What Can be More Distinct than this Statement? what could Possibly be Thought or Said Whether by Origen or by any of those whom You Say that You Condemn, which Would be Clearer than This, that the Inequality of Conditions which Exists among those who are Born into this World is Ascribed to the Justice of God? You Say that the Cause of the Salvation or Perdition of Each Soul is to be Found in Itself, that Is, in the Passions and Dispositions which it Has Shown in Its Previous Life in that New Jerusalem which is the Mother of us All. "But this Too," He Will Say no Doubt, "Is not Said by Myself. I Described it as the Opinion of Another: Moreover, I Used the Expression they Seize Upon the Opportunity. '" Well, I do not Deny that You Make it Appear that You are Speaking of Another. But You have not Denied that this Man About whom You are Speaking is in Agreement and Accord with You: You have not Said that He is in Opposition or Hostility to You. For, when You Use this Formula of Another' in Reference to one who is Really Opposed to You, You Habitually, after Setting Down a Few of his Words, at once Impugn and Overthrow Them: You do this in the Case of Marcion, Valentinus, Arius and Others. But When, as in this Instance, You Use, Indeed, this Formula of Another,' but Report his Words Fortified by the Strongest Assertions and by the Most Abundant Testimonies of Scripture, is it not Evident Even to us who are So Slow of Understanding, and whom You Speak of as Moles,' that He Whose Words You Set Down and do not Overthrow, is no Other than Yourself, and that we have Here a Case of the Figure Well Known to Rhetoricians, when they Use Another Man's Person to Set Forth their Own Opinions. Such Figures are Resorted to by Rhetoricians when they are Afraid of Offending Particular People, or when they Wish to Avoid Exciting Ill-Will against Themselves. But, if You Think that You have Avoided Blame by Putting Forward Another' as the Author of These Statements, How Much More Free from it is He whom You Accuse. For his Mode of Action is Much More Cautious. He is not Content with Merely Saying, "This is what Others Say," or "So Some Men Think," But, "As to this or that I do not Decide, I Only Suggest," And, "If this Seems to any one More Probable, Let Him Hold to It, Putting the Other Aside. " He Has Been Very Careful in his Statements, as You Know; and yet You Summon Him to be Tried and Condemned. You Think that You have Escaped Because You Speak of Another': but the Points on which You Condemn Him are Precisely those in which You Follow and Imitate Him. C30. But Let us Proceed in Our Study of These Commentaries; Otherwise, in Dwelling Too Long Upon a Few Special Points, we May be Prevented from Taking Notice of the Greater Number. In the Same Book and the Same Passage are the Words "To the End that we Should be unto the Praise of his Glory, we who had Before Hoped in Christ. " his Comment Is:
29. What can be more distinct than this statement? What could possibly be thought or said whether by Origen or by any of those whom you say that you condemn, which would be clearer than this, that the inequality of conditions which exists among those who are born into this world is ascribed to the justice of God? You say that the cause of the salvation or perdition of each soul is to be found in itself, that is, in the passions and dispositions which it has shown in its previous life in that new Jerusalem which is the mother of us all. "But this too," he will say no doubt, "is not said by myself. I described it as the opinion of another: moreover, I used the expression they seize upon the opportunity.'" Well, I do not deny that you make it appear that you are speaking of another. But you have not denied that this man about whom you are speaking is in agreement and accord with you: you have not said that he is in opposition or hostility to you. For, when you use this formula of another' in reference to one who is really opposed to you, you habitually, after setting down a few of his words, at once impugn and overthrow them: you do this in the case of Marcion, Valentinus, Arius and others. But when, as in this instance, you use, indeed, this formula of another,' but report his words fortified by the strongest assertions and by the most abundant testimonies of Scripture, is it not evident even to us who are so slow of understanding, and whom you speak of as moles,' that he whose words you set down and do not overthrow, is no other than yourself, and that we have here a case of the figure well known to rhetoricians, when they use another man's person to set forth their own opinions. Such figures are resorted to by rhetoricians when they are afraid of offending particular people, or when they wish to avoid exciting ill-will against themselves. But, if you think that you have avoided blame by putting forward another' as the author of these statements, how much more free from it is he whom you accuse. For his mode of action is much more cautious. He is not content with merely saying, "This is what others say," or "so some men think," but, "As to this or that I do not decide, I only suggest," and, "If this seems to any one more probable, let him hold to it, putting the other aside." He has been very careful in his statements, as you know; and yet you summon him to be tried and condemned. You think that you have escaped because you speak of another': but the points on which you condemn him are precisely those in which you follow and imitate him. c30. But let us proceed in our study of these Commentaries; otherwise, in dwelling too long upon a few special points, we may be prevented from taking notice of the greater number. In the same book and the same passage are the words "To the end that we should be unto the praise of his glory, we who had before hoped in Christ." His comment is:"If it had been simply said We have trusted in Christ,' and there had not been the prefix before,' which stands in the Greek proelpikotes, the sense would be quite clear, namely, that those who have hoped in Christ have been chosen in due order [2875] and have been predestinated according to the purpose of him who orders all things according to the counsel of his own will. But, as it stands, the addition of the preposition before,' compels us to explain it according to the same ideas which we argued in a former place to be necessary for the explanation of the passage, "Who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before him:" namely, that God had blessed us before in heaven with all spiritual blessing, and had chosen us before the world was framed; and that thus we are said to have hoped in Christ before,' that is, in the time when we were elected and predestinated and blessed in heaven."


[2874] Ephesians 1:12

[2875] Reading sorte' as in the Comm. itself.

27 such are the doctrines
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