John vii.38, supposed to be taken from Prov. xviii.4, or Is. lviii.11 c35. By all this it is made clear, first that the version of the Seventy translators which has gained an established position by having been so long in use, was profitable to the churches, because that by its means the Gentiles heard of the coming of Christ before he came; secondly, that the other translators are not to be reproved, since it was not their own works that they published but the divine books which they translated; and, thirdly, that my own familiar friend should frankly accept from a Christian and a friend what he has taken great pains to obtain from the Jews and has written down for him at great cost. I have exceeded the bounds of a letter; and, though I had taken pen in hand to contend against a wicked heresy, I have been compelled to make answer on my own behalf, while waiting for my friend's three books, and in a state of constant mental suspense about the charges he had heaped up against me. It is easier to guard against one who professes hostility than to make head against an enemy who lurks under the guise of a friend. cBook III.The two first books formed a complete whole, but it was intimated that there might be more to come when Jerome should have received Rufinus' work in full. The two first books were brought to Rufinus by the captain of a merchant-ship trading with Aquileia, together with a copy of Jerome's friendly letter which had been suppressed by Pammachius. The bearer had (as stated by Rufinus, though Jerome mocks at this as impossible) only two days to wait. Chromatius the Bishop of Aquileia urged that the strife should now cease, and prevailed so far as that Rufinus made no public reply. He wrote a private letter, however, to Jerome, which has not come down to us, and which does not seem, from the extracts given in c.4, 6, etc., to have been of a pacific tenor. Its details may be gathered from Jerome's reply. Jerome intimates that it sought to involve him in heresy, that it renewed and aggravated the former accusations, speaking of him in language fit only for the lowest characters on the stage; and that it declared that, if its writer had been so minded, he could have produced facts which would have been the destruction of his adversary. Jerome, though receiving some expressions of the desire of Chromatius that he should not reply (perhaps also the regretful expostulation of Augustin, -- Jer. Letter cx, 6, Aug. Letter 73) declared that it was impossible for him to yield. He could not refrain from defending himself from a capital charge, nor could he spare the heretics. Peace could only come by unity in the faith.
1. Your letter is full of falsehood and violence. I will try not to take the same tone.
2. Why cannot we differ as friends? Why do you, by threats of death, compel me to answer?
3, 4. Your shameful taunt that I wished to get copies of your Apology by bribing your Secretary is an imputation to me of practices which are your own.
5. Eusebius should not have accused you; but your charges against him will not stand.
6. You taunt me with boasting of my eloquence. Will you boast of your illiteracy?
7, 8. You wish first to praise, then to amend me, but both with fisticuffs; and make it impossible for me to keep silence.
9. Why cannot you join with me in condemning Origen, and so put an end to our quarrel?
10. The assertion that you had only two days for your answer is a fiction.
11. Your translation, contrariwise to my Commentaries, vouches for the soundness of Origen.
12. You try to shield Origen by falsely attributing the Apology for him to Pamphilus.
13. In my Commentaries my quotation of opposite opinions shows that neither is mine.
14. Had you translated honestly, you would not have had Origen's heresies imputed to you.
15. You say the Bishops of Italy accept your views on the Resurrection. I doubt it.
16. You rashly say that you will agree to whatever Theophilus lays down. You have to consider your friendship for Isidore now his enemy.
17, 18. You speak of the Egyptian Bishop Paul. We received him, though an Origenist, as a stranger; and he has united himself to the orthodox faith. Not only Theophilus but the Emperors condemn Origen.
19. Against Vigilantius I wrote only what was right. I knew who had stirred him up against me.
20. As to the letter of Pope Anastasius condemning you, you will find that it is genuine.
21. Siricius who is dead may have written in your favour; Anastasius who is living writes to the East against you.
22. My departure from Rome for the East had nothing blameable in it as you insinuate.
23. Epiphanius, it is true, gave you the kiss of peace; but he showed afterwards that he had come to distrust you.
24. When we parted as friends I believed you a true believer; no one was sent to Rome to injure you.
25. You swear that you did not write my pretended retractation. Your style betrays you, and I have given a full answer about my translations already.
26. You bid me beware of falsification and treachery. You warn me against yourself.
27. There is nothing inconsistent in praising a man for some things and blaming him in others. You have done it in my case.
28-31. My ignorance of many natural phenomena is no excuse for your ignorance as to the origin of souls. You ought, according to your boasting dream to know everything. The thing of most importance was forgotten in your cargo of Eastern wares.
32. Your dream was a boast: mine of which you accuse me humbled me.
33. It was not I who first disclosed your heresies, but Epiphanius long ago and Aterbius before him.
34-36. As to our translations of the Peri 'Archon, yours was doing harm, and mine was necessary in self-defence. You should be glad that heresy is exposed.
37. Your Apology for Origen did not save him but involved you in heresy.
38. My friendly letter was to prevent discord: the other to crush false opinions.
39, 40. Pythagoras was rightly quoted by me. I produce some of his sayings.
41, 42. You threaten me with destruction. I will not reply in the same way. Personalities should be excluded from controversies of faith.
43, 44. The way of peace is through the wisdom taught in the Book of Proverbs, and through unity in the faith.