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Addressed to Apronianus, in Reply to Jerome's Letter to Pammachius
I have read the document sent from the East by our friend and good brother to a distinguished member of the Senate, Pammachius, which you have copied and forwarded to me. It brought to my mind the words of the Prophet:
The sons of men whose teeth are spears and arrows and their tongue a sharp sword. But for these wounds which men inflict on one another with the tongue we can hardly find a physician; so I have betaken myself to Jesus, the heavenly physician, and he has brought out for me from the medicine chest of the Gospel an antidote of sovereign power; he has assuaged the violence of my grief with the assurance of the righteous judgment which I shall have at his hands. The potion which our Lord dispensed to me was nothing else than these words:
Blessed are ye when men persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely. Rejoice and leap for joy, for great is your reward in heaven, for so persecuted they the Prophets which were before you. With this medicine I was content, and, as far as the matter concerned me, I had determined for the future to keep silence; for I said within myself,
If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more them of his household? (that is, you and me, unworthy though we are). And, if it was said of him,
He is a deceiver, he deceives the people, I must not be indignant if I hear that I am called a heretic, and that the name of mole is applied to me because of the slowness of my mind, or indeed my blindness. Christ who is my Lord, aye, and who is God over all, was called
a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of publicans and sinners. How can I, then, be angry when I am called a carnal man who lives in luxury?
2. Nevertheless, a necessity, as it were, is laid upon me to reply, as a simple matter of justice: I mean, because many, as I hear, are likely to be upset by what he has written unless the true state of the case is laid before them. I am compelled, against my resolution and even my vows, to make reply, lest by keeping silence I should seem to acknowledge the accusation to be true. It is, indeed, in most cases, a Christian's glory to follow our Lord's example of silence, and thereby to repel the accusation; but to follow this course in matters of faith causes stumbling blocks to spring up in vast numbers. It is true that, in the beginning of his invective he promises that he will avoid personalities, and reply only about the things in question and the charges made against him; but his profession in both cases is false; for how can he answer a charge when no charge has been made? And how can a man be said to avoid personalities when he never ceases to attack and tear to pieces the translator of the books in question from the first line to the last of his invective? I shall avoid all pretence of saying less than I mean, and similar subterfuges of hypocrisy which are hateful in God's sight; and, though my words may be uncouth and my style unadorned, I will make my reply. I trust, and I shall not trust in vain, that my readers will pardon my lack of skill, since my object is not to amuse others but to endeavour to clear myself from the reproaches directed against me. My wish is that what may shine forth in me may not be style but truth.
3. But, before I begin to clear up these points, there is one in which I confess that he has spoken the truth in an eminent degree; namely, when he says that he is not rendering evil speaking for evil speaking. This, I say, is quite true; for it is not for evil speaking but for speaking well of him and praising him that he has rendered reproach and evil speaking. But it is not true, as he says, that he turns the left cheek to one who smites him on the right. It is on one who is stroking him and caressing him on the cheek that he suddenly turns and bites him. I praised his eloquence and his industry in the work of translating from the Greek. I said nothing in derogation of his faith; but he condemns me on both these points. He must therefore pardon me if I say some things rather roughly and rudely; for he has challenged to a reply a man who has no great rhetorical skill, and who has not, as he knows, the power to make one whom he wishes to injure and to wound appear to have received neither wounds nor injuries. Those who love this kind of eloquence must seek it in a man whom every light report stirs up to fault-finding and vituperation, and who thinks himself bound, as if he were the censor, to be always coming up to set things to rights. A man who desires to clear himself from the stains which have been cast upon him, does not trouble himself, in the answer which he is compelled to make, about the elegance and neat turns of his reply, but only about its truth.
4. At the very beginning of his work he says,
As if they could not be heretics by themselves, without me. I must first show that, whether with him or without him, we are no heretics: then, when our status is made clear, we shall be safe from having the infamous imputation hurled at us from other men's reports. I was already living in a monastery, where, as both he and all others know, about 30 years ago, I was made regenerate by Baptism, and received the seal of the faith at the hands of those saintly men, Chromatius, Jovinus and Eusebius, all of them now bishops, well-tried and highly esteemed in the church of God, one of whom was then a presbyter of the church under Valerian of blessed memory, the second was archdeacon, the third Deacon, and to me a spiritual father, my teacher in the creed and the articles of belief. These men so taught me, and so I believe, namely, that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are of one Godhead, of one Substance: a Trinity coeternal, inseparable, incorporeal, invisible, incomprehensible, known to itself alone as it truly is in its perfection: For
No man knows the Son but the Father, neither knows any man the Father but the Son: and the Holy Spirit is he who
searches the deep things of God: that this Trinity, therefore, is without all bodily visibility, but that it is with the eye of the understanding that the Son and the Holy Spirit see the Father even as the Father sees the Son and the Holy Spirit; and further, that in this Trinity there is no diversity except that one is Father, another Son and a third Holy Spirit. There is a Trinity as touching the distinction of persons, a unity in the reality of the Substance. We received, further, that the only begotten Son of God, through whom in the beginning all existing things were made, whether visible or invisible, in these last days took upon him a human body and Soul, and was made man, and suffered for our salvation; and the third day he rose again from the dead in that very flesh which had been laid in the sepulchre; and in that very same flesh made glorious he ascended into the heavens, whence we look for his coming to judge the quick and the dead. But further we confess that he gave us hope that we too should rise in a similar manner, so that we believe that our resurrection will be in the same manner and process, and in the same form, as the resurrection of our Lord himself from the dead: that the bodies which we shall receive will not be phantoms or thin vapours, as some slanderously affirm that we say, but these very bodies of ours in which we live and in which we die. For how can we truly believe in the resurrection of the flesh, unless the very nature of flesh remains in it truly and substantially? It is then without any equivocation, that we confess the resurrection of this real and substantial flesh of ours in which we live.
5. Moreover, to give a fuller demonstration of this point, I will add one thing more. It is the compulsion of those who calumniate me which forces me to exhibit a singular and special mystery of my own church. It is this, that, while all the churches thus hand down the Sacrament of the Creed in the form which, after the words
the remission of sins adds
the resurrection of the flesh, the holy church of Aquileia (as though the Spirit of God had foreseen the calumnies which would be spoken against us) puts in a particular pronoun at the place where it delivers the resurrection of the dead; instead of saying as others do,
the resurrection of the flesh, we say
the resurrection of this flesh. At this point, as the custom is at the close of the Creed, we touch the forehead of this flesh with the sign of the cross, and with the mouth of this flesh, which we have so touched, we confess the resurrection; that so we may stop up every entrance through which the poisoned tongue might bring in its calumnies against us. Can any confession be fuller than this? Can any exposition of the truth be more perfect? Yet I see that this remarkable provision of the Holy Spirit has been of no profit to us. Evil and busy tongues still find room for cavilling. Unless, says he, you name the members one by one, and expressly designate the head with its hair, the hands, the feet, the belly, and that which is below the belly, you have denied the resurrection of the flesh.
6. Behold the discovery of this man of the new learning! A thing which escaped the notice of the Apostles when they delivered the faith to the Church; a thing which none of the saints knew till it was revealed to this man by the spirit of the flesh. He indeed cannot expound it without bringing in an indecency. Nevertheless, I will set it forth in his hearing both more worthily and more truly. Christ is the first fruits of those that sleep; he is also called the first begotten from the dead; as also the Apostle says,
Christ is the beginning, afterward they that are Christ's. Since then we have Christ as the undoubted first fruits of our resurrection, how can any question arise about the rest of us? It must be evident that, whatever the members, the hair, the flesh, the bones, were in which Christ rose, in the same shall we also rise. For this purpose he offered himself to the disciples to touch after his resurrection, so that no hesitation as to his resurrection should remain. Since then Christ has given his own resurrection as a typical instance, one that is quite evident, and (as I may say) capable of being felt and handled by the hand, who can be so mad as to think that he himself will rise otherwise than as He rose who opened the door of the resurrection? This also confirms the truth of this confession of ours that, while it is the actual natural flesh and no other which will rise, yet it will rise purged from its faults and having laid aside its corruption; so that the saying of the Apostle is true:
It is sown in corruption, it will be raised in incorruption; it is sown in dishonour, it will be raised in glory; it is sown a natural body, it will be raised a spiritual body. Inasmuch then as it is a spiritual body, and glorious, and incorruptible, it will be furnished and adorned with its own proper members, not with members taken from elsewhere, according to that glorious image of which Christ is set forth as the perpetual type, as it is said by the Apostle:
Who shall change the body of our humiliation, that it may be conformed to the body of his glory.
7. Since then, in reference to our hope of the resurrection, Christ is set forth all through as the archetype, since he is the first born of those who rise, and since he is the head of every creature, as it is written,
Who is the head of all, the first born from the dead, that in all things he might have the preeminence; how is it that we stir up these vain strifes of words, and conflicts of evil surmises? Does not the faith of the church consist in the confession which I have set forth above? And is it not evident that men are moved to accuse others not by difference of belief, but by perversity of disposition? At this point, however, in arguing about the resurrection of the flesh, our friend, as his habit is, mixes up what is ridiculous and farcical with what is serious. He says:
Some poor creatures of the female sex among us are fond of asking what good the resurrection will be to them? They touch their breasts, and stroke their beardless faces, and strike their thighs and their bellies, and ask whether this poor weak body is to rise again. No, they say, if we are to be like angels we shall have the nature of angels.
Who the poor women are whom he thus takes to task, and whether they are deserving of his attacks, he knows best. And if he considers himself to be one of those who are bound to preach that it is not our part to attack another out of revenge, but that in this instance he is right in attacking others when they have given him no cause for revenge; or if, again, he considers that it is no business of his to take care that weak women of his company should be subjected to attacks only for real causes, and not for such false and fictitious reasons as theseof all this, I say, he is himself the best judge. For us it is sufficient to act as he said that he would act: we shall not render evil for evil. But it is evident that the man who is angry with a woman because she says that she hopes not to have a frail body in the resurrection is of the opinion that the frailties of the body will remain. Only, what then, we ask, are we to make of the words of the Apostle:
It is sown in weakness, it will be raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it will be raised a spiritual body? What frailty can you suppose to exist in a spiritual body? It is to rise in power; how then is it again to be frail? If it is frail, how can it be in power? Are not those poor women after all more right than you, when they say that their bodily frailty cannot have dominion over them in the world beyond? Why should you mock at them, when they are only following the Apostle's words:
This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality? The Apostles never taught that the body which would rise from the dead would be frail, but, on the contrary, that it would rise in power and in glory. Whence comes this opinion which you now produce? Perhaps it is one obtained from some of your Jews, which is now to be promulgated as a new law for the church, so that we may learn their ways: for in truth the Jews have such an opinion as this about the resurrection; they believe that they will rise, but in such sort as that they will enjoy all carnal delights and luxuries, and other pleasures of the body. What else, indeed, can this
bodily frailty of yours mean except members given over to corruption, appetites stimulated and lusts inflamed?
