OROSIUS'S INQUIRY OR MEMORANDUM1TO AUGUSTINE ON THE ERROR OF THEPRISCILLIANISTS AND ORIGENISTS
Orosius to the most blessed father Augustine, bishop.
1. I had, indeed, broached the subject to your Holiness earlier, but even then I was intending to present a memorandum on the subject I spoke of—once I was aware that youhad been freed from other matters demanding your attention. Since my masters, your sons, the bishops Eutropius and Paul, were motivated by the same concern for the salvation of all people as I, your child, and have already furnished a memorandum concerning several heresies, though they did not indicate them all, it was necessary for me promptly to reveal and gather into a pile all the trees of perdition, with their roots and branches, and offer them to your ardent spirit, so that, after you had seen their array and contemplated their evil, you might measure exactly what disposition of virtue you can employ. You, most blessed father, just remove and cut down the evil plantings or grafts of the others, and sow the true seed for us who will water them from your fountains. I pledge God as my witness, and I hope for the increase of your work, since that land now produces poor fruits because of improper cultivation. Yet, if you visit it with that hidden manna, entrusted to my keeping and restoring it, the landwill bear fruit up to a hundredfold, once your richness has beenpoured out upon it very profusely. Through you, blessed father, through you, I say, may the Lord our God correct by the word those whom he has chastened by the sword. I have been sent to you by God. Through him I place my hope in you, while I ponder how it happened that I have come here. I do recognize why I have come. It was not by choice, not by necessity, and not by common agreement that I departed from my native land. Rather, I was prompted by some hidden force, until I was delivered to the shores of this land. Here, at last, I have come to the realization that I was being ordered to come to you. Do not judge me impudent, but receive me as I make my confession. Allow me to return to my beloved mistress as a proper merchant who has found the pearl, and not as a runaway servant who has squandered his fortune. We have been more gravely wounded by evil teachers than by the most bloodthirsty of enemies. We, for our part, admit the blow; you, for yours, clearly discern the wound. Dispense, with the help of the Lord, the medicine which is alone sufficient! To this end, I will show briefly what was perniciously planted earlier and has gained strength, and what was, even worse, grafted on later and has now grown strong.
(trans. Hanson 1999: 168-169)