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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. IV:
Defence of His Flight. (Apologia de Fuga.): The accusation shews the mind of the accusers.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

9. The accusation shews the mind of the accusers.

Now if they had been of sound mind, they would have seen that they were in this strait, and that they were falling foul of their own arguments. But since they have lost all judgment, they are still led on to persecute, and seek to destroy, and yet perceive not their own impiety. It may be they even venture to accuse Providence itself (for nothing is beyond the reach of their presumption), that it does not deliver up to them those whom they desire; certain as it is, according to the saying of our Saviour, that not even a sparrow can fall into the snare without our Father which is in heaven 1428 . But when these accursed ones obtain possession of any one, they immediately forget not only all other, but even themselves; and raising their brow in very haughtiness, they neither acknowledge times and seasons, nor respect human nature in those whom they injure. Like the tyrant of Babylon 1429 , they attack more furiously; they shew pity to none, but mercilessly ‘upon the ancient,’ as it is written, ‘they very heavily lay the yoke,’ and ‘they add to the grief of them that are wounded 1430 .’ Had they not acted in this manner; had they not driven into banishment those who spoke in my defence against their calumnies, their representations might have appeared to some persons sufficiently plausible. But since they have conspired against so many other Bishops of high character, and have spared neither the great confessor Hosius, nor the Bishop of Rome, nor so many others from the Spains and the Gauls, and Egypt, and Libya, and the other countries, but have committed such cruel outrages against all who have in any way opposed them in my behalf; is it not plain that their designs have been directed rather against me than against any other, and that their desire is miserably to destroy me as they have done others? To accomplish this they vigilantly watch for an opportunity, and think themselves injured, when they see those safe, whom they wished not to live.



Matt. x. 29.


Encyc. 5.


Is. xlvii. 6; Ps. lxix. 26.

Next: Their real grievance is not that Athanasius is a coward, but that he is free.

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