Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. IV:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Writings in Connection with the Donatist Controversy.: Chapter 25
Chapter 25.—29. And yet Petilianus, to avoid answering what I have said, sets before himself what I have not, and draws mens attention away from the consideration of his debt, lest they should exact the answer which he ought to make. He constantly introduces the expressions, "I have been unacquainted with," "I say," and makes answer, "But if you were unacquainted with;" and, as though convicting me, so that it should be out of my power to say, "I was unacquainted with," he quotes Mensurius, Cæcilianus, Macarius, Taurinus, Romanus, and declares that "they had acted in opposition to the Church of God, as I could not fail to know, seeing that I am an African, and already well advanced in years," whereas, so far as I hear, Mensurius died in the unity of the communion of the Church, before the faction of Donatus separated itself therefrom; whilst I had read the history of Cæcilianus, that they themselves had referred his case to Constantine, and that he had been once and again acquitted by the judges whom that emperor had appointed to try the matter, and again a third time by the sovereign himself, when they appealed to him. But whatever Macarius and Taurinus and Romanus did, either in their judicial or executive functions, in behalf of unity as against their pertinacious madness, it is beyond doubt that it was all done in accordance with the laws, which these same persons made it unavoidable should be passed and put in force, by referring the case of Cæcilianus to the judgment of the emperor.
30. Among many other things which are wholly irrevelant, he says that "I was so hard hit by the decision of the proconsul Messianus, that I was forced to fly from Africa." And in consequence of this falsehood (to which, if he was not the author of it, he certainly lent malicious ears when others maliciously invented it), how many other falsehoods had he the hardihood not only to utter, but actually to write with wondrous rashness, seeing that I went to Milan before the consulship of Banto, and that, in pursuance of the profession of rhetorician which I then followed, I recited a panegyric in his honor as consul on the first of January, in the presence of a vast assembly of men; and after that journey I only returned to Africa after the death of the tyrant Maximus: whereas the proconsul Messianus heard the case of the Manichæans after the consulship of Banto, as the day of the chronicles inserted by Petilianus himself sufficiently shows. And if it were necessary to prove this for the satisfaction of those who are in doubt, or believe the contrary, I could produce many men, illustrious in their generation, as most sufficient witnesses to all that period of my life.
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