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Gregory Nazianzen the Theologian Last Farewell in the Presence of the One Hundred and Fifty Bishops (Oration XLII), Complete

Translated by Ch. Browne and J. Swallow.

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1. What think ye of our affairs, dear shepherds and fellow-shepherds: whose feet are beautiful, for you bring glad tidings of peace and of the good things [4278] with which ye have come; beautiful again in our eyes, to whom ye have come in season, not to convert a wandering sheep, [4279] but to converse with a pilgrim shepherd? What think ye of this our pilgrimage? And of its fruit, or rather of that of the Spirit [4280] within us, [4281] by Whom we are ever moved, [4282] and specially have now been moved, desiring to have, and perhaps having, nothing of our own? Do you of yourselves understand and perceive—and are you kindly critics of our actions? Or must we, like those from whom a reckoning is demanded as to their military command, or civil government, or administration of the exchequer, publicly and in person submit to you the accounts of our administration? Not indeed that we are ashamed of being judged, for we are ourselves judges in turn, and both with the same charity. But the law is an ancient one: for even Paul communicated to the Apostles his Gospel: [4283] not for the sake of ostentation, for the Spirit is far removed from all ostentation, but in order to establish his success and correct his failure, if indeed there were any such in his words or actions, as he declares when writing of himself. Since even the Spirits of the Prophets are subject to the prophets, [4284] according to the order of the Spirit who regulates and divides all things well. And do not wonder that, while he rendered his account privately and to some, I do so publicly, and to all. For my need is greater than his, of being aided by the freedom of my censors, if I am proved to have failed in my duty, lest I should run, or have run, in vain. [4285] And the only possible mode of self-defence is speech in the presence of men who know the facts.

[4278] Isai. lii. 7; Rom. x. 15.

[4279] S. Matt. xviii. 12.

[4280] Gal. v. 22.

[4281] 2 Tim. i. 14.

[4282] Acts xvii. 28.

[4283] Gal. ii. 2.

[4284] 1 Cor. xiv. 32.

[4285] Gal. ii. 2.

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