8. But suffer it to be so, I beg you, as you are lovers of Christ, that the body is to be in incorruption and without these conditions when it rises from the dead: then let such things henceforward cease to be mentioned. Let us believe that in the resurrection even lawful intercourse will no longer exist between the sexes, since there would be danger that unlawful intercourse would creep in if such things remained present and unforgotten. What is the use of carefully and minutely going over and discussing
the belly and what is below it? You tell us that we live amidst carnal delights: but I perceive that it is your belief that we are not to give up such things even in the resurrection. Let us not deny that this very flesh in which we now live is to rise again: but neither let us make men think that the imperfections of the flesh are wrapped up in it and will come again with it. The flesh, indeed, will rise, this very flesh and not another: it will not change its nature, but it will lose its frailties and imperfections. Otherwise, if its frailties remain, it cannot even be immortal. And thus, as I said, we avoid heresy, whether with you or without you. For the faith of the Church, of which we are the disciples, takes a middle path between two dangers: it does not deny the reality of the natural flesh and body when it rises from the dead, but neither does it assert, in contradiction to the Apostle's words, that in the kingdom which is to come corruption will inherit incorruption. We therefore do not assert that the flesh or body will rise, as you put it, with some of its members lost or amputated, but that the body will be whole and complete, having laid aside nothing but its corruption and dishonour and frailty and also having amputated all the imperfections of mortality: nothing of its own nature will be lacking to that spiritual body which shall rise from the dead except this corruption.
9. I have made answer more at length than I had intended on this single article of the resurrection, through fear lest by brevity I should lay myself open to fresh aspersions. Consequently, I have made mention again and again not only of the body. as to which cavils are raised, but of the flesh: and not only of the flesh; I have added
this flesh; and further I have spoken not only of
this flesh but of
this natural flesh; I have not even stopped here, but have asserted that not even the completeness of the several members would be lacking. I have only demanded that it should be held as part of the faith that, according to the words of the Apostle, it should rise incorruptible instead of corruptible, glorious in stead of dishonoured, immortal instead of frail, spiritual instead of natural; and that we should think of the members of the spiritual body as being without taint of corruption or of frailty. I have set forth my faith in reference to the Trinity, the Incarnation of the Lord our Saviour, to his Passion and Resurrection, his second coming and the judgment to come. I have also set it forth in the matter of the resurrection of our flesh, and have left nothing, I think, in ambiguity. Nothing in my opinion remains to be said, so far as the faith is concerned.
10. But in this, he says, I convict you, that you have translated the work of Origen, in which he says that there is to be a restitution of all things, in which we must believe that not only sinners but the devil himself and his angels will at last be relieved from their punishment, if we are to set before our minds in a consistent manner what is meant by the restitution of all things. And Origen, he says, teaches further that souls have been made before their bodies, and have been brought down from heaven and inserted into their bodies. I am not now acting on Origen's behalf, nor writing an apology for him. Whether he stands accepted before God or has been cast away is not mine to judge: to his own lord he stands or falls. But I am compelled to make mention of him in a few words, since our great rhetorician, though seeming to be arguing against him is really striking at me; and this he does no longer indirectly, but ends by openly attacking me with his sword drawn and turns his whole fury against me. I say too little in saying that he attacks me; for indeed, in order to vent his rage against me, he does not even spare his old teacher: he thinks that in the books which I have translated he can find something which may enable him to hurl his calumnies against me. In addition to other things which he finds to blame in me he adds this invidious remark, that I have chosen for translation a work which neither he nor any of the older translators had chosen. I will begin, therefore, since it is here that I am chiefly attacked, by stating how it came to pass that I attempted the translation of this work in preference to any other, and I will do so in the fewest and truest words. This is, no doubt, superfluous for you, my well-beloved son, since you know the whole affair as it occurred; yet it is desirable that those who are ignorant of it should know the truth: besides, both he and all his followers make this a triumphant accusation against me, that I promised in my Preface to adopt one method of translation but adopted a different one in the work itself. Hence, I will make an answer which will serve not only for them, but for many besides whose judgment is perverted either by their own malice or by the accusations which others make against me.
11. Some time ago, Macarius, a man of distinction from his faith, his learning, his noble birth and his personal life, had in hand a work against fatalism or, as it is called, Mathesis, and was spending much necessary and fruitful toil on its composition; but he could not decide many points, especially how to speak of the dispensations of divine Providence. He found the matter to be one of great difficulty. But in the visions of the night the Lord, he said, had shown him the appearance of a ship far off upon the sea coming towards him, which ship, when it entered the port, was to solve all the knotty points which had perplexed him. When he arose, he began anxiously to ponder the vision, and he found, as he said, that that was the very moment of my arrival; so that he immediately made known to me the scope of his work, and his difficulties, and also the vision which he had seen. He proceeded to inquire what were the opinions of Origen, whom he understood to be the most renowned among the Greeks on the points in question, and begged that I would shortly explain his views on each of them in order. I at first could only say that the task was one of much difficulty: but I told him that that saintly man the Martyr Pamphilus had to some extent dealt with the question in a work of the kind he wished, that is in his Apology for Origen. Immediately he begged me to translate this work into Latin. I told him several times that I had no practice in this style of composition, and that my power of writing Latin had grown dull through the neglect of nearly thirty years. He, however, persevered in his request, begging earnestly that by any kind of words that might be possible, the things which he longed to know should be placed within his reach. I did what he wished in the best language in my power; but this only inflamed him with greater desire for the full knowledge of the work itself from which, as he saw, the few translations which I had made had been taken. I tried to excuse myself; but he urged me with vehemence, taking God to witness of his earnest request to me not to refuse him the means which might assist him in doing a good work. It was only because he insisted so earnestly, and it seemed clear that his desire was according to the will of God, that I at length acquiesced, and made the translation.
12. But I wrote a Preface to each of these works, and in both, but especially in the Preface to the work of Pamphilus, which was translated first, I set in the forefront an exposition of my faith, affirming that my belief is in accordance with the catholic faith; and I stated that whatever men might find in the original or in my translation, my share in it in no way implicated my own faith, and further, in reference to the Περὶ ᾽Αρχῶν I gave this warning. I had found that in these books some things relating to the faith were set forth in a catholic sense, just as the Church proclaims them, while in other places, when the very same thing is in question, expressions of a contrary kind are used. I had thought it right to set forth these points in the way in which the author had set them forth when he had propounded the catholic view of them: on the other hand, when I found things which were contrary to the author's real opinion, I looked on them as things inserted by others, (for he witnesses by the complaints contained in his letter that this has been done), and therefore rejected them, or at all events considered that I might omit them as having none of the
godly edifying in the faith. It will not, I think, be considered superfluous to insert these passages from my Prefaces, so that proof may be at hand for each statement. And further, to prevent the reader from falling into any mistake as to the passages which I insert from other documents, I have, where the quotation is from my own works, placed a single mark against the passage, but, where the words are those of my opponent, a double mark.
13. In the Preface to the Apology of Pamphilus, after a few other remarks, I said:
'What the opinions of Origen are may be gathered from the tenor of this treatise. But as for those things in which he is found to contradict himself, I will point out how this has come to pass in a few words which I have added at the close of this Preface. As for us, we believe what has been delivered to us by the holy Prophets, namely: that the holy Trinity is coeternal, and is of one power and substance: and that the Son of God in these last days was made man and suffered for our sins, and, in that very flesh in which he suffered, rose from the dead; and thereby imparted the hope of a resurrection to the whole race of men. When we speak of the resurrection of the flesh, we do so not with any subterfuges, as some slanderously affirm: we believe that the flesh which is to rise is this very flesh in which we now live: we do not put one thing for another, nor when we say body, mean something different from this flesh. If, therefore, we say that the body is to rise again, we speak as the Apostle spoke; for this word body was the word which he employed: Or if, again, we speak of the flesh, our confession coincides with the words of the creed. It is a foolish and calumnious invention to imagine that the human body can be anything but flesh. Whether, then, we say that it is flesh according to the common faith, or body according to the Apostle, which is to rise again, our belief must be held, according to the definition given by the Apostle, with the understanding that that which is to rise again is to be raised in power and in glory, an incorruptible and a spiritual body. While, therefore, we maintain the superior excellence of the body or flesh which is to be, we must hold that the flesh which rises again will be real and perfect; the actual nature of the flesh will be preserved, while the glorious condition of the uncorrupted and spiritual body will not be impaired. For so it is written:
Corruption shall not inherit incorruption. This is what is preached at Jerusalem in the church of God, by its reverend bishop John: this is what we with him confess and hold. If any one believes or teaches anything besides this, or thinks that we believe otherwise than as we have stated, let him be anathema.'
If then any one wishes to have a statement of our faith, he has it in these words. And whatever we read or affirm, or whatever translations we make, we do it without prejudice to this faith of ours, according to the words of the apostle:
Prove all things, hold fast that which is good. Abstain from every form of evil.
And as many as follow this rule, peace be upon them; and upon the Israel of God.
14. I wrote these words beforehand as a statement of my faith, when as yet none of these calumniators had arisen, so that it should be in no man's power to say that it was merely because of their admonition or their compulsion that I said things which I had not believed before. Moreover, I promised that, whatever the requirements of translation might be, I would, while complying with them, maintain the principles of my faith inviolate. How then can any room be left for evil, when the very first word of my confession preserves and defends me from the suspicion of holding any doctrine inconsistent with it? Besides, as I have said above. I have learned from the words of the Lord that every one shall be justified or condemned from his own words and not from those of others.
But I will show how, in the Preface which I prefixed to the books Περὶ ᾽Αρχῶν, I declared what was to be the regulative principle of my translation, and will prove it, as in the former case, by quoting the words themselves: for it is right to quote from this document also whatever is pertinent to the matter in hand. I had made honourable mention of the man who now turns my praise of him into all accusation against me, for his services in having led the way and having translated a great many works of Origen before I had begun: I had praised both his eloquence as an expositor and his diligence as a translator, and had said that I took him as my model in doing a similar work. And then, after a few more sentences, I continued thus:
'Him therefore we take as our model so far as in us lies, not indeed in the power of his eloquence, but in his method of doing his work, taking care not to reproduce things which are found in the books of Origen discrepant and contrary to his own true opinion.'
I beg the reader to observe what I have said, and not to let this sentence escape him because of its brevity. What I said was that 'I would not reproduce the things which are found in the books of Origen discrepant and contrary to his own true opinion.' I did not make a general promise that I would not reproduce what was contrary to the faith, nor yet what was contrary to me or to some one else, but what was contrary to or discrepant from Origen himself. My opponents must not be allowed to propagate a false statement against me by snatching at a part of this sentence and saying that I had promised not to reproduce anything which was contrary to or discrepant from my own belief. If I had been capable of such conduct, I certainly should not have dared to make a public profession of it. If you find that this has been done in my work, you will know how to judge of it. But if you find that it has not been done, you will not think that I am to blame, since I never gave you any pledge which would bind me to do it.
15. But let me add what comes after. My Preface continued as follows:
'The causes of these discrepancies I have more fully set forth in the Apology which Pamphilus expressly wrote for the works of Origen, to which I added a very short paper in which I showed by proofs which appear to me quite clear, that his books have been in very many places tampered with by heretics and ill disposed men, and especially the very books which you ask me to translate, namely, the Περὶ ᾽Αρχῶν, which may be rendered
Concerning Beginnings or
Concerning Principalities, which are in any case most obscure and most difficult. For in these books Origen discusses matters on which the philosophers have spent their whole lives without finding out the truth. In these matters, man's belief in a creator and his reasoning about the created world which had been made use of by the philosophers for the purposes of their own profanity, the Christian writer turns to the support of the true faith.'
