Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. IV:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Writings in Connection with the Donatist Controversy.: Chapter 11
Chapter 11.—12. What wonder is it then, if, when I draw in the grain that has been shaken forth from the threshing-floor of the Lord, together with the soil and chaff, I suffer injury from the dust that rebounds against me; or that, when I am diligently seeking after the lost sheep of my Lord, I am torn by the briars of thorny tongues? I entreat you, lay aside for a time all considerations of party feeling, and judge with some degree of fairness between Petilianus and myself. I am desirous that you should be acquainted with the cause of the Church; he, that you should be familiar with mine. For what other reason than because he dares not bid you disbelieve my witnesses, whom I am constantly citing in the cause of the Church,—for they are prophets and apostles, and Christ Himself, the Lord of prophets and apostles,—whereas you easily give him credit in whatever he may choose to say concerning me, a man against a man, and one, moreover, of your own party against a stranger to you? And should I adduce any witnesses to my life, however important the thing he might say would be, it would not be believed by them, and of this Petilianus would quickly persuade you; especially when any one would bring forward a plea for me. Since he is an enemy of the Donatist party, in virtue of this fact he would also continually be considered your enemy. Petilianus therefore reigns supreme. Whenever he aims any abuse at me, of whatever character it may be, you all applaud and shout assent. This cause he has found wherein the victory is possible for him, but only with you for judges. He will seek for neither proof nor witness; for all that he has to prove in his words is this, that he lavishes most copious abuse on one whom you most cordially hate. For whereas, when the testimony of divine Scripture is quoted in such abundance and in such express terms in favor of the Catholic Church, he remains silent amidst your grief, he has chosen for himself a subject on which he may speak amidst applause from you; and though really conquered, yet, pretending that he stands unmoved, he may make statements concerning me like this, and even worse than this. It is enough for me, 2361 in respect of the cause which I am now pleading, that whatsoever I may be found to be, yet the Church for which I speak unconquered.
Ubi vobis faventibus loquatur, et victus verum simulans statum, talia vel etiam sceleratiori dictat in me. Mihi sat est ad rem, etc. Morel (Elem. Crit. pp. 326-328) suggests as an improvement. "Ubi vobis faventibus loquatur et victus. Verum si millies tantum talia vel etiam sceleratiora dicat in me, mihi sat est", etc.,— "on which he may speak amidst applause from you, even when beaten. But if he were to make a thousand times as many statements concerning me," etc.
Next: Chapter 12
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