If indeed that godlike and saintly soul were still in the flesh looking out upon human affairs, if those lofty tones were still heard with all their peculiar 62 grace and all their resistless utterance, who could arrive at such a pitch of audacity, as to attempt to speak one word upon this subject? that divine trumpet-voice would drown any word that could be uttered. But all of him has now flown back to God; at first indeed in the slight shadowy phantom of his body, he still rested on the earth; but now he has quite shed even that unsubstantial form, and bequeathed it to this world. Meantime the drones are buzzing round the cells of the Word, and are plundering the honey; so let no one accuse me of mere audacity for rising up to speak instead of those silent lips. I have not accepted this laborious task from any consciousness in myself of powers of argument superior to the others who might be named; I, if any, have the means of knowing that there are thousands in the Church who are strong in the gift of philosophic skill. Nevertheless I affirm that, both by the written and the natural law, to me more especially belongs this heritage of the departed, and therefore I myself, in preference to others, appropriate the legacy of the controversy. I may be counted amongst the least of those who are enlisted in the Church of God, but still I am not too weak to stand out as her champion against one who has broken with that Church. The very smallest member of a vigorous body would, by virtue of the unity of its life with the whole, be found stronger than one that had been cut away and was dying, however large the latter and small the former.
ἀποκληρωθεῖσαν. This is probably the meaning, after the analogy of ἀποκλήρωσις, in the sense (most frequent in Origen), of favour, partiality, passing into that of caprice, arbitrariness, cf. below, cap. 9, τίς ἡ ἀποκλήρωσις, κ.τ.λ. How arbitrarily he praises himself.
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