24. It is somewhat the same argument which you use against the pope Anastasius, namely, that, since you hold the letters of the bishop Siricius, it was impossible that he should write against you. I am afraid you suspect that some injury has been done you. I cannot understand how a man of your acuteness and capacity can condescend to such nonsense; you suppose that your readers are foolish, but you shew that you are foolish yourself. Then after this extraordinary argumentation, you subjoin this little sentence: “Far be such conduct from these reverend persons. It is from your school that such actions proceed. You gave us all the signs of peace at our departure, and then threw missiles charged with venom from behind our backs.” In this clause or rather declamatory speech, you intended, no doubt, to shew your rhetorical skill. It is true we gave you the signs of peace, but not to emp. 532 brace heresy; we joined hands, we accompanied you as you set forth on your journey, on the understanding that you were catholic not that we were heretical. But I want to learn what these poisoned missiles are which you complain that I threw from behind your back. I sent the presbyters, Vincentius, Paulinianus, Eusebius, Rufinus. Of these, Vincentius went to Rome long before you; Paulinianus and Eusebius set out a year after you had sailed; Rufinus two years after, for the cause of Claudius; all of them either for private reasons, or because another was in peril of his life. Was it possible for me to know that when you entered Rome, a nobleman had dreamed that a ship full of merchandise was entering with full blown sails? or that all questions about fate were being solved by a solution which should not itself be fatuous? or that you were translating the book of Eusebius as if it were Pamphilus? or that you were putting your own cover upon Origens poisoned dish by lending your majestic eloquence to this translation of his notorious work Περὶ ᾽Αρχῶν? This is a new way of calumniating a man. We sent out the accusers before you had committed the crime. It was not, I repeat, it was not by our plan, but by the providence of God, that these men, who were sent out for another reason, came to fight against the rising heresy. They were sent, like Joseph, to relieve the coming famine by the fervour of their faith.
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