2. Insincerity of this charge.
But forasmuch as they pretend to charge me with cowardice, it is necessary that I should write somewhat concerning this, whereby it shall be proved that they are men of wicked minds, who have not read the sacred Scriptures: or if they have read them, that they do not believe the divine inspiration of the oracles they contain. For had they believed this, they would not dare to act contrary to them, nor imitate the malice of the Jews who slew the Lord. For God having given them a commandment, Honour thy father and thy mother, and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death 1393 ; that people established a contrary law, changing the honour into dishonour, and alienating to other uses the money which was due from the children to their parents. And though they had read what David did, they acted in contradiction to his example, and accused the guiltless for plucking the ears of corn, and rubbing them in their hands on the Sabbath day 1394 . Not that they cared either for the laws, or for the Sabbath, for they were guilty of greater transgressions of the law on that day: but being wicked-minded, they grudged the disciples the way of salvation, and desired that their own private notions should have the sole pre-eminence. They however have received the reward of their iniquity, having ceased to be an holy nation, and being counted henceforth as the rulers of Sodom, and as the people of Gomorrah 1395 . And these men likewise, not less than they, seem to me to have received their punishment already in their ignorance of their own folly. For they understand not what they say, but think that they know things of which they are ignorant; while the only knowledge that is in them is to do evil, and to frame devices more and more wicked day by day. Thus they reproach us with our present flight, not for the sake of virtue, as wishing us to shew manliness by coming forward (how is it possible that such a wish can be entertained by enemies in behalf of those who run not with them in the same career of madness?); but being full of malice, they pretend this, and buzz 1396 all around that such is the case, thinking, foolish as indeed they are, that through fear of their revilings, we shall yet be induced to give ourselves up to them. For this is what they desire: to accomplish this they have recourse to all kinds of schemes: they pretend themselves to be friends, while they search as enemies, to the end that they may glut themselves with our blood, and put us also out of the way, because we have always opposed and do still oppose their impiety, and confute and brand their heresy.
Matt. xv. 4.255:1394
Luke vi. 1. sqq.255:1395
Isa. 1:10, 11.255:1396
περιβομβεῖν, Nic. Def. 14, note 1; Greg. Naz. Orat. 27. n. 2.