Here also I beg you to mark my words carefully, and to observe that I said ' belief in a Creator,' but ' reasoning about the created world;' since what is said about God belongs to the domain of faith, but our discussions about created things to the domain of reason. I continued:
'Wherever, therefore, in his works we find erroneous definitions of the Trinity as to which he has in other places expressed his views in accordance with the true faith, we have either left them out as passages which had been falsified or inserted, or else have changed the expression in accordance with the rule of faith which the writer again and again lays down.'
Have I here, I ask, written incautiously? Have I said that I expressed the matter according to the rule of our faith, which would have been evidently going far beyond the scope of a translator whose duty was merely to turn Greek into Latin? On the contrary I said that I expressed these passages according to the rule of faith which I found again and again laid down by Origen himself. Moreover I added:
'I grant that, when he has expressed a thing obscurely, as a man does when he is writing for those who have technical knowledge of the subject and wishes to go over it rapidly, I have made the sentence plainer by adding the fuller expression which he had given of the same thing in some of his other works which I had read. I did this simply in the interests of clearness. But I have expressed nothing in my own words; I have only restored to Origen what was really Origen's though found in other parts of his works.'
16. I should have thought that this statement, I mean the words, 'I have expressed nothing in my own words; I have only restored to Origen what was really Origen's, though found in other part of his works,' would of itself have been sufficient for my defense even before the most hostile judges. Have I thrust myself forward in any way? Have I ever led men to expect that I should put in anything of my own? Where can they find the words which they pretend that I have said, and on which they ground their calumnious accusations, namely, that I have removed what was bad and put good words instead, while I had translated literally all that is good? It is time, I think, that they should show some sense of shame, and should cease from false charges and from taking upon themselves the office of the devil who is the accuser of the brethren. Let them listen to the words 'I have put in no words of my own.' Let them listen to them again and hear them constantly reiterated, 'I have put in no words of my own; I have only restored to Origen what was really Origen's, though found in other parts of his works.' And let them see how God's mercy watched over me when I put my hand to this work; let them mark how I was led to forebode the very acts which they are doing. For my Preface continues thus:
'I have given this statement in my Preface for fear that my detractors should think that they had found a fresh reason for accusing me.'
When I said a fresh charge I alluded to the charge which they had previously made against the reverend Bishop John for the letter written by him to the reverend Bishop Theophilus on the articles of faith: they pretended that when he spoke of the human body he meant somethingI know not whatdifferent from flesh. Therefore I spoke of a fresh charge. Take notice, then, I say, of the conduct of these perverse and contentious men.
'I have undertaken this great labour, (which I have only done at your entreaty) not with a view of shutting the mouths of my calumniators, which indeed is impossible unless God himself should do it, but in order to give solid information to those, who are seeking to advance in knowledge.'
But, to show you that I foresaw and foretold that they would falsify what I was writing, observe what I said in the following passage:
'Of this I solemnly warn every one who may read or copy out these books, in the sight of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, and adjure him by our belief in the kingdom which is to come, by the assurance of the resurrection from the dead, and by that eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels,I adjure him, as he would not have for his eternal portion that place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, where their worm dies not and their fire is not quenched, that he should add nothing to this writing, take away nothing, insert nothing, and change nothing.'
Nevertheless, after I had warned them by all these dread and terrible forms of adjuration, these men have not been afraid to become falsifiers and corrupters of my work, though they profess to believe that the resurrection of the flesh is a reality of the future. Why, if they even believed the simple fact of the existence of God, they would never set their hands to acts so injurious and so impious. I ask, further, what line of my Preface can be pointed to in which I have, as my accuser says, praised Origen up to the skies, or in which I have called him, as he once did, an Apostle or a Prophet, or anything of the kind. I may ask indeed in what other matter they find any ground of accusation. I made at the outset a confession of my faith in terms which I think agree in all respects with the confession of the Church. I made a clear statement of my canons of translation, which indeed in most respects were taken from the model furnished by the very man who now comes forward as my accuser. I declared what was the purpose I set before me in making the translation. Whether I have proved capable of fulfilling the task more or less completely is, no doubt, a matter for the judgment of those who read the work, and who may be expected to praise it or to ridicule it, but not to make it a ground for accusation when it is a question of turning words from one language into another with more or less propriety.
The Son does not see the Father.
17. But I have said that these men would have been unable to find grounds for accusation on the points I have mentioned, however they may take them, unless they had first falsified them. It appears to me therefore desirable that the chief matter on which they have laid their forgers' hands should be inserted in this Apology, lest they should think that I am intentionally withdrawing it from notice because they after making their own additions to it allege it as a ground of false accusation. In the book which I translated there is a passage in which I examine the tenets of those who believe that God has a bodily shape and who describe him as clothed with human members and dress. This is openly asserted by the heretical sects of the Valentinians and Anthropomorphites, and I see that those who are now our accusers have been far too ready to hold out the hand to them. Origen in this passage has defended the faith of the church against them, affirming that God is wholly without bodily form, and therefore also invisible; and then, following out his scrutiny in a logical manner, he says a few words in answer to the heretics, which I thus translated into Latin.
But these assertions will perhaps be held to have little authority by those whose desire is to be instructed out of the Holy Scriptures in the things of God, and who require that from that source should be drawn the proof of the preïminence of the nature of God over that of the human body. Consider whether the Apostle does not say the same thing when he speaks thus of Christ:
Who is the image of the invisible God, the first born of every creature. The nature of God is not, as some think, visible to some and not to others, for the Apostle does not say The image of God who is invisible to men, or to sinners; but he speaks quite distinctly of the nature of God in itself, where he says
The image of the invisible God. John also says in his Gospel,
No man has seen God at any time, by which he distinctly declares: to all who can understand, that there is no being to whom God is visible; not as if he were naturally visible and, like a being of attenuated substance, escaped and eluded our glance; but that, in his own nature it is impossible for him to be seen. But perhaps you will ask me my opinion as to the Only begotten himself. Well, if I should say that even to him the nature of God is invisible, since it is its very nature to be invisible, do not dismiss my answer as if it were impious or absurd, for I will at once give you my reason for it. Observe that seeing is a different thing from knowing. Seeing and being seen belong to bodies; to know and to be known belong to the intellectual nature. Whatever then is merely a property of bodies, this we must not attribute to the Father or the Son; but that which belongs to the nature of Deity governs the relations of the Father and the Son. Moreover, Christ himself in the Gospel did not say
No man sees the Son but the Father nor the Father but the Son, but
No man knows the Son but the Father, neither does any one know the Father but the Son. By this it is clearly shown that what is called seeing and being seen in the case of bodily existence is called knowledge in the case of the Father and the Son: their intercourse is maintained through the power of knowledge not through the weakness of visibility. Since, therefore, an incorporeal nature cannot properly be said to see or to be seen, therefore in the Gospel it is not said either that the Father is seen by the Son or the Son by the Father but that each is known by the other. And if any one should ask how it is that it is said
Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God, I think that this text will confirm my assertion still more. For what else is it to see God with the heart than, according to the explanation I have given above, to understand Him with the mind and to know Him?
18. This is the chief passage which those who were sent from the East to lay snares for me tried to brand as heretical, not only by perversely misunderstanding it, but by falsifying the words. But I could see nothing to suspect in it, as also in several similar passages of the writer I was translating, nor did I think that there was any reason to leave it out, since there was nothing said in it as to a comparison of the Son with the Father, but the question related to the nature of the Deity itself, whether in any sense the word visibility could be applied to it. Origen was answering, as I have said before, the heretics who assert that God is visible because they say that he is corporeal, the faculty of sight being a property of the body; for which reason the Valentinian heretics, of whom I spoke above, declare that the Father begot and the Son was begotten in a bodily and visible sense. He therefore shrank, I presume, from the word Seeing as a suspicious term, and says that it is better, when the question turns upon the nature of the Deity, that is, upon the relation of the Father and the Son, to use the word which the Lord himself definitely chose, when he said:
No man knows the Son save the Father, neither does any know the Father save the Son. He thought that all occasion which might be given to the aforesaid heresies would be shut out if, in speaking of the nature of the Deity he used the word Knowledge rather than Vision. 'Vision' might seem to afford the heretics some support. The word Knowledge on the other hand preserves the true relation of Father and Son in one nature never to be set apart; and this is specially confirmed by the authoritative language of the Gospel. Origen thought also that this mode of speaking would ensure that the Anthropomorphites should never in any way hear God spoken of as visible. It did not seem to me right that this reasoning, since it made no difference between the persons of the Trinity, should be completely thrown on one side, though indeed there were some words in the Greek, which perhaps were somewhat incautiously used, and which I thought it well to avoid using. I will suppose that readers may hesitate in their judgment whether or not even so, it is an argument which can be employed with effect against the aforesaid heresies. I will even grant that those who are practised in judging of words and their sense in matters of this kind and who, besides being experts, are God-fearing men, men who do nothing through strife or vain glory, whose mind is equally free from envy and favour and prejudice may say that the point is of little value either for edification or for the combating of heresy; even so, is it not competent for them to pass it over and to leave it aside as not valid for the repulse of our adversaries? Suppose it to be superfluous, does that make it criminous? How can we count as a criminal passage one which asserts the equality of the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit in this point of invisibility? I do not think that any one can really think so. I say any one: for there is no evidence that anything contained in my writings is offensive in the eyes of my accusers; for, if they had thought so, they would have set down my words as they stood in my translation.
