Letter I.—To Flavian1 The date of this letter is probably as late as 393. Flavian’s authority at Antioch was now undisputed, by his reconciliation, after the deaths of Paulinus and Evagrius, with the Bishops of Alexandria and Rome, and, through them, with all his people. Gregory writes to him not only as his dear friend, but one who had known how to appease wrath, and to check opposition from the Emperor downward. He died in 404. The litigiousness of Helladius is described by Greg. Naz., Letter ccxv. He it was who a few years later, against Ambrose’s authority, and for mere private interest, consecrated the physician Gerontius (Sozomen, viii. 6)..
Things with us, O man of God, are not in a good way. The development of the bad feeling existing amongst certain persons who have conceived a most groundless and unaccountable hatred of us is no longer a matter of mere conjecture; it is now evinced with an earnestness and openness worthy only of some holy work. You meanwhile, who have hitherto been beyond the reach of such annoyance, are too remiss in stifling the devouring conflagration on your neighbour’s land; yet those who are well-advised for their own interests really do take pains to check a fire close to them, securing themselves, by this help given to a neighbour, against ever needing help in like circumstances. Well, you will ask, what do I complain of? Piety has vanished from the world; Truth has fled from our midst; as for Peace, we used to have the name at all events going the round upon men’s lips; but now not only does she herself cease to exist, but we do not even retain the word that expresses her. But that you may know more exactly the things that move our indignation, I will briefly detail to you the whole tragic story.
Certain persons had informed me that the Right Reverend Helladius had unfriendly feelings towards me, and that he enlarged in conversation to every one upon the troubles that I had brought upon him. I did not at first believe what they said, judging only from myself, and the actual truth of the matter. But when every one kept bringing to us a tale of the same strain, and facts besides corroborated their report, I thought it my duty not to continue to overlook this ill-feeling, while it was still without root and development. I therefore wrote by letter to your piety, and to many others who could help me in my intention, and stimulated your zeal in this matter. At last, after I had concluded the services at Sebasteia in2 Sebasteia (Sivâs) was in Pontus on the upper Halys: and the “mountain district” between this and Helladius’ “metropolis” (Cæsarea, ad Argæum) must have been some offshoots of the Anti-Taurus. commemoration of Peter3 His brother, who had urged him to write the books against Eunomius, and to whom he sent On the Making of Man. of most blessed memory, and of the holy martyrs, who had lived in his times, and whom the people were accustomed to commemorate with him, I was returning to my own See, when some one told me that Helladius himself was in the neighbouring mountain district, holding martyrs’ memorial services. At first I held on my journey, judging it more proper that our meeting should take place in the metropolis itself. But when one of his relations took the trouble to meet me, and to assure me that he was sick, I left my carriage at the spot where this news arrested me; I performed on horseback the intervening journey over a road that was like a precipice, and well-nigh impassable with its rocky ascents. Fifteen milestones measured the distance we had to traverse. Painfully travelling, now on foot, now mounted, in the early morning, and even employing some part of the night, I arrived between twelve and one o’clock at Andumocina; for that was the name of the place where, with two other bishops, he was holding his conference. From a shoulder of the hill overhanging this village, we looked down, while still at a distance, upon this outdoor assemblage of the Church. Slowly, and on foot, and leading the horses, I and my company passed over the intervening ground, and we arrived at the chapel4 μαρτυρί& 251·, i.e. dedicated in this case to Peter; but the word is used even of a chapel dedicated to Christ. just as he had retired to his residence.
Without any delay a messenger was despatched to inform him of our being there; and a very short while after, the deacon in attendance on him met us, and we requested him to tell Helladius at once, so that we might spend as much time as possible with him, and so have an opportunity of leaving nothing in the misunderstanding between us unhealed. As for myself, I then remained sitting, still in the open air, and waited for the invitation indoors; and at a most inopportune time I became, as I sat there, a gazing stock to all the visitors at the conference. The time was long; drowsiness came on, and languor, intensified by the fatigue of the journey and the excessive heat of the day; and all these things, with people staring at me, and pointing me out to others, were so very distressing that in me the words of the prophet were realized: “My spirit within me was desolate5 ἠκηδίασενPs. cxliii. 4 (LXX.)..” I was kept in this state till noon, and heartily did I repent of this visit, and that I had brought upon myself this piece of discourtesy; and my own reflection vexed me worse than this injury done me by my enemies6 χαλεπώτερον τῆς παρὰ τῶν ἐχθρῶν μοι γενομένης ὕβρεως. The Latin does not express this, “quam si ab hostibus profecta fuisset.”, warring as it did against itself, and changing into a regret that I had made the venture. At last the approach to the Altars was thrown open, and we were admitted to the sanctuary; the crowd, however, were excluded, though my deacon entered along with me, supporting with his arm my exhausted frame. I addressed his Lordship, and stood for a moment, expecting from him an invitation to be seated; but when nothing of the kind was heard from him, I turned towards one of the distant seats, and rested myself upon it, still expecting that he would utter something that was friendly, or at all events kind; or at least give one nod of recognition.
