Chapter 4. The Exile


{264} AT length our great Confessor has arrived at his appointed place of exile. He reached it faint and exhausted in body and soul; but, as was usual with him, he soon rallied, and began to colour every thing about him with his own sweet, cheerful, thankful temper. In two days he had recovered his equanimity. He was pleased with all that was in any way pleasant; he made the best of what was bad; he blotted out the trials of the past; he fed his imagination with good hopes for the future. He generously and gallantly threw himself upon his lot, and tenderly embraced the cross; and though, as we shall see, the miseries of Cucusus grew on him, in spite of himself, as time went on, still he was determined he would like the place; and he did like it as long as ever he could, and, after the manner of the exiled sovereign in the drama, "found sermons in stones, and good in every thing."

He wrote to Olympias, in letters from which I quoted in the foregoing Chapter, that the place promised well; that the climate was like Antioch; that he was too well housed to fear the winter, and too sure of the winter to fear the Isaurians; that he had had a hearty welcome on the spot; that Adelphius, the Bishop, was kind; that {265} Sopater, the Prefect of Armenia, left nothing undone for his protection; that friends from Antioch had come over to receive him on his arrival; and, lastly, that he did not doubt that he should eventually be restored to Constantinople. If the trials of his journey still remained on his memory, it was in order to give a zest to his enjoyment of the repose which had now succeeded to them, and to indispose him to move again. Accordingly, he begged his friends not to attempt to gain from government his transference to any other place, unless, indeed, it was in the immediate neighbourhood of the imperial city. He was happy when he was let alone; but it was a tremendous penance to travel. Something of all this has already been given in his own words, and more shall now follow:


" … All these evils have vanished. On arriving at Cucusus, I got rid of all remains of my malady, and I am in most perfect health; and I am released from my fear of the Isaurians, for there is a strong force of soldiers here who are ready and eager for an engagement; and there is an abundance of all that is necessary, which flows in upon me on every side, all parties welcoming me with the greatest good will, in spite of the extreme desolateness of the place. My lord Dioscorus happened to be there; and he had even sent a domestic to me to Cęsarea for the very purpose of inviting, nay begging, me to accept his house and no other; and many others did the same. I availed myself by preference of his offer, as I felt I ought to do, and took up my abode with him; and he has been every thing to me, so that I have been continually protesting against the lavish expense which he has been at on my account. He has even left his house to me, and gone to live at some other place, in order to show me every attention possible; and he got the house into a condition to weather the winter, busying himself with this object in every way. In a word, he has left nothing undone which could be of service to me. Many others, too, agents and stewards, have received letters from their masters, {266} ordering them to call upon me, as they have done continually, and in every way to study my comfort.

"And now I have told you all about me, the distressing past and the favourable present, lest any friend should be precipitate in getting me removed elsewhere. If these persons, who wish to be kind to me, put into my own hands the choice where to dwell, instead of taking on themselves to assign the place, in that case I accept the favour. But if they remove me hence, in order to send me elsewhere, and there is to be another journey and another exile, this would be far more painful to me than my present condition—first, because of the chance of my relegation to a more distant or worse country; next, because travelling is to me worse than ten thousand banishments. For the inconveniences of my late journey brought me to the very gates of death; and now here I am in Cucusus, recruiting myself by an uninterrupted rest and quiet, and by that quiet nursing my long distress and my shattered bones and wearied flesh.

"My lady the Deaconess Sabiniana arrived here the same day that I did, knocked up, indeed, and wearied out, as being of that advanced age when travel is a toil, but in her earnestness a girl, and making no account of suffering, and ready, as she said, to go as far as Scythia; for the report went that I was to be deported thither. And now her mind is made up, she says, never to go away again, but to remain wherever I am. The ecclesiastics of the place received her with much attention and kindness. Moreover, my honoured lord, the most religious priest Constantius, would have been here long ago; for he wrote to me asking my leave to come, because, he said, he would not venture on the step without my judgment, much as he desired it, and certain as it was he could not remain at home; for he is in hiding, such troubles, he says, are upon him. On this account I beg you not to exert yourself for the change of my abode, for here I am enjoying great relief—so much so that, in the course of two days, all the troubles of my journey have been wiped out of my mind."—Ep. 43.

