It is Somewhat the Same Argument which You Use against the Pope Anastasius, Namely, That, Since You Hold the Letters of the Bishop Siricius, it was Impossible that He Should Write against You. I am Afraid You Suspect that Some Injury Has Been done You. I Cannot Understand How a Man of Your Acuteness and Capacity Can Condescend to Such Nonsense; You Suppose that Your Readers are Foolish, but You Shew that You are Foolish Yourself. Then after this Extraordinary Argumentation, You Subjoin this Little Sentence: "Far be Such Conduct from These Reverend Persons. It is from Your School that Such Actions Proceed. You Gave us all the Signs of Peace at Our Departure, and Then Threw Missiles Charged with Venom from Behind Our Backs. " in this Clause or Rather Declamatory Speech, You Intended, no Doubt, to Shew Your Rhetorical Skill. It is True we Gave You the Signs of Peace, but not to Embrace Heresy; we Joined Hands, we Accompanied You as You Set Forth on Your Journey, on the Understanding that You were Catholic not that we were Heretical. But I Want to Learn what These Poisoned Missiles are which You Complain that I Threw from Behind Your Back. I Sent the Presbyters, vincentius, Paulinianus, Eusebius, Rufinus. Of These, vincentius Went to Rome Long Before You; Paulinianus and Eusebius Set Out a Year after You had Sailed; Rufinus Two Years After, for the Cause of Claudius; all of them Either for Private Reasons, or Because Another was in Peril of his Life. Was it Possible for Me to Know that when You Entered Rome, a Nobleman had Dreamed that a Ship Full of Merchandise was Entering with Full Blown Sails? or that all Questions About Fate were Being Solved by a Solution which Should not Itself be Fatuous? or that You were Translating the Book of Eusebius as if it were Pamphilus'? or that You were Putting Your Own Cover Upon Origen's Poisoned Dish by Lending Your Majestic Eloquence to this Translation of his Notorious Work Peri 'Archon? this is a New Way of Calumniating a Man. We Sent Out the Accusers Before You had Committed the Crime. It was Not, I Repeat, it was not by Our Plan, but by the Providence of God, that These Men, who were Sent Out for Another Reason, came to Fight against the Rising Heresy. They were Sent, Like Joseph, to Relieve the Coming Famine by the Fervour of their Faith. CTo what Point Will not Audacity Burst Forth when once it is Freed from Restraints? He Has Imputed to Himself the Charge Made against Another So that we May be Thought to have Invented It. I Made a Charge against Some one Unnamed, and He Takes it as Spoken against Himself; He Purges Himself from Another Man's Sins, Being Only Sure of his Own Innocence. For He Takes his Oath that He did not Write the Letter that Passed under My Name to the African Bishops, in which I am Made to Confess that I had Been Induced by Jewish Influence to Make False Translations of the Scriptures; and He Sends Me Writings which Contain all These Things which He Declares to be Unknown to Him. It is Remarkable to Know How his Subtlety Has Coincided with Another Man's Malice, So that the Lies which this Other Told in Africa, He in Accord with Him Declared to be True; and Also How that Elegant Style of his could be Imitated by Some Chance and Unskilled Person. You Alone have the Privilege of Translating the Venom of the Heretics, and of Making all Nations Drink a Draught from the Cup of Babylon. You May Correct the Latin Scriptures from the Greek. And May Deliver to the Churches to Read Something Different from what they Received from the Apostles; but I am not to be Allowed to Go Behind the Septuagint Version which I Translated after Strict Correction for the Men of My Native Tongue a Great Many Years Ago, And, for the Confutation of the Jews, to Translate the Actual Copies of the Scriptures which they Confess to be the Truest, So that when a Dispute Arises Between them and the Christians, they May have no Place of Retreat and Subterfuge, but May be Smitten Most Effectually with their Own Spear. I have Written Pretty Fully on this Point if I Rightly Remember, in Many Other Places, Especially in the End of My Second Book; and I have Checked Your Popularity-Hunting, with which You Seek to Arouse Ill Will against Me among the Innocent and the Inexperienced, by a Clear Statement of Fact. To that I Think it Enough to Refer the Reader. CI Think it a Point which Should not be Passed Over, that You have no Right to Complain that the Falsifier of Your Papers Holds in My Esteem the Glorious Position of a Confessor, Since You who are Guilty of this Very Crime are Called a Martyr and an Apostle by all the Partisans of Origen, for that Exile and Imprisonment of Yours at Alexandria. On Your Alleged Inexperience in Latin Composition I have Answered You Above. But, Since You Repeat the Same Things, And, as if Forgetful of Your Former Defence, Again Remind Me that I Ought to Know that You have Been Occupied for Thirty Years in Devouring Greek Books, and Therefore do not Know Latin, I Would have You Observe that it is not a Few Words of Yours with which I Find Fault, Though Indeed all Your Writing is Worthy of Being Destroyed. What I Wished to do was to Shew Your Followers, whom You have Taken So Much Pains in Teaching to Know Nothing, to Understand what Amount of Modesty There is in a Man who Teaches what He Does not Know, who Writes what He is Ignorant Of, So that they May Expect to Find the Same Wisdom in his Opinions. As to what You Add "That it is not Faults of Words which are Offensive, but Sins, Such as Lying, Calumny, Disparagement, False Witness, and all Evil Speaking, and that the Mouth which Speaketh Lies Kills the Soul," and Your Deprecation, "Let not that Ill-Savour Reach My Nostrils;" I Would Believe what You Say, were it not that I Discover Facts Inconsistent with This. It is as if a Fuller or a Tanner in Speaking to a Dealer in Pigments Should Warn Him that He had Better Hold his Nose as He Passed their Shops. I Will do what You Recommend; I Will Stop My Nose, So that it May not be Put to the Torture by the Delightful Odour of Your Truth-Speaking and Your Benedictions. CIn Reference to Your Alternate Praise and Disparagement of Me, You Argue with Great Acuteness that You have the Same Right to Speak Good and Evil of Me that I have to Find Fault with Origen and Didymus whom I once Praised. I must Instruct You, Then, Wisest of Men and Chief of Roman Dialecticians, that There is no Fault of Logic in Praising a Man in Certain Respects While You Blame Him in Others, but Only in Approving and Disapproving one and the Same Thing. I Will Take an Example, So That, Though You May not Understand, the Wise Reader May Join Me in Understanding the Point. In the Case of Tertullian we Praise his Great Talent, but we Condemn his Heresy. In that of Origen we Admire his Knowledge of the Scriptures, but Nevertheless we do not Accept his False Doctrine. As to Didymus, However, we Extol Both his Powers of Memory, and the Purity of his Faith in the Trinity, While on the Other Point in which He Erred in Trusting to Origen we Withdraw from Him. The vices of Our Teachers are not to be Imitated, their virtues Are. There was a Man at Rome who had an African, a Very Learned Man, as his Grammar Teacher; and He Thought that He was Rising to an Equality with his Teacher Because He Copied his Strident Voice and his Faulty Pronunciation. You in Your Preface to the Peri 'Archon Speak of Me as Your Brother and Call Me Your Most Eloquent Colleague, and Proclaim My Soundness in the Faith. From These Three Points You Cannot Draw Back; Carp at Me on all Other Points as You Please, So Long as You do not Openly Contradict this Testimony which You Bear to Me; for in Calling Me Friend and Colleague, You Confess Me Worthy of Your Friendship; when You Proclaim Me an Eloquent Man, You Cannot Go on Accusing Me of Ignorance; and when You Confess that I am in all Points a Catholic, You Cannot Fix on Me the Guilt of Heresy. Beyond These Three Points You May Charge Me with Anything You Like Without Openly Contradicting Yourself. From all this Calculation the Net Result is that You are Wrong in Blaming in Me what You Formerly Praised; but that I am not in Fault When, in the Case of the Same Men, I Praise what is Laudable and Blame what is Censurable. CYou Pass on to the Origin of Souls, and at Great Length Exclaim against the Smoke which You Say I Raise. You Want to be Allowed to Express Ignorance on a Point on which You Advisedly Dissemble Your Knowledge; and Therefore Begin Questioning Me About Angels and Archangels; as to the Mode of their Existence, the Place and Nature of their Abodes, the Differences, if There be Any, Existing Between Them; and Then as to the Course of the Sun, the Waxing and Waning of the Moon, the Character and Movements of the Stars. I Wonder that You did not Set Down the Whole of the Lines:
24. It is somewhat the same argument which you use against the pope Anastasius, namely, that, since you hold the letters of the bishop Siricius, it was impossible that he should write against you. I am afraid you suspect that some injury has been done you. I cannot understand how a man of your acuteness and capacity can condescend to such nonsense; you suppose that your readers are foolish, but you shew that you are foolish yourself. Then after this extraordinary argumentation, you subjoin this little sentence: "Far be such conduct from these reverend persons. It is from your school that such actions proceed. You gave us all the signs of peace at our departure, and then threw missiles charged with venom from behind our backs." In this clause or rather declamatory speech, you intended, no doubt, to shew your rhetorical skill. It is true we gave you the signs of peace, but not to embrace heresy; we joined hands, we accompanied you as you set forth on your journey, on the understanding that you were catholic not that we were heretical. But I want to learn what these poisoned missiles are which you complain that I threw from behind your back. I sent the presbyters, Vincentius, Paulinianus, Eusebius, Rufinus. Of these, Vincentius went to Rome long before you; Paulinianus and Eusebius set out a year after you had sailed; Rufinus two years after, for the cause of Claudius; all of them either for private reasons, or because another was in peril of his life. Was it possible for me to know that when you entered Rome, a nobleman had