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An Ecclesiastical History To The 20th Year Of The Reign Of Constantine by Eusebius

LET us also see what kind of epistle the same writer addressed to Novatus, who was then disturbing the brethren at Rome; since he pretended that certain brethren were the cause of his apostasy and schism, because he had been forced by them to proceed thus far. Observe the manner in which he writes to him: “Dionysius sends greeting to his brother Novatus. If, as you say, you were forced against your will, you will show it by retiring voluntarily. For it was a duty to suffer any thing rather than to afflict the church of God; and, indeed, it would not be more inglorious to suffer even martyrdom for its sake, than to sacrifice; and in my opinion it would have been a greater glory. For there, in the one case, the individual gives a testimony for his own soul, but in the other he bears witness for the whole church. And now, if thou persuade or constrain the brethren to return to unanimity, thy uprightness will be greater than thy delusion, and the latter will not be laid to thy charge, but the other will be applauded; but if thou art unable to prevail with thy friends, save thy own soul. With the hope that thou art desirous of peace in the Lord, I bid thee farewell.” Such was the epistle of Dionysius to Novatus.








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