In a few days he wrote again to the same correspondent, in answer to a letter brought to him by Patricius:

"Why do you bewail me? Why beat your breast, and abandon yourself to the tyranny of despondency? Why are you grieved because you have failed in effecting my removal from Cucusus? {267} Yet, as far as your own part is concerned, you have effected it, since you have left nothing undone in attempting it. Nor have you any reason to grieve for your ill success; perhaps it has seemed good to God to make my race-course longer that my crown may be brighter. You ought to leap and dance and crown yourself for this, viz. that I should be accounted worthy of so great a matter, which far exceeds my merit. Does my present loneliness distress you? On the contrary, what can be more pleasant than my sojourn here? I have quiet, calm, much leisure, excellent health. To be sure, there is no market in the city, nor any thing on sale; but this does not affect me; for all things, as if from some fountains, flow in upon me. Here is my lord, the Bishop of the place, and my lord Dioscorus, making it their sole business to make me comfortable. That excellent person Patricius will tell you in what good spirits and lightness of mind, and amid what kind attentions, I am passing my time."—Ep. 14.


The same is his report to his friends at Cęsarea, and the same are his expressions of gratitude and affection towards them. The following is addressed to the President of Cappodocia:


"Cucusus is a place desolate in the extreme; however, it does not annoy me so much by its desolateness as it relieves me by its quiet and its leisure. Accordingly, I have found a sort of harbour in this desolateness; and have sat me down to recover breath after the miseries of the journey, and have availed myself of the quiet to dispose of what remained both of my illness and of the other troubles which I have undergone. I say this to your illustriousness, knowing well the joy you feel in this rest of mine. I can never forget what you did for me in Cęsarea, in quelling those furious and senseless tumults, and striving to the utmost, as far as your powers extended, to place me in security. I give this out publicly wherever I go, feeling the liveliest gratitude to you, my most worshipful lord, for so great solicitude towards me."—Ep. 236.

To Hymnetius, who attended him in his illness at {268} Cęsarea, he says: "I shall never give over my praises of you, in all companies, as a worthy man and the best of physicians, and a true friend. Whenever I have to speak here of my illness, of course you come into my story; and I am necessarily full of the benefits which I experienced from your great skill and kindness, which it is the greatest gratification to myself to enlarge upon." He adds, "Well as I am, I would give a good sum to attract you here, were it only to get the sight of you."—Ep. 81.

To Firminus, another Cęsarean, he says: "Even to have been in your company once has served to make me love you dearly; and you are yourself the cause of it, for from the first moment you showed an extreme and enthusiastic affection towards me; and instead of leaving me to time to gain experience of you, you took me captive at sight, and bound me closely to you. This is why I write to you, and tell you what you are eager to hear. What is that? Why, that I am in health, that I finished my journey without accident, that I am reveling in perfect quiet and leisure, that I have met with great kindness from all parties, that I am enjoying unspeakable consolation."—Ep. 80.

And in like manner to Leontius: "From your city I was driven, from my love for you I have not been driven; for it rested with others whether I should remain there or be cast out, but this thing depends upon me. Nor shall any one avail to deprive me of this privilege; but whithersoever I am carried, everywhere I carry with me the honey of my love for you, and revel in the recollection of you."—Ep. 83.

"I have reached Cucusus in health," he says to Faustinus, "and have found a place free from tumult, full of leisure and quiet, and without a soul to annoy me or to {269} send me off. Nor is it wonderful that I should have these advantages here, when even the route hither from you, which is so desolate, so dangerous, of such ill repute, was traversed by me without alarms, without adventures, with the enjoyment of greater security than is found in the best-regulated cities."—Ep. 84.

