sentiment.637 By these doctrines Basil, great light of the truth, and Gregory sprung from the same parents,638 and Amphilochius,639 who from him received the gift of the high-priesthood, taught their contemporaries, and have left the same to us in their writings for a goodly heritage. Time would fail me to tell of Polycarp,640 and Irenaeus,641 of Methodius642 and Hippolytus,643 and the rest of the teachers of the Church. In a word I assert that I follow the divine oracles and at the same time all these saints. By the grace of the spirit they dived into the depths of God-inspired scripture and both themselves perceived its mind, and made it plain to all that are willing to learn. Difference in tongue has wrought no difference in doctrine, for they were channels of the grace of the divine spirit, using the stream from one and the same fount.
CLII. Report of The(Bishops) of the East to the Emperor, Giving Information of Their Proceedings, and Explaining the Cause of the Delay in the Arrival of the Bishop of Antioch.644
In obedience to the order of your pious letter we have journeyed to the Ephesian metropolis. There we have found the affairs of the Church in confusion, and disturbed by internecine war. The cause of this is that Cyril of Alexandria and Memnon of Ephesus have handed together and mustered a great mob of rustics, and have forbidden both the celebration of the great feast of Pentecost, and the evening and morning offices.645
They have shut the sacred churches and martyrs' shrines; they have assembled apart with the victims of their deceit; they have wrought innumerable iniquities, trampling under foot alike the canons of the holy Fathers, and your own decrees. And the action has been taken in face of the order given both in writing and by word of mouth by the most excellent count Candidianus,646 envoy of your Christ-loving majesty, that the council must await the arrival of the very holy bishops, coming from all quarters of the Empire, and then and not till then formally assemble in obedience to your piety's commands. Moreover Cyril of Alexandria had written to me, the bishop of Antioch, two days before the meeting of their synod, that the whole council was awaiting my arrival. We have therefore deposed both the aforenamed, Cyril and Memnon, and have excluded them from all the services of the church. The rest, who have participated in their iniquity, we have excommunicated, until they shall reject and anathematize the Chapters647 issued by Cyril, which are full of the Eunomian and Arian heresies, and shall, in obedience to your piety's command, assemble together with us, and shall in an orderly manner and with all exactitude, together with ourselves, examine into the questions at issue, and confirm the pious doctrine of the holy Fathers.
As to the delay in my own arrival be it known to your piety that, in consideration of the distance of the way by land,-and this was our route,-I have come very quickly, I have travelled forty stages without pausing to rest on the way; so your Christian majesty may learn from the inhabitants of the towns on the route. Besides this I was detained many days in Antioch by the famine there; by the daily tumults of the people; and by the unusual severity of the rainy season, which caused the torrents to swell, and threatened danger to the town.
CLIII. Report of the Same to the Empresses Pulcheria and Eudoxia.
We had expected to be able to report to your pious majesties in different terms, but we are now compelled to make known to you the following facts, forced as we are by the irregular exercise of despotic power by Cyril of Alexandria and Memnon of Ephesus. The proper course to have been pursued, in accordance with the laws of the Church, and the command of your pious majesties, would have been to wait for the arrival of the godly bishops on the road, and in common with them to examine into the questions at issue concerning the true faith, and investigate the point offered for discussion, and, after exact enquiry, to confirm the doctrines of the apostles. They had written to me that they would wait for our arrival. They heard that we were only three stages off. Then they assembled an unconstitutional council by themselves, and have ventured on proceedings iniquitous, irregular, and bristling with absurdities. And this they have done though the most honourable count Candidianus, sent by your pious and Christian majesties for good order's sake, expressly charged them, alike in writing and by word of mouth, to wait for the arrival of the godly bishops who had been convened, and to attempt no innovation on the true faith, but to take their stand on the directions of our godly-minded sovereigns. Now in spite of their having heard the imperial letter and the advice of the most honourable count Candidianus, they have nevertheless made naught of due order. As the prophet says "They hatch cockatrice' eggs, and weave the spider's web; and he that would eat of their eggs when he breaks them findeth rottenness, and therein is a viper,"648 Wherefore we confidently cry "Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works."649
They have shut the churches and the martyrs' shrines; they have forbidden the celebration of the holy feast of Pentecost; besides this they have sent the minions of their disorderly despotism into bishops' private houses, uttering shocking threats, and forcing them to affix their signatures to illegal acts. We therefore considering all their preposterous conduct, have deposed the aforenamed Cyril and Memnon, and deprived them of their episcopate. Their associates in irregularity, whether influenced by sycophancy or by fear, we have excommunicated, until, coming to a knowledge of their own wounds, they shall heartily repent, shall anathematize the heretical Chapters of Cyril, which are tainted with the heresy of Apollinarius, Arius, and Eunomius, shall recover the faith of the Fathers in Council at Nicaea, and, in obedience to the pious commands of our Christian sovereigns, shall, peacefully and without any tumult, assemble in synod, be willing to examine with care the questions submitted to them, and honestly protect the purity of the faith of the Gospel.
CLIV. Report of the Same to the Senate of Constantinople.650
CLV. Letter of John, Bishop of Antioch and His Supporters, to the Clergy of Constantinople.651
CLVI. Letter of the Same to the People of Constantinople.652
CLVII. Report of the Council of (the Bishops Of) the East to the Victorious Emperor, Announcing a Second Time the Deposition of Cyril and of Memnon.653
Your piety, which shines forth for the good of the empire and of the churches of God, has commanded us to assemble at Ephesus, in order to bring about peace and gain for the Church, rather than to confuse and disturb it. And the commands of your majesty plainly and distinctly indicate your pious and peaceful intentions for the churches of Christ. But Cyril of Alexandria, a man, it would seem, born and bred for the bane of the churches, after taking into partnership the audacity of Memnon of Ephesus, has first of all transgressed against your quieting and pious decree, and has so shewed his general depravity. Your majesty had ordered an investigation and careful testing to be made concerning the faith, and that with the consent and concord of all. Cyril, challenged, or rather himself convicting himself, on the count of the Apollinarian doctrines, by means of the letter which he lately sent to the imperial city, with anathematisms, whereby he is convicted of sharing the views of the impious and heretic Apollinarius, pays no heed to this condition of things, and, as though we were living with no emperor to govern us, is proceeding to every kind of lawlessness. He ought himself to be called to account for his unsound opinion about our Lord Jesus Christ; but, usurping an authority given him neither by the canons, nor by your edicts, he is hurrying headlong into every kind of disorder and illegality.
