2. He professes in the first place to be replying to insinuations made at Rome against his orthodoxy, he being a man most fully approved in respect both of divine faith and of charity. He says that he would have wished to come himself, were it not that he had lately returned, after thirty years absence, to his parents, and that it would have seemed harsh and inhuman to leave them after having been so long in coming to them; and also if he had not become somewhat less robust through his long and toilsome journey, and too infirm to begin his labours again. As he had not been able to come himself, he had sent his apology as a kind of literary cudgel which the bishop might hold in his hand and drive away the dogs who were raging against him. If he is a man approved for his divine faith and charity by all, and especially by the Bishop to whom he writes; how is it that at Rome he is assailed and reviled, and that the reports of the attacks upon his reputation grow thicker. Further, what sort of humility is this, that a man speaks of himself as approved for his divine faith and charity? The Apostles prayed, 3082 “Lord p. 502 increase our faith,” and received for answer: “If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed;” and even to Peter it is said: 3083 “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” Why should I speak of charity, which is greater than either faith or hope, and which Paul says he hopes for rather than assumes: without which even the blood shed in martyrdom and the body given up to the flames has no reward to crown it. Yet both of these our friend claims as his own: in such a way, however, that there still remain creatures who bark against him, and who will go on barking unless the illustrious Pontiff drives them away with his stick. But how absurd is this plea which he puts forward, of having returned to his parents after thirty years. Why, he has got neither father nor mother! He left them alive when he was a young man, and, now that he is old, he pines for them when they are dead. But perhaps, he means by “parents,” what is meant in the talk of the soldiers and the common people, his kinsfolk and relations; well, he says he does not wish to be thought so harsh and inhuman as to desert them; and therefore he leaves his home 3084 and goes to live at Aquileia. That most approved faith of his is in great peril at Rome, and yet he lies on his back, being a bit tired after thirty years, and cannot make that very easy journey in a carriage along that Flaminian Way. He puts forward his lassitude after his long journey, as if he had done nothing but move about for thirty years, or as if, after resting at Aquileia for two years, he was still worn out with the labour of his past travels.
Luke 17:5, 6502:3083
Matt. xiv. 31502:3084
This old home was at Concordia. Jer. Ep. V, 2; comp. with title of Ep. X.