While he had this keen sensibility towards the kindnesses done him on his journey, he had no remembrance of the injuries. As to his enemies generally, there is hardly a word against them in the multitude of his private letters which have been preserved. He had spoken of his military attendants with cheerful hopefulness at Nicęa; he speaks of them with satisfaction at Cucusus, though they had shown neither spirit nor generosity at Cęsarea. He was too humble to exact much; he was too resigned not to be content with little. But what is stranger is his bearing towards Evethius, who figures as the tool of his Bishop in frightening the Saint away, on what seems a false alarm, from Seleucia's hospitable villa, and in sending him out in the dark at midnight, with a fever upon him, to stumble among the mountains and to get an overturn in his litter. This priest, indeed, is considered by great authorities to have been, not a Cęsarean, but a friend of the Saint's, who accompanied him from Nicęa. There was such a friend with him at Cucusus, certainly; but he seems to me to have joined him at a later date; on the other hand, it is certain that Chrysostom knew two persons of the name, and that one of them lived at Cęsarea. Evethius, then, I consider, was one of those priests who had been civil to him up to the time that the Bishop forbade such civility, and who then took part with the Bishop. Chrysostom remembered his beginning rather than his end, as the following {270} letter will show. It will be observed, too, that here, as in a letter I just now quoted, he has forgotten his "alarms and risks," as well as the priest's rough behaviour. Perhaps on reflection he thought he had been too hard upon him in his letter to Olympias, though in that letter he does no more than barely state what happened.


"Though I am absent from you in body, yet in charity I am bound to your soul; so large a claim of friendship have you deposited with me, in the great attention and kindness which you showed towards me in your own city. Therefore, wherever I go, I never fail to make my acknowledgments to you. And I beg you to write to me frequently, and to give me good tidings about your health. As regards myself, I finished my whole journey without trouble or danger, and am now living at Cucusus, revelling in the quiet and leisure of the place, and enjoying great attention and kindness at the hands of its inhabitants."—Ep. 173.

What is a still stronger evidence of his placable spirit is the tone in which he speaks of the vile Pharetrius himself, in a letter to a friend, who seems to have held some high post at Constantinople, and who had taken a prominent part in defending the Saint from his enemies. Prudence also, it will be observed, dictated this course.


"The matter of Pharetrius is certainly most painful; however, considering his presbyters have had no dealings with my enemies, as you say, nor have any wish to make common cause with them, but, on the contrary, profess still to be on my side, make no movement against them on this account, though what Pharetrius did to me is unpardonable. However, all his clergy felt pain, and gave open expression to their feeling, and were on my side of the question altogether. Lest, then, we cause a reaction among them, and make them violent, I advise you, after you have heard the whole {271} matter from my soldiers, to keep it to yourself, and to deal with them very gently. I know your discreet ways; and so say for me that I have heard how much the bishop was distressed at what occurred, and how ready he was to undergo any suffering in order to put right all the flagrant acts which had been committed.

"I am in good health, and have shaken off the remains of my illness; and, when I reflect what anxiety you have shown on this point, it is of itself a medicine to me to have gained so affectionate a friend in you. God reward you for the earnestness, love, zeal, and vigilance which you manifest in my cause, both in this world and in the next: may He defend and guard and protect you, and vouchsafe to you those His secret blessings. And may He grant me to see your dear face soon, and to enjoy your sweet spirit, and thus to hold the best of festivals. For you know well that it is a real festival to me, and a high day, to be allowed your most sweet and profitable converse once again."—Ep. 204.


Thus the Saint was ever forgetting his enemies in his friends. And, while it was his gift ever to be making new ones, he did not lose his old. His former people at Antioch vied in their services to him with his partisans at Constantinople and his newly-made acquaintance at Cęsarea. They came to see him, and returned home full of his praises. The enthusiasm which he inspired spread into Syria and Cilicia. Large sums of money were offered him for his support, both at Antioch and by rich persons in the neighbourhood of Cucusus. One or two letters of this date will serve as a specimen of many.


"Cucusus is indeed a desolate spot, and moreover unsafe to dwell in, from the continual danger to which it is exposed of brigands. You, however, though away, have turned it for me into a paradise. For, when I hear of your abundant zeal and charity in my beha1f, so genuine and warm (it does not at all escape me, {272} far removed as I am from you), I possess a great treasure and untold wealth in such affection, and feel myself to be dwelling in the safest of cities, by reason of the great gladness which bears me up, and the high consolation which I enjoy."—Ep. 144.

Diogenes was one of the friends who sent him supplies: he writes in answer:

"You know very well yourself that I have ever been one of your most warmly-attached admirers; therefore I beg you will not be hurt at my having returned your presents. I have pressed out of them and have quaffed the honour which they did me; and if I return the things themselves, it has been from no slight or distrust of you, but because I was in no need of them. I have done the same in the case of many others; for many others too, with a generosity like yours, ardent friends of mine, have made me the same offers; and the same apology has set me right with them which I now ask you to receive. If I am in want, I will ask these things of you with much freedom, as if they were my own property, nay with more, as the event will show. Receive them back, then, and keep them carefully; so that, if there is a call for them some time hence, I may reckon on them."—Ep.50.