Moved by these things the holy Synod, which has refused to accept his devices for the damage of the faith, for the aforesaid reasons deposes him. It deposes Memnon also, who has been his counsellor and abettor through all, who has kept up constant agitation against the very holy bishops for refusing to assent to his pernicious heterodoxy; who has shut the churches and every place of prayer, as if we were living among the heathen and the enemies of God; who has brought in the Ephesian mob, so that every day we are in supreme danger, while we look not to defence, but heed the right doctrines of true religion. For the destruction of these men is identical with the establishment of orthodoxy.
From his own Chapters your majesty can have no difficulty in perceiving his impious mind. He is convicted of trying, so to say, to raise from Hades the impious Apollinarius, who died in his heresy, and of attacking the churches and the orthodox faith. He is shewn in his publications to anathematize at once evangelists and apostles and them that succeeded them as forefathers of the Church, who, moved not by their own imaginations, but by the holy Spirit, have preached the true faith, and proclaimed the gospel; a faith and gospel indeed opposed to what this man holds and teaches and by inculcating which he wishes to give his own private iniquity the mastery of the world. Since this is intolerable to us we have followed the proper course, relying at once on the divine grace and on your majesty's good will.
We know that you give to nothing higher honour than to the sacred faith in which both you and your thrice blessed forefathers have been brought up. From them you have received the perpetual sceptre of empire, ever putting down the opponents of the apostolic doctrines. Such an opponent is the aforesaid Cyril, who, with the aid of Memnon, has captured Ephesus as he might some fortress, and justly shares with his ally the sentence of deposition. Justly: for, besides all that has been said, they have boldly tried every means of assault and every violence against us, who, to come together in council in ratification of your edict, have disregarded every claim of home and country and self.
We are now the prey of tyranny, unless your piety intervene and order us to assemble in some other place, near at hand, where we shall be able, from the scriptures, and from the writings of the Fathers, to refute beyond contradiction both Cyril and the victims of his ingenuity. We have mercifully expelled these men from communion with the suggested hope of salvation in case they should repent; although, as if on some campaign of uncivilized soldiery, they have up to this moment furnished him with the means of his illegality. Some were deposed long ago, and have been restored by Cyril. Some have been excommunicated by their own metropolitans, and admitted by him again into communion. Others have been impaled on various accusations, and have been promoted by him to honour. All through, the main motive of his action has been the endeavour to achieve his heretical purpose by the force of numbers, for he does not reckon as he ought that in what relates to true religion, it is not numbers that are required, but rather correctness of doctrine and the truth of the doctrine of the apostles. Men are needed who are competent to establish these points not by audacity and masterful self-assertion but by pious use of apostolic testimony and example.
For all these reasons we beseech and implore your majesty to bear prompt aid to assaulted truth, and to remedy without delay these men's masterful readiness; for, like a hurricane, it is sweeping the less moderate among us into pernicious heresy. Your piety has had care for the churches in Persia and among the barbarians; it is only right that you should not neglect those which are tossed by the storm within the boundaries of the Roman empire.
CLVIII. Report of (the Bishops Of) the East to the Very Pious Emperor, Which Delivered with the Preceding. Report to the Right Honourable Count Irenaeus.
On receiving the letter of your piety we entertained hopes that the Egyptian storm which has lately struck the churches of God would be driven away. But we have been disappointed. Those men have been made even yet more daring by their madness; they have given no heed to the sentence of deposition justly and in due forth passed upon them, nor have become any more moderate in consequence of the rebuke of your majesty. They have trampled down alike the laws of your piety, and the canons of the holy Fathers, and, some of them being deposed and some excommunicated, keep festivals, and celebrate communion, in Houses of Prayer. And we, as we have already informed your Christ-loving majesty, on the receipt of your clemency's kindly letter, though our only desire was to pray in the church of the Apostles, have not only been prevented, but actually stoned, and chased for a considerable distance, so that we were compelled to effect our safety by flight at full speed. Our opponents on the contrary think that they may act just as they please. They have declined to make investigation of the questions at issue, and to undertake the defence of Cyril's heretical Chapters, rejecting the plain proofs of the impiety which they contain. They are impudent from mere impudence, while the examination of the questions before us requires not impudence, but calmness, knowledge, and skill in matters of doctrine.
Under these circumstances we have been under the necessity of sending forward the most honourable Count Irenaeus, to approach your piety, and to explain the position of affairs. He has accurate information concerning all that has occurred, and has learned from us many modes of cure, whereby it may be possible to bring about the restoration of tranquillity to the holy churches of God. We beseech your clemency to grant him patient audience, and to give orders for the prompt carrying out of whatever measures may seem good to your piety, that we be not here crushed beyond all endurance.
CLIX. Letter of the Same to the Praefect and to the Master.654
CLX. Letter of the Same to the Governor and Scholasticus.655
CLXI. Report Presented to the Emperor by John, Archbishop of Antioch and His Supporters Through Palladius Magistrianus.656
CLXII. Letter of Theodoretus to Andreas, Bishop of Samosata, Written from Ephesus.657
Writing from Ephesus I salute your holiness, I congratulate you on your infirmity, and deem you dear to God, in that you have known what evil deeds have been going on here by report, and not by personal experience. Evil indeed! They transcend all imagination and all incidents of history; they compel a continual downpour of tears. The body of the Church is in peril of dismemberment;-nay, rather I may say it has received the first incision;-unless the wise Healer restore and re-connect the unsoundand severed limbs. Once again the Egyptian is raging against God, and warring with Moses and Aaron His servants, and the more part of Israel are on the side of the foe; for all too few are the sound who willingly suffer for true religion's sake. Ancient principles are trodden under foot. Deposed men perform priestly functions, and they who have deposed them sit sighing at home. Men excommunicated by the same sentence as the deposed have relieved the deposed of their deposition of their own free will. Such is the mockery of a synod held by Egyptians, by Palestinians, by men from the Pontic and Asian dioceses, and by the West in their company.658
What players in a pantomime, in the days of paganism, even in any farce so held up religion to ridicule? Indeed what farce-writer ever performed such a play? What dramatist ever wrote so sad a tragedy? Such and so great are the troubles that have beset God's Church, whereof I have narrated but a very small part.
CLXIII. First Letter of the Commissioners of the East, Sent to Chalcedon, Among Whom Was Theodoretus.659
On our arrival at Chalcedon, for neither we ourselves nor our opponents were permitted to enter Constantinople, on account of the seditions of the excellent monks, we heard that eight days before we had appeared (behold the glory of the most pious prince) the lord Nestorius was dismissed from Ephesus, free to go where he would; whereat we are much distressed, since verily deeds done illegally and informally now seem to have some force. Let your holiness however be assured that we shall eagerly join the battle for the Faith, and are willing to fight even unto death. To-day, the 11th of the month Gorpiaeum,660 we are expecting our very pious Emperor to cross over to the Rufinianum,661 and there to hear the trial.
