The First Theological Oration.
A Preliminary Discourse Against the Eunomians.
I. I am to speak against persons who pride themselves on their eloquence; so, to begin with a text of Scripture, “Behold, I am against thee, O thou proud one,”1 Jer. l. 31. not only in thy system of teaching, but also in thy hearing, and in thy tone of mind. For there are certain persons who have not only their ears2 2 Tim. iv. 3. and their tongues, but even, as I now perceive, their hands too, itching for our words; who delight in profane babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called,3 Ib. ii. 16. and strifes about words, which tend to no profit; for so Paul, the Preacher and Establisher of the “Word cut short,”4 Rom. ix. 28. the disciple and teacher of the Fishermen,5 S. Paul is called a disciple of the fishermen, as having been in some sense their follower (though in fact he was never a literal disciple of any of them); and their teacher as having taught such Successors of the Apostles as SS. Timothy and Titus. calls all that is excessive or superfluous in discourse. But as to those to whom we refer, would that they, whose tongue is so voluble and clever in applying itself to noble and approved language, would likewise pay some attention to actions. For then perhaps in a little while they would become less sophistical, and less absurd and strange acrobats of words, if I may use a ridiculous expression about a ridiculous subject.
II. But since they neglect every path of righteousness, and look only to this one point, namely, which of the propositions submitted to them they shall bind or loose, (like those persons who in the theatres perform wrestling matches in public, but not that kind of wrestling in which the victory is won according to the rules of the sport, but a kind to deceive the eyes of those who are ignorant in such matters, and to catch applause), and every marketplace must buzz with their talking; and every dinner party be worried to death with silly talk and boredom; and every festival be made unfestive and full of dejection, and every occasion of mourning be consoled by a greater calamity6 i.e. be thrown into the shade by something more serious which caused them by comparison to be scarcely felt any longer.—their questions—and all the women’s apartments accustomed to simplicity be thrown into confusion and be robbed of its flower of modesty by the torrent of their words…since, I say this is so, the evil is intolerable and not to be borne, and our Great Mystery is in danger of being made a thing of little moment. Well then, let these spies7 κατάσκοποι quasi ψευδεπίσκοποι. bear with us, moved as we are with fatherly compassion, and as holy Jeremiah says, torn in our hearts;8 Jer. iv. 19. let them bear with us so far as not to give a savage reception to our discourse upon this subject; and let them, if indeed they can, restrain their tongues for a short while and lend us their ears. However that may be, you shall at any rate suffer no loss. For either we shall have spoken in the ears of them that will hear,9 Ecclus. xxv. 9. and our words will bear some fruit, namely an advantage to you (since the Sower soweth the Word10 S. Mark iv. 3 and 14. “He that soweth the Word soweth upon,” etc. So Billius and the Benedictines, but the rendering in the text seems preferable. upon every kind of mind; and the good and fertile bears fruit), or else you will depart despising this discourse of ours as you have despised others, and having drawn from it further material for gainsaying and railing at us, upon which to feast yourselves yet more.
And you must not be astonished if I speak a language which is strange to you and contrary to your custom, who profess to know everything and to teach everything in a too impetuous and generous manner…not to pain you by saying ignorant and rash.
III. Not to every one, my friends, does it belong to philosophize about God; not to every one; the Subject is not so cheap and low; and I will add, not before every audience, nor at all times, nor on all points; but on certain occasions, and before certain persons, and within certain limits.
Not to all men, because it is permitted only to those who have been examined, and are passed masters in meditation, and who have been previously purified in soul and body, or at the very least are being purified. For the impure to touch the pure is, we may safely say, not safe, just as it is unsafe to fix weak eyes upon the sun’s rays. And what is the permitted occasion? It is when we are free from all external defilement or disturbance, and when that which rules within us is not confused with vexatious or erring images; like persons mixing up good writing with bad, or filth with the sweet odours of unguents. For it is necessary to be truly at leisure to know God; and when we can get a convenient season, to discern the straight road of the things divine. And who are the permitted persons? They to whom the subject is of real concern, and not they who make it a matter of pleasant gossip, like any other thing, after the races, or the theatre, or a concert, or a dinner, or still lower employments. To such men as these, idle jests and pretty contradictions about these subjects are a part of their amusement.
IV. Next, on what subjects and to what extent may we philosophize? On matters within our reach, and to such an extent as the mental power and grasp of our audience may extend. No further, lest, as excessively loud sounds injure the hearing, or excess of food the body, or, if you will, as excessive burdens beyond the strength injure those who bear them, or excessive rains the earth; so these too, being pressed down and overweighted by the stiffness, if I may use the expression, of the arguments should suffer loss even in respect of the strength they originally possessed.11 i.e. Should not only fail to be strengthened thereby, but be actually weakened, through their inability to understand the argument. A bad defence weakens a good cause.