Any hopes I had were doomed to complete disappointment. There ensued a silence dead as night, and looks as downcast as in tragedy, and daze, and dumbfoundedness, and perfect dumbness. A long interval of time it was, dragged out as if it were in the blackness of night. So struck down was I by this reception, in which he did not deign to accord me the merest utterance even of those common salutations by which you discharge the courtesies of a chance meeting7 τῶν κατημαξευμένων (so Paris Editt. and Migne, but it must be καθημαξευμένων, from ἅμαξα) τούτων τὴν συντυχίαν ἀφοσιουμένων,—“welcome,” for instance, or “where do you come from?” or “to what am I indebted for this pleasure?” or “on what important business are you here?”—that I was inclined to make this spell of silence into a picture of the life led in the underworld. Nay, I condemn the similitude as inadequate. For in that underworld the equality of conditions is complete, and none of the things that cause the tragedies of life on earth disturb existence. Their glory, as the Prophet says, does not follow men down there; each individual soul, abandoning the things so eagerly clung to by the majority here, his petulance, and pride, and conceit, enters that lower world in simple unencumbered nakedness; so that none of the miseries of this life are to be found among them. Still8 πλὴν ἀλλ᾽ ἐμοὶ, κ.τ.λ. See note, p. 313., notwithstanding this reservation, my condition then did appear to me like an underworld, a murky dungeon, a gloomy torture-chamber; the more so, when I reflected what treasures of social courtesies we have inherited from our fathers, and what recorded deeds of it we shall leave to our descendants. Why, indeed, should I speak at all of that affectionate disposition of our fathers towards each other? No wonder that, being all naturally equal9 ἐν ὁμοτίμῳ τῇ φύσει. Cf. οἱ ὁμότιμοι, the peers of the Persian kingdom., they wished for no advantage over one another, but thought to exceed each other only in humility. But my mind was penetrated most of all with this thought; that the Lord of all creation, the Only-begotten Son, Who was in the bosom of the Father, Who was in the beginning, Who was in the form of God, Who upholds all things by the word of His power, humbled Himself not only in this respect, that in the flesh He sojourned amongst men, but also that He welcomed even Judas His own betrayer, when he drew near to kiss Him, on His blessed lips; and that when He had entered into the house of Simon the leper He, as loving all men, upbraided his host, that He had not been kissed by him: whereas I was not reckoned by him as equal even to that leper; and yet what was I, and what was he? I cannot discover any difference between us. If one looks at it from the mundane point of view, where was the height from which he had descended, where was the dust in which I lay? If, indeed, one must regard things of this fleshly life, thus much perhaps it will hurt no one’s feelings to assert that, looking at our lineage, whether as noble or as free, our position was about on a par; though, if one looked in either for the true freedom and nobility, i.e. that of the soul, each of us will be found equally a bondsman of Sin; each equally needs One Who will take away his sins; it was Another Who ransomed us both from Death and Sin with His own blood, Who redeemed us, and yet showed no contempt of those whom He has redeemed, calling them though He does from deadness to life, and healing every infirmity of their souls and bodies.
Seeing, then, that the amount of this conceit and overweening pride was so great, that even the height of heaven was almost too narrow limits for it (and yet I could see no cause or occasion whatever for this diseased state of mind, such as might make it excusable in the case of some who in certain circumstances contract it; when, for instance, rank or education, or pre-eminence in dignities of office may have happened to inflate the vainer minds), I had no means whereby to advise myself to keep quiet: for my heart within me was swelling with indignation at the absurdity of the whole proceeding, and was rejecting all the reasons for enduring it. Then, if ever, did I feel admiration for that divine Apostle who so vividly depicts the civil war that rages within us, declaring that there is a certain “law of sin in the members, warring against the law of the mind,” and often making the mind a captive, and a slave as well, to itself. This was the very array, in opposition, of two contending feelings that I saw within myself: the one, of anger at the insult caused by pride, the other prompting to appease the rising storm. When by God’s grace, the worse inclination had failed to get the mastery, I at last said to him, “But is it, then, that some one of the things required for your personal comfort is being hindered by our presence, and is it time that we withdrew?” On his declaring that he had no bodily needs, I spoke to him some words calculated to heal, so far as in me lay, his ill-feeling. When he had, in a very few words, declared that the anger he felt towards me was owing to many injuries done him, I for my part answered him thus: “Lies possess an immense power amongst mankind to deceive: but in the Divine Judgment there will be no place for the misunderstandings thus arising. In my relations towards yourself, my conscience is bold enough to prompt me to hope that I may obtain forgiveness for all my other sins, but that, if I have acted in any way to harm you, this may remain for ever unforgiven.” He was indignant at this speech, and did not suffer the proofs of what I had said to be added.
It was now past six o’clock, and the bath had been well prepared, and the banquet was being spread, and the day was the sabbath10 Cf. Dies Dominica (by Thomas Young, tutor of Milton the poet): “It’s without controversie that the Oriental Christians, and others, did at that time hold assemblies on the Sabbath day.…Yet did they not hold the Sabbath day holy,” p. 35. Again, “Socrates doth not record that they of Alexandria and Rome did celebrate those mysteries on the Sabbath. While Chrysostom requireth it of the rich Lords of Villages, that they build Churches in them (Hom. 18 in Act.), he distinguisheth those congregations that were on other days from those that were held upon the Lord’s day. ‘Upon those congregations (συνάξεις) Prayers and hymns were had, in these an oblation was made on every Lord’s day,’ and for that cause the Lord’s day is in Chrysostom called, ‘dies panis’. Athanasius purgeth himself of a calumny imputed to him, for breaking the cup, because it was not the time of administering the holy mysteries; ‘for it is not,’ saith he, ‘the Lord’s day.’” A law of Constantine had enacted that the first day of the week, “the Lord’s day,” should be observed with greater solemnity than formerly; which shows that the seventh day, the Sabbath, still held its place; and it does not follow that in remoter places, as here, both were kept. The hour of service was generally “in the evening after sunset; or in the morning before the dawn,” Mosheim., and a martyr’s commemoration. Again observe how this disciple of the Gospel imitates the Lord of the Gospel: He, when eating and drinking with publicans and sinners, answered to those who found fault with Him that He did it for love of mankind: this disciple considers it a sin and a pollution to have us at his board, even after all that fatigue which we underwent on the journey, after all that excessive heat out of doors, in which we were baked while sitting at his gates; after all that gloomy sullenness with which he treated us to the bitter end, when we had come into his presence. He sends us off to toil painfully, with a frame now thoroughly exhausted with the over-fatigue, over the same distance, the same route: so that we scarcely reached our travelling company at sunset, after we had suffered many mishaps on the way. For a storm-cloud, gathered into a mass in the clear air by an eddy of wind, drenched us to the skin with its floods of rain; for owing to the excessive sultriness, we had made no preparation against any shower. However, by God’s grace we escaped, though in the plight of shipwrecked sailors from the waves: and right glad were we to reach our company.
