The Christian Platonists of Alexandria

By Charles Bigg, D.D.











Note

When the Delegates of the Clarendon Press determined to reissue Dr. Bigg’s Lectures, which had been long out of print, I was invited to prepare the volume for the press.

Among Dr. Bigg’s books was found an interleaved copy in which he had made additions and corrections, mostly affecting the notes rather than the text of the Lectures. My primary task has been to incorporate the additions and to make the suggested corrections. Some of the annotations consisted of references to note-books, where evidently certain topics were further worked out; but no use could be made of this matter, since the note-books seem to have perished or to have been lost. Others were quite incomplete and fragmentary, some of them mere headings of proposed notes; and of these little use has been made. The rest with few exceptions have been incorporated, and are marked by square brackets.

Besides this I have ventured to make some alterations and additions on my own account. I have occasionally changed, added, omitted, or transposed a word or two, and I have dealt quite freely with the punctuation, where it has seemed possible to make the statement clearer or more strictly accurate. In respect of the references: while I have not verified them systematically, but have only corrected such errors as I have lighted upon by the way, I have often freely altered the form of them and expanded them where it seemed desirable in view of uniformity, clearness, or precision; in some cases, especially in that of Dr. Harnack’s Dogmengeschichte, I have adjusted the references to later editions of the works cited; and occasionally I have added further references, especially to works published since the Lectures were written. -4- And from time to time, by means of an additional note or merely by the insertion of a note of interrogation, I have ventured to correct a statement as to matter of fact or suggest a criticism of a doubtful interpretation. These changes and additions, where they are not merely formal, are marked by pointed brackets. 1 I hope I may be excused if I add that I think there are passages both in the text and in the notes which Dr. Bigg would himself have modified, if his attention had been called to them.

I have to return my best thanks to Mr. J. H. A. Hart, of S. John’s College, Cambridge, for his kind help in respect of the first Lecture, and especially for the bibliography on p. 31 (note 2) and the correction of note 3 on p. 37; and to Dr. Gilbert Murray for note 3 on p. 93.

This reprint is not a revision of Dr. Bigg’s Lectures a task of which I should be quite incapable. But I hope that such trouble as my more modest task has involved may serve for a tribute, such as it is, to his memory, an expression of my admiration and of my gratitude to one whom I hope I may without presumption think of as a friend.

Dr. Bigg further treated of some of the incidental topics of the Bampton Lectures in Neoplatonism (London, 1895), The Church’s Task in the Roman Empire (Oxford, 1905), and The Origins of Christianity (Oxford, 1909).

The indexes have been made by the Rev. D. C. Simpson, chaplain and tutor of S. Edmund Hall, and Mr. P. T. Creswell of Lincoln College, who have also controlled many mistakes and inconsistencies, especially in the references.

F. E. Brightman
Magdalen College
August 24, 1913


1 The pointed brackets in p. 282 note 1 indicate the omission of the word ‘Henotheism’, which seemed to be used in a wrong sense.


Preface

Not many words will be necessary by way of Prolegomena to this book. A glance at the Synopsis will explain what I have undertaken; and the Lectures themselves will prove with what means, in what spirit, and with what success, the undertaking has been achieved.

A Bampton Lecturer labours under some peculiar difficulties. His eight discourses — eight Stromateis or Carpet Bags, if I may use the quaint phrase of Clement — will not pack away more than a limited, if somewhat elastic, number of articles. I have preferred to omit what could not comfortably be included, rather than force things in, to the destruction of their proper shape and utility. It is better to travel expeditus than to carry about a mere collection of samples. But then it becomes necessary to keep to the main lines of country, and not wander off into every tempting nook, or down each shadowy lane. The voyager may do this with safety, if he makes careful note of the finger-posts and by-roads, which others with more leisure and ampler means may wish to investigate. I trust I have given such landmarks as may enable the reader to check my own aberrations from the king’s highway, and to gather for himself any further information that he may desire.

The accomplished student will notice other deficiencies of a more serious kind; and here again the high-sounding title of Bampton Lecturer entails a penalty. Quid dignum tanto feret hic promissor hiatu? -6- I wish I could take for my motto the words of Clement (Strom. i. 1.17), ‘No book can be so fortunate, but that some will find fault; and that may be reckoned to have fared not ill, which none can with justice censure.’ It was a wise as well as a graceful practice of older times to begin every preface with the address Lectori Benevolo. All I can hope is that my shortcomings are not due to slackness or indolence, to want of consideration for my readers, or of reverence for those bright stars of holiness, of wisdom, of erudition, whose names occur in the following pages. Here I may observe that the Bishop of Durham’s monumental work on Ignatius did not come into my hands till too late to be of much service. I had deferred the perusal till the completion of my own task should have set me at freedom once more to become a learner; not anticipating (as I ought to have done) that it would in so many ways shed light upon my theme. It is necessary to mention this, lest the reader should suspect me, on one or two points, of a desire to controvert, without reason given, the opinion of so illustrious a scholar.

One such point arises out of a passage in the Epistle of Ignatius to the Romans (chap. 7): ζῶν γὰρ γράϕω ὑμν ἐρῶν τοῦ ἀποθανεῖν. ὁ ἐμὸς ἔρως ἐσταύρωται, καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν ἐν ἐμοὶ πῦρ ϕιλόυλον, ὕδωρ δὲ ζῶν καὶ λαλοῦν ἐν ἐμοὶ, ἔρωθέν μοι λέγον· Δεῦρο πρὸς τὸν πατέρα (My Love has been crucified, and I am not on fire with the love of earthly things. But there is in me a Living Water, which is eloquent and within me says: “Come to the Father.”) Origen (see Lecture V, p. 231) [understood] the words ὁ ἐμὸς ἔρως ἐσταύρωται [we learn from the version of Rufinus] ‘Meus autem Amor crucifixus est.’ Dr. Zahn objects to this; ‘Non Christum, quern solum amet, crucifixum esse dicit Ignatius, quemadmodum plerique post Origenem intellexerunt, nee vero eum, qui crucifixus est, amorem suum vocavit, sicuti graecorum verborum ignari nonnulli halucinati sunt, sed suam rerum -7- terrestrium cupiditatem quasi crucifixam esse profitetur (cf. Gal. 6:14).’ It did not appear to me that a comment, which attributed ignorance of Greek to Origen, called for special notice. But as Dr. Zahn’s conclusion has been adopted and supported by the high authority of the Bishop of Durham, 1 it is no longer safe or respectful to pass over the matter in silence. It is not indeed a necessary part of my task to consider whether Origen was right or wrong. Nevertheless, as the Commentary on the Song of Songs fostered, if it did not initiate, a remarkable change in the expression of Christian love, it is of interest to trace this change as near the fountainhead as possible.

I do not quite understand the point of Dr. Zahn’s assertion that Origen’s rendering is bad Greek. He may mean that ἔρως [eros] ought not to be confounded with ἀγάπη [agape]. Or he may mean that ἔρως, which signifies the passion of love, or the god by whom the passion was supposed to be inspired, does not signify the object of the passion, the darling or beloved one.

To the first question it is almost sufficient to reply, that whether the confusion of ἔρως and ἀγάπη ought to have been made or not, it certainly was made, not only by Origen but by Clement (ὁ ἐραστός of Christ, Strom. vi. 9. 72). And if by them, why not by Ignatius? Origen, a good Greek scholar pace Dr. Zahn, asserts that Ignatius employed this hyperbole in the present passage. And what other sense can the words convey? Can ἔρως, when used without limiting additions, signify earthly passions, carnal appetites? Like our ‘love,’ of which it is almost an exact equivalent, it may be applied to base uses, but it is not, like ἐπιθυμία, a base word. From the time of Parmenides it had been capable of the most


1 Lightfoot Apostolic Fathers II. ii. pp. 222 sqq.


-8- exalted signification; it is introduced here by the participle ἐρῶν in the sense of ardent spiritual desire; it is opposed in true Platonic fashion to πῦρ ϕιλόυλον (we have other Platonic phrases in this same Epistle: chap, iii, οὐδὲν ϕαινόμενον καλόν: chap, vi, μεδὲ ὕλῃ κολακεύσητε).

The second point is but a trivial one. It has been remarked that ἔρως is almost an exact equivalent of ‘love’. The exception is that in classical Greek it perhaps never signifies ‘the beloved’. Yet it may be urged that all words indicative of strong feeling may be used to denote the person by whom the feeling is aroused — my life, my joy, my dread, and so on — and it certainly would not be a very hazardous stroke to employ ἔρως in the same manner, though the usual term is ὁ ἐρώμενος or ὁ ἐραστός. Thus Fritzsche explains Theoc. ii. 151 αἰὲν ἔρωτος ἀκράτω ἐπεχεῖτο; and, even if this instance is dubious, phrases like that of Meleager, Anthol. Pal. V. 166 ᾒ νέος ἄλλος ἔρως, νέα παίγνια, or that of Euripides Oed. frag. 551, Dind., ἑνὸς δʹ ἔρωτος ὄντος οὐ ἡδονή, show how difficult it is to keep the senses apart. Again, we have the closely allied words ἐρωτύος (Theoc. iii. 7), ἐρωτίς (Theoc. iv. 59), and the common proper names Erotion (Plautus Men. i. 2. 60; Martial v. 34; 37; x. 61) and Eros (Martial x. 80; [Eus. H. E. iv. 20]; other instances in Pape and Benseler), all blending in the same way the ideas of ‘love’, ‘Cupid’, ‘darling’; and the latter at least denoting, not sexual passion, but the love of parent for child (cp. Eurip. Erech. frag. 360, Dind., ἐρᾶτε μητρός, παῖδες, ὡς οὐκ ἔστʹ | τοιοῦτος ἄλλος οἷος ἡδίων ἐρᾶν). Lastly, in Alciphron Epp. i. 34, we have the very phrase of which we are in quest, ὁ ἐμὸς ἔρως Εὐθύδημε. If then there is any violation of usage in the expression of Ignatius (on the supposition that -9- Origen is right), it is but slight, and cannot cause surprise in the case of a writer who treats grammar like a slave.

The Bishop of Durham does not, as I understand him, deny that Origen’s rendering is admissible as a question of Greek, but maintains that it ‘tears the clause out of the context’. But is this so?

What is Ignatius saying? ‘For I that write unto you am living, but in love with death. My Love is crucified, and in me there is no earth-fed fire, but living water speaking in my heart and saying Come hither to the Father.’ Why is he in love with death? Because Christ, his Beloved, is crucified, and perfect union with Him will be attained by death, a martyr-death like His; because, his heart being with Christ, there is no fire of sin to drown the voice that calls him. If we translate as is proposed by Dr. Zahn and the Bishop of Durham, we not only do great violence to the word ἔρως, but lose an impassioned phrase quite in harmony with the general colour of this highly figurative and enthusiastic passage.

Origen rarely misunderstands, except where some strong prepossession deflects his judgement, and here his mind was biased rather in the other direction. Notwithstanding the difference of time he was a strong conservative precisely where Ignatius was a bold innovator; but in this one instance he sanctioned the new modes of expression, which, as Lücke pointed out, were brought into vogue largely through the influence of the martyrs, and of Ignatius above all.

It remains only to express my gratitude to those who have helped me on my way; to the authorities of the Bodleian; to Corpus Christi College (my alma nutrix to whom I am indebted, not merely for the loan of books, but for the will and power to profit by them); to the -10- Librarian of Christ Church, 1 whose iron discipline has been relaxed in my behalf; and to many friends whose advice, assistance, and sympathy have been of supreme value to me. One there is in particular, 2 of a communion, alas, that is not my own, on whose patience and erudition I have been suffered to make prodigal drafts. To him I could have wished to dedicate this book, Quicquid hoc libelli Qualecunque, did I not know too surely that there is much in it of which he cannot approve, and that I should vex the modesty, which veils learning that would grace a professed theologian, by adding his name.

Charles Bigg
Oxford: September 18, 1886


1 ≪The Rev. Thomas Vere Bayne, M.A., Student of Christ Church: died 1908.≫

2 ≪Joseph Raymond Gasquet, M.B.: died 1902.≫


Lecture I. Philo and the Gnostics

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” – St. John 1:1

I propose to offer in the Lectures, which I am to have the privilege of delivering, a contribution towards the history of Alexandrine Platonism in the Christian Church. It will be my endeavour to sketch the conditions out of which it arose in the teaching of Philo and the Gnostics, to describe its full development in Clement and Origen, to measure its reflex action on Pagan religion and philosophy, and in conclusion to estimate the value of its results, to ascertain, as far as may be, the services it was enabled to render to the Church and to humanity. It is not possible within the limited time at my command to reap the whole harvest of a field so large and so fruitful. But I shall be able at any rate to show what profit is to be looked for. And though we can only follow the main outlines of the subject, we shall succeed perhaps in gaining a just conception of a great crisis in the history of the Church, and of the great men who played a conspicuous part in it.

It was not without reason that the first systematic attempt to harmonize the tradition of faith with the free conclusions of human intellect was made neither at Rome nor at Athens, but in Egypt. Yet it is not to the famous University that we must look for its source. 1 Alexandria still possessed its three great . . .


1 The history of the Alexandrine University may be read in Matter Histoire de l’Ecole d’Alexandrie, 2nd ed., Paris 1840, or in Parthey’s excellent little book, Das Alexandrinische Museum Berlin 1838. There is some interesting information in Mommsen’s fifth volume. The ‘sinecure fellows’ are the ἀτελεῖς ϕιλόσοϕοι [rather, ‘exempt from public burdens’: see Hatch Organisation of the Early Christian Churches, ed. 2, p. 145, note 4]. Hadrian gave one of those places to a successful athlete; see Parthey p. 94. I infer that the Sebastion or Claudianum had a clerical Head: there is no doubt that it was so in the case of the Museum or the Serapeum; cp. Mommsen v. 569. 579.


-26- royal foundations, the Museum, the Serapeum, and the Sebastion; its three libraries, its clerical heads, its well-endowed staff of professors and sinecure fellows. Nor did these misuse their advantages. Though the hope of imperial favour drew the more ambitious teachers philosophy and rhetoric irresistibly towards Rome, letters were still cultivated, and the exact sciences flourished as nowhere else by the banks of the Nile. But the influence of the Pagan University upon Christian thought was distant and indirect. The Greek professor, throned beneath the busts of Homer and Plato, regarded himself as an apostle of Hellenic culture in the midst of an alien and barbarous race; and though a few, like Chaeremon, 1 may have bestowed serious attention upon the monuments of the Pharaohs, the impulse would scarcely have passed the limits of a learned curiosity had it acted upon the Greeks alone. It was in the mind of the Jew that Eastern and Western ideas were first blended in fruitful union.

The Jews of Egypt, if we may credit Philo, numbered not less than a million souls. In no city of the Empire were they so wealthy or so powerful as at Alexandria. 2 . . .


1 According to Mommsen v. 579, Chaeremon was an Egyptian. See Müller Frag. Hist. Graec. iii. 495. [Apollonides ≪Horapion≫ wrote about Egyptian mythology: Theophilus ad Autol. ii. 6.]

2 [On the Jews in Alexandria, see Schürer History of the Jewish People in the time of Jesus Christ II. ii. 226 sqq. (Eng. transl.)]


-27- Of the five regions of the town two were almost entirely given up to them, and they swarmed in the other three. Many dwelt in the country districts also, and the convents of their Therapeutae were to be found in every nome. 1 They had their own senate and magistrates, who apportioned the taxation and settled the disputes of the community. They enjoyed the rights of isopolity, 2 standing on an equal footing with the Greek burgesses, and possessing immunities denied to the native Copts. It is probable that the great corn-trade offered them facilities which, with the commercial genius of their race, they were not slow in turning to profit. In more than one respect their position offers a striking resemblance to that afterwards enjoyed by their countrymen in Spain.

For our present purpose the first great event in their history is the translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into . . .


1 Philo De Vita Cont. 3. [Schürer, II. ii. p. 218, iii. p. 358, regards the De Vita Cont. as spurious and the Therapeutae as Christian monks.] ≪On the other side see F. C. Conybeare Philo: About the Contemplative Life Oxford 1895.≫

2 As to isopolity, see Dähne Geschichtliche Darstellung der jüdisch-alexandrinischen Religionsphilosophie i, p. 19. Egypt was governed by the Emperor as a crown colony, and the dignity of all citizens was lower there than in other provinces. But the Jews possessed the same privileges as the Greeks. Burgesses were scourged when necessary by different officers, with a different kind of rod, from the Coptic non-burgesses. Philo complains bitterly that Flaccus had ordered eminent Jews to be flogged like Copts, and not ταῖς ἐλευθεριωτέραις καὶ πολιτικωτέραις μάστιξιν. Tiberius Julius Alexander, a Jew and nephew of Philo, attained to the equestrian dignity and was made governor of Egypt by Nero, though at the cost of apostasy ≪Jos. B.J. ii. 15 §1≫. A vivid picture of the numbers, wealth, privileges, and unpopularity of the Jews in Egypt will be found in Philo In Flaccum. See Siegfried Philo p. 5; Dähne op. cit. i. 16 sqq. For the magnificence of the Onias Temple at Leontopolis and the great Synagogue at Alexandria, see Delitzsch Zur Gesch. der jüdischen Poesie pp. 25 sqq.


-28- Greek. In whatever way this most ancient and famous of all Versions came into existence, whether it grew up gradually out of the interpretation of the daily lessons, or was made by the order and under the patronage of Ptolemy, 1 it gave the signal for a remarkable outbreak of literary activity. So far as this was apologetic and propagandist, a branch of that new-born zeal which compassed sea and land to make one proselyte, its history, character, and effect on pagan life and literature, . . .


1 The story of Aristeas has long been given up. Even that of Aristobulus appears to be now generally rejected. According to the latter the translation of the Law was made by the order and at the expense of Ptolemy Philadelphus, whose instigator and agent was Demetrius Phalereus; Eus. Praep. Ev. xiii. 12. 2. But, as Scaliger first pointed out, Hermippus, a writer of very good note, relates that Demetrius Phalereus was banished by Philadelphus, whose succession to the throne he had endeavoured to prevent. This error discredits the whole statement by Aristobulus, and it is accordingly more than doubtful whether the translation of the Pentateuch was in any way encouraged by Philadelphus, though such a work suits very well with his general character as a magnificent patron of literature. Hence by some the translation is supposed to have grown up gradually out of a custom introduced by Ezra. By the side of the reader of the Law stood an interpreter (Meturgeman) who translated the lesson from Hebrew into the vernacular tongue. See Delitzsch Zur Geschichte der jüdischen Poesie p. 19; Redepenning Origenes ii. 158, 217; Siegfried Philo p. 7. It is certain that the Septuagint Version was made at different times by different hands. The Pentateuch, the oldest portion, dates from the first half of the third century B.C.; the Hagiographa, the most recent portion, was in existence about 150 B.C. Schürer (History of the Jewish People II. iii. p. 161) says nothing about the Meturgeman, but regards it as clear that the translation was originally a private work, and gradually acquired official recognition. Tischendorf, Proleg. in Vetus Test. graece, leaves the question of Ptolemy’s cooperation undecided. Edersheim, Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah i. p. 26 sq., accepts the account of Aristobulus as substantially correct, and thinks that the whole translation was completed by 221 B.C. at latest. ≪For a later discussion see Swete Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek pp. 9 sqq., 501 sqq.≫


-29- interesting as they are, lie beyond our scope. 1 But side by side with this outward aggressive movement ran another and a different one, the object of which was to appropriate Greek wisdom, and to justify the appropriation; to reconcile Judaism with the culture of the Western world. Even before the completion of the Septuagint this tendency was at work. Platonism is discoverable in the Pentateuch, Stoicism in the Apocrypha. 2 It is probable that every school of Greek philosophy, except the ‘godless Epicurean’, had its representatives among the Alexandrine Jews. But the favourite was Platonism as it was then understood, Platonism that is to say hardened into a system, filled up and rounded off, in its theology with Peripateticism, in its ethics with Stoicism. The myths of the poet-philosopher have become dogmas, and the central point of the whole is the enigmatical Timaeus.

But in yielding thus to the fascinations of Greek . . .


1 The student will find full information in Schürer.

2 The extent to which the translation of the Hebrew books is coloured by Greek philosophy is matter of doubt. Dähne, ii. II sqq., and Gfrörer, Urchristenthum ii. 8-18, find many traces of adaptation which are disallowed by Frankel, Zeller, and Siegfried. But Siegfried admits that in Gen. 1:2 ἡ δὲ γῆ ἦν ἀόρατος καὶ ἀκατασκεύαστος, there is an unmistakable reference to the κόσμος νοητός. The difficulty of decision arises in part out of the fact that many ideas were common to the Rabbinical and the Hellenistic schools. But the statement in the text that the work of the latter was facilitated by the LXX translators is amply borne out by the way in which the LXX (i) avoid anthropomorphic phrases thus the ‘repentance of God’, Gen. 6:6, disappears; (ii) substitute Θεός and κύριος for the Tetragram; (iii) introduce the later doctrine of Guardian Angels, Deut. 32:8: this verse in its Septuagint form became in fact the foundation of the doctrine which, if Rabbinical, is also certainly Platonic. The influence of Platonism and Stoicism on the Book of Wisdom and 4 Macc. is unquestioned: see Siegfried Philo pp. 6 sqq.; Schürer II. iii. pp. 233, 245.


-30- wisdom the Jew stumbled on many difficulties. His own Scriptures he had been taught to regard as divine and sufficient. If the doctrines of the Academy were true, they were true only in so far as they coincided with the word of God. Thus it became incumbent on the party of the new learning for the satisfaction of their own conscience to find Plato in the Law, and for the satisfaction of their more scrupulous countrymen to find the Law in Plato. These objects, though to some degree facilitated by the Septuagint translators themselves, could only be fully secured by violent means. Hence the fable of Aristeas, which, transferring to the Greek text the literal inspiration claimed for the Hebrew, 1 rendered possible the application of those modes of interpretation by which any language could be forced to yield any sense desired. Hence again the fiction of Aristobulus, 2 which asserted the existence of a previous and much older translation of the Law. By this means it was possible to argue that Plato was but ‘an Attic Moses’, 3 and a swarm of treatises on Plagiarism solaced . . .


1 ≪But see Swete p. 14.≫

2 Eus. Praep. Ev. xiii. 12. This positive statement is a pure fiction (see Ewald Gesch. des V. I. iv. 337, ed. 1864), made for the purpose of supporting his assertion that the peripatetic philosophy was based upon the Law and the Prophets: cp. Clem. Strom. v. 14. 97. For the character and influence of Aristobulus, see Valckenär Diatribe; Dähne ii. 73 sqq.; Ewald; Zeller iii. 2. 219 sqq. Schürer (History II. iii. p. 242) defends Aristobulus against the charge of forgery, maintaining that he was himself deceived by the adulterated passages which he quotes. Cobet holds the same view; see Preface to Dindorf’s edition of Clement, xxv. But there is no ground for it.

3 The phrase is ascribed to Numenius by Clement, Strom. i. 22. 150. Eusebius, Praep. Ev. xi. 10. 14, only says that it is with good reason attributed to Numenius. But Clement’s language is so clear and positive (Νουμήνιος … ἄντικρυς γράϕει) that Schürer (II. iii. p. 319) cannot be right in doubting whether that philosopher was really the author of the phrase.


-31- the weaker brethren with ample proof that all the best sayings of all the Greek philosophers were stolen from the Jew, and might lawfully be reclaimed. Thus fortified the Hellenizing party moved steadily onward in the development of those ideas, which we now associate with the name of Philo, because he is to us their sole exponent. But in truth even the Logos doctrine, the keystone of the whole structure, was already in place when he took up the work. 1

It is only in a peculiar sense that Philo is to be called a philosopher. 2 His works form a discursive . . .


1 Siegfried p. 223 ‘Dass er auch hierin Vorgänger hatte, deutet er selbst an. So erwähnt er de somn. i. 19 (i. 638) eine altere Auslegung von Gen. 2:11, welche den τόπος auf den Logos bezog’. Zeller, iii. p. 628, insists upon the remarkable passage in de Cherubim 9 (i. 143) where Philo speaks of both doctrines, that of the Two Powers and that of the Logos, as given to him by special revelation. Philo, however, may mean only that the conviction of their truth and the sense of their full import were imparted to him in a divine ecstasy, as the knowledge of Christ was given to St. Paul in the same way.

2 My guides to the understanding of the text of Philo have been Dähne Geschichtliche Darstellung der jüdisch-alexandrinischen Religionsphilosophie Halle 1834; Grossmann Quaestiones Philoneae; Zeller; and Siegfried Philo von Alexandria als Ausleger des Alien Testaments Jena 1875. The last is excellent and indispensable. All other authorities on the subject will be found in Siegfried or in Schürer, by whom the list of German literature is continued down to the present year. I have seen also the French writers Réville, Soulier, Vacherot, Simon. ≪See E. Bréhier Les idées philosophiques et religieuses de Philon d’Alexandria Paris 1908, and the bibliography prefixed: and add C. G. Montefiore Florilegium Philonis in Jewish Qu. Rev. vii. pp. 481 sqq.: H. E. Ryle Philo and Holy Scripture London 1895: H. Windisch Die Frömmigkeit Philosund ihre Bedeutung für das Christentum Leipzig 1909: N. Bentwich Philo Judaeus of Alexandria Philadelphia 1910: L. Cohn Die Werke Philos von Alexandria in deutscher Übersetzung, of which two parts have so far appeared, Breslau 1909, 1910: J. H. A. Hart Philo of Alexandria in Jewish Qu. Rev. xvii. pp. 78 sqq., 726 sqq., xviii. 330 sqq., Philo and the Catholic Judaism of the First Century in Journal of Theol. Studies xi. pp. 25 sqq.≫ For the relation between Philo and Rabbinical speculation, a point on which I cannot pretend to form an independent judgement, I have relied implicitly on Siegfried, with some assistance from Gfrörer and Maybaum. I may refer the reader also to Dr. Edersheim’s forthcoming article in the Dictionary of Christian Biography ≪iv. pp. 357 sqq.≫, the proof-sheets of which I have been enabled to use by the kindness of the learned author.
  Zeller, iii. p. 594, ed. 1852, rates Philo higher than does Dähne: ‘Was den Philo von seinen Vorgängern unterscheidet ist die Vollständigkeit und Folgerichtigkeit, mit der er ihren Standpunkt zum System ausgeführt hat.’


-32- commentary upon the Law, taking up point after point, not in their natural order, but as they spring out of the text before him. And his object is not to investigate but to harmonize. The idealism of Plato is to be discovered in the history of the Patriarchs and the precepts of the Law, and is amalgamated with the products of Rabbinical speculation. The religious interest is with Philo the predominant; hence he starts not with the analysis of the act of knowledge, but with the definition of God. On this theme two very divergent views were entertained. Some of the Rabbis, relying upon those passages of the older Scriptures, where the Deity is spoken of as wearing the form and actuated by the feelings of humanity, were Anthropomorphists 1, and they expressed this opinion in the simplest and most direct fashion. Others, following the lead of the Prophets, and developing the conception of the Ineffable Name, refused to think or speak of Jehovah except as a pure spirit. ‘God sees’, said one, ‘and is not seen; so the soul sees and is not seen.’ 2

For the Hellenist truth lay wholly in the latter conception, which was maintained by the Peripatetic . . .


1 See Gfrörer Das Jahrhundert des Heils Stuttgart 1838, i. pp. 276 sqq.

2 Gfrörer Das Jahrhundert des Heils Stuttgart 1838, p. 289. p.


-33- Aristobulus, and developed by the Platonist Philo. In one remarkable passage he comments upon the words ‘It repented God that He had made man’. 1 To accept such language in its literal sense is impiety greater than any that was drowned in the Flood. In truth God is not as man, is not as the world, is not as heaven. He is above space, being Himself Space and Place, inasmuch as He embraces all things and is embraced of none; above time, for time is but the register of the fluctuations of the world, and God when He made the world made time also. His Life is Eternity, the everlasting Now, wherein is neither past, present, nor future. He is unchanging, for the Best can change only by becoming worse, which is inconceivable. Change, again, is the shifting of relations, the flux of attributes; and God has neither relations nor attributes. Hence He has no name. Man in his weakness is ever striving to find some title for the Supreme. But, says Philo, ‘names are symbols of created things; seek them not for Him who is uncreated’. Even the venerable and scriptural titles of ‘God’ and ‘Lord’ are inadequate, must be understood as metaphors, and used with reserve. The phrases that Philo himself prefers to employ are ‘the One’, ‘He that is’, ‘Himself’. From all this it follows that God is incomprehensible. We know that He is; to know what He is transcends the powers vouchsafed to man.

Thus in the extravagance of his recoil from materialism Philo transformed the good Father and Lord of the Bible into the Eternal Negation of dialectics. But Philo, though he marked out the way for later transcendentalism, does not himself push his argument to . . .


1 Quod Deus Immutabilis 5 (i. 275) sqq. But I need not give detailed references for this section; see Siegfried 199 sqq., Dähne i. 118 sqq.


-34- its extreme conclusion. He does not mean all that he appears to say. 1 The analytic method is Aristotelian rather than Platonic; and the influences of the Timaeus, of Stoicism, of the Bible, all combine as yet to modify its rigour. When Philo tells us that God has no qualities, we are to understand that He is immaterial, and can therefore experience none of these passions that attach to the body. 2 Hence again He cannot be said to possess any of those virtues that depend upon the regulation of the passions by the reason. But reason itself He possesses in the same sense as man. 3


1 Dähne i. p. 127 sqq., regards Philo’s conception of God as practical Atheism: ‘Er philosophirte aber auch gar nicht (wenigstens nicht zuerst) im Interesse des menschlichen Geschlechts, dem er freilich auf diese Weise seinen Gott raubte, sondern lediglich im Interesse dieses Gottes selbst’ (p. 136). Siegfried too thinks that he was only able to save religion by a want of philosophic perspicacity, which enabled him to mix up the Stoic doctrine of the Immanence of God with this theory of the Absolute without perceiving that the two were irreconcilable. It is certain that Philo often speaks of God in Stoic language, advancing at times to the very verge of Pantheism; Siegfried p. 204, Dähne i. 280 sqq. But he never for a moment ceases to think of God in Platonic fashion as pure Spirit opposed to Matter: whereas, to the Stoic, Matter and Spirit were at bottom the same thing; all is ultimately resolved into Matter; Zeller iii. p. 77, ed. 1852. On the side of theology Philo was no more really Stoic than St. Paul, who also did not hesitate to use the language of Aratus. Those who wish to see what theology becomes in the hands of a Stoic should read the Ps.-Clementine Homilies.

2 See especially Quod Deus Imm. 11 (i. 280).

3 See especially Quod Deus Imm. 6 (i. 276). God is changeless, not because He is a blank, but because He is perfect. ‘Since then the soul of man by the soft breezes of science and wisdom calms the surge and seething roused by the sudden bursting of the fierce blast of vice, and allaying the swelling billows reposes in sunny and windless calm, canst thou doubt that the Incorrupt and Blessed, He who has girded Himself with the might of the virtues and perfection itself and happiness, suffers no change of mind?’ He is by no means the Aristotelian Deity who ‘thinks Himself’. ‘It is clear then that the father must know his children, the artist his works, the steward his charge; and God is in truth Father, Artist, Steward of all that is in heaven or in the world.’ Consciousness of the external does not in Philo’s view imply change in God, who sees not as man sees in time, but in eternity.


If He -35- has no relations, this merely means that He wants nothing, and depends on nothing, because He is perfect and the source of all that is. 1 Philo does not intend to exclude the relation of subject and object like Plotinus, who denies that God can be said to think. 2 Again, if God is One, is incomprehensible, so too is the human mind. Of this also, though it is our self, we know only that it is. 3 ‘God’, says Philo, ‘possesses not intelligence only but reasoning; and using these powers He ever surveys all that He has made, suffering nothing to transgress its appointed order.’ 4 Neo-Platonism is already in view; but between Plotinus and Philo there are several stages to be passed. One of these is marked by the name of Basilides, another by that of Clement.

It is evident that Philo was not prevented by any metaphysical bar from attributing the work of Providence, or even of Creation, to the Deity. There was however a grave moral difficulty. For the world was created out of pre-existing matter. And matter, though eternal, was evil — ‘lifeless, erroneous, divisible, unequal’. 5 It seemed impossible to bring the Perfect


1 The idea of Relation is defined De mutatione Nominum 4 (i. 583).

2 Enn. iii. 9. 3.

3 Legis Alleg. i. 30 (i. 62) εἰκότως οὖν ὁ Άδάμ, τουτέστιν ὁ νοῦς, τὰ ἄλλα ὀνομάζων καὶ καταλαμβάνων, ἑαυτῴ ὄνομα οὐκ ἐπιτίθησιν, ὅτι ἑαυτὸν ἀγνοεῖ καὶ τὴν ἰδίαν ϕύσιν: De mut. Nom. 2 (i. 579) καὶ τί θαυμαστόν, εἰ τὸ ὂν ἀνθρώποις ἀκατάληπτον, ὁπότε καὶ ὀ ἐν ἑκάστῳ νοῦς ἄγνωστος ἡμῖν ἐστι; τίς ψυχῆς οὐσίαν εἶδεν.

4 Quod Deus Immut. 7 (i. 277).

5 Quis rer. div. haeres 32 (i. 495). The idea that Matter is evil which exercises so important an influence on the whole system of Philo, rests especially on his explanation of Gen. 1:31 ‘God saw everything that He had made, and behold it was very good’. But He had not made Matter, and spoke no praise of this. The belief in the pre-existence of Matter had found acceptance among the Jews before Philo; Siegfried p. 230.


-36- Being into direct contact with the senseless and corruptible. 1 Hence when Philo speaks of the royal or fatherly operations of the Deity, he is generally to be understood as referring not to God Himself but to His Powers or Ministers. ‘Though throned above Creation He nevertheless fills His world; for by His power, reaching to the utmost verge, He binds together each to each by the words of harmony.’ Here the meaning is so obscure that it might pass without detection; but the language that follows is more explicit: ‘Though He be far off, yet is He very near, keeping touch by means of His creative and regulative Powers, which are close to all, though He has banished the things that have birth far away from His essential nature.’ 2

What are these Powers? On one side they are the Angels, on whom a world of curious ingenuity had been expended in the Jewish schools. On the other they are -12- the Logoi of the Stoic, the Ideas of the Platonist, the . . .


1 De vict. offer. 13 (ii. 261) οὐ γὰρ ᾖν θέμις ἀπείρου καὶ πεϕυρμένης ὕλης ψαύειν … θεόν: De confus. ling. 34 (i. 431) χρεῖος μὲν γὰρ οὐδενός ἐστιν ὁ τοῦ παντὸς πατήρ, ὡς δεῖσθαι τῆς ἀϕʹ ἑτέρων εἰ ἐθέλοι δημιουργῆσαι· τὸ δὲ πρέπον ὁρῶν ἑαυτῷ τε καὶ τοῖς γινομένοις ταῖς ὑπηκόοις δυνάμεσιν ἐστιν ἃ διαμλάττειν ἐϕῆκεν. Another more tender and certainly more beautiful way of expressing the same thing is found in passages like De mundi op. 6 ≪i. 5≫, where it is said that God’s goodness is bounded by the receptivity of His creatures; a full revelation, an unlimited gift, would undo us. Compare p. 39 below. Even God’s Powers must divest themselves of their ‘fire’ before they can touch our weak and tainted nature without consuming it.

2 De post. Caini 5 (i. 229).


-37- thoughts of God, the heavenly models of things upon earth, the types which, imprinted upon matter like a seal upon wax, give to it life, reality, durability. 1 The Ideas, again, could be identified with the discrowned gods of Olympus, the heroes and demons, who in the Platonic religion play a part analogous to that of the angels. 2 In either aspect they are innumerable. 3 But considered . . .


1 They are ἰδέαι, έτυποιἀχ ἰδέαι, τύποι, μέτρα, σϕραγῖδες: these are Platonic terms denoting the Essence or Form, the principle of reality. Again, λόγοι, λόγοι σπερματικοί, σπέρματα καὶ ῥίζαι καθεθεῖσαι ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ: these are Stoic terms denoting, not the Essence which to the Stoic was matter, but the principle of Life, Force, the particle of divine spirit inherent in things. Again, they are δυνάμεις, ἀσώματοι δυνάμεις, δορυϕόροι δυνάμεις, ἄγγελοι, χάριτες: these are Jewish terms. See Grossmann Quaest. Phil. p. 23; Dähne i. 205 sqq., 253 sqq.
  What the student has most to be afraid of is the giving to Philo more consistence and system than he really possesses. In a rapid account it is impossible to avoid this fault. What I have said in the text is I believe in the main correct; but everything is floating and hazy. Thus, De conf. ling. 34 (i 431), the Powers are distinct from the Ideas which they create, and apparently from the Angels. They are certainly distinct from the Angels, De Mon. ii. 1 (ii. 222). But De Mon. i. 6 (ii. 218, 219) they are the Ideas. Nor can I find that the Powers are anywhere expressly identified with the Angels, though Siegfried p. 211 says that they are.
  The Angels and the Logoi are identified, De Somniis i. 19 (i. 638) ἀθανάτοις λόγοις οὓς καλεῖν ἔθος ἀγγέλους. And when we consider the close affinity of λόγος and ἰδέα, and the fact that the Logos is the Sum of the Powers, it is very difficult to see how the Angels can be kept apart.

