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.: Arrogance of Jerome's teaching.
43. These things which you have said are read by all who know Latin, and you yourself request them to read them: such sayings, I mean as these: that all rational creatures, as can be imagined by taking a single rational animal as an example, are to be formed anew into one body, just as if the members of a single man after being torn apart should be formed anew by the art of Æsculapius into the same solid body as before: that there will be among them as amongst the members of the body various offices, which you specify, but that the body will be one, that is, of one nature: this one body made up of all things you call the original church, and to this you give the name of the body of Christ; and further you say that one member of this church will be the apostate angel, that is, of course, the devil, who is to be formed anew into that which he was first created: that man in the same way, who is another of the members, will be recalled to the culture of the garden of Eden as its original husbandman. All those things you say one after the other, without bringing in the person of that other whom you usually introduce when you speak of such matters cautiously, and like one treading warily, so as to make men think that you had some hesitation in deciding matters so secret and abstruse. Origen indeed, the man whose disciple you do not deny that you are, and whose betrayer you confess yourself to be, always did this, as we see, in dealing with such matters. But you, as if you were the angel speaking by the mouth of Daniel or Christ by that of Paul, give a curt and distinct opinion on each point, and declare to the ears of mortals all the secrets of the ages to come. Then you speak thus to us: “O multitude of the faithful, place no faith in any of the ancients. If Origen had some thoughts about the more secret facts of the divine purposes, let none of you admit them. And similarly if one of the Clements said any such things, whether he who was a disciple of the apostle or he of the church of Alexandria who was the master of Origen himself; yes even if they were said by the great Gregory of Pontus, a man of apostolic virtues, or by the other Gregory, of Nazianzus, and Didymus the seeing 2922 prophet, both of them my teachers, than whom the world has possessed none more deeply taught in the faith of Christ. All these have erred as Origen has erred; but let them be forgiven, for I too have erred at times, and I am now behaving myself as a penitent, and ought to be forgiven. But Origen, since he said the p. 459 same things which I have said, shall receive no forgiveness though he has done penance; nay, for saying the things which we all have said, he alone shall be condemned. He it is who has done all the mischief; he who betrayed to us the secret of all that we say or write, of all which makes us seem to speak learnedly, of all that was good in Greek but which we have made bad in Latin. Of all these let no man listen to a single one. Accept those things alone which you find in my Commentaries, and especially in those on the Epistle to the Ephesians, in which I have most painfully confuted the doctrines of Origen. My researches have reached this result, that you must believe and hold the resurrection of the flesh in this sense that mens bodies will be turned into spirits and their wives into men; and that before the foundation of the world souls existed in heaven, and thence, for reasons known to God alone, were brought down into this valley of tears, and were inserted into this body of death; that, in the end of the ages the whole of nature, being reasonable, will be fashioned again into one body as it was in the beginning, that man will be recalled into Paradise, and the apostate angel will be exalted above Peter and Paul, since they, being but men, must be placed in the lower position of paradise, while he will be restored to be that which he was originally created; and that all shall together make up the Church of the first born in heaven, and, while placed each in his separate office, shall be equally members of Christ: but all of them taken together will be the perfect body of Christ. Hold then to these things, my faithful and discreet disciples, and guard them as my unhesitating definitions of truth; but for the same doctrines pronounce your condemnation upon Origen; so you will do well. Fare ye well.”
Didymus, the blind teacher of Alexandria. Jerome who admired him, though he was a disciple of Origen, delights in calling him, in contrast to his blindness, the Seer.
Next: If Origen is not to be pardoned, neither is Jerome.
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