19. But what did they actually do? Consider what it was and ask yourself whether the crime is not unexampled? Recall the passage which says:
But perhaps you will ask me my opinion as to the Only-begotten himself. Well, if I should say that even to him the nature of God is invisible, since it is its very nature to be invisible, do not dismiss my answer as if it were impious or absurd, for I will at once give you my reason for it. Well, in the place of the words which I had written,
I will at once give you my reason for it they put the following words:
Do not dismiss my answer as if it were impious or absurd, for, as the Son does not see the Father, so the Holy Spirit also does not see the Son. If the man who did this, the man who was sent from their monastery to Rome as the greatest expert in calumny, had been employed in the forum and had committed this forgery in some secular business every one knows what would be the consequence to him according to the public laws, when he was convicted of the crime. But now, since he has left the secular life, and has turned his back upon business and entered a monastery, and has connected himself with a renowned master, he has learned from him to leave his former self-restraint and to become a furious madman: he was quiet before, now he is a mover of sedition: he was peaceable, now he provokes war: instead of concord, he is the promoter of strife. For faith he has learnt perfidiousness, for truth forgery. He would, you may well think, have been the complete exemplar of wickedness and criminality of this kind, if you had not had before you the image of that woman Jezebel. She is the same who made up the accusation against Naboth the Zezreelite for the sake of the vineyard, and sent word to the wicked elders to urge against him a false indictment, saying that he had blessed, that is cursed, God and the king. I know not whether of the two is to be accounted the happier, she who sends the command or they who obey it in all its iniquity. These matters are serious; such a crime, as far as I know, is hitherto all but unheard of in the Church. Yet there is something more to be said. What is that you ask. It is this, that those who are guilty should become the judges, that those who plotted the accusation should also pronounce the sentence. It is, indeed, no new thing for a writer to make a mistake or a slip in his words, and in my opinion it is a venial fault, for the Scripture also says,
In many things we all stumble: if any stumbles not in word the same is a perfect man. Is it thought that some word is wrong? Then let it be corrected or amended, or, if expediency so require, let it be taken out. But to insert in what another man has written things he never wrote, to put in false words for no other purpose than to defame your brother, to corrupt his writings in order to attach a mark of infamy to the author, and to insinuate your ideas into the ears of the multitude so as to throw confusion into the minds of the simple; and all this with the object of staining a man's reputation among his fellows; I ask you whose work this can be except that of him who was a liar from the beginning, and who, from accusing the brethren, received the name of Diabolus, which means accuser. For when he to whom I have alluded recited at Milan one of these sentences which had been tampered with, and I cried out that what he was reading was falsified, he, being asked from whom he had received the copy of the work said that a certain woman named Marcella had given it him. As to her, I say nothing, whosoever she may be. I leave her to her own conscience and to God. I am content with God's own witness and with yours. When I say yours, I mean your own and that of Macarius himself, the saintly man for whom I was doing that work: for both of you read my papers themselves at the first, even before they had been completed, and you have by you the completely corrected copies. You can bear witness to what I say. The words
as the Son does not see the Father, so also the Holy Spirit does not see the Son not only were never written by me, but on the contrary I can point out the forger by whom they were written. If any man says that as the Father does not see the Son, so the Son does not see the Father or that the Holy Spirit does not see the Father and the Son as the Father sees the Son and the Son and the Holy Spirit, let him be anathema. For he sees, and sees most truly; only, as God sees God and the Light sees the Light; not as flesh sees flesh, but as the Holy Spirit sees, not with the bodily senses, but by the powers of the Deity. I say, if any one denies this let him be anathema for all eternity. But as the Apostle says,
He that troubles you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be.
20. I remember indeed that one of these people, when he was convicted of having falsified this passage, answered me that it was so in the Greek, but that I had, of purpose, changed it in the Latin. I do not indeed, treat this as a serious accusation because, though what they say is untrue yet, even supposing that the words did stand so in the Greek, and I had changed them in the Latin, this is nothing more than I had said in my Preface that I should do. If I had done this with the view of making an expression which in the Greek was calculated to make men stumble run more suitably in the Latin, I should have been acting only according to my expressed purpose and plan. But I say to my accusers You certainly did not find these words in the Latin copies of my work. Whence then did it come into the papers from which he was reading? I, the translator, did not so write it. Whence then came the words which you who have got no such words of mine turn into a ground of accusation? Am I to be accused on the ground of your forgeries? I put the matter in the plainest possible way. There are four books of the work which I translated; and in these books discussions about the Trinity occur in a scattered way, almost as much as one in each page. Let any man read the whole of these and say whether in any passage of my translation such an opinion concerning the Trinity can be found as that which they calumniously represent as occurring in this chapter. If such an opinion can be found, then men may believe that this chapter also is composed in the sense which they pretend. But if in the whole body of these books no such difference of the persons of the Trinity exists anywhere, would not a critic be mad or fatuous if he decided, on the strength of a single paragraph, that a writer had given his adherence to a heresy which in the thousand or so other paragraphs of his work he had combated? But the circumstances of the case are by themselves sufficient to show the truth to any one who has his wits about him. For if this man had really found the passage in question in my papers, and had felt a difficulty in what he read, he would of course have brought the documents to me and have at once asked for explanations, since, as you well know, we were living as neighbours in Rome. Up to that time we often saw one another, greeted one another as friends, and joined together in prayer; and therefore he would certainly have conferred with me about the points which appeared to him objectionable; he would have asked me how I had translated them, and how they stood in the Greek.
21. I am sure that he would have felt that he had enjoyed a triumph if he could have shown that through his representations I had been induced to correct anything that I had said or written. Or, if he had been driven by his mental excitement to expose the error publicly instead of correcting it, he certainly would not have waited till I had left Rome to attack me, when he might have faced me there and put me to silence. But he was deterred by the consciousness that he was acting falsely; and therefore he did not bring to me as their author the documents which he was determined to incriminate, but carried them round to private houses, to ladies, to monasteries, to Christian men one by one, wherever he might make trouble by his ex parte statements. And he did this just when he was about to leave Rome, so that he might not be arraigned and made to give an account of his actions. Afterwards, by the directions, as I am told, of his master, he went about all through Italy, accusing me, stirring up the people, throwing confusion into the churches, poisoning even the minds of the bishops, and everywhere representing my forbearance as an acknowledgment that I was in the wrong. Such are the arts of the disciple. Meanwhile the master, out in the East, who had said in his letter to Vigilantius
Through my labour the Latins know all that is good in Origen and are ignorant of all that is bad, set to work upon the very books which I had translated, and in his new translation inserted all that I had left out as untrustworthy, so that now, the contrary of what he had boasted has come to pass. The Romans by his labour know all that is bad in Origen and are ignorant of all that is good. By this means he endeavours to draw not Origen only but me also under the suspicion of heresy: and he goes on unceasingly sending out these dogs of his to bark against me in every city and village, and to attack me with their calumnies when I am quietly passing on a journey, and to attempt every speakable and unspeakable mischief against me. What crime, I ask you, have I committed in doing exactly what you have done? If you call me wicked for following your example, what judgment must you pronounce upon yourself?
22. But now I will turn the tables and put my accuser to the question. Tell me, O great master, if there is anything to blame in a writer, is the blame to be laid on one who reads or translates his works? Heaven forbid, he will say; certainly not; why do you try to circumvent me by your enigmatical questions? Am not I myself both a reader and a translator of Origen? Read my translations and see if you can find any one of his peculiar doctrines in them; especially any of those which I now mark for condemnation. When driven to the point he says:
If you wish thoroughly to see how abhorent the very suggestion of such doctrines has always been to me, read my Commentaries on the Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians, and you will see from what I have written there what an opinion I formed of him from reading and translating his works.
I ask, can we accept this man as a great and grave teacher, who in one of his works praises Origen and in another condemns him? Who in his Introductions calls him a master second only to the Apostles, but now calls him a heretic? What heretic, I ask, was ever called a master of the churches?
It is true, he replies, I was wrong about this but why do you go on bringing up this unfortunate Preface against me? Read my Commentaries, and especially those which I have designated. Is there any one who will think this satisfactory? He has composed a great many books, in almost all of which he trumpets forth the praises of Origen to the skies: these books through all these years have been read and are being read by all men: many of these readers after accepting his opinions have left this world and gone into the presence of the Lord. They hold the opinion about Origen which they had learnt from the statements of this man, and they departed in hope that, according to this man's assurance, they would find him there as a master second only to the Apostles; but if we are to trust his present writings, they have found him in a state of condemnation, among the impious heretics and the heathen. Is this man now to turn round from his former contention, and to say,
For some thirty years I have been, in my studies and in my writings, praising Origen as equal to the Apostles, but now I pronounce him a heretic? How is this? Has he come upon some new books of his which he had never read before? Not at all. It is from these same sayings of Origen that he formerly called him an Apostle and now calls him a heretic. But it is impossible that this should really have been so. For either he was right in his former praises, and his judgment has since been perverted by some kind of extreme ill feeling, and in that case no attention is to be paid to him; or else his former praises were mistaken, and he is now condemning himself, and in that case what judgment does he think others will pass upon him, when, according to the words of the Apostle, he passes condemnation on himself.
22 (a). But,
Surely, he says,
this judgment is done away with since I have repented. Not so fast! We all err, it is true, and especially in word; and we all may repent of our errors. But can a man do penance, and accuse others, and judge and condemn them, all in the same moment? That would be as if a harlot who had abstained from her harlotry for a night or two, should feel called upon to begin writing laws in favour of chastity, and not only to enact these laws, but to proceed to throw down the monuments of all the women who have died, because she suspected that they had led lives like her own. You do penance for having formerly been a heretic, and you do right. But what has that to do with me who never was a heretic at all? You are right in doing penance for your error: but the true way of doing penance is, not by accusing others but by crying for mercy, not by condemning but by weeping. For what sincerity can there be in penitence when the penitent makes a decree of indulgence for himself? He who repents of what he has spoken ill does not cure his wound by speaking ill again, but by keeping silence. For thus it is written:
You have sinned, be at peace. But now you first bring yourself in a criminal, then you absolve yourself from your crime, and immediately change yourself from a criminal into a judge. This may be no trouble to you who thus mock at us, but it is a trouble to us if we suffer ourselves to be mocked by you.
23. But let us come to these two Commentaries which he alone excepts from the general condemnation and renunciation which he pronounces upon all the rest of his works; we shall see with what modesty and self-restraint he conducts himself in these: Remember that it is by these alone that he has chosen to prove that he is sound in the faith, and that he is altogether opposed to Origen. Let us examine then as witnesses these two books which alone of all his writings are satisfactory to him, namely, the three books of his commentary on the Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians, and the single book (I think) on Ecclesiastes. Let us for a moment look into the one which comes forward first, the Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians. Even here recognize in his arguments the influence of him who is as his fellow, his partner and his brother mystic, to use his own expression. And first of all, as to these poor weak women about whom he makes himself merry, because they say that after the resurrection they will not have their frail bodies since they will be like the angels. Let us hear what he has to say about them. In the third book of his Commentaries on the Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians, on the passage in which it is said,
He who loves his own wife loves himself, for no man ever hated his own flesh; after a few other remarks, he says:
Let us men then cherish our wives and let our souls cherish our bodies in such a way as that the wives may be turned into men and the bodies into spirits, and that there maybe no difference of sex but that, as among the angels there is neither male nor female, so we who are to be like the angels may begin here to be what it is promised that we shall be in heaven.