2 De Gigantibus 2 (i. 263); De Somniis i. 22 (i. 642) ταύτας δαίμονας μὲν οἱ ἄλλοι ϕιλόσοϕοι͵ ὁ δὲ ἱερὸς λόγος ἀγγέλους εἴωθε καλεῖν.

3 As Ideas certainly: see note above. Zeller p. 619. De Profugis 18 (i. 560), Philo counts six powers corresponding in number to the Cities of Refuge. His enumeration is: (1) ὁ θεῖος λόγος: (2) ἡ ποιητικὴ δύναμις: (3) ἡ βασιλική: (4) ἡ ἷλεως: (5) ἡ νομοθετική: (6) ὁ νοητὸς κόσμος. 2 and 4 belong to Goodness, 3 and 5 to Justice; 6 is a mere etcetera = all the Ideas. ≪In De Profugis 18 there must be a lacuna in the MSS., as is shown by S. Ambrose de Fuga saeculi 9 (see Mangey’s note, and Cohn and Wendland Philonis opera, ed. maior, iii. p. 130): while six δυνάμεις are mentioned, only five are enumerated. In c. 19 the six are twice enumerated: ὁ λόγος, or ὁ θεῖος λόγος, ἡ ποιητικὴ, ἡ βασιλική, ἡ ἷλεως, ἡ προστακτική τῶν ποιητέων, or πρόσταξις, and ἀπαγορευτικὴ τῶν μὴποιητέων or ἀπαγόρευσις. The κόσμος νοητὸς is not one of the δυνάμεις; and in de Confusione 34 (i. 431) Philo says διʹ αὖ τούτων τῶν δυνάμεων ὁ ἀσώματος καὶ νοητὸς ἐπάγη κόσμος. But in de Mundi Opificio 6 (i. 5) he identifies the κόσμος νοητὸς with θεοῦ λόγον ᾔδη κοσμοποιοῦντος or ὁρχιτέκτονος λογισμὸς ᾔδη τὴν πόλιν κτίζειν διανοουμένου: and this may explain the mistake in the note above.≫


-38- as types they may be summed up in two great master-types, considered as Angels they are ruled by two great Archangels, representing one the Goodness, the other the -13- Justice of the Eternal. 1 The former, the older and stronger Power, is generally intended in Scripture by the word God, the latter by the word Lord, which Philo apparently did not understand to be used merely as a substitute for the Ineffable Name. 2

If it be asked whether the Powers are persons or not. it is difficult to find a satisfactory reply. In one point of view they are mere abstractions. But in the mind of the Jew these scholastic entities tend inevitably to become things, living beings. The Powers are ideas; but then again they are God’s agents, who create the ideas and stamp them on matter. They are the two Cherubim who keep the gates of Paradise, 3 the two Angels who entered Sodom. 4 Yet Philo never for . . .


1 The names vary. The First, the better and elder, is θεός, ποιητική, ἀγαθότης, χαριστική, εὐεργέτις: the Second is κύριος, ἡ βασιλική, ἀρχή, ἐξουσία, ἡ νομοθετική, ἡ κολαστική. Siegfried p. 213; Dähne i. 231.

2 Siegfried p. 203.

3 De Cherub. 9 (i. 144).

4 De Abr. 24, 25 (ii. 19): in Gen. 17:1 the words ὤϕθη Κύριος are explained to mean that the βασιλική δυνάμις appeared to Abraham. De Sacr. Abelis et Caini 15 (i. 173): in Gen. 18:2 the three men are ὁ θεὸς δορυϕορούμενος ὑπὸ δυεῖν τῶν ἀνωτάτω δυνάμεων, ἀρχῆς αὖ τε καὶ ἀγαθότητος: but the following words again seem to destroy the personality of the Powers, εἷς ὢν ὁ μέσος τριττὰς ϕαντασίας ἐνειργάζετο τῇ ὁρατικῇ ψυχῇ.


-38- a moment regards them as existing apart from their source. They are the breath of God’s mouth. They are as rays of the sun, which at first are pure and as incomprehensible as their source, but, as they shoot down through the dim air, lose their fire while retaining their light. Otherwise they would destroy what their mission is to cherish and preserve. 1

In all this Philo was following in the track of earlier Jewish speculation. 2 The Rabbis of Palestine had made many efforts to penetrate the mystery of the creatures who in Ezekiel’s vision sustain the chariot-throne of the Almighty, and they found in them a symbol of the divine justice and goodness. The subject was treated as a profound mystery, and there was a party which discouraged all attempts to pry into it. Only four men, it was said, had penetrated this magic garden, and one only, the great Akiba, had returned in safety. But the Hellenists of Alexandria were more audacious. They had ‘eaten too much honey’, and intoxicated by the sweets, of which they had rifled the hives of the Greeks, they dared to speak of the Powers in a way that seemed to impair the unity of God. They had ventured even farther. The duality of Persons did not satisfy their craving for philosophic completeness. . . .


1 Leg. Alleg. i. 13 (i. 51); Quod Deus Im. 17 (i. 284); Siegfried p. 216. A point which makes against the personality of the Powers is the way in which they can be broken up and combined; see Dähne i. p. 242 sqq.; Gfrörer Philo p. 239. The fact is that Philo wavers between the one mode of conception and the other. This applies to the Logos also. See Zeller iii. 626. On the personality of the Logos and of the angels, cp. Justin Trypho 128.

2 For this section see Siegfried p. 211 sq.


-40- Behind this pair of persons, or personifications, there must be one more puissant Being, one more comprehensive generalization. This was the Logos, a term which Philo found already in use.

Logos 1 is a phrase of the Hellenic schools. It has a long history, and had already gathered round itself many associations, that fitted it for the new part it was now to assume. It denotes with equal facility the uttered word, the reasoning mind, or again a plan, scheme, system. It is the Platonic Idea of Good, the Stoic World-Spirit or Reason of God, immanent in creation which it fosters and sustains. Round this heathen stem clustered a number of ideas that were floating in solution in the schools of the Jews — the Shechinah, the Name of God, the Ten Words of Creation that might perhaps be One, the great Archangel and chief of the Chariot-bearers, Metatron, the Heavenly Man, the High Priest. Philo has gathered together from East and West every thought, every divination, that could help to mould his sublime conception of a Vicegerent . . .


1 An excellent account of those Jewish speculations which paved the way for the Alexandrine Logos theory will be found in Siegfried pp. 219 sqq. The actual title Logos comes to Philo in a direct line from the Greek Pantheists, Heraclitus and the Stoics. The reason why he preferred this title to that of Idea is to be found in the Biblical ‘Word of God’. To the Stoic the λόγος κοινός, the λόγος σπερματικός, is the Divine Force, the Anima Mundi of which Virgil sings, Aen. vi. 724 ‘Principio caelum ac terras … Spiritus intus alit, totamque infusa per artus Mens agitat molem et magno se corpore miscet’. It is resolvable ultimately into the Divine Matter: Zeller iii. 630 ‘Es durfte nur dieser stoischen Logoslehre durch die Unterscheidung des Logos von der Gottheit ihr pantheistisches, durch seine Unterscheidung von dem gebildeten Stoff ihr materialistisches Gepräge, abgestreift werden, und der Philonische Logos war fertig’. The word is emptied, that is to say, of its true Stoic significance, and becomes partly the Idea, partly the Agent by whom the idea is impressed upon matter.


-41- of God, a Mediator between the Eternal and the ephemeral. His Logos reflects light from countless facets. It is one of those creative phrases, struck out in the crisis of projection, which mark an epoch in the development of thought.

What the Logos became in the hands of Philo we shall see most clearly by considering him in his fourfold relation — to God — to the Powers — to the World — and to Man.

In his relation to God he is first of all Wisdom. 1 Already, in the Book of Proverbs 2, Wisdom appears as the eternal Assessor of the Most High — ‘When He prepared the heavens I was there.’ In the Alexandrine Book of Wisdom 3, written probably under Stoic influences, this Power assumes new titles and significance. He is the loving Spirit of the Lord that filleth the . . .


1 The precise relation of Wisdom to the Logos is by no means without difficulty; for here as everywhere Philo’s language fluctuates. Some have maintained that they are identical. Dähne, i. p. 221, thinks that Sophia is a ‘Theilkraft’ of the Logos; so that Logos may always be used for Sophia, but not the reverse. But Siegfried points out (p. 222; cp. p. 215) that Sophia is sometimes spoken of as the higher principle, the Fountain or Mother of the Logos. The differing gender of the two words in Greek, the one being feminine and the other masculine, was a difficulty. This Philo endeavoured to solve in the curious allegorism on the name of Bethuel, De Prof. 9 (i. 553). Bethuel signifies ‘daughter of God’, that is, Wisdom. But this virgin daughter is father of Rebecca, that is, Patience. So all the virtues have feminine names (in Greek), because in relation to God they are derivative and receptive. But in relation to us they are masculine. Hence we may say that Wisdom, the daughter of God, is a man and a father, begetting in the soul knowledge, understanding, and all good and praiseworthy actions. The drift of this passage is no doubt to blend the Logos with Sophia. The confusion of gender with sex offers a curious instance of the tendency of Philo’s mind to turn abstractions into things.

2 Proverbs 8:27.

3 Book of Wisdom i. 6 sq., vii. 22 sqq.


-42- earth’, ‘holy, only-begotten’, ‘the brightness of the ever lasting light, the unspotted mirror of the Power of God, the image of His Goodness’. Philo is but translating this hymn of praise into scientific terminology, when he calls the Word the Intelligible World, that is, the sum of the thoughts of God, or again the Idea of Ideas, which imparts reality to all lower ideas, as they in turn to all sensible kinds. 1 The Word is the whole mind of God considered as travelling outside itself and expressing itself in act. Hence he is styled its Impress, its Likeness, its House. This is his abstract Greek side. In his more realistic Hebrew aspect he is the Shechinah or glory of God; or again, as that glory falls upon our sight only veiled and dimmed, he is the Shadow of God. And growing ever more definite and personal, he is the Son, the Eldest Son, the Firstborn of God. Many of the divine titles are his by right. He too is the Sun, the Darkness, the Monad, God, 2 the Second God.

In his relation to the other Powers, again, there is the same graduated ascent from the abstract to the real. If the Powers are Ideas, the Word is their Sum. He is the Book of Creation, in which all the subordinate essences are words. But, again, he is their Creator, the King’s Architect, in whose brain the plan of the royal city is formed. He stands between them, dividing, yet uniting, like the fiery sword between the Cherubim at the gates of Eden. He is their leader, their Captain, their Charioteer, the Archangel of many names. . . .


1 De Mundi Opif. 6 (i. 5). For the numerous other passages referred to in this account of the Logos it is sufficient to refer generally to Siegfried and Grossmann.

1 Θεός, but not ὁ Θεός, De Somn. i. 39 (i. 655); the distinction recurs in Origen. ≪p. 223 below≫.


-43- As regards the World, he is on the one side the Archetypal Seal, the great Pattern according to which all is made. He is the Divider, in so far as he differentiates, and makes each thing what it is. He is the Bond, in so far as all existence depends on the permanence of form. Hence in him both worlds, the intelligible and the sensible, form one great whole, a figure of which is the vesture of the High Priest. On the head is the plate of gold with its legend ‘Holiness to the Lord’; the blue, the purple, the scarlet of the robe are the rainbow web of Nature; the bells about the feet, whose silver sound is heard when Aaron goeth into the Holy Place, signify the rapt joy of the human spirit when it penetrates into the divine mysteries. The robe is woven of one piece, and may not be rent, because the Word binds all together in life and harmony. 1 So far we are still breathing Greek air. But then again the Word is the Instrumental Cause, the Organ of Creation. He is the Creator, the Helmsman, and Pilot of the universe: ‘God with justice and law leads His great flock, the four elements and all that is shaped thereof, the circlings of sun and moon, the rhythmic dances of the stars, having set over them His upright Word, His First born Son, who will receive the charge of this holy flock as a Vicegerent of the Great King.’ 2 Here Philo is thinking, not of Wisdom, but of the mighty ‘God said’ of the Book of Genesis. The Word is, not the Spirit only, or the Mind, but the Will of God. 3 . . .


1 See the beautiful passage in De Migrat. Abr. 18 (i. 452). Cp. De Vita Mos. iii. 14 (ii. 155).

2 De Agric. 12 (i. 308).

3 Canon Westcott (Intod. to the Gospel of St. John p. xvi) maintains that the Logos of St. John is derived, not from Philo, but from the Palestinian Schools, mainly on the ground that in Philo Logos is Reason and not Will. But to a Platonist like Philo there is no difference between Reason and Will. And the passages referred to in the text are sufficient to show that the Logos of Philo is conceived of as ‘a divine Will sensibly manifested in personal action’.


-44- But the crowning interest of these speculations depends on their relation to Human Life. What is this Son of God to us?

The answer is given by the peculiar position of the Logos, who stands between God and Man partaking of both natures. For Man, as regards his reason, is the image of the Logos, as the Logos is the image of God. Hence the Logos is the Mediator, the Heavenly Man 1, who represents in the eyes of God the whole family upon earth. He is not indeed the point of union, because we may rise above him. The knowledge which he gives is a lower knowledge, the knowledge of God in Nature; and our allegiance to him is therefore but temporary and provisional. But he is necessary as the door, through which we must pass to direct communion with his Father.

Here Philo could borrow no light from the Greeks, to whom the idea of Mediation was foreign; though, as we shall see, there were elements in the current Platonism, which were readily adapted to this end. 2

The Logos then is first the Prophet of the Most High, the Man whose name is the Dayspring, the Eternal Law. He is the Giver of the divine Light, and therefore the Saviour, for to the Platonist sin is darkness. But it is not enough that our eyes should be opened. For the visual ray within us is weakened or quenched by vice; our rebellions have alienated us . . .

1 Siegfried p. 221.


2 ≪Dr. Bigg has queried this paragraph.≫ See the doctrine of the Demons [Daimones] in Lecture VII, pp. 306 sqq.


-45- from God. We need therefore an Atonement. Still more do we need strength and sustenance.

All these requirements are satisfied by the Logos. For his atoning function Philo found a fitting symbol ready to hand in the High Priest, 1 who since the days of the Exile, in the abeyance of the throne, had risen in Jewish eyes to a dignity almost superhuman. His vesture, as we have seen, was the type of the whole world, for which he interceded with its Maker. He alone might pronounce the Ineffable Name. He alone might enter into the Holy of Holies, behold the glory of God, and yet live. He held this high prerogative, because when he entered into the sanctuary he was, says Philo, with an audacious perversion of the text, ‘not a man’. 2 The true High Priest is sinless; if he needs to make an offering and utter prayer for himself, it is only because he participates in the guilt of the people, whom he represents. Thus the Word is the Supplicator, the Paraclete, the Priest who presents the soul of man ‘with head uncovered’ before God. 3 He is figured by Aaron, who stands with burning censer between the living and the dead. ‘I stand’, Philo makes him say, ‘between the Lord and you, I who am neither . . .


1 See Siegfried pp. 221 sq. The four prayers uttered by the High Priest on the Day of Atonement, most precious fragments of the Liturgy of the Old Testament Temple worship, will be found in Delitzsch Zur Geschichte der Jüd. Poesie pp. 184 sqq. The first three, pronounced by the High Priest with his hand on the head of the sin offering, were (1) for himself and family; (2) for the sons of Aaron; (3) for the whole people. The fourth was uttered immediately on leaving the Holy of Holies. In each the Ineffable Name was pronounced three times.

2 De Somn. ii. 28 (i. 684) ὅταν γάρ͵ ϕησιν͵ εἰσίν εἰς τὰ ἅγια τῶν ἁγίων ὁ ἀρχιερεύς͵ ἄνθρωπος οὐκ ἔσται (Lev. 16:17). τίς οὖν εἰ μὴ ἄνθρωπος; ἆρά γε θεός.

3 De Cher. 5 (i. 141).


-46- uncreated like God nor created like you, but a mean between the two extremes, a hostage to either side’. 1 And as he teaches, as he atones, so he feeds and sustains, his people, falling upon every soul as the manna fell like dew upon the whole earth. In this sense he is Melchisedech, priest of the Most High God, King of Salem, that is, of peace, who met Abraham returning from his victory over the four kings, and refreshed him with the mystic Bread and Wine. 2

Such a division in the divine nature leads to a corresponding distinction in the moral and spiritual life. To know God in His Powers is one thing; to know Him in Himself is another and a higher. The first is the life of Faith, Hope, Discipline, Effort; the second is that of Wisdom, Vision, Peace. Those who are still struggling upwards in obedience to the Word are servants, whose proper food is milk; those who have emerged into the full light are grown men, the friends of God, the seeing Israel. 3 . . .


1 Quis Rerum Div. Her. 42 (i. 502).

2 Ammon (= Sense) and Moab (= the Intellect divorced from God) refused Israel bread and water. Leg. Alleg. iii. 26 (i. 103) ‘But let Melchisedech give wine instead of water, and refresh the soul with pure juice of the grape, that it may be possessed by divine intoxication, more sober than sobriety itself. For he is the Priest Word’. Ibid. 56 (i. 119) Philo goes on to explain what is this heavenly food of the soul: it is Light, true Education, the knowledge of God, which is given by the Word. The passage is referred to by Clement, Strom. iv. 25. 161.

3 Philo divides men into two great classes, in each of which there are several subdivisions. I. The godless, the non-moral, the Fool. His guide is the lower intelligence; see De Migr. Abr. 12 (i. 446) πορεύεται δὲ ὁ ἄϕρων διʹ ἀμϕοτέρων θυμοῦ τε καὶ ἐπιθυμίας ἀεί, μηδένα διαλείπων χρόνον, τὸν ἡνίοχον καὶ βραβευτὴν λόγον ἀποβαλών. His highest faculty is lost or debased; he has nothing but the νοῦς γήινος ϕιλοσώματος͵ ϕιλοπθής. To this class belong the Sensualist, such as Ham (= θέρμη, Fever); the vain Sophist, such as the archer Ishmael; the Sceptic, such as Cain; the self-seeking Politician, such as Joseph. II. The Moral, Spiritual Life. This has two stages that of the Babe, that of the Perfect. De Migr. Abr. 9 (i. 443) ἕτερος νηπίων καὶ ἕτερος τελείων χῶρός ἐστιν͵ ὁ μὲν ὀνομαζόμενος ἄσκησις͵ ὁ δὲ καλούμενος σοϕία. Their food is νηπία καὶ γαλακτώδης: ibid. 6 (i. 440). The Lower Stage has three subdivisions ἄσκησις͵ μάθησις͵ ϕύσις: De Somn. i. 27 (i. 646). The consummation the Higher Stage whether attained by moral discipline, intellectual training, or natural development, is Wisdom, Perfection.
  See Siegfried pp. 249 sqq.; Dähne pp. 341 sqq. The two stages are the βίος πρακτικός and the βίος θεωρητικός of the Greek philosophers; the προκοπή and σοϕία of the later Stoics; but with this difference, that in Philo both stages are religious. The three avenues to perfection are given by Aristotle, Diog. Laert. v. 18 τριῶν ἔϕη δεῖν παιδείαν ϕύσεως μαθήσεως ἀσκήσεως. But Philo regards them as characteristic of three distinct classes of learners, while the pagan philosopher regarded them as means of improvement which must be employed in combination by every learner. Hence the three classes of Proficients in Seneca Epistle 75 answer to different degrees of progress, not to different lines of progress. This, as will be seen, is nearly Clement’s view.


-47- ‘How terrible is this place’, cried Jacob awaking from his dream, ‘this is none other than the House of God.’ So the soul starting up from the sleep of indifference learns with a shock of amazement, that the world is, not a tavern, but a temple. Wherefore it exclaims, ‘It is not as I fancied, for the Lord is in this place.’ This sensible world is indeed the House of God, the gate of Heaven. For the spiritual world of ideas can be comprehended only by climbing upwards from what we see and feel. ‘Those who wish to survey the beauty of a city must enter in at the gate; so those who would contemplate the ideas must be led by the hand by the impressions of the senses.’ 1 We must know God as He is manifested to us in the experience of life, first by fear of His Justice, then by love of His Goodness, before we can attain to Jerusalem, the Vision of Peace. . . .


1 De Somn. i. 32 (i. 649).


-48- But the Powers are summed up in the Word. Hence the Interpreter Word is the God of those that are imperfect, but of the wise and perfect the First God is King. 1

The knowledge of the Most High is Vision, the direct personal communion of a soul that no longer reasons, but feels and knows. It was reached by Abraham through learning; by ‘the wrestler’ Jacob through moral effort; by Isaac, ‘the laughter of the soul,’ through the natural development of a sweet and gracious spirit. It is attainable, if not by all, yet by the purest and keenest-sighted; if not in permanence, yet frequently. ‘I will not be ashamed to relate,’ says Philo, ‘what has happened to myself a thousand times. Often when I have come to write out the doctrines of philosophy, though I well knew what I ought to say, I have found my mind -23- dry and barren, and renounced the task in despair. At other times, though I came empty, I was suddenly filled with thoughts showered upon me from above like snowflakes or seed, so that in the heat of divine possession I knew not the place, or the company, or myself, what I said, or what I wrote.’ 2

Here then, but still in a singularly cool and . . .


1 Leg. Alleg. iii. 73 (i. 128) οὗτος γὰρ ἡμῶν τῶν ἀτελῶν ἂν εἴν θεός͵ τῶν δὲ σοϕῶν καὶ τελείων ὁ πρῶτος. The difference between the knowledge of God in His works and the knowledge of God in Him self (the latter Philo calls the Great Mysteries) is explained in the sublime passage beginning Leg. Alleg. iii. 31 (i. 106): [“God also calls Bezaleel by name, and says that "He will give him wisdom and knowledge, and that He will make him the builder and the architect of all the things which are in his Tabernacle;" ≪45 #ex 31:2.≫ that is to say, of all the works of the soul, when he had up to this time done no work which any one could praise — we must say, therefore, that God impressed this figure also on the soul, after the fashion of an approved coin. And we shall know what the impression is if we previously examine the interpretation of the name. Now, Bezaleel, being interpreted, means God in his shadow. But the shadow of God is his word, which he used like an instrument when he was making the world. And this shadow, and, as it were, model, is the archetype of other things.”].


2 De Migr. Abr. 7 (i, 441). See also the account of the ‘divine intoxication’ of Samuel’s mother, De Ebrietate 36 (i. 380), Quis rerum div. heres 14 (i. 482). De Vita Contemp. 2, 3 (ii. 473, 475), actual vision seems to have been enjoyed by the Therapeutae only in dreams. De Cher. 9 (i. 144), Philo says that he had learned the significance of the two Cherubim and the fiery sword παρὰ ψυχῆς ἐμῆς εἰωθυίας τὰ πολλὰ θεοληπτεῖσθαι. “I have also, on one occasion, heard a more ingenious train of reasoning from my own soul, which was accustomed frequently to be seized with a certain divine inspiration, even concerning matters which it could not explain even to itself.”


-49- temperate form, we have the second great doctrine of Neo-Platonism — Ecstasy, the logical correlative of the Absolute God. As held by Numenius and his followers it is certainly derived from Philo, though here again there was in Paganism a germ, which only needed fertilization. The idea of a personal Revelation comes to Philo from the Prophetic Vision of the Old Testament. It is already found in Plutarch, 1 by whom it is connected with the frenzy of the Pythoness or the Corybant. But its later systematic form and scientific grounding are historically connected with the speculations of the Alexandrine Jew.

Such was the teaching of Philo so far as it falls within our present scope. We need not dwell upon its relation to historic Judaism. Philo remained to the last a devout and trusted Jew. Yet he placed a new religion, a Greek philosophic system, above the faith of his fathers. He retained the Law as the worship of the Logos; high over this stands the free spiritual worship of the Eternal. The one is but the preparation, and in its ancient national form not even a necessary preparation, for the other. It will be obvious how this facilitated the task of the Christian teacher. 2

But what concerns us at present is his direct influence upon the Church. This falls into two branches; for it is probable that Philonism coloured the New Testament itself, and it is certain that it largely affected the after-development of Christian doctrine. The first . . .


1 See De Pythiae Orac. 21, 22; De def. Orac. 48; Amatorius xvi. 4. Plutarch recognizes only the official ecstasy of priest and prophetess. His attitude is apologetic; he has to explain how it is that the revelation is sometimes imperfect, deceitful, impure. Enthusiasm is a part of his religion, but not of his philosophy. See Zeller iii. pp. 170 sqq.

2 Siegfried pp. 157 sqq.


-50- consequence is no doubt capable of exaggeration. The ideas of the purely Palestinian schools coincided in many points with those of the Alexandrines, of which they formed the basis; and it is perhaps by this fact rather than by any immediate contact that we should explain the resemblances of St. Paul, St. James, and even of the Epistle to the Hebrews, with Philo. But there can be little doubt that St. John acquired from Alexandria that conception of the Word, which first brought Christian theology within the sphere of metaphysics. 1


1 Not necessarily from Philo, if, as seems probable, the Logos doctrine is somewhat older than Philo’s time. The question turns mainly upon (i) the exact significance, and (ii) the date, of the Memra of the Targums. Maybaum, Die Anthropomorphien und Anthropopathien bei Onkelos Breslau 1870, maintains that in Onkelos ‘Word of God’ is a mere periphrasis for God, and is never regarded as having a hypostatic existence. Gfrörer, Jahrhundert des Heils i. 310 sqq., maintains the opposite, but regards the idea as unquestionably Alexandrine in origin. With this agrees the view of Edersheim, Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah i. pp. 46, 56. Siegfried (p. 317) asserts that ‘it is universally acknowledged that John borrowed from Philo the name of Logos to express the manifestation of God’. He refers to Ballenstedt, Dähne, Gfrörer, Lücke, de Wette-Brückner, Dorner, Neander, Tholuck, Lutterbeck. Nevertheless his language is too peremptory. Ewald (v. 153 sqq., vi. 277) holds that the doctrine of the Word grew up among the Jews and had become an article of the popular belief as well as a tenet of the schools; and that the Book of Enoch shows that before the beginning of the second century B.C. the Word was identified with the Messiah. (Other authorities however regard the Book of Enoch as, in part at any rate, Christian.) Harnack, Dogmengeschichte i. p. 109 note 2, says, ‘Die Auffassung des Verhaltnisses von Gott und Welt im 4. Evangelium ist nicht die philonische. Daher ist auch die Logoslehre dort im wesentlichen nicht die Philo’s.’ This is maintained at length by Westcott, St. John pp. xv sqq., and by Schanz, a recent Roman Catholic editor of the same Gospel. But the difference, while sufficient to show that St. John is applying a partially heathen phrase to a wholly Christian conception, is by no means such as to exclude the possibility of connexion; and in any case very little weight can be attached to this line of argument in default of proof that a home-grown Logos doctrine existed in Palestine before the time of St. John. Some importance is perhaps to be attached to the fact that in the Pseudo-Clementine Homilies, a work which seems to be built upon a Palestinian system, we have God and the Two Powers, but not the Logos. Yet the writer was acquainted with St. John, and would surely have given this title to the Son if he had found it current in the Palestinian schools. ≪Sanday The Criticism of the Fourth Gospel, Oxford 1905, pp. 185 sqq. and E. F. Scott The Fourth Gospel: its purpose and theology, Edinb. 1906, pp. 145 sqq.≫


-51- Philo’s influence upon the mind of post-apostolic times 1 was partly helpful, partly detrimental. 2 It was given to the Alexandrine Jew to divine the possibility and the mode of an eternal distinction in the Divine Unity, and in this respect the magnitude of our debt can hardly be over-estimated. How large it is we may measure in part by the fact that the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, which has no place in his system, remained for a long time meagre, inarticulate, and uncertain. But the Logos is not Christ, is not the Messiah. 3 Far less is he Jesus, for from the Platonic point of view the Incarnation is an impossibility. Hence though Philo supplied the categories under which the work of Jesus continued to be regarded, his influence on this side was . . .


1 [Harnack Dogmengeschichte i. p. 109 ‘Seit dem Anfang des 2. Jahrhunderts ist dann auch die Religionsphilosophie Philo’s bei christlichen Lehrern wirksam geworden’]: ≪cp. P. Heinisch Der Einfluss Philos auf die dlteste christliche Exegese (Barnabas, Justin und Clemens von Alexandria) Münster i. W. 1908.≫

2 [Philo’s cosmologic view, of the Logos as intermediate between God and world, affected both Clement and Origen and led to Arianism.]

3 The traces of a Messianic hope in Philo are very indistinct. De Execr. 9 (ii. 436) the dispersed of Israel shall return from exile, ξεναγούμενοι πρός τινος θειοτέρας ᾒ κατὰ ϕύσιν ἀνθρωπίνης (we should surely read ἀνθρωπίνην) ὄψεως. Siegfried (p. 222) refers this to the Logos; Dähne, p. 437, thinks it not improbable that the Logos is meant. [Cp. also De Praemiis et Poenis 15. See Schürer II. ii. pp. 146 sqq.]


-52- upon the whole hurtful. To Philo religion is the emancipation of the intelligence from the dominion of sense. In such a scheme knowledge is more than Faith, 1 Forgiveness has no real place, and Vicarious Suffering no meaning. Such words as Atonement, Mediator, High Priest, could not mean to the Platonist what they must mean to the Christian, and down to the time of Clement Philo’s great name stood between the Church and a clear understanding of their real signification.

Other parts of his legacy were more questionable still — his vicious Allegorism, his theory of the Absolute God. But upon these we shall be compelled to dwell at some length further on and therefore need speak no more in the present place. Let us only add that Alexandrine intellectualism, though it leads to an over-estimate of human effort and to a self-centred conception of virtue, has yet the great merit of finding blessedness in the soul itself. The Kingdom of God is within us, even in this life. Thus it affords the means for rectifying a tendency very prevalent in the early Church, that of looking for happiness only in another . . .


1 Philo speaks of Faith — the most perfect of virtues, the queen of virtues — in very splendid terms. See especially De Abrahamo 46 (ii. 39); Quis rerum div. heres 18 (i. 486). But in section 21 of the last-named treatise it appears to be distinguished from σοϕία in the same way as by Clement, as the cause of obedience, as the characteristic of the lower stage of the spiritual life. This indeed is a consequence of his system. But Philo has a clearer view that spiritual health is the one thing desirable, and is not hampered by the question that pressed heavily on Clement — what is the minimum condition of salvation? Hence his conception of Faith is nobler, it may be said more Pauline, than Clement’s. So again, not being troubled by the problem of Responsibility, he uses much stronger and grander language on the subject of Grace. See Siegfried p. 307; Denis Philosophie d’Origène p. 222.


-53- world as a compensation for suffering in this. Its reward is holiness, the vision of God; its punishment is that of being what sinners are. Thus it is directly opposed in principle, if not always in practice, to the vulgar paradise of Chiliasm, and even to Asceticism. For Asceticism, as distinguished from temperance, rests, not upon the antithesis of spirit and matter, but upon ‘other-worldliness’, the delusion that heaven can be purchased by self-torture in this life.

Our view of the conditions out of which Christian Platonism sprung would be incomplete without a brief notice of Gnosticism. 1 It will be needless to enter into the confused details of the so-called Gnostic systems. The Aeons of Valentinus and others are but the Ideas of Plato seen through the fog of an Egyptian or Syrian mind. They were not understood to affect the unity of God, and, except as guardian Angels, play no practical part. Clement and Origen scarcely ever allude to them, and they have no place at all in the systems of Marcion and Basilides. 2 For us they have mainly this interest, . . .


1 The standard authorities on the subject of Gnosticism are — Neander Church History vol. 2; Baur Die christliche Gnosis, Tübingen 1835; Matter Histoire critique du Gnosticisme, 2nd edition, Strasbourg and Paris 1843; Lipsius, article Gnostirismus in Ersch and Gruber, Leipzig 1860; Mansel Gnostic Heresies 1875. All except the last two are anterior in date to the publication in 1851 of six additional books of the Philosophumena which have given an entirely new view of Basilides. ≪See further the bibliography in Harnack Dogmengeschichte i. pp. 252 sq.; Geschichte d. altchristl. Lit. i.pp. 143 sqq.≫ We are concerned entirely with what Lipsius counts as the second or Alexandrine stage of Gnosticism. The view taken in the following pages rests mainly on the Gnostic fragments which will be found collected in Stieren’s edition of Irenaeus, on the Excerpta ex Theodoto, and the general impression left on the mind by the study of Clement, Origen, and the Pseudo-Clementine Homilies. ≪See further Dr. Bigg’s Origins of Christianity ch. xii.≫

2 To Valentinus the Aeons were simply the ideas, the thoughts of God: Tertullian Adv. Valentin. 4 ‘Eam postmodum Ptolemaeus intravit, nominibus et numeris Aeonum distinctis in personales substantias, sed extra Deum determinatas, quas Valentinus in ipsa summa divinitatis ut sensus et affectus motus incluserat’. This is confirmed by a striking extract from an Epistle of Valentinus given by Clement, Strom. ii. 20. 114; Stieren Irenaeus p. 910. But the same thing is probably true of Ptolemy and of Heracleon. The use of the word ‘aeon’ by the Gnostic writers themselves is obscure. I find it used to denote (1) God; Heracleon apud Origen In Joan. ii. 8 (Lom. i. 117) τὸν αἰῶνα ἢ τὰ ἐν τῷ αἰῶνι: hence ὁ ἐν αἰῶνι, ibid. xiii. 19 (Lom. ii. 33), is Jesus: (2) Aeons = Ideas? = Emanations? Exc. ex Theod. 32 ἕκαστος τῶν αἰώνων ἴδιον ἔχει πλήρωμα͵ τὴν συζυγίαν: cp. 23: (3) Angels; Exc. ex Theod. 25, the Valentinians λέγουσι τοὺς αἰῶνας ὁμωνύμως τῷ λόγῳ λόγους, where Aeon = Aoyoλόγος = Angels = Stars. So ibid. 7 ἄγνωστος οὖν ὁ πατὴρ ὢν ἠθέλησεν γνωσθῆναι τοῖς αἰῶσιν: cp. St. Paul, Eph. ii. 7: [Ign. Eph. xix. 2 πῶς οὖν ἐϕανερώθη τοῖς αἰῶσιν: see Lightfoot’s note, Apostolic Fathers II. ii. p. 80. The Tübingen school found in the use of the word αἰῶνες in Ephesians a reference to Gnosticism: see Weiss Lehrb. der Einl. indas N.T., ed. 1886, p. 268. The perusal of the Excerpta leaves no doubt in my mind that it was borrowed by the Gnostics from St. Paul.] As to the Guardian Angels, see below, p. 60. [For the Invocation of Aeons in Eucharistic Prayers, see J. Wordsworth Holy Communion, ed. 3, pp. 210 sq.]


-54- that they complete the work of the Philonic analysis. God is finally separated from His attributes, the Aeons of Reason and Truth, and becomes the Eternal Silence of Valentinus, the Non-existent God of Basilides. 1

It is a mistake to approach the Gnostics on the metaphysical side. There is a certain wild poetical force in Valentinus, but otherwise their world-philosophy is purely grotesque. The ordinary Christian controversialist felt that he had nothing to do but set out at unsparing length their tedious pedigrees, in the well-grounded confidence that no one would care to peruse them a second time. The interest, the meaning, of Gnosticism rests entirely upon its ethical motive. 2 It . . .


1 Philos. vii. 21 οὕτως οὐκ ὢν θεὸς ἐποίησε κόσμον οὐκ ὄντα ἐξ οὐκ ὄνων.

2 [Their Metaphysics was the outcome of their Ethics, not vice versa. This is true perhaps of most men; but while sane thinkers begin with the problem of right, the Gnostic began with the problem of wrong.]


