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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. III:
The Ecclesiastical History, Dialogues, and Letters of Theodoret.: To Apollonius.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

LXXIII. To Apollonius. 1718

Themistocles the son of Neocles, the far-famed and admirable general, is described by the admiring historian as endowed with natural virtue alone. Of Pericles, however, the son of Xanthippus, it is said that he also derived ability from his education to charm his hearers by his persuasive eloquence, and was gifted with the power alike of knowing what measures should be taken and of enforcing them by word of mouth. In writing about him there is no impropriety in my using his own words. These things illustrate your magnificence, for God, our Creator, hath given you natural capacity, and your education makes its brilliance the more conspicuous. Nothing then is wanting to the full complement of your high qualities save only knowledge of their Author; be but this added, and the tale of virtues which we shall have will be complete. Thus I write to you on receiving news of your arrival, beseeching the Giver of all good to grant a beam of light to your soul’s eye, to show you the greatness of His boon, to kindle your love of that possession, and to grant the longed for favour to him that longs for it. 1719


Footnotes

271:1718

cf. Ep. CIII. Apollonius was Comes Sacrarum Largitio. num in 436.

271:1719

Thucydides, (I. 138,) writes of Themistocles that “to a greater degree than any other man he was to be admired for the natural ability which he displayed; for by his inborn capacity, he was an unrivalled judge of what the emergency of the moment required, and unsurpassed in his forecast of the future, and this without the aid of previous or additional instruction.”

The same historian (II. 60) records the speech of Pericles in his own vindication in which he says “I think myself inferior to none in knowing what measures should be taken and in enforcing them by word of mouth.”


Next: To Urbanus.

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