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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. IV:
Defence of His Flight. (Apologia de Fuga.): The Saints who fled were no cowards.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

18. The Saints who fled were no cowards.

Of a truth no one can possibly doubt that they were well furnished with the virtue of fortitude. For the Patriarch Jacob who had before fled from Esau, feared not death when it came, but at that very time blessed the Patriarchs, each according to his deserts. And the great Moses, who previously had hid himself from Pharaoh, and had withdrawn into Midian for fear of him, when he received the commandment, ‘Return into Egypt 1471 ,’ feared not to do so. And again, when he was bidden to go up into the mountain Abarim 1472 and die, he delayed not through cowardice, but even joyfully proceeded thither. And David, who had before fled from Saul, feared not to risk his life in war in defence of his people; but having the choice of death or of flight set before him, when he might have fled and lived, he wisely preferred death. And the great Elijah, who had at a former time hid himself from Jezebel, shewed no cowardice when he was commanded by the Spirit to meet Ahab, and to reprove Ahaziah. And Peter, who had hid himself for fear of the Jews, and the Apostle Paul who was let down in a basket, and fled, when they were told, ‘Ye must bear witness at Rome 1473 ,’ deferred not the journey; yea, rather, they departed rejoicing 1474 ; the one as hastening to meet his friends, received his death with exultation; and the other shrunk not from the time when it came, but gloried in it, saying, ‘For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand 1475 .’



Vid. Ex. iii. 10


Deut. xxxii. 49.


Vid. Acts xxiii. 11. [The reference to the Roman martyrdom of the two great Apostles should be noted. The tradition is as old as Clem. Rom.; much older than that of the Roman Episcopate of one of them.]


Vid. Euseb. Hist. ii. 25.


2 Tim. iv. 6.

Next: The Saints courageous in their flight, and divinely favoured.

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