-55- was an attempt, a serious attempt, to fathom the dread mystery of sorrow and pain, to answer that spectral doubt, which is mostly crushed down by force — Can the world as we know it have been made by God? ‘Cease,’ says Basilides, ‘from idle and curious variety, and let us rather discuss the opinions, which even barbarians have held, on the subject of good and evil.’ 1 ‘I will say anything, rather than admit that Providence is wicked.’ 2 Valentinus describes in the strain of an ancient prophet the woes that afflict mankind. I durst not affirm, he concludes, that God is the author of all this. 3 So Tertullian says of Marcion, Like many men of our time, and especially the heretics, he is bewildered by the question of evil. 4

They approach the problem from a non-Christian point of view, and arrive therefore at a non-Christian solution. Yet the effort is one that must command our respect, and the solution is one that a great writer of our own time thought not untenable. 5 Many of them, especially the later sectaries, accepted the whole Christian Creed, 6 but always with reserve. The teaching . . .


1 Stieren’s Irenaeus p. 901.]

2 Stieren’s Irenaeus p. 903; Clem. Strom. iv. 12. 82.


3 From the remarkable fragment of the Dissertation on the Origin of Evil, Stieren’s Irenaeus p. 912.

4 Adv. Marcion. i. 2.

5 See J. S. Mill Three Essays on Religion, ed. 1874, pp. 25, 37, 58. Mr. Mill himself rejected the Dualistic solution; ibid. p. 185.

6 Basilides accepted the whole of the Gospel narrative, Philos. vii. 27. So did Theodotus. Tertullian Adv. Val. i ‘Si subtiliter tentes, per ambiguitates bilingues communem fidem adfirmant’; Irenaeus i praef. 2. See the accounts of Cerdon, Irenaeus iii. 4. 3, and of Apelles, Eusebius H.E. v. 13; Harnack Dogmengeschichte i. p. 241.


-56- of the Church thus became in their eyes a popular exoteric confession, beneath their own Gnosis, or Knowledge, which was a Mystery, jealously guarded from all but the chosen few. They have been called the first Christian theologians. We may call them rather the first Freemasons.

There is no better example of the cultivated Gnostic than Plutarch. Perplexed by the nightmare of physical and moral evil this amiable scholar could see no light except in the dualism of Zoroaster. 1 The world was created by Ormuzd, the spirit of Good; but Ahriman, the dark and wicked, had broken in and corrupted all. From Plutarch sprang a succession of purely heathen Gnostics, against whom, more than a century later, Plotinus felt it necessary to take up the pen. 2 Between these and the Gnostics known to Christian controversy there is no essential difference. Both start from the same terrible problem; both arrive at the same conclusion, the existence of a second and imperfect God. They identified this Being with the Creator or Demiurge, and ascribed to him the authorship of the whole, or the greater part, of the Old Testament. For, though they allegorized the New Testament, the Gnostics did not, in any of their voluminous commentaries, apply this solvent to the Hebrew Scriptures. These they criticized with a freedom learned from the Essenes. 3 . . .


1 De Iside et Ostride 45 sqq.

2 Porph. Vita Plotini 16. [Simplicius also wrote against them, In Enchiridion 27 sqq. Gnosticism was especially repugnant to the pantheism of the Neoplatonists.]

3 Compare the exegesis of the Pseudo-Clementine Homilies with that of Ptolemy’s Epistle to Flora. The author of the Homilies considered that he was refuting Gnosticism; but there was certainly an historical connexion between his views and those of the Valentinians. See below, p. 61.


-57- They found there, side by side with the eternal spiritual law, the code of an imperfect and transient morality; worse than all, they found there passion, revenge, and cruelty ascribed to the Most High. It is not possible to read the remarkable letter of Ptolemy to Flora, without perceiving that Old Testament exegesis was the real strength of Gnosticism. It was so powerful because it was so true. On this one point they retained their advantage to the last. The facts were in the main as they alleged, and the right explanation depended on principles equally foreign, at that time, to Gnostic and to orthodox.

Their views of religion, of salvation, were as various as their strange and perplexing cosmogonies. We may leave out of sight the Paulinism of Marcion, and take as a type the system of Theodotus, a leader of the Eastern Valentinians, with whose writings Clement had an intimate acquaintance. 1 Christ came, he taught, not for . . .


1 It is doubtful what the Excerpta ex Theodoto really are. ‘Descripta videntur ex libris Hypotyposeon,’ says Valesius on Eus. H. E. v. ii. 2. Zahn, Forschungen zur Gesch. des N. T. Kanons, Erlangen 1884, iii. p. 122, thinks that they are a collection of extracts from the eighth book of the Stromateis. Renan, Marc-Aurèle p. 118, regards them as a collection of extracts from the writings of the Valentinian Theodotus made by Clement for his own use; and this seems the best view. It is doubtful again who Theodotus was Neander and Dorner think him the same as Theodotus the money-changer. Zahn inclines, rather fancifully, to identify him with the Theodas (if that is the right name; the reading is doubtful) of Strom. vii. 17. 106, the disciple ≪γνώριμος≫ of Paul and the teacher of Valentinus, and thinks that there may have been a book bearing the name of this supposed pupil of the Apostle. It should be added that Theodotus is referred to by name only five times, and that much of the information for which Clement refers vaguely to ‘the Valentinians’ may come from some other source. The text is exceedingly obscure and corrupt. Bunsen, Anal. Ante-Nic. vol. i, gives the conjectural emendations and Latin translation of Bernays. The accusations brought by Photius against the orthodoxy of Clement may rest in part upon a misunderstanding of this curious and difficult treatise. See also Westcott’s article Clement of Alexandria in the Dictionary of Christian Biography i. p. 564.


-58- our redemption alone, but to heal the disorders of the whole universe. For Earth, and Heaven, and even God Himself, were diseased by the revolt of Wisdom, who in blind presumption had given birth to she knew not what. But for man’s sake Christ became Man, 1 taking upon Him our threefold nature, body, soul, and spirit, though His body was spiritual, not gross as ours. Yet He is not the Saviour of all, but of those only who can receive Him, and in so far as they can receive Him. 2 Some there are who cannot know Him; these are they who have flesh but not soul, who perish like the beasts. Some again, the spiritual, are predestined to life eternal. 3 They are akin to the light; knowledge . . .


1 The Christology of Theodotus differs somewhat from that ascribed to Valentinus by the author of the Philosophumena. (1) The Only-Begotten God (§6; this is I suppose the earliest authority for this reading in John 1:18), Nous, Aletheia, Logos, Zoe appear to be only different names for the Spirit of Knowledge, the προβολή or externalized thought of God. (2) Christ is a προβολή of exiled Wisdom who returns to the πλήρωμα (pleroma) to beg aid for his mother, is detained there, and apparently united to the Only-Begotten; §§23, 39, 44. (3) Jesus, the προβολή of all the Aeons, is sent forth to comfort Wisdom; §23. (4) Jesus is never separated from the Only-Begotten; §§7, 43. (5) Jesus descends to the world through the realm of Space, that is the Demiurge, and takes to himself the Psychic Christ, §59, the προβολή of the Demiurge, §47 that is to say, his νοῦς assumes ψυχή and weaves for Himself a body ἐκ τῆς ἀϕανοῦς ψυχικῆς οἰσίας, §59. (6) He was born of the Holy Ghost and the Virgin, §23. The whole of the Gospel narrative then follows, §§60-2. [Valentinus quoted Phil. ii. 6, 7 ‘the form of a servant’, ‘the likeness of men’, to prove that our Lord’s Humanity was not real (Basil Ep. cclxi. 2).]


2 §7 ὁ δὲ αὐτός ἐστι τοιοῦτος ὢν ἑκάστῳ οἷος κεχωρῆσθαι δύναται.

3 §56 τὸ μὲν οὖν πνευματικὸν ϕύσει σωζόμενον͵ τὸ δὲ ψυχικὸν αὐτεξούσιον ὂν ἐπιτηδειότητα ἔχει πρός τε πίστιν καὶ ἀϕθαρσίαν πρὸς ἀπιστίαν καὶ ϕθορὰν κατὰ τὴν οἰκείαν αἵρεσιν͵ τὸ δὲ ὑλικὸν ϕύσει ἀπόλλυται. The Spiritual, the Elect, are masculine, children of Adam; the Psychic, the Called, are feminine, children of Eve, §21. This idea is found in the Homilies. The Spiritual must be ‘shaped’ by knowledge, §§57, 59: the Psychic must be ‘grafted on to the fruitful olive’, §56, ‘changed’ from slavery into freedom, from feminine into masculine, §§57, 79. Unless they become spiritual they are burnt up in the fire, §52; body and soul perish in Gehenna (proved by Matt. 10:28), §51, that is to say before they rise to Paradise, the fourth heaven, which earthly flesh may not enter, §51: this last idea is based upon 2 Cor. 12:2.


-59- once given leads them on inevitably to perfection, annihilating all their earthly passions. Between these hover ‘the psychic’, the feminine souls, to whom faith is granted, but not knowledge. Before the coming of Christ these were creatures of destiny, the sport of evil angels, whom they could not resist. 1 But the Incarnation and Baptism of our Lord broke their bonds, and by faith and discipline they become capable of eternal life. 2

In that future existence the soul needs no body, for it is itself a body, as the Stoics taught. 3 It is immortal and forever blessed. But there are degrees of felicity. The spiritual soar up at once through the seven planetary orbits to the Ogdoad, the region of the fixed stars, where is no more labour nor change. There they await the consummation, when Christ, the great High Priest, shall lay aside His soul, and enter through the Cross — that is the upper Firmament — into the Holy of Holies, taking with Him His children, now become . . .


1 §§69-75.

42 §§76-78.

3 §14 ἀλλὰ καὶ ἡ ψυχὴ σῶμα. For how, the author asks, can the souls who are chastised feel their punishments if they are not bodies? Corporeal also, though in an ever-ascending scale of fineness, are the demons, the angels, archangels and Protoctists, the Only-Begotten, and apparently even the Father, §§10, 11.


-60- pure Words like Himself. The Psychic are cleansed by fire, the sensible and the intellectual fire, 1 the pangs of sense, the stings of remorse. Aided and comforted by guardian angels, 2 who were ‘baptized for them’, while yet they were ‘dead in trespasses and sins’, who love them, and yearn for them as their spiritual brides, they rise, through three ‘mansions’ or stages of discipline, to the Ogdoad their final home, their Rest. 3 . . .


1 §81.

2 Theodotus appears to distinguish two classes of Angels; those created by the Demiurge, who like all his works are imperfect copies of the existences of the spiritual world, §47, and the ‘male angels’, the creation of the Only-Begotten, 21. It is by union with these that the female soul becomes masculine and capable of entering the Pleroma. It is these angels that are baptized for the dead (1 Cor. 15:29). Hence the Valentinian was baptized εἰς λύτρωσιν ἀγγελικήν, in the same Name in which his guardian Angel had previously been baptized, §22. The male Angels came down with Jesus for our salvation, §44, and ‘pray for our forgiveness that we may enter in with them. For they may be said to have need of us that they may enter in, for without us this is not permitted to them’, §35. Similar ideas will be found in the religion of Mithra (see below, Lecture VII) and in Clem. Hom. ix. 9 sqq. (though here the union is between the bad man and his demon). So Heracleon says (Origen In Joan. xiii. 11) that the Samaritan woman’s husband is her Pleroma. Cp. also Irenaeus iii. 15. 2 ‘est inflatus iste talis, neque in caelo neque in terra putat se esse, sed intra Pleroma introisse et complexum iam angelum suum’; also the Valentinian epitaph quoted by Renan, Marc-Aurèle p. 147.

3 Jesus in his descent puts on the Psychic Christ in τόπος, Space, the realm of the Demiurge, §59. It was the Psychic Christ, that is the Human Nature, that died, §61, and now sits on the right hand of the Demiurge, §62, till the Restitution, ‘in order that he may pacify Space and guarantee a safe passage for the Seed into the Pleroma’, §38. Then He lays aside ψυχὴ and σῶμα and passes through the Veil, §27, taking with him His children, His Body, the Church, §42. Till then the elect await Him in the Ogdoad, the eighth heaven, the changeless region of the fixed stars, §§26, 63, becoming Words, Intelligent Aeons, λόγοι͵ αἰῶνες νοεροί, §§27, 64. At the same time the Psychic rise from the Kingdom of the Demiurge to the Ogdoad, §63.


-61- Thus spirit, soul, and body, the commingling of which is the cause of all evil and suffering, are finally separated into their appointed places, and the healing work of Christ is achieved. It is not difficult to trace here a barbaric Platonism, mingled with Mazdeism, coloured by the influence of the Ebionites, and strangely refracted echoes of St. Paul. 1 St. Paul was held in high esteem by these sectaries, and to their sinister admiration is largely due the neglect of his special teaching in the early Church.

This Dualism, this Fatalism, for the three natures are . . .

1 The barbaric cast of their Philosophy may be seen in the grotesque character assumed by the Logoi or Aeons in the popular systems; in the crude description of the Non-Existent God by Basilides; and generally in the Gnostic incapacity for abstract ideas. Thus the inner Veil which divides the Ogdoad from the Pleroma, the world of Ideas, is Heaven. But one derivation given for the word οὐρανός is ὅρος, a boundary or division. Horos might mean a pole, such as Greeks employed to mark the limits of a field; hence the upper firmament might be called Σταυρός, the Cross which divides believers from unbelievers; Excerpta §42. The passions were conceived of in Stoic fashion as actual bodies hanging on to the soul, the προσαρτήματα or προσϕυὴς ψχή. Man thus becomes, says Clement, a kind of Trojan Horse, Strom. ii. 20. 112 sqq. As to the Mazdeism, there is clear historical proof of the connexion of Gnosticism with the system of Zoroaster; cp. Lect. VII; the passages referred to above ≪p. 56≫ from Plutarch and Porphyry; Duncker vol. v. pp. 53 sqq. (English translation). As to Ebionitism, I notice the following points of resemblance between Theodotus and the Homilies: —Anthropomorphism — the Syzygies — the antitheses of Male and Female, Fire and Light, Right and Left — the union of the soul with its Angel — the idea that the Water of Baptism quenches the fire of sin, suggesting or suggested by the ancient reading in Matt. 3:15 ≪O. L. cod. a≫ which tells how a fire shone in the Jordan at the baptism of Jesus [see Justin Mart. Trypho 88 and Otto’s note g]. Lastly, the doctrine of several Incarnations of Jesus is found in Excerpta 19. Zahn is therefore mistaken in saying (p. 123) that there is no trace of Ebionitism in the Christology of Clement’s Theodotus.


-62- a modified fatalism, are vain and worse than vain. They belong to a lower stage of religious life, above polytheism, yet far below Christianity. From this semi-barbarism spring all the faults of Gnosticism; its conceit, its uncertain morality, its chimeras, its peremptory solutions of the insoluble. Like all half-truths it perished self-convicted, melting away like Spenser’s woman of snow in presence of the living Florimell. It left a certain mark upon Catholicism; and partly by shaking the older faiths, partly by preparing men’s minds for a better belief, partly by compelling the leaders of the Church to ask what they believed and why they believed it, it aided not inconsiderably in the triumph of the Gospel, and in the development of the Creed. 1 But in the second century, while it was yet living and aggressive, it constituted a danger greater than the Arian controversy, greater than any peril that has ever menaced the existence of the Faith. . . .


1 The first philosophical statement of the Real Presence is to be found Excerpta §82. To Gnostics is due the importation of the words οὐσία͵ ὑπόστασις͵ ὁμοούσιος into theology. They held the Virgin in high honour; Renan Marc-Aurèle p. 145. They were the first to speculate on the date of the Nativity, Strom. i. 21. 145, and to attempt the portraiture of Christ, Iren. i. 25. 6. Beyond this I see nothing but the influence of antagonism. See however Harnack Dogmengeschichte i. pp. 240 sqq.

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Lecture II. Clement: The Alexandrine Church

“That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” St. John 1:9

According to the earliest tradition, that which is preserved in the Pseudo-Clementine Homilies, Christianity was first preached in the streets of Alexandria by Barnabas. 1 But for ages the Egyptians have attributed the foundation of their Church to St. Mark, the interpreter of St. Peter. At a later date the Patriarchs of Alexandria were elected beside the tomb of the Evangelist in the great church of Baucalis, the most ancient ecclesiastical edifice in the city, in dose proximity to the wharves and corn-magazines of the crowded harbour.

At the close of the second century the Church of Alexandria was already a wealthy and flourishing . . .


1 Hom. i. 8 sqq. The claims of Mark ≪Eus. H. E. ii. 16≫ find no support from Clement. But Lightfoot thinks there is no reason to doubt the tradition: Philippians p. 225, ed. 1913. See Redepenning Origenes i. p. 185 note.
   The sources employed for this sketch of the history of the Alexandrine Church are Contextio Gemmarum sive Eutychii Patr. Alex. Annales) ed. Pocock, Oxford 1656; Eutychii Origines Eccl. Alex. ed. Selden, London 1642; Le Quien Oriens Christianus, Renaudot Historia Patriarcharum Alex. Jacobitarum; Neale Holy Eastern Church. ≪See also Duchesne Histoire ancienne de l’Eglise i. 330 sq.; Harnack Mission and Expansion of Christianity ii. pp. 158 sqq. (Eng. transl.)≫ Some information is to be gathered from the Oracula Sibyllina (see Excurs. in Alexandre’s ed.), and much from Clement. Origen’s church was that of Palestine. The letter of Hadrian to Servianus in Vopiscus, Vita Saturnini 8, is regarded as a forgery by Mommsen, v. p. 579 note; [but it is accepted as authentic by Lightfoot, Apostolic Fathers II. i. p, 465].


-64- community. Its warfare is said to have been comparatively bloodless. Three times within a hundred years Egypt had endured all the horrors of unsuccessful rebellion, and once a sanguinary riot had been occasioned by the discovery of the Apis bull. 1 Amid scenes like these the Christians no doubt bore their full share of suffering. But down to the time of Severus there appears to have been no definite persecution of the faith. 2 The execution of Christians was in general a concession to the mob, and it is probable that in Alexandria in ordinary times the populace was held down by a much more severe restraint than elsewhere, the Emperors being always nervously apprehensive of any disturbance by which the supply of corn might be interrupted. Under these favouring circumstances the Church had spread with great rapidity. Already the house-church of the first age had been replaced by buildings specially constructed for the purposes of Christian worship, 3 and it . . .


1 In 115 the Jews of Egypt and Cyrene revolted, and were quelled by Marcius Turbo [cp. Eus. H. E. iv. 2]. The rebellion of Barcochba extended to Egypt, and in the reign of Marcus occurred the insurrection of the Bucoli; see Mommsen v. 581. The Apis sedition is recorded in Spartian’s Life of Hadrian 12.

2 Clement says (Strom. ii. 20. 125) ἡμῖν δὲ ἄϕθονοι μαρτύρων πηγαὶ ἑκάστης ἡμέρας ἐν ὀϕθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν θεωρούμεναι παροπτωμένων͵ ἀνασκινδυλευομένων͵ τὰς κεϕαλάς ἀποτεμνομένων. He may be speaking of sufferings in other countries, or Christian blood may have been shed in Alexandria before the official commencement of the persecution of Severus. See Aube Les Chretiens dans l’Empire Romain pp. 117 sqq. Nevertheless persecution was always going on more or less in every province where the governor happened to be weak or hostile. Since the discovery of the Greek text of the Acts of the Scillitan martyrs, this tragedy is known to have occurred in 180, a time otherwise of peace: see Görres Jahrb. für Prot. Theol. 1884, parts ii and iii; J. A. Robinson The Passion of S. Perpetua append, in Texts and Studies 1891.

3 Clement speaks of ‘coming from church’ just as we do (Paed. ii. 10. 96 μηδὲ ἐξ ἐκκλησίας͵ ϕέρε͵ ᾔ ἀγορᾶς ἥκοντα), but he does not like Origen refer to the arrangements of the building. See on this subject Probst Kirchliche Disciplin pp. 181 sqq.


-65- would seem therefore that the right of holding land was enjoyed, perhaps under some legal fiction, by the Alexandrine, as it certainly was by the African and Roman, communities. 1 In other matters the Egyptian Church seems to have moved less rapidly than its neighbours. The traces of a written liturgy in Clement are scanty and vague. 2 The Eucharist was not yet disjoined from the Agape. Infant Baptism was not yet the . . .


1 ‘Areae Christianorum’ are mentioned by Tertullian, Ad Scapulam 3. About the same time Callistus was overseer of the cemetery at Rome; Philos. ix. 12.

2 Probst (Liturgie p. 9) gives reasons for supposing that the first sketch of a written Liturgy existed in the middle of the second century, and (ibid. pp. 135 sqq.) finds in Clement traces of a Liturgy resembling in its main outlines that given in the eighth book of the Apostolical Constitutions. It is most difficult to say what precise facts underlie Clement’s allusive phrases. The only passages, so far as I know, in which written formularies may be referred to, are Strom. vii. 12. 80, where τὰ ζῷα τὰ δοξόλογα τὰ διὰ Ήσαίου ἀλληγορούμενα seems to allude to the Trisagion uttered by the Cherubim and Seraphim (Renaudot Liturgiarum Orient. Collectio i. p. 46: ≪rather the Seraphim alone; see Sacramentary of Sarapion in Texte u. Unters. N. F. ii. 3 b p. 5, or Journal of Theol. Studies i. pp. 105, 276 sq.≫); and Protrep. iii. in, where the outstretched hands of Christ may be explained by a phrase in the ancient Alexandrine Liturgy translated by Ludolfus from the Ethiopic (in Bunsen Hippolytus iv. p. 242) ‘ut impleret voluntatem tuam et populum tibi efficeret expandendo manus suas’: ≪see Hauler Didascaliae Apostolorum fragmenta p. 106 for the old Latin version made directly from the Greek original.≫ [This was an old idea: Iren. v. 17. 4: ≪cp. S. Ath. de Incarn. 25 3.≫ There is an allusion to Isa. 65:2, which ≪Barnabas, Ep. xii≫, Justin, Trypho 97, ≪Tertullian, adv. Jud. 13, and Cyprian, Testim. ii. 20≫, thought to refer to the Crucifixion.] For the Agape and Infant Baptism, see next Lecture.


-66- rule. Discipline was not so severe as elsewhere. The Bishop was not yet sharply distinguished from the Presbyter, nor the Presbyter and Deacon from the lay-brother. The fidelity with which the Alexandrines adhered to the ancient democratic model may be due in part to the social standing and intelligence of the congregation. The same reason may account for their immunity from many of the ecclesiastical storms of the time. Gnosticism indeed was rampant in this focus of East and West. But of Noetianism, of the Easter controversy, of Montanism hardly a sound is to be heard. 1 Nevertheless wealth and numbers brought dangers of their own, and Alexandria was driven along the same road which other Churches were already pursuing. The lowering of the average tone of piety and morals among the laity threw into stronger relief the virtues of the clergy, and enabled them with a good show of justice and necessity to claim exclusive possession of powers which had originally been shared by all male members of the Church.

We can still trace the incidents by which this momentous change was effected. The most interesting feature in the Alexandrine Church was its College of twelve Presbyters, who enjoyed the singular privilege of . . .


1 Of Noetianism Clement does not speak. He wrote a treatise Περὶ τοῦ πάσχα, in which he considered the relation of St. John’s narrative to that of the Synoptists; see the Fragments (the best account is that of Zahn Forschungen iii. p. 32); and the Κανὼν ἐκκλησιαστικὸς ἢ προς τοὺς ἰουδαΐζοντας may have been directed against the Quartodecimans (see Zahn ibid. p. 35). The Treatises (Sermons, Zahn thinks: ≪διαλέξεις, cp. p. 165 note 1 below≫) on Fasting and the promised but not written treatise on Prophecy were certainly aimed at the Montanists, whom he mentions with forbearance; Strom. iv. 13. 93, vi. 8. 66. But he does not seem to have been troubled at home by either Montanism or Judaism.


-67- electing from among themselves, and of consecrating, their own ‘Patriarch.’ 1 They were the rectors of the twelve city parishes, which included certain districts outside the walls. Even in the time of Epiphanius they exercised a sort of episcopal jurisdiction. 2 They formed a chapter, of which the Patriarch ≪Bishop≫ was President, and to this chapter all provincial letters were addressed. . . .


1 Contextio Gemmarum p. 331 ‘Constituit autem Evangelista Marcus, una cum Hanania Patriarcha, duodecim Presbyteros, qui nempe cum Patriarcha manerent, adeo ut cum vacaret Patriarchatus unum e duodecim Presbyteris eligerent, cujus capiti reliqui undecim manus imponentes ipsi benedicerent et Patriarcham crearent; deinde virum aliquem insignem eligerent quern secum Presbyterum constituerent loco eius qui factus est Patriarcha, ut ita semper extarent duodecim. Neque desiit Alexandriae institutum hoc de Presbyteris, ut scilicet Patriarchas crearent ex Presbyteris duodecim, usque ad tempora Alexandri Patriarchae Alexandrini qui fuit ex numero illo cccxviii. Is autem vetuit ne deinceps Patriarcham Presbyteri crearent et decrevit ut mortuo Patriarcha convenirent Episcopi qui Patriarcham ordinarent. … Atque ita evanuit institutum illud antiquius’ (Selden p. xxxi).
  Cp. Jerome Ep. cxlvi ad Evangelum ‘Nam et Alexandriae a Marco Evangelista usque ad Heraclam et Dionysium episcopos presbyteri semper unum ex se electum in excelsiori gradu collocatum episcopum nominabant: quomodo si exercitus Imperatorem faciat. Eutychius also tells us that Demetrius was the first to appoint Suffragans. See Lightfoot Philippians, Excursus on the Christian Ministry. The inference that there was a prolonged struggle between the two orders is Ritschl’s (Entstehung der altk. Kirche 2nd ed. p. 432). [See further Gore The Church and the Ministry, London 1889, pp. 134 sqq., 357 sqq.; Journal of Theol. Studies ii. pp. 612 sq., iii. pp. 278 sqq.; C. H. Turner ‘Organisation of the Church’ in Cambridge Mediaeval History i. pp. 160 sq.]

2 Epiph. lxix. 1. [Cp. Sozom. H. E. i. 15.] ≪That is, in Alexandria as also in Rome the parochial system was developed earlier than elsewhere.≫


-68- But towards the close of the second century their chief and distinguishing prerogative had been lost. While the Patriarch ≪Bishop≫ Julian lay upon his death-bed, he was warned by an angel in a vision, that the man who next day should bring him a present of grapes, was destined to be his successor. The sign was fulfilled by Demetrius, an unlettered rustic, and, what to later ages seemed even more extraordinary, a married man. In obedience to the divine warning Demetrius was seated almost by force in the throne of St. Mark. He proved a stern and enterprising ruler. He stripped the people of one of their few remaining privileges by the censure which he pronounced on Origen for preaching while yet a layman, and he broke the power of the Presbyteral College by the appointment of a number of Suffragan Bishops, whom he afterwards persuaded to pass sentence of degradation upon Origen, a sentence which the Presbyters had refused to sanction. 1 From this time the Chapter never succeeded in regaining its prerogative, though the struggle appears to have been protracted till the incumbency of the ≪Bishop≫ Alexander. Thus was finally abolished this most interesting relic of a time, when there was no essential difference between Bishop and Priest, and of a later but still early time, when the Bishop was chairman or life-president of a council of Priests, by whom the affairs of a great city-church were administered in common.

A large and rich community, existing in the bosom of a great University town, could not long submit to exclusion from the paramount interests of the place. Their most promising young men attended the lectures of the heathen professors. Some, like Ammonius, relapsed into . . .


1 Redepenning Origenes i. p. 412; Huet Origeniana i. 2. 12 (Lomm. xxii. 44); Photius Cod. cxviii. ≪But see Westcott in Dict. Chr. Biog. i. 803, iv. 100.≫


-69- Hellenism; some drifted into Gnosticism, like Ambrosius; some, like Heraclas passed safely through the ordeal, and as Christian priests still wore the pallium, or philosopher’s cloak, the doctor’s gown we may call it of the pagan Academy. 1 Learned professors like Celsus, like Porphyry, began to study the Christian Scriptures with a cool interest in this latest development of religious thought, and pointed out with the acumen of trained critics the scientific difficulties of the Older Testament and the contradictions of the New. It was necessary to recognize, and if possible to profit by, the growing connexion between the church and the lecture-room. Hence the catechetical instruction, which in most other communities continued to be given in an unsystematic way by Bishop or Priest, had in Alexandria developed about the middle of the century into a regular institution.

This was the famous Catechetical School. 2 It still continued to provide instruction for those desirous of admission into the Church, but with this humble routine it combined a higher and more ambitious function. It was partly a propaganda, partly we may regard it as a denominational college by the side of a secular university. There were no buildings appropriated to the purpose. The master received his pupils in his own house, and Origen was often engaged till late at night in teaching his classes or giving private advice or instruction to those who needed it. The students were of both sexes, of very different ages. Some were converts preparing for baptism, some idolaters seeking for . . .


1 ≪Eus. H. E. vi. 18 §1, 19 §§ 7, 14.≫

2 Schools of a similar description existed at Antioch, Athens, Edessa, Nisibis; Guerike De Schola Alex. p. 2; Harnack Dogmengeschichte i. 593 sqq.


-70- light, some Christians reading as we should say for orders or for the cultivation of their understandings. There was as yet no rigid system, no definite classification of Catechumens, such as that which grew up a century later. The teacher was left free to deal with his task, as the circumstances of his pupils or his own genius led him. But the general course of instruction pursued in the Alexandrine school we are fortunately able to discover with great accuracy and fullness of detail. Those who were not capable of anything more were taught the facts of the Creed, with such comment and explanation as seemed desirable. Others, Origen tells us, were taught dialectically. The meaning of this phrase is interpreted for us by Gregory Thaumaturgus, one of the most illustrious and attached of Origen’s disciples. At the outset the student’s powers of reasoning and exact observation were strengthened by a thorough course of scientific study, embracing geometry, physiology, and astronomy. After science came philosophy. The writings of all the theological poets, and of all the philosophers except the godless Epicureans, were read and expounded. The object of the teacher was no doubt in part controversial. He endeavoured to prove the need of revelation by dwelling on the contradictions and imperfections of all human systems, or he pointed out how the partial light vouchsafed to Plato or Aristotle was but an earnest of the dayspring from on high. But the attitude of Clement or Origen towards Greek thought was not controversial in any petty or ignoble sense. They looked up to the great master-minds of the Hellenic schools with a generous admiration, and infused the same spirit into their disciples.

Philosophy culminated in Ethics, and at this point -71- began the dialectic training properly so called. The student was called upon for a definition of one of those words that lie at the root of all morality, Good or Evil, Justice or Law; and his definition became the theme of a close discussion conducted in the form of question and answer. In the course of these eager systematic conversations every prejudice was dragged to light, every confusion unravelled, every error convicted, the shame of ignorance was intensified, the love of truth kindled into a passion. So far the course pursued did not differ essentially from that familiar to the heathen schools. But at this point the characteristic features of the Christian seminary come into view. We find them in the consistency and power, with which virtue was represented as a subject not merely for speculation but for practice in the sympathy and magnetic personal attraction of the teacher but above all in the Theology, to which all other subjects of thought were treated as ancillary. 1

It may be doubted whether any nobler scheme of Christian education has ever been projected than this, which we find in actual working at Alexandria at the end of the second century after Christ. I have dwelt upon it at some length, partly because of the light it throws upon the speculations of the great Alexandrine divines, partly in view of the charges of ignorance and credulity so often levelled at the early Christians. The truth is that, so far as the Church differed from the rest of society, it differed for the better. Whatever treasures . . .


1 The materials for this account will be found in Guerike and the Panegyric of Gregory Thaumaturgus (in Lom. xxv. 339). Gregory is describing the teaching of Origen as he had profited by it in Caesarea. But the description will hold good of his earlier work at Alexandria. ≪Cp. Eus. H. E. vi. 18.≫


-72- of knowledge belonged to the ancient world lay at its command and were freely employed in its service; and it possessed besides the inestimable advantage of purer morals and a more reasonable creed.

The first master of the Alexandrine school is said to have been the Apologist Athenagoras. But the statement rests upon evidence so insufficient that we may be permitted to disregard it. 1 The teacher, under whom the institution first attains to a place in history, is Pantaenus, a converted Stoic philosopher 2, who in the course of a mission journey to India 3 is said to have discovered a Hebrew version of the Gospel of St. Matthew. He was an author of some eminence; but all that we possess of his writings is a fragment of some half-dozen lines, containing however a sensible and valuable remark on the relations of the Greek and the Hebrew verb. 4 His pupil and successor was the more famous Clement.

Titus Flavius Clemens was a Greek, and probably an Athenian. 5 He was born about the middle of the . . .


1 The name of Athenagoras is found first in the list of masters of the Alexandrine school given by Philippus Sidetes in a fragment discovered by Dodwell. Guerike inclines to accept the statement; Redepenning, i. 63, regards it as highly doubtful. See also Otto, Proleg. to Athenagoras p. xxii.

2 See Guerike, Routh.

3 ≪See Lipsius in Dict. Christ. Biog. i. p. 22.≫

4 ≪Clem. Al. Ecl. Proph. 56 2.≫

5 Epiph. Haer. xxxii. 6. It seems a natural inference from the account of his wanderings in Strom. i. 1. 11 that he was not a native Alexandrine, and that his starting-point was Hellas. The statement that he was an Athenian is rendered probable by the character of his style, which is deeply tinged with Homeric phrases and bears a strong resemblance to that of Philostratus and the Sophists whom Philostratus describes, and again by his familiarity with Attic usage. See for this last point Paed. i. 4. 11, 5. 14., ii. 11. 117, 12. 122. But Dindorf, Preface p. xxvii, tries to make him more Attic than he is. For the special bibliography of Clement the reader may consult Guerike; Westcott in Dictionary of Christian Biography i. pp. 566 sq.; Jacobi’s article in Herzog; Harnack ≪Geschichte der altchristl. Litteratur I. i. pp. 296 sqq.≫, Dogmengeschichte i. p. 591; ≪and Bardenhewer Patrology pp. 128 sqq. (Engl. transl.)≫. <


-73- second century, and inherited his name in all likelihood from an ancestor enfranchised by Vespasian or his son. He was the child apparently of heathen parents, 1 and Eleusis and the Schools had been to him the vestibule of the Church. Like many another ardent spirit in that restless age he wandered far and wide in quest of truth, till at last in Egypt he ‘caught’ Pantaenus, ‘that true Sicilian bee’, hidden away in modest obscurity, and in his lessons found satisfaction alike for soul and mind. Here at Alexandria he made his home. He received priestly orders, 2 and was appointed master of the Catechetical School, at first probably as assistant to Pantaenus. He appears to have fled from the persecution of Severus in 203, and did not return to Egypt. After this date we catch but one uncertain glimpse of him, 3 and it would seem that he died about 213.

It is not an eventful biography. Clement was essentially a man of letters, and his genial contemplative temper rendered him averse to direct controversy and the bustle of practical life. His writings are the faithful . . .


1 Eus. Praep. Ev. ii. 2. 64. We may perhaps infer from the knowledge of the Mysteries displayed in Protrep. ii that he had been initiated. But the teachers to whom he expresses his obligations in Strom. i. i. 11 were all Christians. See the note in Heinichen’s Eusebius H. E. v. 11. 3.

2 Paed. i. 6. 37.

3 Heinichen on Eus. H. E. vi. 111. 6. For further information as to the life of Clement see Guerike, or Westcott’s article Clement of Alexandria in Dictionary of Christian Biography i.


-74- mirror of his studies and thoughts, but tell us little of incident. In later times he was considered a marvel of learning. Nor was this estimate ill-grounded; for the range of his acquaintance with Greek literature, ecclesiastical, 1 Gnostic, and classical, was varied and extensive. There are indeed deductions to be made. His citations are often taken at second-hand from dubious sources, and he did not sift his acquisitions with the scholar’s instinct. 2 He passes many a sharp remark on . . .


