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5. In the meantime, I desired to free myself from suspicion in the implicit judgment of the reader, and to refute the gravest of the charges in the eyes of my friends. I did not wish it to appear that I had been the first to strike, seeing that I have not, even when wounded, aimed a blow against my assailant, but have only sought to heal my own wound. I beg the reader to let the blame rest on him who struck the first blow, without respect of persons. He is not content with striking; but, as if he were dealing with a man whom he had reduced to silence and who would never speak again, he has written three elaborate books and has made out from my works a list of “Contradictions” worthy of Marcion.30073007    ᾽Αντίθεσεις. Marcion, a Gnostic of the second century drew out a list of Contradictions between the Law (which he rejected) and the Gospel. Our minds are all on fire to know at once what his doctrine is and what is this madness of mine which we had not expected. Perhaps he has learnt (though the time for it has been short) all that is necessary to make him my teacher, and a sudden flow of eloquence will reveal what no one imagined that he knew.

30083008    This is altered from Virg. Æn. x, 875.
   “Sic Pater ille Deum faciat, sic altus Apollo,

   Incipias conferre manum.
“Grant it, O Father; mighty Jesus, grant.

Let him begin the engagement hand to hand.”

Though he may brandish the spear of his accusations and hurl them against us with all his might, we trust in the Lord our Saviour that his truth will encompass us as with a shield, and we shall be able to sing with the Psalmist:30093009    Supposed to be a version of Ps. lxiv. 8 “Their blows have become as the arrows of the little ones,” and30103010    Ps. xxvii. 3, 4 “Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war should rise against me, even then will I be confident.” But of this at another time. Let us now return to the point where we began.


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