Having joined our forces we rested there that night, and at last arrived alive in our own district; having reaped in addition this result of our meeting him, that the memory of all that had happened before was revived by this last insult offered to us; and, you see, we are positively compelled to take measures, for the future, on our own behalf, or rather on his behalf; for it was because his designs were not checked on former occasions that he has proceeded to this unmeasured display of vanity. Something, therefore, I think, must be done on our part, in order that he may improve upon himself, and may be taught that he is human, and has no authority to insult and to disgrace those who possess the same beliefs and the same rank as himself. For just consider; suppose we granted for a moment, for the sake of argument, that it is true that I have done something that has annoyed him, what trial11 κριτήριον was instituted against us, to judge either of the fact or the hearsay? What proofs were given of this supposed injury? What Canons were cited against us? What legitimate episcopal decision confirmed any verdict passed upon us? And supposing any of these processes had taken place, and that in the proper way, my standing12 τὸν βαθμὸνi.e.“a grade of honour”: cf. 1 Tim. iii. 13. βαθμὸν ἑαυτοῖς καλὸν περιποιοῦνται. So in the Canons often. in the Church might certainly have been at stake, but what Canons could have sanctioned insults offered to a free-born person, and disgrace inflicted on one of equal rank with himself? “Judge righteous judgment,” you who look to God’s law in this matter; say wherein you deem this disgrace put upon us to be excusable. If our dignity is to be estimated on the ground of priestly jurisdiction, the privilege of each recorded by the Council13 The Council of Constantinople. is one and the same; or rather the oversight of Catholic correction14 the oversight of Catholic correction. “On July 30, 381, the Bishop of Nyssa received the supreme honour of being named by Theodosius as one of the acknowledged authorities in all matters of theological orthodoxy: and he was appointed to regulate the affairs of the Church in Asia Minor, conjointly with Helladius of Cæsarea, and Otreius of Melitene:” Farrar’s Lives of the Fathers, 1889., from the fact that we possess an equal share of it, is so. But if some are inclined to regard each of us by himself, divested of any priestly dignity, in what respect has one any advantage over the other; in education for instance, or in birth connecting with the noblest and most illustrious lineage, or in theology? These things will be found either equal, or at all events not inferior, in me. “But what about revenue?” he will say. I would rather not be obliged to speak of this in his case; thus much only it will suffice to say, that our own was so much at the beginning, and is so much now; and to leave it to others to enquire into the causes of this increase of our revenue15 He is speaking of the funds of his Diocese, which at one period certainly he had been accused of mismanaging. , nursed as it is up till now, and growing almost daily by means of noble undertakings. What licence, then, has he to put an insult upon us, seeing that he has neither superiority of birth to show, nor a rank exalted above all others, nor a commanding power of speech, nor any previous kindness done to me? While, even if he had all this to show, the fault of having slighted those of gentle birth would still be inexcusable. But he has not got it; and therefore I deem it right to see that this malady of puffed-up pride is not left without a cure; and it will be its cure to put it down to its proper level, and reduce its inflated dimensions, by letting off a little of the conceit with which he is bursting. The manner of effecting this we leave to God.
 Φλαβιανῷ ἐπισκόπῳ Οὐκ ἐν καλοῖς, ὦ ἄνθρωπε τοῦ θεοῦ, τὰ ἡμέτερα: προϊόντα γὰρ τὰ κακὰ ἐν τοῖς τὸ ἄδικόν τε καὶ ἀπροφάσιστον καθ' ἡμῶν κινήσασι μῖσος οὐκέτι διὰ στοχασμῶν τινων ὑπονοεῖται, ἀλλ' ἐν παρρησίᾳ σπουδάζεται, καθάπερ τι τῶν ἀγαθῶν κατορθωμάτων. ὑμεῖς δὲ οἱ τέως ἔξω ὄντες τοῦ τοιούτου κακοῦ καταρρᾳθυμεῖτε τοῦ παῦσαι νεμομένην ἐν τῇ γειτονίᾳ τὴν φλόγα, ὥσπερ οὐκ εἰδότες ὅτι οἱ καλῶς περὶ τῶν ἰδίων βουλευσάμενοι τὸν τῶν γειτόνων ἐμπρησμὸν ἐν πολλῇ τῇ σπουδῇ καταστέλλουσι, δι' ὧν τοῖς πλησίον βοηθοῦσι τὸ μὴ δεηθῆναι τῆς ἐπὶ τοῖς ὁμοίοις βοηθείας πραγματευόμενοι. τί οὖν ἐστιν ὃ λέγω; ἐπιλέλοιπεν τὸν βίον ἡ ὁσιότης, πέφευγεν ἀφ' ἡμῶν ἡ ἀλήθεια: τῆς δὲ εἰρήνης πρότερον μὲν τὸ γοῦν ὄνομα εἴχομεν περιφερόμενον ἐν τοῖς στόμασιν, νῦν δὲ οὐ μόνον ἐκείνη οὐκ ἔστιν, ἀλλ' οὐδὲ τὸ ὄνομα αὐτῆς ἡμῖν ὑπολέλειπται. ὡς δ' ἂν εἰδείης σαφέστερον ὑπὲρ ὧν σχετλιάζω, δι' ὀλίγων σοι τὴν τραγῳδίαν ἐκθήσομαι.
