What Good Does it do Me that He Declares on his Oath that it was through Simplicity that He Went Wrong? his Praises Are, as You Know, Cast in My Teeth, and the Laudation of this Most Simple Friend (Which However Has not Much Either of Simplicity or of Sincerity in It) is Imputed to Me as a Crime. If He was Seeking a Foundation of Authority for what He was Doing, and Wishing to Shew who had Gone Before Him in this Path He had at Hand the Confessor Hilary, who Translated the Books of Origen Upon Job and the Psalms Consisting of Forty Thousand Lines. He had Ambrose Whose Works Are, Almost all of Them, Full of what Origen Has Written; and the Martyr victorinus, who Acts Really with Simplicity,' and Without Setting Snares for Others. As to all These He Keeps Silence; He Does not Notice those who are Like Pillars of the Church; but Me, who am but Like a Flea and a Man of no Account, He Hunts Out from Corner to Corner. Perhaps the Same Simplicity which Made Him Unconscious that He was Attacking his Friend Will Make Him Swear that He Knew Nothing of These Writers. But who Will Believe that He Does not Know These Men Whose Memory is Quite Recent, Even Though they were Latins, Being as He is Such a Very Learned Man, and one who Has So Great a Knowledge of the Old Writers, Especially the Greeks, That, in his Zeal for Foreign Knowledge He Has Almost Lost his Own Language? the Truth is it is not So Much that I have Been Praised by Him as that those Writers have not Been Attacked. But Whether what He Has Written is Praise (As He Tries to Make Simpletons Believe) or an Attack, (As I Feel it to be from the Pain which his Wounds Give Me), He Has Taken Care that I Should have None of My Contemporaries to Bring Me Honor by a Partnership in Praise, nor Consolation by a Partnership in vituperation. See Ruf. Apol. I, 11. "I had Grown Dull in My Latinity through the Disuse of Nearly 30 Years. " C3. I have in My Hands Your Letter, in which You Tell Me that I have Been Accused, and Expect Me to Reply to My Accuser Lest Silence Should be Taken as an Acknowledgment of his Charges. I Confess that I Sent the Reply; But, Though I Felt Hurt, I Observed the Laws of Friendship, and Defended Myself Without Accusing My Accuser. I Put it as if the Objections which one Friend had Raised at Rome were Being Bruited About by Many Enemies in all Parts of the World, So that Every one Should Think that I was Replying to the Charges, not to the Man. Will You Tell Me that Another Course was Open to Me, that I was Bound by the Law of Friendship to Keep Silence under Accusation, And, Though I Felt My Face, So to Say, Covered with Dirt and Bespattered with the Filth of Heresy, not Even to Wash it with Simple Water, for Fear that an Act of Injustice Might be Imputed to Him. This Demand is not Such as any Man Ought to Make or Such as any Man Ought to Accept. You Openly Assail Your Friend, and Set Out Charges against Him under the Mask of an Admirer; and He is not Even to be Allowed to Prove Himself a Catholic, or to Reply that the Supposed Heresy on which this Laudation is Grounded Arises not from any Agreement with a Heresy, but from Admiration of a Great Genius. He Thought it Desirable to Translate this Book into Latin; Or, as He Prefers to have it Thought He was Compelled, Though Unwilling, to do It. But what Need was There for Him to Bring Me into the Question, when I was in Retirement, and Separated from Him by Vast Intervals of Land and Sea? Why Need He Expose Me to the Ill-Will of the Multitude, and do More Harm to Me by his Praise than Good to Himself by Putting Me Forward as his Example? Now Also, Since I have Repudiated his Praise, And, by Erasing what He had Written, have Shewn that I am not what My Friend Declared, I am Told that He is in a Fury, and Has Composed Three Books against Me Full of Graceful Attic Raillery, Making those Very Things the Object of Attack which He had Praised Before, and Turning into a Ground of Accusation against Me the Impious Doctrines of Origen; Although in that Preface in which He So Lauded Me, He Says of Me: "I Shall Follow the Rules of Translation Laid Down by My Predecessors, and Particularly those Acted on by the Writer whom I have Just Mentioned. He Has Rendered into Latin More than Seventy of Origen's Homiletical Treatises, and a Few Also of his Commentaries on the Apostle; and in These, Wherever the Greek Text Presents a Stumbling Block, He Has Smoothed it Down in his Version and Has So Emended the Language Used that a Latin Writer Can Find no Word that is at Variance with Our Faith. In his Steps, Therefore, I Propose to Walk, if not Displaying the Same vigorous Eloquence, at Least Observing the Same Rules. " Jerome Letter Lxxxiii Pammachius to Jerome: "Refute Your Accuser; Else, if You do not Speak Out, You Will Appear to Consent. " C4. These Words are his Own, He Cannot Deny Them. The Very Elegance of the Style and the Laboured Mode of Speech, And, Surpassing all These, the Christian Simplicity' which Here Appears, Reveal the Character of their Author. But There is a Different Phase of the Matter: Eusebius, it Seems, Has Depraved These Books; and Now My Friend who Accuses Origen, and who is So Careful of My Reputation, Declares that Both Eusebius and I have Gone Wrong Together, and Then that we have Held Correct Opinions Together, and that in one and the Same Work. But He Cannot Now be My Enemy and Call Me a Heretic, when a Moment Before He Has Said that his Belief was not Dissonant from Mine. Then, I must Ask Him what is the Meaning of his Balanced and Doubtful Way of Speaking: "The Latin Reader," He Says, "Will Find Nothing Here Discordant from Our Faith. " what Faith is this which He Calls His? is it the Faith by which the Roman Church is Distinguished? or is it the Faith which is Contained in the Works of Origen? if He Answers "The Roman," Then we are the Catholics, Since we have Adopted None of Origen's Errors in Our Translations. But if Origen's Blasphemy is his Faith, Then, Though He Tries to Fix on Me the Charge of Inconsistency, He Proves Himself to be a Heretic. If the Man who Praises Me is Orthodox, He Takes Me, by his Own Confession as a Sharer in his Orthodoxy. If He is Heterodox, He Shews that He had Praised Me Before My Explanation Because He Thought Me a Sharer in his Error. However, it Will be Time Enough to Reply to These Books of his which Whisper in Corners and Made their Venomous Attacks in Secret, when they are Published and Come Out from their Dark Places into the Light, and when they have Been Able to Reach Me Either through the Zeal of My Friends or the Imprudence of My Adversaries. We Need not be Much Afraid of Attacks which their Author Fears to Publish and Allows Only his Confederates to Read. Then and not Till Then Will I Either Acknowledge the Justice of his Charges, or Refute Them, or Retort Upon the Accuser the Accusations He Has Made: and Will Shew that My Silence Has Been the Result not of a Bad Conscience but of Forbearance. C5. In the Meantime, I Desired to Free Myself from Suspicion in the Implicit Judgment of the Reader, and to Refute the Gravest of the Charges in the Eyes of My Friends. I did not Wish it to Appear that I had Been the First to Strike, Seeing that I have Not, Even when Wounded, Aimed a Blow against My Assailant, but have Only Sought to Heal My Own Wound. I Beg the Reader to Let the Blame Rest on Him who Struck the First Blow, Without Respect of Persons. He is not Content with Striking; But, as if He were Dealing with a Man whom He had Reduced to Silence and who Would Never Speak Again, He Has Written Three Elaborate Books and Has Made Out from My Works a List of "Contradictions" Worthy of Marcion. Our Minds are all on Fire to Know at once what his Doctrine is and what is this Madness of Mine which we had not Expected. Perhaps He Has Learnt (Though the Time for it Has Been Short) all that is Necessary to Make Him My Teacher, and a Sudden Flow of Eloquence Will Reveal what no one Imagined that He Knew.
2. What good does it do me that he declares on his oath that it was through simplicity that he went wrong? His praises are, as you know, cast in my teeth, and the laudation of this most simple friend (which however has not much either of simplicity or of sincerity in it) is imputed to me as a crime. If he was seeking a foundation of authority for what he was doing, and wishing to shew who had gone before him in this path he had at hand the Confessor Hilary, who translated the books of Origen upon Job and the Psalms consisting of forty thousand lines. He had Ambrose whose works are, almost all of them, full of what Origen has written; and the martyr Victorinus, who acts really with simplicity,' and without setting snares for others. As to all these he keeps silence; he does not notice those who are like pillars of the church; but me, who am but like a flea and a man of no account, he hunts out from corner to corner. Perhaps the same simplicity which made him unconscious that he was attacking his friend will make him swear that he knew nothing of these writers. But who will believe that he does not know these men whose memory is quite recent, even though they were Latins, being as he is such a very learned man, and one who has so great a knowledge of the old writers, especially the Greeks, that, in his zeal for foreign knowledge he has almost lost his own language? The truth is it is not so much that I have been praised by him as that those writers have not been attacked. But whether what he has written is praise (as he tries to make simpletons believe) or an attack, (as I feel it to be from the pain which his wounds give me), he has taken care that I should have none of my contemporaries to bring me honor by a partnership in praise, nor consolation by a partnership in vituperation.

