Select Works And Letters Or Athanasius by Athanasius
19. Fourth charge, of having disobeyed an Imperial order.
And now, if it please you, let us consider the remaining accusation, and permit me to answer it likewise. They have dared to charge me with resisting your commands, and refusing to leave my Church. Truly I wonder they are not weary of uttering their calumnies; I however am not yet weary of answering them, I rather rejoice to do so; for the more abundant my defence is, the more entirely must they be condemned. I did not resist the commands of your Piety, God forbid; I am not a man that would resist even the Quæstor of the city, much less so great a Prince. On this matter I need not many words, for the whole city will bear witness for me. Nevertheless, permit me again to relate the circumstances from the beginning; for when you hear them, I am sure you will be astonished at the presumption of my enemies. Montanus, the officer of the Palace , came and brought me a letter, which purported to be an answer to one from me, requesting that I might go into Italy, for the purpose of obtaining a supply of the deficiencies which I thought existed in the condition of our Churches. Now I desire to thank your Piety, which condescended to assent to my request, on the supposition that I had written to you, and has made provision for me to undertake the journey, and to accomplish it without trouble. But here again I am astonished at those who have spoken falsehood in your ears, that they were not afraid, seeing that lying belongs to the Devil, and that liars are alien from Him who says, I am the Truth .' For I never wrote to you, nor will my accuser be able to find any such letter; and though I ought to have written every day, if I might thereby behold your gracious countenance, yet it would neither have been pious to desert the Churches, nor right to be troublesome to your Piety, especially since you are willing to grant our requests in behalf of the Church, although we are not present to make them. Now may it please you to order me to read what Montanus commanded me to do. This is as follows .***