Ἦσάν τινες οἱ τὸν αἰδεσιμώτατον Ἑλλάδιον δυσμενῶς πρὸς ἡμᾶς ἔχειν καταμηνύοντες καὶ πρὸς πάντας διεξιέναι ὡς τῶν μεγίστων αὐτῷ κακῶν αἴτιος εἴην ἐγώ. οὐκ ἐπειθόμην τοῖς λεγομένοις, πρὸς ἐμαυτὸν καὶ τὴν ἐν τοῖς πράγμασιν ἀλήθειαν βλέπων: ὡς δὲ παρὰ πάντων ὁμοφώνως τὰ αὐτὰ πρὸς ἡμᾶς ἀπηγγέλλετο καὶ συνέβαινεν ταῖς φήμαις τὰ πράγματα, πρέπειν ᾠήθην μὴ περιιδεῖν ἀθεράπευτον τὴν ἄρριζόν τε καὶ ἀφύτευτον ταύτην δυσμένειαν. διὸ καὶ πρὸς τὴν σὴν ἐπέστειλα θεοσέβειαν, καὶ πολλοὺς ἄλλους τοὺς δυναμένους συμβαλέσθαι τι πρὸς τὸ προκείμενον ἐπὶ τὴν σπουδὴν ταύτην παρώρμησα: καὶ τέλος, τὴν μνήμην τοῦ μακαριωτάτου Πέτρου παρὰ Σεβαστηνοῖς πρώτως ἀγομένην ἐπιτελέσας, καὶ τὰς συνήθως παρ' αὐτῶν ἐπιτελουμένας τῶν ἁγίων [μʹ] μαρτύρων μνήμας κατὰ τὸν αὐτὸν χρόνον συνδιαγαγὼν ἐκείνοις, ἐπὶ τὴν ἐμαυτοῦ πάλιν ἐκκλησίαν ὑπέστρεφον. καί τινος μηνύσαντος κατὰ τὴν ὀρεινὴν αὐτὸν ἐνορίαν διάγειν μαρτύρων ἐπιτελοῦντα μνήμας, τὰ μὲν πρῶτα τῆς ὁδοῦ εἰχόμην, εὐπρεπέστερον εἶναι κρίνων ἐπὶ τῆς μητροπόλεως γενέσθαι τὴν συντυχίαν: ὡς δέ τις τῶν γνησίων κατὰ σπουδήν μοι συντετυχηκὼς ἀρρωστεῖν αὐτὸν διεβεβαιώσατο, καταλιπὼν ἐν τῷ τόπῳ τὸ ὄχημα, ἐν ᾧ παρὰ τῆς τοιαύτης κατελήφθην φήμης, ἵππῳ τὸ μεταξὺ διῆλθον διάστημα, κρημνῶδες καὶ ὀλίγου ἀπόρευτον ταῖς τραχυτάταις ἀνόδοις. ἦν δὲ πεντεκαίδεκα σημεῖα, ὡς παρὰ τῶν ἐγχωρίων ἠκούσαμεν, οἷς τὸ ἐν τῷ μέσῳ διεμετρεῖτο διάστημα. τούτων τὰ μὲν ἐκ ποδὸς τὰ δὲ διὰ τοῦ ἵππου μόλις διελθών, ὄρθριος, μέρει τινὶ καὶ τῆς νυκτὸς συγχρησάμενος, κατὰ τὴν πρώτην τῆς ἡμέρας ὥραν ἐφίσταμαι τοῖς Ἀνδαημονοῖς: οὕτω γὰρ ὀνομάζεται τὸ χωρίον, ἐν ᾧ ἦν ἐκκλησιάζων ἐκεῖνος μετὰ ἄλλων ἐπισκόπων δύο. ἄποθεν δὲ κατιδόντες ἐξ αὐχένος τινὸς ὑπερκειμένου τῆς κώμης τὴν ἐν τῷ ὑπαίθρῳ τῆς ἐκκλησίας συνδρομήν, βάδην τὸν μεταξὺ διήλθομεν τόπον, ἐκ ποδός τε προϊόντες αὐτός τε καὶ ἡ μετ' ἐμοῦ συνοδία καὶ τοὺς ἵππους διὰ χειρὸς ἐφελκόμενοι: ὥστε φθάσαι ὁμοῦ τὰ δύο γενέσθαι, ἐκεῖνόν τε ἐκ τῆς ἐκκλησίας ἐπὶ τὴν οἰκίαν ὑποστρέψαι καὶ ἡμᾶς πλησιάσαι τῷ μαρτυρίῳ. μηδεμιᾶς δὲ γενομένης ἀναβολῆς ἐπέμφθη παρ' ἡμῶν ὁ μηνύσων αὐτῷ τὴν παρουσίαν: καὶ μικροῦ διαγεγονότος διαστήματος ὁ ὑπηρετούμενος αὐτῷ διάκονος συνέτυχεν ἡμῖν, ὃν παρεκαλέσαμεν διὰ τάχους μηνῦσαι, ὥστε ἐπὶ πλεῖον αὐτῷ συνδιαγαγεῖν, ἐφ' ᾧ τε καιρὸν εὑρεῖν πρὸς τὸ μηδὲν περιοφθῆναι τῶν ἐν ἡμῖν ἀθεράπευτον. μετὰ τοῦτο ἐγὼ μὲν ἐκαθήμην κατὰ τὸ ὕπαιθρον ἀναμένων τὸν εἰσκαλοῦντα καὶ προεκείμην ἄκαιρον θέαμα τοῖς ἐπιδημοῦσι κατὰ τὴν σύνοδον. καὶ χρόνος διεγένετο οὐκ ὀλίγος, καὶ νυσταγμὸς ἐπὶ τούτοις καὶ ἀκηδία καὶ ὁ ἐκ τῆς ὁδοῦ κόπος ἐπιτείνων τὴν ἀκηδίαν καὶ τὸ θάλπος ἰσχυρὸν καὶ οἱ πρὸς ἡμᾶς ἀποβλέποντες καὶ ἀλλήλοις διὰ τῶν δακτύλων ὑποδεικνύοντες_καὶ ἅπαντα τὰ τοιαῦτα οὕτω μοι βαρέα ἦν, ὡς ἀληθεύειν ἐπ' ἐμοῦ τὸ τοῦ προφήτου ὅτι Ἠκηδίασεν ἐπ' ἐμὲ τὸ πνεῦμά μου. καὶ πρὸς μεσημβρίαν ἤδη προελθούσης τῆς ὥρας εἰσηνέχθην, πολλὰ μεταμεληθεὶς καὶ πρὸ τῆς συντυχίας ὡς ἐμαυτῷ τῆς ἀτιμίας ἐκείνης παρασχὼν τὴν αἰτίαν: καὶ χαλεπώτερον τῆς παρὰ τῶν ἐχθρῶν μοι γινομένης ὕβρεως ὁ ἐμός με λογισμὸς ἠνία, μαχόμενος τρόπον τινὰ πρὸς ἑαυτὸν καὶ μεταγινώσκων ἐν ὑστεροβουλίᾳ ὑπὲρ ὧν προέθετο.
Ὡς δ' οὖν μόλις ἠνοίγη ἡμῖν τὰ ἀνάκτορα καὶ τῶν ἀδύτων ἐντὸς ἐγενόμεθα, οἱ μὲν πολλοὶ ἀπεκλείσθησαν τῆς εἰσόδου, ὁ δὲ ἐμὸς συνεισῆλθε διάκονος, ὃς τῇ χειρὶ τὸ σῶμα ὑπήρειδεν πεπονηκὸς ἐκ τοῦ κόπου. ἐγὼ δὲ προσειπὼν αὐτὸν καὶ ἐπ' ὀλίγον σταθεὶς ὥστε μοι γενέσθαι προτροπὴν εἰς καθέδραν, ὡς οὐδὲν τούτων ἐγίνετο, ἐπί τινος τῶν πόρρωθεν βάθρων διατραπεὶς ἀνεπαυσάμην, ἀναμένων εἰ ἄρα τι φθέγξαιτο πρὸς ἡμᾶς εὐμενὲς ἤ τι φιλάνθρωπον ταῖς γοῦν ὀφρύσιν ἡμῖν ἐπινεύσειεν. ἀλλ' ἀπ' ἐναντίας τῇ ἐλπίδι τὰ πάντα: σιωπὴ γὰρ ἦν τὸ ἀπὸ τούτου νυκτερινὴ καὶ κατήφεια τραγικὴ καὶ θάμβος καὶ ἔκπληξις καὶ παντελὴς ἀφωνία καὶ χρόνος οὐκ ἐν μικρῷ διαστήματι καθάπερ ἐν μελαίνῃ νυκτὶ δι' ἡσυχίας παρατεινόμενος. ἐγὼ δὲ τούτοις ἐναποπαγεὶς τὴν διάνοιαν διὰ τὸ μηδὲ τῆς κοινῆς αὐτὸν θελῆσαι μεταδοῦναι φωνῆς διὰ τῶν κατημαξευμένων τούτων τὴν συντυχίαν ἀφοσιούμενον, οἷον τοῦ εὖ ἥκεις ἢ τοῦ πόθεν ἥκεις; ἢ ὑπὲρ τίνος; αὐτόματος, ἢ τίς ἡ τῆς παρουσίας σπουδή; τὴν ἡσυχίαν ἐκείνην τῆς ἐν ᾅδου διαγωγῆς ἐποιούμην εἰκόνα. μᾶλλον δὲ καταγινώσκω τοῦ ὑποδείγματος: ἐν ᾅδου γὰρ ἰσονομία πολλή, μηδενὸς τῶν ὑπὲρ γῆς τὴν περὶ τὸν βίον τραγῳδίαν