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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. X:
Dogmatic Treatises, Ethical Works, and Sermons.: Chapter VI. In this matter we must imitate David's silence and humility, so as not even to seem deserving of harm.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter VI.

In this matter we must imitate David’s silence and humility, so as not even to seem deserving of harm.

21. What need is there to be troubled when we hear abuse? Why do we not imitate him who says: “I was dumb and humbled myself, and kept silence even from good words”? 55 Or did David only say this, and not act up to it? No, he also acted up to it. For when Shimei the son of Gera reviled him, David was silent; and although he was surrounded with armed men he did not return the abuse, nor sought revenge: nay, even when the son of Zeruiah spoke to him, because he wished to take vengeance on him, David did not permit it. 56 He went on as though dumb, and humbled; he went on in silence; nor was he disturbed, although called a bloody man, for he was conscious of his own gentleness. He therefore was not disturbed by insults, for he had full knowledge of his own good works.

22. He, then, who is quickly roused by wrong makes himself seem deserving of insult, even whilst he wishes to be shown not to deserve it. He who despises wrongs is better off than he who grieves over them. For he who despises them looks down on them, as though he feels them not; but he who grieves over them is tormented, just as though he actually felt them.



Psa. 39.2.


2 Sam. 16.6 ff.

Next: Chapter VII. How admirably Ps. xxxix. [xxxviii.] takes the place of an introduction. Incited thereto by this psalm the saint determines to write on duties. He does this with more reason even than Cicero, who wrote on this subject to his son. How, further, this is so.

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