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.: All creatures, including the fallen angel, partaking in the final restoration.
42. I have given you one instance in which he has expressed his own opinion without any ambiguity on the universal resurrection. I will give one more, and with this bring to an end the first book of my Apology. His statements, indeed, on this point are innumerable. The one I select is on the passage where it is written: 2912 “From whom all the body, fitly framed and knit together through that which every joint supplieth according to the working in due measure of each several part, maketh the increase of the body unto the building up of itself in love.” He begins thus:
“In the end of all things, when we shall have begun to know God face to face, and shall have come to the measure of the age 2913 of the fulness of Christ, of whose fulness we all have received, 2914 so that Christ will not be in us in part but wholly, and, leaving the rudiments of babes, we shall have grown into the perfect man, of whom the Prophet says, 2915 “Behold the man whose name is the East,” and whom John the Baptist announces in the words: 2916 “After me cometh a man who has come to be 2917 before me, for he was before me”; then by the concurrence in a common faith, and in a common recognition of the Son of God, whom now through the variety of mens minds we cannot know and recognize with one and the same faith, the whole body, which before had been disintegrated and torn into many parts, will be joined and fitted together, and brought into one; so that there will be but one administration, and p. 458 one and the same operation, and an absolute perfection of the one age, 2918 whereby the whole body will grow equally, and all its members according to their measure will receive an increase of age. But this whole process of up-building, by which the body of the church is increased in all its members, will be completed by mutual love. We can understand the whole mass of rational creatures by the example of a single rational animal; and whatever we say of the single creature, we may be sure will be applicable to every creature. Let us imagine this creature, then, to have had all its limbs, veins and flesh so torn apart that neither bone should cleave to bone nor muscle be joined to muscle, that the eyes lie in one place apart, the nose in another, that the hands are placed here and the feet thrown out there, and the rest of the members are in a similar way dispersed and divided. Then let us suppose that a physician arrives on the spot, of such skill as to be able to imitate the acts of Æsculapius, as told in the stories of the heathen, and to raise up a new form, the new man Virbius. 2919 It will be necessary for him to restore each member to its own place, to couple joint to joint, and to replace the various parts and glue them together, so as to make the body one again. So far this single comparison has carried us. But now let us take another typical case, so as, by a similar illustration to make clear that which we wish to have understood. A child is growing up; moment by moment, though the process is hidden from us, he is tending to perfect maturity. His hands enlarge, his feet undergo a proportional increase; the belly, though we cannot see it, is filled, the shoulders widen unmarked by the eyes, and all the members in each part grow according to their measure, but in such a way that they evidently increase not for themselves but for the body. So will it be in the time of the restitution of all things, when the true physician Jesus Christ, shall come to restore to health the whole body of the church which is now dispersed and torn. Every one, according to the measure of his faith and his recognition of the Son of God (it is called recognition because he first knew him and afterwards ceased from knowing him), will receive his proper place, and will begin to be what he once had been: not that, according to another opinion which is a heresy, 2920 all will be placed in one condition, 2921 that is, all restored to the condition of Angels, but that every member will be perfected according to its measure and office: for instance, that the apostate angel will begin to be that which he was originally made, and man who had been cast out of the garden of Eden will be brought back to cultivate the garden again. But all these things will be so constituted that they will be joined to one another by mutual love, each member rejoicing with its fellow and being gladdened by its advancement; and so the church of the first born, the body of Christ, will dwell in the heavenly Jerusalem which the Apostle in another place calls the mother of the Saints.”
Eph. iv. 16457:2913
Eph. iv. 13. The Greek word means either age or stature.457:2914
John i. 16457:2915
Zech. vi. 12. The Branch, Eng. Ver.457:2916
John i. 30457:2917
Ante me factus est.458:2918
Or stature, see above.458:2919
Formerly Hippolytus. See the story in Ovid, Met. xv, 544.458:2920
Or, “according to another heresy”—Juxta aliam hæresim. See Jer. Apol. i, 27.458:2921
Lit. age. The word may come either from taking the wrong meaning of the Greek word for Stature, or may be a synonym for the word Æon, which would here mean a range or order of being.
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