We therefore beg your holiness to pray the Lord Christ to help us to be able to con firm the faith of the holy Fathers, and to pluck up by the roots these Chapters which have sprouted to the damage of the Church. We implore your holiness to think and act with us, and to abide in your ready devotion to the orthodox faith. When this letter was written the lord Himerius662 had not yet met us, being peradventure hindered on the road. But do not let this trouble you. Only let your piety strenuously support us, and we trust that gloom will disappear, and the truth shine forth.
CLXIV. Second Epistle of the Same to the Same, Expressing Premature Triumph in Victory.663
Through the prayers of your holiness our most pious prince has granted us an audience, anti by God's grace we have got the better of our opponents, as all our views have beenaccepted by the most Christ-loving emperor. The reports of others were read, and what seemed unfit to be received, and had no further importance, he rejected. They were full of Cyril, and petitioned that he might be summoned to give an account of himself. So far they have not prevailed, but have heard discourses on true religion, that is on the system of the Faith, and that the faith of the blessed Fathers was confirmed. We further refuted Acacius664 who had laid down in his Commentaries that the Godhead is possible. At this our pious emperor was so shocked at the enormity of the blasphemy that he flung off his mantle, and stepped back. We know that the whole assembly welcomed us as champions of true religion.
It has seemed good to our most pious emperor that anyone should explain his own views, and report them to his piety. We have replied that it is impossible for us to make any other exposition than that made by the blessed Fathers at Nicaea, and so it has pleased his majesty. We therefore offered the form subscribed by your holiness. Moreover, the whole population of Constantinople is continually coming out to us to implore us to fight manfully for the Faith. We do our best to restrain them, to avoid giving offence to our opponents. We have sent a copy of the expositing, that two copies may be made, and you may subscribe them both.
CLXV. Letter of the Same to the Same.665
To the very pious bishops now in Ephesus: Johannes, Himerius, Paulus, Apringius, Theodoretus, greeting. For the fifth time an audience has been granted us. We entered largely into the question of the heretical Chapters, and swore again and again to the very pious emperor that it was, impossible for us to hold communion with our opponents unless they rejected the Chapters. We pointed out moreover that even if Cyril did abjure his Chapters he could not be received by us, because he had become the heresiarch of so impious a heresy. Nevertheless we gained no ground, because our adversaries were urgent, and their hearers could neither restrain them in their insolent endeavour, nor compel them to come to enquiry and argument. They thus evade the investigation of the Chapters, and allow no discussion concerning them. We, however, as you entreat, are ready to insist to the death. We refuse to receive Cyril and his Chapters; we will not admit these men to Communion till the improper additions to the Faith be rejected. We therefore implore your holiness to continue to show at once our mind and our efforts. The battle is for true religion; for the only hope we have,-on account of which we look forward to enjoying, in the world to come, the loving-kindness of our Saviour. As to the very pious and holy bishop Nestorius, be it known to your piety that we have tried to introduce a word about him, but have hitherto failed, because all are ill-affected toward him. We will notwithstanding do our best, though this is so, to take advantage of any opportunity that may offer, and of the goodwill of the audience, to carry out this purpose, God helping us. But that your holiness may not be ignorant of this too, know that we, seeing that the partisans of Cyril have deceived everyone by domineering, cheating, flattering, and bribing, have more than once besought the very pious emperor and most noble princes both to send us back to the East, and let your holiness go home. For we are beginning to learn that we are wasting time in vain, without nearing our end, because Cyril everywhere shirks discussion, in his conviction that the blasphemies published in his Twelve Chapters can be openly refuted. The very pious emperor has determined, after many exhortations, that we all go every one to his own home, and that, further, both the Egyptian and Memnon of Ephesus are to remain in their own places. So the Egyptian will be able to go on blindfolding by bribery. The one, after crimes too many to tell, is to return to his diocese. The other, an innocent man, is barely permitted to go home. We and all here salute you and all the brotherhood with you.
CLXVI. First Petition of the Commissioners, Addressed from Chalcedon, to the Emperor.
It had been much to be desired that the word of true religion should not be adulterated by ridiculous explanations, and least of all by men who have obtained the priesthood and high office in the churches, and who have been induced, we know not how, by ambition, by lust of authority, and by certain poor promises, to despise all the commandments of Christ. Their only motive has been the desire to pay court to a man who has the presumption to hope that he and his abettors will be able to manage the whole business with success; I mean Cyril of Alexandria. Of his own frivolity he has intruded into the holy churches of God heretical doctrines which he believes himself able to support by argument. He expects to escape the chastisement of sinners by the sole help of Memnon and the bishops of the aforesaid conspiracy.
We are lovers of silence; in general we advise a philosophic course of action. Now, however, sensible that to be silent and to cultivate philosophy would be to throw away the Faith, we turn in supplication to you who, next to the Goodness on high, are the sole preserver of the world. We know that it specially belongs to you to be anxious for true religion, as having, up to this present day, continually protected it, and being in turn protected by it.
We beg you therefore to receive this treatise, as though our defence were to be pleaded in the presence of the most holy God; not because we are less active in the sacred cause, but because we are devoted to true religion, and are speaking in its behalf. For in Christian times the clergy have no more bounden duty than to bear testimony before so faithful a prince, however ready we might have been to yield our bodies and to lay down our lives a thousand times in the battle for the faith. We therefore beseech you by God who seeth all things, by our Lord Jesus Christ who will judge all men in righteousness, by the Holy Ghost by whose grace you hold your empire, and by the elect angels who are your guardians and whom one day you shall see standing by the awful throne, and ceaselessly offering unto God that dread doxology which it is now sought to corrupt; we beseech your piety, besieged as you now are by the craftiness of certain men who are forbidding access to you, and are supporting the introduction into the faith of heretical Chapters, utterly at variance with sound doctrine, and tainted with heresy, to order all who subscribe them, or assent to them, and wish, after your promised pardon, to dispute further, to come forth and submit to the discipline of the Church. Nothing, sir, is more worthy of an emperor than to fight for the truth, for which you hurried to join battle with Persians and other barbarians, when Christ granted you to win fair victories in acknowledgment of your zeal towards Him. We beseech you that the questions at issue may be put before your piety in writing, for thus their purport will be more easily perceived, and the transgressors will be convicted for all future time. If however anyone, heedless of the utterances for which he shall be at fault, shall wish by his teaching to prevail over the right faith, it will be the part of your justice and judgment to consider whether the very name of teachers has not been thrown away by men who are reluctant to run any risks concerning the doctrines which they introduce, refusing to be obedient to your orders, that they may escape conviction for having done wrong; nor reckoning them worth refutation, that their mutual conspiracy be not proved fruitless. For now it is clear, from those that have been ordained by them that some of them, in return for this impiety, have bethought them of obliging certain persons by the concession of dignities and have devised certain other means. This will become still more clear; and your piety will soon see that they will distribute the rewards of their treachery, as though they were the spoils of the faith of Christ.