24. How, I ask, can you, seeing that your Commentaries contain such doctrines, put them forward to prove your soundness in the faith, and to confute those ideas which you reprove? How do your words tend to reprove those women whom we have spoken of? Besides, has any woman gone so far as to say what you write, namely, that women are to be turned into men and bodies into souls? If bodies are to be turned into spirits, then, according to you, there will be no resurrection not only of the flesh but even of the body, which you admit to be the doctrine even of those whom you have set down as heretics. Where are we to look any more for the body, if it is reduced to a spirit? In that case everything will be spirit, the body will be nowhere. And again, if the wives are to be turned into men, according to this suggestion of yours, that there is to be no difference of sex whatever, by which I suppose you mean that the female sex will entirely cease, being converted into the male, and the male sex will alone remain; I am not sure that you would have the permission of the women to speak here on behalf of their sex. But, even suppose that they grant you this, then with what consistency can you argue that the male sex is any longer necessary, when the female is shown not to be necessary? For there is a natural bond which unites the sexes in mutual dependence, so that, if one does not exist, there is no need of the other. And further, if it is man alone who is to receive at the resurrection the form of clay which was originally given in paradise, what becomes of that which is written,
He made them male and female, and blessed them? And then, if, as both you yourself say, and also these poor women whom you arraign, there is neither man nor woman, how can bodies be turned into souls, or women into men, since Paradise does not allow the existence of either sex, nor does the likeness of angels, as you say, admit it? And I marvel how you can demand from others a strict opinion upon the continuance of the diversity of sex when you yourself, as soon as you begin to discuss it, find yourself involved in so many knotty questions that to evolve yourself out of them becomes impossible. How much more right would your action be if you were to imitate us whom you blame in such matters as these and allow God to be the only judge of them, as is indeed the truth. It would be far better for you to confess your ignorance of them than to write things which in a little while you have to condemn. I should like to ask my accuser whether he can conscientiously say that he would ever have found, I do not say in any, even the least, work of mine, but even in any familiar letter which I might have written carelessly to a friend, such things as that bodies were to be turned into spirits and wives into men, were it not that he had put them forward as if he wished them to be inserted in brazen letters on the gates of cities, and recited in the forum, in the Senate house and in front of the rostra. If he had found any such thing in my writings, imagine how many heads of accusation he would have set down, how many volumes he would have compiled, how he would be assailing me with all the arms and shafts of that teeming breast of his; how he would have said:
I tell you that he is deceiving you by speaking of the resurrection of the body, for he denies the resurrection of the flesh; or even if he confesses the resurrection of the flesh he denies that of the members and the sex: but, if you do not believe me, behold and see the very words of his letter, in which he says that bodies are to be turned into souls and wives into men. Yet, when you write this, we are not to call you a heretic, but are to give satisfaction to you as though you were our master. And as for those women whom you have attacked with your indecent reproaches, they will, when they stand before the judgment seat of Christ, bring forward what you have taught them in these Commentaries as well as the things which you have since written, with insults which show that you had forgotten yourself; and both the one and the other will be read out there, where the favour of men will have ceased, and the applause for which you pay by flattery will be silent, and they will be judged together with their author for these words and deeds of yours before Christ the righteous judge.
25. But now let us go on to discuss what he writes further as to God's judgment, for this too is a matter of the faith. We shall find that as he alters the faith about the resurrection of the flesh in other points, so he does in reference to God's judgment. In the first book of the Commentaries on the Ep. of Paul to the Ephesians, he deals with that passage in which the Apostle says:
Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blemish before him. On this he says:
For the foundation of the world the Greek has καταβολῆς κόσμου. The word καταβολή does not mean the same which we understand by foundation. We, therefore, shall not attempt to render a word for a word, which is here impossible on account of the poverty of our language and also the novelty of the sense, and because, as some one has said, the Greeks have a larger discourse and a happier tongue than ours. We must explain the force of the word by some sort of periphrasis. καταβολή is properly used when something is thrown down and is cast from a higher into a lower place, or else when anything is taking its beginning. Hence those who lay the first foundations of future houses are said καταβεβληκέναι, that is to have thrown down the first foundations. Paul thus used the word to show that God framed all things out of nothing: he assigned to Him not a creation nor a building up, nor a making but a καταβολή, that is, a beginning of a foundation. He wishes to show that there was not some other thing antecedent to creatures, and out of which creatures were formed, as is held by the Manichæans and other heretics, who begin with a maker and a material, but that all things were made out of nothing. But, as to our election to be holy and without blemish before him, that is, before God, previously to the making of the world, of which the Apostle speaks, this belongs to the foreknowledge of God, to whom all future things are as if they were already done, and all things are known before they come into being: as Paul is predestinated in the womb of his mother, and Jeremiah before his birth is sanctified, chosen, and confirmed, and, as it type of Christ, is sent to be a prophet of the nations.
another,gives his own views
26. So far he has set forth a single exposition of the passage; but on whose authority he wishes us to receive this interpretation he has not made clear. What he has done is to make void this first interpretation by what comes after: for he goes on:
But there is another, who tries to show that God is just. He therefore points out that by that first exposition the justice of God is not vindicated, which of course is contrary to the faith: and he goes on through the mouth of this 'other,' whose assertions he evidently wishes to exhibit as being what is everywhere held for catholic and indubitable, to give a testimony by which he will, as he asserts, seek to show that God is just. Let us see then what this 'other man' says, who proclaims the justice of God.
Another man, he says,
who seeks to vindicate the justice of God, argues that it is not according to his own pre-judgment and knowledge, but according to the merit of the elect that God's choice of men is determined; and he says that, before the creation of the visible world, of sky and earth and seas and all that they contain, there existed other invisible creatures, among which also were souls; and that these souls, for reasons known to God alone, were cast down into this vale of tears, this place of our mournful pilgrimage, and that this is shown by the prayer uttered by a holy man of old who, having his habitation fixed here, yet longed to return to his original abode:
Woe is me that my sojourning is prolonged, that I have my habitation among the inhabitants of Kedar,
my soul has long been a pilgrim, and again
O wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from the body of this death? and in another place
It is better to return and be with Christ, and elsewhere,
Before I was brought low, I sinned; and other words of a like character.
This relates, they say to the souls' condition before they were cast down into the world. The reader of this will be apt to say, Master, you seem to tell us, yet do not really tell us, who these men are who say this, that the souls of men existed before they were cast down into the world. Then he will reply,
Was I not right in saying that you were blind, and no better than a mole? Did I not say before, that they are those who assert that God is just,by which, if you had any sense at all, you would understand that I mean myself: for I am not such a heretic as not to include myself among those who vindicate the justice of God, which indeed all must do who have the least tincture of good sense. Then they will reply,
Tell us, then, master, tell us, what it is that these men say, and you among them? We understand that you say that before the souls were cast down into the world, and before the world, which was made up of souls, had been cast down together with its inhabitants into the abyss, God chose Paul and those like him, who were holy and undefiled. But if men are chosen, they are chosen out of a great number; there must be many in a worse condition out of whom the election is made. However, just as in the Babylonian captivity, when Nebuchadnezzar carried away the people into Chaldæa, Ezekiel and Daniel and the Three Children, and Haggai and Zechariah were sent with them, not because they deserved to become captives, but that they might be a comfort to those who were carried away; so also, in that 'casting down' of the world, those who had been chosen by God before the world was, were sent to instruct and train the sinful souls, so that these, through their preaching, might return to the place from which they had fallen; and this is what is meant by the words of the eighty-ninth Psalm:
Lord you have been our refuge in generation and in offspring, before the mountains were established, or the earth and the world were made; that is to say, that before the world was made, and a beginning was made of the generation of all things, God was a refuge to his saints.
27. Such are the doctrines which are to be found in these works of yours which you single out from all that you have written, and which you desire men to read over again to the prejudice of all the rest. It is in these very Commentaries that these doctrines are written. There was, you say, an invisible world before this visible one came into being. You say that in this world, along with the other inhabitants, that is the angels, there were also souls. You say that these souls, for reasons known to God alone, enter into bodies at the time of birth in this visible world: those souls, you say, who in a former age had been inhabitants of heaven, now dwell here, on this earth, and that not without reference to certain acts which they had committed while they lived there. You say further that all the saints, such as Paul and others like him in each generation were predestinated by God for the purpose of recalling them by their preaching to that habitation from which they had fallen: and all this you support by very copious warranties of Scripture. But are not these statements precisely those for which you now arraign Origen, and for which alone you demand that he should be condemned? What 'other' than him who says such things as these do you condemn in your writings? And yet if these statements are to be condemned, as you now urge, you will first pronounce judgment on these statements, and then find that you have condemned yourself by anticipation. No other refuge remains for you. There is no room for any of these twists and turns for which you blame others: for it is just when you are doing penance and have been converted, when you have been corrected and put in the way of amendment, that you have stamped these books with fresh authority, to prove to us by their means what your opinion was as to the doctrines which ought to be condemned: and therefore what you have there written must be taken as if we heard you now distinctly making the statements contained in them. Yet in these very books you yourself make the statements which you say are to be condemned. But no! You will say: it is not I that make them. It is the 'other' who thus speaks, that is, of course, the man who I now declare ought to be condemned. Well, let us recall, if you please, that particular line in which you change the person of the speaker, that we may see who it is whom you represent as building up this strange theory. You say, then, that it is 'another,' who is endeavouring to show that God is just, who says these things which we have set down just above. If you say that this 'other' who by this assertion of his proves God to be just is separate and divers from yourself, what then, I ask, is your own opinion? Must we say that you deny that God is just? Oh, great Master, you who see so sharply, and are so hard upon the moles that have no eyes: you seem to have got yourself into a most impossible position, where you are shut in on every side. Either you must deny that God is just by declaring yourself other than, and contrary to, him who says these things, or if you confess God to be just, as all the Church does, then it is you yourself who make the assertions in question; in which case the sentence which you pass upon another falls upon you, you are thrust through with your own spear. I think that this is enough for your conviction before the most righteous judges whose judgment anticipates that of God: not that they would condemn the man who sees the mote in his brother's eye but does not see the beam in his own; but they would try to bring him to a better mind and to true repentance.
28. But it is possible that this particular passage may have escaped his observation, although he thought that he had revised these books so as to make them perfectly clear, and put them forward as giving a profession of his faith, to the prejudice of all the rest. Let us see then what are his opinions in other parts. In the same book when he comes to the passage where it is written
According to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glory, he makes these remarks among others:
Here certain men seize upon the opportunity to introduce their peculiar views: they believe that before the foundation of the world, the souls of men dwelt in the heavenly Jerusalem with the angels, and with all the other celestial powers. They think that it would be impossible, in accordance with the good pleasure of God, and the praise of his glory and of his grace, to explain the fact that some men are born poor and barbarous, in slavery and weakness, while others are born as wealthy Roman citizens, free and with strong health; that some are born in a low, some in a high station, that they are born in different countries, in different parts of the world: unless there are some antecedent causes for which each individual soul had its lot assigned according to its merits. Moreover, the passage which some think that they understand, (though they do not) the passage of the Epistle to the Romans which says,
Hath not the potter a right over the clay from the same lump to make one part a vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? these men take as supporting this same view; for they argue that, just as the distinction between leading a good life or a bad, one of labour or self-indulgence, would be of little account if we did not believe in the judgment of God which is to come, so also the difference of conditions under which men are born would impugn the justice of God unless they were the results of the soul's previous deserts. For, if we do not accept this view, they say, it cannot be 'the good pleasure of God' nor 'to the praise of his glory and grace' that he should have chosen some before the foundation of the world to be holy and undefiled, and to partake of the adoption through Jesus Christ, and should have appointed others to the lowest position and to everlasting punishment; he could not have loved Jacob before he came forth from the womb and hated Esau before he had done anything worthy of hatred, unless there were some antecedent causes which would, if we knew them, prove God to be just.
Another,who gives strange views, is Jerome himself
29. What can be more distinct than this statement? What could possibly be thought or said whether by Origen or by any of those whom you say that you condemn, which would be clearer than this, that the inequality of conditions which exists among those who are born into this world is ascribed to the justice of God? You say that the cause of the salvation or perdition of each soul is to be found in itself, that is, in the passions and dispositions which it has shown in its previous life in that new Jerusalem which is the mother of us all.