1 Clement was acquainted with Barnabas, Hermas, Clemens Romanus, with Melito, Irenaeus (Eus. H. E. vi. 13. 9; compare Strom. vii. 18. 109 with Irenaeus v. 8; and perhaps Protr. xi. 111 with Irenaeus iii. 22. 4: in both Adam is created as a child, and Eve is at first his playmate), possibly with Papias (but the μοναὶ ποικίλαι may come from Irenaeus v. 36. i or elsewhere; see Routh Rel. sacr. i. p. 11, Papian frag. 5) and Tatian. With Justin (or the author of the Cohort. ad Gentiles and de Mon.) and Athenagoras he has certain quotations in common: these however are probably drawn by all three from Hecataeus; cp. Strom. v. 14. 113. He has no knowledge of Ignatius or of Tertullian. Of other books quoted I may name the Gospels according to the Hebrews and the Egyptians, the Revelation of Peter, the Preaching of Peter, the Preaching of Paul (a distinct book), the Acts of Peter (?), the Assumption of Moses (Adumb. p. 1008), the Syllogisms of Misael, the Ματθίου παραδόσεις, Doctrina Apostolorum [but this is not so old as Clement: ≪for Dr. Bigg’s argument against the antiquity of the Didache see his Doctrine of the Twelve Apostles, London 1898≫], Duae Viae, Enoch (Adumb. 1008, [Ecl. proph. 2, 53]), Sophonias (Strom. v. 11. 77: ≪see Harnack Geschichte d. altchr. Lit. I. p. 854≫; [M. R. James Testament of Abraham in Texts and Studies ii. 2. p. 25]). Others, the prophecies of Ham, Nicolaus, Parchor, etc., seem to be distinctively Gnostic. References will be found in editions of the Apostolic Fathers, Hilgenfeld, Bryennius, etc. I think it probable that he had read the Homilies. See Lardner Credibility vol. ii. A list of quotations from unknown Apocryphal sources will be found in Bishop Kaye.

2 On the ἀκρισία of Clement see Dindorf Preface xxii. Even when he quotes κατὰ λέξιν there can be no doubt that he is generally following some secondary authority, often dishonest Jews, Hecataeus or Aristobulus. Anthologies abounded at Alexandria, and often bore fanciful names, such as λειμών͵ ἑλικών͵ κηρίον͵ πέπλος͵ παράδεισος, (Strom. vi. i. 2). A mere reference to the indices will show that Clement’s knowledge of the dramatists is not to be compared with that of Athenaeus. The lengthy passage beginning Strom. i. 21, with all its imposing array of authorities, is compiled from Tatian and Casianus. Lastly, though Clement refers to Varro and to Roman customs and history in four or five places, he seems to have been almost wholly ignorant of the West.


-75- the rhetoricians, 1 but at bottom he is himself a member of their guild, cloudy, turgid, and verbose. But Theology had not yet driven out the Muses. His love of letters is sincere, and the great classics of Greece are his friends and counsellors. Even the comic poets are often by his side. If we look at his swelling periods, at his benignity and liberality and the limitations of his liberality, at his quaint and multifarious learning, at his rare blending of gentle piety and racy humour, we shall find in him a striking counterpart to our own author of The Liberty of Prophesying.

Clement is not a great preacher, for he has neither acted nor witnessed such a soul’s tragedy as that disclosed by Augustine in his Confessions. He is no such comforter for the doubting and perplexed as the fearless Origen. Still less is he one of those dialecticians who solace the logical mind with the neatness and precision of their statements. He is above all things a Missionary. For one thus minded the path of success lies in the skill with which he can avail himself of the good


1 ‘They are a river of words, a drop of sense’, or like old boots of which all but the tongue is worn out (Strom. i. 3. 22), full of quibbles and disputes about shadows (Strom. vi. 18. 182, i. 5. 29). Clement says of those who give themselves up to Rhetoric, ‘as most do’, that they have fallen in love with the handmaid and neglect the mistress. This last figure is from Philo De Congr. Erud. Grat. 27: the handmaid is Hagar, secular knowledge; the mistress Sarah, divine philosophy. He disparages style, Strom. i. 10. 48, ii. 1. 3.


-76- that lies ready to his hand. He must graft the fruitful olive on to the wild stem, and aim at producing, not a new character, but a richer development of the old.

This is his guiding principle. The Gospel in his view is not a fresh departure, but the meeting-point of two converging lines of progress, of Hellenism and Judaism. To him all history is one, because all truth is one. ‘There is one river of Truth’, he says, ‘but many streams fall into it on this side and on that.’ 1 Among Christian writers none till very recent times, not even Origen, has so clear and grand a conception of the development of spiritual life. The civilization of the old world had indeed led to idolatry. But idolatry, shameful and abominable as it was, must be regarded as a fall, a corruption. 2 The fruits of Reason are to be judged, not in the ignorant and sensual, but in Heraclitus, in Sophocles, in Plato. For such as these Science . . .


1 Strom. i. 5. 29. So a drachma is one and the same, but if you give it to a ship-captain it is called ‘fare’, if to a revenue officer ‘tax’, if to a landlord ‘rent’, if to a schoolmaster ‘fee’, if to a shop keeper ‘price’; Strom. i. 20. 97, 98. Truth is like the body of Pentheus, torn asunder by fanatics; each seizes a limb and thinks he has the whole: Strom. i. 13. 57. This last famous simile is borrowed from Numenius (Eus. Praep. Ev. xiv. 5. 7).

2 It was a corruption of Star-worship which God gave to the Gentiles as a stepping-stone to a purer religion; Strom. vi. 14. 110 sq. This idea, which is found also in [Justin (Trypho 55, 121) and] Origen (Redepenning ii. 27), is based partly on a misinterpretation of Deut. iv. 19 (see Potter’s Note), partly on the history of Abraham as told by Philo. The origin of Mythology Clement has analysed with considerable skill; Protrept. ii. 26. But in general he hovers between the two views prevalent in the early Church. Sometimes he speaks of the gods, with Euemerus, as ‘dead men’, sometimes as ‘demons’. Athenagoras, Tertullian, Minucius Felix combine these two beliefs and represent the gods as dead men whose temples, images, and tombs were haunted by the demons for the sake of the steam and blood of the sacrifices.


-77- had been a covenant of God 1; it had justified them as the Law justified the Jew. 2 He still repeats the old delusion that the Greek philosopher had stolen his best ideas from the books of Moses. 3 But his real belief is seen in the many passages where he maintains that Philosophy is a gift, not of devils, but of God through the Logos, whose light ever beams upon his earthly image, the intelligence of man. 4 ‘Like the burning glass, its power of kindling is borrowed from the sun. 5


1 Strom. vi. 8. 67.

2 Strom. i. 5. 28, vi. 5. 42 sqq. Philosophy is an imperfect gift bestowed οὐ προηγουμενος ἀλλὰ κατʹ ἐπακολούθημα, i.e. not by special revelation but as a natural consequence of the possession of reason. Hence its righteousness is imperfect and preparatory, and cannot avail those who deliberately reject the Gospel; Strom. i. 7. 38. It justified the Philosopher when it led him to renounce idolatry, vi. 6. 44, and carry his principles into practice, vi. 7. 55. But, vi. 6. 47. [Cp. Justin Ap. i. 46.] Christ preached in Hades not only to Jews but also to Greeks; it would be ‘very unfair’ that the latter should be condemned for ignorance of what they could not know. See for other quotations, Guerike, Redepenning Origenes i. 139 sqq.; [and on the descensus ad inferos see Lightfoot’s note on Ign. Magn. 9].

3 Clement refers to the Greek Philosophers the words of our Lord, John 10:8. Yet all their knowledge was not ‘stolen’; Strom. i. 1 7. 87. But he maintains the hypothesis of ‘theft’ at great length, v. 14. 89 sqq.

4 Here too Clement vacillates. Strom. v. i. 10 he adopts the doctrine of the Homilies [or rather from Enoch; see Ecl. Proph. 53] that the fallen angels betrayed the secrets of heaven to their earthly wives. Elsewhere philosophy is a fruit of the indwelling of the divine Spirit, the ἐναύσημα, Protr. vi. 68, Strom. v. 13. 87. Its doctrines are ἐναύσματά τινα τοῦ λόγου, Protr. vii. 74. Or it is given by the good Angels, Strom. vi. 17. 156 sqq.

5 Strom. vi. 17. 149. Strom. i. 5. 37 it is finely compared to God’s rain which falls upon all kinds of soil and causes all kinds of plants to grow.


-78- It was not only a wise but a courageous view. The Apologists had not as a rule been hostile to secular learning, but they made little use of it. Pleading for toleration, for life, to educated men, they laboured to prove that the Christian doctrines of God, the Word, Virtue, Immortality, are those of all true philosophy; that Revelation is the perfection of Common Sense. 1 But they did not go beyond this; their object was not to set out the whole of Christian teaching, still less to coordinate it. The Gnostics alone had attempted this. But the Gnostics endeavoured to combine the Evangelical theory with wholly alien beliefs. Hence, rejecting the Old Testament, they denied what all Christians regarded as the principal evidence of the Divinity of Christ; their Docetism reduced Redemption to a purely moral and intellectual process; their Dualism cut away the testimony of Scripture and of experience to the existence and character of God. 2 There arose a violent reaction. Irenaeus maintains that God has given to us two infallible criteria, our own senses and Scripture; and that all beyond is superfluous and fallacious. Tatian inveighs against the Schools with fierce derision. Hermias and Tertullian 3 assert, with the Book of Enoch, that Greek Science is the invention of devils, the bridal . . .


1 See Harnack Dogmengeschichte i. pp. 455 sqq.

2 This argument against Dualism is nowhere so forcibly expressed as by the ingenious editor of the Recognitions ii. 52 ‘Aperi nobis … quomodo tu ex lege didiceris Deum quem lex ipsa nescit’: ibid. 60 ‘Da ergo nobis … sensum aliquem novum per quem novum quem dicis Deum possimus agnoscere; isti enim quinque sensus, quos nobis dedit creator Deus, creatori suo fidem servant.’ Simon Magus replies that the sixth sense required is Ecstasy, and Peter in answer finely exposes the vanity of such a source of knowledge.

3 See Irenaeus ii. 26, 27 ≪the interpretation in the text above is questionable≫; Tert. Apol. 35, De Idol. 9; Hermias ad init. (cp. Otto’s Prolegomena pp. xliii sqq.); Tatian Ad Graecos 25 sqq.


-79- gift of the fallen Angels to the daughters of men. This opinion was strongly represented at Alexandria, which was indeed the hotbed of Gnosticism. The ruling party there was that of the ‘Orthodoxasts’, whose watchword was ‘Only believe’, who took their stand upon the Creed and refused to move one step beyond. 1

Even in that age and place Clement saw and dared to proclaim, that the cure of error is not less knowledge but more. Hence he strenuously asserted, not only the merits of Philosophy in the past, but its continuous necessity in the Church. 2 Not merely does learning grace the preacher, not merely does it impart clearness, security, elevation to the convictions, but it is essential to conduct. For Christianity is a reasonable service. The virtue of Justice in particular is impossible without intelligence. Science is the correlative of Duty. And though Scripture is the all-sufficient guide, even here the Christian must borrow assistance from the Schools. For Philosophy is necessary to Exegesis: ‘Even in the Scriptures the distinction of names and things breeds great light in the soul.’ 3

Thus, however much the field of inquiry is limited by Authority, learning is still indispensable as the art of expression, as logic, as ethics, as sociology, as philology. But the Alexandrines went further. They professed . . .


1 The ὀρθοδοξασταί, Strom. i. 9. 45; he calls them ϕιλεγκλήμονες, ψοϕοδεεῖς: they demand ψιλὴν τὴν πίστιν, i. 1. 18, 9. 43. For a lively but malicious picture of this party by the hand of a clever unbeliever, see Origen Contra Celsum iii. 44-78.

2 Strom. i. 5. 28.

1 Strom. i. 2. 19, 20, 20. 99 sq., vi. 6 sqq., 10 sqq. The Lord answered Satan with a play upon the word ‘bread’, i. 9. 44, ‘and I fail to see how Satan, if he were, as some consider, the inventor of philosophy and dialectics, could be baffled by the well-known figure of amphiboly.’ For the relation of Science to Duty see especially Strom. i, 9. 44, vi. 10. 46; for its service to Exegesis, i. 9. 44 sq., vi. 10. 82.


-80- and exhibited the most entire loyalty to the Creed; but outside the circle of Apostolical dogma they held themselves free. They agreed with the Orthodoxasts that Scripture was inspired; but their great Platonic maxim, that ‘nothing is to be believed which is unworthy of God’, makes reason the judge of Revelation. 1 They held that this maxim was a part of the Apostolical tradition, and accordingly they put the letter of the Bible in effect on one side, wherever, as in the account of Creation or of the Fall, it appeared to conflict with the teaching of Science. But though there is in them a strong vein of Common Sense or Rationalism, they were not less sensible of the mystic supernatural side of the religious life than Irenaeus. The difference is, that with them the mystical grows out of the rational; that they think always less of the historical fact than of the idea, less of the outward sign than of the inner truth. Their object is to show, not that Common Sense is enough for salvation, but that neither Faith without Reason nor Reason without Faith can bring forth its noblest fruits; that full communion with God, the highest aim of human effort, can be attained only by those who in Christ have grown to the stature of the perfect man, in whom the saint and the thinker are blended together in the unity of the Divine Love. Hence they represent on one side the revolt of Protestantism against Catholicism, on the other that of Mysticism against Gnosticism. And their great service to the Church is, that they endeavoured faithfully to combine the two great factors of the spiritual life. . . .


1 This maxim is enunciated by Clement, Strom. vi. 15. 124, vii. 16. 96, and lies at the root of Allegorism. It is the guiding principle also of the Clementine Homilies (ii. 40 πᾶν λεχθὲν ἢ γραϕὲν κατὰ τοῦ θεοῦ ψεῦδός ἐστιν), and of the Gnostics.


-81- The Canon of Scripture had already assumed very nearly its permanent form. 1 Gradually, with infinite care and discussion, those documents, which could be regarded as possessed of Apostolical authority, had been set apart to form the New Testament. And as the circle was drawn closer, as the living voice of Prophecy died away, so the reverence for the canonical books grew higher, till they were regarded as inspired in the same sense as the older Scriptures. But, as soon as men began to read the New Testament as a divinely given whole, they could not fail to be struck by the violent contrast between the teaching of St. Paul and the whole system of the existing Church. Down to this time no trace of ‘Paulinism’ is to be found, except among the Gnostics. Even Clement apologizes for treating ‘the noble Apostle’, 2 as he calls him, with the same deference as . . .


1 See Westcott On the Canon pp. 354 sqq., ed. 1881: ‘Clement it appears recognized as Canonical all the books of the New Testament except the Epistle of St. James, the second Epistle of St. Peter, and the third Epistle of St. John. And his silence as to these can prove no more than that he was not acquainted with them.’ Most of the references to James given in the Index are doubtful; but in Strom. vi. 1 8. 164 there seems to be a clear allusion to the ‘royal law’ of love; and the mention of James with Peter, John, and Paul as the founders of Christian Gnosis, Strom. i. 1. 11, vi. 9. 68, would be very remarkable unless James were known to Clement as a Canonical writer. Again, Eusebius (H. E. vi. 14) and Cassiodorius ≪Inst. div. lit. 8≫ both testify that James was commented upon in the Hypotyposes. On the authority attributed by Clement to Barnabas and the Revelation of Peter (both were included in the Hypotyposes), see Westcott On the Canon App. B.

2 Όἀπόστολος, ὁ καλος͵ θεσπέσιος͵ γενναῖος ἀπόστολος. The passage referred to is Strom. iv. 21. 134 ἰστέον μέντοι ὅτι͵ εἰ καὶ ὁ Παύλος τοῖς χρόνοις νεάζει͵ εύθὺς μετὰ τὴν τοῦ κυρίου ἀνάληψιν ἀκμάσας, ἀλλὰ οὖν ἡ γραϕὴ αὐτῷ ἐκ τῆς παλαιᾶς ἤρτηται διαθήκης͵ ἐκεῖθεν ἀναπνέουσα καὶ λαλοῦσα. Clement maintains against the Ebionites that St. Paul is in complete accordance with the Jewish Scriptures. At the same time, like Origen, he regards him as one of the chief authorities for the use of Allegorism. On the terms ‘Judaism’, ‘Jewish Christian’, ‘Paulinism’, see Dr. Harnack’s excellent remarks, Dogmengeschichte i. pp. 271 sqq. Dr. Harnack also sets the Simon Magus myth in a true historical light (ibid. p. 233). It is cheering to notice the dying away of the willful Tübingen theories, on which so much erudition and ingenuity have been wasted.


-82- the Twelve. But he does so without hesitation, and the working of the new leaven is seen at once in his view of Knowledge, of the Resurrection, of Retribution. Indeed, we may characterize this period as the first of those Pauline reactions, which mark the critical epochs of theology. It is the age of Irenaeus and the Alexandrines. But while the leading motive of the former is the Incarnation, the mystical saving work of Christ, the guiding principles of the latter are the goodness of God and the freedom of Man. Hence Paulinism assumed very different shapes in the Western and in the Eastern doctors. 1 In the former the antithesis of the First and the Second Adam is already pointing the way to the Augustinian doctrine of Grace; in the latter the vision of the great day, when Christ shall deliver up the kingdom to His Father, leads on to Universalism.

The second great question arising out of the completion of the Canon was that of the Unity of Scripture. This the Catholic strenuously asserted, the Gnostic denied or admitted only with large reservations.

What is the relation of the Old Testament to the New? What is that Law which Jesus came not to destroy but to fulfill? The Ebionites replied that it was the Spiritual Law, that is to say the Moral Law, with the addition of certain positive precepts — circumcision, the sabbath, abstention from blood. 2 The general body . . .


1 Harnack Dogmengeschichte i. pp. 507 sqq.

2 I refer to the Homilies. Circumcision is there regarded as of eternal obligation; thus in the Epistle of Peter and The Contestation it is ordered that the sacred books of the sect shall be entrusted to none but a circumcised believer. In the body of the work this condition is not insisted upon; but Clement had become a Jew at Rome, iv. 22. The observance of the Sabbath, again, is not insisted upon, but it underlies the ἑβδομάδος μυστήριον of xvii. 10. The precepts of the Spiritual Law are given in vii. 4. [Irenaeus iv. 15 distinguishes between the Decalogue of eternal observance and the ceremonial Law imposed after the worship of the calf which ‘in servitutis iugo dominabatur eis’. Const. App. i. 6, ii. 5 ≪from Didascalia apostolorum 2, 4≫ calls the first νόμος, the second δευτέρωσις]: ≪cp. vi. 20 (Didascalia 2), Iren. iv. 14 § 2≫. Abstinence from blood was the law of the whole Church (Or. Sibyllina ii. 96, viii. 402; Eus. H. E. v. i. 26; Tert. Apol. 9, ≪de Monog. 5, de Jejun. 4≫; Clement Paed. ii. 1. 17; Origen In Rom. ii. 13). It was falling into desuetude in the time of Augustine; see Heinichen’s note on Eus. H.E. v. 1. 26. The Sabbath was kept as a holy day; see Bingham xiii. 9. 3 ≪but only from the second half of the fourth century onwards: cp. S. Cyr. Hier. Cat. iv. 37≫. It was still necessary to argue the higher sanctity of the Lord’s Day, the eighth day ≪cp. Barnabas xv. 9≫. Hence the earnest iteration with which Clement dwells on the ὀγδοάδος μυστήριον, Strom. iv. 17. 109, v. 6. 36, 14. 106, vi. 14. 108, 16. 138. In the last passage he argues that Light was created on the first day, then follow six days of creative work, then the eighth a repetition of the first. I may notice here that in one passage (Strom. v. 11. 74) Clement speaks of the ≪O.T.≫ as actually forbidding Sacrifice. This is the view of the Homilies, of Barnabas ii. 4-10, of the Epistle to Diognetus iii. 4, and of the Praedicatio Petri apud Strom. vi. 5. 41 ≪?≫. It is a good instance of Clement’s erudite uncertainty. ≪It was approximately the ordinary view, especially of the Greek Fathers: see e.g. Justin Trypho 19, 21, 22, 67; Iren. Haer. iv. 17 §§ 1-4; Tert. adv. Marc. ii. 18; Epiph. Haer. ixvi. 71; Jerome in Jer. vii. 21 sqq., in Esai. i. 12; Greg. Naz. Or. xlv in Pascha 12; Chrys. in Gen. Hom. xxvii. 2, adv. Jud. iv. 6; Aug. c. Faust. xviii. 6; Theodt. Graec. affect, cur. vii. pp. 887, 892 sq.≫


-83- of the Church differed from this definition only in so far as they rejected the rite of circumcision. But the Ebionites went on to declare, that the whole of the Old Testament, so far as it was not in strict agreement with this standard, is a forgery of the Evil Spirit. They involved in one sweeping condemnation the Temple ritual, the history of the wars and the Monarchy, and -84- a large part of the prophetic writings. 1 This was in substance the view of the Gnostics also. These maintained that the Author of the Old Testament is described sometimes as evil, sometimes as imperfect, commanding fierce wars of extermination, caring for sacrifice, governing by payment and punishment. He is Just, they said, at best, but surely not Good.

Clement, whose intellect is penetrating but not systematic, did not grasp the whole range of the problem before him. He leaves for Origen the task of dealing with those passages, in which, as the Gnostics affirmed, the Scriptures attribute direct immorality to Jehovah, and confines himself to the proposition that goodness is not inconsistent with severity, that He who teaches must also threaten, and He who saves correct. Justice, he insists, is the reverse side of Love. ‘He, who is Good for His own sake, is Just for ours, and Just because He is Good.’ 2 The moral Law then, though inferior to the Gospel Law, because it works by fear and not by love, and reveals God as Lord but not as Father, is yet one with it in the way of development, as a needful preparatory discipline, as a step in the divine education of the world, or of the individual. 3 . . .


1 Not all the prophets; see the references in Lagarde’s edition of the Homilies. In particular, Is. 7:6, 9:6 are applied to Christ, Hom. xvi. 14; from which it would seem that the first chapter of Matthew was not omitted by the Ebionites. This was quite consistent with a denial of Christ’s Divinity, as in the case of Theodotus of Byzantium (Philos. vii. 35).

2 Paed. i. 10. 88; the theme is dwelt upon at great length in this book from chap. 8 onwards. Cp. Strom. i. 27. 171, ii. 7. 32 sqq., iv. 3. 9.

3 For the unity of Inspiration, and so of all Scripture, see Strom. ii. 6. 29, iii. 11. 76, iv. 21. 132, iv. 22. 135, vi. 13. 106, vi. 15. 125, vii. 16. 95, vii. 18. 107. The law is inferior to the Gospel as teaching only abstinence from evil; yet this is the way to the Gospel and to well-doing: iv. 21. 130. The Law and the Prophets taught in riddles what the Gospel teaches clearly: vi. 7. 58: 15. 123. The Law governs by fear, ii. 6. 30, and reveals God as Lord, i. 27. 173, a very Philonic passage.


-85- The rest of the Old Testament, though in one sense transient, has yet an eternal significance as ‘the shadow of good things to come’, as revealing Christ throughout, though but in riddles and symbols. It has therefore a high doctrinal value for those who can read it aright. Already the Sacrificial Law was looked upon as the charter of the Christian hierarchy. 1 But this opinion, so pregnant of consequences in later times, Clement deliberately rejects. In this point he differs from Origen, by whom the Priest and Levite are regarded as types of the Christian Presbyter and Deacon [as they are by Clement of Rome], though even Origen does not carry the parallel so far as was afterwards done. 2

The method by which this inner harmony is discoverable, the key to the riddles of the Old Testament, is Allegorism. What this singular system effected in the hands of the Alexandrine Jew, we have already seen. By the Christian it was adapted to fresh purposes — the explanation of Prophecy and of the New Testament itself. It was in universal use, and was regarded by all as one of the articles of the Ecclesiastical Canon or Tradition. 3 We shall be compelled to revert to this . . .


1 In the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs. See Lightfoot Philippians ed. 4, pp. 259 sq. ≪where however Lightfoot says ‘On the Christian Ministry the writer is silent’. See also R. H. Charles The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs pp. lxi sqq., 45.≫

2 ≪See p. 259 below: S. Clem. Rom. 1 Cor. 40-44; but see also Lightfoot’s note 9 on ch. 40 (Apostolic Fathers I. ii. p. 123).≫

3 Origen De Princ. preface 8. Clement appears to distinguish between two traditions, the Ecclesiastical and the Gnostic, the κανὼν τῆς ἐκκλησίας, Strom. i. 1. 15; 19. 96; vii. 15. 90; 16. 95, 104, and the γνωστικὴ παράδοσις, Strom. i. i. 15, or γνῶσις, iv. 15. 97. The latter was communicated by Christ to James, Peter, John, Paul, and the other Apostles, vi. 8. 68, but only to the Four, i. 1. 11; cp. iv. 15. 97. The former is the Little, the latter the Great Mysteries. The former gives the facts of the Creed; and Faith and Obedience, being ‘watered’ by Greek philosophy, lead up to the spiritual interpretation of the facts: see the opening of Strom. i. generally. The Gnostic tradition is secret in so far as all Christians do not as a matter of fact understand it, yet not secret in so far as all ought to understand it. Hence Clement, Paed. i. 6. 33, denies that the Church has διδαχὰς ἄλλας ἀπορρήτους, while he yet speaks of τὸ τῆς γνώμης ἀπρρητον, Quis dives salvus 5; Strom. i. 1. 13. The difference between this teaching and Origen’s is merely verbal.


-86- topic at a later period, and it will be sufficient here to notice, that the Alexandrines differed from their contemporaries in three important points. They regarded Allegorism as having been handed down from Christ and a few chosen Apostles, through a succession, not of Bishops, but of Teachers. 1 They employed it boldly, as Philo had done before them, for the reconciliation of Greek culture with the Hebrew Scriptures. And lastly they applied it to the New Testament, not merely for the purpose of fanciful edification, but with the serious object of correcting the literal, mechanical, hierarchical tendencies of the day. 2 This is in truth the noblest . . .


1 See Strom. i. i. 11; vi. 8. 68.

2 I may notice here that Clement speaks of Four Senses of Scripture. The MS reading τετραχῶς in Strom. i. 28. 179 is quite right, in spite of the doubts of Bishop Potter and Sylburg ≪Stählin reads τριχῶς≫. Compare § 176, that is to say into History, Legislation (= Ethics), Sacrifice (= Physics), and Theology or Epopteia (= Dialectic or Metaphysics). Here the three higher divisions answer to the branches of Philosophy as taught in the Greek schools. In § 179 Clement repeats this: ‘We must interpret the law in four ways as giving a type, or a moral command or a prophecy.’ The literal sense is omitted. The identification of Sacrificial Typology with Physics is very arbitrary. Theodotus, Excerpta 66, speaks of three senses, the Literal, the Parabolic, and the Mystical, just like Origen, but finds them only in the New Testament. [In later times also a fourfold sense was held. ‘Littera gesta docet, quid credas allegoria, Moralis quid agas, quo tendas anagogia’ (Harnack Dogmengeschichte ii. p. 80). This is different from Clement’s view and is arrived at by distinguishing between the ἀλληγορία and the ἀναγωγή of Origen.]


-87- side of Allegorism, for here it deals with cases, where the antithesis of letter and spirit is most real and vital. Yet it was this crowning merit of the Alexandrines that led to one of their most serious errors. On many points — the explanation of those much-contested words, Priest, Altar, Sacrifice, the Body and Blood of Christ, the Power of the Keys, Eternal Life, Eternal Death — they were at variance with the spirit of the age. Hence they were driven to what is known as Reserve. The belief of the enlightened Christian becomes a mystery, that may not be revealed to the simpler brother, for whom the letter is enough. They strove to justify themselves in this by texts of Scripture, but their Reserve is in fact the ‘medicinal lie’ 1 of Plato, the freemasonry of the Gnostics; and their best defence is that in practice it is little more than a figure of speech.

From the Unity of Truth flows the necessity of Revelation. For all knowledge must rest ultimately on the same small group of Axioms, which cannot be proved, as the Greek understood proof. 2 There is then no third term between a self-communication of the Divine and absolute scepticism.

The ultimate and therefore, strictly speaking, only indemonstrable axiom of religious philosophy is that . . .


1 Strom. vii. 9. 53, of the Gnostic: “the Gnostic alone testifies to the truth in deed and word. For he always does rightly in all things, both in word and action, and in thought itself.”

2 Strom. ii. 4. 13, vi. 7. 57 sq.


-88- which concerns the Being and the Nature of God. By the grace of the Logos He has been known though imperfectly in all ages and climes to those who diligently sought Him. But to us He is revealed in the New Testament as a Triad 1 — Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. What is the exact signification of these titles? What is the precise relation to one another and to us of the Entities they denote? The answer to these questions was the first and most difficult task of Christian Theology.

From the very outset all Christian sects baptized and pronounced the benediction in the Triple Name. Even those who could not understand did not venture to abjure this authoritative formula; and the problems agitated, serious as they undoubtedly were, turned solely upon the manner of its explanation. Some, like the author of the Homilies, and the Gnostics generally, tried to fit it on, by the most violent methods, to opinions derived from external sources. 2 Others endeavoured to reconcile the One with the Three, by . . .


1 Strom. v. 14. 103. The word is used by Theophilus, Ad Autol. ii. 15. But it is doubtful whether Theophilus was the first to employ it. Cp. Excerpta ex Theod. 80, where it is said that the believer “who has been sealed by Father, Son and Holy Spirit is beyond the threats of every other power and by the three Names has been released from the whole triad of corruption.” The form of the antithesis seems to imply that the Three Names were already spoken of as a Trias. [Cp. also the Trinity of Marcus: Iren. i. 21. 3, Eus. H. E. iv. 11 § 5.]

2 The Homilies afford perhaps the most striking of all external proofs of the authenticity of the Baptismal Formula. The Son, one of the two powers of God, is emphatically ‘not God’. The Holy Spirit is a mere occasional emanation, ‘a hand put forth for the purpose of creation and then drawn back again’, xvi. 12, 15; xx. 8. Yet the sect, which adhered to this Jewish ante-Philonic system, baptized in the Triple Name, ix. 19, and used the doxology, iii. 72. The point is urged by Dorner, i. p. 168 of the English translation. A widely different view is maintained by Harnack Dogmengeschichte i. p. 74; Scholten Die Taufformel.


-89- what is known as Emanatignism; the Son, the Holy Spirit, were occasional expansions of the Divine Nature, shooting forth like rays from a torch, and again absorbed into the parent flame. 1 Others, again, regarded the Three Names as three phases, or manifestations, of the One Divine Activity. 2 But the main body of the Church asserted the Deity and Personality of the Son, and, though with less unanimity, those also of the Holy Ghost, and spoke of the Three as united in Power or in Spirit.

The Christian doctrine differed from that of Philo in many important features. In the latter, as we have seen, a certain doubt hangs over the number and even the existence of the Powers. They are a divination, a poet’s vision of what may be, of what must be, but hardly more. And [because they form an indefinite series] the Powers are essentially inferior to their source. 3 The Divine Energy is degraded as it approaches the sphere of material existence; the Logos has the light but not the fire of God. . . .


1 The Son, Justin Trypho 128. This passage is wrongly referred to by Bishop Potter, and apparently by Siegfried, p. 334, as giving Justin’s own opinion. [Otto considers that Justin is here setting out the view of Alexandrine Jews.] The Holy Spirit, Athenagoras Suppl. 10 (ed. Otto p. 48).

2 Perhaps the Alogi, see Dorner; but Schaff (Dict. of Christian Biog. s.v. ‘Alogians’) doubts this. The Monarchians, Neander ii. p. 295 of the English translation. Monarchianism was especially strong in Rome, Eus. H. E. v. 28; Philos. ix; Tert. Adv. Prax. It is to be regarded neither as the prevailing view of the Roman Church, nor as a heresy introduced at a late date, but as an ancient opinion which had always existed side by side with the belief in a Personal Trinity. The incompatibility of the two modes of conception was not distinctly realized till towards the end of the second century. The chronology and details of the history of Monarchianism are very obscure: see Harnack Dogmengeschichte i. 659 sqq.

3 [It is one of the leading principles of Plotinus that the child though ὁμοούσιος, is always inferior to the parent.]


-90- It is because he is inferior that he is the Demiurge; the Eternal Himself may not be brought into contact with evil. But the Christian held that God made the world out of nothing, and made it good. Hence the concrete is no longer polluted, and creation is a mark rather of the exaltation than of the inferiority of its Agent. ‘In Him was Life.’ Thus there remains no other difference between tfie Father and the Logos than that between the One and the Many, an eternal antithesis, which, in Clement’s view, implies the mutual necessity of the two terms; in that of Origen, who lays more stress upon the idea of causation, a distinction of dignity but not of nature. This mode of thought was immensely strengthened by the Incarnation, by which humanity is taken up into the bosom of the Divine, and the deepest humiliation becomes a gauge of the Love and Wisdom that prompted it. Again in Philo there is scarcely a trace of any Messianic hope; while, in the belief of the Christian, Christ is at once the Giver, the Sum, and the Accomplisher of all Revelation. Other functions, that especially enhance the distinction between the two points of view, are those of Pardon and of Judgement.

On the other hand, in one remarkable point the ideal of Christianity was in danger of falling below that of Philo. For there was a tendency in less philosophical minds to distinguish between the unspoken and the spoken Word, to conceive of the Son, the Divine Reason or Logos, as at first immanent in the mind of the Father and ≪then≫ assuming hypostasis for the purpose of Creation. 1 . . .


1 Philo does not apply to the Divine Logos the distinction of ἐνδιάθετος and προϕορικός. It is employed by Theophilus, Ad Aut. ii. 10. 22, by Tertullian, Adv. Prax. 5, and by the author of the Philos. x. 33. Irenaeus rejects these terms as Gnostic, ii. 28. 6. See Baur Dreieinigkeit pp. 163 sqq., Lehrb. der Chr. Dogmengesch. p. 105.


-91- It is at this point that Clement takes up the thread. But it must be observed, that he is never controversial nor even historical in his method. His horizon is limited by the Eastern world. He never glances at Monarchianism, which was already perhaps the subject of fierce debate in Rome. Hence it is difficult to trace the exact relation of his ideas to those of his predecessors or his contemporaries.

The knowledge of God is necessarily the starting-point of the religious philosopher. But how is God to be known? Philo dwells upon the lessons to be learned from the order and beauty of Creation. These give a true though inadequate picture of Jehovah, and form the creed of the lower life, of those who have not risen above the guidance of the Logos. But Clement knows the world only through books, and hardly touches upon this fruitful and persuasive theme. 1 For him the channels of revelation are only Scripture and abstract reason. He ought on his own principle to have regarded the second as merely ancillary to the first. This however is far from being his real view. Scripture gives us such an idea of God, as is sufficient to start and guide us in our efforts to attain moral purity. But purity is only a negative state, valuable chiefly as the condition of insight. He who has been purified in Baptism and then initiated into the Little Mysteries, who has acquired, that is to say, the habits of self- control and reflection, becomes ripe for the Greater Mysteries, 2 for Epopteia or Gnosis, the scientific . . .


1 He touches upon it, Protrep. i. 5, iv. 63. But we should notice that the Protrepticus is addressed to the unconverted heathen.

2 The three stages are represented loosely by the three [principal] surviving treatises of Clement. The Protrepticus is an exhortation to the heathen world to turn to the Word, the Light, and leads up to Baptism. The Paedagogus shows how the baptized Christian is further purified by discipline which eradicates passion = τὰ καθάρσια͵ τὰ μικρὰ μυστήρια. The Stromateis as we have them are a rambling account of the moral side of Gnosis. It describes, Book i the relation of Faith to Education; Book ii the definition of Faith and its relation to Knowledge; Book iii the Gnostic virtue of Temperance; Book iv Courage and Love; Book v Relation of Faith to Symbolism; Book vi Knowledge, Apathy, the use of Philosophy; Book vii the Gnostic life. The last two books conclude what he calls the ἠθικὸς τόπος, and were to be followed by an investigation of the ἀρχαί, the Gnosis proper. This he never wrote. The logical treatise which forms Book viii may have been intended as an introduction to the Christian metaphysics. Thus Clement never really reached the μεγάλα μυστήρια or ἐποπτεία. See Strom. i. 1. 15, v. 11. 71, vi. 1. 1, vii. 4. 27; Protrep. xii. 118 sqq.; Paed. i. 1. For a fuller analysis of his writings, see Westcott ‘Clement of Alexandria’ in Dict. of Ch. Biog.; Overbeck Theol. Lit.-Ztg. 1879 no. 20, and Hist. Ztschr. N. F. xii. pp. 455-72; Zahn Forschungen. Other information in Fabricius and in Dähne De γνώσει.


-92- knowledge of God. From this point he is led on by the method of Analysis or Elimination. 1 ‘Stripping from concrete existence all physical attributes, taking away from it in the next place the three dimensions of space, we arrive at the conception of a point having position.’ There is yet a further step, for perfect simplicity has not yet been gained. Reject the idea of position, and we have reached the last attainable abstraction, the pure Monad.

This is God. We know not what He is, only what He is not. He has absolutely no predicates, no genus, no differentia, no species. He is neither unit nor number; He has neither accident nor substance. Names denote either qualities or relations; God has . . .