But we, of whom some were long ago ordained by the very pious Juvenal, bishop of Jerusalem, have kept silence, although it was our duty to contend for the canon, that we might not seem to be troubled for our own reputation's sake. We are now perfectly well aware of his active trickery through Phoenicia Secunda and Arabia. We really have not time to attend to such things. We are men who have preferred rather to be deprived of the very places of which the ministry has been entrusted to us, and so of our life, than of our ready zeal for the faith. To the attempts of those men we will oppose the sentence of God and of your piety.
Now also we beg that true religion may be your one and primary care, and that the brightness of orthodoxy, which at length with difficulty blazed forth in the days of Constantine of holy name, was maintained by your blessed grandfather and father, and was extended by your majesty among the Persians and other barbarians, be not allowed to grow dim in the very innermost courts of your imperial palace, or, in your serenity's days, to be dispersed.
You will not send, sir, a divided Christianity into Persia; nor here at home will there be anything great, while we are distressed by disputes, and while there is no one existing on their side to settle them; no one will take part in a divided Word and Sacraments; no one without loss of faith will cut himself off from such famous fathers and saints who have never been condemned. No imperial successes will be permitted to a people at variance among themselves; a burst of derision will be roused from the enemies of true religion; and all the other noxious consequences of their malignant controversy are too numerous to reckon.
If there is anyone who thinks little of the science of theology, let that one be any one in the world rather than he to whom the Lord has given the supreme government of the world. Our petition is that your piety will give judgment, for God will guide your intelligence into exact comprehension. Finally, should this be impracticable (and all the engagements of your piety we cannot know) we beseech your serenity to give us leave to travel safely home. We are aware that to the dioceses entrusted to us cause of offence is given by so protracted a delay, on account of those men who even in sacred matters look out for opportunities of dissension whence no advantage can be derived.
CLXVII. Second Petition of the Same, Sent from Chalcedon to Theodosius Augustus.
Your piety has been informed on several occasions, both by ourselves in person and by our emissaries, that the doctrine of the true faith seems to stand in danger of being corrupted, and that the body of the Church is apparently being rent asunder by men who are turning everything upside down, trampling upon all church order, and all imperial law, and throwing everything into confusion that they may confirm the heresy propounded by Cyril of Alexandria. For when we were first summoned by your piety to Ephesus, to enquire into the question which had arisen and to confirm the evangelic and apostolic faith laid down by the holy Fathers, before the arrival of all the bishops who had been convened, the holders of their own private Council confirmed in writing the heretical Chapters, which are at one with the impiety of Arius, Eunomius and Apollinarius. Some they deceived; some they terrified; others already charged with heresy, they received into communion; and others who had not communicated with them were bribed into so doing; others again were fired with the hope of dignities for which they were unfit; so these men gathered round them a great crowd of adherents, as though they had no idea that true religion is shewn not by numbers, but by truth.
The dispatch of your piety was read a second time by the most honourable Count Candidianus, ordering that the questions recently raised be examined in a quiet and brotherly manner. When however all the pious bishops were assembling, the reading had no effect.
Then came the noble Palladius Magistrianus, bringing another dispatch froth your majesty, to the effect that all enactments passed privately and apart must be rescinded that the Council must be assembled afresh and the true doctrine ratified; but, as usual this your pious mandate was treated with contempt by these unscrupulous persons.
Then again arrived the right honourable Master John, at that time "Comes Largitionum," bringing another pious letter to the effect that the depositions of the three had been decreed, that the offences which had sprung up were to be removed, and the faith laid down at Nicaea by the holy and blessed Fathers was to be ratified by all. As usual these universal mockers transgressed this law too.
For after hearing the letter they did not change their mode of action; they held communion with the deposed; spoke of them as bishops, and refused to allow the Chapters, which had been propounded to the loss and corruption of the pious faith to be rejected; notwithstanding their having been frequently summoned by us to discussion. For we had ready to hand a plain refutation of the heretical Chapters.
In evidence of these statements we have the right honourable Master, who when both sides had been summoned a third and a fourth time, not venturing to make this conduct an excuse on account of their disobedience, thought it worth while to summon us hither.
We came at once; on our arrival we allowed ourselves no rest making our petition, both before your piety and before the illustrious assembly, that they would take up the quarrel for the Chapters and enter into discussion concerning them, or on the other hand reject them as contrary to the right faith, abiding by the faith as laid clown by the blessed fathers in council at Nicaea.
They refused to do anything of the kind; they persisted in their heretical procedure; yet they were allowed to attend the churches, and to perform their priestly functions. We, however, alike at Ephesus and here, have been for a long time deprived of communion; alike there and here we have undergone innumerable perils; and while we were being stoned and all but slain by slaves dressed up as monks, we took it all for the best, as willingly enduring such treatment in the cause of the truth.
Afterwards it seemed good to your majesty that we and the opposite party should assemble once again, that the recalcitrant might be compelled to examine the doctrines. While we were waiting for this to come to pass your piety set out for the city, and ordered the very men who were being accused of heresy and had been therefore some of them deposed by us, and others excommunicated and thereafter to be subjected to the discipline of the Church, to come to the city and perform priestly functions, and ordain.666 We however who in the cause of true religion have undertaken a struggle so tremendous; we who have shrunk from no peril in our battle for right doctrine, have neither been bidden to enter the city to serve the cause of the imperilled Faith and strive for orthodoxy; nor have we been permitted to return home;667 but here we are in Chalcedon distressed and groaning for the Church oppressed by schism.
Wherefore since we are in receipt of no reply we have thought it necessary to inform your piety by this present letter, before God and Christ and the Holy Ghost, that if any one shall have been ordained (before the settlement of right doctrines) by these men of heretical opinions, he must necessarily be cut off from the whole church, as well from the clergy as the dissentient laity. For none of the pious will endure that communion be granted to heretics, and their own salvation be nullified.
And when this shall have come to pass, then your piety shall be compelled to act against your will. For the schism will grow beyond all expectation, and thereby the champions of true religion will be saddened, unable to endure the loss of their own souls, and the establishment of those impious doctrines of Cyril which the contentious are desirous of defending.
Many indeed of the supporters of true religion will never allow the acceptance of Cyril's doctrines; we shall never allow it, who all are of the diocese of the East of your province, of the diocese of Pontus, of Asia, of Thrace, of Illyricum and of the Italies, and who also sent to your piety the treatise of the most blessed Ambrose, written against this nascent superstition.