As a fellow to the above, I add one of his letters


"What are you saying? that your unintermitting ailments have hindered you from visiting me? but you have come, you are present with me. From your very intention I have gained all this, nor have you any need to excuse yourself in this matter. That warm and true charity of yours, so vigorous, so constant, suffices to make me very happy. What I have ever declared in my letters, I now declare again, that, wherever I may be, though I be transported to a still more desolate place than this, you and your matters I never shall forget. Such pledges of your warm and true charity have you stored up for me, pledges which length of time can never obliterate nor waste; but, whether I am near you or far away, ever do I cherish that same charity, being assured of the loyalty and sincerity of your affection for me, which has been my comfort hitherto.—Ep. 227. {273}

No one could live in his friends more intimately than St. John Chrysostom; he had not a monk's spirit of detachment in such severity as to be indifferent to the presence, the hand-writing, the doings, the welfare, soul and body, of those who were children of the same grace with him, and heirs of the same promise. He writes as if he considered that the more religious a man is, the more sensitive he will be of a separation from his friends in religion; and, by the very topics which he uses in handling the subject of bereavement, in one of his letters to Olympias, he betrays his own acute suffering under the trial. The passage is too long to quote, but I may attempt an abstract of it.

"It is not a light effort," he says (Ep. 2), "but it demands an energetic soul and a great mind to bear separation from one whom we love in the charity of Christ. Every one knows this who knows what it is to love sincerely, who knows the power of supernatural love. Take the blessed Paul: here was a man who had stripped himself of the flesh, and who went about the world almost with a disembodied soul, who had exterminated from his heart every wild impulse, and who imitated the passionless sereneness of the immaterial intelligences, and who stood on high with the Cherubim, and shared with them in their mystical music, and bore prisons, chains, transportations, scourges, stoning, shipwreck, and every form of suffering; yet he, when separated from one soul loved by him in Christian charity, was so confounded and distracted as all at once to rush out of that city, in which he did not find the beloved one whom he expected. 'When I was come to Troas,' he says, 'for the gospel of Christ, and a door was opened to me in the Lord, I had no rest in my spirit, because {274} I found not Titus my brother; but bidding them farewell, I went into Macedonia.'

"Is it Paul who says this?" he continues; "Paul who, even when fastened in the stocks, when confined in a dungeon, when torn with the bloody scourge, did nevertheless convert and baptize and offer sacrifice, and was chary even of one soul which was seeking salvation? and now, when he has arrived at Troas, and sees the field cleansed of weeds, and ready for the sowing, and the floor full, and ready to his hand, suddenly he flings away the profit, though he came thither expressly for it. 'So it was,' he answers me, 'just so; I was possessed by a predominating tyranny of sorrow, for Titus was away; and this so wrought upon me as to compel me to this course.' Those who have the grace of charity are not content to be united in soul only, they seek for the personal presence of him they love.

"Turn once more to this scholar of charity, and you will find that so it is. 'We, brethren,' he says, 'being bereaved of you for the time of an hour, in sight, not in heart, have hastened the more abundantly to see your face with great desire. For we would have come unto you, I, Paul, indeed, once and again, but Satan hath hindered us. For which cause, forbearing no longer, we thought it good to remain at Athens alone, and we sent Timothy.' What force is there in each expression! That flame of charity living in his soul is manifested with singular luminousness. He does not say so much as 'separated from you,' nor 'torn,' nor 'divided,' nor 'abandoned,' but only 'bereaved;' moreover, not 'for a certain period,' but merely 'for the time of an hour;' and separated, 'not in heart, but in presence only;' again, 'have hastened the more abundantly to see your face.' What! it seems charity so captivated you that {275} you desiderated their sight, you longed to gaze upon their earthly, fleshly countenance? 'Indeed I did,' he answers: 'I am not ashamed to say so; for in that seeing all the channels of the senses meet together. I desire to see your presence; for there is the tongue which utters sounds and announces the secret feelings; there is the hearing which receives words, and there the eyes which image the movements of the soul.' But this is not all: not content with writing to them letters, he actually sends to them Timothy, who was with him, and who was more than any letters. And, 'We thought it good to remain alone;' that is, when he is divided from one brother, he says, he is left alone, though he had so many others with him."