dreamed that a ship full of merchandise was entering with full blown sails? or that all questions about fate were being solved by a solution which should not itself be fatuous? or that you were translating the book of Eusebius as if it were Pamphilus'? or that you were putting your own cover upon Origen's poisoned dish by lending your majestic eloquence to this translation of his notorious work Peri 'Archon? This is a new way of calumniating a man. We sent out the accusers before you had committed the crime. It was not, I repeat, it was not by our plan, but by the providence of God, that these men, who were sent out for another reason, came to fight against the rising heresy. They were sent, like Joseph, to relieve the coming famine by the fervour of their faith. c25. To what point will not audacity burst forth when once it is freed from restraints? He has imputed to himself the charge made against another so that we may be thought to have invented it. I made a charge against some one unnamed, and he takes it as spoken against himself; he purges himself from another man's sins, being only sure of his own innocence. For he takes his oath that he did not write the letter that passed under my name to the African bishops, in which I am made to confess that I had been induced by Jewish influence to make false translations of the Scriptures; and he sends me writings which contain all these things which he declares to be unknown to him. It is remarkable to know how his subtlety has coincided with another man's malice, so that the lies which this other told in Africa, he in accord with him declared to be true; and also how that elegant style of his could be imitated by some chance and unskilled person. You alone have the privilege of translating the venom of the heretics, and of making all nations drink a draught from the cup of Babylon. You may correct the Latin Scriptures from the Greek. and may deliver to the Churches to read something different from what they received from the Apostles; but I am not to be allowed to go behind the Septuagint version which I translated after strict correction for the men of my native tongue a great many years ago, and, for the confutation of the Jews, to translate the actual copies of the Scriptures which they confess to be the truest, so that when a dispute arises between them and the Christians, they may have no place of retreat and subterfuge, but may be smitten most effectually with their own spear. I have written pretty fully on this point if I rightly remember, in many other places, especially in the end of my second book; and I have checked your popularity-hunting, with which you seek to arouse ill will against me among the innocent and the inexperienced, by a clear statement of fact. To that I think it enough to refer the reader. c26. I think it a point which should not be passed over, that you have no right to complain that the falsifier of your papers holds in my esteem the glorious position of a confessor, since you who are guilty of this very crime are called a martyr and an apostle by all the partisans of Origen, for that exile and imprisonment of yours at Alexandria. On your alleged inexperience in Latin composition I have answered you above. But, since you repeat the same things, and, as if forgetful of your former defence, again remind me that I ought to know that you have been occupied for thirty years in devouring Greek books, and therefore do not know Latin, I would have you observe that it is not a few words of yours with which I find fault, though indeed all your writing is worthy of being destroyed. What I wished to do was to shew your followers, whom you have taken so much pains in teaching to know nothing, to understand what amount of modesty there is in a man who teaches what he does not know, who writes what he is ignorant of, so that they may expect to find the same wisdom in his opinions. As to what you add "That it is not faults of words which are offensive, but sins, such as lying, calumny, disparagement, false witness, and all evil speaking, and that the mouth which speaketh lies kills the soul," and your deprecation, "Let not that ill-savour reach my nostrils;" I would believe what you say, were it not that I discover facts inconsistent with this. It is as if a fuller or a tanner in speaking to a dealer in pigments should warn him that he had better hold his nose as he passed their shops. I will do what you recommend; I will stop my nose, so that it may not be put to the torture by the delightful odour of your truth-speaking and your benedictions. c27. In reference to your alternate praise and disparagement of me, you argue with great acuteness that you have the same right to speak good and evil of me that I have to find fault with Origen and Didymus whom I once praised. I must instruct you, then, wisest of men and chief of Roman dialecticians, that there is no fault of logic in praising a man in certain respects while you blame him in others, but only in approving and disapproving one and the same thing. I will take an example, so that, though you may not understand, the wise reader may join me in understanding the point. In the case of Tertullian we praise his