Letters, Volume 4 (165–203) (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 30)

Letters, Volume 4 (165–203) (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 30)

Copyright Date: 1955
DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw
Pages: 435
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  • Book Info
    Letters, Volume 4 (165–203) (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 30)
    Book Description:

    No description available

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-1130-5
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.1
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.2
    (pp. ix-xiv)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.3

    The letters included in Volume 4 (165-203) cover the years from 410 to the beginning of 420. The long conflict with the Donatists was drawing to a close; Letter 185 is the next to the last and much the most important one on this bitter subject. It is addressed to the tribune Boniface, afterward Count of Africa, and is one of the longest of the letters. Augustine himself calls it a book: Liber de correctione Donatistarum. Its importance lies in the fact that it gives a fairly complete summary of the whole controversy, by this time practically settled, and shows...

  4. Letter
    • 165 Jerome to Marcellinus and Anapsychia
      (pp. 3-5)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.4

      At last I have received the letter of your Unanimity from Africa, and I am not ashamed of my boldness in harassing you out of your silence by my frequent letters, because I did it in order to deserve an answer and thus learn by no other message than your own word, that you are safe and well. I remember your ‘little’ question about the origin of the soul—it is, rather, a question of great importance to the Church—whether it slipped down from heaven, as the philosopher Pythagoras,² all the Platonists, and Origen³ think; or is an emanation...

    • 166 To Jerome [On the Origin of the Human Soul]
      (pp. 6-31)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.5

      I have called upon and I continue to call upon our God ‘who hath called us unto his kingdom and glory,’² that He may grant what I write to you, holy brother Jerome, to be fruitful to us, while I consult you on those points on which I am ignorant. Although you are much older than I am, it is as an old man that I consult you, for it seems to me that no age is too advanced to learn what needs learning, because, although it is more fitting for old men to teach than to learn, it is...

    • 167 To Jerome [On the Passage from the Apostle James: ‘Whosoever shall keep the whole law,’ etc.]
      (pp. 32-49)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.6

      When I had finished my letter to you, brother Jerome, revered by me in Christ, with my inquiry about the human soul—whether new ones are now created for each one at birth, and when they contract the debt of sin which we do not doubt must be canceled by the sacrament of Christ’s grace, even in newborn infants—I found my letter had lengthened into a sizable volume, so I decided against loading it with another question. But, the more pressing a difficulty is, the more we are bound not to pass it by. Therefore, I ask and beg...

    • 168 Timasius and James to Augustine
      (pp. 50-50)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.7

      The grace of God, administered by your word, has so refreshed and revived us that we can appropriately say: ‘He sent his word and healed them,’² blessed lord, deservedly revered father. Certainly we find that your Holiness has rendered the text of that same book,³ so redolent of your careful attention, that we were in admiration of the answers contained in it, down to the last page, whether in those points which it befits a Christian to refute, detest, and avoid, or in those in which it is shown that the objector⁴ was not so far wrong, although, by some...

    • 169 To Bishop Evodius
      (pp. 51-61)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.8

      If your Holiness is so anxious to know what subjects keep me most occupied, from which I am unwilling to be diverted to something else, send someone to describe them to you. Several, which I began this year before Easter, at the approach of Lent, are now completed. I have added two more to my three books on the City of God against His enemies the demon-worshipers, and in these five books I think I have made out a rather good argument against those who think the gods are to be worshiped for the sake of happiness in this life,...

    • 170 Alypius and Augustine to Maximus
      (pp. 61-68)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.9

      When we were inquiring of our holy brother and fellow bishop, Peregrinus,² about your health—not your physical health only, but especially your spiritual health—and that of your household, his answers about you gave us pleasure, but we were sad to hear of your household that they have not yet experienced a salutary conversion or joined the Catholic Church. As we had hoped that this would soon happen, we deeply regret that it has not yet come to pass, excellent lord, deservedly honored and religious brother.

      Therefore, we greet your Charity in the peace of the Lord, and we...

    • 171 Alypius and Augustine to Bishop Peregrinus
      (pp. 68-69)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.10

      We sent a letter to our honored brother, Maximus,¹ in the belief that he would be glad to receive it. Please write back at the first opportunity you can find and tell us whether we did any good. Let him know that we are in the habit of writing long letters to our intimate friends, not only laymen but even bishops, in the same form² in which we wrote to You should regulate your life and conduct by the commandments of God, which we have received to enable us to lead a good life, beginning with a religious fear, for...

