Select Works And Letters Or Athanasius by Athanasius
5. No possible time or place for the alleged offence.
Now what place and time does my accuser specify, at which I made use of these expressions according to his slanderous imputation? In whose presence was I so mad as to give utterance to the words which he has falsely charged me with speaking? Who is there ready to support the charge, and to testify to the fact? What his own eyes have seen that ought he to speak , as holy Scripture enjoins. But no; he will find no witnesses of that which never took place. But I take your Piety to witness, together with the Truth, that I lie not. I request you, for I know you to be a person of excellent memory, to call to mind the conversation I had with you, when you condescended to see me, first at Viminacium , a second time at Cæsarea in Cappadocia, and a third time at Antioch. Did I speak evil before you even of Eusebius and his fellows who had persecuted me? Did I cast imputations upon any of those that have done me wrong? If then I imputed nothing to any of those against whom I had a right to speak, how could I be so possessed with madness as to slander an Emperor before an Emperor, and to set a brother at variance with a brother? I beseech you, either cause me to appear before you that the thing may be proved, or else condemn these calumnies, and follow the example of David, who says, Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I destroy .' As much as in them lies, they have slain me; for the mouth that belieth, slayeth the soul .' But your long-suffering has prevailed against them, and given me confidence to defend myself, that they may suffer condemnation, as contentious and slanderous persons. Concerning your most religious brother, of blessed memory, this may suffice: for you will be able, according to the wisdom which God has given you, to gather much from the little I have said, and to recognise the fictitious charge.