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.: Chapter 9(2)
9 (2). But now let us look at the other points which he blames. He says that the doctrines in question are of heathen origin, but in this judgment he condemns himself. He calls these doctrines heathenish; yet he himself incorporates them into his works. He here makes a mistake. Still, we ought to stretch out the hand to him, and not to press him too far: for it is only because he soars so completely above the world on the wings of his eloquence, and is borne along by the full tide of invective and vituperation that he forgets himself and his reason loses its place. Do not be so rash, my brother, as to condemn yourself unnecessarily. Neither you nor Origen are at once to be set down among the heathen if, as you have yourself said, you have written these things to vindicate the justice of God, and to make answer to those who say that everything is moved by chance or by fate: if, I say, it is from your wish to show that Gods providence which governs all things is just that you have said the causes of inequality have been acquired by each soul through the passions and feelings of the former life which it had in heaven; or even if you said that it is in accordance with the character of the Trinity, which is good and simple and unchangeable that every creature should in the end of all things be restored to the state in which it was first created; and that this must be after long punishment equal to the length of all the ages, which God inflicts on each creature in the spirit not of one who is angry but of one who corrects, since he is not one who is extreme to mark iniquity; and that, his design like a physician being to heal men, he will place a term upon their punishment. Whether in this you spoke truly, let God judge; anyhow such views seem to me to contain little of impiety against God, and nothing at all of heathenism, especially if they were put forward with the desire and intention of finding some means by which the justice of God might be vindicated.
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