Letter LXII.—To John and Antiochus. 4797
Athanasius to John and Antiochus, our beloved sons and fellow-presbyters in the Lord, greeting.
I was glad to receive your letter just now, the more so as you wrote from Jerusalem. I thank you for informing me about the brethren that there assembled, and about those who wish, on account of disputed points, to disturb the simple. But about these things let the Apostle charge them not to give heed to those who contend about words, and seek nothing else than to tell and hear some new thing 4798 . But do you, having your foundation sure, even p. 580 Jesus Christ our Lord, and the confession of the fathers concerning the faith, avoid those who wish to say anything more or less than that, and rather aim at the profit of the brethren, that they may fear God and keep His commandments, in order that both by the teaching of the fathers, and by the keeping of the commandments, they may be able to appear well-pleasing to the Lord in the day of judgment. But I have been utterly astonished at the boldness of those who venture to speak against our beloved Basil the bishop, a true servant of God. For from such vain talk they can be convicted of not loving even the confession of the fathers.
Greet the brethren. They that are with me greet you. I pray that ye may be well in the Lord, beloved and much-desired sons.
Of John and Antiochus nothing is known, unless the latter is the later bishop of Ptolemais and enemy of Chrysostom. Both men seem to belong to the class of well-meaning mischief-makers, given to retailing invidious stories. Hence the polite reserve of our little note (Migne xxvi. 115, and its laconic dismissal of the gossip about Basil, the new bishop of the Cappadocian Cæsarea (supr. p. 449). The main interest of this and the following letter, which seem to date from the winter 371–372, consists in the testimony of the high esteem of Athanasius for Basil, as well as his indifference to words where no essential principle was involved. The two recipients of this letter either lived or were visitors at Jerusalem. On Basils difficulties at this time, see D.C.B. i. 288 a, 293, and on his relations with Athan., cf. Prolegg. ch. ii. §10.579:4798
2 Tim. ii. 14; Acts xvii. 21.