43. Moreover, I pointed out clearly that it is habitual to him to disparage all good men, and that, if he can find something to blame in one man after another of those who are highly esteemed and have gained a name in literature, he thinks that he has added to his own reputation. I shewed also how shamefully some of Christs 2995 priests have been assailed by him; and how he has spared neither the monks nor the virgins, nor those who live in continency, whom he had praised before; how he has defamed in his lampoons every order and degree of Christians; how shamefully and foully he assailed even Ambrose, that saintly man, the memory of whose illustrious life still lives in the hearts of all men: how even Didymus, whom he had formerly ranked among the seer-prophets and Apostles, now he places among those whose teaching diverges from that of the churches; how he brands with the marks of ignorance or of folly every single writer of ancient and of modern days; and finally does not spare even the martyrs. All these things I have brought to the proof of his own works and his own testimony, not to that of external witnesses. I have gone through each particular, and have brought out the evidence from those very books of his which he most commends, books which alone he excepted as containing nothing of which he needed to repent, while he says that he repents of all his other sayings and writings; not that his repentance is sincere, but that he is driven into such straits that he must choose either to feign penitence or to forfeit the vantage ground which enables him to bite and wound any one whom he pleases. I therefore preferred not to touch his other writings, so that his conviction might come out of those alone out of which he had himself closed the door of repentance. Last of all I have shown that he has altered the sacred books which the Apostles had committed to the churches as the trustworthy deposit of the Holy Spirit, and that he who calls out about the audacity shewn in translating mere human works himself commits the greater crime of subverting the divine oracles.
Sacerdotes. This is almost always applied to Bishops. Here the allusion is chiefly to Jeromes attack upon Ambrose. See Sect. 23–25.