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

Early Church Fathers  Index     

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, 2880 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, 2881 “That in the ages to come p. 454 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 2882 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.


Footnotes

453:2880

Sæculi; usually translated by ‘the end of the world,’ which, however, hardly gives the true meaning.

453:2881

Eph. ii. 7

454:2882

Eph. i. 21


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