ἐργαζομένων κἀκείνην τὴν διαγωγὴν διοχλοῦντος: οὐ γὰρ συγκαταβαίνει, καθά φησιν ὁ προφήτης, τοῖς ἀνθρώποις ἡ δόξα, ἀλλὰ καταλιποῦσα ἡ ἑκάστου ψυχὴ τὰ νῦν σπουδαζόμενα τοῖς πολλοῖς, ὕβριν λέγω καὶ ὑπερηφανίαν καὶ τῦφον, λιτή τις καὶ ἀκατάσκευος ἐπιχωριάζει τοῖς κάτω, ὡς μηδὲν τῶν τῇδε μοχθηρῶν καὶ παρ' ἐκείνοις εἶναι. πλὴν ἀλλ' ἐμοὶ ᾅδης ἢ δεσμωτήριον ἀφεγγὲς ἢ ἄλλο τι σκυθρωπὸν κολαστήριον ἐδόκει τὰ παρόντα εἶναι, λογιζομένῳ ὅσων ἀγαθῶν ἐγενόμεθα παρὰ τῶν πατέρων ἡμῶν διάδοχοι καὶ οἷα διηγήματα τοῖς μεθ' ἡμᾶς καταλείψομεν. τί δὲ λέγω τῶν πατέρων τὴν πρὸς ἀλλήλους ἀγαπητικὴν σχέσιν; θαυμαστὸν γὰρ οὐδὲν ἀνθρώπους ὄντας ἐν ὁμοτίμῳ τῇ φύσει μηδὲν ἐθέλειν πλέον ἀλλήλων ἔχειν, ἀλλὰ τῇ ταπεινοφροσύνῃ ἀλλήλους ἡγεῖσθαι ἑαυτῶν ὑπερέχειν: ἀλλ' ἐκεῖνο μάλιστά μου τῆς διανοίας καθήπτετο, ὅτι ὁ πάσης κτίσεως δεσπότης, ὁ μονογενὴς υἱὸς ὁ ὢν ἐν τοῖς κόλποις τοῦ πατρός, ὁ ἐν ἀρχῇ ὤν, ὁ ἐν μορφῇ θεοῦ ὑπάρχων, ὁ τὰ σύμπαντα φέρων τῷ ῥήματι τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ, οὐκ ἐν τούτῳ μόνον ἐταπείνωσεν ἑαυτόν, ἐν τῷ διὰ σαρκὸς ἐπιδημῆσαι τῇ ἀνθρωπίνῃ φύσει, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὸν προδότην ἑαυτοῦ Ἰούδαν τῷ ἰδίῳ στόματι διὰ φιλήματος προσεγγίζοντα δέχεται καὶ εἰσελθὼν εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν Σίμωνος τοῦ λεπροῦ τὸ μὴ φιληθῆναι παρ' αὐτοῦ ὡς ἀφιλάνθρωπον ὀνειδίζει: ἐγὼ δὲ οὐδὲ ἀντὶ λεπροῦ ἐλογίσθην. τῷ τίνι ὁ τίς; τὴν διαφορὰν εὑρεῖν οὐκ ἔχω: τῷ πόθεν καταβεβηκότι ὁ ποῦ κείμενος; εἴ γε τὰ τοῦ κόσμου βλέπει τις τούτου. εἰ μὲν γὰρ τὰ τῆς σαρκὸς ἐξετάζοι τις, τοσοῦτον ἴσως ἀνεπαχθές ἐστι λέγειν, ὅτι ὁμότιμον ἐπ' ἀμφοτέρων τὸ εὐγενὲς καὶ ἐλεύθερον: εἰ δὲ τὴν ἀληθῆ τις ἐπιζητοίη τῆς ψυχῆς ἐλευθερίαν τε καὶ εὐγένειαν, ἐπ' ἴσης δοῦλοι τῆς ἁμαρτίας ἀμφότεροι, ἐπ' ἴσης τοῦ αἴροντος τὰς ἁμαρτίας δεόμεθα. ἄλλος ἐστὶν ὁ τῷ ἰδίῳ αἵματι τοῦ θανάτου καὶ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμᾶς λυτρωσάμενος, ὃς καὶ ἐξηγόρασεν ἡμᾶς καὶ ὑπερηφανίαν τινὰ κατὰ τῶν ἐξαγορασθέντων οὐκ ἐπεδείξατο, ὁ νεκροὺς εἰς ζωὴν ἀνακαλούμενος, ὁ πᾶσαν ἐξιώμενος ἀρρωστίαν καὶ ψυχῶν καὶ σωμάτων.
