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Life of Antony. Section 85. At another time, suffering the same compulsion at the hands of them who hadà

85. At another time, suffering the same compulsion at the hands of them who had need, and after many entreaties from the commander of the soldiers, he came down, and when he was come he spoke to them shortly of the things which make for salvation, and concerning those who wanted him, and was hastening away. But when the duke, as he is called, entreated him to stay, he replied that he could not linger among them, and persuaded him by a pretty simile, saying, Fishes, if they remain long on dry land, die. And so monks lose their strength if they loiter among you and spend their time with you. Wherefore as fish must hurry to the sea, so must we hasten to the mountain. Lest haply if we delay we forget the things within us.' And the general having heard this and many other things from him, was amazed and said, Of a truth this man is the servant of God. For, unless he were beloved of God, whence could an ignorant man have such great understanding?' c86. And a certain general, Balacius by name, persecuted us Christians bitterly on account of his regard for the Arians -- that name of ill-omen. And as his ruthlessness was so great that he beat virgins, and stripped and scourged monks, Antony at this time wrote a letter as follows, and sent it to him. I see wrath coming upon thee, wherefore cease to persecute the Christians, lest haply wrath catch hold of thee, for even now it is on the point of coming upon thee .' But Balacius laughed and threw the letter on the ground, and spit on it, and insulted the bearers, bidding them tell this to Antony: Since thou takest thought for the monks, soon I will come after thee also.' And five days had not passed before wrath came upon him. For Balacius and Nestorius, the Prefect of Egypt , went forth to the first halting-place from Alexandria, which is called Chæreu, and both were on horseback, and the horses belonged to Balacius, and were the quietest of all his stable. But they had not gone far towards the place when the horses began to frisk with one another as they are wont to do; and suddenly the quieter, on which Nestorius sat , with a bite dismounted Balacius, and attacked him, and tore his thigh so badly with its teeth that he was borne straight back to the city, and in three days died. And all wondered because what Antony had foretold had been so speedily fulfilled. f In Hist. Ar.14 the letter is sent not to Balacius but to Gregory, who died on June 26, 345 (Gwatkin, p.105).

Nestorius was prefect 345-352' (Index to Fest. Letters, where the year 345' is from August 344 to August 345).

In the Hist. Ar. it is simply stated that Balacius was bitten by his own horse. The present passage looks like a more careful restatement.

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