The tone of this passage certainly makes it clear that, when the Saint so eagerly calls on his friends for letters, it is for his own sake, in order to supply, as best he may, the severe deprivation—the pœna damni, as it is called—which his absence from them became to him. 

This feeling of isolation is expressed in the following letter: 


"Near seventy days I passed on my journey, haunted on many sides with fear of the Isaurians, and fighting with intolerable fever; at length I reached Cucusus, the most desolate place in the whole world. I say this, not wishing you to be troublesome to any one in your attempts to effect my removal, for I have suffered my worst in suffering the hardship of the journey; but I ask you this favour, to write to me frequently, without allowing my distance from you to act in depriving me at least of this solace. For you know how great a comfort it is to me, however afflicted or badly circumstanced I may be, to hear how you are, who love me so well; to hear that you are in good spirits, and in health, and at your ease. As you {276} would have me, then, on this score light of heart, write to me word of this frequently, for it will be no common restorative. You know well what joy I feel in your prosperity."—Ep. 234.

However, there was obviously another reason for his wishing to hear news about them of a different kind, at a time when so many friends of his were, as being his friends, under the stroke of a severe persecution.

To enumerate the sufferings of these friends would be to write the history of the years to which his banishment belongs. Two Bishops who had sided with him, on pretence of their being concerned in the fire which consumed the cathedral and senate-house, upon his crossing to Bithynia, were first imprisoned, and then sent into banishment. One of his lectors, a delicate youth, was, on the same charge, put on the rack, torn with hooks, scourged, and then scorched with torches till he died. Tigrius, of whom mention was made in a former chapter, was scourged and racked, and then banished. Somewhat later, the persecution embraced all those who would not communicate with the Bishops who were successively intruded into the see of Constantinople. An imperial rescript determined that any Bishop who would not communicate with the usurper should lose his property, and be cast into exile. "Those who were rich," says Fleury, "and cared for their estates, communicated with Atticus out of policy; and those who were poor and weak in the faith suffered themselves to be seduced by bribes. But there were others who nobly disregarded their riches, their country, and all temporal advantages, and fled to escape the persecution. Several of them repaired to Rome, and others retired to the mountains, or into monasteries. The edict against the laity ordained that whosoever was invested with any dignity should be dispossessed of it; that officers {277} and military men should be broken, and the rest of the people and tradesmen condemned to pay a large fine, and banished. Notwithstanding these menaces, the people who were faithful to St. Chrysostom, rather than communicate with Atticus, used to pray in the open air, exposed to many inconveniences." [Note]

In this way, Cyriacus, Bishop of Emesa, was sent off to Persia, Palladius to Syene, Demetrius to the Oasis; the soldiers who conducted them treating them with great indignity and cruelty. Serapion, Bishop of Heraclea, who had made himself especially obnoxious to the schismatical party, was scourged, tortured, and banished. Hilarius, an old ascetic, was scourged, and banished to the farthest part of Pontus. The priests were sent away as far as to Arabia, Mesopotamia, the Thebaid, and Africa. Stephen, a monk, was scourged, imprisoned, and then banished to Pelusium. The holy women who took part with the Saint, whether in Constantinople or elsewhere, had, at an earlier date, a share in the sufferings of his cause. Olympias especially, in spite of her high birth and connections, was summoned before the prefect of the imperial city, and was heavily fined. She withdrew to Cyzicus. Pentadia, another deaconess, widow of a man who had filled the consulate, was fined and imprisoned. Nicarete had to leave the city.

It is not surprising that outrages so extreme should have filled Chrysostom, not only with horror, but with the most cruel anxiety what was next to happen; and should have made him eager to learn from his correspondents the course of events without any delay. We have various letters of his, written to Bishops and others under persecution; in others he makes application in their behalf in powerful quarters, and on their liberation {278} from prison he sends about the news of it. His exhortations to them are characteristic of the writer. He calls them "champions who are nobly fighting for the peace of the world."—Ep. 148. And he realizes what it is to be a champion. He understands well that their prison was not merely a building, or a chamber, or a courtyard with a strong door to it, an honourable confinement, or the surveillance of an officer: "You are the inmates of a prison," he writes; "you are encompassed with chains, shut up with foul and filthy men. Who, then, can be more blessed than you? What have bright and spacious mansions to compare in value with that murky, filthy, fetid, and tormenting prison, undergone for God's sake?"—Ep. 118. And he entreats them not to lose heart, but "day by day to prosecute their labours for the churches of the world, that there may be such a settlement of matters as is suitable, and no abandonment of their cause because of their being so few and so baited on every side."—Ep. 174.


