Lactantius Firmianus, Christian reader, whose eloquence Jerome greatly admires, endeavoring to defend the Christian religion against the pagans, sought zealously to attain an eloquence akin to that of Cicero, as he thought it presumptuous to aspire to be his equal. As for me—if wishes could avail anything, at least while I exhort mortals to the most holy and salutary study of Christian teaching [Christianae philosophiæ]—I sincerely desire another type of eloquence be given to me, far greater than ever Cicero had. ... It is better and more fitting to desire that Christ himself would tune the strings of our instrument that this song may e ectively attract and move the mind of all. To this end, we have little use for the colored arguments and conclusions of the rhetoricians, for nothing can accomplish what we desire so well as the truth itself, which is most e ective in persuasion when it is most plain.