7. If it is true that you write a letter to me so as to admonish me, and, because you wish that I should be reformed, and that you do not wish that men should have a stumbling block put in their way, and that some may be driven mad and others be put to silence; why do you write books addressed to others against me, and scatter them by your myrmidons for the whole world to read? And what becomes of your dilemma in which you try to entangle me, “Whom, best of masters, did you think to correct? If those to whom you wrote, there was no fault to find with them; if me whom you accuse, it was not to me that you wrote”? And I will reply to you in your own words: “Whom did you wish to correct, unlearned master? Those who had done no wrong? or me to whom you did not write? You think your leaders are brutish and are all incapable of understanding your subtilty, or rather your ill will, (for it was in this that the serpent was more subtile than all the beasts in paradise,) in asking that my admonition to you should be of a private character, when you were pressing an indictment against me in public. You are not ashamed to call this indictment of yours an Apology: And you complain that I oppose a shield to your poniard, and with much religiosity and sanctimoniousness you assume the mask of humility, and say: “If I had erred, why did you write to others, and not try to confute me?” I will retort on you this very point. What you complain that I did not do, why did you not do yourself? It is as if a man who is attacking another with kicks and fisticuffs, and finds him intending to shew fight, should say to him: “Do you not know the command, If a man smites you on the cheek, turn to him the other?” It comes to this, my good sir, you are determined to beat me, to strike out my eye; and then, when I bestir myself ever so little, you harp upon the precept of the Gospel. Would you like to have all the windings of your cunning exposed?—those tricks of the foxes who dwell among the ruins, of whom Ezekiel writes, 3171 “Like foxes in the desert, so are thy prophets, O Israel.” Let me make you understand what you have done. You praised me in your Preface in such a way that your praises are made a ground of accusation against me, and if I had not declared myself to be without any connexion with my admirer, I should have been judged as a heretic. After I repelled your charges, that is your praises, and without shewing ill will to you personally, answered the accusations, not the accuser, and inveighed against the heretics, to shew that, though defamed by you, I was a catholic; you grew angry, and raved and composed the most magnificent works against me; and when you had given them to all men to read and repeat, letters came to me from Italy, and Rome and Dalmatia, shewing each more clearly than the last, what all the encomiums were worth with which in your former laudation you had decorated me.
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