1 ἀνάλυσις, Strom. v. 11. 71, or κατὰ ἀϕαίρεσιν, Alcinous Epitome 10. The same method is applied by Maximus Tyrius, xvii. 5 sqq. See Lecture V ad init.


-93- neither. ‘He is formless and nameless, though we sometimes give Him titles, which are not to be taken in their proper sense; the One, the Good, Intelligence, or Existence, or Father, or God, or Creator, or Lord.’ These are but honourable phrases which we use, not because they really describe the Eternal, but that our understanding may have something to lean upon. 1

The next step must obviously be to find some means of restoring to the Supreme Being the actuality of which He has been deprived in this appalling definition. 2 This Clement effects through the doctrine of the Son. ‘The God then, being indemonstrable, is not the object of knowledge; but the Son is Wisdom and Knowledge, and Truth and whatever else is akin to these, and so is capable of demonstration and definition. All the powers of the Divine Nature, gathered into one, complete the idea of the Son; but He is infinite 3 . . .


1 The leading passages are Strom. v. 11. 71, 12. 81 sq., vi. 18. 166; cp. Also ii. 2. 6. God is ἐπέκεινα τοῦ ἑνὸς καὶ ὑπὲρ μονάδα, Paed. i. 8. 71. But though this really means the same as ἐπέκεινα τῆς οὐσίας, Clement avoids the use of this Platonic phrase. God is or has οὐσία, Strom. ii. 2. 5, iv. 25. 162, v. 10. 66; Fragment of περὶ προνοίας, Dindorf iii. 497; Zahn iii. 40. Clement departs from Plato again in applying the term Infinite to God.

2 [E. de Faye, Clément d’ Alexandrie Paris 1898 pp. 228 sq., rightly insists that in practice (whatever it may be in theory) Clement’s conception of God is Christian: ‘Elle est d’un côté marquée de l’effigie de Platon, de l’autre elle est chrétienne’.]


3 ≪Dr. Bigg has queried his rendering ‘infinite’ of ἀπαρέμϕατος in the clause ἀπαρέμϕατος δέ ἐστι τῆς περὶ ἑκάστης αὐτοῦ τῶν δυνάμεων ἐννοίας. Dr. Gilbert Murray has been kind enough to write: ‘I do not think “infinite” is right nor yet “indefinite”. Παρεμϕαίνω means simul ostendo, i.e. “indicate, connote, suggest”. Thus a noun can be ἀπαρέμϕατος γένους, a verb ἀπαρέμϕατος προσώπου, i.e. “without indication of gender” or “of person”. The verbal adjective seems here to be active: the forms in question “do not indicate” the gender or the person. In the passage of Clement the verbal adjective seems to be passive (though the difference of meaning is so slight that perhaps Clement would not be conscious of using the word in a different sense): the Son has all the powers, but is “not indicable or defined by the conception we have of each of the powers”; e.g. justice: our conception of justice does not παρεμϕαίνειν Him or indicate or define what He is’.≫


-94- as regards each of His powers. He is then not absolutely One as Unity, nor Many as divisible, but One as All is One. Hence He is All. For He is a circle, all the powers being orbed and united in Him.’ The Son in this Pythagorean mode of statement is the circle, of which the Father is the central point. He is the ideal Many, the Mind, of which the Father is the principle of identity. He is in fact the consciousness of God. 1

We are here brought into contact with one of the most pregnant thoughts of the second century. Clement it will be seen, though Philo is before his eyes, has taken the leap from which Philo recoiled. He has distinguished between the thinker and the thought, between Mind and its unknown foundation, and in so doing has given birth to Neo-Platonism. 2 . . .


1 Strom. iv. 25. 156. If Zahn is right (Forsch. iii. 77) in ascribing to the Hypotyposes [vivid picturesque descriptions] the fragment preserved by Maximus Confessor, Clement expressly denied to God any consciousness of the external world: He sees the object only as mirrored in the Son. This will then be the signification of the words ὡς ἴδια θελήματα ὁ θεὸς τὰ ὄντα γινώσκει. Routh, Rel. sacr. i. p. 378, with better reason attributes the fragment to Pantaenus. But in any case Clement’s meaning seems to be clear. [Cp. the references to Lessing, Schelling, and Hegel in Pfleiderer Development of Theology, Engl. tr., p. 77. Tert. Adv. Praxean 5 ‘quae ratio sensus ipsius est’. Here Tertullian distinguishes very sharply, even in respect of time, the ratio from the sensus. Clement never does this.]

2 The doctrine of the Absolute God Clement may have drawn through Basilides or Valentinus from Aristotle. The conception of the Son as the Father’s complement, the νόησις which the Father νοεὶ, is not, so far as I am aware, to be found in any Gnostic writer. Contrast with Clement’s language Excerpta 7. The doctrine of Numenius, as I shall endeavour to show in Lecture VII, is quite different. Nor can Clement have been indebted to Ammonius Saccas. For Ammonius would be only about thirty years of age in 190 A.D. Philosophers rarely began to teach before that age, and Ammonius, who is said to have been originally a porter, probably did not attain any eminence till even a later period of life. This renegade Christian was most likely himself indebted to Clement. On the relation of Clement to Plotinus see especially A. Richter Neu-Platonische Studien, Halle 1867; also Dähne De γνώσει; Vacherot Histoire de l’École d’Alexandrie.


-95- It is essentially a heathen conception, and can be developed consistently only on heathen principles. Clement has gone astray from the first by his mode of approaching the subject. The question as he has posed it is, not What is Spirit? or What is the Idea of Good? but a very different one, What is the simplest thing conceivable? And he assumes that this is, and that it is the cause of all that exists. Nothing that is part of the effect can belong to the Cause. Hence, instead of seeking for the Perfect Being, he has fallen upon this futile method of Analysis, which deals with words not with things, and asks, not what is divisible in reality, but what is divisible in logic. The result is a chimera, a bare Force, which neither is nor is not, neither thinks nor thinks not; a Cause divided by an impassable gulf from all its effects. Nor has Clement been at any pains to surround his doctrine with the needful explanations and safeguards. This work he left entirely to Plotinus.

Some indeed of the consequences Clement foresaw. Thus he tells us that man may become by virtue like the Son, but not like God. 1 Others he does not appear . . .


1 Strom. vi. 14. 114, it is impious to suppose (as the Stoics did) that the virtue of God and that of man are the same. ‘Some Christians,’ however, maintained that man by virtue becomes like God, Strom. ii. 22. 131. See Irenaeus, v. 6; Tert. De Bapt. 5; Recognitions v. 23; Dähne De γνώσει p. 103 note.


-96- to have felt at all. The transcendental God, who is not the object of knowledge, can be approached only by a faculty other than reason, by direct Vision or Ecstasy; but Clement does not teach this. 1 He believed in the revelation of God by His Son. But what gospel has revealed this Monad; how could He be revealed; what good would the revelation do us if given; or how could we test the revelation? The true conclusion from Clement’s premisses is the moral paradox, which has been maintained with consummate ability from this very place, 2 that, as we can know nothing of God, we must accept without question whatever we are told. But he was far from thinking this, and his whole argument against Gnosticism proceeds upon the assumption, that the Goodness and Justice of God are the same in kind as our own. It is true that he sometimes draws a distinction between having virtue and being virtue; from which we might suppose that, like Philo, he regarded the difference between human and divine morality as lying in the mode of its possession. But this merely proves that in practice he denies what in theory he asserts; because to the Christian conscience God is, and must be, not the Everlasting No, but the Everlasting Yea. 3 . . .


1 Strom. v. 11. 74. Direct Vision is granted only in heaven; the instrument of knowledge in this life is Dialectic. See next Lecture, pp. 131 sq.

2 The allusion is to Mansel’s Limits of Religious Thought, the Bampton Lectures for 1858. The reader who is interested in the discussion of the point should refer also to the controversy between Mansel and Goldwin Smith, and to F. D. Maurice’s What is Revelation? (Cambridge 1859) and Sequel to the Inquiry What is Revelation? (Cambridge 1860), with the Reply of Mansel.

3 The distinction between having virtue and being virtue is applied, not to God but to the Gnostic, Strom. iv. 6. 40, vii. 7. 38. God is νοῦς, Protrep. x. 98; Strom. iv. 25. 155, vi. 9. 72: is good, just, beneficent, omniscient; Strom. v. 14. 141, vi. 16. 141, 17. 154.


-97- Clement’s mode of statement is such as to involve necessarily the Unity, Equality, and Eternity of the First and Second Persons. 1 It has been asserted, that he hardly leaves sufficient room for a true distinction of Hypostasis. 2 But, though he possesses no technical name either for Substance or for Person, 3 there is no doubt that the latter conception was clearly present to his mind. ‘O mystic wonder,’ he exclaims, ‘One is the Father of All, One also the Word of All, and the Holy Ghost is One and the same everywhere.’ 4 His method of developing this proposition is determined partly by language inherited from his predecessors, partly by veins of thought afterwards seized and expanded by Origen. But he differs in a marked degree both from his pupils and from his teachers.

Many of the phrases which he applies to the Son — the Name, the Face, the House of God, and so on — are borrowed from Philo. 5 From Christian writers he had . . .


1 See passages in Bull Def. fid. Nic. ii. 6.

2 Dorner i. p. 288; Cognat Clément d’Alexandrie p. 448.

3 Substance is τὸ ἄρρητον͵ πνεῦμα͵ ϕύσις. But the word οὐσία is already emerging into use as the distinctive expression. See p. 93 above, note 1; Strom. vi. 16. 138. Person is ϕύσις, Strom. vii. 2. 5; τὸ ἕν, Paed. i. 6. 42; and even ὑπόστασις, Strom. ii. 18. 96 τῆς τρίτης ἤδη μονῆς (so we should read, not νόνης, as Potter, Klotz, Dind.) συναπτούσης ἐπὶ τὴν τοῦ κυρίου τετάρτην ὑπόστασιν. The third ‘mansion’ is Charity, which joining on to the Person of the Lord makes up the τετράς of Virtues. Potter is quite mistaken in explaining this obscure passage so as to make τετάρτη ὑπόστασις signify ‘humanam Christi naturam quae cum tribus divinis personis numerata quaternionem quodammodo efficit.’

4 Paed. i. 6. 42, iii. 12. 101; Strom. vi. 7. 58; [Ecl. Proph. 13 "Πᾶν ῥῆμα ἵσταται ἐπὶ δύο καὶ τριῶν μαρτύρων", ἐπὶ πατρὸς καὶ υἱοῦ καὶ ἁγίου πνεύματος.]

5 Name of God, Strom. v. 6. 38: Face, Paed. i. 7. 57; Strom. v. 6. 34: Image, ἄνθρωπος ἀπαθής Heavenly Man, Paed. i. 12. 98; Strom. v. 14.94: High Priest, Strom. v. 6. 32: Charioteer, Paed. iii. 12. 101: Pilot (perhaps directly from Numenius) Strom. vii. 2. 5: Idea or Sum of Ideas, Strom. v. 3. 16: Sum of the Powers, Paed. 1. 8. 74; Strom. iv. 25. 156: House of God, Paed. i. 9. 81: Melchisedech, Strom. iv. 25. 161: The Mystic Angel, Paed. i. 7. 56 sqq. Ebionite is the identification of Christ with ‘the Beginning’, Strom. v. 6. 38, vi. 7. 58: [cp. Routh Rel. sacr. i. pp. 98 sq.] Valentinian probably are the Angel of the Great Counsel ≪Isa. 9:6≫, Paed. i. 5. 24 (cp. Excerpta § 43) and the representation of Christ as ≪lord≫ of the Seven Protoctists, Strom. v. 6. 35; cp. vi. 16. 143.]


-98- learned to speak of Christ as ‘begotten of the Will of the Father’, as ‘coming forth for the sake of creation’. 1 But to Clement such words could only mean, that the difference of Persons is first manifested in their external relations. He rejects the distinction between the Spoken and the Unspoken Word. 2 There was no doubt in his mind as to the timeless Personality of the Logos. ‘If God is Father,’ he says, ‘He is at the same time Father of a Son.’ 3 Again, God is Just from all eternity because the Son is in, yet distinct from, the Father, so that the ‘equipoise’ of knowledge and love between the Two is the first idea of justice. 4

He does not indeed shrink from giving expression to the ministerial capacity implied in the very name of Son. In a famous passage of the Stromateis 5 all rational existence is figured as a vast and graduated hierarchy, like a chain of iron rings, each sustaining and . . .


1 Strom. v. 3. 16. Similar language is used by Tatian Ad Graecos 5; Theophilus Ad Aut. ii. 22; Tertullian Adv. Prax. 5.

2 Strom. v. 1. 6; Nitzsch Dogmengesch. i. 203; Redepenning Origenes i. 112. But Zahn, Forsch. iii. 145 note, and Harnack, Dogmengesch. i. 621, note 4, explain the passage differently. In Strom. vii. 2. 5, the words οὐκ ἀποτεμνόμενος imply a rejection of the word προβολή by which the Generation of the Son was sometimes described.

3 Strom. v. 1. 1.

4 See the three remarkable passages, Paed. i. 8. 71, 74; 10. 88.

5 Strom. vii. 2. 9.


-99- sustained, each saving and saved, held together by the magnetic force of the Holy Spirit, which is Faith. It is the belief in the solidarity of all that thinks and feels, which was afterwards the master-thought of Origen. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are succeeded by the orders of Angels, and these in their turn by men. If we look upwards, the Son is ‘next to the Almighty’, ‘a kind of Energy of the Father’. If we look downwards, He is the Great High Priest, in whom all are reconciled to God. But the idea of subordination is strictly secondary in Clement. The text ‘None is good save One’ does not mean to him what it meant to his scholar. 1 Always he recurs to the essential Unity of the Father and the Son. He has no scruple about prayer to the latter. 2 ‘Let us pray to the Word — Be propitious, O Teacher of thy children, Father, Charioteer of Israel, Son and Father, Lord who art Both.’ So complete is the union, that he does not hesitate to transfer to the Son the peculiar titles of the Father. If the one is ‘beyond all intelligible’, so also is the other; if the one is Almighty, so also is the other; and, following the example of Philo and Justin, Clement applies to the Son passages of the Old Testament, where Lord is employed as the substitute for Jehovah. 3 . . .


1 Paed. i. 8. 74.

2 Paed. iii. 12. 101; Strom. vii. 12. 72. See also the first Hymn to the Saviour Christ appended to the Paedagogus. It is probably genuine; Redepenning i. 121.

3 The Son is ἐπέκεινα τοῦ νοητοῦ, Strom. V. 6. 38. He is παντοκράτωρ, Paed. i. 5. 24, iii. 7. 39; Protrep. viii. 81; Strom. iv. 3. 148: κύριος, Paed. i. 7. 56, 57: the Father alone is perfect, for in Him is the Son, and in the Son the Father, Paed. i. 7. 53. The passages usually quoted as showing Clement’s tendency to Subordinationism are Strom. vii. 1. 2 πρεσβύτερον ἐν γενέσει; vii. 2. 5, the Father is ὁ μόνος παντοκράτωρ; Strom. v. 1. 6, the Son is a δύναμις, vii. 2. 8 an ἐνέργεια, Paed. iii. 1. 2 a διάκονος of the Father; Protrep. x. 110 He is made equal to the Father; Paed. iii. 12. 98 He is the ἀγαθὸν βούλημα of the Father; Strom. vi. 7. 59 Creation runs up to the Father, Redemption to the Son. Rufinus Epil. in Apol. Pamphili, Clement sometimes ‘filium Dei creaturam dicit’. This must refer to the word κτίζειν used of Wisdom (Prov. viii. 22), Strom. v. 14. 89 Even ποιεῖν might be used, Strom. vi. 7. 58 (in a quotation from the Πέτρου κήρυγμα) ὃς ἀρχὴν τῶν ἁπάντων ἐποίησεν: cp. Adumb. in Ep. i. Joan. p. 1009 ‘hae namque primitivae virtutes ac primo creatae’, of the Son and Holy Spirit. On the interpretation of Proverbs viii. 22, see Huet Origeniana ii. 2. 21 (Lom. xxii. 176); Rosenmüller Hist. Interp. iii. 216, 229; Baur Dreieinigkeit. Bull and Dorner do not regard Clement as a Subordinationist; Huet maintains the opposite view; Redepenning occupies an intermediate position. The statement of Photius that Clement spoke of two Logoi must rest upon a blunder; see Westcott ‘Clement of Alexandria’ in Dict. Christ. Biog. i; Zahn Forsch. iii. 144; and Lect. VIII, p. 319 below.


-100- Down to this point the expansion of Christian doctrine had been facilitated by the speculations of Philo. But here the light of philosophy fails. Philo had no Trinity, unless the World be counted as the third term. Hence perhaps it resulted, that a certain doubt hangs over the Personality of the Holy Spirit in Hermas, in Athenagoras, and even in Hippolytus, 1 not to speak of later times.


Clement proposed to enter at length upon the subject in a separate treatise, perhaps with a special view to Montanism. 2 But the plan was never carried out. Hence, though there is no doubt that he regarded the Spirit as a distinct hypostasis 3, we cannot state with . . .


1 See the commentators on Hermas Sim. v. 6; Athenag. Legatio 10; Hippolytus Contra Noetum 14 (p. 52 ed. Lagarde). The author of the Philosophumena in the sketch of vital Christian doctrine with which he concludes his work omits all mention of the Holy Spirit. [But according to Jerome Ep. xxxvi ad Damasum 16, Hippolytus, probably in the Εἰς τὰ μετὰ τὴν Έξαήμερον (Eus. H. E. vi. 22), interpreted Isaac as symbolizing God the Father, Rebecca the Holy Spirit. See Lightfoot Apost. Fathers I. ii. pp. 330, 389.]

2 Strom. v. 13. 88.

3 Paed. i. 6. 42, iii. 12. 101; Strom. v. 14. 103, vii. 2. 9; Redepenning i. 122; Guerike ii. 134.


-101- precision how he considered the Third Person to be related to the First and Second. It is the Holy Spirit, equally with the Logos, who speaks by the Prophets. 1 It is He, as we have seen, who binds together the Church Visible and Invisible. 2 It is He whose dew washes away our sins, and sanctifies both soul and body. 3 Out of this last office of sanctification arises the only point that Clement has deemed it needful to define. The Third Person of the Platonic Trinity is the World Spirit, of which the soul of man is a part or effluence. Clement is jealous of the slightest approach to Pantheism, and takes occasion more than once to warn his readers, that the Holy Spirit, though said to be breathed into the believer, is present in the soul not as a part of God, not in essence, but in power. What he means he explains by a quotation from the Apostolic Barnabas: ‘Wherefore in us as in a temple God truly dwells. But how? By the word of His faith, by the calling of His promise, by the wisdom of His statutes, by the precepts of His doctrine.’ 4

We have yet to speak of the Incarnation and the redeeming work of Jesus.

The Word, the whole Word, took flesh of the Virgin Mary, and became Man. Jesus alone is both God and Man. 5 He who is God became Man, that we might become gods. 6 It has been doubted whether Clement . . .


1 Protrep. i. 8, viii. 79.

2 Strom. vii. 2. 9.

3 Quis dives salvus 34; Strom. iv. 26. 163.

4 Strom. vii. 14. 87, vi. 16. 138, ii. 20. 117, v. 13. 88.

5 See esp. Strom. iii. 17. 102; Protrep. i. 7, x. 106; Quis dives salvus 37. In the last very striking passage the words τὸ ἄρρητον αὐτοῦ πατήρ͵ τὸ δὲ ἡμῖν συμπαθὲς γέγονε μήτηρ. “God Himself is love; and out of love to us became feminine. In His ineffable essence He is Father; in His compassion to us He became Mother. The Father by loving became feminine: and the great proof of this is He whom He begot of Himself; and the fruit brought forth by love is love.” refer to the Eternal Generation, from which Clement passes on to the Incarnation.

6 Protr. i. 8; cp. Strom. iv. 23. 152, vii. 3. 13, 10. 56, 13. 82, referring to John 10:34. “Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?” The same strong phrase is used by the author of the Philos. X. 34. It is a favourite also with [Irenaeus (e.g. iv. 38. 4) and] Origen.


-102- ascribed to the Lord a human soul, but without reason; for it is the soul of Jesus that was our Ransom. 1 But His Flesh was not wholly like ours, inasmuch as it was exempt from all carnal desires and emotions, even the most necessary and innocent. 2 And as his Platonic dislike of the body has led Clement here, though no Docetist, perilously near to the confines of Docetism, so another Platonic theory, that all suffering is corrective, has induced him to speak of the Passion of Jesus as undesigned by God: ‘We must say then that God did not prevent it, for this alone saves both the providence and the goodness of God.’ But in truth Clement has saved neither. What he has done is to introduce dissension into the counsels of the Most High. 3 . . .


1 Redepenning i. 401 ‘während noch Clemens nur von einer Verbindung des Logos mit einem menschlichen Körper ohne Seele weiss.’ But Paed. i. 2. 4, He is ἀπαθὴς τὴν ψυχήν; cp. ibid. i. 9. 85 ὁ τὸ μέγιστον ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ ἐπιδιδούς, and Q. D. S. 37. Clement probably held with Origen that the Ransom was specially the Soul, and not the Body, of Christ. Cp. Socrates H. E. iii.

2 Strom. vi. 9. 71, He was ἁπαξαπλῶς ἀπαθής, and ate and drank only to forestall Docetism. Strom. iii. 7. 59 the opinion of Valentinus is quoted, apparently with approval. Indeed the view of Clement differs but little from that of Valentinus and Apelles, who held that the Saviour’s body was ‘propriae qualitatis’, Tert. De Res. Carnis 2, Adv. Marc. iii. 11; Philos. vii. 38. This was also the teaching of Theodotus; see above, p. 58. The curious tradition, recorded Adumb. in Epist. i. Joan. p. 1009, refers apparently to the flesh of Jesus after the Resurrection; but it is doubtful whether this passage is not an interpolation: see Dr. Zahn’s note.


3 Strom. iv. 12. 86.


-103- Clement’s Christology is often spoken of as meagre and unsatisfactory. In one aspect this is unjust. For Clement’s idea of the Saviour is larger and nobler — may we say less conventional? — than that of any other doctor of the Church. Christ is the Light that broods over all history, and ‘lighteth every man that cometh into the world’. All that there is upon earth of beauty, truth, goodness, all that distinguishes the civilized man from the savage, the savage from the beasts, is His gift. No later writer has so serene and hopeful a view of human nature as Clement, and though this may seem to depress his estimate of the Redeemer, it surely exalts in the same measure his belief in the fostering bounty of the Eternal Word. Especially is the goodness of Christ manifested towards His Church, to whom He has given a life and promised a future, which He alone can bestow.

But if we ask, why the Birth, the Passion, the Cross? why Jesus redeemed us in this way, and no other? Clement has no answer. It may be urged that all answers are but formal; or that Clement speaks the language of the whole sub-apostolic age. But this is only partially true. The spirit of Hellenism lies heavier on Clement than on others, and it led him to draw a line between the Cross and the Ascension, between the ‘death unto sin’ and the ‘new life unto righteousness’, which, though it has connexions with Scripture, is yet not Scriptural. We shall see farther on how he regards the Passion of our Lord, Redemption, as the source of Fear and Hope, but most strangely not of Love.

By His death Christ ransoms us from the powers of evil, 1 and bestows upon us Forgiveness, relieving us . . .


1 For the λύτρον see Quis dives salvus 37, 42; Paed. i. 5. 23, and elsewhere. Clement does not say expressly to whom the ransom is paid; see however Protrep. xi. 111. Distinguish from ἀπολύτρωσις, a complete emancipation from sin, perfected only in the other life, Strom. vii. 10. 56.


-104- thereby not merely from the punishment, or guilt, but from the ignorance, which is the power of sin. Forgiveness was undoubtedly a most difficult idea to the Alexandrines, who believed firmly in the changelessness of God, and carried their faith in the wholesome necessity of correction so far, that they admitted a quantitative relation between the offence and its chastisement. They held that Pardon can be freely bestowed only in Baptism, and that the Christian should be taught to look, not upon the Crucified, but upon the Risen Lord, the fountain not of pardon, but of life. 1 Jesus again reconciles us to God. He is our Propitiation; but this word, which, if more than a figure of speech, is so supremely difficult, Clement leaves unexplained. 2 Notwithstanding his Allegorism . . .


1 The free pardon purchased for us by Christ is expressly limited to actual sin committed before Baptism, Quis dives salvus 40 “one truly follows the Saviour by aiming at sinlessness and at His perfection, and adorning and composing the soul before it as a mirror, and arranging everything in all respects similarly.”: [Ecl. Proph. 15.] Cp. Strom. ii. 14. 58, iv. 24. 153, 154. Christ, as God, forgives sins, and then disciplines the believer as Man, Paed. i. 3. 7. It should be observed that forgiveness in Clement’s mind signifies not merely the cancelling of a penalty, but the cure of that ignorance which is the cause and strength of sin. Sin done before Baptism, in darkness, does not necessarily imply badness of heart; hence for this no remedy is necessary except light. In all other cases the penalty is itself the earnest of forgiveness.

2 He rarely touches upon this aspect of Redemption. Paed. iii. 12. 98 “Walk in wisdom towards them that are without, redeeming the time.” (i. 2. 2), “He is to us a spotless image; to Him we are to try with all our might to assimilate our souls.”: Protrept. i. 6 υἱοὺς ἀπειθεῖς διαλλάξαι πατρί: x. 10 ὁ σπονδοφόρος καὶ διαλλακτὴς καὶ σωτὴρ ἡμῶν λόγος: Paed. iii. i. 2. Everywhere the barrier is not God’s wrath, but man’s impurity.


-105- Clement quotes few Messianic prophecies, and, in respect of typology, does not venture beyond the track marked out by Philo and Barnabas, except when authorized by the New Testament. Hence the only sacrificial title, which he distinctly applies to our Lord, is that of the Lamb of God. 1

To the Christian pilgrim, in the lower life, Christ manifests Himself as Physician, Shepherd, Tutor, Law-giver, calming the fever of passion by gentle words of admonition or bitter roots of fear. This He does as Man, 2 by virtue of His humiliation and perfect obedience unto death. 3 Gradually He makes Himself known to us in the higher life as God; feeding us in the Eucharist, or Agape, with His Body and Blood, the sacred food of . . .


1 Paed. i. 5. 24, Christ is ἀμνὸς τοῦ θεοῦ, Lamb of God, in respect of His innocence: Strom. v. 6. 32, He is the Lamb with seven eyes of Rev. 5:6: Strom. v. 11. 70, vii. 3. 14, He is ὁλοκάρπωμα, in the latter passage ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἱερευθέντα: Paed. i. 5. 23, Isaac is ἱερεῖον ὡς ὁ κύριος Paed. i. 6. 47, the blood of Abel is a type: Paed. i. 8. 61, Joshua: Paed. i. ii. 97, Christ is our ἱερεῖον: Protr. xi. in, the outstretched hands of Moses are a type: Paed. ii. 8. 75, the burning bush foreshadows the crown of thorns: Paed. ii. 9. 81, Lot the Just: Paed. iii. 12. 85 ἐλυτρώθημεν … τιμίῳ αἵματι ὡς ἀμνοῦ ἀμώμου καὶ ἀσπίλου Χριστοῦ (1 Peter 1:19): Strom. v. 11. 72, the Tree of Life: v. i. 8, Abraham, the Elect Father of Sound, is the Logos (from Philo): Strom. vi. 11. 84, the 318 servants of Abraham signify Christ (from Barnabas; this is the only passage where Clement appears to imply literal inspiration; 318, in Greek writing ΤΙΗ, denotes the Cross and the name ΗΣΟΥΣ): iii. 12. 86, Land of Jacob (from Barnabas; another very forced allegory): v. 6. 32, the High Priest’s Mitre signifies Christ the Head of the Church (adapted from Philo): vi. 11. 88, David’s lyre is a type: iv. 25. 161, Melchisedech (from Philo).

2 [We have here in an undeveloped form the distincte agere of the two natures: Tert. Adv. Praxeam 27.]

3 Protrept. i. 7: Paed. 1. 3. 7.


-106- Gnosis; becoming our Light, our Truth, our Life; bestowing upon us the Adoption of Sons, binding us in closest unity with the Spirit, leading us on to the holy mountain, the better Cithaeron, the spiritual Church. 1 Clement speaks of Jesus as our High Priest, but only in the Philonic sense, as our Representative and Intercessor. 2 The idea of the ‘Recapitulation’ of all men in Christ as the second Adam, so fruitful in the brooding soul of Irenaeus, is strange to him. He looks upon Redemption, not as the restitution of that which was lost at the Fall, but as the crown and consummation of the destiny of Man, leading to a righteousness such as Adam never knew, and to heights of glory and power as yet unsealed and undreamed. ‘The Word of God became Man, in order that thou also mayest learn from Man, how man becomes God.’ 3 . . .


1 See especially the fine outburst at the close of the Protrepticus, and the opening of the Paedagogus.

2 Protrept. xii. 120; Strom. vii. 2. 9. But Strom. v. 11. 70, though ἀρχιερεύς is not used, Christ offers Himself to the Father as a θῦμα ἄπυρον, a phrase borrowed from Euripides, ‘the scenic philosopher.’ In v. 10. 66 He is the ἄπυρον θῦμα of Plato Rep. ii. p. 378 A. So closely are Clement’s reminiscences of the Classics intertwined with his theology.

3 Protrept. i. 8. The reader will find it instructive to compare with this sketch of the Christology of Clement, Dr. Harnack’s account of the teaching of Irenaeus, Dogmengeschichte i. pp. 537 sqq.

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Lecture III. Clement: Creation

“And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

Clement did not admit the pre-existence of the soul or the eternity of Matter, 1 but in other respects he followed closely the Philonic view of Creation. God of His goodness and love created the world of Ideas, the invisible heaven and earth; and in accordance with this divine model the Word gave shape and substance to the material universe. 2 The six days are not to be understood literally. They express in an allegory the differing dignity of the things recorded to have been created on each day in succession. 3 The pre-eminence of Man is further shown by the fact, that he was not called into existence by a mere command, but moulded, if we may so speak, by the very hands of God 4, who breathed into his nostrils the ‘spirit’, or ‘intellect’, the ‘sovereign faculty’ of the tripartite soul. 5 Thus man . . .


1 The eternity of matter is denied, Strom. v. 14. 89. The pre-existence of the soul is rejected, Strom. iii. 13. 93, iv. 26. 167; Eclogae Proph. 17. Yet it appears to be implied, Q. D. S. 33, 36; Strom. vii. 2. 9.

2 Strom. v. 6. 39, 14. 93 sq.

3 Strom. vi. 16. 142.

4 Paed. i. 3. 7.

5 Clement analyses the ψυχή (a) philosophically into ἐπιθυμία θυμός and λογισμός from the ethical point of view, Strom. iii. 10. 68; and into the τρία μέτρα or κριτήια͵ αἴσθησις͵ λόγος͵ νοῦς from the logical, Strom. ii. 11. 50 (the latter is from Philo; see Potter’s note); (b) theologically, Strom. vi. 16. 134 sqq., into ten parts, corresponding mystically to the Decalogue. From the point of view of the New Testament these ten faculties may be summed up in two, the δισσὰ πνεύματα. The first cσάρξ͵ σαρκικὸν πνεῦμα͵ τὸ ὑποκείμενον, the animal and emotional nature, is actually materialized by sin and is cast off in heaven, Strom. v. 6. 52; the second is the πνεῦμα proper, the νοῦς or λόγος in Platonic, the ἡγεμονικόν in Stoic ≪Ps. 50:12≫, the ἐμϕύσημα ≪Gen. 2:7≫ in Philonic language. In the latter consists the likeness to God, or rather to the Son: Protrept. x. 98; Paed. i. 3. 7; Strom. ii. 19. 102, v. 13. 87, vi. 9. 72: it is to be distinguished from the Holy Spirit which is said προσεπιπνεῖσθαι. Strom. v. 13. 88. Denis, Philosophie d’Origene p. 225, is quite mistaken in ascribing the error of Tatian to Clement.


-108- received at birth the ‘image’, and may acquire by a virtuous life the ‘likeness’, of God, or rather of the Son. The ‘image’, the Reason, may be blurred and defaced, but can never be wholly destroyed. It is the ‘love-charm’, which makes Man dear to God for his own sake. 1 It is the fountain of that natural yearning, which makes the child always unhappy, when banished from his Father’s home. It is by this that he receives, understands, recognizes his Father’s voice.

But here there arises a difficulty, which had never before been felt in all its force. If God made all things out of nothing, what is the cause of Evil? According to the heathen Platonist, and even in the eyes of Philo, it was Matter. God’s purpose was limited and frustrated by the nature of the substance on which He was compelled to work. The Gnostics carried this view so far as to maintain that creation was the act of a rebellious spirit, who mingled together things that ought to have been kept apart. But the Christian believed that . . .


1 Paed. i. 3. 7, the ἐμϕύσημα is a ϕίλτρον which makes man dear to God for his own sake. See also Protrept. x. 100 πέϕυκε γὰρ ἄλλως ὁ ἄνθρωπος ἔχειν πρὸς θεόν: Strom. v. 13. 87, man has an ἔμϕασις θεοῦ ϕυσική. But on the other hand, Strom. ii. 16. 74, God has no ϕυσικὴ σχέσις with man. Man’s spirit is not a part of God, as on the Pantheistic theory: otherwise God would be partaker in our sins.


-109- Matter, as well as Form, was created by God. How then were the imperfections of the universe, pain, sin, waste, inequality, to be accounted for?They can be no part of the intention of Him, who gave all things being because He is Good.

Here again Clement does not grasp the whole range of the problem. He is not affected by the disorder of external Nature, as was the troubled and far-glancing spirit of Origen. To the former all that seems to demand explanation is the existence of Sin, and for this he found an adequate reason in the Freedom of the Human Will.

This conception is as new as the difficulty out of which it sprang. It is to be found in the Apologists; but the Alexandrines were the first to define it and make it the foundation of a system. 1

St. Paul speaks of Freedom from conflicting motives, but never of Freedom of the Will. There are those who being servants of sin are free from righteousness; those again who being free from sin are servants to God. Between these stand a third class, who are in bondage yet longing to break their fetters — ‘to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I find not’. This is in fact the doctrine of the Platonist, who held that the soul has two instinctive and antagonistic movements, that of Reason towards the Ideal and that of Sense towards Gratification; and that the man is then only truly free, when his sovereign faculty soars freely towards the Good unimpeded by the clamour of Desire. In what sense Will itself is free, the Greeks did not . . .


1 [On the Alexandrine doctrine of Freedom and its far-reaching results see Harnack Dogmengeschichte ii. pp. 139 sqq. Note that it leads to an undervaluing of the Incarnation (the historical Christ), but that in the higher regions it is practically abandoned.]


-110- attempt to decide. Generally speaking they regarded it as the expression of character, and did not or could not clear up the previous question, how character itself is formed. 1 Yet precisely at this point, where Plato and St. Paul are in substantial agreement, the Alexandrines broke loose from their allegiance. There were strong reasons for this revolt. They had to account for the Fall of the First Man. This was no mere academical thesis, it was pressed upon them by an active, subtle, and formidable antagonist. If Adam was created perfect, said the Gnostic, he could not have fallen. He was then created imperfect, and in that case the Creator was the cause of his imperfection, and must therefore be imperfect Himself. 2 Closely connected with this argument is the Gnostic Dualism and their peculiar doctrine of pre destination. At a later period, when Gnosticism was practically vanquished, Augustine did not hesitate to maintain that, though God predestines, He is yet not the author of evil. But to the Alexandrines this did not seem possible. Determinism in any shape appeared to them to impugn both the divine goodness and the divine right to punish sin; and though they held that in truth God does not punish, they would not acknowledge this . . .


1 The difficulty was felt but not removed by Aristotle. See especially Eth. Nic. iii. 5. 17 εἰ δέ τις λέγοι ὅτι πάντες ἐφίενται τοῦ φαινομένου ἀγαθοῦ, τῆς δὲ φαντασίας οὐ κύριοι, ἀλλ᾽ ὁποῖός ποθ᾽ ἕκαστός ἐστι, τοιοῦτο καὶ τὸ τέλος φαίνεται αὐτῷ· κ.τ.λ.

1 The Gnostics went so far as to assert that ὁ μὴ κωλύσας αἴτιος, he who did not prevent evil, is the cause of the evil. The argument is retorted upon them with unanswerable force in Recognitions ii. The Demiurge is evil because he tolerates evil. Why then does God tolerate the Demiurge? The difficulty was strongly felt by Clement, whom it drove to the assertion that Christ’s Passion was not ordained by the Father, Strom. iv. 12. 86 sq.


