Chapter IX.—Clements Interposition on Behalf of Barnabas.
When he had thus spoken, all, as with one consent, with rude voice raised a shout of derision, to put him to shame, and to silence him, crying out that he was a barbarian and a madman. When I saw matters going on in this way, being filled, I know not whence, with a certain zeal, and inflamed with religious enthusiasm, I could not keep silence, but cried out with all boldness, “Most righteously does Almighty God hide His will from you, whom He foresaw to be unworthy of the knowledge of Himself, as is manifest to those who are really wise, from what you are now doing. For when you see that preachers of the will of God have come amongst you, because their speech makes no show of knowledge of the grammatical art, but in simple and unpolished language they set before you the divine commands, so that all who hear may be able to follow and to understand the things that are spoken, you deride the ministers and messengers of your salvation, not knowing that it is the condemnation of you who think yourselves skilful and eloquent, that rustic and barbarous men have the knowledge of the truth; whereas, when it has come to you, it is not even received as a guest, while, if your intemperance and lust did not oppose, it ought to have been a citizen and a native. Thus you are convicted of not being friends of truth and philosophers, but followers of boasting and vain speakers. Ye think that truth dwells not in simple, but in ingenious and subtle words, and produce countless thousands of words which are not to be rated at the worth of one word. What, then, do ye think will become of you, all ye crowd of Greeks, if there is to be, as he says, a judgment of God? But now give over laughing at this man to your own destruction, and let any one of you who pleases answer me; for, indeed, by your barking you annoy the ears even of those who desire to be saved, and by your clamour you turn aside to the fall of infidelity the minds that are prepared for faith. What pardon can there be for you who deride and do violence to the messenger of the truth when he offers to you the knowledge of God? whereas, even if he brought you nothing of truth, yet, even for the kindness of his intentions towards you, you ought to receive with gratitude and welcome.”