LXXXVIII. To Taurus the Patrician. 1797
Slanderers have forced me to go beyond the bounds of moderation, and compel me to write to you who have adorned the highest offices, and obtained the most distinguished honours. I therefore implore you to pardon me, for I do not write in self sufficiency, but because I am thrust forward by necessity. It is not because I expect to fall unjustly into trouble and distress, for this is the common fate of all who have sincerely served God, but because I desire to persuade your excellency that those who accuse my opinions are producing false charges against me. From my mothers breast I have been nurtured on apostolic teaching, and the creed laid down at Nicæa by the holy and blessed Fathers I have both learnt and teach. All who hold any other opinion I charge with impiety, and if any one persists in asserting that I teach the contrary, let him not bring a charge which I cannot defend, but convict me to my face. For this is agreeable to the laws alike of God and of man, but to whom is it so becoming to champion the wronged as to you, O friend of Christ, to whom boldness of utterance is given by the splendour of your lineage, the greatness of your rank and your foremost place in the law?