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NPNF2-03. Theodoret, Jerome, Gennadius, & Rufinus: Historical Writings
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38.28882888    There is no chapter numbered 37. Now, as to the expression which he uses, “Some persons say,” I think it has been made clear by what I have previously said, that, when he says “some persons say” or “Another says,” and does not controvert the opinions which are thus introduced, it is he himself who is this ‘certain’ or ‘other’ person. And this is proved by the numerous cases which I have pointed out in which he expresses opinions agreeing with these without the introduction of any such person. We must consider therefore in each case whether he expresses any dissent from the ‘other.’ For instance, an opinion is put forward that the stars and the other things that are in heaven are reasonable beings and capable of sinning. We must see, therefore, what his own opinion is on this point. Turn to his note, in this book,28892889    Comm. on Eph. i. 22. upon the passage “He must reign till he hath put all his enemies under his feet.”28902890    1 Cor. xv. 25 You will find, some way down, the words:

“It may be observed that no one is without sin, that Even the stars are not clean in his sight,28912891    Job xxv. 5 and Every creature trembles at the coming of the Creator. Hence it is not only things on earth but also things in heaven which are said to have been cleansed by our Saviour’s cross.”

Again, as to the opinion that it is because of their being in this body of humiliation or body of death that men are called children of wrath, he says, in commenting on the words28922892    Eph. ii. 3 ‘We were the children of wrath, even as others.’ (Comm. on Ephes. on this verse, some way down.)

“We must hold that men are by nature children of wrath because of this28932893    Phil. iii. 21 ‘body of humiliation’ and28942894    Rom. vii. 24 ‘body of death,’ and because28952895    Gen. viii. 21 ‘the heart of man is disposed to evil from his youth.’”

Again, on the opinion that there is first a creation of the soul and afterwards a fashioning of the body he says (at the same passage, a long way down)

“And observe carefully that he does not say, ‘We are his forming and fashioning, but28962896    Workmanship Eng. Ver. Eph. ii. 10 ‘We are his making.’ For ‘fashioning’ implies the fact of man’s origin from the slime of the earth: but ‘making’ from his origin according to the image and similitude of God. And this distinction is confirmed by the words of the 118th Psalm28972897    With us Ps. cxix. 73 “Thy hands have made me and fashioned me.” ‘Making’ has the first place, ‘fashioning’ comes after.’

Are there any other things which he wishes us to condemn? He has only to mention them, and we can draw them out from his own books, or rather from the bottom of his own heart. For instance. We are to condemn as a pestilent assertion that the nature of human souls and of angels is the same. But let us see what his own opinion is on this point as given in the books which he specially puts before us as containing the pattern of his profession and his rule of faith. Turn to the passage,28982898    Eph. ii. 17 “He came and preached peace to them which were afar off and to them that were nigh.” His comment on this first expounds the words of Jews and Gentiles, and then goes on:

“This has been said in accordance with the Vulgate28992899    That is, the old Latin Version, then commonly used, or Vulgata. It was superseded by Jerome’s Version, which in its turn became the Vulgate. translation. But, if a man reads the words of the Apostle when he says of Christ,29002900    Col. i. 20, slightly altered. “Making peace through the blood of his cross for those that are in earth and for those that are in heaven” and the rest that is said in that place, he will not consider that it is we who are called the spiritual Israel are intended by ‘those afar off,’ and that the Jews, who are merely called ‘Israel after the flesh’ are ‘those who are nigh.’ He will modify the whole meaning of the passage, and apply it to the angels and the heavenly powers and to human souls, and as implying that Christ by his blood joined together things in earth and things in heaven which before were at variance, who brought back the sheep which had grown sickly upon the mountains to be with the rest, and put back the last piece of money among those which had before been safe.”


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