To avoid all this, and the further troubling of your piety, we beg, beseech, and implore you to issue an edict that no ordination take place before the settlement of the orthodox faith, on account of which we have been convened by your Christ-loving highness.
CLXVIII. Third Demand of the Same, Addressed from Chalcedon to the Sovereigns.
We never expected the summons of your piety to meet with this result. We were honourably convoked, as priests by prince; we were convoked to ratify the faith of the holy Fathers; and therefore, in due obedience to a pious prince, we came. On our arrival we were no less faithful to the Church, not less respectful to your edict. From the day of our arrival at Ephesus till the present moment we have without intermission followed your behests.
As it seems, however, our moderation, in these times, has not been of the slightest use to us; nay, rather, so far as we can see, it has stood very much in our way. We indeed who have thus behaved have been up to the present time detained in Chalcedon; and now we are told that we may go home. They however who have thrown everything into confusion, who have filled the world with tumult, who are striving to rend churches in twain, and who are the open assailants of true religion, perform priestly functions, crowd the churches, and as they imagine have authority to ordain, though in truth it is illegally claimed by them, stir up seditions in the church, and what ought to be spent upon the poor they throw away upon their bullies.
But you are not only their emperor; you are ours too. For no small portion of your empire is the East, wherein the right faith has ever shone, and, besides, the other provinces and dioceses from which we have been convened.
Let not your majesty despise the faith which is being corrupted, in which you and your forefathers have been baptized; on which the Church's foundations are laid; for which most holy martyrs have rejoiced to suffer countless kinds of death; by aid of which you have vanquished barbarians and destroyed tyrants; which you are needing now in your war for the subjugation of Africa. For on your side will fight the God of all if you struggle on behalf of His holy doctrines and forbid the dismemberment of the body of the church: for dismembered it will be if the opinion prevail which Cyril has introduced into the Church and other heretics have confirmed.
To these truths we have often already borne testimony before God both in Ephesus and in this place. I have furnished information to your holiness, giving an account as before the God of all. For this is required of us, as is taught in the divine Scripture both by prophets and apostles; as says the blessed Paul "I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth the dead, and of Lord Jesus Christ, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession;"668 and as God charged Ezekiel to announce to the people, adding threats and saying, "when thou givest him not warning, ...his blood will I require at thine hand."669
In awe of this sentence, once again we inform your majesty that they who have been permitted to hold churches, and who teach the doctrines of Apollinarius, Arius, and Eunomius, perform all sacred functions irregularly and in violation of the canons, and destroy the souls of all who approach them; if, indeed, any shall be found willing to listen to them. For by the grace of God whose Providence is over all, and who wishes all men to be saved, the more part of the people is sound, and warmly attached topious doctrines. It is on their account that we grieve.
And in our anguish and alarm lest the plague creeping on by little and little should attack more, and the evil become general, we thus instruct your serenity, and continue to give you exhortation; we implore your majesty to yield to our prayers and to prohibit any addition to be made to the Faith of the holy Fathers assembled in council at Nicaea.
And if after this our entreaty your piety reject this doctrine, which was given in the presence of God, we will shake off the dust of our feet against you, and cry with the blessed Paul, "We are pure from your blood."670 For we cease not night and day from the moment of our arrival at this distinguished council to bear witness to prince, nobles, soldiers, priests and people, that we hold fast the Faith delivered to us by the Fathers.
CLXIX. Letter Written by Theodoretus, Bishop of Cyrus, from Chalcedon to Alexander of Hierapolis.671
We have left no means untried, of courtesy, of sternness, of entreaty, of eloquence before the most pious emperor, and the illustrious assembly, testifying before God who sees all things and our Lord Jesus Christ who shall judge the world in justice,672 and the Holy Spirit and his elect angels, lest the Faith be despised which is now being corrupted by the maintainers and bold subscribers of heretical doctrines: and that charge be given for it to be laid down in the same terms as at Nicaea and for the rejection of the heresy introduced to the loss and ruin of true religion. Up to this time however we have produced not the slightest effect, our hearers being carried now in one direction and now in another.
Nevertheless all these difficulties have not been able to deter me from urging my point, but by God's grace I have pressed on. I have even stated to our pious emperor with an oath that it is perfectly impossible for Cyril and Memnon to be reconciled with me, find that we can never communicate with any one who has not previously repudiated the heretical Chapters. This then is our mind. The object of men who "seek their own not the things which are Jesus Christ's"673 is to be reconciled with them against our will. But this is no business of mine, for God weighs our motives and tries our character, nor does He inflict chastisement for what is done against our will. Be it known to your holiness that if ever I said a word about our friend674 either before the very pious emperor or the illustrious assembly, I was at once branded as a rebel. So intensely is he hated by the court party. This is most annoying. The most pious emperor, especially, cannot bear to hear his name mentioned and says publicly "Let no one speak to me of this man." On one occasion he gave an instance of this to me. Nevertheless as long as I am here I shall not cease to serve the interests of this our father, knowing that the impious have done him wrong.
My desire is that both your piety and I myself get quit of this. No good is to be hoped from it, in as much as all the judges trust in gold, and contend that the nature of the Godhead and manhood is one.
All the people however by God's grace are in good case, and constantly come out to us. I have begun to discourse to them and have celebrated very large communions.
On the fourth occasion I spoke at length about the faith and they listened with such delight that they did not go away till the seventh hour but held out even till the midday heat. An enormous crowd was gathered in a great court, with four verandahs, and I preached from above from a platform near the roof.
All the clergy with the excellent monks are on the contrary utterly opposed to me, so that when we came back from the Rufinianum, after the visit of the very pious emperor, stone throwing began and many of my companions were wounded, by the people and false monks.
The very pious emperor knew that the mob was gathered against me and coining up to me alone he said, "I know that you are assembling improperly." Then, said I, "As you have allowed me to speak hear me with favour. Is it fair for excommunicated heretics to be doing duty in churches, while I. who am fighting for the Faith and am therefore excluded by others from communion, am not allowed to enter a church?" He replied "What am I to do?" I said, "What your comes largitionum did at Ephesus. When he found that some were assembling, but that we were not assembling, he stopped them saying, `If you are not peaceful I will allow neither party to assemble.' It would have become your piety also to have given directions to the bishop here to forbid both the opposite party and ourselves to assemble before our meeting together to make known your righteous sentence to all." To this he replied "It is not for me to order the bishop;" and I answered "Neither shall you command us, and we will take a church, and assemble. Your piety will find that there are many more on our side than on theirs." In addition to this I pointed out that we had neither reading of the holy Scripture, nor oblation; but only "prayer for the Faith and for your majesty, and pious conversation." So he approved, and made no further prohibition. The result is that increased crowds flock to us, and gladly listen to our teaching. I therefore beg your piety to pray that our case may have an issue pleasing to God. I am in daily danger, suspecting the wiles of both monks and clergy, as I witness alike their influence and their negligence.