But this too, he will say no doubt,
is not said by myself. I described it as the opinion of another: moreover, I used the expression 'they seize upon the opportunity.' Well, I do not deny that you make it appear that you are speaking of another. But you have not denied that this man about whom you are speaking is in agreement and accord with you: you have not said that he is in opposition or hostility to you. For, when you use this formula of 'another' in reference to one who is really opposed to you, you habitually, after setting down a few of his words, at once impugn and overthrow them: you do this in the case of Marcion, Valentinus, Arius and others. But when, as in this instance, you use, indeed, this formula of 'another,' but report his words fortified by the strongest assertions and by the most abundant testimonies of Scripture, is it not evident even to us who are so slow of understanding, and whom you speak of as 'moles,' that he whose words you set down and do not overthrow, is no other than yourself, and that we have here a case of the figure well known to rhetoricians, when they use another man's person to set forth their own opinions. Such figures are resorted to by rhetoricians when they are afraid of offending particular people, or when they wish to avoid exciting ill-will against themselves. But, if you think that you have avoided blame by putting forward 'another' as the author of these statements, how much more free from it is he whom you accuse. For his mode of action is much more cautious. He is not content with merely saying,
This is what others say, or
so some men think, but,
As to this or that I do not decide, I only suggest, and,
If this seems to any one more probable, let him hold to it, putting the other aside. He has been very careful in his statements, as you know; and yet you summon him to be tried and condemned. You think that you have escaped because you speak of 'another': but the points on which you condemn him are precisely those in which you follow and imitate him.
30. But let us proceed in our study of these Commentaries; otherwise, in dwelling too long upon a few special points, we may be prevented from taking notice of the greater number. In the same book and the same passage are the words
To the end that we should be unto the praise of his glory, we who had before hoped in Christ. His comment is:
If it had been simply said 'We have trusted in Christ,' and there had not been the prefix 'before,' which stands in the Greek προηλπικότες, the sense would be quite clear, namely, that those who have hoped in Christ have been chosen in due order and have been predestinated according to the purpose of him who orders all things according to the counsel of his own will. But, as it stands, the addition of the preposition 'before,' compels us to explain it according to the same ideas which we argued in a former place to be necessary for the explanation of the passage,
Who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before him: namely, that God had blessed us before in heaven with all spiritual blessing, and had chosen us before the world was framed; and that thus we are said to have hoped in Christ 'before,' that is, in the time when we were elected and predestinated and blessed in heaven.
31. But let this pass, for what follows is of more importance. I thank God that he has relieved me from a very serious burden of suspicion. Perhaps I seemed to some people to be acting contentiously and calumniously when I insinuated that, according to a figure of rhetoric, when he spoke of 'another' he meant himself. But to prevent all further doubt from resting in the minds of his hearers, he has himself declared that it is so. Like a truly good teacher, who would not wish any ambiguity about his sayings to remain in the minds of his pupils, he has been so good as to show quite clearly who that 'other' was of whom he had spoken before. He therefore says,
But, as it stands, the addition of the preposition 'before' leads us to explain it according to the ideas which we argued in a former place to be necessary. You see, he means that it is we, and not some other, no one knows who, as you may have thought, who in the former place argued thus, when we were expounding the words
Who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. It was to meet the case of the less intelligent persons, who might think that what was there said was spoken by some one else, to prevent any error on the point remaining in the minds of those whom he had begged to read these books so that they might see what his opinion of Origen was, that he now acknowledges this opinion as his own, and, no longer speaking of 'another,' says what we have quoted before; namely, that, as God had before blessed us with all spiritual blessing in Christ in the heavenly places, and had chosen us before the foundation of the world; so also we are said to have trusted in Christ at that former time in which we were elected and predestinated and blessed in heaven. He himself therefore, as it seems to me, has by his own testimony, absolved me from all suspicion of speaking a calumny when I say that that 'other' is no 'other' than himself.
30 (a). But, I undertook to show something of more importance still in what follows. After he had said that we had hoped in Christ before, and that in the time before the foundation of the world and before we were born in our bodies, we had been blessed and chosen in heaven, he again introduces that 'other' of his, and says:
Another, who does not admit this doctrine that we had a previous existence and had hope in Christ before we lived in this body, would have us understand the matter in his own way. In this passage this 'other,' whoever he may be, has put forth all his ill savour. Let him tell us then whom he means by this 'other' who does not admit this opinion that before we lived in this body we both existed and hoped in Christfor which he requires us to condemn Origen. Whom does he wish us to understand by this 'other'? Is it some one opposed to himself? What do you say, great master? You are pressed by that two-horned dilemma of which you are so fond of speaking to your disciples. For, if you say that by this 'other' who does not admit that souls existed before they lived in the body you mean yourself, you have betrayed the secret which in the previous passages was concealed. It is now found out that you by your own confession are that other who have fashioned all the doctrines of which you now demand the condemnation. But if we are not to believe you to be the 'other' of the former passage, so that the doctrines which you now impugn may not be ascribed to you, we have no right to consider you in this case to be the 'other' who does not admit that our souls existed before we lived in bodies. Choose either side you like as the ground of your acquittal. This 'other,' whom you so frequently bring in, are we to understand by him yourself or some one else? Do you wish that he should be thought by us to be a catholic or a heretic? Is he to be acquitted or condemned? If that 'other' of yours is a catholic, the man who said in the former passage that before this visible world our souls had their abode among the angels and the other heavenly powers in the heavenly places in Jerusalem which is above, and that they there contracted those dispositions which caused the diversities of their birth into the world and of the other conditions to which they are now subject, then these must be esteemed to be catholic doctrines, and we know that it is an impiety to condemn what is catholic. But if you call this 'other' a heretic, you must also brand as a heretic the 'other' who will not admit that souls existed and hoped in Christ before they were born in the body. Which way can you get out of this dilemma, my master? Whither will you break forth? To what place will you escape? Whichever way you betake yourself, you will stick fast. Not only is there no avenue by which you can withdraw yourself; there is not even the least breathing space left you. Is this all the profit you have gained from Alexander's Commentaries on Aristotle, and Porphyry's Introduction? Is this the result of the training of all those great Philosophers by whom you tell us you were educated, with all their learning, Greek and Latin, and Jewish into the bargain? Have they ended by bringing you into these inextricable straits, in which you are so pitifully confined that the very Alps could give you no refuge?
31 (a). But let us spare him now. We must bend to our examination of the books; for, to use an expression of his own, a great work leaves no time for sleep; though indeed he himself spares nobody, and does not so much use reasonable speech as lash with the scourge of his tongue whomsoever he pleases; and any one who refuses to flatter him must expect to be branded at once as a heretic both in his treatises and in hundreds of letters sent to all parts of the world. Let us not follow his example, but rather that of the patriarch David, who, when he had surprised his enemy Saul in the cave and might have slain him, refused to do so, but spared him. This man knows well how often I have done the same by him, both in word and deed; and if he does not choose to confess it, he has it fixed at least in his mind and conscience. I will pardon him then, though he never pardons others, but condemns men for their words without any consideration or charity; and for the present I will let him come out from this pit, until he falls into that other, from which all of us together will be unable to deliver him, however much we may wish and strive. He has to explain how it comes to pass that, in the first passage, where that doctrine was being asserted which sought to vindicate the justice of God, he really meant to speak of some one else, and that that person was the one whom he now wishes to have condemned; yet in the second passage, where the speaker says the opposite and does not admit what has been said before, the 'other' whom he speaks of means himself. It is possible that he may feel sure that this was what he meant, but that he was not able to make it plain in writing. Let us give him the benefit of the doubt, and assume that in this latter passage the 'other' is himself, and that it is he who does not admit the doctrine which holds that before our life in the body began our souls existed and hoped in Christ. I will quote the entire passage, and prosecute a fresh and diligent inquiry to see what it tends to. He says thus:
Another who does not admit this doctrine that before our life in the body began our souls existed and trusted in Christ, changes the sense of the passage so as to mean that, in the advent of our Lord and Saviour, when in his name every knee shall bow, of things heavenly and earthly and infernal, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father, when all things shall be made subject to him, there will be some who are made subject willingly, but others only by necessity; and that those who before his coming in his majesty have hoped in him will be to the praise of his glory; that these therefore are called Fore-hopers; but that those who are only found to believe through necessity, when even the devil and his angels will be unable to reject Christ as King are to be called simply Hopers, and that they are not for the praise of his glory. And this we see partly fulfilled even now, since we can distinguish between the reward of those who follow God willingly and those who follow Him through necessity. But, whether by pretence or in truth, let Christ be proclaimed: only let each of them understand, both the Hopers and the Fore-hopers, that for the difference of their hope they will receive different rewards.
32. In this passage all room for doubt is removed. In the former passage you said that those who before hoped in Christ are those who, before they were born in bodies in this visible world, dwelt in heaven and had hope in Christ. But, to prevent this being supposed to be your own doctrine, you introduced another interpretation, namely, that at that time when every knee shall bow to Jesus as Lord, the universal creation, of things heavenly, earthly and infernal, will consist of persons subjected to him in two different ways, some willingly, some by necessity. You add that all the saints, who now believe in him through the word of preaching are subject to him willingly, and that these are called Fore-hopers, that is those who have beforehand hoped in Christ: but that those who are subject to him by necessity are those who have not believed now through the preaching of the word, but who then will no longer be able to deny him, such as the devil and his angels, and those who with them have been obliged by necessity to believe: and that all these, and amongst them the devil and his angels, who shall afterwards believe, shall not be called Fore-hopers, because that name belongs to those who believed in Christ before, and hoped in him willingly, whereas these others only did so afterward and by necessity: and you add that, consequently, they will receive different rewards. But you assign rewards, though they may be inferior ones, to all, even to those who now do not believe, that is, the devil and his angels; and, though now you hold the mere opinion, not the mature judgment, of another worthy of condemnation who thinks it possible that the devil may one day have a respite from punishment, you bring him into the kingdom of God to receive the second reward. This also you wish us to understand, that, as it matters not whether Christ is preached in truth or by necessity, so it is of no consequence whether we believe by necessity or willingly.
33. These are the things which we learn from the Commentaries to which you direct us. These are the rules for the confusion of our faith which you teach us. You wish us to condemn in others what you teach yourself in private. For, of course, if you are now that 'other' who do not admit the doctrine which holds that our souls existed in heaven before they were joined to bodies, you are undoubtedly the man who not only promise pardon to the devil and his angels and all unbelievers but also undertake that they shall be endowed with rewards of the second order. But if you deny this second doctrine, you must be the author of that which we first discussed. And I wonder that those able and learned men who read these writings of his about which he now writes in commendation, should laugh at me because he calls me a mole, and should not feel that he is all the while thinking of them much more as moles, for not seeing that the things I have pointed out are imbedded in his books. For, if he thought that they could understand as well as read, he would never have requested them to get a copy of those books with a view to the condemnation of the very things which their master there teaches; for these very things which he urges us to condemn are most plainly and manifestly contained in them. I have shown, at all events, that he himself in these chosen Commentaries of his asserts the doctrines which he desires to have condemned in another man's books, namely, that souls existed in heaven before they were born in bodies in this world, and that all sinners and unbelievers, together with the devil and his angels, will, at the time when every knee shall bow to Jesus of things heavenly and things earthly and things infernal, not only receive pardon, but also be summoned to receive the second order of rewards.
