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.: As to our translations of the Περὶ ᾽Αρχῶν, yours was doing harm, and mine was necessary in self-defence. You should be glad that heresy is exposed.
34. “But why,” you ask, “did you p. 536 accept my manuscripts which had been falsified? and why, when I had translated the Περὶ ᾽Αρχῶν did you dare to put your pen to the same work? If I had erred, as any man may, ought you not to summon me to reply by a private letter, and to speak smoothly to me, as I am speaking smoothly in my present letter?” My whole fault is this that, when accusations were brought against me in the guise of disingenuous praise, I tried to purge myself from them, and this without invidiously introducing your name. I wished to refer to many persons a charge which you alone had brought, not so as to retort the charge of heresy upon you, but to repel it from myself. Could I know that you would be angry if I wrote against the heretics? You had said that you had taken away the heretical passages from the works of Origen. I therefore turned my attacks not upon you but upon the heretics, for I did not believe that you were a favourer of heresy. Pardon me, if I did this with too great vehemence. I thought that I should give you pleasure. You say that it was by the dishonest tricks of those who acted for me that your manuscripts were brought out before the public, when they were kept secretly in your chamber, or were in possession only of the man who had desired to have the translation made for him. But how is this reconcilable with your former statement that either no one or very few had them? If they were kept secret in your chamber, how could they be in the possession of the man who had desired to have the translation made for him? If the one man for whom the manuscripts had been written had obtained them in order to conceal them, then they were not kept secret in your chamber, and they were not in the hands of those few who, as you now declare, possessed them. You accuse us of having stolen them away; and then again you reproach us with having bought them for a great sum of money and an immense bribe. In a single matter, and in one little letter, what a tissue of various and discordant falsehoods! You have full liberty for accusation, but I have none for defence. When you bring a charge, you think nothing about friendship. When I begin to reply, then your mind is full of the rights of friendship. Let me ask you: Did you write these manuscripts for concealment or for publication? If for concealment, why were they written? If for publication, why did you conceal them?
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