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Fathers of the Church

Epistle LII: to Nicobulus


Nicobulus asked Gregory to publish a collection of his letters. Gregory forwards a copy.


This Nicobulus was a man of great wealth and ability, but much disinclined for public life. Gregory was constantly writing to one and another high official to get him excused from appointments which had been thrust upon him.

by Gregory Nazianzen in Unknown | translated by Charles Gordon Browne, M.A., James Edward Swallow, M.A

You are asking flowers from an autumn meadow, and arming Nestor in his old age, in demanding from me now something clever in the way of language, after I have long neglected all that is enjoyable in language and in life. But yet (since it is not an Eurysthean or Herculean labour that you are imposing on me, but rather one which is very agreeable and quiet, to collect for you as many of my own letters as I can), do you place this volume among your books—a work not amatory but oratorical, and not for display so much as for use, and that for our own home.(a) For different authors have different characteristics, greater or smaller. Mine is a tendency to instruct by maxims and positive statements wherever opportunity occurs. And as in a legitimate child, so also in language, the father is always visible, not less than parents are shewn by bodily characteristics. Mine are such as I have mentioned. You may repay me both by writing and by deriving profit from what I have written. I cannot ask for or request any better reward than this, either more profitable to the asker, or more becoming him who gives it.

Taken from "The Early Church Fathers and Other Works" originally published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. in English in Edinburgh, Scotland, beginning in 1867. (LNPF II/VII, Schaff and Wace). The digital version is by The Electronic Bible Society, P.O. Box 701356, Dallas, TX 75370, 214-407-WORD.

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