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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. III:
Life and Works of Rufinus with Jerome's Apology Against Rufinus.: St. Paul's method of dealing with erring brethren.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

37. This action is yours, my brother, yours alone. It is clear that no one in the church has been your companion or confederate in it, but only that Barabbas whom you mention so frequently. What other spirit than that of the Jews would dare to tamper with the records of the church which have been handed down from the Apostles? It is they, my brother, you who were most dear to me before you were taken captive by the Jews, it is they who are hurrying you into this abyss of evil. It is their doing that those books of yours are put forth in which you brand your Christian brethren, not sparing even the martyrs, and heap up accusations speakable and unspeakable against Christians of every degree, and mar our peace, and cause a scandal to the church. It is they who cause you to pass sentence upon yourself and your own writings as upon words which you once spoke as a Christian. We all of us have become worthless in your eyes, while they and their evil acts are all your delight. If you had but listened to Paul where he says in his Epistle: 2992 “If any brother be overtaken in a fault ye who are spiritual restore such a one in the spirit of meekness,” you would never have let your passions swell up so as altogether to break through the order of our spiritual discipline. p. 478 Suppose that I had written something which was injurious to you; suppose that I had done some injustice to you a man of the highest eloquence, who were my brother and my brother presbyter, whom also I had pronounced worthy of imitation in your method of translation: even so, this was the first complaint which you had received of any injury on my part since friendship had been restored between us, and that with difficulty and much trouble. But suppose that you had reason to be offended at the fact that, in my translation of Origen, I passed over some things which appeared to me unedifying in point of doctrine—though in this I only did what you had done. Possibly I was deserving of blame and correction for this. You say that some of the brethren sent letters to you demanding that the faults of the translator should be pointed out. What then did you do, you who are a man of spiritual attainments? What a model, what an example of conduct in such matters is this which you have given! You not only blazen forth the shame of your brother’s nakedness to those who are without, but you yourself tear away the covering of his nakedness. Suppose even that what I did was not done as you had done it, suppose that, through some access of drunkenness creeping unawares upon me, I had laid bare my own shame as the Patriarch did; would it have been a curse which you would have incurred if you had walked backward and made your reply like a soft cloak to cover my reproach, if the letter of the brother who was wide-awake had veiled the brother who lay exposed through his own drowsiness in writing?



Gal. vi. 1

Next: How Jerome should have replied to Pammachius.

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