    • 171A To Maximus
      (pp. 69-71)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.11

      You should regulate your life and conduct by the commandments of God, which we have received to enable us to lead a good life, beginning with a religious fear, for ‘the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,’² whereby human pride is broken down and weakened. Secondly, with a mild and gentle piety you should refrain from objecting to passages of the holy Scriptures which you do not yet understand and which seem to the uninstructed devoid of sense and self-contradictory, and you should not try to impose your ideas on the meaning of the holy books, but...

    • 172 Jerome to Augustine
      (pp. 72-73)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.12

      At your bidding and because of his own worth, I have welcomed the priest Orosius¹ as my honored brother and the son of your Worthiness. But I have been going through a difficult time when it has been better for me to keep silent than to speak; consequently, my studies have fallen off and, like Appius,² my speech has been a snarl. So I have not been able to seize this occasion to answer the two books³ which you dedicated to my name, learned books and brilliant, with the full splendor of eloquence; not that I think there is anything...

    • 173 To Donatus
      (pp. 73-81)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.13

      If you could see the grief of my heart and my anxiety for your salvation, perhaps you would ‘take pity on your own soul, pleasing God’² by listening to the word that is His, not ours, and by not shutting your heart to the Scriptures which you have committed to memory. You are angered because you are brought by force to salvation, while yours have dragged so many of ours to destruction. We have no other wish for you than that you should be caught, brought in, and saved from perishing. The inconsiderable bodily injury which you suffered was self-inflicted,...

    • 173A To Deogratias, Theodore, and Titianus
      (pp. 81-83)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.14

      Although you have not written to me, I have learned from a trustworthy and faithful messenger that you wish me to write you, without any of that uncertainty and obscurity which is incomprehensible to slower minds, how the Holy Spirit is proved to be God. But your Brotherhood must realize that of all the passages from holy Scripture which I can recall on this point, I do not know any that will convince you by the authority of revealed writings that the Holy Spirit is God, since you are not convinced by what the Apostle says: ‘Know you not that...

    • 174 To Archbishop Aurelius
      (pp. 83-84)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.15

      In my youth I began a work on the Trinity,² the supreme and true God; I have finished it in my old age. Indeed, I had laid the work aside after discovering that it had been carried off prematurely or purloined from me, before I had finished it or revised and corrected it as I had planned. I had intended to publish it as a whole, not in separate books, for the reason that the subsequent books are linked to the preceding ones by a continuous development of the argument. Since my intention could not be carried out because of...

    • 175 The Council of Carthage to Pope Innocent
      (pp. 85-90)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.16

      After we had gathered in solemn conclave in the church at Carthage, according to our custom, and were holding a synod on various subjects, our fellow priest Orosius³ brought us a letter from our holy brothers and fellow priests, Heros and Lazarus,⁴ the substance of which we have decided to append to this. After reading it, we make known that Pelagius and Caelestius⁵ are the originators of an accursed error, which is a subject of anathema to all of us. As a consequence, we asked for a review of the disturbance raised under the name of Caelestius here in the...

    • 176 The Council of Milevis to Pope Innocent
      (pp. 91-94)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.17

      Whereas, by a particular gift of His grace the Lord has placed you in the Apostolic See and has given to our times a man like you to reign over us, it would be more possible for us to be charged with the guilt of negligence if we failed to report to your Reverence matters which need to be made known for the benefit of the Church than for you to receive such suggestions coldly or negligently, we therefore beg you to deign to apply your pastoral care to the great perils of the weak members of Christ.

      A new...

    • 177 Aurelius, Alypius, Augustine, Evodius, and Possidius to Pope Innocent
      (pp. 94-108)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.18

      We have sent your Holiness letters from the two councils of the province of Carthage and of Numidia, signed by a large number of bishops. These letters condemn the enemies of the grace of Christ, who trust in their own virtue and say, in effect, to their Creator: ‘You have made us men, but we have made ourselves good.’ They say that human nature is free, so that they look for no liberator; and safe, so that they consider a saviour superfluous; they claim that this nature is so strong of its own strength, acquired once and for all at...

    • 178 To Bishop Hilary
      (pp. 108-110)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.19

      When our honored son, Palladius,² was on the point of sailing from our shore, he conferred rather than asked a favor by requesting me to commend him to your Benignity and myself to your prayers, most holy lord and brother, revered in the charity of Christ. Since I do this, your Holiness surely will do what we both rely on you to do. From the above-mentioned bearer your Holiness will hear what news there is of us, since I know your Charity is as anxious for us as we are for you. But I will tell you briefly what is...

