Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. III:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Life and Works of Rufinus with Jerome's Apology Against Rufinus.: My translation of the Περὶ ᾽Αρχῶν was meant to aid in a good cause.
40. I explained the reasons which induced me to make the translation so that it should be seen that I acted, not in the spirit of contention and rivalry, in which he so often acts, but from the necessity which I have explained above; and I did it as an aid to a good and useful undertaking. 2994 I hoped that it might impart something both of lucidity and of brightness to one who, though with little culture, was composing a serious work. Do we not know cases in which old houses have been of use in the construction of new ones? Sometimes a stone is taken from the parts of an old house which are remote and concealed, to decorate the portal of the new house and adorn its entrance. And at times an edifice of modern architecture is supported by the strength of a single ancient beam. Are we then to place ourselves in opposition to those who rightly use what is old in building up what is new? Are we to say, You are not allowed to transfer the materials of the old house to the new, unless you join each beam to its beam, each stone to its stone, unless you make a portico of what was a portico before, a chamber of what was a chamber; and this must further involve building up the most secret recesses from what were such before, and the sewers from the former sewers: for every large house must have such places. This is the process of translating word for word, which in former days you esteemed inadmissible, but which you now approve. But you claim that what is in itself unlawful is lawful for you, while for us even what is lawful you impute as a crime. You think it right that you should be praised for changing the words of the Sacred Books and Divine volumes; but if we, when we imitate you in translating a human work, pass over anything which seems to us not to be edifying, we are to have no pardon for this at your hands, though you yourself set us the example.
That is, the work which Macarius was writing upon fate, as explained in this Apology i. 11.
Next: Recapitulation of the Apology.
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