V. Now, I am not saying that it is not needful to remember God at all times;…I must not be misunderstood, or I shall be having these nimble and quick people down upon me again. For we ought to think of God even more often than we draw our breath; and if the expression is permissible, we ought to do nothing else. Yea, I am one of those who entirely approve that Word which bids us meditate day and night,12 Ps. i. 2. and tell at eventide and morning and noon day,13 Ps. lv. 17. and praise the Lord at every time;14 Ps. xxxiv. 1. or, to use Moses’ words, whether a man lie down, or rise up, or walk by the way, or whatever else he be doing15 Deut. vi. 7.—and by this recollection we are to be moulded to purity. So that it is not the continual remembrance of God that I would hinder, but only the talking about God; nor even that as in itself wrong, but only when unseasonable; nor all teaching, but only want of moderation. As of even honey repletion and satiety, though it be of honey, produce vomiting;16 Prov. xxv. 16. and, as Solomon says and I think, there is a time for every thing,17 Eccles. iii. 1. and that which is good ceases to be good if it be not done in a good way; just as a flower is quite out of season in winter, and just as a man’s dress does not become a woman, nor a woman’s a man; and as geometry is out of place in mourning, or tears at a carousal; shall we in this instance alone disregard the proper time, in a matter in which most of all due season should be respected? Surely not, my friends and brethren (for I will still call you Brethren, though you do not behave like brothers). Let us not think so nor yet, like hot tempered and hard mouthed horses, throwing off our rider Reason, and casting away Reverence, that keeps us within due limits, run far away from the turning point,18 The course of the chariot races in the Greek Games was round the Hippodrome a certain number of times. To facilitate this arrangement, a party wall was built down the middle, and at either end of it certain posts were set up called νύσσαι, or in Latin Metæ, round which the cars were to turn. The object of the charioteers was to turn round these as close as possible, to save distance; and to do this well it was necessary to have the horses under perfect control, as well as perfectly trained, to make the semicircle at full gallop almost on the axis of the car. The horses that got out of hand and galloped wildly round a large circle would almost certainly lose distance enough to lose the race, while the driver would be laughed at for his unskilfulness. but let us philosophize within our proper bounds, and not be carried away into Egypt, nor be swept down into Assyria19 Dan. iii. 12., nor sing the Lord’s song in a strange land, by which I mean before any kind of audience, strangers or kindred, hostile or friendly, kindly or the reverse, who watch what we do with over great care, and would like the spark of what is wrong in us to become a flame, and secretly kindle and fan it and raise it to heaven with their breath and make it higher than the Babylonian flame which burnt up every thing around it. For since their strength lies not in their own dogmas, they hunt for it in our weak points. And therefore they apply themselves to our—shall I say “misfortunes” or “failings”?—like flies to wounds. But let us at least be no longer ignorant of ourselves, or pay too little attention to the due order in these matters. And if it be impossible to put an end to the existing hostility, let us at least agree upon this, that we will utter Mysteries under our breath, and holy things in a holy manner, and we will not cast to ears profane that which may not be uttered, nor give evidence that we possess less gravity than those who worship demons, and serve shameful fables and deeds; for they would sooner give their blood to the uninitiated than certain words. But let us recognize that as in dress and diet and laughter and demeanour there is a certain decorum, so there is also in speech and silence; since among so many titles and powers of God, we pay the highest honour to The Word. Let even our disputings then be kept within bounds.
VI. Why should a man who is a hostile listener to such words be allowed to hear about the Generation of God, or his creation, or how God was made out of things which had no existence, or of section and analysis and division?20 The allusion is to the Arian and Eunomian habit of gossiping about the most sacred subjects in every sort of place or company or time, in order to promote their heresy. Why do we make our accusers judges? Why do we put swords into the hands of our enemies? How, thinkest thou, or with what temper, will the arguments about such subjects be received by one who approves of adulteries, and corruption of children, and who worships the passions and cannot conceive of aught higher than the body…who till very lately set up gods for himself, and gods too who were noted for the vilest deeds? Will it not first be from a material standpoint, shamefully and ignorantly, and in the sense to which he has been accustomed? Will he not make thy Theology a defence for his own gods and passions? For if we ourselves wantonly misuse these words,21 Such expressions as Generation and the like would certainly be understood in a material sense by the heathen; and so would place an unnecessary stumbling-block in the way of their conversion. it will be a long time before we shall persuade them to accept our philosophy. And if they are in their own persons inventors of evil things, how should they refrain from grasping at such things when offered to them? Such results come to us from mutual contest. Such results follow to those who fight for the Word beyond what the Word approves; they are behaving like mad people, who set their own house on fire, or tear their own children, or disavow their own parents, taking them for strangers.
VII. But when we have put away from the conversation those who are strangers to it, and sent the great legion22 Luke viii. 31. on its way to the abyss into the herd of swine, the next thing is to look to ourselves, and polish our theological self to beauty like a statue. The first point to be considered is—What is this great rivalry of speech and endless talking? What is this new disease of insatiability? Why have we tied our hands and armed our tongues? We do not praise either hospitality, or brotherly love, or conjugal affection, or virginity; nor do we admire liberality to the poor, or the chanting of Psalms, or nightlong vigils,23 S. John Chrysostom, consecrated Archbishop of Constantinople in 397, incurred much unpopularity among his clergy by insisting on the revival of the Night Hours of prayer. or tears. We do not keep under the body by fasting, or go forth to God by prayer; nor do we subject the worse to the better—I mean the dust to the spirit—as they would do who form a just judgment of our composite nature; we do not make our life a preparation for death; nor do we make ourselves masters of our passions, mindful of our heavenly nobility; nor tame our anger when it swells and rages, nor our pride that bringeth to a fall, nor unreasonable grief, nor unchastened pleasure, nor meretricious laughter, nor undisciplined eyes, nor insatiable ears, nor excessive talk, nor absurd thoughts, nor aught of the occasions which the Evil One gets against us from sources within ourselves; bringing upon us the death that comes through the windows,24 Jer. ix. 21. as Holy Scripture saith; that is, through the senses. Nay we do the very opposite, and have given liberty to the passions of others, as kings give releases from service in honour of a victory, only on condition that they incline to our side, and make their assault upon God more boldly, or more impiously. And we give them an evil reward for a thing which is not good, license of tongue for their impiety.