CLXX. Letter of Certain Easterns, Who Had Been Sent to Constantinople, to Bishop Rufus.
To our most godly and holy fellow-minister Rufus, Joannes, Himerius, Theodoretus, and the rest, send greeting in the Lord.675
True religion and the peace of the Church suffer, we think, in no small degree, from the absence of your holiness. Had you beenon the spot you might have put a stop to the disturbances which have arisen, and the violence that has been ventured on, and might have fought on our side for the subjection of the heresies introduced into the orthodox Faith, and that doctrine of apostles and evangelists which, handed down from time to time from father to son, has at length been transmitted to ourselves.
And we do not assert this without ground, for we have learnt the mind of your holiness from the letter written to the very godly and holy Julianus, bishop of Sardica, for that letter as is right charged the above named very godly bishop to fight for the Faith laid down by the blessed fathers assembled in council at Nicaea, and not to allow any corruption to be introduced into those invincible definitions which are sufficient at once to exhibit the truth and to refute falsehood. So your holiness rightly, justly, and piously advised, and the recipient of the letter followed your counsel. But many of the members of the council, to use the word of the prophet, "have gone aside," and have "altogether become filthy,"676 for they have abandoned the Faith which they received from the holy Fathers, and have subscribed the twelve Chapters of Cyril of Alexandria, which teem with Apollinarian error, are in agreement with the impiety of Arius and Eunomius, and anathematize all who do not accept their unconcealed unorthodoxy. To this plague smiting the Church vigorous resistance has been offered by us who have assembled from the East, and others from different dioceses, with the object of securing the ratification of the Faith delivered by the blessed Fathers at Nicaea. For in it, as your holiness knows, there is nothing lacking whether for the teaching of evangelic doctrines, or for the refutation of every heresy.
For the sake of this Faith we continue to struggle, despising alike all the joys and sorrows of mortal life, if only we may preserve untouched this heritage of our fathers. For this reason we have deposed Cyril and Memnon; the former as prime mover in the heresy, and the latter as his aider and abettor in all that has been done to ratify and uphold the Chapters published to the destruction of the Church. We have also excommunicated all that have dared to subscribe and support these impious doctrines till they shall have anathematized them, and returned to the Faith of the Fathers at Nicaea.
But our long-suffering has done them no good. To this day they continue to do battle for those pernicious doctrines and have impaled themselves on the law of the canon which distinctly enacts "If any bishop deposed by a synod, or presbyter or deacon deposed by his own bishop, shall perform his sacred office, without waiting for the judgment of a synod, he is to have no opportunity for defending himself, not even in another synod: but also all who communicate with him are to be expelled from the church." Now this law has been broken both by the deposed and the excommunicate. For immediately after the deposition and the excommunication becoming known to them, they performed sacred functions, and they continue to do so, in plain disbelief of Him who said "Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven."677
With this we have thought well to acquaint your holiness at once, but in expectation of some favourable change, we have waited up to the present time. But we have been disappointed. They have continued to fight for this impious heresy, and pay no attention to the counsels of the very pious emperor. On five separate occasions he has met us, and ordered them either to reject the Chapters of Cyril as contrary to the Faith, or to be willing to do battle in their behalf, and to shew in what way they are in agreement with the confession of the Fathers. We have our proofs at hand, whereby we should have shewn that they are totally opposed to the teaching of orthodoxy, and for the most part in agreement with heresy.
For in these very Chapters the author of the noxious productions teaches that the Godhead of the only begotten Son suffered, instead of the manhood which He assumed for the sake of our salvation, the indwelling Godhead manifestly appropriating the sufferings as of Its own body, though suffering nothing in Its own nature; and further that there is made one nature of both Godhead and manhood,-for so he explains "The Word was made flesh,"678 as though the Godhead bad undergone some change, and been turned into flesh.
And, further, he anathematizes those who make a distinction between the terms used by apostles and evangelists about the Lord Christ, referring those of humiliation to the manhood, and those of divine glory to the Godhead, of the Lord Christ. It is with these views that Arians and Eunomians, attributing the terms of humiliation to the Godhead, have not shrunk from declaring God the Word to be made and created, of another substance, and unlike the Father.
What blasphemy follows on these statements it is not difficult to perceive. There is introduced a confusion of the natures, and to God the Word are applied the words "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me;"679 and "Father, if it be possible let this cup pass from me,"680 the hunger, the thirst, and the strengthening by an angel; His saying "Now is my soul troubled,"681 and "my soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death,"682 and all similar passages belonging to the manhood of the Christ. Any one may perceive how these statements correspond with the impiety of Arius and Eunomius; for they, finding themselves unable to establish the difference of substance, connect, as has been said, the sufferings, and the terms of humiliation, with the Godhead of the Christ.
And be your reverence well assured that now in their churches the Arian teachers preach no other doctrine than that the supporters of the "homousion" at present hold the same views as Arius, and that, after long time, the truth has now at last been brought to light.
We on the contrary abide in the teaching, and follow in the pious footprints, of the blessed Fathers assembled at Nicaea, and of their illustrious successors, Eustathius of Antioch, Basil of Caesarea, Gregory, John, Athanasius, Theophilus, Damasus of Rome, and Ambrose of Milan. For all these, following the words of the apostles, have left us an exact rule of orthodoxy, which all we of the East earnestly desire to preserve unmoved. The same is the wish of the Bithynians, the Paphlagonians, of Cappadocia Secunda, Pisidia, Mysia, Thessaly, and Rhodope, and very many more of the different provinces. The Italians too, it is evident, will not endure this new-fangled doctrine; for the very godly and holy Martinus,683 bishop of Milan, has written a letter to us, and has sent to the very pious emperor a work by the blessed Ambrose on the incarnation of the Lord, of which the teaching is opposed to these heretical Chapters.
And be it known to your holiness that Cyril and Memnon have not been satisfied with corrupting the orthodox Faith, but have trampled all the canons underfoot. For they have received into communion men excommunicated in various provinces and dioceses. Others lying under charges of heresy, and of the same mind as Celestius and Pelagius, (for they are Euchitae, or Enthusiasts684 ) and therefore excommunicated by their diocesans and metropolitans, they have, in defiance of all ecclesiastical discipline received into communion, so swelling their following from all possible quarters, and shewing their eagerness to enforce their teaching less by piety than by violence. For when they had been stripped bare of piety they devised, in their extremity, another sort of force,-walls of flesh, with the idea that by their showers of bribery they might vanquish the faith of the Fathers. But so long as your holiness puts forth your strength, and you continue to fight, as you are wont, in defence of true religion, none of these devices will be of the least avail. We exhort you therefore, most holy sir, to beware of the communion of the unscrupulous introducers of this heresy; and to make known to all, both far and near, that these are the points for which the thrice blessed Damasus deposed the heretics Apollinarius, Vitalius, and Timotheus; and that the Epistle in which the writer has concealed his heresy and coloured it with a coating of truth, must not in simplicity be received. For in the Chapters he has boldly laid bare his impiety, and dared to anathematize all who disagree with him, while in the letter he has vilely endeavoured to harm the simpler readers.
