>   books  >   en  >   ecf  >   203  >   books  >   en  >   ecf  >   203

Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. III:
Life and Works of Rufinus with Jerome's Apology Against Rufinus.: Chapter 31(a)

Early Church Fathers  Index     

31 (a). But let us spare him now. We must bend to our examination of the books; for, to use an expression of his own, a great work leaves no time for sleep; though indeed he himself spares nobody, and does not so much use reasonable speech as lash with the scourge of his tongue whomsoever he pleases; and any one who refuses to flatter him must expect to be branded at once as a heretic both in his treatises and in hundreds of letters sent to all parts of the world. Let us not follow his example, but rather that of the patriarch David, who, when he had surprised his enemy Saul in the cave and might have slain him, refused to do so, but spared him. This man knows well how often I have done the same by him, both in word and deed; and if he does not choose to confess it, he has it fixed at least in his mind and conscience. I will pardon him then, though he never pardons others, but condemns men for their words without any consideration or charity; and for the present I will let him come out from this pit, until he falls into that other, from which all of us together will be unable to deliver him, however much we may wish and strive. He has to explain how it comes to pass that, in the first passage, where that doctrine was being asserted which sought to vindicate the justice of God, he really meant to speak of some one else, and that that person was the one whom he now wishes to have condemned; yet in the second passage, where the speaker says the opposite and does not admit what has been said before, the ‘other’ whom he speaks of means himself. It is possible that he may feel sure that this was what he meant, but that he was not able to make it plain in writing. Let us give him the benefit of the doubt, and assume that in this latter passage the ‘other’ is himself, and that it is he who does not admit the doctrine which holds that before our life in the body began our souls existed and hoped in Christ. I will quote the entire passage, and prosecute a fresh and diligent inquiry to see what it tends to. He says thus:

“Another who does not admit this doctrine that before our life in the body began our souls existed and trusted in Christ, changes the sense of the passage so as to mean that, in the advent of our Lord and Saviour, when in his name 2876 every knee shall bow, of things heavenly and earthly and infernal, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father, when all things shall be made subject to him, there will be some who are made subject willingly, but others only by necessity; and that those who before his coming in his majesty have hoped in him will be to the praise of his glory; that these therefore are called 2877 Fore-hopers; but that those who are only found to believe through necessity, when even the devil and his angels will be unable to reject Christ as King are to be called simply Hopers, and that they are not for the praise of his glory. And this we see partly fulfilled even now, since we can distinguish between the reward of those who follow God willingly and those who follow Him p. 453 through necessity. But, 2878 whether by pretence or in truth, let Christ be proclaimed: only let each of them understand, both the Hopers and the Fore-hopers, that for the difference of their hope they will receive different rewards.”



Phil. 2:10, 11


Jerome uses the Greek word προηλπίκοτας. It seems best to coin a new one to represent the peculiar idea.


Phil. i. 18

Next: Chapter 32