VIII. And yet, O talkative Dialectician, I will ask thee one small question,25 Job xxxviii. 3. and answer thou me, as He saith to Job, Who through whirlwind and cloud giveth Divine admonitions.26 Job xxxviii. 1. Are there many mansions in God’s House, as thou hast heard, or only one? Of course you will admit that there are many, and not only one. Now, are they all to be filled, or only some, and others not; so that some will be left empty, and will have been prepared to no purpose? Of course all will be filled, for nothing can be in vain which has been done by God. And can you tell me what you will consider this Mansion to be? Is it the rest and glory which is in store There for the Blessed, or something else?—No, not anything else. Since then we are agreed upon this point, let us further examine another also. Is there any thing that procures these Mansions, as I think there is; or is there nothing?—Certainly there is—What is it? Is it not that there are various modes of conduct, and various purposes, one leading one way, another another way, according to the proportion of faith, and these we call Ways? Must we, then, travel all, or some of these Ways…the same individual along them all, if that be possible; or, if not, along as many as may be; or else along some of them? And even if this may not be, it would still be a great thing, at least as it appears to me, to travel excellently along even one.—“You are right in your conception.”—What then when you hear there is but One way, and that a narrow one,27 Matt. vii. 14. does the word seem to you to shew? That there is but one on account of its excellence. For it is but one, even though it be split into many parts. And narrow because of its difficulties, and because it is trodden by few in comparison with the multitude of the adversaries, and of those who travel along the road of wickedness. “So I think too.” Well, then, my good friend, since this is so, why do you, as though condemning our doctrine for a certain poverty, rush headlong down that one which leads through what you call arguments and speculations, but I frivolities and quackeries? Let Paul reprove you with those bitter reproaches, in which, after his list of the Gifts of Grace, he says, Are all Apostles? Are all Prophets? etc.28 1 Cor. xii. 29.
IX. But, be it so. Lofty thou art, even beyond the lofty, even above the clouds, if thou wilt, a spectator of things invisible, a hearer of things unspeakable; one who hast ascended after Elias, and who after Moses hast been deemed worthy of the Vision of God, and after Paul hast been taken up into heaven; why dost thou mould the rest of thy fellows in one day into Saints, and ordain them Theologians, and as it were breathe into them instruction, and make them many councils of ignorant oracles? Why dost thou entangle those who are weaker in thy spider’s web, if it were something great and wise? Why dost thou stir up wasps’ nests against the Faith? Why dost thou suddenly spring a flood of dialectics upon us, as the fables of old did the Giants? Why hast thou collected all that is frivolous and unmanly among men, like a rabble, into one torrent, and having made them more effeminate by flattery, fashioned a new workshop, cleverly making a harvest for thyself out of their want of understanding? Dost thou deny that this is so, and are the other matters of no account to thee? Must thy tongue rule at any cost, and canst thou not restrain the birthpang of thy speech? Thou mayest find many other honourable subjects for discussion. To these turn this disease of thine with some advantage. Attack the silence of Pythagoras,29 The disciples of Pythagoras were made to keep silence absolutely for five years as a qualification for initiation into the mysteries of his order. Further, they were bidden to abstain from eating beans, as these were said to be one receptacle of human souls in the course of their peregrinations; and when asked for proof of their peculiar doctrines, contented themselves with the reply, “αὐτὸς ἔθα” “the master said so.” and the Orphic beans, and the novel brag about “The Master said.” Attack the ideas of Plato,30 Plato taught that all things that exist are copies of certain objective archetypal Forms, emanations from the Mind of God, which God copied in creation. He also taught a doctrine of transmigration of souls. and the transmigrations and courses of our souls, and the reminiscences, and the unlovely loves of the soul for lovely bodies. Attack the atheism of Epicurus,31 Epicurus, an Athenian philosopher, of a materialistic type, taught that God had no existence, and that the world was made by a fortuitous concourse of innumerable atoms of matter, which are self-existent; and he placed the highest good in pleasure, which he defined as the absence of pain. and his atoms, and his unphilosophic pleasure; or Aristotle’s petty Providence, and his artificial system, and his discourses about the mortality of the soul, and the humanitarianism of his doctrine. Attack the superciliousness of the Stoa,32 The Stoa, a school of philosophers opposed to the Epicureans, took their name from a certain Colonnade at Athens, in which Zeno, their founder, used to teach. Their highest good consisted in the complete subdual of all feeling; and so they were not unnaturally characterized by a haughty affectation of indifference. or the greed and vulgarity of the Cynic.33 The Cynics, so called from their snarling way, were a school founded by Antisthenes. They professed to despise everything human. Attack the “Void and Full” (what nonsense), and all the details about the gods and the sacrifices and the idols and demons, whether beneficent or malignant, and all the tricks that people play with divination, evoking of gods, or of souls, and the power of the stars. And if these things seem to thee unworthy of discussion as petty and already often confuted, and thou wilt keep to thy line, and seek the satisfaction of thy ambition in it; then here too I will provide thee with broad paths. Philosophize about the world or worlds; about matter; about soul; about natures endowed with reason, good or bad; about resurrection, about judgment, about reward, or the Sufferings of Christ. For in these subjects to hit the mark is not useless, and to miss it is not dangerous. But with God we shall have converse, in this life only in a small degree; but a little later, it may be, more perfectly, in the Same, our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory for ever. Amen.
ΛΟΓΟΣ ΘΕΟΛΟΓΙΚΟΣ ΠΡΩΤΟΣ ΠΡΟΣ ΕΥΝΟΜΙΑΝΟΥΣ ΠΡΟΔΙΑΛΕΞΙΣ
Πρὸς τοὺς ἐν λόγῳ κομψοὺς ὁ λόγος. καὶ ἵνα ἀπὸ τῆς γραφῆς ἄρξωμαι: Ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ ἐπὶ σὲ τὴν ὑβρίστριαν. εἰσὶ γάρ, εἰσί τινες, οἱ τὴν ἀκοὴν προσκνώμενοι καὶ τὴν γλῶσσαν, ἤδη δέ, ὡς ὁρῶ, καὶ τὴν χεῖρα, τοῖς ἡμετέροις λόγοις, καὶ χαίροντες ταῖς βεβήλοις κενοφωνίαις, καὶ ἀντιθέσεσι τῆς ψευδωνύμου γνώσεως, καὶ ταῖς εἰς οὐδὲν χρήσιμον φερούσαις λογομαχίαις. οὕτω γὰρ ὁ Παῦλος καλεῖ πᾶν τὸ ἐν λόγῳ περιττὸν καὶ περίεργον, ὁ τοῦ συντετμημένου λόγου κῆρυξ καὶ βεβαιωτής, ὁ τῶν ἁλιέων μαθητὴς καὶ διδάσκαλος. οὗτοι δέ, περὶ ὧν ὁ λόγος, εἴθε μέν, ὥσπερ τὴν γλῶσσαν εὔστροφον ἔχουσι καὶ δεινὴν ἐπιθέσθαι λόγοις εὐγενεστέροις τε καὶ δοκιμωτέροις, οὕτω τι καὶ περὶ τὰς πράξεις ἠσχολοῦντο μικρὸν γοῦν, καὶ ἴσως ἧττον ἂν ἦσαν σοφισταὶ καὶ κυβισταὶ λόγων ἄτοποι καὶ παράδοξοι, ἵν' εἴπω τι καὶ γελοίως περὶ γελοίου πράγματος.
