34. “But why,”
you ask, “did you 536accept my manuscripts which
had been falsified? and why, when I had translated the Περὶ
᾽Αρχῶν did you
dare to put your pen to the same work? If I had erred, as any man may,
ought you not to summon me to reply by a private letter, and to speak
smoothly to me, as I am speaking smoothly in my present letter?”
My whole fault is this that, when accusations were brought against me
in the guise of disingenuous praise, I tried to purge myself from them,
and this without invidiously introducing your name. I wished to refer
to many persons a charge which you alone had brought, not so as to
retort the charge of heresy upon you, but to repel it from myself.
Could I know that you would be angry if I wrote against the heretics?
You had said that you had taken away the heretical passages from the
works of Origen. I therefore turned my attacks not upon you but upon
the heretics, for I did not believe that you were a favourer of heresy.
Pardon me, if I did this with too great vehemence. I thought that I
should give you pleasure. You say that it was by the dishonest tricks
of those who acted for me that your manuscripts were brought out before
the public, when they were kept secretly in your chamber, or were in
possession only of the man who had desired to have the translation made
for him. But how is this reconcilable with your former statement that
either no one or very few had them? If they were kept secret in your
chamber, how could they be in the possession of the man who had desired
to have the translation made for him? If the one man for whom the
manuscripts had been written had obtained them in order to conceal
them, then they were not kept secret in your chamber, and they were not
in the hands of those few who, as you now declare, possessed them. You
accuse us of having stolen them away; and then again you reproach us
with having bought them for a great sum of money and an immense bribe.
In a single matter, and in one little letter, what a tissue of various
and discordant falsehoods! You have full liberty for accusation, but I
have none for defence. When you bring a charge, you think nothing about
friendship. When I begin to reply, then your mind is full of the rights
of friendship. Let me ask you: Did you write these manuscripts for
concealment or for publication? If for concealment, why were they
written? If for publication, why did you conceal them?