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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. III:
Life and Works of Rufinus with Jerome's Apology Against Rufinus.: Chapter 32

Early Church Fathers  Index     

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 on 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.


Next: The commentary on the Ephesians, selected by Jerome, is his condemnation.

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