Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol VIII:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Decretals.: Preface.
p. 637 The Third Epistle.
To Bishop Hilary.
That extraneous judgments should be rejected, and that the accused person should carry out his cause in his own locality; and that every one who brings forward a charge should intimate in writing his ability to prove it, and that if he fails to prove what he alleges, he should bear the penalty which he advanced.
Fabian, to my dearly beloved brother Bishop Hilary.
We ought to be mindful of the grace of God to us, who, in the compassion of His own regard, hath raised us for this reason to the summit of sacerdotal dignity, that by cleaving to His commandments, and by being set in a certain eminence as overseers of His priests, we may restrain things unlawful, and inculcate things that are to be followed. For we have heard that in those western parts in which you dwell, the craft of the devil rageth so violently against the people of Christ, and breaketh forth in delusions so manifold, that it oppresseth and troubleth not only the secular laity, but the priests of the Lord themselves also. Wherefore, involved as we are in deep grief, we cannot conceal what we ought severely to correct. Accordingly a sufficient remedy must be employed for such wounds, lest a hasty facility in the cure may prove of no service for the deadly disease of the head; and lest the trouble, by being too easily dealt with, may involve, through the defect of an illegitimate mode of cure, the hurt and the healers together in its evil.
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