3. The dilemma in which I am placed is of your making: it is brought out, not from the resources of dialectics, of which you are ignorant, but from among the tools of the murderer and with an intention like his. If I keep silence, I am held guilty: if I speak, I become an evil speaker. You at once forbid me to answer and compel me. Well, then; I must shun excess on both sides. I will say nothing that is injurious; but I must dissipate the charges made against me, for it is impossible not to be afraid of a man who is prepared to kill you. And I will do this in the order of what you have now set before me, leaving the rest as they are in those most learned books of yours which I confuted before I had read them.
You say that you sent your accusation against me not to the many but only to those who had been offended by what I had said; for one ought to speak to Christians not for display but for edification. Whence then, I beg you to consider, did the report of your having written these books reach me? Who was it that sowed them broadcast through Rome and Italy and the islands of the coast of Dalmatia? How did these charges against me ever come to my ears, if they were only lurking in your desk, and those of your friends? How can you dare to say that you are speaking as a Christian not for display but for edification when you set yourself in mature age to say things against your equal which a murderer could hardly say of a thief, or a harlot against one of her class, or a buffoon against a farce-player? You have for ever so long been labouring to bring forth these mountains of accusations against me and sharpening these swords to pierce my throat. Your cries have been as loud as Ceres complaints 3157 or a drivers shouts to his horses. Was this to make all the provinces through which they resounded read the praise you wrote of me? and recite your panegyrics upon me in every street, every corner, even in the weaving-shops of the women? This is the religious restraint and Christian edification of which you speak. Your reserve, your reticence is such that men come to me from the West, crowd upon crowd, and tell me of your abuse of me; and this, though only from memory, yet with such exact agreement that I was obliged 3158 to make my answer, not to your writings which I had not then read, but to what was said to be contained in them, and to intercept with the shield of truth the missiles of mendacity which were flying about through all the world.
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