Ἐπεὶ οὖν ὁ καθ' ἡμῶν τῦφος καὶ ὁ τῆς ὑπερηφανίας ὄγκος μικροῦ δεῖν τῷ οὐρανίῳ ὕψει στενοχωρούμενος ἦν, ὕλην δέ τινα καὶ ἀφορμὴν πρὸς τὴν νόσον οὐδεμίαν ἑώρων, ὅθεν συγγνωστὸν γίνεται τὸ τοιοῦτον πάθος ἐπὶ τῶν ἐκ περιστάσεώς τινος ταύτην ἀναλαμβανόντων τὴν νόσον, ὅταν ἢ γένος ἢ παίδευσις ἢ ἀξιώματος ὑπεροχὴ τὰ χαυνότερα ἤθη διαφυσήσῃ, οὐκ εἶχον ὅπως ἐμαυτὸν ἀτρεμεῖν νουθετήσω, διοιδούσης μοι πρὸς τὴν ἀλογίαν τῶν γινομένων ἔνδοθεν τῆς καρδίας καὶ τοὺς ὑπὲρ τῆς ὑπομονῆς λογισμοὺς διαπτυούσης. ὅτε καὶ μάλιστα τὸν θεῖον ἠγάσθην ἀπόστολον οὕτως ἐναργῶς τὸν ἐμφύλιον ἡμῖν διαγράφοντα πόλεμον, λέγοντα εἶναί τινα ἐν τοῖς μέλεσι νόμον ἁμαρτίας τὸν ἀντιστρατευόμενον τῷ νόμῳ τοῦ νοὸς καὶ ποιοῦντα πολλάκις ἑαυτῷ τὸν νοῦν αἰχμάλωτόν τε καὶ ὑποχείριον, ταύτην ἐν ἐμαυτῷ βλέπων τῶν δύο λογισμῶν τὴν ἐξ ἐναντίου παράταξιν, τοῦ τε χαλεπαίνοντος πρὸς τὴν ἐξ ὑπερηφανίας ὕβριν καὶ τοῦ τὸ διοιδοῦν καταστέλλοντος. ἐπεὶ δὲ κατὰ θεοῦ χάριν ἐπεκράτησεν ἡ κρείττων ῥοπή, τότε πρὸς αὐτὸν εἶπον ἐγώ: ”Μὴ ἄρα τί σοι τῶν περὶ τὴν θεραπείαν τοῦ σώματος σπουδαζομένων τῇ παρουσίᾳ μου βλάπτεται, καὶ ὑπεξελθεῖν ἐστιν εὔκαιρον;” τοῦ δὲ εἰπόντος μὴ χρῄζειν τοῦ θεραπευθῆναι τὸ σῶμα, εἶπόν τινας λόγους πρὸς αὐτὸν θεραπευτικούς, ὡς οἷόν τε ἦν: κἀκείνου δι' ὀλίγων τὸ ἐπὶ πολλοῖς ἀδικήμασιν τὴν καθ' ἡμῶν ἔχειν λύπην ἐνδειξαμένου, ταῦτα πρὸς αὐτὸν ἀπεκρινάμην ἐγώ, ὅτι „Ἐν ἀνθρώποις πολλὴν ἔχει δύναμιν πρὸς ἀπάτην τὸ ψεῦδος, τὸ δὲ θεῖον κριτήριον τὸν ἐξ ἀπάτης παραλογισμὸν οὐ προσδέχεται. ἐμοὶ δὲ τοσοῦτον πέποιθεν ἐν τοῖς πρὸς σὲ πράγμασιν ἡ συνείδησις, ὡς εὔχεσθαι τῶν μὲν ἄλλων ἁμαρτιῶν γενέσθαι μοι τὴν συγχώρησιν, εἰ δέ τι κατά σου πέπρακταί μοι, τοῦτο μεῖναι εἰς τὸ διηνεκὲς ἀσυγχώρητον„. σχετλιάσας δὲ τῷ λόγῳ, οὐκέτι προστεθῆναι τὰς ἀποδείξεις τοῖς εἰρημένοις ἐδέξατο.
Ὥρα ἦν πλείων ἢ κατὰ τὴν ἕκτην, καὶ τὸ λουτρὸν εὐτρεπὲς καὶ ἐν παρασκευῇ ἡ ἑστίασις καὶ σάββατον ἡ ἡμέρα καὶ μαρτύρων τιμή: καὶ πάλιν ὁ μαθητὴς τοῦ εὐαγγελίου πῶς μιμεῖται τὸν τοῦ εὐαγγελίου δεσπότην; ὁ μὲν μετὰ τελωνῶν καὶ ἁμαρτωλῶν ἐσθίων καὶ πίνων ἀπελογεῖτο τοῖς ὀνειδίζουσιν ὡς κατὰ φιλανθρωπίαν τοῦτο ποιῶν, ὁ δὲ ἄγος κρίνει καὶ μίασμα τὴν ἐπὶ τραπέζης κοινωνίαν. μετὰ τὸν κόπον ἐκεῖνον ὃν ἐκ τῆς ὁδοιπορίας ὑπέστημεν, μετὰ τὸ θάλπος τὸ τοσοῦτον ἐν ᾧ ὑπαίθριοι ταῖς θύραις αὐτοῦ προσκαθήμενοι κατεφρύγημεν, μετὰ τὴν σκυθρωπὴν ἐκείνην κατήφειαν ἣν ἐν ὀφθαλμοῖς αὐτοῦ γεγονότες ἀνέτλημεν, ἀποπέμπεται ἡμᾶς πάλιν ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ διάστημα διὰ τῆς αὐτῆς ὁδοῦ ταλαιπωροῦντας ἐν ἐκλελοιπότι ἤδη καὶ καταπεπονημένῳ τῷ σώματι: ὥστε μόλις ἡμᾶς περὶ δείλην ὀψίαν, πολλὰ διὰ μέσου κακοπαθήσαντας, καταλαβεῖν τὴν συνοδίαν: καὶ γάρ τι καὶ νέφος ἐκ λαίλαπος κατὰ τὸ ἀθρόον ἐν τῷ ἀέρι γενόμενον αὐτῶν τῶν μυελῶν ἡμῶν λάβρῳ τῷ ὄμβρῳ καθίκετο: ἀπαράσκευοι γὰρ ἦμεν διὰ τὸ ὑπερβάλλον θάλπος ὡς πρὸς ὑετοῦ φυλακήν. πλὴν ἀλλὰ κατὰ θεοῦ χάριν, ὡς οἱ ἀπὸ κλύδωνος ἢ ναυαγίου περισωθέντες, ἄσμενοι τὴν συνοδίαν ἡμῶν κατελάβομεν, καὶ ἀναπαυσάμενοι τὴν νύκτα μετὰ ἀλλήλων, ζῶντες μέχρι τῶν ἡμετέρων διεσώθημεν τόπων, τοῦτο προσλαβόντες ἐκ τῆς συντυχίας, ὅτι πάντων τῶν πρότερον γεγονότων ἡ ἔναγχος γενομένη καθ' ἡμῶν ὕβρις τὴν μνήμην ἀνενεώσατο.