-111- in set terms. Hence they were driven to make Will an independent faculty, knowing both good and evil and choosing between them, selecting and in fact creating its own motive. The actual phrase Free Will, Liberum Arbitrium, is due to Tertullian,1 but it expresses with Latin precision what Clement and Origen really mean.

No wise man will attempt to find a precise solution for the eternal antinomy of Freedom and Necessity. It is enough to point out what the Alexandrines did. In their recoil from Gnosticism they abolished Necessity altogether, and gave Freedom a new meaning. We can only judge of their action by its results. It has become possible to ask whether God can do wrong, and almost a heresy to speak of Christ as begotten by the Will of the Father. And already the door is opened for all the barren disputes that troubled the Church and the Schools from the days of Augustine to those of Pascal. 2 . . .


1 [Tertull. De Anima 21: liberam arbitrii potestatem, quod αὐτεξούσιον dicitur.] ≪Justin has ἐλευθέρα προαίρεσις, Ap. i. 43, Trypho 88.≫

2 Origen has formally explained the Alexandrine doctrine of Freedom in the third book of the De Principiis. Neither he nor Clement clearly saw what Jeremy Taylor insists upon, that ‘in moral things liberty is a direct imperfection, a state of weakness, and supposes weakness of reason and weakness of love’. But practically they admit, as we shall see, that at a certain point in the upward progress Grace absorbs the Will, and that at a certain point in the downward progress evil becomes second nature. Thus the demons have sinned so deeply ‘ut revocari nolint magis quam non possint’, De Princ. i. 8. 4. But this point of irremediable depravity, of complete ἀκολασία, they refused to fix. This seems to be the essential difference between the Alexandrines on the one hand and the Gnostics and Augustine on the other. Mehlhorn ‘Die Lehre von der menschlichen Freiheit nach Origenes’ in Zeitschr. für Kirchengesch. ii. pp. 234 sqq., is referred to by Dr. Harnack, Dogmengesch. i. p. 615, but I have not seen the article.


-112- Evil then in Clement’s view is, not a Power, but an Act. It is not the Platonic ‘lie in the soul‘, nor the Pauline ‘law of sin’; not a vicious motive nor a false belief, because these have no constraining force. Vice consists in acting the lie, and we need not act it unless we choose. Clement could not then believe in any inherited depravity of human nature. This follows indeed already from his opinion, that the Reason comes in each case fresh from the hands of its Maker. Adam was created perfect, yet not perfect; perfect inasmuch as every faculty was sound and apt for virtue, not perfect inasmuch as virtue was not yet actualized by obedience. He fell by lust, and so we all fall. 1 There is no entailed . . .


1 The soul does not come from the parent, Strom. vi. 16. 135. For the original estate of Adam see Strom. iv. 23. 150, vi. 12. 96. The Serpent was pleasure, Protrept. xi. 111, and the precise sin may have been that the first parents anticipated the time fixed by God for their marriage, Strom. iii. 17. 103. Compare Philo De Mundi Op. 55 (i. 37) sqq. ‘Ita vix alia Adamum prime vixisse conditione noster censet quam posterorum infantes,’ Guerike i. p. 143. Cp. Theoph. ad Autol. ii. 24 (Otto p. 124) μέος γὰρ ὁ ἄνθρωπος ἐγεγόνει οὔτε θνητὸς ἁλοσχερῶς οὔτε ἀθάνατος τὸ καθόλου͵ δετκικὸς δὲ ἑκατέρων. Adam, he goes on to say, was created not as a full-grown man but as an infant. His sin was that he grasped at knowledge at a time when he ought to have been content with the childlike obedience that befitted his age. Clement does not admit any hereditary guilt. For (1) God punishes only voluntary sins, Strom. ii. 14. 60; and again, those sins which are not imputed are those which are involuntary mistakes, Strom. ii. 15. 66. (2) The sins forgiven in Baptism are always spoken of as actual sins. (3) Infant Baptism, a practice which is very closely connected with the tenet of Original Sin, is never certainly mentioned by Clement. Marriott (article Baptism in Dict. Christian Antiquities) cites Paed. iii. 11. 59 τῶν ἐξ ὕδατος ἀνασπωμένων παιδίων, but in this treatise παιδίον is used of babes in Christ without any reference to age. (4) In Strom. iii. 16. 100 Clement replies to the Encratites, who forbade marriage on the ground that the children are accursed. (5) The causes of sin are ὕλης ἀσθένεια and ἄγνοια, Strom. vii. 3. 16. Yet Adam is the type, though not the source, of sin, Protrept. xi. 111. So also Adumb. in Ep. Judae, p. 1008 ‘Sic etiam peccato Adae subjacemus secundum peccati similitudinem’, where the negative is omitted, as by Origen, in the well-known verse Rom. 5:14. But I doubt very much whether this passage, which goes on to lay down the doctrine of Reprobation, is from the hand of Clement.


-113- necessity between his sin and ours. But though Free Will and Reason, both gifts of God, are enough for guidance in this world, they cannot tell us fully what God is, they cannot bring us into living communion with Him. ‘Each of us justifies himself.’ ‘The true Gnostic creates himself.’ Men may ‘choose to believe or to disbelieve’. 1 Yet Faith itself is a grace 2; the ball-player cannot catch the ball unless it is thrown to him. We are created capable of wisdom, goodness, felicity, which yet we can only attain by grasping the Divine Hand outstretched to lift us up. ‘Not without special grace does the soul put forth its wings.’ 1

The secrets of this diviner life cannot be expressed in rules and formulas. But there is a point where grace and nature meet, which is the proper field of discipline. Knowledge must be gradually assimilated. Love must creep before it can fly. Christ has revealed to us all truth, but truth is precept before it is conviction. It is by obedience to Authority that the . . .


1 Strom. iii. 9. 65, vii. 3. 13, iv. 25. 157.

2 Strom. ii. 4. 14, iii. 7. 57.

3 The ball-player, Strom. ii. 6. 25. So in Paed. i. 6. 28 regeneration is compared to waking or the removal of a cataract; we open our eyes and the light streams in. The words ‘No man can come to Me except the Father draw him’, Clement explains differently at different times, Strom. iv. 22. 138, v. 13. 83. In the latter passage he quotes with approval the saying of Plato in the Meno, that virtue comes, to those to whom it comes, θείᾳ μοίρα. Compare also v. 1. 7, vi. 6. 45; Quis dives salvus 10, 21.


-114- carpenter and the pilot acquire their skill. So the Christian life begins in Faith, 2 that is belief in the desirability of the End, and willing submission to the Means in their regular progression. But we can learn only within the school, and we must first be cleansed. Hence the gate of the Church is the Baptism of Regeneration. Herein we receive Forgiveness, the only free forgiveness, of all past sins, which leaves the mind like a sheet of blank paper, not good yet ‘not bad’; we are brought within the circle of light, within reach of all wholesome sacraments and aids. We have started fairly in the race for the eternal crown. 1


1 See especially Strom. ii. 2, 3, 4. Clement was very anxious to connect Faith, the Christian watchword, with philosophy. Plato, who refers it (Rep. vi. ad finem) to the τμῆμα τοῦ αἰσθητοῦ and regards it as unintelligent belief in material objects, gave him no assistance, and perhaps helped to mislead him. He found better definitions in Aristotle Topics iv. 126 b. 18-17 ἡ πίστις ὑπόληψις σϕοδρά, in the προαίρεσις of the Ethics, in the Epicurean πρόληψις, in the Stoic συγκατάθεσις. It is the faculty by which we grasp the ἀρχαί. These to Clement are not, as to the Stoic and the Epicurean, the facts of sense alone, but the a priori data of deduction identified with the articles of the Creed. Hence in Strom. ii. 4. 13, 14 Faith is an act of νοῦς conditioned by αἴσθησις [mind conditioned by perception]. That is to say, experience brings home to us and ratifies the dicta of Revelation. Hence Knowledge and Faith may be spoken of as in substance identical; Strom. iv. 16. 100; v. 1. 2; vi. 17. 155; vii. 2. 5. But generally speaking ψιλὴ πίστις is sharply distinguished from Gnosis. It is the μία καθολιικὴ σωτηρία, Paed. i. 6. 30, or rather the πρώτη πρὸς σωτηρίαν νεῦσις, Strom. ii. 6. 31. But honour is more than salvation, vi. 14. 109. Faith is in fact the minimum condition of admittance into the Kingdom of Heaven. But it is not full spiritual life, Paed. i. 1. 3 ἴσαι δʹ οῦκ ἔστον ὑλίεια καὶ γνῶσις.

2 The locus classicus on Baptism is Paed. i. 6. It carries with it a double grace, Forgiveness and Light. For the first see 30 “Being perfect, He consequently bestows perfect gifts. As at His command all things were made, so on His bare wishing to bestow grace, ensues the perfecting of His grace.” Light in a sense has been given before, for πίστις and precede Baptism. The gift is perfect, because it is the gift of the perfect God. That is to say, it is objectively perfect; our subjective perfection, τὸ τέλος, the Promise, Rest, is attained only in the Resurrection. It is a perfect gift at first imperfectly grasped. Clement gives no details about κατήχησις Strom. i. 19. 96 he speaks of the οὐκ οἰκεῖον καὶ γνήσιον ὕγωρ of heretical baptism. The only ritual usage he mentions is that of giving milk and honey to the newly baptized at their first communion, Paed. i. 6. 35. See Tertullian De Cor. Mil. iii; Bingham xii. 4. 6; Probst Kirchliche Disciplin p. 321. Probst finds allusions to Confirmation and to a week of instruction and daily communion succeeding Baptism, Sakramente pp. 159 sqq., 193 sqq., but they are very dubious. Infant Baptism appears to have been not the rule at Alexandria; see above, p. 112.


-115- Beyond this point stretches out the Christian Life, and here begins the most distinctive portion of Clement’s teaching. We shall fail to do him justice unless we bear steadily in view the two influences that determined his path — on the one hand the love of St. Paul, on the other the dread of Gnosticism, a dread which did not prevent him from seeing that this peculiar form of error answered to a real and pressing need of the human mind. Gnosticism was in one aspect distorted Paulinism. The cure lay in a full and true presentation of the Apostle’s teaching. But Clement only half understood St. Paul, and in his desire to win back the sectaries he draped Christianity in a Gnostic garb.

He saw around him a system little better than the liberal form of Judaism out of which it sprang. The new wine was fermenting in old bottles; the Christian still trembled beneath the handwriting of ordinances. If we read the Doctrine of the Apostles, we find there a law which differs from the Mosaic mainly in being more searching and elaborate. The circumstances of the time were such as to confirm and even justify this legalism. Crowds were pressing into the Church, -116- mostly ignorant and undisciplined, some rich and willful. They brought with them the moral taint, the ingrained prejudices of their old life. We learn from many sources that the same incongruous blending of the Gospel with pagan superstitions, which recurred during the conversion of the Northern Barbarians, existed in some degree in the second and third centuries. 1 Discipline, teaching, supervision, direction, were absolutely necessary to the purity and maintenance of the Faith, and no wise man would attempt to weaken the growing authority of the Priest.

Yet there were those again for whom this atmosphere was not the best, devout souls whose life was hidden with Christ in God, men and women of cultivated thoughtful minds, who fretted under a system of routine and dictation administered, we may suppose, not unfrequently, by ignorant and fanatical officers. Social and personal distinctions were perhaps greater in those days than they have ever been since, and in times of intense religious excitement these distinctions shape themselves into forms of character, which, though held together by the most powerful of all bands, are yet as different as it is possible for children of the same family to be. No where do we see this more clearly than in the history of the Martyrs. There were those who died, as Polycarp, Perpetua, Blandina, Christlike blessing their persecutors; there were those who brought their fate on their own heads by wild defiance, and went to meet it, . . .


1 See Münter Primordia Ecclesiae Africanae pp. 6, 68, 95. [Cp. Hermas Sim. viii. 9; Justin Ap. i. 7.] The curses on tombstones by which the grave was secured against violation were often copied with slight alterations from the formulas in use among Pagans. See Mr. Ramsay’s article, Cities and Bishoprics of Phrygia, Journal of Hellenic Studies, Oct. 1883, p. 400. [Concil. Turon. ii. can. 22 (Bruns Canones ii. p. 235)].


-117- like Pristinus, drugged to insensibility by the fumes of wine; there were others again, like Peregrinus, who found suffering for the Name an easy road to profit and, if the worst happened, to notoriety. 1 It was out of this divergence of type that the Gnostic made his gain. What was the Christian teacher to do? How was he to deal with the spirit of discontent and disillusion which he knew to be at work? It was impossible to alter the existing framework of the community. But there might be a life within a life, a Church within a Church, a quiet haven for the spiritually free.

Had Clement written a few years later he would have taken refuge in the distinction between nominal and real Christianity, between the Visible and the Invisible Church. But he lived in a time of transition. As yet . . .


1 [Confessors and martyrs were sometimes men of vicious lives: see Cyp. Epp. xiii. 4 sq., xiv. 3.] For Pristinus see Tertullian De Jej. 12; Münter Prim. Eccl. Afr. p. 183. The history of Peregrinus will be found in Lucian De morte Peregrini [of which the authenticity is not beyond dispute (see Aubé Histoire des Persecutions pp. 135, 137); he is referred to in Athenagoras Legatio 23, (Tatian ad Graecos 25), Aulus Gellius Noct. Att. xii. 11]. He was actually a confessor, and it was not his own fault that he was not a martyr. That these were not isolated instances is clear from the earnestness with which Clement maintains against Heracleon that even those who had denied Christ in their lives washed away their sins by martyrdom; Strom. iv. 9. 72 sqq. [In the account of Peregrinus it has been supposed that Lucian directly or indirectly made use of the Epistles of Ignatius and the Martyrium Polycarpi. The idea was originated by Étienne Le Moyne Varia Sacra (Lugd. Bat. 1685) i. proleg. f. 10 ‘Semper vero mihi visus est ἐμπαίκτης Lucianus illudere voluisse Martyrio Polycarpi’. See Keim Celsus’ Wahres Wort Zurich 1873 pp. 143 sqq. Baur Drei Abhandlungen zür Geschichte der alten Philosophie und des Verhältnisses zum Christenthum Leipzig 1876; Aubé Histoire des Perséc. De l’Église Paris 1878; Lightfoot Apost. Fathers II. i. pp. 331 (where he goes so far as to say ‘whether Peregrinus ever was a Christian or not we have no means of ascertaining’), 344, 590, and references there given.]


-118- the ancient view that all the brethren were in process of salvation, though shaken, was not abandoned. Hence he falls back upon his philosophy, and finds the solution in the Two Lives of Philo; in the practical and the contemplative Life of Plato and Aristotle; still more exactly in the Stoic distinction between Proficiency and Wisdom. 1 He thought he found the same idea in certain antitheses of St. Paul’s — the milk and the solid food — faith and knowledge or mysteries the spirit of bondage and the spirit of adoption faith and hope which are less than charity. There were indications in the Roman Clement, in Hermas, in Barnabas, 2 that pointed in the same direction. Other cherished ideas appeared to fit in — the opposition between the servant and the son of God; between God the Lord and God the Father; between the letter and the spirit; between the Human and the Divine Natures of Christ. Gathering all these hints into one, Clement proclaims that the life of the ordinary believer, that is to say of the great body of the Church, is a lower life. Its marks are Faith, Fear and Hope 3 — unquestioning obedience . . .


1 See the description of the Stoic Proficiency in Seneca Ep. 75.

2 Clem. Rom. 1 Cor. 1:2; 7:4; 36:2; 40:1; 41:4; 48:5; Hermas Vis. i. 2. i; Barnabas Ep. i. 5, ii. 2, 3, v. 4, vi. 9, ix. 8, x. 10, xiii. 7. In Hermas and Barnabas the connexion of Gnosis with Allegorism is clearly asserted.

3 Strom. ii. 12. 55, iv. 7. 53. Sometimes he drops Fear, and speaks of the ἁγία τριάς, Faith, Hope and Charity, corresponding to the three mansions in the Father’s House. In the early writers we have the distinction indicated, not only between Faith and Knowledge, but also between a higher and a lower morality. See Didache vi. 2, and Bryennius’s note; and also the Letter of Pinytus to Dionysius of Corinth in Eus. H. E. iv. 23.]


-119- to the letter of Authority, a selfish motive, a morality of abstinence from wrong. It is the sphere of discipline, of repression, of painful effort. Its crown is Holiness 1, the negative virtue of Self-Control. It is a state of salvation, but not of peace or joy. Above it stands the Higher Life, that of the true Gnostic; the life of Love, Righteousness, Knowledge, of serene and reasonable convictions, of glad and spontaneous moral activity, in which the spirit of man is so closely wedded to the Spirit of his Lord that there is no more recalcitrance, and freedom is merged in the beata necessitas non peccandi.

Thus Clement insisted as against the Gnostic that purity is the condition of insight; as against the Orthodoxast that law is meant to issue in freedom. On these two piers he built his Via Media, the Christian Gnosis. 2 It is a compromise between the Church and the world; but the later history of Catholicism is enough to prove how inevitable is such a concession to a body that will govern and yet purify society. 3

As against the Gnostic, again, Clement protests that the Two Lives are not divided by any law of nature. The one must and should grow out of the other, the one is incomplete without the other. All men, all . . .


1 Strom. iv. 22. 135; vi. 7. 60.

2 [Gnosis = Allegorism = intelligent theology. The word was taken by Clement, not from the Gnostics, but from the same sources from which the Gnostics took it: Barnabas vi. 9 “what means the allegory?”) and ultimately from St. Paul; Barn. ix. 8.]

3 [See an excellent Note on Catholicism and its significance with regard to society in Harnack Dogmengeschichte i. 416 sq.]


-120- women are called, as he says, ‘to philosophize’, 1 to strive upwards to the highest ideal. Yet the distinction in itself is evil, and Clement has expressed it in such a way as to make not a distinction but a real difference, a breach of principle and continuity. The spiritual life is one because Love, its root, is one. But this Faith, which in the Lower Life leads through Fear and Hope to Love, is itself not Love, but imperfect intellectual apprehension; not personal trust in the Saviour, but a half-persuasion of the desirableness of what the Saviour promises. 2 The belief, the morality, the reward are all external. Fear and Hope are the life, not the outer husk which shields and protects the life till it is strong enough to act by itself. Clement has attempted to seize the Pauline doctrine of Grace without the Pauline doctrine of Faith. 3 He has super-


1 Paed. i. 4; 6. 33; Strom. iv. 8. 59, 68; 19. 118-124. In this last passage he refers to Judith, Esther, Susanna, Miriam, and a host of women famous in Greek story, but to none of those mentioned in the New Testament; and quotes from Euripides the character of a good wife as a pattern for the Christian matron. On the use of γνῶσις by Egyptian monks see Socrates H. E. iv. 23 ≪from Evagrius≫.


2 Clement partly realized all this. To the Platonist the νοῦς has an ἔρως for the νοητά. The spark of knowledge contains the spark of desire, and this is kindled to a flame by better knowledge gained through practice, Strom. vi. 17. 150 sqq.

3 How little Clement understood what St. Paul means by Faith will be seen from the following quotations. Strom. vi. 14. 108, ‘thy faith hath saved thee’ was said not to Gentiles, but to Jews who already abounded in good works; vi. 12. 98, Faith is not good in itself, but as leading to Fear and Hope; vi. 14. in, every act of the Gnostic is a κατόρθωμα (worthy act), every act of the simple believer a μέση πρᾶξις [halfway measure] (he constantly uses these Stoic phrases); vi. 12. 103, ‘Faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness when he had advanced to that which is greater and more perfect than faith. For he who merely abstains from wrong is not righteous unless he adds well doing and knowledge of the reason why he ought to do some things and not do others’; iv. 18. 113, Love is the motive of the Gnostic, Fear that of Faith.


-121- posed the Gospel freedom upon the Aristotelian theory of Habit, upon reasonable self-love, upon the legal Christianity of his time, without seeing that between these two an entirely new element must come into play.

This element he has endeavoured to supply by banishing Fear and Hope from the Higher Life. ‘Perfect Love casteth out Fear,’ which indeed is not a motive but a check. 1 But disinterestedness, which is what Clement wants, does not depend upon the presence or absence of Hope, but on the nature of the thing hoped for. That which was mercenary in its original conception does not become less mercenary because Hope is swallowed up in fruition.


In Clement’s view the supreme End of all is -89- not Love but Knowledge, and this misplacement of the Ideal involves an egotism which he vainly struggles to escape. He succeeds in placing felicity within the soul, in the fullness of spiritual life, but he has not really advanced beyond the point of view of Philo.

But Fear he has handled in a truly Christian spirit. It is not the fear of the slave who hates his master; it is the reverence of a child for its father, of a citizen for the good magistrate. Tertullian, an African and a lawyer, dwells with fierce satisfaction on terrible visions of torment. The cultivated Greek shrinks not only from the gross materialism of such a picture, but from the idea of retribution which it implies. He is never tired of repeating that Justice is but another name for Mercy. Chastisement is not to be dreaded, but to be embraced. ‘The mirror is not evil to the ugly face . . .


1 [Cyp. ad Donatum 4 ‘timor innocentiae custos.’]


-122- because it shows it as it is, the physician is not evil to the sick man because he tells him of his fever. For the physician is not the cause of the fever.’ Still more evidently true is this of Jesus. ‘The Lord who died for us is not our enemy.’ Here or hereafter God’s desire is not vengeance but correction. In truth it is not He that punishes, but we that draw chastisement on our own heads. 1

The life of Faith, as he has described it in the later books of the Pedagogue, is in beautiful accordance with these maxims. 2 It is a life, like that of the Puritans in . . .


1 Paed. i. 8. 62: ibid. 67: ibid. 69. For the mirror see Paed. i. 9. 88. The same simile is found in Epictetus ii. 14 21 (And if an image of God were present, you would not dare to do any of the things which you are doing: but when God himself is present within and sees all and hears all, you are not ashamed of thinking such things and doing such things, ignorant as you are of your own nature and subject to the anger of God). It was probably a Stoic commonplace.

2 Clement’s doctrine on the subject of Pleasure is to be found in Paed. ii, iii; Strom. iii, iv. His general aim is to moderate the antique rigour in favour of the wealthier classes. His leading principle is the ζῆν κατὰ ϕύσιν of the Stoics, but he rejects the older Stoic doctrine of the ἀδιάϕορα, Strom. iv. 5. 19, and adopts the more modern distinction of external circumstances into προηγμένα and ἀποπροεγμναέ, which comes to the same thing as the threefold division of Good characteristic of Peripateticism, Strom. iv. 26. 164, 166. His chief axioms are that pleasure as such is not to be desired by the Christian, and that to be ‘according to nature’ it must be strictly limited to the end which God intended it to promote. Hence the rule of marital continence, the prohibition of the use of the ‘bones of dead animals’, ivory and tortoiseshell, of dyes, and artificial hair. No ring is allowed but a signet. There is a natural and an unnatural use of flowers. ‘For in spring-time to walk abroad in meadows dewy and soft and springing fresh with jewelled flowers delights us with a natural and wholesome fragrance, and we suck their sweetness as do the bees. But it is not meet for grave men to carry about in the house a plaited chaplet from meads untrodden.’ The stern prohibition of the use of cut flowers is one of the most singular features of primitive Christian discipline. It is hardly necessary to refer to the De Cor. Mil. of Tertullian. Art Clement disparages, but the signet may bear a simple Christian emblem, a dove, a fish, a ship in full sail, a lyre, an anchor, a fisherman. But he was quoted on this account in the Iconoclastic controversy as a favourer of Christian imagery, Photius Cod. 110. Generally speaking, he gives innocent pleasure a liberal scope. ‘Wine,’ he says, quoting Plato, ‘makes a man good-tempered, agreeable to his company, more lenient to his slaves, more complaisant to his friends.’ He is much less austere than Origen.


-123- Milton’s youth, of severe self-restraint, but built on broad principles, not captious and not gloomy. It should be as the Stoics taught, ‘according to Nature’; hence all artificial desires are evil. But Clement condemns, on the one hand the self-torture in which some of the Gnostics emulated the Hindoo Fakirs, on the other the Stoic paradox that things external are things indifferent. Here again he is Aristotelian. Innocent pleasure is the salt of life. Wealth rightly used is a blessing. The first requisite is the beauty of virtue, the second the beauty of health; Christ Himself was not beautiful in person. 1 Many thoughts are suggested by this charming and authentic picture of daily Christian life. We see the vulgarity and thinly-veneered barbarism of Roman luxury giving way to true courtesy and refinement. We see the Church, no longer oppressed by instant expectation of the Last Day, settling quietly down to her task of civilizing the world. Already her victory is assured.

Those who have been trained in the school of Jesus the Pedagogue are fitted for, are imperatively summoned to, a better service. Clement delights to speak of the Higher Life in terms borrowed from Eleusis. It is the Greater Mysteries, of which Christ is the Hierophant . . .


1 Strom. iii. 17. 103, vi. 17. 151. [Cp. Justin Trypho 88, 100]; ≪ibid. 36, 85; Clem. Paed. iii. 1. 3; Tertull. De Carne Christi 9; Or. c. Cels. vi. 75≫.


-124- and Torchbearer. Such language is partly conventional and common to all the Platonists of the time. 1 Again it is intended to conciliate the Gnostics and the religious heathen, who had all been initiated, as probably Clement himself had been in his youth. But it is also connected with, and tends to strengthen, the unfortunate doctrine of Reserve.

In the Higher Life Faith gives way to Knowledge, Fear and Hope to Love, while Holiness is merged in Righteousness.

Knowledge, Gnosis, Clement has defined in words taken partly from Philo, partly from the Stoics. From the first he learned that it is the intuitive communion of the intelligence with the Ideas, from the latter that being science it is indefectible. 2 To the Christian doctor Christ is not only the Sum of the Ideas, but the coequal Son of God, and Gnosis therefore is the apprehensive contemplation of God in the Logos, and not, as in Philo, of God above the Logos. 3 Yet there is a progress in the object of Knowledge, measured by the varying aspect of Christ, who in the Lower Life is manifested chiefly on the human side as Physician, Tutor, and so on, in the Higher chiefly on the divine . . .


1 It is to be found in Plato himself and Aristotle (see Lobeck Aglaophamus p. 128), in Philo, and in Plutarch.

2 Clement uses the strongest language to express the union of the Gnostic with his knowledge; it is ἑνότης͵ οἰκεόωσις, ἀνάκρασις, the at ἀΐδιος θεωρία becomes his οὐσία, his ζῶσα ὑπόστασις. He no longer has goodness, he is goodness, Strom. iv. 22. 136; 25. 157; vi. 9. 71; vii. 12. 79. This language is important as bearing on his doctrine of Grace. We have here the beata necessitas non peccandi. Again it entirely excludes Ecstasy.

3 Gnosis is always in Christ, Strom. iv. 25. 155, v. 3. 16, vi. 9. 78. Nay, the Saviour is our knowledge and spiritual paradise, vi. i. 2.


-125- as Light, Truth, Life. Holiness is the indispensable preliminary of knowledge, which is partly Theology, but still more the experimental knowledge of Christ. The Gnostic is the ‘pure in heart who sees God’. ‘He that would enter the fragrant shrine,’ says Clement, quoting the inscription over the temple gate of Epidaurus, ‘must be pure, and purity is to think holy things,’ 1 He is the ‘approved money-changer’, whose ‘practised senses’ are the touchstone of truth. His Faith has become Conviction, Authority is superseded by the inner light. To him the deep things of Scripture are revealed. He reads the spirit beneath the letter. In Christ he understands past, present, and future, the theory of Creation, the symbolism of the Law, the inner meaning of the Gospel, the mysteries of the Resurrection. 2 He sees the vital harmony of dogma with dogma, of all dogmas with Reason. 3 In a word, he is an Allegorist. Moral purity and assiduous study of Scripture are the only training that is absolutely necessary. 4 But Clement well knew the importance of mental cultivation. His Gnostic still reads Plato in his leisure moments. ‘He is not like the common run of people, who fear Greek philosophy as children fear a goblin, lest it should run away with them.’ 5 . . .


1 Strom. v. 1. 13. Another favourite quotation is from Plato’s Phaedo p. 67 καθαρῷ γὰρ καθαροῦ ἐφάπτεσθαι μὴ οὐ θεμιτὸν ᾖ.]

2 Strom. vi. 7. 54.

3 The συναϕὴ τῶν δογμάτων, Strom. i. 2. 20.

4 The majority of the Christians had not received a regular education and some did not know their letters, Strom. i. 20. 99. Erudition is sometimes hurtful to the understanding, as Anaxarchus said, Strom. i. 5. 35.

5 Strom. vi. 10. 80; 18. 162.


-126- Of Knowledge Love is at once the life-element and the instrument. For ‘the more a man loves the more deeply does he penetrate into God’. 1 But here again, most unhappily, Stoicism comes in, and casts the chill shadow of Apathy over the sweetest and simplest of Christian motives. Platonism also helped to mislead. For though the Alexandrines held that Matter is the work of God, they could not wholly divest their minds of the old scholastic dislike of the brute mass and the emotions connected with it. The first thought suggested by the Incarnation is Fear. Love is not of Jesus, but of the Logos, the Ideal. Clement could not bear to think that the rose of Sharon could blossom on common soil. 2 This was the price he paid for his Transcendental Theology.

Love makes man like the beloved. But Christ, like God, was absolutely passionless. So too were the Apostles after their Master’s Resurrection. So too must the Gnostic be. Self-control, Holiness, has made the reason absolute master of the brute in the centaur man. He will feel those desires which, like hunger or thirst, are necessary for self-preservation, but not joy nor sorrow nor courage nor indignation nor hatred. He lives in the closest union with the Beloved, so absorbed in the Divine Love that he can no longer be said to love his fellow-creatures in the ordinary sense of the word. 3 . . .


1 Quis dives salvus 27.

2 The most singular instance of Clement’s disparagement of human love is to be found in Strom. vii. 12. 70, where married life is regarded as superior to celibacy because it offers so many more temptations to surmount.

3 The leading passages on the subject of Apathy and disinterested Love are Strom. iv. 6. 30; 18. 111; 22. 135-146; vi. 9. 71; 12. 100; 16. 138.


-127- There were many in Clement’s own time who shrank from this too ethereal ideal, which, to use his own phrase, ‘touches earth with but one foot.’ If we take away hope and joy, they urged, will not the Christian be swallowed up by the sorrows of life? And if all union with the Beautiful is preceded by aspiration, how can he be passionless who aspires to the Beautiful? 1 How can we rise without desire, and how can we desire the extinction of desire? It is the argument afterwards pressed with irresistible force by Bossuet and Bourdaloue against Fénelon. Clement replies, ‘Love is no more desire but a contented self-appropriation, which restores the Gnostic into oneness with Christ by faith, so that he needs neither time nor place. For by Love he is already in that scene where he will one day dwell. And having anticipated his hope by Gnosis he desires nothing, for he holds in closest possession the very object of desire.’ It is the Love which we mortals feel ‘in our diviner moments, when Love is satisfied in the completeness of the beloved object’ 2 So absolute is its content, that if it were possible to separate eternal salvation from the knowledge of God, and a choice were given to the Gnostic, he would without hesitation choose the latter. It is the paradox of Mysticism:

Be not angry; I resign
Henceforth all my will to thine:
I consent that thou depart,
Though thine absence breaks my heart;
Go then, and for ever too;
All is right that thou wilt do. 3


1 Strom. vi. 9. 73.

2 [George Eliot.]


3 It was insisted upon by the Quietists. It is a paradox because the separation is impossible. ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is within you.’ Milton makes Satan complain, ‘Which way I go is hell, myself am hell’; and the converse is true also. But Clement knew this well; cp. Strom. v. 10. 63. Nor did the Quietists think otherwise. Bossuet did not venture directly to deny the mystic paradox, which is in fact admitted in the Articles of Issy. But I must refer my readers to Mr. Vaughan’s charming Hours with the Mystics, vol. ii. pp. 170, 217, 380, ed. 1856. [A parallel to the Mystic Paradox is afforded by the saying of Lessing, ‘If God should hold in His right hand all truth and in His left hand the ever-active desire to seek truth, though with the condition of perpetual error, I would humbly ask for the contents of the left hand, saying, “Father, give me this; pure truth is only for Thee.” But Lessing brings the Paradox a step lower down. Clement says, ‘Not happiness but knowledge’; Lessing, ‘Not knowledge but its pursuit.’ Anselm said, ‘mallese purum a peccato et innocentem gehennam habere quam peccati sorde pollutum caelorum regna tenere’ (Eadmer de vita S. Anselmi ii. 2 22).] ≪Cp. Eckhart’s ‘I would rather be in hell and have God, than in heaven and not have God’, quoted in Martensen Meister Eckhart, Hamburg 1842, p. 107.≫


-128- Of this Ideal (for it is perhaps no more 1) enough has been said. Clement no doubt overshot the mark. It remains to be seen whether by so doing he encouraged presumption, or led weakness astray. The answer is to be found in the rigour with which he insists upon Holiness as the indispensable condition, on Righteousness as the indispensable fruit of Love.

Like all the early Fathers he attached a very real sense to the word Righteousness. ‘Ye were justified by . . .


1 [It is no more than an ideal’: see especially Ecl. Proph. 12.] Clement ascribes Apathy to Christ, and to the Apostles after the Resurrection, Strom. vi. 9. 71. As regards men he uses sometimes very strong language. The Gnostic becomes a god upon earth, iv. 23. 149; vii. 3. 13; 10. 56: he is ἰσάγγελος ἐνταῦθα ϕωτεινὸς δὲ ἤδη, vi. 13. 105. On the other hand, Paed. i. 2. 4: Strom. iv. 21. 130; Quis dives salvus 40, more sober language is employed: Christ is the only perfect man; passion cannot be wholly eradicated in this life; the wise man touches no known sin. It is the posse non peccare, not the non posse peccare. But Clement is less introspective than Origen. The mere frailty of human nature does not distress him so long as he feels that his heart is safe in Christ.


-129- the name of the Lord, ye were made … just, as He is, and joined in the closest possible union with the Holy Spirit.’ 1 It is not mere abstention from evil, which -96- is Holiness, the virtue of the Lower Life, but the free active joyous service of those who are sanctified. It is life which needs no rule. The Gnostic, says Clement in language very like that of Madame de Guyon, has no virtue, because he is virtue. Nature is absorbed by Grace. It is easier to do good than to leave it undone; hence ‘good works follow Gnosis as shadow follows substance’. 2 Contemplation is the Gnostic’s chief delight; the next is active beneficence; the third is instruction, the work of making others like himself. God gives him an exceeding great reward, the salvation of other men. 3 . . .


1 Strom. vii. 14. 87 ≪cp. 1 Cor. 6:11≫. On Righteousness see especially the fine passage, Strom. vi. 12. 102. Origen distinguishes two modes of Righteousness, Innocence, the effect of Baptismal Forgiveness, and the active virtue of Justice. Clement speaks only of the latter. The just man is faithful, but the faithful man is not necessarily just. Faith is salvation, but not righteousness; it gives the will, but not immediately the power to do right. Faith is life, righteousness is health (ὑγίεια). It would seem then that we might be ‘saved’ without good works, but Clement never expressly deals with this question. He seems to assert the opposite, Strom. v. 1. 7: but here perhaps σωτηρία is used in the sense of ὑγίεια. On the necessity, the merit of good works, see Strom. v. 13. 86; vii. 12. 72; 14. 88.

2 Strom. vii. 13. 82.

3 Strom. iv. 22. 136. In ii. 11. 46 the three characteristics of Gnosis are θεωρία — ἡ τῶν ἐντολῶν ἐπιτέλεσις — ἀνδρῶν ἀγαθῶν κατασκυή: vi. 17. 160 the Gnostic is compared to a παιδοτρίβης who teaches in three ways: κατὰ παρακολούθησιν, putting the pupil in the requisite posture and making him do the thing required; καθʹ ὁμοίωσιν, by example and emulation; κατὰ πρόσταξιν, when the pupil has mastered all his exercises and simply requires to be told which he is to perform: the last may refer to spiritual direction: vii. 1. 3 the life of the Gnostic is a constant θεραπεία of two kinds: βελτιωτική, in which he resembles the presbyter, ὑπηρτική, in which he resembles the deacon. See Baur Christliche Gnosis p. 507.


-130- Thus Apathy, Detachment, make the sanctified believer not less but more useful to his kind. It is important to add, in view of the objections afterwards urged against the Quietists, that Clement lays great stress upon the observance of the existing Church discipline, the regular use of all the ordinary means of Grace. I will not here dwell upon what he says about Public Worship, the reading of Scripture, the Eucharist, Almsgiving, Fasting. 1 It will be sufficient to state his views on the subject of Prayer 2, the point on which the Quietists departed most widely from the lines he laid down.