    • 179 To Bishop John
      (pp. 110-117)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.20

      I do not in the least venture to resent the fact that I have not been honored with a letter from your Holiness; I would rather believe that you had no messenger than suspect that your Reverence held me in low esteem, saintly lord, deservedly revered brother. But now, as I have heard that Luke, a servant of God, by whom I am sending this, will return shortly, I shall give hearty thanks to the Lord and to your Benignity, if you will be so kind as to visit me by letter. As to Pelagius, our brother and your son,...

    • 180 To Oceanus
      (pp. 117-120)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.21

      I have received two letters together from your Charity, in one of which you mention a third which you say was dispatched before the other two. I do not recall having received it; in fact, I am quite sure I have not received it. For those I have received, however, I return hearty thanks for your kindness to us. My reason for not answering them at once is that I have been distracted by one task after another. But now I am taking advantage of a little drop of free time, choosing rather to give you some kind of answer...

    • 181 Pope Innocent to the Council of Carthage
      (pp. 121-127)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.22

      In your inquiries into the things of God, which require to be treated by priests with great care, especially when there is question of a true, just, and Catholic council, you have kept the precedents of ancient tradition, being mindful of ecclesiastical discipline, and you have added strength to our religion, not only now in your council, but before it when you made your pronouncement according to right reason, and when you voted to submit the matter to our judgment, knowing well what is owing to the Apostolic See, since all of us who are placed in this position desire...

    • 182 Pope Innocent to the Council of Milevis
      (pp. 127-132)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.23

      In the midst of our other cares for the Church at Rome and the duties of the Apostolic See, in the course of which we examine decrees on various subjects with faithful and curative argument, our brother and fellow priest, Julius, brought the letter of your Charity which you sent, in your close devotion to the faith, from the Council of Milevis, and, without my knowing it, he included the report of the Synod of Carthage, adding this document of similar protest. Truly the Church rejoices that her pastors display such watchful care for the flocks entrusted to them, not...

    • 183 Pope Innocent to Aurelius, Alypius, Augustine, Evodius, and Possidius
      (pp. 132-136)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.24

      We have received with grateful heart the letters of your Fraternity, so full of faith, so strong with the full vigor of the Catholic religion, which you sent from the two councils by our brother and fellow bishop, Julius. Their content and the whole development of thought on the daily grace of God and the amendment of those who hold contrary views are based on right reason, so as to be well fitted to remove all error from these latter and to furnish them a worthy teacher, by citing certain precedents from our law, whom they ought to follow. However,...

    • 184 Pope Innocent to Aurelius and Augustine
      (pp. 136-136)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.25

      The return of our most esteemed fellow priest, Germanus, should not be unaccompanied by some mark of our esteem. It seems to us in a sense a natural and reasonable thing to greet our dearest through those who are dear. Therefore, dearly beloved, we desire your Brotherhood to rejoice in the Lord, and we beg you to offer similar prayers for us to God, for, as you well know, we accomplish more through common and mutual prayer than we do through individual and private prayer....

    • 184A To Peter and Abraham
      (pp. 136-141)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.26

      Neither justice nor charity can or ought to belittle your holy zeal, which makes you think that I should look into many questions so that you may be well armed against the arguments of impiety, and may be strong to resist it. But one letter, however lengthy, could not contain a careful answer to all your questions. You know that in several of my works I have already answered, to the best of my ability, all or nearly all the points which you ask. If you read these—and I hear that you have undertaken a life in the service...

    • 185 To Boniface [On the Treatment of the Donatists]
      (pp. 141-190)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.27

      I praise and congratulate and admire you, my beloved son, Boniface, for your ardent desire to know the things that are of God, in the midst of the cares of war and arms. Indeed, it is clear that this is what makes you serve, with that same military valor, the faith which you have in Christ.⁴ So, then, to explain briefly to your Charity the difference between the error of the Arians and that of the Donatists, the Arians say that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are different in substance, but the Donatists do not say this;...

    • 185A To Count Boniface
      (pp. 190-190)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.28

      It is very gratifying to me that amid the tasks of your stewardship you do not neglect to care for religion, also, and that you wish to call back to the way of salvation and peace men who are firmly set in schism and division....

    • 186 Alypius and Augustine to Paulinus
      (pp. 191-221)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.29

      At long last God has provided us with the most trustworthy of all letter-bearers, our justly cherished brother Januarius.² Even if we did not write, your Sincerity could learn all the news of us from him as from a living and intelligent letter. We knew that you loved Pelagius as a servant of God—this Pelagius, we believe, is called the Briton,³ to distinguish him from another Pelagius who is said to be a Tarentine—but we do not know how you love him now. We also not only have loved but still do love him. But the love we...