Your holiness must therefore beware of neglecting this matter, lest when, too late, you see this heresy confirmed, you grieve in vain, and suffer affliction at being no longer able to defend the cause of truth.
We have also sent you a copy of the memorial which we have given to the most pious and Christ-loving emperor, containing the faith of the holy Fathers at Nicaea. wherein we have rejected the newlyaeinvented heresies of Cyril, and adjudged them to be opposed to the orthodox faith.
Since in accordance with the orders of the very pious emperor only eight of us travelled to Constantinople, we have subjoined the copy of the order given us by the holy synod, that you may be acquainted with the provinces contained in it. Your holiness will learn them from the signatures of the metropolitans. We salute the brotherhood which is with you.
CLXXI. Letter of Theodoret to John, Bishop of Antioch, After the Reconciliation.685
God, who governs all things in wisdom, who provides for our unanimity, and cares for the salvation of His people, has caused us to be assembled together, and has shewn us that the views of all of us are in agreement with one another. We have assembled together, and read the Egyptian Letter;686 we have carefully examined its purport, and we have discovered that its contents are quite in accordance with our own statements, and entirely opposed to the Twelve Chapters, against which up to the present time we have continued to wage war, as being contrary to true religion. Their teaching was that God the Word was carnally made flesh; that there was an union of hypostasis, and that the combination in union was of nature, and that God the Word was the first-born flora the dead. They forbade all distinction in the terms used of our Lord, and further contained other doctrines at variance with the seeds sown by the apostles, and outcome of heretical tares. The present script, however, is beautified by apostolic nobility of origin. For in it our Lord Jesus Christ is exhibited as perfect God and perfect man; it shews two natures, and the distinction between them; an unconfounded union, made not by mixture and compounding, but in a manner ineffable and divine, and distinctly preserving the properties of the natures; the impassibility and immortality of God the Word; the possibility and temporary surrender to death of the temple, and its resurrection by the power of the united God; that the holy Spirit is not of the Son, nor derives existence from the Son, but proceeds from the Father, and is properly stated to be of the Son, as being of one substance.687 Beholding this orthodoxy in the letter, we have hymned Him who heals our stammering tongues, and changes our discordant noises into the harmony of sweet music.688
CLXXII. Letter of Theodoretus to Nestorius.689
To the very reverend and religions lord and very holy Father, Nestorius, the bishop Theodoretus sends greeting in the Lord. Your holiness is, I think, well aware that I take no pleasure in cultivated society, nor in the interests of this life, nor in reputation, nor am I attracted by other sees. Had I learn, this lesson from no other source, the very solitude of the city690 over which I am called to preside would suffice to teach me this philosophy. It is not indeed distinguished only for solitude, but also by very many disturbances which may check the activity even of those who most delight in them.
Let no one therefore persuade your holiness that I have accepted the Egyptian writings as orthodox, with my eyes shut, because I covet any see. For really, to speak the truth, after frequently reading and carefully examining them, I have discovered that they are free from all heretical taint, and I have hesitated to put any stress upon them, though I certainly have no love for their author, who was the originator of the disturbances which have agitated the world. For this I hope to escape punishment in the day of Judgment, since the just Judge examines motives. But to what has been done unjustly and illegally against your holiness, not even if one were to cut off both my hands would I ever assent, God's grace helping me and supporting my infirmity. This I have stated in writing to those who require it. I have sent to your holiness my reply to what you wrote to me, that you may know that, by God's grace, no time has changed me like the centipedes and chameleons who imitate by their colour the stones and leaves among which they live. I and all with me salute all the Brotherhood who are with you in the Lord.
CLXXIII. Letter to Andreas, Monk of Constantinople.691
"God is faithful who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape that ye may be able to bear it,"692 and convicts falsehood,-although now refuted assertion of the falsehood is approved,-and the power of truth has been shewn. For, lo, they, who by their impious reasoning had confused the natures of our Saviour Christ, and dared to preach one nature, and therefore insulted the most holy and venerable Nestorius, high priest of God, their mouths held, as the prophet says, with bit and bridle693 and turned from wrong to right, have once again learnt the truth, adopting the statement of him who in the cause of truth has borne the brunt of the battle. For instead of one nature they now confess two, anathematizing all who preach mixture and confusion. They adore the impossible Godhead of Christ; they attribute passion to the flesh; they distinguish between the terms of the Gospels, ascribing the lofty and divineto the Godhead, and the lowly to the manhood. Such are the writings now brought from Egypt.
CLXXIV. To Himerius, Bishop of Nicomedia.694
We wish to acquaint your holiness that on reading and frequently discussing the letter brought from Egypt we find it in harmony with the doctrine of the Church. Of the twelve Chapters we have proved the contrary, and up to the present time we continue to oppose them. We have therefore determined, if your holiness has recovered the churches divinely entrusted to you, that you ought to communicate with the Egyptians and Constantinopolitans and others who have fought with them against us, because they have professed to hold our faith, or I should rather say the faith of the apostles; but not to give your consent to the alleged condemnation of the very holy and venerable Nestorius. For we hold it impious and unjust in the case of charges in which both appeared as defendants to lavish favour on the one and shut the door of repentance on the other. Far more unjust and impious is it to condemn an innocent man to death. Your holiness should be assured that you ought not to communicate with them before you have recovered your churches. For this not only I but all the holy bishops of our district decreed in the recent Council.
CLXXV. To Alexander of Hierapolis.695
I have already informed your holiness that if the doctrine of the very holy and venerable bishop, my lord Nestorius, is condemned, I will not communicate with those who do so. If it shall please your holiness to insert this in the letter which is being sent to Antioch so be it. Let there then, I beseech you, be no delay!
CLXXVI. Letter to the Same Alexander After He Had Learnt that John, Bishop of Antioch, Had Anathematized the Doctrine of Nestorius.696
Be it known to your holiness that when read the letter addressed to the emperor I was much distressed, because I know perfectly well that the writer of the letter, being of the same opinions, has unwisely and impiously condemned one who has never held or taught anything contrary to sound doctrine. But the form of anathema, though it be more likely than his assent to the condemnation, to grieve a reader, nevertheless has given me some ground of comfort, in that it is laid down not in wide general terms, but with some qualification. For he has not said "We anathematize his doctrine" but "whatever he has either said or held other than is warranted by the doctrine of the apostles."
