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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. IV:
Writings in Connection with the Donatist Controversy.: Chapter 7

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 7.—8.  Whilst we bear the testimony of God to this and the like effect against the vain speaking of men, we are forced to undergo bitter insults from the enemies of the glory of Christ.  Let them say what they will, whilst He exhorts us, saying, "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake:  for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake."  What He says in the first instance, "for righteousness’ sake," He has repeated in the words that He uses afterwards, "for my sake;" seeing that He "is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption, that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord." 2352   And when He says, "Rejoice, and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven," 2353 if I hold in a good conscience what is said "for righteousness’ sake," and "for my sake," whosoever willfully detracts from my reputation is against his will contributing to my reward.  For neither did He only instruct me by His word, without also confirming me by His example.  Follow the faith of the holy Scriptures, and you will find that Christ rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, sitteth at the right hand of the Father.  Follow the charges brought by His enemies, and you will presently believe that He was stolen from the sepulchre by His disciples.  Why then should we, while defending His house to the best of the abilities given us by God, expect to meet with any other treatment from His enemies?  "If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of His household?" 2354   If, therefore, we suffer, we shall also reign with Him.  But if it be not only the wrath of the accuser that strikes the ear, but also the truth of the accusation that stings the conscience, what does it profit me if the whole world were to exalt me with perpetual praise?  So neither the eulogy of him who praises has power to heal a guilty conscience, nor does the insult of him, who reviles wound the good conscience.  Nor, however, is your hope which is in the Lord deceived, even though we chance to be in secret what our enemies wish us to be thought; for you have not placed your hope in us, nor have you ever heard from us any doctrine of the kind.  You therefore are safe, whatever we may be, who have learned to say, "I have trusted in the Lord; therefore I shall not slide;" 2355 and "In God have I put my trust:  I will not be afraid what man can do unto me." 2356   And to those who endeavor to lead you astray to the earthly heights of proud men, you know how to answer, "In the Lord put I my trust:  how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain?" 2357


Footnotes

600:2352

1 Cor. 1:30, 31.

600:2353

Matt. v. 10-12.

600:2354

Matt. x. 25.

600:2355

Ps. xxvi. 1.

600:2356

Ps. lvi. 11.

600:2357

Ps. xi. 1.


Next: Chapter 8

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