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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. IV:
Apology to the Emperor. (Apologia Ad Constantium.): Truth the defence of Thrones.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

12. Truth the defence of Thrones.

Had I been accused before any other, I should have appealed to your Piety; as once the Apostle appealed unto Cæsar, and put an end to the designs of his enemies against him. But since they have had the boldness to lay their charge before you, to whom shall I appeal from you? to the Father of Him who says, ‘I am the Truth 1322 ,’ that He may incline your heart into clemency:—

O Lord Almighty, and King of eternity, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who by Thy Word hast given this Kingdom to Thy servant Constantius; do Thou shine into his heart, that he, knowing the falsehood that is set against me, may both favourably receive this my defence; and may make known unto all men, that his ears are firmly set to hearken unto the Truth, according as it is written, ‘Righteous lips alone are acceptable unto the King 1323 .’ For Thou hast caused it to be said by Solomon, that thus the throne of the kingdom shall be established.

Wherefore at least enquire into this matter, and let the accusers understand that your desire is to learn the truth; and see, whether they will not shew their falsehood by their very looks; for the countenance is a test of the conscience as it is written, ‘A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken 1324 .’ Thus they who had conspired against Joseph 1325 were convicted by their own consciences; and the craft of Laban towards Jacob was shewn in his countenance 1326 . And thus you see the suspicious alarm of these persons, for they fly and hide themselves; but on our part frankness in making our defence. And the question between us is not one regarding worldly wealth, but concerning the honour of the Church. He that has been struck by a stone, applies to a physician; but sharper than a stone are the strokes of calumny; for as Solomon has said, ‘A false witness is a maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow 1327 ,’ and its wounds Truth alone is able to cure; and if Truth be set at nought, they grow worse and worse.


Footnotes

242:1322

John xiv. 6.

242:1323

Prov. xvi. 13, xxv. 5.

242:1324

Prov. xv. 13.

242:1325

Gen. xlii. 21; xxxi. 2.

242:1326

Vid. Vit. Ant. §67.

242:1327

Prov. xxv. 18.


Next: This charge rests on forgery.

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