Ἐπεὶ δὲ πᾶσαν εὐσεβείας ὁδὸν καταλύσαντες πρὸς ἓν τοῦτο βλέπουσι μόνον, ὅ τι δήσουσιν ἢ λύσουσι τῶν προβαλλομένων, _ καθάπερ ἐν τοῖς θεάτροις οἱ τὰ παλαίσματα δημοσιεύοντες, καὶ τῶν παλαισμάτων οὐχ ὅσα πρὸς νίκην φέρει κατὰ νόμους ἀθλήσεως, ἀλλ' ὅσα τὴν ὄψιν κλέπτει τῶν ἀμαθῶν τὰ τοιαῦτα καὶ συναρπάζει τὸν ἐπαινέτην. _καὶ δεῖ πᾶσαν μὲν ἀγορὰν περιβομβεῖσθαι τοῖς τούτων λόγοις, πᾶν δὲ συμπόσιον ἀποκναίεσθαι φλυαρίᾳ καὶ ἀηδίᾳ, πᾶσαν δὲ ἑορτὴν καὶ πένθος ἅπαν, τὴν μὲν ἀνέορτον εἶναι καὶ μεστὴν κατηφείας, τὸ δὲ παραμυθεῖσθαι συμφορᾷ μείζονι τοῖς ζητήμασι, πᾶσαν δὲ διοχλεῖσθαι γυναικωνῖτιν, ἁπλότητι σύντροφον, καὶ τὸ τῆς αἰδοῦς ἄνθος ἀποσυλᾶσθαι τῇ περὶ λόγον ταχύτητι. ἐπειδὴ ταῦτα οὕτω, καὶ τὸ κακὸν ἄσχετον καὶ ἀφόρητον, καὶ κινδυνεύει τεχνύδριον εἶναι τὸ μέγα ἡμῶν μυστήριον: φέρε, τοσοῦτον γοῦν ἡμῶν ἀνασχέσθωσαν οἱ κατάσκοποι σπλάγχνοις πατρικοῖς κινουμένων καί, ὅ φησιν ὁ θεῖος Ἰερεμίας, σπαρασσομένων τὰ αἰσθητήρια, ὅσον μὴ τραχέως τὸν περὶ τούτων δέξασθαι λόγον, καὶ τὴν γλῶσσαν μικρὸν ἐπισχόντες, ἂν ἄρα καὶ δύνωνται, τὴν ἀκοὴν ἡμῖν ὑποθέτωσαν. πάντως δὲ οὐδὲν ζημιωθήσεσθε. ἢ γὰρ εἰς ὦτα ἐλαλήσαμεν ἀκουόντων, καί τινα καρπὸν ἔσχεν ὁ λόγος, τὴν ὠφέλειαν τὴν ὑμετέραν, _ἐπειδὴ σπείρει μὲν ὁ σπείρων τὸν λόγον ἐπὶ πᾶσαν διάνοιαν, καρποφορεῖ δὲ ἡ καλή τε καὶ γόνιμος, _ἢ ἀπήλθετε καὶ τοῦτο ἡμῶν διαπτύσαντες, καὶ πλείονα λαβόντες ὕλην ἀντιλογίας τε καὶ τῆς καθ' ἡμῶν λοιδορίας, ἵνα καὶ μᾶλλον ὑμᾶς αὐτοὺς ἑστιάσητε. μὴ θαυμάσητε δέ, εἰ παράδοξον ἐρῶ λόγον, καὶ παρὰ τὸν ὑμέτερον νόμον, οἳ πάντα εἰδέναι τε καὶ διδάσκειν ὑπισχνεῖσθε λίαν νεανικῶς καὶ γενναίως, ἵνα μὴ λυπῶ λέγων ἀμαθῶς καὶ θρασέως.
