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.: I am right in my contention that all sins are remitted in baptism.
32. I am told, to take another point, that one of his followers, Chrysogonus, finds fault with me for having said that in baptism all sins are put away, 3077 and, in the case of the man who was twice married, that he had died and risen up a new man in Christ; and further that there were several such persons who were Bishops in the churches. I will make him a short answer. He and his friends have in their hands my letter, for which they take me to task. Let him give an answer to it, let him overthrow its reasoning by reasoning of his own, and prove my writings false by his writings. Why should he knit his brow and draw in and wrinkle up his nostrils, and weigh out his hollow words, and simulate among the common crowd a sanctity which his conduct belies? Let me proclaim my principles once more in his ears: That the old Adam dies completely in the laver of baptism, and a new man rises then with Christ; that the man that is earthly perishes and the man from heaven is raised up. I say this not because I myself have a special interest in this question, through the mercy of Christ; but that I made answer to my brethren when they asked me for my opinion, not intending to prescribe for others what they may think right to believe, nor to overturn their resolution by my opinion. For we who lie hid in our cells do not covet the Bishops office. We are not like some, who, despising all humility, are eager to buy the episcopate with gold; nor do we wish, with the minds of rebels, to suppress the Pontiff chosen by God; 3078 nor do we, by favouring heretics, show that we are heretics ourselves. As for money, we neither have it nor desire to have it. 3079 “Having food and clothing, we are therewith content;” and meanwhile we constantly chant the words describing the man who shall ascend to the hill of the Lord: 3080 “He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent; he who doeth these things shall not be moved eternally.” We may add that he who does the opposite to these will fall eternally.
Almost every sentence in this last chapter is an insidious allusion to Rufinus. His “wrinkled-up brow” and “turned-up nose,” his weighing out his words, his supposed wealth, are all alluded to in other places and especially in the satirical description of him given after his death in Jeromes letter (cxxv. c. 18) to Rusticus.
The allusion is to Jeromes letter (LXIX) to Oceanus on the case of Carterius a Spanish Bishop, who had been married before his baptism, and, his wife having died, had married again. Oceanus argued that he was to be condemned. Jerome contended in his favour, regarding his first marriage as part of the old life obliterated by baptism.500:3078
The allusion is, perhaps, to Rufinus answer to Pope Anastasius translated in this volume.500:3079
1 Tim. vi. 8500:3080
Ps. xxiv. 3; xv. 5
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