    • 187 To Dardanus [On the Presence of God]
      (pp. 221-255)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.30

      I confess that I have been slower than I should have been in answering our letter, my dearest brother, Dardanus, whom I hold in higher esteem for the charity of Christ than for your worldly rank. But please do not ask the reasons for my delay, for I should only cause you more annoyance by my long-winded excuse than you have already suffered by my tardy reply, and I would rather you gave an easy pardon to my offense than a verdict on my defense. Whatever those reasons may have been, believe me that not any of them could have...

    • 188 Alypius and Augustine to Juliana
      (pp. 255-265)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.31

      It was a pleasing and happy coincidence that the letter of your Reverence found us settled together at Hippo. This gives us an opportunity of writing you a joint reply, assuring you of our joy in hearing of your welfare and giving you news, with reciprocal affection, of our own, which we trust is dear to you, lady worthy of honor with due respect in Christ, our deservedly distinguished daughter. We know well that you know the depth of religious affection we owe you, and the great solicitude we feel for you before God and among men. Although our Lowliness...

    • 189 To Count Boniface
      (pp. 266-271)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.32

      I had already written an answer to your Charity and I was looking for an opportunity of forwarding it to you, when my dear son Faustus arrived on his way to your Excellency. After receiving the letter which I had already written for delivery to your Benevolence,² he gave me to understand that you greatly desired me to write you something which might edify you and help you to win eternal salvation, of which your hope is in our Lord Jesus Christ. And although I am so busy, he insisted that I should not put off doing it, and you...

    • 190 To Bishop Optatus
      (pp. 271-288)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.33

      Although I have not received any letter from your Holiness, addressed to me personally, I read one which you sent to Caesarea in Mauretania, which came while I was there. An urgent matter connected with the Church took me to that city at the bidding of the venerable Pope Zozimus,² Bishop of the Apostolic See, and your letter was given me to read by the holy servant of God, Renatus,³ a brother most dear to us in Christ. It is at his request, in fact at his vehement insistence, that I am impelled, though busy with other matters, to answer...

    • 191 To Sixtus
      (pp. 288-290)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.34

      The letter which your Benignity sent me by our holy brother, the priest Firmus,² reached Hippo while I was away, and I was able to read it on my return only after the bearer had departed, but this earliest and most welcome opportunity of answering is afforded by our very dear son, the acolyte,³ Albinus. Although your letter was addressed jointly to both of us, we were not together when it arrived, and that accounts for your receiving a letter from each of us instead of a single one from both. The bearer of this letter, after leaving me, will...

    • 192 To Celestine
      (pp. 291-292)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.35

      The letter which your Holiness sent me by the cleric, Projectus, reached Hippo while I was far away. As soon as I read it at my return and realized that I had become your debtor, I began to look for a chance to pay my debt, when lo! a most welcome opportunity presented itself in the unexpected departure from us of Albinus,² the acolyte of our very dear brother. I take pleasure, therefore, in your good health as in the fulfillment of my dearest desire, and I return to your Holiness the greeting which I owe you. But I always...

    • 193 To Mercator
      (pp. 292-301)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.36

      I received the former letter sent by your Charity while I was at Carthage, and it gave me such pleasure that when your second letter came I even bore graciously your indignant reproach at my failure to answer. But, of course, your indignation was a sign of affection, not a beginning of enmity. What kept me from writing you at Carthage was not a lack of opportunity to send a letter, but other urgent matters which were a cause of great preoccupation and strain to us up to the time when we left. Moreover, on leaving there we went straight...

    • 194 To Sixtus
      (pp. 301-332)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.37

      In the letter² which I sent by our very dear brother, the acolyte, Albinus, I promised to send a longer one by our holy brother and fellow priest, Firmus. He had brought us a letter from your Sincerity, showing forth the candor of your faith, which filled us with a joy so great that we can more easily contain than describe it. We had been exceedingly sad when rumor spread abroad the news that you sided with the enemies of Christian grace. But several developments erased this sadness from our hearts: first, the same rumor made it known that you...

    • 195 Jerome to Augustine
      (pp. 332-333)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.38

      I have always revered your Blessedness with the respect which befits you and I have loved the Lord our Saviour dwelling in you, but now we add something to the heap, and, if that is possible, we fill up what was full, so as not to allow one single hour to pass without mention of your name; because the ardor of your faith has stood firm against the blasts of the wind, and you have chosen, in so far as it rests with you, to be delivered from Sodom rather than to remain there with the doomed.² Your Prudence knows...