Καί τι ἀναγκαζόμεθα λοιπὸν καὶ ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν βουλεύσασθαι, μᾶλλον δὲ ὑπὲρ αὐτοῦ ἐκείνου: τὸ γὰρ μὴ ἀνακοπῆναι αὐτοῦ τὴν προαίρεσιν ἐν τοῖς πρότερον γεγενημένοις, εἰς ταύτην αὐτὸν ἤγαγε τὴν τύφουσαν ἀμετρίαν: οὐκοῦν ὡς ἂν κἀκεῖνος ἑαυτοῦ γένοιτο κρείττων, τάχα τι προσήκει καὶ παρ' ἡμῶν γενέσθαι, ὡς ἂν μάθοι ἄνθρωπος ὢν καὶ οὐδεμίαν κατὰ τῶν ὁμοφρόνων τε καὶ ὁμοτίμων ὕβρεως καὶ ἀτιμίας τὴν αὐθεντίαν ἔχων. ἰδοὺ γὰρ ἀληθὲς εἶναι δεδόσθω (λέγω δὲ καθ' ὑπόθεσιν) γεγενῆσθαι παρ' ἐμοῦ τι λυπηρὸν κατ' ἐκείνου: ποῖον συνέστη καθ' ἡμῶν ἐπὶ τοῖς γενομένοις ἢ ὑπονοουμένοις κριτήριον; τίς ἀπόδειξις τὴν ἀδικίαν ἀπήλεγξεν; τίνες κανόνες καθ' ἡμῶν ἀνεγνώσθησαν; ποία ἔννομος ἐπισκόπου ἀπόφασις τὴν καθ' ἡμῶν κρίσιν ἐκύρωσεν; εἰ δέ τι καὶ ἐγεγόνει τούτων ἐννόμως, πάντως ἂν περὶ τὸν βαθμὸν ὁ κίνδυνος ἦν: ὕβριν δὲ κατὰ ἐλευθερίας καὶ ἀτιμίαν κατὰ τῶν ὁμοτίμων ποῖοι κανόνες ἐνομοθέτησαν; Κρίμα δίκαιον κρίνατε οἱ πρὸς θεὸν ὁρῶντες, ἐν τίνι συγγνωστὴν ἡγεῖσθε τὴν καθ' ἡμῶν ἀτιμίαν; εἰ κατὰ τὴν ἱερωσύνην τὸ ἀξίωμα κρίνοιτο, ἴση παρὰ τῆς συνόδου καὶ μία γέγονεν ἀμφοτέροις ἡ προνομία, μᾶλλον δὲ ἡ φροντὶς τῆς τῶν κοινῶν διορθώσεως, [ὡς] ἐν τούτῳ τὸ ἴσον ἔχειν. εἰ δέ τινες ἡμᾶς γυμνοὺς τοῦ κατὰ τὴν ἱερωσύνην ἀξιώματος ἐφ' ἑαυτῶν βλέποιεν, τί τοῦ ἑτέρου πλέον ἔχει ὁ ἕτερος; γένος; παίδευσιν; ἐλευθερίαν πρὸς τοὺς ἀρίστους τε καὶ εὐδοκιμωτάτους; γνῶσιν; ταῦτα ἢ ἐν τῷ ἴσῳ καὶ παρ' ἡμῖν ἔστιν εὑρεῖν ἢ πάντως οὐκ ἐν ἐλάσσονι. ἀλλὰ πλοῦτον λέγει; μὴ γένοιτο εἰς ἀνάγκην ἐλθεῖν ταῦτα περὶ αὐτοῦ διηγήσασθαι. ἦ τοσοῦτον ἀρκεῖ μόνον εἰπεῖν, ὅσος ἦν τὸ κατ' ἀρχὰς καὶ νῦν ὅσος ἐγένετο, καὶ καταλιπεῖν ἄλλοις ἀναζητῆσαι τῆς αὐξήσεως τοῦ πλούτου τὰς ἀφορμὰς τοῦ μέχρι τοῦ παρόντος καθ' ἑκάστην μικροῦ δεῖν ἡμέραν διὰ τῶν καλῶν ἐπιτηδευμάτων αὐξομένου τε καὶ τρεφομένου. τίς οὖν τῆς καθ' ἡμῶν ὕβρεως ἡ ἐξουσία, εἰ μήτε γένους ὑπεροχὴ μήτε ἀξιώματος περιφάνεια μήτε δύναμις ὑπερβάλλουσα λόγων, μηδὲ ἔστιν εὐεργεσία τις προϋπάρξασα; ὁπότε καὶ εἰ ταῦτα ἦν, καὶ οὕτως ἂν ἦν τὸ κατὰ τὴν ὕβριν ἐπὶ τῶν ἐλευθέρων ἀσύγγνωστον: μηδενὸς δὲ τούτων ὄντος οὐκ οἶμαι καλῶς ἔχειν τὴν τοσαύτην τοῦ τύφου νόσον περιιδεῖν ἀθεράπευτον. θεραπεία δέ ἐστιν τὸ ἐπικλῖναι τὴν ὑπερηφανίαν καὶ διαστεῖλαι τὸν διάκενον ὄγκον, μικρὸν διαπνευσθέντος τοῦ κατὰ τὸν τῦφον φυσήματος: ὅπως δ' ἂν γένοιτο τοῦτο, θεῷ μελήσει.