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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. IV:
Writings in Connection with the Donatist Controversy.: Chapter 77

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 77.—169.  Petilianus said:  "Paul also, the apostle, whilst he was suffering fearful persecutions at the hands of all nations, endured even more grievous troubles at the hands of false brethren, as he bears witness of himself, being oftentimes afflicted:  ‘In perils by the heathen, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils among false brethren.’ 2181   And again he says, ‘Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.’ 2182   When, therefore, false brethren like yourselves assault us, we imitate the patience of our master Paul under our dangers."

170.  Augustin answered:  Certainly those of whom you speak are false brethren, of whom the apostle thus complains in another place, where he is extolling the natural sincerity of Timothy:  "I have no man," he says, "like-minded, who will naturally care for your state.  For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s." 2183   Undoubtedly he was speaking of those who were with him at the time when he was writing that epistle; for it could not be that all Christians in every quarter of the earth were seeking their own, and not the things which were Jesus Christ’s.  It was of those, therefore, as I said, who were with him at the time when he was writing the words which you have quoted, that he uttered this lamentation.  For who else was it to whom he referred, when he says in another place, "Without were fightings, within were fears," 2184 except those whom he feared all the more intensely because they were within?  If, therefore, you would imitate Paul, you would be tolerant of false brethren within, not a slanderer of the innocent without.


Footnotes

569:2181

2 Cor. xi. 26.

569:2182

1 Cor. xi. 1.

569:2183

Phil. 2:20, 21.

569:2184

2 Cor. vii. 5.


Next: Chapter 78

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