To the Presbyter Archibius.
I did not let the two letters which I had just received from you go unheeded, but wrote without delay, and gave my letter to the very devout presbyter Eusebius. In consequence of some delay, it was for the time postponed, for the weather kept the vessels within the harbour, inasmuch as it indicated a coming storm at sea and bade sailors and pilots wait awhile. So I discharged this debt for the time, not that I may cease to be a debtor but that I may increase the debt. For this obligation becomes many times greater by being discharged, inasmuch as they who try to observe the laws of friendship increase the potency of its love, and, blowing sparks into a flame, kindle a greater warmth of affection, while all who are fired thereby strive to surpass one another in love. Receive then my defence, my venerable friend; forgive me; and send me a letter to tell me how you are.
Source. Translated by Blomfield Jackson. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 3. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1892.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/2707061.htm>.
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