34. It is indeed a thing so unheard of to believe that a man can pronounce condemnation on the fabric which he himself has reared, that I doubt not it will with difficulty win credit; and I feel that what you desire is that I should, if possible, produce from his writings instances of this so clear that no room whatever may be left for doubting; that is, passages in which that 'other' of which he is so fond is not named at all; and this I will do. In this same book he declares his belief that, in the end of the age, Christ and his saints will have their throne above the demons in such a way that the demons themselves will act according to the will of Christ and his saints who reign over them. In commenting upon the passage where the Apostle says,
That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus, after a few other remarks, he says:
We who formerly were held bound by the law of the infernal place, and, through our vices and sins were given over both to the works of the flesh and to punishment, shall now reign with Christ and sit together with him. But we shall sit, not in some kind of low place, but above all Principalities and power and Dominion, and every name that is named not only in this age but in the age to come. For, if Christ has been raised from the dead, and sits at the right hand of God in heavenly places, far above all Principality and Power and Dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but in the age to come, we also must of necessity sit and reign with Christ and sit above those things above which he sits. But the careful reader will at this point make his inquiry and say: What? Is man then greater than the angels and all the powers of heaven? I make answer, though it is hazardous to do so, that the Principalities and Powers and Mights and Dominions, and all names that are named not only in this age but in that which is to come must refer (since all things are subjected to the feet of Christ) not to the good part of them but the opposite; the Apostle means by these expressions the rebellious angels, and the prince of this world, and Lucifer who once was the morning star, over whom in the end of the age the saints must sit with Christ, who communicates this privilege to them. These powers are now infernal powers, abusing their freedom for the worst purposes, wandering everywhere and running together down the steep places of sin. But when they have Christ and the saints sitting on thrones above them, they will begin to be ruled according to the will of those who reign over them.
Surely there is no ambiguity remaining here; the passage needs no one to bring out its points. He says in the most distinct terms, without bringing in the person of any 'other,' that the rebellious angels and the prince of this world, and Lucifer who once was the morning star, will in the end, when Christ sits and reigns over them with his saints, be fellows and sharers, not only of his kingdom but also of his will; for to act according to the will of Christ and of all his saints is to have arrived at the highest blessedness, and the perfection which we are taught in the Lord's Prayer to ask of the Father is none other than this, that his will may be done in earth as it is in heaven.
35. But I beg you to listen patiently as I follow him in his continual recurrence to these same doctrinesnot indeed in all that he says of them, for it is so much that I should have to write many volumes if I tried to exhaust itbut as much as will satisfy the reader that it is not by chance that he slips into these notions which he now proposes for imitation to his disciples, but that he supports them by large and frequent assertion. Let us see what it is that he teaches us in these the most approved of his Commentaries. In this same book he teaches that there is for men the possibility of both rising and falling, not in the present age only but in that which is to come. On the passage in which the words occur:
Far above all Principality and Power and Might and Dominion, and every name that is named not only in this age but in that which is to come, he has the following among other remarks:
If, however, there are Principalities, Virtues, Powers and Dominions, they must necessarily have subjects who fear them and serve them and gain power from their strength; and this gradation of offices will exist not only in the present age but in that which is to come; and it must be possible that one may rise through these various stages of advancement and honour, while another sinks, that there will be risings and fallings, and that our spirits may pass under each of these Powers, Virtues, Principalities, and Dominions one after the other.
36. I will address the Master in one of his own phrases. Why, after nearly four hundred years, do you give such teachings as these to the Latin people with their peaceable and simple minds! Why do you inflict on unaccustomed ears new-sounding words, which no one finds in the writings of the Apostles? I beseech you, spare the ears of the Romans, spare that faith which the Apostle praised. Why do you bring out in public what Peter and Paul were unwilling to publish? Did not the Christian world exist without any of these things untilnot as you say I made my translations, but up to the time when you wrote what I have quoted, that is till some fifteen years ago? For what is this teaching of yours, that in the world to come there will still be risings and fallings,that some will go forward and some go back? If that be true, then what you say, that in this world life is either acquired or lost, is not true; unless it has some occult meaning. I do not find that you repent of any of these doctrines which these commentaries contain. Again, you teach that the Church is to be understood as being one body made up not of men only but of angels and all the powers of heaven. You say in commenting on the passage of the same book, in which the words occur
And gave him to be head over all the Church, a little way down:
The Church may be understood as consisting not of men alone, but also of angels, and of all the powers, and reasonable creatures. Again, you say that souls, because in that former life they knew God, now know him not as one previously unknown, but as though after having forgotten him they came to recognize him again. These are the words used in a passage of the same book:
The words which he uses
In the knowledge of him some interpret by recalling that between γνωσις and ᾽επίγνωσις (Gnosis and Epignosis) that is, between knowing and recognition there is this difference, that Knowing has reference to things which we did not know before and have since begun to know, while Recognition has to do with those things which we afterwards remember. Our souls, then, they say, have a kind of apprehension of a former life, after they have been cast down into human bodies, and have forgotten God their Father; but now we know him by revelation, according to that which is written:
All the ends of this world shall remember and turn to the Lord; and there are many similar passages.
38. Now, as to the expression which he uses,
Some persons say, I think it has been made clear by what I have previously said, that, when he says
some persons say or
Another says, and does not controvert the opinions which are thus introduced, it is he himself who is this 'certain' or 'other' person. And this is proved by the numerous cases which I have pointed out in which he expresses opinions agreeing with these without the introduction of any such person. We must consider therefore in each case whether he expresses any dissent from the 'other.' For instance, an opinion is put forward that the stars and the other things that are in heaven are reasonable beings and capable of sinning. We must see, therefore, what his own opinion is on this point. Turn to his note, in this book, upon the passage
He must reign till he has put all his enemies under his feet. You will find, some way down, the words:
It may be observed that no one is without sin, that Even the stars are not clean in his sight, and Every creature trembles at the coming of the Creator. Hence it is not only things on earth but also things in heaven which are said to have been cleansed by our Saviour's cross.
Again, as to the opinion that it is because of their being in this body of humiliation or body of death that men are called children of wrath, he says, in commenting on the words 'We were the children of wrath, even as others.' (Comm. on Ephes. on this verse, some way down.)
We must hold that men are by nature children of wrath because of this 'body of humiliation' and 'body of death,' and because 'the heart of man is disposed to evil from his youth.'
Again, on the opinion that there is first a creation of the soul and afterwards a fashioning of the body he says (at the same passage, a long way down)
And observe carefully that he does not say, 'We are his forming and fashioning, but 'We are his making.' For 'fashioning' implies the fact of man's origin from the slime of the earth: but 'making' from his origin according to the image and similitude of God. And this distinction is confirmed by the words of the 118th Psalm
Your hands have made me and fashioned me. 'Making' has the first place, 'fashioning' comes after.'
Are there any other things which he wishes us to condemn? He has only to mention them, and we can draw them out from his own books, or rather from the bottom of his own heart. For instance. We are to condemn as a pestilent assertion that the nature of human souls and of angels is the same. But let us see what his own opinion is on this point as given in the books which he specially puts before us as containing the pattern of his profession and his rule of faith. Turn to the passage,
He came and preached peace to them which were afar off and to them that were near. His comment on this first expounds the words of Jews and Gentiles, and then goes on:
This has been said in accordance with the Vulgate translation. But, if a man reads the words of the Apostle when he says of Christ,
Making peace through the blood of his cross for those that are in earth and for those that are in heaven and the rest that is said in that place, he will not consider that it is we who are called the spiritual Israel are intended by 'those afar off,' and that the Jews, who are merely called 'Israel after the flesh' are 'those who are near.' He will modify the whole meaning of the passage, and apply it to the angels and the heavenly powers and to human souls, and as implying that Christ by his blood joined together things in earth and things in heaven which before were at variance, who brought back the sheep which had grown sickly upon the mountains to be with the rest, and put back the last piece of money among those which had before been safe.
39. You observe how much difference he makes between the souls of men and the angels. Merely the difference between the one sheep and the others, between one drachma and the rest. But he adds something more, a little way further; he says:
As to what the Apostle says,
That he might create in himself of two one new man, so making peace, though it seems to be even more applicable than the former passage to the case of Jews and Gentiles, it may be adapted to our understanding of the passage in this way: We may suppose him to mean that man, who was made after the image and similitude of God, is after his reconciliation to receive the same form which the angels now have and he has lost: and he calls him a new man because he is renewed day by day, and is to dwell in the new world.
The souls of men then, differ, according to him, from the angels as sheep from sheep or as drachma from drachma; and men will have that form hereafter which the angels now have, but which men once had and had lost. If then there is no difference between them in nature, in shape or in form, I wonder that our learned man is not ashamed to condemn another person for saying what he himself has said, and especially when you observe that this is an exposition not of the Vulgate rendering but of the real meaning of the Apostle. But see what is added further in the same place. He presently says:
And the creation of the new man will be fully and completely perfected when things in heaven and things in earth shall be joined in one, and we have access to the Father in one spirit, in one feeling and mind. There is something similar suggested by Paul to all thoughtful readers in another Epistle (though some do not receive it as his), in these words:
All these, having had witness borne of their faith, received not the promise, God having provided some better thing for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. For this reason the whole creation groans and travails with pain in sympathy with us who groan in this tabernacle, who have conceived in the womb by the fear of God, and are in grief and wait for the revelation of the sons of God; and it waits to be delivered from the vanity of the bondage to which it is now subject; so that there may be one shepherd and one flock, and that the petition in the Lord's Prayer may be fulfilled,
Your will be done in earth as it is in heaven.
We are to understand then that things in heaven and those on earth, that is, Angels and men, formerly had one form and one sheepfold, and that so it will be in their future restoration, since Christ will come to make both into one flock, and men are to be what angels now are, and what they, that is their souls, previously were. I ask then, with what face you can mock, as we lately saw you, so pleasantly, or rather not pleasantly at all but scurrilously, at those poor women who, striking their bellies and thighs, said that they should not after the resurrection have those frail bodies but would be like the angels and have a life like theirs. You reprove with bitter raillery these poor women for saying the very things which are now produced as passages from these selected Commentaries of yours. Do not you think this is somewhat as if a man were to accuse another of theft, while he had the very thing that had been stolen concealed in the bosom of his toga; and as if, after inveighing against the supposed thief in a long and magnificent peroration, after bringing forward witnesses and taking the oath in due form, he should have the stolen article extracted from his toga which he supposed himself to have convicted another of stealing.
There is another point. You find fault with others because, when questions are asked them about such matters, they do not answer at once, but hesitate and use gestures rather than words. Yet you say that the Apostle does much the same, at least, that he 'insinuates' something of this kind in his Epistle to thoughtful men. If Paul does not plainly declare these things, but 'insinuates' them, and this not to everybody but only to thoughtful people, why do you, whom we are bringing to see your errors, laugh at us poor creatures when we say about things which the Apostle has not plainly declared either that we do not know, or that we stand in doubt, and that, since we do not get a full understanding but a hint of his meaning, we do not declare but suggest an explanation. If the things which eye has not seen nor ear heard, and which have not entered into the heart of man have been revealed to you; if you have attained to that which is perfect, and that which is in part is done away for you; shout aloud and proclaim the truth, and make quite plain the things which you say the Apostle 'insinuates,' since not only what he insinuates but what he asserts, as you tell us, now falls under your ban. All these things on which you now desire us to pronounce anathema are those which you had ascribed to the Apostle in your exposition of his words, and had taught as contained in the scope of his statements.
