Select Works And Letters Or Athanasius by Athanasius
8. If it is wrong to flee, it is worse to persecute.
But although they have done all this, yet they are not ashamed of the evils they have already contrived against me, but proceed now to accuse me, because I have been able to escape their murderous hands. Nay, they bitterly bewail themselves, that they have not effectually put me out of the way; and so they pretend to reproach me with cowardice, not perceiving that by thus murmuring against me, they rather turn the blame upon themselves. For if it be a bad thing to flee, it is much worse to persecute; for the one party hides himself to escape death, the other persecutes with a desire to kill; and it is written in the Scriptures that we ought to flee; but he that seeks to destroy transgresses the law, nay, and is himself the occasion of the other's flight. If then they reproach me with my flight, let them be more ashamed of their own persecution . Let them cease to conspire, and they who flee will forthwith cease to do so. But they, instead of giving over their wickedness, are employing every means to obtain possession of my person, not perceiving that the flight of those who are persecuted is a strong argument against those who persecute. For no man flees from the gentle and the humane, but from the cruel and the evil-minded. Every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt ,' fled from Saul, and took refuge with David. But this is the reason why these men desire to cut off those who are in concealment, that there may be no evidence forthcoming of their wickedness. But herein their minds seem to be blinded with their usual error. For the more the flight of their enemies becomes known, so much the more notorious will be the destruction or the banishment which their treachery has brought upon them ; so that whether they kill them outright, their death will be the more loudly noised abroad against them, or whether they drive them into banishment, they will but be sending forth everywhere monuments of their own iniquity.