CLXXVII. Letter to Andreas, Bishop of Samosata.697
The illustrious Aristolaus has sent Magisterianus from Egypt with a letter of Cyril in which he anathematizes Arius, Eunomius Apollinarius and all who assert Christ's Godhead to be passible and maintain the confusion and commixture of the two natures. Hereat we rejoice, although he did withhold his consent from our statement. He requires further subscription to the condemnation which has been passed, and that the doctrine of the holy bishop Nestorius be anathematized. Your holiness well knows that if any one anathematizes, without distinction, the doctrine of that most holy and venerable bishop, it is just the same as though he seemed to anathematize true religion.
We must then if we are compelled anathematize those who call Christ mere man, or who divide our one Lord Jesus Christ into two sons and deny His divinity, etc.
CLXXVIII. Letter to Alexander of Hierapolis.698
I think that more than all the very holy and venerable bishop, my lord John, must have been gratified at my refusing either to give my consent to the condemnation of the very holy and venerable bishop Nestorius or to violate the pledges made at Tarsus, Chalcedon and Ephesus.699
He remembers also what was frequently received from us at Antioch after our departure.
Let no one therefore deceive your holiness into the belief that I should ever do this, for God is without doubt on my side and strengthening me.
CLXXIX. Letter of Cyril to John, Bishop of Antioch, Against Theodoret.700
CLXXX. Letter of Theodoretus, as Some Suppose, to Domnus, Bishop of Antioch, Written on the Death of Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria.701
At last and with difficulty the villain has gone. The good and the gentle pass away all too soon; the bad prolong their life for years.
The Giver of all good, methinks, removes the former before their time from the troubles of humanity; He frees them like victors from their contests and transports them to the better life, that life which, free from death, sorrow and care, is the prize of them that contend for virtue. They, on the other hand, who love and practise wickedness are allowed a little longer to enjoy this present life, either that sated with evil they may afterwards learn virtue's lessons, or else even in this life may pay the penalty for the wickedness of their own ways by being tossed to and fro through many years of this life's sad and wicked waves.
This wretch, however, has not been dismissed by the ruler of our souls like other men, that he may possess for longer time the things which seem to be full of joy. Knowing that the fellow's malice has been daily growing and doing harm to the body of the Church, the Lord has lopped him off like a plague and "taken away the reproach from Israel."702 His survivors are indeed delighted at his departure. The dead, maybe, are sorry. There is some ground of alarm lest they should be so much annoyed at his company as to send him back to us, or that he should run away from his conductors like the tyrant of Cyniscus in Lucian.703
Great care must then be taken, and it is especially your holiness's business to undertake this duty, to tell the guild of undertakers to lay a very big and heavy stone upon his grave, for fear he should come back again, and show his changeable mind once more. Let him take his new doctrines to the shades below, and preach to them all day and all night. We are not at all afraid of his dividing them by making public addresses against true religion and by investing an immortal nature with death. He will be stoned not only by ghosts learned in divine law, but also by Nimrod, Pharaoh and Sennacherib, or any other of God's enemies.
But I am wasting words. The poor fellow is silent whether he will or no, "his breathgoeth forth, he returneth to his earth, in that very day his thoughts perish."704 He is doomed too tosilence of another kind. His deeds, detected, tie his tongue, gag his mouth, curb his passion, strike him dumb and make him bow down to the ground.
I really am sorry for the poor fellow. Truly the news of his death has not caused me unmixed delight, but it is tempered by sadness. On seeing the Church freed from a plague of this kind I am glad and rejoice; but I am sorry and do mourn when I think that the wretch knew no rest from his crimes, but went on attempting greater and more grievous ones till he died. His idea was, so it is said, to throw the imperial city into confusion by attacking true doctrines a second time, and to charge your holiness with supporting them. But God saw and did not overlook it. "He put his hook into his nose and his bridle into his lips,"705 and turned him to the earth whence he was taken. Be it then granted to your holiness's prayers that he may obtain mercy and pity and that God's boundless clemency may surpass his wickedness. I beg your holiness to drive away the agitations of my soul. Many different reports are being bruited abroad to my alarm announcing general misfortunes. It is even said by some that your reverence is setting out against your will for the court, but so far I have despised these reports as untrue. But finding every one repeating one and the same story I have thought it right to try and learn the truth from your holiness that I may laugh at these tales if false, or sorrow not without reason if they are true.
CLXXXI. Letter to Abundius, Bishop of Como.706
To my dear lord and very holy brother Abundius Theodoretus sends greeting in the Lord. I have discovered that your piety religiously preserves the true and apostolic faith; and I have thanked Almighty God that the truth which was in peril has been renewed and brought to light by your holiness.
Of old, after the flood, it came to pass that Noah and his sons were left for seed of the human race. Just so in our own day are reserved the fathers of the West, that by them the holy churches of the East may be able to preserve that true religion which has been threatened with devastation and destruction by a new and impious heresy. Well may we quote those words of the prophet "Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant we should have been as Sodom and we should have been like unto Gomorrah."707 So upon us from this impious heresy the wrath of God has fallen like a flood and invasion.
Now we acknowledge the presence of our Saviour in a human body, and one Son of God, His perfect Godhead and His perfect manhood. We do not divide our one Lord Jesus Christ into two sons for He is one; but we recognise the distinction between God and man; we know that one is of the Father, the other of the seed of David and Abraham, according to the divine Scriptures, and that the divine nature is free from passion, the body which was before subject to passion being now itself too free from passion; for after the resurrection it is plainly delivered from all passion.
This we have learnt from the letter of the very holy and religious Archbishop our lord Leo. For we have read what he wrote to Flavianus, of holy and blessed memory, and have thanked the loving-kindness of the Lord because we have found an advocate and defender of the truth. To this letter I have given my adhesion, and have subjoined a copy of it to my present epistle, which I have also subscribed and have thereby proved that I obey the apostolic rules, that is true doctrines; that I abide in them to this day, and am suffering in their cause.
Assent has also been given by my lord Ibas and my lord Aquilinus against whom the inventors of the new heresy have armed the imperial power.
It remains for you with your very holy colleagues to bring aid to the sacred Church, and to drive away the war that threatens it. Banish the impious party which has been roused against the truth; give back the churches their ancient peace; so will you receive from the Lord, Who s promised to grant this boon, the fruits of your apostolic labours.
All the very religious and godly presbyters and reverend deacons and brethren by your holiness I greet; and I and all who are with me salute your reverence.708