Chapter 2.—3. Hear therefore, all ye who have read his revilings, what Petilianus has vented against me with more anger than consideration. To begin with, I will address you in the words of the apostle, which certainly are true, whatever I myself may be: "Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of mans judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self." With regard to what immediately follows, although I do not venture to apply to myself the words, "For I am conscious of nothing in myself," 2322 yet I say confidently in the sight of God, that I am conscious in myself of none of those charges which Petilianus has brought against my life since the time when I was baptized in Christ; "yet am I not hereby justified, but He that judgeth me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts; and then shall every man have praise of God. And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another." 2323 "Therefore let no man glory in men: for all things are yours; and ye are Christs; and Christ is Gods." 2324 Again I say, "Let no man glory in men;" nay, oftentimes I repeat it, "Let no man glory in men." If you perceive anything in us which is deserving of praise, refer it all to His praise, from whom is every good gift and every perfect gift; for it is "from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." 2325 For what have we which we did not receive? and if we have received it, let us not boast as though we had not received it. 2326 And in all these things which you know to be good in us, be ye our followers, at any rate, if we are Christs; 2327 but if, on the other hand, you either suspect, or believe, or see that any evil is in us, hold fast to that saying of the Lords, in which you may safely resolve not to desert His Church because of mens ill deeds. Whatsoever we bid you observe, that observe and do; but whatsoever evil works you think or know to be in us, those do ye not. 2328 For this is not the time for me to justify myself before you, when I have undertaken, neglecting all considerations of self, to recommend to you what is for your salvation, that no one should make his boast of men. For "cursed be the man that trusteth in man." 2329 So long as this precept of the Lord and His apostle be adhered to and observed, the cause which I serve will be victorious, even if I myself, as my enemy would fain have thought, am faint and oppressed in my own cause. For if you cling most firmly to what I urge on you with all my might, that every one is cursed who places his trust in man, so that none should make his boast of man, then you will in no wise desert the threshing-floor of the Lord on account of the chaff which either is now being dispersed beneath the blast of the wind of pride, or will be separated by the final winnowing; 2330 nor will you fly from the great house on account of the vessels made to dishonor; 2331 nor will you quit the net through the breaches made in it because of the bad fish which are to be separated on the shore; 2332 nor will you leave the good pastures of unity, because of the goats which are to be placed on the left when the Good Shepherd shall divide the flock; 2333 nor will you separate yourselves p. 598 by an impious secession, because of the mixture of the tares, from the society of that good wheat, whose source is that grain that dies and is multiplied thereby, and that grows together throughout the world until the harvest. For the field is the world,—not only Africa; and the harvest is the end of the world, 2334 —not the era of Donatus.
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