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Chapter XXXI.

He bemoans the unhappy lot of Constantinople, owing to the misfortune which has overtaken it from that heretic; and at the same time he urges the citizens to stand fast in the ancient Catholic and ancestral faith.

Wherefore I also, humble and insignificant as I am in name as in desert, and although I cannot claim a place as Teacher among those illustrious Bishops of Constantinople, yet venture to claim the zeal and enthusiasm of a disciple. For I was admitted into the sacred ministry by the Bishop John, of blessed memory, and offered to God, and even though I am absent in body yet I am still there in heart: and though by actual presence I no longer mix with that most dear and honourable people of God, yet I am still joined to them in spirit. And hence it comes that condoling and sympathizing with them, I broke out just now into the utterance of our common grief and sorrow, and in my weakness cried out (which was all that I could do) by means of the dolorous lamentation of my works, as if for my own limbs and members: for if as the Apostle says, when the smaller part of the body is grieved, the greater part grieves and sympathizes with it,26832683    Cf. 1 Cor. xii. 26. how much more should the smaller part sympathize when the greater part is grieved? It is indeed utterly inhuman for the smaller parts not to feel the sufferings of the greater in one and the same body, if the greater feel those of the smaller. Wherefore I pray and beseech you, you who live within the circuit of Constantinople, and who are my fellow-citizens through the love of my country, and my brothers through the unity of the faith; separate yourselves from that ravening wolf who (as it is written) devours the people of God, as if they were bread.26842684    Ps. xiii. (xiv.) 4; Col. ii. 21, 23; 2 Cor. vi. 17. Touch not, taste not anything of his, for all those things lead to death. Come out from the midst of him and be ye separate and touch not the unclean thing. Remember your ancient teachers, and your priests; Gregory whose fame was spread through the world, Nectarius renowned for holiness, John a marvel of faith and purity. John, I say; that John who like John the Evangelist was indeed a disciple of Jesus and an Apostle; and so to speak ever reclined on the breast and heart of the Lord. Remember him, I say. Follow him. Think of his purity, his faith, his doctrine, and holiness. Remember 621 him ever as your teacher and nurse, in whose bosom and embraces you as it were grew up. Who was the teacher in common both of you and of me: whose disciples and pupils we are. Read his writings. Hold fast his instruction. Embrace his faith and merits. For though to attain this is a hard and magnificent thing: yet even to follow is beautiful and sublime. For in the highest matters, not merely the attainment, but even the attempt to copy is worthy of praise. For scarcely anyone entirely misses all parts in that to which he is trying to climb and reach. He then should ever be in your minds and almost in your sight: he should live in your hearts and in your thoughts. He would himself commend to you this that I have written, for it was he who taught me what I have written: and so do not think of this as mine, so much as his: for the stream comes from the spring, and whatever you think belongs to the disciple, ought all to be referred to the honour of the master. But, beyond and above all I pray with all my heart and voice, to Thee, O God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that Thou wouldest fill with the gift of Thy love whatever we have written by Thy bounteous grace. And because, as the Lord our God Thine Only Begotten Son Himself taught us, Thou hast so loved this world as to send Thine Only Begotten Son to save the world, grant to Thy people whom Thou hast redeemed that in the Incarnation of Thine Only Begotten Son they may perceive both Thy gift and His love: and that all may understand the truth that for us Thine Only Begotten, our Lord God, was born and suffered and rose again, and may so love it that the condescension of His glory may increase our love: and let not His Humility lead to a diminution of His honour in the hearts of all men, but let it ever produce an increase of love: and may we all rightly and wisely comprehend the blessings of His Sacred Compassion, so as to see that we owe the more to God, in proportion as for our sakes God humbled Himself yet lower.

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