Οὐ παντός, ὦ οὗτοι, τὸ περὶ θεοῦ φιλοσοφεῖν, οὐ παντός: οὐχ οὕτω τὸ πρᾶγμα εὔωνον καὶ τῶν χαμαὶ ἐρχομένων. προσθήσω δέ, οὐδὲ πάντοτε, οὐδὲ πᾶσιν, οὐδὲ πάντα, ἀλλ' ἔστιν ὅτε, καὶ οἷς, καὶ ἐφ' ὅσον. οὐ πάντων μέν, ὅτι τῶν ἐξητασμένων καὶ διαβεβηκότων ἐν θεωρίᾳ, καὶ πρὸ τούτων καὶ ψυχὴν καὶ σῶμα κεκαθαρμένων, ἢ καθαιρομένων, τὸ μεριώτατον. μὴ καθαρῷ γὰρ ἅπτεσθαι καθαροῦ τυχὸν οὐδὲ ἀσφαλές, ὥσπερ οὐδὲ ὄψει σαθρᾷ ἡλιακῆς ἀκτῖνος. ὅτε δέ; ἡνίκα ἂν σχολὴν ἄγωμεν ἀπὸ τῆς ἔξωθεν ἰλύος καὶ ταραχῆς, καὶ μὴ τὸ ἡγεμονικὸν ἡμῶν συγχέηται τοῖς μοχθηροῖς τύποις καὶ πλανωμένοις, οἷον γράμμασι πονηροῖς ἀναμιγνύντων κάλλη γραμμάτων, ἢ βορβόρῳ μύρων εὐωδίαν. δεῖ γὰρ τῷ ὄντι σχολάσαι, καὶ γνῶναι θεόν: καὶ ὅταν λάβωμεν καιρόν, κρίνειν θεολογίας εὐθύτητα. τίσι δέ; οἷς τὸ πρᾶγμα διὰ σπουδῆς, καὶ οὐχ ὡς ἕν τι τῶν ἄλλων καὶ τοῦτο φλυαρεῖται ἡδέως, μετὰ τοὺς ἱππικούς, καὶ τὰ θέατρα, καὶ τὰ ᾄσματα, καὶ τὴν γαστέρα, καὶ τὰ ὑπὸ γαστέρα: οἷς καὶ τοῦτο μέρος τρυφῆς, ἡ περὶ ταῦτα ἐρεσχελία καὶ κομψεία τῶν ἀντιθέσεων. τίνα δὲ φιλοσοφητέον, καὶ ἐπὶ πόσον; ὅσα ἡμῖν ἐφικτά, καὶ ἐφ' ὅσον ἡ τοῦ ἀκούοντος ἕξις ἐφικνεῖται καὶ δύναμις: ἵνα μὴ καθάπερ αἱ ὑπερβάλλουσαι τῶν φωνῶν, ἢ τῶν τροφῶν, τὴν ἀκοὴν βλάπτουσιν ἢ τὰ σώματα, _εἰ βούλει δέ, τῶν φορτίων τὰ ὑπὲρ δύναμιν τοὺς ὑποβαίνοντας, ἢ τὴν γῆν τῶν ὑετῶν οἱ σφοδρότεροι, _οὕτω δὴ καὶ οὗτοι τοῖς στερροῖς, ἵν' οὕτως εἴπω, τῶν λόγων καταπιεσθέντες καὶ βαρυνθέντες ζημιωθεῖεν καὶ εἰς τὴν ἀρχαίαν δύναμιν.
Καὶ οὐ λέγω τοῦτο μὴ δεῖν πάντοτε μεμνῆσθαι θεοῦ. μὴ πάλιν ἐπιφυέσθωσαν ἡμῖν οἱ πάντα εὔκολοι καὶ ταχεῖς. μνημονευτέον γὰρ θεοῦ μᾶλλον ἢ ἀναπνευστέον: καί, εἰ οἷόν τε τοῦτο εἰπεῖν, μηδὲ ἄλλο τι ἢ τοῦτο πρακτέον. κἀγὼ τῶν ἐπαινούντων εἰμὶ τὸν λόγον, ὃς μελετᾶν ἡμέρας καὶ νυκτὸς διακελεύεται, καὶ ἑσπέρας καὶ πρωὶ καὶ μεσημβρίας διηγεῖσθαι, καὶ εὐλογεῖν τὸν κύριον ἐν παντὶ καιρῷ: εἰ δεῖ καὶ τὸ Μωυσέως εἰπεῖν, κοιταζόμενον, διανιστάμενον ὁδοιποροῦντα, ὅ τι οὖν ἄλλο πράττοντα, καὶ τῇ μνήμῃ τυποῦσθαι πρὸς καθαρότητα. ὥστε οὐ τὸ μεμνῆσθαι διηνεκῶς κωλύω, τὸ θεολογεῖν δέ: οὐδὲ τὴν θεολογίαν, ὥσπερ ἀσεβές, ἀλλὰ τὴν ἀκαιρίαν: οὐδὲ τὴν διδασκαλίαν, ἀλλὰ τὴν ἀμετρίαν. ἢ μέλιτος μὲν πλησμονὴ καὶ κόρος ἔμετον ἐργάζεται, καίπερ ὄντος μέλιτος, καὶ καιρὸς τῷ παντὶ πράγματι, ὡς Σολομῶντι κἀμοὶ δοκεῖ, καὶ τὸ καλὸν οὐ καλόν, ὅταν μὴ καλῶς γίνηται, ὥσπερ ἄνθος ἐν χειμῶνι παντελῶς ἄωρον, καὶ γυναιξὶ κόσμος ἀνδρεῖος, ἢ γυναικεῖος ἀνδράσι, καὶ πένθει γεωμετρία, καὶ πότῳ δάκρυον, ἐνταῦθα δὲ μόνον τὸν καιρὸν ἀτιμάσομεν, οὗ μάλιστα τιμητέον τὸ εὔκαιρον;
