LXXXIX. To Florentius the Patrician. 1798
In sending a letter to your greatness I am daring what is beyond me, but the cause of my daring is not self-confidence, but the slanders of my calumniators. I have thought it well worth while to instruct your righteous ears how openly the impugners of my opinions are calumniating me. I have been guilty, I own, of many errors, but up to now I have ever kept the faith of the apostles undefiled, and on this account alone I have cherished the hope that I shall meet with mercy on the day of the Lords appearing. On behalf of this faith I continue to contend against every kind of heresy; this faith I am ever giving to the nurslings of piety; by means of this faith I have metamorphosed countless wolves into sheep, and have brought them to the Saviour who is the Arch-shepherd of us all. So have I learnt not only from the apostles and prophets but also from the interpreters of their writings, Ignatius, Eustathius, Athanasius, Basil, Gregory, John, and the rest of the lights of the world; and before these from the holy Fathers in council at Nicæa, whose confession of the faith I preserve in its integrity, like an ancestral inheritance, styling corrupt and enemies of the truth all who dare to transgress its decrees. I invoke your greatness, now that you have heard from me in these terms, to shut the mouths of my calumniators. It is in my opinion wholly unreasonable to accept as true what is charged against men in their absence; rather is it lawful and right that those who wish to appear as prosecutors should accuse the defendants in their presence, and endeavour to convict them face to face. Under these conditions the judges will without difficulty be able to arrive at the truth.
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