He set the example himself of what he preached; he never thought of dispensing himself from the ordinary oversight of his church, so far as it was possible, even though he had been removed, as he says, to the extremity of the Roman world. He had thoughts to bestow even on the remissness of individual ecclesiastics at Constantinople. Several of his letters are devoted to the case of two of his priests, who, whether from fear of the court or other reason, had during his absence seldom preached or been present at the public devotions. "It has given me no common pain," he writes to one of them, "that both you and the priest Theophilus should have relaxed in your duties. I have been informed that one of you {279} has only preached five homilies up to October, and the other none at all. This news has tried me more than my desolate state here. Please to tell me, then, if I am mistaken; if not, make a reformation. How are you excusable if, at a time when others are in persecution, sent into exile, and variously harassed, you neither by your presence nor your teaching exert yourselves for your distressed people?"—Ep. 203. He sends equally strong remonstrances to Theophilus. "Now," he says, "is the very time for glory and much gain. The merchant does not get together his cargo by sitting down in harbour, but by venturing across open seas."—Ep. 119. And he writes to a friend to complain of his not having been told the state of things. "I am informed," he says, "that the one from indolence, the other from cowardice, has not attended the sacred assembly. To Theophilus I have written severely; Sallust I refer to you, for I know, and am pleased to know, how much you are attached to him. And I am pained that you have not even informed me, much less set him right, as you should have done. Now I beg you to do both yourself and me the great kindness of giving him a startling notice, and not to suffer him to sleep or to be idle. For if he does not show becoming courage in our present tempestuous weather, what good will he be to us when calm and peace succeed?"—Ep. 210.

While he thus kept his eyes on his clergy at home, he was exemplifying the same zeal for the conversion of the heathen which we have seen in him at Nicęa. At that time he had been busying himself in the extension of religion in Phœnicia; and though Cucusus was, as he says, at the extremity of the empire, it was on that very account only the more central place for missionary enterprises in the wide range of countries which bordered {280} upon it. As to Phœnicia, he obtained funds for the missionaries, he sent relics for their new churches, he encouraged them to perseverance in persecution, and he provided them with fresh labourers. One of his letters to a friend is a recommendation to him of a holy priest, who had succeeded in converting the pagans of Mount Amanus,—the Black Mountain, between himself and Antioch,—and had built churches and monasteries among them. He interested himself also in the conversion of the Goths, who at that time were on the left bank of the Don, and still adhered to their nomad habits. He endeavoured to secure them a successor to their Bishop, who was lately dead; and he wrote to some Goths in a monastery at Constantinople on the subject. He enters upon it in that letter to Olympias in which he details the sufferings of his journey. Those sufferings, however keen, had no power to divert his mind for however short a time from the apostolical duties of his Patriarchate. In the same letter he also speaks of the prospect which was then opening of the conversion of the Persians, and makes mention of St. Maruthas, who was at the time doing so much for the extension of the faith among them. Maruthas, from misinformation, had allied himself with the enemies of St. Chrysostom; and the latter was very desirous both to gain him and to forward his work. He had written two letters to Maruthas, without getting an answer; and as the zealous missionary was at this time at Constantinople, he wrote to Olympias to make acquaintance with him. "Do not fail," he says, "to show all the attention in your power to the Bishop Maruthas, in order to draw him out of that pit. I have the greatest need of him for the affairs of Persia; and learn from him, if you can, what success he has had there."—Ep. 14. He did not {281} forget, in these more expansive thoughts, the welfare of the poor people who were his immediate neighbours. We have seen him refusing sums of money when offered to him by friends; one of the channels into which he contrived to divert their liberality was the supply of the wants of the poor round about him, especially during a famine which happened while he was at Cucusus. He also redeemed from slavery many who had been taken captive by the Isaurian robbers, and sent them to their homes.


