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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. III:
Life and Works of Rufinus with Jerome's Apology Against Rufinus.: As to the passage “That in the ages to come &c.“

Early Church Fathers  Index     

24. A third passage with which he finds fault is that in which I gave a threefold interpretation of the Apostle’s words: 3048 “That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus.” The first was my own opinion, the second the opposite opinion held by Origen, the third the simple explanation given by Apollinarius. As to the fact that I did not give their names, I must ask for pardon on the ground that it was done through modesty. I did not wish to disparage men whom I was partly following. and whose opinions I was translating into the Latin tongue. But, I said, the diligent reader will at once search into these things and form his own opinion. And I repeated at the end: Another turns to a different sense the words ‘That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace.’ “Ah,” you will say, “I see that in the character of the diligent reader you have unfolded the opinions of Origen.” I confess that I was wrong. I ought to have said not The diligent but The blasphemous reader. If I had anticipated that you would adopt measures of this kind I might have done this, and so have avoided your calumnious speeches. It is, I suppose, a great crime to have called Origen a diligent reader, especially when I had translated seventy books of his and had praised him up to the sky,—for doing which I had to defend myself in a short treatise 3049 two years ago in answer to your trumpeting of my praises. In those ‘praises’ which you gave me you laid it to my charge that I had spoken of Origen as a teacher of the churches, and now that you speak in the character of an enemy you think that I shall be afraid because you accuse me of calling him a diligent reader. Why, even shopkeepers who are particularly frugal, and slaves who are not wasteful, and the care-takers who made our childhood a burden to us and even thieves when they are particularly clever, we speak of as diligent; and so the conduct of the unjust steward in the Gospel is spoken of as wise. Moreover 3050 “The children of this world are wiser than the children of light,” and 3051 “The serpent was wiser than all the beasts which the Lord had made on the earth.”


Footnotes

495:3048

Eph. ii. 7

495:3049

Jerome Letter 84.

495:3050

Luke xvi. 8

495:3051

Gen. iii. 1


Next: As to “Paul the prisoner of Jesus Christ.”

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