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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 38

Early Church Fathers  Index     

38. 2888 Now, as to the expression which he uses, “Some persons say,” I think it has been made clear by what I have previously said, that, when he says “some persons say” or “Another says,” and does not controvert the opinions which are thus introduced, it is he himself who is this ‘certain’ or ‘other’ person. And this is proved by the numerous cases which I have pointed out in which he expresses opinions agreeing with these without the introduction of any such person. We must consider therefore in each case whether he expresses any dissent from the ‘other.’ For instance, an opinion is put forward that the stars and the other things that are in heaven are reasonable beings and capable of sinning. We must see, therefore, what his own opinion is on this point. Turn to his note, in this book, 2889 upon the passage “He must reign till he hath put all his enemies under his feet.” 2890 You will find, some way down, the words:

“It may be observed that no one is without sin, that Even the stars are not clean in his sight, 2891 and Every creature trembles at the coming of the Creator. Hence it is not only things on earth but also things in heaven which are said to have been cleansed by our Saviour’s cross.”

Again, as to the opinion that it is because of their being in this body of humiliation or body of death that men are called children of wrath, he says, in commenting on the words 2892 ‘We were the children of wrath, even as others.’ (Comm. on Ephes. on this verse, some way down.)

“We must hold that men are by nature children of wrath because of this 2893 ‘body of humiliation’ and 2894 ‘body of death,’ and because 2895 ‘the heart of man is disposed to evil from his youth.’”

Again, on the opinion that there is first a creation of the soul and afterwards a fashioning of the body he says (at the same passage, a long way down)

“And observe carefully that he does not say, ‘We are his forming and fashioning, but 2896 ‘We are his making.’ For ‘fashioning’ implies the fact of man’s origin from the slime of the earth: but ‘making’ from his origin according to the image and similitude of God. And this distinction is confirmed by the words of the 118th Psalm 2897 “Thy hands have made me and fashioned me.” ‘Making’ has the first place, ‘fashioning’ comes after.’

Are there any other things which he wishes us to condemn? He has only to mention them, and we can draw them out from his own books, or rather from the bottom of his own heart. For instance. We are to condemn as a pestilent assertion that the nature of human souls and of angels is the same. But let us see what his own opinion is on this point as given in the books which he specially puts before us as containing the pattern of his profession and his rule of faith. Turn to the passage, 2898 “He came and preached peace to them which were afar off and to them that were nigh.” His comment on this first expounds the words of Jews and Gentiles, and then goes on:

“This has been said in accordance with the Vulgate 2899 translation. But, if a man reads the words of the Apostle when he says of Christ, 2900 “Making peace through the blood of his cross for those that are in earth and for those that are in heaven” and the rest that is said in that place, he will not consider that it is we who are called the spiritual Israel are intended by ‘those afar off,’ and that the Jews, who are merely called ‘Israel after the flesh’ are ‘those who are nigh.’ He will modify the whole meaning of the passage, and apply it to the angels and the heavenly powers and to human souls, and as implying that Christ by his blood joined together things in earth and things in heaven which before were at variance, who brought back the sheep which had grown sickly upon the mountains to be with the rest, and put back the last piece of money among those which had before been safe.”


Footnotes

455:2888

There is no chapter numbered 37.

455:2889

Comm. on Eph. i. 22.

455:2890

1 Cor. xv. 25

455:2891

Job xxv. 5

455:2892

Eph. ii. 3

455:2893

Phil. iii. 21

455:2894

Rom. vii. 24

455:2895

Gen. viii. 21

455:2896

Workmanship Eng. Ver. Eph. ii. 10

455:2897

With us Ps. cxix. 73

455:2898

Eph. ii. 17

455:2899

That is, the old Latin Version, then commonly used, or Vulgata. It was superseded by Jerome’s Version, which in its turn became the Vulgate.

455:2900

Col. i. 20, slightly altered.


Next: Origin of men, angels, and heavenly bodies.

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