21. Now suppose that while you were writing this, as you tell us you did, quickly not cautiously, by the poor glimmering light of a lantern, some Prophet had stood by you and had cried out: “O writer, suppress those words, restrain your pen; for the time is coming and is not far off when you will make a schism and separate yourself from the church; and, in order that you may find a colorable excuse for this schism, you will begin to defame these very books which you now make out to be so admirable. You will then say that the man whom you call your own Brazen-heart, 2969 and whose name you are just about to write down as Adamantine because of the merit of his praise-worthy labours, did not write books for the edification of the soul but venomous heresies. This man, further, whom you rightly describe as not having been condemned by Demetrius on the ground of his belief, who you say was not accused of bringing in strange doctrines, you will then pronounce worthy of execration because of his strange doctrines; as to what you are writing about mad dogs bringing feigned charges against him, you will yourself feign the same: and the Senate of Rome as you call it, you will then stir up against him as you complain that they now do by your letters of admonition, your vehement attestations, and satellites flying in all directions. This is the return that you will make to your admirable Brazen-heart for all his labours. Therefore beware how you write now, for, if you write as you are doing and afterwards act as I have said, you will with more justice be condemned by your own judgment than he by that of others.” Would you, do you think, have given credit to that prophet? Would you not have thought it more likely that he was mad than that you would ever come to such a pass? The fact is that in controversies of this kind there is no thought of sparing a friend if only an enemy can be injured. But you go beyond even this point: you do not spare yourself in your attempt to ruin not your enemies but your friends.
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