Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. III:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Life and Works of Rufinus with Jerome's Apology Against Rufinus.: You speak of the Egyptian Bishop Paul. We received him, though an Origenist, as a stranger; and he has united himself to the orthodox faith. Not only Theophilus but the Emperors condemn Origen.
18. I can tell you of something which may make him still dearer to us, though more odious to you. A short time ago, the faction of the heretics which was scattered away from Egypt and Alexandria came to Jerusalem, and wished to make common cause with him, so that as they suffered together, they might have the same heresy imputed to them. But he repelled their advances, he scorned and cast them from him: he told them that he was not an enemy of the faith and was not going to take up arms against the Church: that his previous action had been the result of vexation not of unsoundness in the faith; and that he had sought only to prove his own innocence, not to attack that of others. You profess to consider an imperial rescript upsetting an episcopal decree to be an impiety. That is a matter for the responsibility of the man who obtained it. But what is your opinion of men who, when they have been themselves condemned, haunt the palaces of the great, and in a serried column make an attack on a single man who represents the faith of Christ? However, as to my own communion with the Pope Theophilus, I will call no other witness than the very man whom you pretend that I injured. 3178 His letters were always addressed to me, as you well know, even at the time when you prevented their being forwarded to me, and when you used daily to send letter carriers to him repeating to him with vehemence that his opponent was my most intimate friend, and telling the same falsehoods which you now shamelessly write, so that you might stir up his hatred against me and that his grief at the supposed injury done him might issue in oppression against me in matters of faith. But he, being a prudent man and a man of apostolical wisdom, came through time and experience to understand both our loyalty to him and your plots against us. If, as you declare, my followers stirred up a plot against you at Rome and stole your uncorrected manuscripts while you were asleep; who was it that stirred up the pope Theophilus against the public enemy in Egypt? Who obtained the decrees of the princes against them, and the consent of the whole of this quarter of the world? Yet you boast that you from your youth were the hearer and disciple of Theophilus, although he, before he became a bishop, through his native modesty, never taught in public, and you, after he became a Bishop, were never at Alexandria. Yet you dare, in order to deal a blow at me, to say “I do not accuse, or change, my masters.” If that were true it would in my opinion throw a grave suspicion on your Christian standing. As for myself, you have no right to charge me with condemning my former teachers: but I stand in awe of those words of Isaiah: 3179 “Woe unto them that call evil good and good evil, that put darkness for light and light for darkness, that call bitter sweet and sweet bitter.” But it is you who drink alike the honeywine of your masters and their poisons, who have fallen away from your true master the Apostle, who teaches that neither he himself or an angel, if they err in matters of faith, must not be followed.
Is. v. 20
Next: Against Vigilantius I wrote only what was right. I knew who had stirred him up against me.
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