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.: He spoke of me as united in faith with him; but what is his faith? Why are his books kept secret? I can meet any attack.
4. These words are his own, he cannot deny them. The very elegance of the style and the laboured mode of speech, and, surpassing all these, the Christian simplicity which here appears, reveal the character of their author. But there is a different phase of the matter: Eusebius, it seems, has depraved these books; and now my friend who accuses Origen, and who is so careful of my reputation, declares that both Eusebius and I have gone wrong together, and then that we have held correct opinions together, and that in one and the same work. But he cannot now be my enemy and call me a heretic, when a moment before he has said that his belief was not dissonant from mine. Then, I must ask him what is the meaning of his balanced and doubtful way of speaking: “The Latin reader,” he says, “will find nothing here discordant from our faith.” What faith is this which he calls his? Is it the faith by which the Roman Church is distinguished? or is it the faith which is contained in the works of Origen? If he answers “the Roman,” then we are the Catholics, since we have adopted none of Origens errors in our translations. But if Origens blasphemy is his faith, then, though he tries to fix on me the charge of inconsistency, he proves himself to be a heretic. If the man who praises me is orthodox, he takes me, by his own confession as a sharer in his orthodoxy. If he is heterodox, he shews that he had praised me before my explanation because he thought me a sharer in his error. However, it will be time enough to reply to these books of his which whisper in corners and made their venomous attacks in secret, when they are published and come out from their dark places into the light, and when they have been able to reach me either through the zeal of my friends or the imprudence of my adversaries. We need not be much afraid of attacks which their author fears to publish and allows only his confederates to read. Then and not till then will I either acknowledge the justice of his charges, or refute them, or retort upon the accuser the accusations he has made: and will shew that my silence has been the result not of a bad conscience but of forbearance.
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