40. There are one or two more things on which he wishes condemnation to be passed. One is this: that these men say that the body is a prison, and like a chain round the soul; and that they assert that the soul does not depart, but returns to the place where it originally was. Let me give quotations to show his opinion on this point also. In the second book of these Commentaries, on the passage
For this cause, I, Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ, he says, a little way down;
The Apostle in several passages calls the body the chain of the soul, because the soul is kept shut up as it were in a prison; and thus we may speak of Paul being kept close in the bonds of the body and does not return to be with Christ, so that preaching to the Gentiles may be perfectly accomplished.
And again in the third book of these Commentaries, on the words,
for which I am an ambassador in chains, after some discussion of the passage, he speaks in the character of that 'other' which is himself:
Another contends that he speaks thus because of the body of our humiliation and the chain with which we are encompassed, so that we know not yet as we ought to know, and see by means of a mirror in a riddle: and that he will be able to disclose the mysteries of the Gospel only when he has cast off this chain and gone forth free from his prison. Yet perhaps even in chains that man may be considered as free who has his conversation in heaven, and of whom it may be said:
You are not in the prison nor in the flesh, but in the spirit, if so be that the spirit of God dwells in you.
And in the Commentary on Paul's Epistle to Philemon, at the place where he says
Epaphras my fellow-prisoner greets you, some way down he says:
Possibly, however, as some think, a more recondite and mysterious view is set before us, namely, that the two companions had been captured and bound and brought down into this vale of tears.
41. You see how he represents these opinions as things which are held as a kind of esoteric mystery by certain persons, of whom, however, he is one, as we have shown over and over again: only, he uses this figure of speech so that he may escape the imputations attached to this mystic gnosis. You see, he will tell us, how the matter stands. You would never think of attributing to me the opinion that all things are eventually to be restored to one condition, and to be made up again into one body. I beg you not to impute this to me. If I say that an opinion is another man's, let it be another's; if you afterwards find any opinion written down without any 'other' person being thrown in, you will be right in ascribing it to me. What then? Are we to lose the fruit of all the trouble we have taken further back on this point? Such is the power of effrontery. However, let it be as he chooses; I put aside the truth of the matter and accept his own terms; but he will still be convicted. I will refer on the matter now in hand to the second book of these Commentaries, at the passage
Giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one spirit, even as you were called in one hope of your calling. After several remarks, he proceeds:
The question arises how there can be one hope of our calling, when in the Father's house there are many mansions: to which we reply that the kingdom of heaven is the one hope of our calling, as being the one house of our Father's but that in one house there are many mansions or rooms. For there is one glory of the sun, another of the moon, another of the stars. But certainly it is possible that there is a deeper meaning, namely, that in the consummation of the world, all things are to be restored to their primitive condition, and that then we shall all be made one body, and formed anew into the perfect man, and that thus the Saviour's Prayer will be fulfilled in us, 'Father, grant that, as thou and I are one, so they also may be one in us.'
42. I have given you one instance in which he has expressed his own opinion without any ambiguity on the universal resurrection. I will give one more, and with this bring to an end the first book of my Apology. His statements, indeed, on this point are innumerable. The one I select is on the passage where it is written:
From whom all the body, fitly framed and knit together through that which every joint supplies according to the working in due measure of each several part, makes the increase of the body unto the building up of itself in love. He begins thus:
In the end of all things, when we shall have begun to know God face to face, and shall have come to the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ, of whose fullness we all have received, so that Christ will not be in us in part but wholly, and, leaving the rudiments of babes, we shall have grown into the perfect man, of whom the Prophet says,
Behold the man whose name is the East, and whom John the Baptist announces in the words:
After me comes a man who has come to be before me, for he was before me; then by the concurrence in a common faith, and in a common recognition of the Son of God, whom now through the variety of men's minds we cannot know and recognize with one and the same faith, the whole body, which before had been disintegrated and torn into many parts, will be joined and fitted together, and brought into one; so that there will be but one administration, and one and the same operation, and an absolute perfection of the one age, whereby the whole body will grow equally, and all its members according to their measure will receive an increase of age. But this whole process of up-building, by which the body of the church is increased in all its members, will be completed by mutual love. We can understand the whole mass of rational creatures by the example of a single rational animal; and whatever we say of the single creature, we may be sure will be applicable to every creature. Let us imagine this creature, then, to have had all its limbs, veins and flesh so torn apart that neither bone should cleave to bone nor muscle be joined to muscle, that the eyes lie in one place apart, the nose in another, that the hands are placed here and the feet thrown out there, and the rest of the members are in a similar way dispersed and divided. Then let us suppose that a physician arrives on the spot, of such skill as to be able to imitate the acts of Æsculapius, as told in the stories of the heathen, and to raise up a new form, the new man Virbius. It will be necessary for him to restore each member to its own place, to couple joint to joint, and to replace the various parts and glue them together, so as to make the body one again. So far this single comparison has carried us. But now let us take another typical case, so as, by a similar illustration to make clear that which we wish to have understood. A child is growing up; moment by moment, though the process is hidden from us, he is tending to perfect maturity. His hands enlarge, his feet undergo a proportional increase; the belly, though we cannot see it, is filled, the shoulders widen unmarked by the eyes, and all the members in each part grow according to their measure, but in such a way that they evidently increase not for themselves but for the body. So will it be in the time of the restitution of all things, when the true physician Jesus Christ, shall come to restore to health the whole body of the church which is now dispersed and torn. Every one, according to the measure of his faith and his recognition of the Son of God (it is called recognition because he first knew him and afterwards ceased from knowing him), will receive his proper place, and will begin to be what he once had been: not that, according to another opinion which is a heresy, all will be placed in one condition, that is, all restored to the condition of Angels, but that every member will be perfected according to its measure and office: for instance, that the apostate angel will begin to be that which he was originally made, and man who had been cast out of the garden of Eden will be brought back to cultivate the garden again. But all these things will be so constituted that they will be joined to one another by mutual love, each member rejoicing with its fellow and being gladdened by its advancement; and so the church of the first born, the body of Christ, will dwell in the heavenly Jerusalem which the Apostle in another place calls the mother of the Saints.
43. These things which you have said are read by all who know Latin, and you yourself request them to read them: such sayings, I mean as these: that all rational creatures, as can be imagined by taking a single rational animal as an example, are to be formed anew into one body, just as if the members of a single man after being torn apart should be formed anew by the art of Æsculapius into the same solid body as before: that there will be among them as amongst the members of the body various offices, which you specify, but that the body will be one, that is, of one nature: this one body made up of all things you call the original church, and to this you give the name of the body of Christ; and further you say that one member of this church will be the apostate angel, that is, of course, the devil, who is to be formed anew into that which he was first created: that man in the same way, who is another of the members, will be recalled to the culture of the garden of Eden as its original husbandman. All those things you say one after the other, without bringing in the person of that 'other' whom you usually introduce when you speak of such matters cautiously, and like one treading warily, so as to make men think that you had some hesitation in deciding matters so secret and abstruse. Origen indeed, the man whose disciple you do not deny that you are, and whose betrayer you confess yourself to be, always did this, as we see, in dealing with such matters. But you, as if you were the angel speaking by the mouth of Daniel or Christ by that of Paul, give a curt and distinct opinion on each point, and declare to the ears of mortals all the secrets of the ages to come. Then you speak thus to us:
O multitude of the faithful, place no faith in any of the ancients. If Origen had some thoughts about the more secret facts of the divine purposes, let none of you admit them. And similarly if one of the Clements said any such things, whether he who was a disciple of the apostle or he of the church of Alexandria who was the master of Origen himself; yes even if they were said by the great Gregory of Pontus, a man of apostolic virtues, or by the other Gregory, of Nazianzus, and Didymus the seeing prophet, both of them my teachers, than whom the world has possessed none more deeply taught in the faith of Christ. All these have erred as Origen has erred; but let them be forgiven, for I too have erred at times, and I am now behaving myself as a penitent, and ought to be forgiven. But Origen, since he said the same things which I have said, shall receive no forgiveness though he has done penance; nay, for saying the things which we all have said, he alone shall be condemned. He it is who has done all the mischief; he who betrayed to us the secret of all that we say or write, of all which makes us seem to speak learnedly, of all that was good in Greek but which we have made bad in Latin. Of all these let no man listen to a single one. Accept those things alone which you find in my Commentaries, and especially in those on the Epistle to the Ephesians, in which I have most painfully confuted the doctrines of Origen. My researches have reached this result, that you must believe and hold the resurrection of the flesh in this sense that men's bodies will be turned into spirits and their wives into men; and that before the foundation of the world souls existed in heaven, and thence, for reasons known to God alone, were brought down into this valley of tears, and were inserted into this body of death; that, in the end of the ages the whole of nature, being reasonable, will be fashioned again into one body as it was in the beginning, that man will be recalled into Paradise, and the apostate angel will be exalted above Peter and Paul, since they, being but men, must be placed in the lower position of paradise, while he will be restored to be that which he was originally created; and that all shall together make up the Church of the first born in heaven, and, while placed each in his separate office, shall be equally members of Christ: but all of them taken together will be the perfect body of Christ. Hold then to these things, my faithful and discreet disciples, and guard them as my unhesitating definitions of truth; but for the same doctrines pronounce your condemnation upon Origen; so you will do well. Fare ye well.
44. You do all this, you know well enough, laughing at us in your sleeve: and you profess penitence merely to deceive those to whom you write. Even if your penitence is sincere, as it should be, what is to become of all those souls who for so many years have been led astray by this poisonous doctrine as you call it which you then professed. Besides, who will ever mend his ways on account of your penitence, when that very document, in which you are at once the penitent, the accuser and the judge, sends your readers back to those same doctrines as those which they are to read and to hold. Lastly, even if these things were not so, yet you yourself, after your penitence, have stopped up every avenue of forgiveness. You say that Origen himself repented of these doctrines, and that he sent a document to that effect to Fabian who was at that time Bishop of the city of Rome; and yet after this repentance of his, and after he has been dead a hundred and fifty years, you drag him into court and call for his condemnation. How is it possible then that you should receive forgiveness, even though you repent, since he who before was penitent for emitting those doctrines gains no forgiveness? He wrote just as you have written: he repented as you have repented. You ought therefore either both of you to be absolved for your repentance, or, if you refuse forgiveness to a penitent (which I do not desire to see you insist upon), to be both of you equally condemned. There is a parable of the Gospel which illustrates this. A woman taken in adultery was brought before our Lord by the Jews, so that they might see what judgment he would pronounce according to the law. He, the merciful and pitying Lord, said:
He that is without sin among you let him first cast a stone at her. And then, it is said, they all departed. The Jews, impious and unbelieving though they were, yet blushed through their own consciousness of guilt; since they were sinners, they would not appear publicly as executing vengeance on sinners. And the robber upon the cross, said to the other robber who was hanging like him on a cross, and was blaspheming,
Do you not fear God, seeing we are in the same condemnation? But we condemn in others the things of which we ourselves are conscious; yet we neither blush like the Jews nor are softened like the robber.
Source. Translated by W.H. Fremantle. 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/27051.htm>.
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