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ANF02. Fathers of the Second Century: Hermas, Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus, and Clement of Alexandria (Entire)
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Chapter XII.—The Two Kinds of Spirits.

We recognise two varieties of spirit, one of which is called the soul456456    [See cap. xv., infra.] (ψυχή), but the other is greater than the soul, an image and likeness of God: both existed in the first men, that in one sense they might be material (ὑλικοί), and in another superior to matter. The case stands thus: we can see that the whole structure of the world, and the whole creation, has been produced from matter, and the matter itself brought into existence457457    Literally, “brought forth” or “forward.” The word does not imply that matter was created by God. by God; so that on the one hand it may be regarded as rude and unformed before it was separated into parts, and on the other as arranged in beauty and order after the separation was made. Therefore in that separation the heavens were made of matter, and the stars that are in them; and the earth and all that is upon it has a similar constitution: so that there is a common origin of all things. But, while such is the case, there yet are certain differences in the things made of matter, so that one is more beautiful, and another is beautiful but surpassed by something better. For as the constitution of the body is under one management, and is engaged in doing that which is the cause of its having been made,458458    Tatian’s words are somewhat obscure. We have given substantially the opinion of Worth, as expressed in his translation. The sense is: The body is evidently a unity in its organization and its activity, and the ultimate end which it serves in creation is that with which it is occupied, yet there are differences in respect of the parts. Otto renders: “For as the constitution of the body is of one plan, and in reference to the body the cause of its origin is occupied.” yet though this is the case, there are certain differences of dignity in it, and the eye is one thing, and another the ear, and another the arrangement of the hair and the distribution of the intestines, and the compacting together of the marrow and the bones and the tendons; and though one part differs from another, there is yet all the harmony of a concert of music in their arrangement;—in like manner the world, according to the power of its Maker containing some things of superior splendour, but some unlike these, received by the will of the Creator a material spirit. And these things severally it is possible for him to perceive who does not conceitedly reject those most divine explanations which in the course of time have been consigned to writing, and make those who study them great lovers of God. Therefore the demons,459459    [Demons. The Paris editors have a note here, bidding us to read with caution; as our author seems rashly to imagine the demons to be material creatures. p. 151, ed. 1615.] as you call them, having received their structure from matter and obtained the spirit which inheres in it, became intemperate and greedy; some few, indeed, turning to what was purer, but others choosing what was inferior in matter, and conforming their manner of life to it. These beings, produced from matter, but very remote from right conduct, you, O Greeks, worship. For, being turned by their own folly to vaingloriousness, and shaking off the reins [of authority], they have been forward to become robbers of Deity; and the Lord of all has suffered them to besport themselves, till the world, coming to an end, be dissolved, and the Judge appear, and all those men who, while assailed by the demons, strive after the knowledge of the perfect God obtain as the result of their conflicts a more perfect testimony in the day of judgment. There is, then, a spirit in the stars, a spirit in angels, a spirit in plants and the waters, a spirit in men, a spirit in animals; but, though one and the same, it has differences in itself.460460    [“Which, though one and the same, is thus variously modified.” Kaye’s rendering in his Justin, p. 184.] And while we say these things not from mere hearsay, nor from probable conjectures and sophistical reasoning, but using words of a certain diviner speech, do you who are willing hasten to learn. And you who do not reject with contempt the Scythian Anacharsis, do not disdain to be taught by those who follow a barbaric code of laws. Give at least as favourable a reception to our tenets as you would to the prognostications of the Babylonians. Hearken to us when we speak, if only as you would to an oracular oak. And yet the things just referred to are the trickeries of frenzied demons, while the doctrines we inculcate are far beyond the apprehension of the world.


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