On The Priesthood by St. Chrysostom
to the beloved brother john, innocent.
Although the innocent man ought to expect all good things, and to crave mercy from God, nevertheless we also, counselling resignation, have sent an appropriate letter by the hands of Cyriacus the deacon; so that insolence may not have more power in oppressing, than a good conscience has in retaining hope. For thou who art the teacher and pastor of so many people needest not to be taught that the best men are ever frequently put to the test whether they will persevere in the perfection of patience, and not succumb to any toil of distress: and certainly conscience is a strong defence against all things which unjustly befall us: and unless any one conquer these by patient endurance he supplies an argument for evil surmising. For he ought to endure all things who trusts first of all in God, and then in his own conscience; seeing that the noble and good man can be specially trained to endurance, inasmuch as the holy Scriptures guard his mind; and the sacred lessons which we deliver to the people abound in examples, testifying as they do that nearly all the saints have been continually oppressed in divers ways, and are tested as by a kind of scrutiny, and so attain to the crown of patience. Let conscience itself console thy love, most honoured brother, which in affliction supplies the consolation of virtue. For under the eye of the Master Christ, the conscience, having been purged, will find rest in the haven of peace.