Μηδαμῶς, ὦ φίλοι καὶ ἀδελφοί: ἀδελφοὺς γὰρ ὑμᾶς ἔτι καλῶ, καίπερ οὐκ ἀδελφικῶς ἔχοντας: μὴ οὕτω διανοώμεθα, μηδὲ καθάπερ ἵπποι θερμοὶ καὶ δυσκάθεκτοι, τὸν ἐπιβάτην λογισμὸν ἀπορρίψαντες, καὶ τὴν καλῶς ἄγχουσαν εὐλάβειαν ἀποπτύσαντες, πόρρω τῆς νύσσης θέωμεν: ἀλλ' εἴσω τῶν ἡμετέρων ὅρων φιλοσοφῶμεν, καὶ μὴ εἰς Αἴγυπτον ἐκφερώμεθα, μηδὲ εἰς Ἀσσυρίους κατασυρώμεθα, μηδὲ ᾄδωμεν τὴν ᾠδὴν κυρίου ἐπὶ γῆς ἀλλοτρίας, πάσης ἀκοῆς λέγω, ξένης τε καὶ ἡμετέρας, ἐχθρᾶς καὶ φιλίας, εὐγνώμονος καὶ ἀγνώμονος, ἣ λίαν ἐπιμελῶς τηρεῖ τὰ ἡμέτερα, καὶ βούλοιτο ἂν τὸν σπινθῆρα τῶν ἐν ἡμῖν κακῶν γενέσθαι φλόγα, ἐξάπτει τε καὶ ἀναρριπίζει καὶ εἰς οὐρανὸν αἴρει ταῖς παρ' ἑαυτῆς αὔραις λανθάνουσα, καὶ ποιεῖ τῆς Βαβυλωνίας φλογὸς τὰ κύκλῳ καταφλεγούσης ὑψηλοτέραν. ἐπειδὴ γὰρ οὐκ ἐν τοῖς ἑαυτῶν δόγμασιν ἔχουσι τὴν ἰσχύν, ἐν τοῖς ἡμετέροις σαθροῖς ταύτην θηρεύουσι, καὶ διὰ τοῦτο, ὥσπερ αἱ μυῖαι τοῖς τραύμασιν, οὕτω τοῖς ἡμετέροις ἐπιτίθενται_εἴτε ἀτυχήμασι χρὴ λέγειν, εἴτε ἁμαρτήμασιν. ἀλλ' ἡμεῖς γε μὴ ἐπὶ πλεῖον ἡμᾶς αὐτοὺς ἀγνοήσωμεν, μηδὲ τὸ περὶ ταῦτα κόσμιον ἀτιμάσωμεν: ἀλλ' εἰ μὴ τὴν ἔχθραν καταλύσασθαι δυνατόν, ἐκεῖνό γε συμβῶμεν ἀλλήλοις, μυστικῶς τὰ μυστικὰ φθέγγεσθαι, καὶ ἁγίως τὰ ἅγια, καὶ μὴ ῥίπτειν εἰς βεβήλους ἀκοὰς τὰ μὴ ἔκφορα, μηδὲ σεμνοτέρους ἡμῶν ἀποφαίνωμεν τοὺς προσκυνοῦντας τοῖς δαιμονίοις καὶ τῶν αἰσχρῶν μύθων καὶ πραγμάτων θεραπευτάς, οἳ θᾶττον ἂν τοῦ αἵματος ἢ λόγων ἔστιν ὧν μεταδοῖεν τοῖς ἀμυήτοις. ἀλλ' εἰδῶμεν, ὥσπερ ἐσθῆτος καὶ διαίτης καὶ γέλωτος καὶ βαδίσματος οὖσάν τινα κοσμιότητα, οὕτω καὶ λόγου καὶ σιωπῆς, ὅτι καὶ λόγον πρεσβεύομεν μετὰ τῶν ἄλλων τοῦ θεοῦ προσηγοριῶν καὶ δυνάμεων. ἔστω καὶ τὸ φιλόνεικον ἡμῶν ἔννομον.
Τί γέννησιν ἀκούει θεοῦ καὶ κτίσιν, καὶ θεὸν ἐξ οὐκ ὄντων, καὶ τομὴν καὶ διαίρεσιν καὶ ἀνάλυσιν, ὁ πικρὸς τῶν λεγομένων ἀκροατής; τί δικαστὰς τοὺς κατηγόρους καθίζομεν; τί τὰ ξίφη τοῖς ἐχθροῖς ἐγχειρίζομεν; πῶς, οἴει, δέξεται τὸν περὶ τούτων λόγον, ἢ μεθ' οἵας τῆς διανοίας, ὁ τὰς μοιχείας ἐπαινῶν καὶ τὰς παιδοφθορίας, καὶ προσκυνῶν τὰ πάθη, καὶ μηδὲν ὑπὲρ τὸ σῶμα διανοηθῆναι δυνάμενος, ὁ χθὲς καὶ πρώην ἑαυτῷ στήσας θεούς, καὶ τούτους ἐπὶ τοῖς αἰσχίστοις γνωριζομένους; οὐχ ὑλικῶς; οὐκ αἰσχρῶς; οὐκ ἀμαθῶς; οὐκ ἀμαθῶς; οὐχ ὡς εἴωθεν; οὐ συνήγορον τῶν οἰκείων θεῶν καὶ παθῶν τὴν σὴν θεολογίαν ποιήσεται; εἰ γὰρ αὐτοὶ ταῖς φωναῖς ταύταις ἐπηρεάζομεν, σχολῇ γ' ἂν ἐκείνους πείσαιμεν φιλοσοφεῖν ἐν τοῖς ἡμετέροις: καὶ εἰ παρ' ἑαυτῶν εἰσὶν ἐφευρεταὶ κακῶν, πότε ἂν τῶν διδομένων ἀπόσχοιντο; ταῦτα ἡμῖν ὁ πρὸς ἀλλήλους πόλεμος. ταῦτα οἱ πλεῖον ὑπὲρ τοῦ Λόγου μαχόμενοι, ἢ ὅσον ἀρέσκει τῷ Λόγῳ, καὶ ταὐτὸν πάσχοντες τοῖς μαινομένοις, οἳ τοὺς ἰδίους οἴκους ἀνάπτουσιν, ἢ τοὺς παῖδας σπαράττουσιν, ἢ τοὺς γονέας περιωθοῦσιν, ὡς ἀλλοτρίους νομίζοντες.