great talent, but we condemn his heresy. In that of Origen we admire his knowledge of the Scriptures, but nevertheless we do not accept his false doctrine. As to Didymus, however, we extol both his powers of memory, and the purity of his faith in the Trinity, while on the other point in which he erred in trusting to Origen we withdraw from him. The vices of our teachers are not to be imitated, their virtues are. There was a man at Rome who had an African, a very learned man, as his grammar teacher; and he thought that he was rising to an equality with his teacher because he copied his strident voice and his faulty pronunciation. You in your Preface to the Peri 'Archon speak of me as your brother and call me your most eloquent colleague, and proclaim my soundness in the faith. From these three points you cannot draw back; carp at me on all other points as you please, so long as you do not openly contradict this testimony which you bear to me; for in calling me friend and colleague, you confess me worthy of your friendship; when you proclaim me an eloquent man, you cannot go on accusing me of ignorance; and when you confess that I am in all points a catholic, you cannot fix on me the guilt of heresy. Beyond these three points you may charge me with anything you like without openly contradicting yourself. From all this calculation the net result is that you are wrong in blaming in me what you formerly praised; but that I am not in fault when, in the case of the same men, I praise what is laudable and blame what is censurable. c28. You pass on to the origin of souls, and at great length exclaim against the smoke which you say I raise. You want to be allowed to express ignorance on a point on which you advisedly dissemble your knowledge; and therefore begin questioning me about angels and archangels; as to the mode of their existence, the place and nature of their abodes, the differences, if there be any, existing between them; and then as to the course of the sun, the waxing and waning of the moon, the character and movements of the stars. I wonder that you did not set down the whole of the lines: Whence come the earthquakes, whence the high-swoll'n seas
Breaking their bounds, then sinking back to rest;
The Sun's eclipse, the labours of the moon;
The race of men and beasts, the storm, the fire,
Arcturus' rainy Hyads, and the Bears:
Why haste the winter's suns to bathe themselves
Beneath the wave, what stays its lingering nights.
Then, leaving things in heaven, and condescending to those on earth, you philosophize on minor points. You say: "Tell us what are the causes of the fountains, and of the wind; what makes the hail and the showers; why the sea is salt, the rivers sweet; what account is to be given of clouds and storms, thunderbolts, and thunder and lightning." You mean that if I do not know all this, you are entitled to say you know nothing about the origin of souls. You wish to balance your ignorance on a single point by mine on many. But do not you, who in page after page stir up what you call my smoke, understand that I can see your mists and whirlwinds? You wish to be thought a man of extensive knowledge, and among the disciples of Calpurnius  to enjoy a great reputation for wisdom, and therefore you raise up the whole physical world in front of me, as if Socrates had said in vain when he passed over to the study of Ethics: "What is above us is nothing to us." So then, if I cannot tell you why the ant, which is such a little creature, whose body is a mere point, has six feet, whereas an elephant with its vast bulk has only four to walk on; why serpents and snakes glide along on their chests and bellies; why the worm which is commonly called the millipede has such a swarming array of feet; I am prohibited from knowing anything about the origin of souls! You ask me what I know about souls, so that, when I make any statement about them, you may at once attack it. And if I say that the church's doctrine is that God forms souls every day, and sends them into the bodies of those who are born, you will at once bring out the snares your master invented, and ask, Where is God's justice if he grants souls to those who are born of adultery or incest? Is he not an accessory to men's sins, if he creates souls for the adulterers who make the bodies? as if, when you hear that seed corn had been stolen, you are to suppose the fault to lie in the nature of the corn, and not in the man who stole the wheat; and that therefore the earth had no business to nourish the seed in its bosom, because the hands of the sower who cast them in were unclean. Hence comes also your mysterious question, Why do infants die? since it is because of their sins, as you hold, that they received bodies. There exists a treatise of Didymus addressed to you, in which he meets this inquiry of yours, with the answer, that they had not sinned much, and therefore it was enough punishment for them just to have touched their bodily prisons. He, who was your master and mine also, when you asked this question, wrote at my request three books of comments on the prophet Hosea, and dedicated them to me. This shows what parts of his teaching we respectively accepted.