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.: An appeal to Pammachius.
44. It remains that every reader of this book should give his suffrage for one or the other of us, judging as he desires that he may himself be judged by God; and that he should not injure his own soul by favoring either party unjustly. Also, my beloved son Apronianus, go to Pammachius, that saintly man whose letter is put forward by our friend in this Invective or Bill of Indictment of his, and adjure him in Christs name to incline in his judgment to the cause of innocence not that of party-spirit: it is the cause of truth that is at stake, and religion not party should be our guide. It is a precept of our Lord 2996 to “judge not according to the appearance, but judge a righteous judgment,” and, just as in each one of the least of his brethren it is Christ who is thirsty and hungry, who is clothed and fed; so in these who are unjustly judged it is He who is judged unrighteously. When some are hated without a cause, he will speak on their behalf and say: 2997 “You have hated me without a cause.” What judgment does he think will be formed of this cause and of his action in it before the tribunal of Christ? He remembers well no doubt how, when the men we are speaking of had written and published his books against Jovinian, and men were already reading them and finding fault with them, he withdrew them from the hands of the readers, and stopped their remarks, and blamed them for their blame of his friend; and how, further, he sent the books back to the author, with the suggestion that he should either correct those passages which had been found fault with, or in any way that he would set matters right. But when what I had written fell into his hands,—it was not then a book but merely a number of imperfect, uncorrected papers, which had been subp. 481 tracted by fraud and theft by some scoundrel; he did not bring it to me and complain of it, though I was close at hand; he did not deign even to rebuke me or to convict me of wrong through some friend, as it might have been, or even some enemy; but sent my papers to the East, and set to work the tongue of that man who never yet knew how to control it. Would it have been against the precepts of our religion if he had met me face to face? Did he think me so utterly unworthy of holding converse with him, that it was not worth while even to argue with me? Yet for us too Christ died, for our salvation also He shed his blood. We are sinners, I grant, but we belong to his flock and are numbered among his sheep. Pammachius, however, must be held in honour for his excellent deeds wrought through faith in Christ, which should be an example to all others; for he has counted his rank as nothing worth, and has made himself equal to the humble; consequently, I was unwilling to see him carried away by human partisanship and contention, lest his faith should suffer damage in any way. At all events we shall see how far he preserves a right judgment when he sees that that great master Jerome 2998 taught, in the commentaries which he selected as satisfactory even after his repentance, the very things which he condemns in others as being alien to his own teaching. We shall think that his former action was a mistake due to ignorance if he recognizes it and sets it right. As for myself, though 2999 under the compulsion of necessity, I have endeavoured to make answer to him who had attacked me with such great bitterness, yet for this also I ask for forgiveness if I have handled the matter too sharply; for God is my witness how truly I can say that I have kept silence on many more points than I have brought forward. I could not wholly keep silence in the presence of accusations which I know to be undeserved, when I heard from many that my silence would bring their own faith into peril.
John vii. 24480:2997
John xv. 25481:2998
The older editions do not contain the name.481:2999
Some copies read visi instead of nisi sumus: I seemed to be compelled.
Next: Why my translations of Origen had created offence, but Jerome's not.
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