Ἐπεὶ δὲ ἀπεσκευασάμεθα τοῦ λόγου τὸ ἀλλότριον, καὶ εἰς τὴν ἀγέλην τῶν χοίρων ἀπεπεμψάμεθα τὸν πολὺν λεγεῶνα κατὰ βυθῶν χωρήσαντα, ὃ δεύτερόν ἐστι, πρὸς ἡμᾶς αὐτοὺς ἴδωμεν, καὶ ξέσωμεν εἰς κάλλος, ὥσπερ ἀνδριάντα, τὸν θεολόγον. ἐκεῖνο δὲ πρῶτον λογισώμεθα, τίς ἡ τοσαύτη περὶ τὸν λόγον φιλοτιμία καὶ γλωσσαλγία; τίς ἡ καινὴ νόσος αὕτη καὶ ἀπληστία; τί τὰς χεῖρας δήσαντες τὰς γλώσσας ὡπλίσαμεν; οὐ φιλοξενίαν ἐπαινοῦμεν; οὐ φιλαδελφίαν, οὐ φιλανδρίαν, οὐ παρθενίαν, οὐ πτωχοτροφίαν θαυμάζομεν; οὐ ψαλμῳδίαν, οὐ πάννυχον στάσιν, οὐ δάκρυον; οὐ τὸ σῶμα νηστείαις ὑποπιέζομεν; οὐ δι' εὐχῆς πρὸς θεὸν ἐκδημοῦμεν; οὐ τῷ κρείττονι τὸ χεῖρον ὑποζεύγνυμεν, τὸν χοῦν λέγω τῷ πνεύματι, ὡς ἂν οἱ τῷ κράματι δικαίως δικάζοντες; οὐ μελέτην θανάτου τὸν βίον ποιούμεθα; οὐ τῶν παθῶν δεσπόται καθιστάμεθα, μεμνημένοι τῆς ἄνωθεν εὐγενείας; οὐ θυμὸν τιθασσεύομεν ἐξοιδοῦντα καὶ ἀγριαίνοντα; οὐκ ἔπαρσιν καταβάλλουσαν, οὐ λύπην ἀλόγιστον, οὐχ ἡδονὴν ἀπαίδευτον, οὐ γέλωτα πορνικόν, οὐκ ὄψιν ἄτακτον, οὐκ ἀκοὴν ἄπληστον, οὐ λόγον ἄμετρον, οὐ διάνοιαν ἔκτοπον, οὐχ ὅσα παρ' ἡμῶν ὁ πονηρὸς καθ' ἡμῶν λαμβάνει, τὸν διὰ τῶν θυρίδων, ὡς ἡ γραφή φησιν, εἴτουν αἰσθητηρίων, εἰσάγων θάνατον; πᾶν μὲν οὖν τοὐναντίον, καὶ τοῖς ἄλλων πάθεσιν ἐλευθερίαν δεδώκαμεν, ὥσπερ οἱ βασιλεῖς τὰς ἐπινικίους ἀφέσεις, μόνον ἂν πρὸς ἡμᾶς νεύωσι, καὶ κατὰ θεοῦ φέρωνται θρασύτερον καὶ κακὸν οὐ καλοῦ πράγματος μισθὸν ἀντιδίδομεν, τῆς ἀσεβείας τὴν παρρησίαν.
Καίτοιγε, ὦ διαλεκτικὲ καὶ λάλε, ἐρωτήσω σέ τι μικρόν: Σὺ δὲ ἀπόκριναί, φησι τῷ Ἰὼβ ὁ διὰ λαίλαπος καὶ νεφῶν χρηματίζων. πότερον πολλαὶ μοναὶ παρὰ τῷ Θεῷ, ὅπερ ἀκούεις, ἢ μία; πολλαί, δώσεις δηλαδή, καὶ οὐ μία. πότερον δὲ πληρωθῆναι δεῖ πάσας, ἢ τὰς μέν, τὰς δὲ οὐ, ὡς εἶναι κενὰς καὶ μάτην ἡτοιμασμένας; ναὶ πάσας: οὐδὲν γὰρ εἰκῇ τῶν παρὰ Θεοῦ γενομένων. ταύτην δὲ ὅ τί ποτε θήσεις τὴν μονήν, ἔχοις ἂν εἰπεῖν; ἄρα τὴν ἐκεῖθεν ἀνάπαυσίν τε καὶ δόξαν τὴν ἀποκειμένην τοῖς μακαρίοις, ἢ ἄλλο τι; οὐκ ἄλλο ἢ τοῦτο. ἐπειδὴ τοῦτο ὡμολογήσαμεν, κἀκεῖνο προσεξετάσωμεν. ἔστι τι τὸ ταύτας προξενοῦν τὰς μονάς, ὡς ὁ ἐμὸς λόγος, ἢ οὐδέν; ἔστι πάντως. τί τοῦτο; τὸ διαφόρους εἶναι πολιτείας καὶ προαιρέσεις, καὶ ἄλλην ἀλλαχοῦ φέρειν κατὰ τὴν ἀναλογίαν τῆς πίστεως, ὅπερ καὶ ὁδοὺς ὀνομάζομεν. πάσας οὖν ὁδευτέον, ἢ τινὰς τῶν ὁδῶν τούτων; εἰ μὲν οἷόν τε τὸν αὐτόν, πάσας: εἰ δὲ μή, ὅτι πλείστας: εἰ δὲ μή, τινάς: εἰ δὲ μηδὲ τοῦτο, μέγα κἂν εἰ μίαν διαφερόντως, ὥς γέ μοι φαίνεται. ὀρθῶς τοῦτο ὑπολαμβάνεις. τί οὖν; ὅταν ἀκούσῃς μίαν ὁδὸν εἶναι, καὶ ταύτην στενήν, τί σοι φαίνεται δηλοῦν ὁ λόγος; μίαν μὲν διὰ τὴν ἀρετήν: μία γάρ, κἂν εἰς πολλὰ σχίζηται: στενὴν δὲ διὰ τοὺς ἱδρῶτας καὶ τὸ μὴ πολλοῖς εἶναι βατήν, ὡς πρὸς τὸ πλῆθος τῶν ἐναντίων καὶ ὅσοι διὰ τῆς κακίας ὁδεύουσιν. οὕτω κἀμοὶ δοκεῖ. τί οὖν, ὦ βέλτιστε, εἴπερ τοῦτο οὕτως ἔχει, ὥσπερ τινὰ πενίαν καταγνόντες τοῦ ἡμετέρου λόγου, πάσας τὰς ἄλλας ὁδοὺς ἀφέντες, πρὸς μίαν ταύτην φέρεσθε καὶ ὠθεῖσθε τὴν διὰ λόγου καὶ θεωρίας, ὡς αὐτοὶ οἴεσθε, ὡς δὲ ἐγώ φημι, ἀδολεσχίας καὶ τερατείας; ἐπιτιμάτω Παῦλος ὑμῖν, τοῦτο πικρῶς ὀνειδίζων μετὰ τὴν ἀπαρίθμησιν τῶν χαρισμάτων, ἐν οἷς φησί: Μὴ πάντες ἀπόστολοι; μὴ πάντες προφῆται; καὶ τὰ ἑξῆς.