The Gnostic prays without ceasing. He would rather forgo the grace of God than enjoy it without prayer. But indeed this is impossible; for our holiness must cooperate with the providence of God, if the blessing is to be perfect. Holiness is a correlative of Providence 3; for God Himself is a voluntary agent. He does not ‘warm like fire’ as Plutarch thought; nor can we receive . . .


1 Public Worship in the morning, Paed. ii. 10. 96: Fasting [generally, Ecl. proph. 14], on Wednesday and Friday, Strom. vii. 12. 75; vi. 12. 102 the Scripture says (Tobit xii. 8): observance of the Lord’s Day, Strom. vii. 12. 76: reading of Scripture, Paed. ii. 10. 96, Strom. vii. 7. 49: Almsgiving, Quis dives salvus 33, Strom. ii. 15. 96: on the Eucharist see below.

2 See generally Strom. iv. 23. 148, vii. 7. 35 sqq.

3 Strom. vii. 7. 42. The reference to Plutarch (an author whom Clement several times quotes) is Non posse suaviter vivi sec. Epic.. This will further illustrate what was said in Lecture I on Plutarch’s connexion with Gnosticism (p. 56).


-131- His best gifts involuntarily, even if they be given before we ask.

But God reads the heart, and therefore few words are needed or none. ‘Ask,’ He says, ‘and I will do; think, and I will give.’ 1 Good is the prayer which Christians utter in the church, with head and hands uplifted, and foot raised at the Amen, as if to soar above earth. Good is prayer at the three hours 2, with face turned towards the East, as even pagans use. But better still is the inner colloquy of unspoken supplication for which no place or time is set apart, the praise of him who ploughs, of him who sails upon the sea. The Gnostic’s prayer is chiefly Thanksgiving and Intercession, as was that of our Saviour. Beyond this he will ask only for the continuance of the blessings he enjoys; for he desires nothing that he has not, and the Father’s Will is enough for him.

The prayer of the Gnostic, even when speechless, is still conscious and active. It is far removed from the blank vacuity of the soul which, as Molinos says, lies dead and buried, ‘asleep in Nothingness’ 3 — thinking without thought of the Unconditioned. The Silent Prayer of the Quietist is in fact Ecstasy, of which there is not a trace in Clement.

For Clement shrank from his own conclusions. Though the father of all the Mystics he is no Mystic himself. He did not enter the ‘enchanted garden’


4 Αἴτησαι καὶ ποιήσω· ἐννοήθητι καὶ δώσω: a favourite quotation (see Strom. vi. 9. 78; 12. 101; vii. 7. 40; 12. 73) from some apocryphal book [or adapted perhaps from “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.” Isaiah 65:24.

1 Strom. vii. 7. 40; the Gnostic rose also at intervals during the night to pray, Paed. ii. 9. 79, Strom. vii. 7. 49.

2 Molinos Guide Spirituelle iii. 20. 201 ‘endormie dans le néant’. I owe the reference to La Bruyére Dialogues sur le Quiétisme vol. ii, ed. Servois. ≪It may be questioned whether the text above rightly represents the meaning of Molinos in the passage referred to.≫


-132- which he opened for others. If he talks of ‘flaying the sacrifice’, of leaving sense behind, of Vision, of Epopteia, this is but the parlance of his school. The instrument to which he looks for growth in knowledge is not trance, but the disciplined reason. Hence Gnosis when once attained is indefectible; not like the rapture which Plotinus enjoyed but four times during his acquaintance with Porphyry, which in the experience of Theresa never lasted more than half an hour. 1 The Gnostic is no Visionary, no Theurgist, no Antinomian.

These dangers were not far away in the age of Montanus and the Neo-Platonists. The Alexandrines have perhaps too much ‘dry light’, but their faith was too closely wedded to reason and the written Word to be seduced by these forbidden joys. Mysticism is as yet a Pagan solace. The time for a purely Christian mysticism, which Gerson evolves, not from the reason but from the emotions, had not yet arrived. Yet Clement laid the fuel ready for kindling. The spark that was needed was the allegorical interpretation of the Song of Songs. This was supplied, strange to say, by Origen, the least mystical of all divines. 2 . . .


1 Porphyry Vita Plotini 23, p. 116, ed. Firmin-Didot. For St. Theresa see Barthélemy Saint-Hilaire L’École d’Alexandrie pp. xlv, ixxix; for Gerson, ibid. ixii, xcviii. Vacherot in his third volume traces the connexion of the Alexandrines with mediaeval mysticism. Dähne, De γνώσει p. 112, insists that Clement himself was a mystic. It depends upon the meaning which we attach to the word. In one sense all believers in the unseen are Mystics; in another, all believers in whom the emotional element predominates largely over the intellectual. I have taken Mysticism as co-extensive with Ecstasy. Of this again there are several degrees, ranging from the inarticulate communion of the Quietists to pictorial visions. Such visions were regarded with suspicion by Mystics of the higher class, such as St. John of the Cross. See Vaughan Hours with the Mystics.


2 [Otto, Corp. Apol. viii. p. 327, ascribes to Theophilus of Antioch a fragment on the Song of Songs quoted by Eusebius, on the Song of Songs, as ‘Theophili’. Eusebius however in the catalogue of the works of Theophilus (H. E. iv. 24) does not mention any Commentary on Canticles. Jerome, De Viris Illust. 25, ascribes to Theophilus of Antioch a Commentary on Proverbs, and he would surely have mentioned one on Canticles if he had been aware of its existence.]


-133- Every baptized Christian, who had not been cut off like a diseased limb by solemn judicial process, is a member of the Church upon earth, is therefore within the pale of salvation. The Church 1 is the Platonic City of God, ‘a lovely body and assemblage of men governed by the Word,’ ‘the company of the Elect.’ She is the Bride of Christ, the Virgin Mother, stainless as a Virgin, loving as a Mother. She is One, she is Catholic, because the doctrine and tradition of the Apostles is one; the heretic who has forsaken her fold has ‘an assembly devised by man’, ‘a school’, but not a Church. 2 One in belief, but not in mechanism. Peter is the first of the Apostles 3, but the See of Peter is never named. The West is as unknown to Clement as it was to his favourite Homer. Yet in this One . . .


1 Strom. iv. 26. 172; vii. 5. 29; iii. 6. 49; 11. 74; Paed. i. 6. 42; Strom. vii. 17. 107 (one, true, ancient, catholic), 108 (apostolic). [On ‘catholic’ see Lightfoot’s note on Ign. ad Smyrn. viii. 2 (Apostolic Fathers II. ii. pp. 310 sqq.).]

2 διατριβή (diatribe) Strom. vii. 15. 92: vii. 17. 106. The notes of heresy are contempt of apostolical tradition, vii. 16. 95, and defiance of Scripture, which the Gnostics reject in part, vii. 16. 97, or interpret by vicious methods out of ϕιλαυτία. Those who use only water in the Eucharist are heretics, i. 19. 96; and there is also a heretical baptism, ibid. On the asceticism and in some cases lax morality of the Gnostics, see Strom. iii. The Phrygians are not called heretics, iv. 13. 93.

3 Q. D. S. 21.


-134- Church there is a distinction. There are those who within her fold live as do the Gentiles; these are the flesh of Christ’s Mystical Body: there are those who cleave to the Lord and become one spirit with Him, the Sons of God, the Gnostics; these are the Holy Church, the Spiritual Church; these, and they who are in process to become as these, are the rings which have not dropped from the magnetic chain, but in spiritual union with saints and angels ‘wait for the Rest of God’. 1

The Stromateis were written during the episcopate of Demetrius amid the bustle and excitement of a revolution. But no echo of the strife penetrated the tranquil seclusion in which Clement lectured and composed. He reflects with calm fidelity the image of the antique times in which he had himself been reared. His heart is with the Republic; he is the Samuel of the new monarchy.

One of the chief pillars of the aggressive theory of Church polity was the claim of the Christian ministry to be regarded as lineal successors of the sacrificial hierarchy of the Jews. But to Clement the true anti type of Levite or Hiereus is the Gnostic, the son or daughter of God, who has been anointed like King, Prophet, or High Priest of the Law, but with the spiritual unction of the Holy Ghost. 2 The Gnostic . . .


1 Strom. vii. 11. 68: in vii. 14. 87 the Gnostics are the Holy Church, the Spiritual Body of which those who only bear the name of Christian and do not live according to reason are the flesh. Had this point of view been habitual to him Clement must have written very differently about the Lower Life. The Invisible Spiritual Church, the Communion of Saints, is compared to a chain of rings upheld by a magnet, vii. 2. 9. It is ‘the Church of the Firstborn’, Protrept. ix. 82.

1 Strom. iv. 25. 157 sq., vii. 7. 36. In Strom. vi. 13. 106 the Gnostic is a true Presbyter, though he be not honoured πρωτοκαθεδρία (primacy).


-135- sacrifice is that of praise, of a contrite spirit, of a soul delivered from carnal lusts; the incense is holy prayer; the altar is the just soul, or the congregation of believers. 1 Beyond this there is no sacrifice except the ‘costly’, the ‘fireless’ Victim once offered upon the Cross. 2 Clement quotes the famous verse of Malachi, but the ‘pure offering’ is the knowledge of God as Creator derived by the heathen from the light of the universal Word. 3 The much disputed text about the power of the keys he never cites at all; and in the Penance controversy, which was already agitating men’s minds, he follows Hermas, allowing but one Absolution for mortal sin after Baptism, a view highly unfavourable to the growing authority of the Bishop. 4 He rarely . . .


1 The sacrifice, Paed. iii. 12. 90; Strom. ii. 18. 79, 96; v. 11. 67 (immediately after an allusion to the Eucharist); vii. 3. 14; 6. 31, 32. The last cited passage explains the terms altar, incense. [On θυσιαστήριον see Lightfoot’s note on Ign. Ad Phil. iv (Apostolic Fathers II. ii. p. 258)].

2 Strom. v. ii. 66, 70. See also passages quoted in Lecture II (pp. 105 sq.).

3 Strom. v. 14. 136. The verse had already been applied to the Eucharist in the Didache xiv. 3, Irenaeus Haer. iv. 17 § 5, and Justin Trypho 41, 117.

4 Strom. ii. 13. 56. Clement follows Hermas Mand. iv. 3, almost verbally, though without naming his authority. He supports this view by Heb. x. 26, 27. [So the teaching of Hermas seems to have been understood by Tertullian also. But in reality Hermas trims between the two views, allowing one repentance for those already members of the Church, but none for those who should receive baptism after the date of his prophecy.] Clement nowhere expressly draws a distinction between mortal and venial sins, but it is implied here and in Strom. vi. 12. 97, where he speaks of μετάνοια δισσή (true repentance), the first being conversion, the second repentance for minor daily sins. It is the first, repentance for mortal sin, that could only be repeated once after baptism. It is singular that in Quis dives salvus he does not enter upon the question. For further information see Lecture VI.]


-136- mentions the three orders of Clergy, 1 and never in connexion with the Sacraments. The rich man should have a domestic chaplain or spiritual director, who is to be ‘a man of God’. 2 The unlearned brother is not to trust his private judgement; but the interpreter of Scripture is no doubt the Gnostic. The one office assigned to the Presbyter is that of ‘making men better’, and this is also the special function of the Gnostic.

It seems most probable that at this time, in the Church of Alexandria, the Eucharist was not yet distinguished in time, ritual, or motive from the primitive . . .


1 Strom. vi. 13. 107, Bishop, Priest, and Deacon symbolize the ‘three Mansions’, the three degrees of the Angelic Hierarchy: iii. 12. 90, Priest and Deacon distinguished from λαικός (layman): vii. 1. 3, Priests exercise the βελτιτικήω, Deacons the ὑπηρετικὴ θεραπεία: vi. 13. 106, Priests have πρωοκαθεδρία, sitting probably in a semicircle with the Bishop in the middle round the east end of the church: Paed. i. 6. 37.

2 Q. D. S. 41. Probst, Sakramente p. 261, unhesitatingly identifies the Man of God with the Priest. It is just possible that we have here the same admonition as in Origen, Sel. in Psalmos, Hom. ii. 6 (Lom. xii. p. 267) ‘tantummodo circumspice diligentius, cui debeas confiteri peccatum tuum. Proba prius medicum’. He may mean that the chaplain is to be a priest, but a worthy priest. But were there more than twelve priests in Alexandria, and in any case can there have been enough to supply domestic chaplains to all the rich men who needed them? I do not doubt that the chaplain is to be a Gnostic who is a judge in spiritual matters, Strom. vii. 7. 45. Rufinus, before his ordination, seems to have held such a post in the household of Melania. Compare p. 129 note 3 above. Probst, I may add, endeavours to prove that the Gnostic is the Priest by combining what Clement says of the Gnostic, of Moses, of the Law, and of Christ the Shepherd.


-137- Supper of the Lord. 1 Of this, the Agape, the Love-Feast, or Banquet, there were two forms, the public and . . .


1 This statement, that the Eucharist at Alexandria was not yet separated from the Agape and that both were celebrated together in the evening, may seem doubtful, and indeed I make it with some hesitation. It may be argued, on the other side, (i) That the separation was already made in the West, as we see from Justin and Tertullian, and is found immediately after Clement’s time in Palestine, teste Origen. (ii) That the word Eucharist is employed by Clement for the Elements, Strom. i. 1. 5, and for the rite, Paed. ii. 2. 20; Strom. iv. 25. 161. (iii) That there was a morning service at Alexandria, though we are not told that it included the Eucharist, Paed. ii. 10. 96. On the other hand, (i) the Liturgy, so far as we can judge, is not nearly so far developed in Clement’s church as in that of Origen; (ii) the Agape in both its forms is distinctly mentioned, the Eucharist as a separate office is not; (iii) the word Eucharist is employed of the Agape, Paed. ii. 10. 96. (iv) The Agape is mentioned in the Sibylline Oracles, viii. 402, 497, temp. Trajan or Hadrian; Or. v. 265, temp. Antoninus Pius — while the Eucharist is not: see Alexandre, ii. 547. It is true that both these authorities are anterior in date to Clement. (v) Dionysius of Alexandria still uses of the rite of Communion the same word, ἑστίασις, which in Clement means the Agape, Eus. H. E. vi. 42. 5. (vi) Lastly, I do not know of any passage in an Oriental writer before Clement’s time in which the Eucharist appears as a distinct and substantive office. [I can see nothing in the well-known Letter of Pliny that bears upon the question of the separation of the Eucharist from the Agape. The ‘sacramentum of the early assembly appears to mean nothing more than ‘oath’, ‘solemn obligation’. The following words quibusperactis …vetueram simply repeat the affirmation that the speakers had ceased to be Christians. It has been supposed that we have here a proof either that the separation of the two rites had already been made or that it was now made. But such a separation would not have met the difficulty. The Edict would have been just as operative against the morning Eucharist as against the evening Agape. See however Lightfoot, Apost. Fathers II. i. pp. 51, 312 sqq.] In the Didache Hilgenfeld observes upon the word ἐμπλησθῆναι in chap. x. 1 ‘eucharistia vere coena communis nondum separata ab Agape’. And from Socrates H. E. v. 22, it appears that the Agape lingered on in the churches of Upper Egypt longer than elsewhere. We may infer from this perhaps that Alexandria also had clung to the primitive usage after it had been abandoned by others.]


-138- the private; the first celebrated at a full gathering of the brethren on fixed evenings in the church, the second in private houses. 1

The first was still disfigured by those excesses and disorders, which St. Paul sharply rebuked, but a century of discipline had not eradicated. It was preceded by reading of the Scriptures, psalms and hymns. After this the Bread and Wine were blessed, and then distributed by the deacons. 1 Viands of every kind, often costly and richly dressed, were provided by the liberality of the wealthier brethren. Clement does not attempt to lay any puritanical restrictions upon social enjoyment. He enforces the rule prohibiting the taste of blood or of . . .


1 The public Agape is the δημώδης ἑστίασις of Paed. ii. 1. 11; but we read of τὸν κεκληκότα, ibid. 10. This is the δοχή. Yet further the Feast is universal and daily: Paed. ii. 10. 96: where Clement obviously means the ordinary house supper; and so again Strom. vii. 7. 49. No priest can have been present in the vast majority of cases; the devotional exercises of the family and the thanksgiving constituted the meal an Eucharist. The phrase in Quis dives salvus 23 may perhaps thus be explained. The private Agape is the ordinary evening meal also in Cyprian Ep. lxiii. 16. In a somewhat later time the clergy appear to have been generally but not always present at the δοχή, which has become a charity dinner, to which especially poor old women were invited (≪Didascalia apost. 9:≫ cp. Const. App. ii. 28). The Council of Laodicea prohibited the Agape in churches, can. 28, and ≪the Eucharist≫ in private houses, can. 28 (Mansi iii. 563; Hefele ii. pp. 315, 322; Böhmer Dissertationes Juris Eccles. Lipsiae 1711, diss. iv: ‘Hoc modo in totum eucharistia ab agapis distincta et separata fuit’). The consecration of the Eucharist by laymen was not unknown in Tertullian’s church, Exhort. Cast. 7.


-139- meat offered to idols, he explains the code of good manners, and insists upon moderation. The Christian must eat to live, not live to eat. He must not abuse the Father’s gifts. He must show by precept and example that the heavenly banquet is not the meat that perisheth, but love; that the believer’s true food is Christ. 1

All that Clement says upon this subject is of the highest value to those who wish to recast for themselves a faithful image of the Church life of the end of the second century. But of all his phrases the most important are those which assure us that the ordinary evening meal of a Christian household was in a real sense an Agape. 2 It was preceded by the same acts of worship; it was blessed by thanksgiving; it was a true Eucharist. The house father is the house priest. The highest act of Christian devotion is at the same time the simplest and most natural. Husband, wife and child, the house slave, and the invited guest gathered round the domestic board to enjoy with thankfulness the good gifts of God, uplifting their hearts in filial devotion, expanding them in brotherly bounty and kindness. To us the word Eucharist has become a term of ritual, whose proper meaning is all but obsolete. To the Greek it was still a word of common life — thanksgiving, the grateful sense of benefits received, of good gifts . . .


1 Supper followed the Eucharist≪?≫; see Paed. ii. 1. 11. The deacons carried round the supper as well as the consecrated bread and wine.

2 The description of the Agape will be found at the opening of Paed. ii. For a similar and equally graphic account of the coarse vulgarity of Alexandrine luxury, see Philo De Vita Cont. 5 (ii. 477). The contrast between the heathen man of the world and the Christian gentleman as drawn by Clement is most instructive.


-140- showered by the good Father on mind and heart and body. ‘He that eateth eateth unto the Lord and (giveth) God thanks (Rom. 14:6) … so that a religious meal is an Eucharist. 1

All these good gifts sum themselves up in one, the gift of the Son. In the Eucharist, in its narrower sense, we eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ, ‘hallowed food’, of which the bread and wine given by Melchisedech to Abraham was a type. 2 It is ‘a mystery passing strange’. 3 ‘I will, I will impart to you this grace also, the full and perfect bounty of incorruption. I give to you the knowledge of God. I give to you my perfect Self.’ Christ’s own Sacrifice, the charter of His High Priesthood, is the condition of His sacramental agency. But what is the special boon that He conveys in that supreme moment, when His sacrifice cooperates with ours, when ‘in faith’ we partake 4 of the nourishment which He bestows? Not forgiveness — that gift is bestowed in the laver of Regeneration, and if lost must be regained by the stern sacrament of Penance — but incorruption, immortality. 5 The Bread, the Wine mingled with Water, are an allegory. ‘The Blood of the Lord is twofold. One is fleshly, whereby we have been ransomed from corruption’ — in Baptism — ‘one is spiritual, with which we have been anointed’ — in the Eucharist. The ‘Body’ is ‘Faith’, the ‘Blood’ is ‘Hope’, which is as . . .


1 Paed. ii. 1. 10.

2 Strom. iv. 25. 161. The figure is from Philo, and must be interpreted by Philo’s light.

3 Paed. i. 6. 43: the following quotation is from Protrept. xii. 120. The chief passages on the subject of the Eucharist are, besides these two, Paed. ii. 2. 19 sq.; Strom. v. 10. 66. Other notices in Paed. i. 5. 15; 6. 38; Strom. i. 10. 46; 19. 96; v. ii. 70; vi. 14. 113; Q. D. S. 23.

4 Paed. ii. 2. 20.

5 Paed. ii. 2. 19, iii. 1. 2.


-141- it were ‘the life-blood of Faith’. This is the Flesh and Blood of the Lord, the apprehension of the Divine power and essence. The Blood of His Son cleanseth from all sin. For the doctrine of the Lord which is very strong is called His Blood.’ 1

The elements are ‘hallowed food’; ‘the meat of babes, that is to say the Lord Jesus, that is to say the Word of God, is spirit made flesh, hallowed flesh from heaven.’ 2 These phrases have been interpreted in very different senses. One writer sees in them the doctrine of Transubstantiation, another the doctrine of Zwinglius [that Jesus was not present in the Eucharist]. Those who read Clement as a whole, who reflect upon his strong antithesis of the letter, the flesh, to the spirit, who take into due account his language on the subject . . .

1 For these four quotations see Paed. ii. 2. 19, i. 6. 38; Strom. v. 10. 66; Adumb. in i. Ep. Joan, p. 1009. I quote the last book always with hesitation. (In Paed. ii. 2. 19 the contrast is rather, not between Baptism and the Eucharist, but between the Blood as ‘shed’, and the Blood as applied.)

2 Strom. iv. 25. 161; Paed. i. 6. 43. The two opposing views are maintained by Döllinger, Die Eucharistie in den drei ersten Jahrh. Mainz 1826, and Probst, Liturgie (and Batiffol Études d’histoire et de théologie positive ii. pp. 183 sqq.) on the one hand, and by Höfling, Die Lehre der ältesten Kirche vom Opfer im Leben imd Cultus Erlangen 1851, on the other. Upon the whole Höfling’s view appears to me to be correct. But I must in fairness add, what I do not remember to have seen mentioned, that the doctrine of the Real Presence is Stated in Excerpta 82 (referring probably, not to the Eucharist, but to bread and oil blessed for healing purposes: cp. Sarapion Sacramentary, prayers 5, 17; Const. App. viii. 28). And the precise idea of transubstantiation was familiar to Clement, Paed. i. 6. 40. He is speaking of the change of the mother’s blood into milk, and his point is that the Faith of the Lower Life is the same in substance as the Gnosis of the Higher. It is barely possible that there may be also some allusion to the Elements, but I do not think there is.


-142- of Priest and Sacrifice, and his emphatic declaration that ‘knowledge is our reasonable food’, 1 will be inclined to think that the latter view is far nearer to the truth. Christ is present in the Eucharist as Gnosis, ‘in the heart, not in the hand.’ The Elements are a symbol, an allegory, 2 perhaps a vehicle, an instrument, inasmuch as they are ordained by Christ Himself; and to substitute any other figure for the one so ordained is heresy. But the veil, though a holy thing because it belongs to the sanctuary, is not the mystery that it shrouds, the allegory is not the truth that it bodies forth.

The chief article of the Christian Gnosis was that of the Future Life. It was as interesting to Pagans as to Christians. What will become of the soul after death? asks Plotinus, as he enters upon this universally fascinating theme. The immortality of the soul was positively . . .


1 Strom. v. 11. 70: i. 10. 46: v. 10. 66;: Adumb. in i. Ep. Joan. p. 1011 ‘sanguis quod est cognitio’: [cp. Did. ix. 3]. There is a remarkable departure from the ordinary symbolism in the very obscure passage, Paed. ii. 2. 19. 20. Clement’s drift is that those are to be praised who abstain from wine altogether, and he illustrates this by the mixed chalice. The Wine is the Blood, the symbol of Redemption, Baptism, Faith, and Discipline; the Water is the Spirit, the better gift.

2 Paed. ii. 2. 32: i. 6. 47. Much depends on the meaning of the word Allegory and the purpose of the Alexandrine Disciplina Arcani. On this I shall speak in Lecture IV. It may be noticed here that Clement mentions the kiss of peace, Paed. iii. 11. 81; the practice of anointing the eyes with a drop of the wine from the lips (a bare allusion), Paed. ii. 12. 129; and tells us, Strom. i. 1. 5, that some clergymen made the communicant take his (portion) instead of giving it to him, lest they should become partakers in the sin of the unworthy recipient; see Probst Liturgie pp. 135 sqq.


-143- denied by none but the ‘godless Epicureans’. But the doctrine of the Resurrection was peculiar to the Church, and, while it strengthened her hold upon the masses, was a great stumbling-block in the way of the educated. The Platonist looked upon the body as the ‘dungeon of the soul’, and could not understand how any pious man should expect a good God to renew and perpetuate that degrading bondage.

Within the Church itself there was some variety and much confusion of thought. Tertullian and many others held that the soul itself was material. 1 From this followed the terrible belief of Tatian, that it dies with the body, and is raised again with the body, by an act of Divine power, for an eternity of suffering or joy. ≪Some≫ Arabian Christians held that after dissolution the soul sleeps unconscious, till awakened to life by the restoration of its organism. But the majority believed in an intermediate yet conscious state of existence in Hades or Paradise, 1 extending to the Day of Judgement, . . .


1 A Montanist sister in one of her visions saw a soul ‘tenera et lucida et aerii coloris et forma per omnia humana’, De Anima, 9. Tatian’s doctrine in Oratio ad Graecos 13. For the Arabians see Eus. H. E. vi. 37; Redepenning Origenes ii. 105 sqq. The ψυχοπαννυχία may perhaps be found also in Athenagoras De Res. 16, though Otto thinks not. ≪The description, in the text, both of Tatian’s doctrine and of that of the Arabici (S. Aug. Haer. 83) does not seem to be quite exact. Tatian ad Graecos 13. And the Arabians (Eus. H. E. vi. 37).≫

2 [The Valentinians (see above, p. 59 note) identified Paradise with the fourth of the seven heavens. The Elders quoted by Irenaeus v. fin. (or Papias; see Routh i. 10) distinguished three Mansions of the blessed: the lowest is the City, New Jerusalem; the intermediate, Paradise; the highest, Heaven. By neither then was Paradise regarded as the name of the resting-place of souls before the day of judgement. Compare however the fragment of the Elders in Irenaeus v. 5 (Routh i. p. 57), where it certainly is so regarded.]


-144- when the soul is remitted to the body, from which it has been for a time divorced.

The Resurrection itself they interpreted in the most literal sense. It would be a resurrection of ‘this flesh’, of the identical body which had been dissolved by death. The ‘change’, spoken of by Paul, was strictly limited to the accession of the new attribute of incorruption. 1 Closely allied to this view was the widespread opinion of the Chiliasts, who, resting upon the prophecies of Isaiah and the Apocalypse, 2 believed that after the first Resurrection the saints should reign in the flesh upon earth for a thousand years under the sceptre of Christ. Chiliasm, which in vulgar minds was capable of the most unhappy degradation, was in turn strengthened by the urgent expectation of the End of the World. In the lower strata of Christian society prophecies on this subject were rife. At this very time a calculation, based on the numerical value of the letters composing the word Rome, fixed the downfall of the Empire and the coming of Christ for judgement for the year 195 A.D. 3 . . .


1 See Irenaeus v. 13; Athenagoras De Res. ≪3, 16, 18.≫

2 [Justin Trypho 80, 81 refers to Ezekiel 37:12 sqq. ≪cp. Iren. v. 15≫, Isa. 65:17-25, and Apocalypse xx. 4 sqq.]

3 The four letters composing the word ʹΡώμη = 948: hence it was supposed the empire would last that number of years, Or. Sib. viii. 148. When this expectation was frustrated by the course of events, the authors of the last four Sibylline books struck off 105 years from the Roman Fasti and fixed upon the year 305 in the reign of Diocletian. See much curious information upon similar speculations which recurred again and again from the persecution of Nero downwards, Alexandre Orac. Sibyll. ii. pp. 485 sqq.


-145- The Montanists held that the appointed sign was the appearance of the New Jerusalem in heaven; and this sign was given during the expedition of Severus against the Parthians, when for forty consecutive mornings the vision of a battlemented city hanging in the clouds was beheld by the whole army. 1

There were differences of opinion again as to the nature, object, duration, of the sufferings that await the wicked in the life to come, especially among the outlying sects. The Valentinians, as we have seen, 2 taught ‘conditional immortality’, and regarded the future life as a state of education, of progress through an ascending series of seven heavens. The Clementine Homilies, a work composed under strong Judaic influences, expresses different views in different places. In one, the sinner is warned that eternal torments await him in the life to come. In another, St. Peter proclaims that those who repent, however grievous their offences, will be chastised but for a time; that those who repent not will be tortured for a season and then annihilated. 3 The Church at large believed in an eternity of bliss or of woe. Yet among the Montanists prayers and oblations were offered up on behalf of the departed, and it was thought that these sacrifices could in certain cases quicken the compassion of God towards those who had died in sin. The widow prayed that her lost husband’s pangs might be alleviated, and that she might share with him in the First Resurrection. Perpetua, the matron lily of martyrs, in that jail which seemed to be a palace while her baby was at her . . .

1 Tertullian Adv. Marc. iii. 24; Münter Primordia Eccl. Afr. p. 141.

2 ≪pp. 58 sq.≫

3 Eternal torments in i. 7; xi. 1 1: the other view in iii. 6.]


-146- breast, cried for mercy upon the soul of her little brother, who had died unbaptized. 1

Clement never composed his promised treatise on the Resurrection, and it is not always easy to attach a definite meaning to his allusive style. But the general outline of his teaching is sufficiently clear. He rejects with scornful brevity the fancies of Chiliasm. 1 The Resurrection body . . .

1 Tertullian De Monogamia 10, the widow prays for her husband’s soul: ‘enimvero et pro anima eius orat, et refrigerium interim adpostulat ei et in prima resurrectione consortium, et offert annuis diebus dormitionis eius’: De Cor. Mil. 3 oblationes pro defunctis, pro natalitüs, annua die facimus (here he rests the usage on tradition, and not on Scripture: but he may mean only that the oblation is not scriptural, as the use of prayer is sanctioned by 2 Tim. 1:18): see also De Exhort. Cast. 11. All these treatises are Montanist according to Münter. Montanist also in the opinion of Valesius [and of Münter, p. 145] are the Acta of St. Perpetua. (Dr. J. A. Robinson in The Passion of St. Perpetua (Texts and Studies i. 2) has shown the probability that the Acta are the work of Tertullian himself. Cp. Bardenhewer Patrology (Engl. transl.) pp. 232 sq.) As to the latter it should be observed that the little brother Dinocrates for whom Perpetua intercedes had certainly died unbaptized. For his father was a pagan Perpetua herself was baptized in the prison and the effect of her prayer is that Dinocrates is admitted to the benefits of baptism. ‘I saw Dinocrates coming forth from a dark place very hot and thirsty, squalid of face and pallid of hue … And hard by where he stood was a tank full of water, the margin whereof was higher than the stature of the child, and he stood on tiptoe as if he would drink.’ Again, ‘on the day on which we lay in the stocks, she prays, and sees Dinocrates cleansed, dressed, and cool, drinking eagerly of the water. ‘Then I knew that he was released from pain.’ Further, the privilege of intercession is granted to Perpetua by revelation as a special mark of favour. So Clement appears to restrict it to the Gnostic. The practice of prayer for the dead was certainly uncommon at the end of the second century. It is not found in Origen; for In Rom. ix. 12 is confessedly from the hand of Rufinus.

2 Strom. vii. 12. 74: Guerike considers that these words refer to Chiliasm, ii. p, 163. The Allegorists were of course the great opponents of Chiliasm. Hence the Chiliast Nepos entitled his book ‘Ελεγχος ἀλληγοριστῶν: Eus. H. E. vii. 24 2.]


-147- is not ‘this flesh’, but, as St. Paul taught, a glorified frame, related to that which we now possess as the grain of corn to the new ear, devoid in particular of the distinctions of sex. 1 The change is wrought by fire. Even Christ rose ‘through fire’. Fire is here the agent, not of chastisement, but of that mysterious sublimation by which our organism is fitted for existence in a new sphere.

For the sinner the fire burns with a fiercer intensity, because it has a harsher office. It is the pang of unsatisfied lusts that gnaw the soul itself for want of food, the sting of repentance and shame, the sense of loss. It is ministered, not by fiends, but by good angels 2; it is alleviated by the prayers of the saints on earth. 3

There can, I think, be no doubt (though it has been doubted) that Clement allowed the possibility of repentance and amendment till the Last Day. At that final Assize there will be found those who, like Aridaeus, 4 are incurable; who will still reject, as man always can reject, the proffered grace. But he nowhere expressly limits probation to this brief life. All his theory of punishment, 5 which is strictly Platonic, for he hardly ever . . .


1 Paed. i. 4. 10; 6. 46. In this last passage it is said that Christ rose ‘through fire’, which changes the natural into the spiritual body, as earthly fire changes wheat into bread. But the resurrection body may still be called flesh, Paed. ii. 10. 100; iii. 1. 2.]


2 Strom. v. 14. 90; vii. 2. 12.

3 The Gnostic though he pray alone, he has the choir of the saints standing with him, Strom. vii. 12. 78. Yet Clement does not expressly say that he prays for them.

4 Strom. v. 14. 90: in iv. 24. 154 the ‘faithless’ are as ‘the chaff which the wind driveth away’.

5 The object of κόλασις is threefold amendment, example, and protection of the weak, Strom. i. 26. 168; iv. 24. 154; vi. 12. 99. The distinction between κόλασις and τιμωρία, Strom. iv. 24. 153; Paed. i. 8. 70, the latter is the rendering of evil for evil, and this is not the desire of God. Both κόλασις and τιμωρία, are spoken of in Strom. v. 14. 90; but this is not to be pressed, for in Strom. vi. 14. 109 the distinction between the words is dropped and both signify purgatorial chastisement.


-148- quotes Scripture in this connexion, 1 points the same way. And many passages might be adduced which prove how his maxims are to be applied. ‘Let them be chastised,’ he says of the ‘deaf serpents’ who refuse to hear the voice of the charmer, ‘by God, enduring His paternal correction before the Judgement, till they be ashamed and repent.’ 2 In that fiery trial even Sodom and Gomorrah cried unto God and were forgiven. There is no difference between his teaching and that of Origen, except that he generally seems to be thinking of the doom of Christians; that he regards probation as ceasing at the Day of Judgement 3; and that he does not contemplate the possibility of a fall from grace in the after-life.

Even the just must be purged by the ‘wise fire’, 4 before . . .


1 Isaiah 4:4 is quoted, Paed. iii. 9. 48, and 1 Cor. 3:10-13, Strom. v. 4. 26.

2 Strom. vii. 16. 102. Repentance is attributed to the dead again in Strom. vi. 14. 109. If it be asked which repentance Clement speaks of here (see note above, p. 135), the instance of Sodom and Gomorrah, Adumb. in Ep. Judae p. 1008, is very strong. It rests upon Ezekiel 16:33, 55, and is employed by Origen in the same way. Even stronger is the language of Strom. vii. 2. 12. The question of the orthodoxy or heterodoxy of the Alexandrines in this part of their teaching turns entirely upon the word ‘repentance’, to which we shall recur in Lecture VIII.

3 See Strom. vii. 2. 12. It should be observed that the word προκρίσεις here may refer to ‘previous judgements’ in this life; that is to say, to the Sacrament of Penance: compare Adumb. in i. Ep. Petri p. 1007.

4 Strom. vii. 6. 34. Cp. Eclogae Proph. 25, p. 995, and Minucius Felix 35 ‘illic sapiens ignis membra urit et reficit; carpit et nutrit’. There is an allusion to Isaiah 4:4, but the actual phrase ‘wise fire’ comes from Heraclitus and the Stoics.


-149- they are fit for the presence of the Most Holy God. Not at once can they see face to face, or enter into possession of those good things which ‘eye hath not seen nor ear heard’. When the burden of sin has been laid down, when the angels have taken their appointed ‘toll’, 1 the spirit must still grow in knowledge, rising in due course through the seven heavens of the Valentinian, through the three ‘mansions’ or ‘folds’ prefigured by the triple hierarchy of the Church. 2 Some — those who have brought forth thirty-, or sixty-, or a hundredfold, yet have fallen short of what they might have been mount no higher than this. 3 But the Gnostic, scaling from glory up to glory, will attain at last to the stature of the perfect man, and find rest upon the holy mountain of God, the Church that is above all. There in the changeless Ogdoad, a name borrowed from the Valentinian by the Catholic, as indeed is the greater part of this description, . . .


