Select Works And Letters Or Athanasius by Athanasius
11. Examples of Scripture Saints in defence of flight.
Perhaps they have not read these histories; as being out of date; yet have they no recollection of what is written in the Gospel? For the disciples also withdrew and hid themselves for fear of the Jews; and Paul, when he was sought after by the governor at Damascus, was let down from the wall in a basket, and so escaped his hands. As the Scripture then relates these things of the Saints, what excuse will they be able to invent for their wickedness? To reproach them with cowardice would be an act of madness, and to accuse them of acting contrary to the will of God, would be to shew themselves entirely ignorant of the Scriptures. For there was a command under the law that cities of refuge should be appointed, in order that they who were sought after to be put to death, might at least have some means of saving themselves. And when He Who spake unto Moses, the Word of the Father, appeared in the end of the world, He also gave this commandment, saying, But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another:' and shortly after He says, When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (whoso readeth, let him understand); then let them which be in Judæa flee into the mountains: let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes .' Knowing these things, the Saints regulated their conduct accordingly. For what our Lord has now commanded, the same also He spoke by His Saints before His coming in the flesh: and this is the rule which is given unto men to lead them to perfection -- what God commands, that to do.