Ἔστω δέ: ὑψηλὸς σύ, καὶ ὑψηλῶν πέρα, καὶ ὑπὲρ τὰς νεφέλας, εἰ βούλει, ὁ τῶν ἀθεάτων θεατής, ὁ τῶν ἀρρήτων ἀκροατής, ὁ μετὰ Ἠλίαν μετάρσιος, καὶ ὁ μετὰ Μωυσέα θεοφανείας ἠξιωμένος, καὶ μετὰ Παῦλον οὐράνιος. τί καὶ τοὺς ἄλλους αὐθήμερον πλάττεις ἁγίους, καὶ χειροτονεῖς θεολόγους, καὶ οἷον ἐμπνεῖς τὴν παίδευσιν, καὶ πεποίηκας λογίων ἀμαθῶν πολλὰ συνέδρια; τί τοῖς ἀραχνίοις ὑφάσμασιν ἐνδεσμεῖς τοὺς ἀσθενεστέρους, ὡς δή τι σοφὸν καὶ μέγα; τί σφηκιὰς ἐγείρεις κατὰ τῆς πίστεως; τί σχεδιάζεις ἡμῖν διαλεκτικῶν ἀνάδοσιν, ὥσπερ οἱ μῦθοι πάλαι τοὺς γίγαντας; τί τῶν ἀνδρῶν ὅσον κοῦφον καὶ ἄνανδρον, ὥσπερ τινὰ συρφετόν, εἰς μίαν χαράδραν συναγαγών, καὶ κολακείᾳ πλέον θηλύνας, καινὸν ἀσεβείας ἐργαστήριον ἐδημιούργησας, οὐκ ἀσόφως τὴν ἄνοιαν αὐτῶν ἐκκαρπούμενος; Ἀντιλέγεις καὶ τούτοις; καὶ οὐδαμοῦ σοι τἄλλα; καὶ τὴν γλῶσσαν δεῖ δυναστεύειν πάντως, καὶ οὐ κατέχεις τὴν ὠδῖνα τοῦ λόγου; ἔχεις καὶ ἄλλας ὑποθέσεις πολλάς τε καὶ φιλοτίμους. ἐκεῖ τρέψον μετὰ τοῦ χρησίμου τὴν νόσον.
Βάλλε μοι Πυθαγόρου τὴν σιωπήν, καὶ τοὺς κυάμους τοὺς Ὀρφικούς, καὶ τὴν περὶ τὸ Αὐτὸς ἔφα καινοτέραν ἀλαζονείαν. βάλλε μοι Πλάτωνος τὰς ἰδέας, καὶ τὰς μετενσωματώσεις καὶ περιόδους τῶν ἡμετέρων ψυχῶν, καὶ τὰς ἀναμνήσεις, καὶ τοὺς οὐ καλοὺς διὰ τῶν καλῶν σωμάτων ἐπὶ ψυχὴν ἔρωτας: Ἐπικούρου τὴν ἀθείαν, καὶ τὰς ἀτόμους, καὶ τὴν ἀφιλόσοφον ἡδονήν: Ἀριστοτέλους τὴν μικρολόγον πρόνοιαν, καὶ τὸ ἔντεχνον, καὶ τοὺς θνητοὺς περὶ ψυχῆς λόγους, καὶ τὸ ἀνθρωπικὸν τῶν δογμάτων: τῆς Στοᾶς τὴν ὀφρύν, τῶν Κυνῶν τὸ λίχνον τε καὶ ἀγοραῖον. βάλλε μοι τὸ κενόν, τὸ πλῆρες τῶν ληρημάτων, ὅσα περὶ θεῶν ἢ θυσιῶν, περὶ εἰδώλων, περὶ δαιμόνων ἀγαθῶν τε καὶ κακοποιῶν, ὅσα περὶ μαντείας, θεαγωγίας, ψυχαγωγίας, ἄστρων δυνάμεως, τερατεύονται. εἰ δὲ σὺ ταῦτα μὲν ἀπαξιοῖς λόγου, ὡς μικρά τε καὶ πολλάκις ἐληλεγμένα, περὶ δὲ τὰ σὰ στρέφῃ, καὶ ζητεῖς τὸ ἐν τούτοις φιλότιμον: ἐγώ σοι κἀνταῦθα παρέξομαι πλατείας ὁδούς. φιλοσόφει μοι περὶ κόσμου ἢ κόσμων, περὶ ὕλης, περὶ ψυχῆς, περὶ λογικῶν φύσεων βελτιόνων τε καὶ χειρόνων, περὶ ἀναστάσεως, κρίσεως, ἀνταποδόσεως, Χριστοῦ παθημάτων. ἐν τούτοις γὰρ καὶ τὸ ἐπιτυγχάνειν οὐκ ἄχρηστον, καὶ τὸ διαμαρτάνειν ἀκίνδυνον. θεῷ δὲ ἐντευξόμεθα, νῦν μὲν ὀλίγα, μικρὸν δὲ ὕστερον ἴσως τελεώτερον, ἐν αὐτῷ Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ τῷ κυρίῳ ἡμῶν, ᾧ ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας: ἀμήν.