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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol IX:
Origen's Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew.: Chapter XIII

Early Church Fathers  Index     

13.  The “Gates of Hades” And the “Gates of Zion” Contrasted.

In this place, then, the gates of Hades are spoken of; but in the Psalms the prophet gives thanks saying, “He who lifteth me up from the gates of death that I may declare all thy praises in the gates of the daughter of Zion.” 5644   And from this we learn that it is never possible for any one to be fit to declare the praises of God, unless he has been lifted up from the gates of death, and has come to the gates of Zion.  Now the gates of Zion may be conceived as opposed to the gates of death, so that there is one gate of death, dissoluteness, but a gate of Zion, self-control; and so a gate of death, unrighteousness, but a gate of Zion, righteousness, which the prophet shows forth saying, “This is the gate of the Lord, the righteous shall enter into it.” 5645   And again there is cowardice, a gate of death, but manly courage, a gate of Zion; and want of prudence, a gate of death, but its opposite, prudence, a gate of Zion.  But to all the gates of the “knowledge which is falsely so called” 5646 one gate is opposed, the gate of knowledge which is free from falsehood.  But consider if, because of the sayp. 458 ing , “our wrestling is not against flesh and blood,” 5647 etc., you can say that each power and world-ruler of this darkness, and each one of the “spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” 5648 is a gate of Hades and a gate of death.  Let, then, the principalities and powers with which our wrestling is, be called gates of Hades, but the “ministering spirits” 5649 gates of righteousness.  But as in the case of the better things many gates are first spoken of, and after the gates, one, in the passage, “Open to me the gates of righteousness, I will enter into them, and will make full confession to the Lord,” and “this is the gate of the Lord, by it the righteous shall enter;” 5650 so also in the case of those gates which are opposed, many are the gates of Hades and death, each a power; but over all these the wicked one himself.  And let us take heed in regard to each sin, as if we were descending into some gate of death if we sin; but when we are lifted up from the gates of death let us declare all the praises of the Lord in the gates of the daughter of Zion; as, for example, in one gate of the daughter of Zion—that which is called self-control—we will declare by our self-control the praises of God; and in another which is called righteousness, by righteousness we will declare the praises of God; and, generally, in all things whatsoever of a praiseworthy character with which we are occupied, in these we are at some gate of the daughter of Zion, declaring at each gate some praise of God.  But we must make inquiry whether in one of the Twelve 5651 it is said, “They hated him that reproveth in the gates, and they loathed the holy word.” 5652   Perhaps, then, he who reproves in the gates is of the gates of the daughter of Zion, reproving those who are in sins which are opposed to this gate, even of the gates of Hades or death.  But if ye do not so understand the words, “They hated him that reproveth in the gates,” either the expression “in the gates” will be held to be superfluous, or investigate how that which is said can be worthy of the prophetic spirit.


Footnotes

457:5644

Ps. 9:13, 14.

457:5645

Ps. cxviii. 20.

457:5646

1 Tim. vi. 20.

458:5647

Eph. vi. 12.

458:5648

Eph. vi. 12.

458:5649

Heb. i. 14.

458:5650

Ps. 18:19, 20.

458:5651

That is, the Minor Prophets.

458:5652

Amos v. 10.


Next: Chapter XIV

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