See Ruf. Apol. i, 11. "I had grown dull in my Latinity through the disuse of nearly 30 years." c3. I have in my hands your letter, in which you tell me that I have been accused, and expect me to reply to my accuser lest silence should be taken as an acknowledgment of his charges. I confess that I sent the reply; but, though I felt hurt, I observed the laws of friendship, and defended myself without accusing my accuser. I put it as if the objections which one friend had raised at Rome were being bruited about by many enemies in all parts of the world, so that every one should think that I was replying to the charges, not to the man. Will you tell me that another course was open to me, that I was bound by the law of friendship to keep silence under accusation, and, though I felt my face, so to say, covered with dirt and bespattered with the filth of heresy, not even to wash it with simple water, for fear that an act of injustice might be imputed to him. This demand is not such as any man ought to make or such as any man ought to accept. You openly assail your friend, and set out charges against him under the mask of an admirer; and he is not even to be allowed to prove himself a catholic, or to reply that the supposed heresy on which this laudation is grounded arises not from any agreement with a heresy, but from admiration of a great genius. He thought it desirable to translate this book into Latin; or, as he prefers to have it thought he was compelled, though unwilling, to do it. But what need was there for him to bring me into the question, when I was in retirement, and separated from him by vast intervals of land and sea? Why need he expose me to the ill-will of the multitude, and do more harm to me by his praise than good to himself by putting me forward as his example? Now also, since I have repudiated his praise, and, by erasing what he had written, have shewn that I am not what my friend declared, I am told that he is in a fury, and has composed three books against me full of graceful Attic raillery, making those very things the object of attack which he had praised before, and turning into a ground of accusation against me the impious doctrines of Origen; although in that Preface in which he so lauded me, he says of me: "I shall follow the rules of translation laid down by my predecessors, and particularly those acted on by the writer whom I have just mentioned. He has rendered into Latin more than seventy of Origen's homiletical treatises, and a few also of his commentaries on the Apostle; and in these, wherever the Greek text presents a stumbling block, he has smoothed it down in his version and has so emended the language used that a Latin writer can find no word that is at variance with our faith. In his steps, therefore, I propose to walk, if not displaying the same vigorous eloquence, at least observing the same rules."

