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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. VII:
Select Letters of Saint Gregory Nazianzen.: Letter CXLV

Early Church Fathers  Index     

p. 481 Ep. CXLV.  To Verianus.

Public executioners commit no crime, for they are the servants of the laws:  nor is the sword unlawful with which we punish criminals.  But nevertheless, the public executioner is not a laudable character, nor is the death-bearing sword received joyfully.  Just so neither can I endure to become hated by confirming the divorce by my hand and tongue.  It is far better to be the means of union and of friendship than of division and parting of life.  I suppose it was with this in his mind that our admirable Governor entrusted me with the enquiry about your daughter, as one who could not proceed to divorce abruptly or unfeelingly.  For he proposed me not as Judge, but as Bishop, and placed me as a mediator in your unhappy circumstances.  I beg you therefore, to make some allowance for my timidity, and if the better prevail, to use me as a servant of your desire:  I rejoice in receiving such commands.  But if the worse and more cruel course is to be taken, seek for some one more suitable to your purpose.  I have not time, for the sake of favouring your friendship (though in all respects I have the highest regard for you), to offend against God, to Whom I have to give account of every action and thought.  I will believe your daughter (for the truth shall be told) when she can lay aside her awe of you, and boldly declare the truth.  At present her condition is pitiable—for she assigns her words to you, and her tears to her husband.

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