Amid these various exercises of faith and piety he had not been neglectful of the duties of the cause for which he suffered banishment. It was incumbent upon him to rouse Christendom in his own behalf, and he had been prompt and earnest in doing so. We have letters written by him to the Bishops of Thessalonica, Corinth, Synnada, Laodicea, Mopsuestia, Jerusalem, Carthage, Milan, Brescia, and Aquileia. Above all, he addressed himself to the Holy See, and his friends zealously prosecuted the appeal which he initiated. Many of them had fled to Rome; and though Pope Innocent did not at once decide on the main points at issue between the Saint and his enemies, yet he had no scruple in acknowledging him and communicating with him as Bishop of Constantinople, and by consequence in rejecting the pretensions of the schismatical party which had taken possession of his see. Innocent could do no more at the moment; but it was easy to prophesy what his ultimate determination would be. Every thing then seemed turning out in the Saint's favour; his reputation, his celebrity, his influence, had been greatly increased by the measures which his enemies had taken to {282} ruin him. He was doing greater things at Cucusus than he had done at Constantinople. Debarred from the exercise of his special gift, his eloquent voice, he moved more forcibly the hearts of men by his very absence from the scene of the world; and he had the opportunity of showing how little he depended on the breath of popular favour, how much on himself and on his God, for that vigour and energy which had been the characteristics of his public life.

Habitually sanguine, he shared the belief of his friends that the triumph of his cause was at hand. As he had no resentments in respect to his persecutors, so he had no misgivings about his coming victory over them; and if his hopefulness forfeits for him the praise of prophecy, it evinces the more excellent grace of patience and trust. He was as easy about the future at Cucusus as he had been at Nicęa. He writes to Olympias thus:

"I do not despair of happier times, considering that He is at the helm of the universe who overcomes the storm, not by human skill, but by His fiat. If He does not do so at once, this is because it is His rule to take this course; and, when evils have increased and reached their fullness, and a change is despaired of by the many, then to work His marvellous and strange work, manifesting that power which is His prerogative, while exercising withal the endurance of the afflicted. Never be cast down, then; for one thing alone is fearful, that is, sin."—Ep. 1.


"Cherish a full conviction that you will see me again, and will be released from your present distress, and will receive the great gain, now as hitherto, which follows from it."—Ep. 2.

And still more strikingly in the following interesting and touching passage, which belongs to a later year of his exile, when he was no longer at Cucusus: {283}

"I speak not for the sake of consoling you, but I know that so it absolutely shall be. For, unless it were so to be, long ago, as it seems to me, should I have departed hence, so far as the trials go which have come upon me. For, not to speak of all that I suffered in Constantinople, you may easily understand how many things have happened to me since I left the city, in my long and painful journey hitherto, most of which were enough to cause my death; how many things after I arrived here, how many things after my dislodgment from Cucusus, how many things during my stay at Arabissus. Yet I got through them all, and am now in health and in all safety, to the astonishment of all the Armenians, that a frame so feeble, so spider-like, should be able to bear such unbearable cold, should be able to breathe in it, when even those who are accustomed to sharp winters are seriously affected by it. Nevertheless I have remained unharmed even to this day, and have escaped the hands of brigands in their many inroads; and have been preserved amid want of the necessaries of life, and without even a bath to recruit me, although when I was in Constantinople I had constant need of one; yet here I have found my state of body such that I have not even had a desire for this refreshment, and have been all the healthier. And no insalubrity of air, nor desolateness of place, nor absence of stores, nor scarcity of drugs, nor unskilfulness of physicians, nor difficulty of baths, nor absolute confinement, or rather imprisonment, in one room, nor want of exercise, which was always necessary to me, nor my atmosphere of smoke, nor alarms of robbers, nor the state of siege, nor any other hardship, has availed to destroy me; but I am in better health here than I was with you, though I then took such care of myself. Think over all this, and shake off the despondency with which my trial has oppressed you, and give over your needless and painful self-inflictions."—Ep. 4.

And then he goes on to bid her read a treatise which he sends her, and which has for its title the noble maxim, "Be true to yourself, and no one can harm you."

And here I pause in my sketch of the last years of this many-gifted Saint, this most natural and human of the creations of supernatural grace.

Chapter 5

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Book xxii. 9, Oxford translation.
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Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
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