Jerome Letter lxxxiii Pammachius to Jerome: "Refute your accuser; else, if you do not speak out, you will appear to consent." c4. These words are his own, he cannot deny them. The very elegance of the style and the laboured mode of speech, and, surpassing all these, the Christian simplicity' which here appears, reveal the character of their author. But there is a different phase of the matter: Eusebius, it seems, has depraved these books; and now my friend who accuses Origen, and who is so careful of my reputation, declares that both Eusebius and I have gone wrong together, and then that we have held correct opinions together, and that in one and the same work. But he cannot now be my enemy and call me a heretic, when a moment before he has said that his belief was not dissonant from mine. Then, I must ask him what is the meaning of his balanced and doubtful way of speaking: "The Latin reader," he says, "will find nothing here discordant from our faith." What faith is this which he calls his? Is it the faith by which the Roman Church is distinguished? or is it the faith which is contained in the works of Origen? If he answers "the Roman," then we are the Catholics, since we have adopted none of Origen's errors in our translations. But if Origen's blasphemy is his faith, then, though he tries to fix on me the charge of inconsistency, he proves himself to be a heretic. If the man who praises me is orthodox, he takes me, by his own confession as a sharer in his orthodoxy. If he is heterodox, he shews that he had praised me before my explanation because he thought me a sharer in his error. However, it will be time enough to reply to these books of his which whisper in corners and made their venomous attacks in secret, when they are published and come out from their dark places into the light, and when they have been able to reach me either through the zeal of my friends or the imprudence of my adversaries. We need not be much afraid of attacks which their author fears to publish and allows only his confederates to read. Then and not till then will I either acknowledge the justice of his charges, or refute them, or retort upon the accuser the accusations he has made: and will shew that my silence has been the result not of a bad conscience but of forbearance. c5. In the meantime, I desired to free myself from suspicion in the implicit judgment of the reader, and to refute the gravest of the charges in the eyes of my friends. I did not wish it to appear that I had been the first to strike, seeing that I have not, even when wounded, aimed a blow against my assailant, but have only sought to heal my own wound. I beg the reader to let the blame rest on him who struck the first blow, without respect of persons. He is not content with striking; but, as if he were dealing with a man whom he had reduced to silence and who would never speak again, he has written three elaborate books and has made out from my works a list of "Contradictions" worthy of Marcion. Our minds are all on fire to know at once what his doctrine is and what is this madness of mine which we had not expected. Perhaps he has learnt (though the time for it has been short) all that is necessary to make him my teacher, and a sudden flow of eloquence will reveal what no one imagined that he knew.[3008] "Grant it, O Father; mighty Jesus, grant.

Let him begin the engagement hand to hand."

Though he may brandish the spear of his accusations and hurl them against us with all his might, we trust in the Lord our Saviour that his truth will encompass us as with a shield, and we shall be able to sing with the Psalmist: [3009] "Their blows have become as the arrows of the little ones," and [3010] "Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war should rise against me, even then will I be confident." But of this at another time. Let us now return to the point where we began.


[3007] 'Antitheseis. Marcion, a Gnostic of the second century drew out a list of Contradictions between the Law (which he rejected) and the Gospel.

[3008] This is altered from Virg. Æn. x, 875. "Sic Pater ille Deum faciat, sic altus Apollo, Incipias conferre manum."

[3009] Supposed to be a version of Psalm 64:8

[3010] Psalm 27:3, 4

i have learned not only
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