    • 196 To Bishop Asellicus
      (pp. 333-346)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.39

      The letter which your Holiness sent to our venerable senior, Donatian,² containing a discussion of the necessity of avoiding Jewish practices, has been forwarded by him to me, with the urgent request, or command, that I answer it. Not wishing to show him disrespect, I am answering it as best I can, with the Lord’s help, in the belief that by writing to you I am giving pleasure to your Charity, also; besides, I could not refuse to comply with the request of one whom we both esteem for his good qualities.

      The Apostle Paul teaches that Christians who have...

    • 197 To Bishop Hesychius
      (pp. 347-350)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.40

      I am availing myself of the return to your Holiness of your son, our fellow priest, Cornutus, from whom I received the letter of your Reverence in which you were so kind as to visit my insignificance, and I am finally paying my debt of the answer, as well as the long-due courtesy of returning your greeting, recommending myself to your acceptable prayers to the Lord, my lord and brother. But regarding the prophetic words, often uttered, on which you wished me to write something, I thought it better to refer you to the interpretation of those same words done...

    • 198 Hesychius to Augustine
      (pp. 350-356)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.41

      Our holy fellow priest, Cornutus, has satisfied my longing and expectancy by bringing me the letter of your Blessedness, and it has given me joy that you so kindly remembered me and that you outlined in passing in a few words of the very language of your holy mind what I had asked. You also added some extracts from the works of our holy fellow priest, Jerome, so that I could complete the answer to my question by reading his work on the holy Scriptures. As you were so kind as to ask me to set forth in a letter...

    • 199 To Hesychius [On the End of the World]
      (pp. 356-401)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.42

      I have received the letter of your Reverence in which you urge on us the great good of loving and longing for the coming of our Saviour. In this you act like the good servant of the master of the household who is eager for his lord’s gain and who wishes to have many sharers in the love which burns so brightly and constantly in you. Examining, therefore, the passage you quoted from the Apostle where he said that the Lord would render a crown of justice not only to him but to all who love His coming,² we live...

    • 200 To Valerius
      (pp. 401-403)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.43

      I had been feeling downcast for a long time because I had written so often and had not deserved any answer from your Highness, when suddenly I received three letters from your Benignity, one not addressed to me individually, but given to me by my fellow bishop, Vindemialis,² and, not long afterward, two brought by my fellow priest, Firmus.³ That holy man, bound to us by ties of most intimate friendship, as you may have heard from him, spoke to us at length about your Excellency, and described you so truthfully, as he knows you ‘in the bowels of Christ,’⁴...

    • 201 Emperors Honorius and Theodosius to Bishop Aurelius [and Augustine]
      (pp. 403-404)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.44

      It had been decreed some time ago that Pelagius and Caelestius, inventors of an unspeakable doctrine, should be expelled from the city of Rome as sources of contamination to Christian unity, lest by their vile persuasion they should seduce untutored minds. In this our Clemency followed the verdict of your Holiness,³ according to which it was evident that they had been condemned unanimously after a just inquiry into their teaching. Whereas the deep-rooted evil of persistence in wrong requires a doubling of the law, we have recently sanctioned the decree that, if anyone who knows that they are in hiding...

    • 202 Jerome to Alypius and Augustine
      (pp. 405-406)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.45

      The holy priest, Innocent, who is the bearer of this missive, did not deliver my letter of last year to your Worthiness, on the ground that he had no intention of returning to Africa. However, I thank God that it happened so, because it gave you a chance to overpower my silence by your letters. Every occasion is welcome to me which allows me to write to your Reverence, calling God to witness that if it were possible I would take the wings of a dove and fly to be enfolded in your embrace. This is always my sentiment because...

    • 202A To Optatus
      (pp. 407-420)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.46

      The religious priest, Saturninus,² has brought me a letter from your Reverence in which you ask me most earnestly for something which I do not yet possess. You tell me frankly the reason why you do this, which is that you think I have had an answer long ago to my request for advice. If only I had! God forbid that I should cheat you of a share in this bounty, knowing as I do your eager anticipation. But behold, if you will believe it, my dearest brother, five years have gone by since I sent my book³ to the...

    • 203 To Largus
      (pp. 420-421)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt31nkvw.47

      I have received your Excellency’s letter in which you ask me to write to you. You would not desire this unless you thought that I could write you something in which you could take pleasure and satisfaction; namely, that if you coveted the vanities of this world before you had tried them, you should despise them now that they are known. For the sweetness in them is deceptive, the toil fruitless, the fear constant, and the elation dangerous; you begin without forethought, you end with regret. Thus it is with everything that is pursued with more eagerness than prudence in...