Ante-nicene fathers



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Answer from Tiberius to Abgar’s letter.

“Tiberius, emperor of the Romans, to Abgar, king of the Armenians, greeting:—

“Your kind letter has been read to me, and I wish that thanks should be given to you from me. Though we had already heard several persons relate these facts, Pilate has officially informed us of the miracles of Jesus. He has certified to us that after His resurrection from the dead He was acknowledged by many to be God. Therefore I myself also wished to do what you propose; but, as it is the custom of the Romans not to admit a god merely by the command of the sovereign, but only when the admission has been discussed and examined in full senate, I proposed the affair to the senate, and they rejected it with contempt, doubtless because it had not been considered by them first. But we have commanded all those whom Jesus suits, to receive him amongst the gods. We have threatened with death any one who shall speak evil of the Christians. As to the Jewish nation which has dared to crucify Jesus, who, as I hear, far from deserving the cross and death, was worthy of honour, worthy of the adoration of men—when I am free from the war with rebellious Spain, I will examine into the matter, and will treat the Jews as they deserve.”

Abgar writes another letter to Tiberius.

“Abgar, king of the Armenians, to my lord Tiberius, emperor of the Romans, greeting:—

“I have received the letter written from your august Majesty, and I have applauded the commands which have emanated from your wisdom. If you will not be angry with me, I will say that the conduct of the senate is extremely ridiculous and absurd: for, according to the senators, it is after the examination and by the suffrages of men that divinity may be ascribed. Thus, then, if God does not suit man, He cannot be God, since God is to be judged and justified by man. It will no doubt seem just to my lord and master to send another governor to Jerusalem in the place of Pilate, who ought to be ignominiously driven from the powerful post in which you placed him; for he has done the will of the Jews: he has crucified Christ unjustly, without your order. That you may enjoy health is my desire.”

Abgar, having written this letter, placed a copy of it, with copies of the other letters, in his archives. He wrote also to the young Nerseh, king of Assyria, at Babylon:—



Abgar’s letter to Nerseh.

“Abgar, king of the Armenians, to my son Nerseh, greeting:—

“I have received your letter and acknowledgments. I have released Beroze from his chains, and have pardoned his offences: if this pleases you, give him the government of Nineveh. But as to what you write to me about sending you the physician who works miracles and preaches another God superior to fire and water, that you may see and hear him, I say to you: he was not a physician according to the art of men; he was a disciple of the Son of God, Creator of fire and water: he has been appointed and sent to the countries of Armenia. But one of his principal companions, named Simon, is sent into the countries of Persia. Seek for him, and you will hear him, you as well as your father Ardaches. He will heal all your diseases and will show you the way of life.”

Abgar wrote also to Ardaches, king of the Persians, the following letter:—



Abgar’s letter to Ardaches.

“Abgar, king of the Armenians, to Ardaches my brother, king of the Persians, greeting:—

“I know that you have heard of Jesus Christ the Son of God, whom the Jews have crucified Jesus who was raised from the dead, and has sent His disciples through all the world to instruct men. One of His chief disciples, named Simon, is in your Majesty’s territories. Seek for him, and you will find him, and he will cure you of all your maladies, and will show you the way of life, and you will believe in his words, you, and your brothers, and all those who willingly obey you. It is very pleasant to me to think that my relations in the flesh will be also my relations, my friends, in the spirit.”

Abgar had not yet received answers to these letters when he died, having reigned thirty-eight years.

IX.10



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