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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol IX:
Epistle to Gregory and Origen's Commentary on the Gospel of John.: Chapter XII

Early Church Fathers  Index     

12.  Is the Saviour All that He Is, to All?

We have thus enquired as to the life of God, and the life which is Christ, and the living who are in a place by themselves, and have seen how the living are not justified before God, and we have noticed the cognate statement, “Who alone hath imp. 334 mortality.”  We may now take up the assumption which may appear to be involved in this, namely, that whatever being is gifted with reason does not possess blessedness as a part of its essence, or as an inseparable part of its nature.  For if blessedness and the highest life were an inseparable characteristic of reasonable being, how could it be truly said of God that He only has immortality?  We should therefore remark, that the Saviour is some things, not to Himself but to others, and some things both to Himself and others, and we must enquire if there are some things which He is to Himself and to no other.  Clearly it is to others that He is a Shepherd, not a shepherd like those among men who make gain out of their occupation; unless the benefit conferred on the sheep might be regarded, on account of His love to men, as a benefit to Himself also.  Similarly it is to others that He is the Way and the Door, and, as all will admit, the Rod.  To Himself and to others He is Wisdom and perhaps also Reason (Logos).  It may be asked whether, as He has in Himself a system of speculations, inasmuch as He is wisdom, there are some of those speculations which cannot be received by any nature that is begotten, but His own, and which He knows for Himself only.  Nor should the reverence we owe to the Holy Spirit keep us from seeking to answer this question.  For the Holy Spirit Himself receives instruction, as is clear from what is said about the Paraclete and the Holy Spirit, 4710 “He shall take of mine and shall declare it to you.”  Does He, then, from these instructions, take in everything that the Son, gazing at the Father from the first, Himself knows?  That would require further consideration.  And if the Saviour is some things to others, and some things it may be to Himself, and to no other, or to one only, or to few, then we ask, in so far as He is the life which came in the Logos, whether he is life to Himself and to others, or to others, and if to others, to what others.  And are life and the light of men the same thing, for the text says, “That which was made was life in Him and the life was the light of men.”  But the light of men is the light only of some, not of all, rational creatures; the word “men” which is added shows this.  But He is the light of men, and so He is the life of those whose light he is also.  And inasmuch as He is life He may be called the Saviour, not for Himself but to be life to others, whose light also He is.  And this life comes to the Logos and is inseparable from Him, once it has come to Him.  But the Logos, who cleanses the soul, must have been in the soul first; it is after Him and the cleansing that proceeds from Him, when all that is dead or weak in her has been taken away, that pure life comes to every one who has made himself a fit dwelling for the Logos, considered as God.



John 16:14, 15.

Next: Chapter XIII

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