Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. III:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Life and Works of Rufinus with Jerome's Apology Against Rufinus.: Preface to the Translation of the Περὶ ᾽Αρχῶν.
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 mans 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 p. 441 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 2844 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.
See the translation of this document in this Volume.
Next: Treatise on the Adulteration of the works of Origen.
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