1 The Angels who guard the road up to the highest heaven take toll of the passer-by, Strom. iv. 18. 117.

2 Clement may have taken the seven heavens from Valentinus or from the Revelation of Sophonias, Strom. v. 11. 77. He found allusions to them in Plato’s Timaeus, p. 31; in Clem. Rom. 1 Cor. 20 § 8 (of the ‘worlds’ beyond the ocean); in St. Paul, and elsewhere. The same idea is found in the book of Baruch (Origen De Princ. ii. 3. 6), and in Aristo, Fragment iv in Otto Corp. Apol. vol. ix. p. 363. See also Hernias Vis. iii. 4, and note there in the ed. of Gebhardt and Harnack. The seven days of purification are a type, Strom. iv. 25. 158. The μοναὶ ποικίλαι are from Papias (Fragm. v in Routh); they answer to the three stages of Fear, Hope, and Love; to the three divisions of the Temple; to the three kinds of seed, Strom. vi. 14. 114; to the three grades of the hierarchy, vi. 13. 107.

3 This seems to be clearly meant in Strom. iv. 18. 114; vi. 14. 108, 114; cp. also Ed. Proph. 56. But if so, the poena damni never wholly ceases, Strom. vi. 14. 109.


-150- he shall dwell forever with Christ, the God and Guardian of his faith and love, beholding the Father, no longer in a glass darkly , but with the direct unclouded vision of a pure heart, in light that never fades. 1

Clement speaks of this final consummation as Rest. But it is the rest of God, who ceases not from doing good. 2 There is no absorption, no confusion of subject and object. It is the rest not of unity but of perfect similarity, perfect reciprocity, the polar rest of a soul energizing in unimpeded knowledge and love. Farther than this Clement does not dare to pry into the sanctuary of Light. I say no more, glorifying the Lord. 3


1 Strom. iv. 25. 158; vi. 14. 108; vii. 10. 56, 57.

2 ibid. vi. 12. 104.

3 ibid. vii. 3. 13.

Top ↑


“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.” Matthew 13:44

Clement, as we have seen, is a philosopher of a desultory and eclectic type and so far as the needs of his tranquil spirit led him on. Egypt is his world, Gnosticism his one trouble. Origen had travelled to Rome in the West and Bostra in the East, and had found everywhere the clash of arms. But apart from this, he was not one of those who discover the rifts in their harness only on the morning of the battle. His sceptical intelligence pries unbidden into every defect, and anticipates the hostile thrust. He stands to his arms for life or death, like a Dominican theologian of the thirteenth century, or an English divine of the nineteenth. The range of his activity is amazing. He is the first great scholar, the first great preacher, the first great devotional writer, the first great commentator, the first great dogmatist. But he is nothing else. Already we have entered upon the joyless age of erudition. The beauties of Hellenism, in which Clement still delighted, are a withered flower, and Christian art is as yet unborn.

The life of Origen extended from 185 A.D. to 254 A.D., from the reign of Commodus to that of Valerian and Gallienus. During this long and eventful period his activity was constant, varied, and distinguished, and friends and enemies, both equally ardent, have left us large materials for his biography. It is impossible here to deal exhaustively with a subject so wide. We -152- must content ourselves with touching upon the most characteristic features. 1

He was ‘by race an Egyptian’, a Copt, one of the children of the soil 2, despised by the Greek colonists for their animal-worship and their petulant turbulence, and treated even by the upright Roman law on the footing of slaves. Son as he was of Christian parents, he yet bore the name of one of his country’s deities, Origenes, child of Hor the god of Light. 2 From his . . .


1 For fuller information about the biography of Origen the reader should consult Thomasius, Redepenning, or Huet. Denis Philosophie d’Origène is a most valuable aid to the study of his system of doctrine. Dr. Harnack’s Dogmengeschichte is also very useful. Redepenning, ii. 472, gives a list of editions. ≪See also Westcott art. ‘Origenes’ in Dict. Christian Biog. iv. pp. 140 sqq.≫ The special literature will be found in Möller’s article in Herzog, in Nitzsch Dogmengeschichte, in Ueberweg Grundrissder Gesch. der Philosophie, ≪and Harnack Dogmengeschichte i. p. 603, Bardenhewer Patrology pp. 136 sqq. (Eng. tr.)≫. All my references are to the edition of Lommatzsch, the volume and page have been noted where it seemed desirable.

2 [On Αἰγύπτιος, of a native Egyptian, as distinguished from Άλεξανδρεύς (Alexandrian), see ≪C. L. Feltoe The Letters and other remains of Dionysius of Alexandria p. 13 note 9; and cp.≫ Soz. H. E. iii. 14.]

3 G. J. Voss was the first who gave the right derivation of the name of Origen; Redepenning i. 421. Suidas, Erasmus, Halloix, Cave were satisfied with the impossible etymology, ‘born in the mountains.’ Origen is commonly spoken of by the by-name Adamantius, which, according to Photius Cod. 118, means the same as Doctor Irrefragabilis, which according to Jerome, denotes his indefatigable capacity for labour (hence Jerome also calls him χαλκέντεος [brazen bowels]); according to Huet, the firmness with which he stood like a rock against heretics. For the heathen philosopher of the same name see Porphyry Vita Plotini 20; Eunapius Vita Porphyrii p. 457; Ruhnken Diss. philologica de vita et scriptis Longini, in his ed. of Longinus, Oxford 1806. Epiphanius endeavoured to save the reputation of Origen by inventing a second author of the same name, to whom he ascribed the more heterodox articles of Origenism; Haer. lxiii. i; lxiv. 3. The Praedestinati auctor, Haer. 42, calls this phantom heresiarch Syrus sceleratissimus, and adds a third Origen, who denied the Resurrection. See Huet, Origeniana, i. 1.


-153- blood he drew that fiery ardour which long tribulation softened but could not quench. He was a martyr by race, but a stern schooling was needed before he learned to drink the cup as God had mixed it for him. When his father Leonides fell a victim to the persecution of Severus 1, nothing but the womanly sense of his mother prevented Origen, then a boy of seventeen, from drawing destruction on his own head by open defiance of the authorities. The destitute orphan found shelter in the house of a wealthy Alexandrine lady; but neither gratitude nor the sense of a common misfortune could induce him to behave with civility to her Gnostic chaplain 2 Shortly afterwards, at the age of eighteen, he found independence in the mastership of the Catechetical School, left vacant by the flight of Clement. 3 He breathed his own spirit into his pupils, of whom six at least perished. 4 Nor was it Origen’s fault that he did not share their fate. He visited them in prison, he acted as their advocate, and gave them the brotherly kiss in open court. We are not surprised to hear that he narrowly escaped stoning in the streets, or that he was hunted from house to house by the gendarmery. 5 What is remarkable is that he escaped, and even contrived throughout the reign of terror to keep his school together. It is probable that the edict of Severus, which was directed against converts only, did not touch him, and that so long as he abstained from formal defiance he was personally safe. 6


1 ≪Eus. H. E. vi. i.≫

2 ≪ibid. 2.≫

3 ≪ibid. 3.≫

4 ≪ibid. 4 sq.≫

5 ≪ibid. 3.≫

6 An excellent account of the persecution of Severus will be found in Aubé Les Chrétiens dans l’Empire Romain. See also Münter Primordia Eccl. Afr.


-154- And he had already learned that formal defiance was suicide.

The second path that allures the willful martyr is that of self-torture. Like Buddha, like Marcus Aurelius, like Wesley, like many another enthusiast in every age and clime and church, Origen flung himself into asceticism only to learn the truth of the old Greek adage, ‘He who starts in the race before the signal is given is whipped.’ He sold the manuscripts of the Greek classics, which he had written out with loving care, for a trifling pension, in order that he might be able to teach without a fee, and subjected himself for some years to the severest discipline by night and day. 1 . This was the time of his bondage to the letter. He would carry out with severest fidelity the precept of the Saviour, provide neither gold nor silver … neither two coats, neither shoes. He went, as is well known, even farther than this, and did what was condemned at once by the wholesome severity of the Roman law, and the conscience, if not the actual ordinance, of the Church. This error too he learned to renounce, but not wholly nor frankly, for to the last he looked with a sombre eye on the affections of the flesh 2.

Rebellion is the third temptation of undisciplined zeal; and this charge also may be laid to Origen’s account. Here unhappily our materials are too scanty for a clear and dispassionate judgement. The bare Caesarea, accepted the invitation of Alexander, Bishop of Jerusalem, and Theoctistus, Bishop of Caesarea, to expound the Scriptures before the assembly of the Church, though as yet a layman 3, and that in 228 he . . .


1 ≪Eus. H. E. vi. 3.≫

2 ≪ibid. 8.≫

3 ≪ibid. 19.≫ [On lay-preaching see Routh Rel. sacr. ii. p. 176; and on the relation of Origen to Alexander, Eus. H. E. vi. 14.]


-155- was ordained at the same place by the same Bishops. 1 We cannot tell how far these acts were in violation of the existing discipline. Both were lawful in Palestine, both were regarded by Demetrius as unlawful. If the rule was more stringent at Alexandria, it was possibly a recent innovation. We do not know how far the dispute was complicated by the character of the ≪Bishop of Alexandria≫, by the teaching and conduct of Origen, or by the peculiar position of the Alexandrine Presbytery. But it is significant that the extreme penalty of degradation was carried only by the voices of the newly created suffragan bishops, against the inclination of the priests. These latter could not but sympathize with a victim of the same usurpation that lay so heavy on themselves.

For our present purpose the importance of the incident is that it marks the final renunciation by Origen of that narrow legal spirit, which leads by many paths to the one goal of servitude. He was learning in strange and unexpected ways the true meaning of the Christian sacrifice. He had been willing and eager to ‘give his body to be burned’, he had ‘given all his goods to feed the poor’, and his reward had been not the martyr crown but the martyr spirit, ‘love which beareth all things’. Now, when he had found his true career in indefatigable labour for the Word of God, and sought to sanctify his toil and enlarge his influence by the name and authority of a priest, what he sought was given to him, but at the cost of banishment and obloquy. Such discipline was needed before this high impatient spirit could obey with docility the bridle of God.

Many years before this it had become manifest in . . .


1 ≪Eus. H. E. vi. 23.≫


-156- what direction Providence was leading him. As a child he had received by his father’s care not only a minute knowledge of Scripture, a great part of which he learned by heart, but a thorough training in what was called the encyclic discipline the grammar, rhetoric and science which formed the ordinary education of a youth of good family. 1 Hebrew 2, a rare accomplishment, and philosophy, 1 he acquired while so absorbed in school work that he could find time for study only by curtailing the hours of sleep. His literary activity began in 223, 4 when he would be thirty-eight years old, and it continued incessantly to the end of his life. Like many other men of studious habits, he found the labour of composition irksome; but Ambrosius, a wealthy and intelligent man whom Origen had reclaimed from Gnosticism, continually spurred him on, and overcame the physical difficulty by providing him with a number of shorthand writers and copyists. From this time his labours were unremitting. ‘The work of correction,’ he says in one of his letters, ‘leaves us no time for supper, or after supper for exercise and repose. Even at these times . . .


1 ≪Eus. H. E. vi. 2.≫

2 ≪ibid. 16.≫

3 Origen does not name the professor whose lectures he attended. The belief that it was Ammonius Saccas rests upon the statement of Porphyry. Porphyry, who was an excellent man, no doubt spoke in good faith, but he has confused the heathen Origen, whom he once knew, with the Christian Origen, whom he can never have known; and therefore no weight at all can be attached to what he says. The teacher may well have been Ammonius, but it is by no means certain. For even if that distinguished man was already in the chair, it appears from the opening of the Eunuchus ascribed to Lucian, that at a great school there were two professors of each of the four sects of philosophy. Their stipend was 10,000 drachmas per annum. See notes in Heinichen on Eusebius H. E. vi. 19. On the Aristotelian school at Alexandria, see Eus. H. E. vii. 32 §6 and Heinichen’s note.

4 ≪Eus. H. E. vi. 23.≫


-157- we are compelled to debate questions of interpretation and to emend MSS. Even the night cannot be given up altogether to the needful refreshment of sleep, for our discussions extend far into the evening. I say nothing about our morning labour continued from dawn to the ninth or tenth hour. For all earnest students devote this time to study of the Scriptures and reading.’ 1

Such was his life during the progress of the Hexapla, and indeed at all times. The volume of writing thus produced was enormous. But it is evident that no man can accomplish the best work of which he is capable under these conditions, harassed by the demands of pupils, toiling with feverish anxiety to master the ever-growing mountain of minute facts, and in hardly won intervals pouring out the eager flow of extemporaneous thought to nimble-fingered stenographers. 2 The marvel is not that Origen composed so much, but that he composed so well. . . .


1 From the Epistle to a Friend about Ambrosius, in Lom. xvii. p. 5: [cp. Jer. Ep. xliii. ad Marcellam 1 (Vallars. i. 192) ‘Ambrosius, quo chartas sunitus notaries ministrante tarn innumerabiles libros vere Adamantius et Chalcenterus noster explicavit, in quadam epistula, quam ad eundem de Athenis scripserat, refert nunquam se cibum Origene praesente sine lectione sumpsisse; nunquam inisse somnum nisi unus e fratribus sacris litteris personaret. Hoc diebus egisse et noctibus, ut et lectio orationem exciperet et oratio lectionem.’]

2 Ambrosius, whom Origen calls his ἐπγοδιώκτης, taskmaster, provided him with ≪more than≫ seven stenographers, and the same number of calligraphists ≪Eus. H. E. vi. 23≫. We may compare them with the staff of a modern lexicographer. But Origen used them for his commentaries and other composition: thus In Joan. vi. i (Lom. i. p. 176) he complains that his work has been at a standstill because the συνήθεις ταχυγράϕοι were not with him. [Did anyone who could avoid the labour write anything with his own hand? Cp. St. Paul Rom. 16:22; 1 Cor. 16:21; Gal. 6:11; Col. 4:18; 2 Thess. 3:17: Basil Ep. cxxxiv.] ≪See Gardthausen Griechische Palaeographie pp. 296 sqq≫ After the year 246 his extemporaneous Homilies were taken down by shorthand writers ≪Eus. H.E. vi. 36≫.


-158- And to these professional labours must be added a far-reaching personal influence, with all its responsibilities and engagements. Origen was essentially a man of the student type; but he wielded that powerful charm which attaches to high intellectual gifts when combined with an ardent and sympathetic nature. His pupil Gregory Thaumaturgus speaks of his ‘sweet grace and persuasion mingled with a certain constraining force,’ 1 and uses towards him that strong Greek word by which Plato describes the love of the soul for its ideal. Such a charm is a practical power, and works with more freedom and pungency in a private station of life. It constituted Origen the unofficial representative, arbiter, peacemaker of the Eastern Church. A provincial governor consults him on affairs of the soul, 2 the Christian or half-Christian Emperor Philip corresponds with him, 3 the Empress Mother Mammaea summons him to Antioch and provides him with a guard . . .


1 From the Panegyric 6 of Gregory Thaumaturgus (in Lom. xxv). The student of Origen should certainly begin with this graphic and loving though too rhetorical sketch of the great master. Gregory was on his way to the Roman law school at Berytus, where he was to study for the bar. But by a series of accidents, which he regarded afterwards as divinely ordered, he fell in with Origen at Caesarea, and could not tear himself away. ‘It was as if a spark fell into my soul and caught fire and blazed up, such was my love for the Holy Word and for this man its friend and advocate. Stung by this desire I forgot all that seemed to touch me most nearly, my studies, even my beloved jurisprudence, my country, my relatives, my present mission, the object of my travels.’ Gregory stayed with Origen for five years, became a bishop, and was famed for his miracles ≪Eus. H. E. vi. 30, vii. 14≫.

2 ≪Eus. H. E. vi. 19.≫

3 ≪ibid. 34.≫


-159- of honour. 1 The Churches of Achaea and Arabia make him their umpire, and peace follows his award. 2 In the furnace of affliction he has grown to be one of those magnetic natures that test the capacity for love and veneration in every one that comes within their sphere.

Origen had long learned to acquiesce in the prevalent view of the Easterns that martyrdom involves a high responsibility, that the Christian has no right either to fling away his life or to fix the guilt of blood upon ‘the powers ordained of God’. The Church would gladly have restricted this Olympian contest to her chosen athletes. Hence he quitted Alexandria during the Fury of Caracalla, which though not specially directed against Christians, no doubt involved them. 3 Once again he fled from the persecution of Maximin to Caesarea of Cappadocia, where in the house of Juliana he whiled away the stormy days in labour upon the Hexapla. 4 What thoughts solaced him during this dry and gigantic task we know from the treatise on Martyrdom, composed at this time for the benefit of his friend Ambrosius, who had been thrown into prison; ‘a golden book’ it has been called with truth, for it touches not a single false note. 5 At last his own summons came. He was incarcerated in the persecution of Decius, and treated with a severity . . .


1 ≪Eus. H. E. vi. 21.≫ The date of the interview with Mammaea is doubtful. Baronius, Tillemont, and Delarue (see Huet) place it in 218. Redepenning, i. 372, in 223; this is Huet’s own opinion. Aubé, pp. 306 sqq., throws it forward to 232, on the ground that it was after the ordination of Origen; but I am not aware what reason he has for this statement. On the vexed question of the relation of Philip to Christianity see Huet, and Aubé, pp. 470 sqq.

2 ≪Eus. H. E. vi. 23, 33, 37.≫

3 ≪ibid. 19.≫

4 ≪ibid. 17.≫

5 ≪ibid. 28.≫


-160- which shattered his frame already enfeebled by labour and old age. 1

He was buried in Tyre, where for centuries his tomb, in the wall behind the high altar, formed the chief ornament of the magnificent cathedral of the Holy Sepulchre. Tyre was wasted by the Saracens, but even to this day, it is said, the poor fishermen, whose hovels occupy the site of that city of palaces, point to a shattered vault beneath which lie the bones of ‘Oriunus’. 2

We may consider his voluminous and many-sided works under three heads — Textual Criticism, Exegesis, and Religious Philosophy. The first of these does not properly fall within the scope of our inquiry, but a brief notice may be permitted for the sake of the sidelight which it throws upon the character of our author.

He devoted much time and labour to the text of the New Testament, which was already disfigured by corruptions, ‘some arising from the carelessness of scribes, some from the evil licence of emendation, some from arbitrary omissions or interpolations.’ 3 Already the records were perverted in numberless passages, not only by Gnostic audacity, but by those minor variations which constitute what are known as the . . .


1 ≪Eus. H. E. vi. 39.≫ [The exact date of Origen’s death is uncertain. Redepenning (i. 417 sqq., ii. 266) assigns it to 254 A.D.; Baronius to 256 A.D., the third year of Gallus and Volusianus; Valois ‘Eusebius … perspicue asserit Origenem circa initia principatus Galli mortuum esse, id est anno Christi 252’. See notes of Heinichen on Eus. H. E. vii. 1.]

2 I owe this fact to Westcott’s article Origen and the beginnings of Christian Philosophy in the Contemporary Review, May 1879 (reprinted in Essays in the History of Religious Thought in the West, London 1891, p. 211: cp. Dict. Christian Biog. iv. p. 103).

3 In Matthew xv. 14 (Lom. iii. 357).


-161- Western and Alexandrine families. Between errors of the latter class and the genuine reading he had no means of deciding except the perilous canon of intrinsic probability, which he applies with much acuteness, but at the same time with severe caution. 1 All that he could hope was to purify his own MS or MSS 2 (for he used more than one, and those of different families) from manifest faults of transcription and from recent and obvious depravations. This he effected with care and ability. The Exemplaria Adamantii acquired the authority of a standard, and derived additional importance from the fact that a copy was presented by Eusebius to the Emperor Constantine. But Origen’s fame as a critic rests chiefly upon the Hexapla. 3 In . . .


1 See the Diss. critica de Cod. IV Evang. Origenis in Griesbach Opuscula Academica vol. i. Origen sometimes makes conjectures in his Commentaries, but he never admitted them into his text. Thus he thought the words ‘thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself’ spurious in Matt. xix. 19 (see In Matth. xv. 14), but he does not venture to expunge them. He supports the reading Γεργεσήνων in Matt. viii. 28 and the parallel passages; but it is doubtful whether he actually inserted it in his MS. In Jo. i. 28 he found ‘Bethabara’ in some copies: see In Joan. vi. 24; Redepenning ii. 184 note; Tischendorf. In Rom. v. 14 the majority of his MSS omitted the μή, In Rom. v. i (Lom. vi. 344). There were bolder critics in his time: some wished to set aside the story of Dives and Lazarus, In Joan. xxxii. 13 (Lom. ii. 447); the words ‘Today thou shalt be with me in Paradise’, In Joan. xxxii. 19 (Lom. ii. 481); and the advice given to slaves, 1 Cor. vii. 21, In Rom. i. 1 (Lom. vi. 12).

2 Redepenning ii. 182 sqq.; Griesbach p. 240. The latter scholar pointed out that the text of Mark used by Origen for In Matth. is Western, while that quoted in the In Joan. is Alexandrine. See Gregory Prolegomena to Tischendorf p. 189; Westcott and Hort p. 113.

3 [On the Hexapla see Field Origenis Hexapla; C. Taylor ‘Hexapla’ in Dict. Christ. Biog. iii. pp. 14 sqq.; Schürer History of the Jewish People II. iii. pp. 164 sqq. (Eng. tr.)]; ≪Swete Introd. to the Old Testament in Greek pp. 59 sqq.; Bardenhewer Patrology p. 140 (Eng. tr.).≫


-162- controversy with the Jews the Christian disputant was constantly baffled by the retort, that the passages on which he relied were not found, or were otherwise expressed, in the Hebrew. Several new translations or recensions of the whole or part of the LXX had been produced, in which the discrepancies of the Alexandrine Version from the original were brought into strong relief.


Origen saw clearly the whole of the difficulties involved, and with -125- characteristic grandeur and fearlessness determined upon producing an edition of the Old Testament that should exhibit in parallel columns the Hebrew text and the rival versions, thus bringing before the eye of the inquirer in one view the whole of the evidence attainable. 1 At the same time he corrected and supplemented the LXX from the other versions, chiefly those of Theodotion and Aquila. This gigantic and costly scheme was rendered feasible by the munificence, and facilitated by the active cooperation, of Ambrosius.

The Hexapla, the first great achievement of Christian erudition, is impressive in many ways, not least as a proof of the intelligence and sincerity of the community to which it was addressed. But with all his devotion and learning Origen was not a consummate master in the higher functions of criticism. His equipment was insufficient. His knowledge of Hebrew was respectable, and for his age remarkable, but not . . .


1 Field, in his magnificent work Origenis Hexapla xlviii, does not think that Origen had a distinctly controversial purpose in view. But see Redepenning i. 234, 375; ii. 170. The locus classicus is In Matth. xv. 14. Partly owing to the plan followed by Origen, partly to the haste and inaccuracy of transcribers, the Hexapla caused very serious changes in the text of the LXX. Jerome Praef. in Lib. Paral. (Migne P. L. xxviii. 1323); Schürer II. iii. p. 164; ≪Swete Introduction pp. 77 sq.≫


-163- profound. He had a fair acquaintance with the grammar and dictionary, but had not penetrated into the genius of the language. 1 Again he was hampered by prejudice. He regarded the LXX as an independent and inspired authority, and, like Justin, accounted for its variation from the Hebrew by supposing that the latter had been deliberately falsified by the Jews. 2 In this way he explained the absence from the Canon of the Apocryphal Books. On one occasion he had employed in a public debate doctrinal proofs taken from the History of Susanna. This drew upon him an epistle from Julius Africanus, in which it was shown with great force and ingenuity that this addition to the Book of Daniel could not have been composed in Hebrew. 3 Origen with much learning and some little warmth refused to be convinced, but the honour of arms remained with Africanus, whose letter indeed is . . .


1 Redepenning i. 367, ii. 166, 198; Ernesti Opuscula Philologica et Critica. There is however some reason for lowering this estimate. In Num. Hom. xiv. i Aiunt ergo qui hebraicas literas legunt, in hoc loco Deus non sub signo tetragrammati esse positum, de quo qui potest requirat (Redepenning thinks these words may have been inserted by the translator); Contra Celsum i. 34. Origen does not speak of his own knowledge on this important and much debated point, and the authorities on whom he relied misled him, for the word ‘almah is not found in the passage to which he refers, Deut. xxii. 23-26. It is evident from the Ep. ad Afric. that Origen could not walk alone in Hebrew. Hence Boherellus inferred ‘Origenem hebraice plane nescivisse’. See Rosenmüller iii. 63. 23. 153.

2 Justin Trypho 71 (Otto p. 256).

3 The chief point urged by Africanus is the play of words σχῖνος σχίσις͵ πρῖνος πρίσισ. Origen struggles against this cogent argument in the Ep. ad Afric. But in a Fragment from Strom. x (Lom. xxii. p. 74) he admits that if the paronomasia {“in rhetoric, the use of words similar in sound but different in meaning; also, the use of the same word in different senses; a play upon words.”} does not exist in Hebrew the objection is fatal. The if is not critical but theological. See Schürer p. 717.


-164- a signal refutation of the epithets credulous and uncritical so often applied to the age in which, and the men by whom, the Canon of the New Testament was settled.

Of the stately Hexapla time has spared us nothing but a gleaning of scattered fragments. The original MS perished probably when the library of Caesarea was destroyed by the Arabs in the middle of the seventh century, and its immense size — it consisted of not less than fifty great rolls of parchment — must have prevented its ever being copied as a whole, though the revised LXX was circulated separately, and indeed still exists in a Syriac translation. 1 But of the exegetic work of Origen a very considerable mass is still extant, partly in the authentic Greek, partly in Latin translations. The surviving remains cover a large part both of the Old and of the New Testament, and afford ample material for judging the method and substance of his teaching. Yet they are but a portion of what he accomplished. In the form of Scholia, Homilies, or Commentaries he expounded nearly every book in the Bible, and many books were treated in all three ways.

The Scholia 2 were brief annotations, such as are . . .


1 The Syro-Hexaplar text is probably nearly all in existence, though till all the Fragments have been published it cannot be known what deficiencies may exist. See the articles Versions in Dict. of Bible by Tregelles, and Syrische Bibelilbersetzungen by Nestle in Herzog; Field; Ceriani Codex Syro-hexaplaris Ambrosianus Milan 1874; Lagarde V. T. ab Origene recensiti frag. apud Syros servata quinque Göttingen 1880; Dr. T. Skat Roerdam Libri Judicum et Ruth Hauniae 1861; the last-named authority gives full and elaborate prolegomena; ≪Swete Introd. to the Old Testament in Greek pp. 112 sqq.≫

2 Jerome, Preface to his translation of the Homilies on Ezekiel: ‘Scias Origenis opuscula in omnem Scripturam esse triplicia. Primum eius Excerpta, quae Graece σχόλια nuncupantur, in quibus ea quae sibi videbantur obscura atque habere aliquid difficultatis summatim breviterque perstrinxit.’ In the Preface to his Comm. on Matthew, Jerome calls them ‘commaticum interpretandi genus’. The word σημείωσις, which also occurs, appears to be used in the general sense of ‘notes’, which were sometimes perhaps σχόλια, sometimes extracts from the Commentaries or Homilies: Origeniana iii. i. 4, but see Redepenning ii. 376; Ernesti Opuscula Philologica; ≪C. H. Turner ‘Two notes on the Philocalia’ in Zeitschr. für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft und die Kunde des Urchristentums xii. (1911) pp. 231 sqq.≫ Such are the fragmentary extracts, chiefly from Catenas and of somewhat doubtful authenticity, published as Selecta. See the monita in Delarue. Gallandi, vol. xiv. app., has collected many fragments that are not given in Lommatzsch. [Other fragments are printed in Pitra Analecta sacra iii. iv] ≪and fragments of the Commentary on Ephesians are edited by J. A. F. Gregg in Journ. of Theol. Studies iii; of the Commentary on I Corinthians by C. Jenkins ibid. ix (cp. ibid. x. pp. 270 sqq.); of the Commentary on Romans by A. Ramsbotham ibid. xiii; and of the Scholia on the Apocalypse by A. Harnack in Texte u. Unters. xxxviii. 3 (1911)≫.


-165- commonly found on the margin of ancient MSS. The Homilies and Commentaries require a fuller notice.

Already the old prophesyings and speaking with tongues, except among the Montanist sectaries, have disappeared before the growing reverence for Scripture and the increasing stringency of discipline. Their place was supplied by the Homily 1 or Discourse, a name derived from the philosophic schools, expressive of the character of Christian eloquence, which was didactic and not rhetorical. In the days of Origen, and in Palestine (for his priestly activity belongs wholly to the time after his exile from Egypt), public worship was held . . .


1 Redepenning ii. 212 sqq. [On the word ὁμιλία see Lightfoot’s note on Ign. Ad Polycarp. v. i.] The terms κήρυγμα ≪?≫ and διάλεξις were also in use; [for διάλεξις see Eus. H. E. v. 20 § 6 (Iren.), 26 § 1. ≪vi. 13 § 3, 36 § 1≫, vii. 32 § 27: διαλεγεσθαι ibid. vi. 19 § 16. See Val. on Eus. H. E. v. 26. Did the sermon originate in prophecy? In the so-called 2 Clement we have a very early homily of a very different type.]


-166- no longer in the large room of some wealthy brother’s house, but in buildings definitely appropriated for the purpose, in which the bishop and his clergy were seated in a semicircle round the decorated Altar. 1 The service was divided into two portions, corresponding to what were afterwards known as the Mass of the Catechumens and the Mass of the Faithful. To the first, which was held daily, belonged the reading of Scripture, the Sermon, and apparently certain prayers 2; to the second, celebrated on Sundays and festivals, the prayers properly so called and the Eucharist. At the first catechumens, even heathen, were allowed to be present; from the second all, save the baptized, were rigidly excluded.

The Lessons were often of considerable length, comprising as much as three or four of our modern chapters, and went on in regular order, and the preacher expounded the whole or a portion of each according to the direction of the presiding bishop. 3


1 In Jesu Nave Hom. x. 3 (Lom. xi. 104); In Lib. Judicum Hom. iii. 2 (Lom. xi. 237); Probst Kirchliche Disciplin p. 212.

2 Many of the Homilies end with the admonition to stand up and pray, e.g. In Luc. Hom. xxxix. Catechumens were addressed In Luc. Hom. vii. Heathen were sometimes present, In Jerem. Hom. ix. 4 (Lom. xv. 210).

3 The Lesson read before the Sermon on the Witch of Endor included 1 Sam. 25-28. Origen, standing in the pulpit ≪?≫, asks which of the four περικοπαί {selections} he is to take for his subject, and the bishop replies, The Witch of Endor. There was as yet only one lesson, taken sometimes from the Old, sometimes from the New Testament. At a somewhat later period there were four, divided into two pairs, the first pair from the Old, the second from the New Test., and between the two readings a psalm was sung, Const. App. ii. 57 ≪4th cent.≫; but no trace of this usage is found in Origen: Redepenning ii. 221 sqq.; Probst Liturgie 152. Many of Origen’s Homilies must have taken an hour and a half in the delivery.


-167- It is probable that the friendly prelate of Caesarea suffered Origen to follow his own plan; hence his Homilies form a continuous exposition of the several books. They were delivered before a mixed, shifting, and not always orderly congregation. The services were daily and long. Some of the brethren would attend only on feast-days, and not always then. Some left the church before the sermon began, or if they remained, gathered in knots in the farther end of the building, the place of the heathen and unbaptized, ‘turning their backs on the Word of God and busying themselves with secular gossip.’ There were broad differences again in knowledge and morality. Some thought it not inconsistent with their Christian profession to haunt the circus or the amphitheatre; some fluctuated between Gnosticism and the Church; some were still tainted with heathen superstitions; some, sincere but ignorant, interpreted the promises of the Gospel in the most gross and carnal sense, or ‘believed of God what would not be believed of the crudest of mankind’. Hence the duty of Reserve, which Origen everywhere professes, weighs upon him with especial urgency in the Homilies. 1

The Homilies are rather what we should call Lectures than Sermons. His object in ≪preaching≫, Origen tells us, is not the explanation of the letter so much as the edification of the Church; hence he dwells here almost entirely upon the moral and spiritual sense. 2 . . .


1 The behaviour of the women was especially troublesome; In Exod. Hom. xiii. 3 ‘Quae tantum garriunt, quae tantum fabulis obstrepunt, ut non sinant esse silentium. lam quid de mente earum, quid de corde discutiam, si de infantibus suis aut de lana cogitent aut de necessariis domus?’: cp. In Num. Hom. v. 1; In Lev. Hom. ix. 5. 7. 9; In Gen. Hom. x. 1; Philocalia i. 8 ad fin.; Redepenning ii. 229.

1 In Lev. Hom. i. 1; In Num. Hom. xiv. 1. The reader may acquire a just idea of Origen as a preacher by perusing In Gen. viii; In Lev. vii; In Luc. xiv. The Homilies on Judges we know to have been written, though extempore passages were added in the delivery; see Hom. i. 3 ‘Sed et illud quod dicentibus nobis occurrit,’ etc. Beyond this passage I am not aware of the existence of any positive evidence as to which of his works were written with his own hand, though some, e.g. the In Joan., we know were not. It does not follow that the homilies on Judges were written with his own hand, see p. 157 note 2. But I cannot think that the De Principiis, the De Oratione, or the De Martyrio belonged to the latter class. Eustathius complains of Origen’s ἄμετρος ϕλαρία; Theophilus called him ‘seminarium loquacitatis’; Erasmus, on the other hand, praises his brevity, Huet Orig. iii. i. i; Redepenning ii. 252. Some interesting remarks will be found in Rothe Geschichte der Predigt, Bremen 1881.


-168- There is abundance of allegory, but little exhortation, still less unction or pathos. Origen does not wind himself into the heart. He has not the blithe geniality of Clement, whose cloistered life seems never to have felt a storm. In Origen there is a subdued fire that reveals the tale of mental suffering and exhausting toil. Hence that austere solemnity 1, that absolute sincerity, that breadth and dignity of mind, which still grasp and detain the reader with the same spell that was cast upon Gregory. Origen is emphatically ‘a man of God’, strong and subtle, yet infinitely humble and gentle, a true Ductor Dubitantium, because he knew there was much that he did not know and yet he was not afraid. His style is almost everywhere loose and prolix, owing to his habit of extemporaneous speech or dictation. This applies to the Commentaries as well as to the Homilies. Where he used the pen it is terser and more collected. But it is always simple and direct, flowing straight from the heart, devoid of every ornament, and owing its force entirely to that . . .


1 [See Hom. i. iii. Lib. Regn. i. where Origen contrasts his own amaritudo with the lenitas of Alexander.]


-169- glowing fusion of thought and feeling by which it is informed.

The plan which he laid down for himself in the Commentaries 1 was to give first the literal, then the moral, then the spiritual sense of each verse in regular succession. The text is but the threshing-floor on which he pours out all the harvest of his knowledge, his meditations, his hopes. Any word may open up a train of thought extending throughout all Scripture and all time. Hence there is much repetition and confusion. Even here the object is not so much instruction as the deepening of the Christian life. We lose in perspicuity, but we never miss the inspiriting sense of immediate contact with a great character.

To us, though not to himself nor to the men of his time, Origen’s merit as an expositor rests mainly upon the skill and patience with which he evolved the real and natural sense of the Bible. 2 He himself saw clearly . . .


1 I may recommend to the reader the allegory on the Treasury, In Joan. xix. 2; the passage on the Death of Christ, ibid. xxviii. 14; on Faith, ibid. xxxii. 9; the allegory on the Mercy Seat, In Rom. iii. 8; and the Exposition of the Parables in St. Matthew. This last Commentary is generally superior to that on St. John. But those who wish to see Origen at his best will seek him where he is least allegorical, in the Contra Celsum, or the treatises on Prayer and on Martyrdom.

2 Perhaps the best instance of Origen’s merits and defects in dealing with the literal sense is to be found in his comments on the opening words of St. John’s Gospel, In Joan. i. 16 onwards. In the New Testament he is always excellent; but we must compare him with the ancient commentators on Homer, not, as Rosenmüller practically does, with the best modern divines. I have adhered to Origen’s own distinction of the literal from the mystic sense. But it must be remembered that many of the most important passages in the N. T. are figurative, and that it is precisely in the explanation of these that the merit of Origen is to be found. Perhaps his supreme excellence lies in his clearness and courage in pointing out difficulties, the moral anomalies which beset the Gnostic and the ignorant Christian, the apparent non-fulfillment of the Messianic hope which rebuffed the Jew (see for all this the opening of the Philocalia] the contradictions of the Evangelists, In Joan. x. 3 sqq.; the chronological difficulty involved in the ‘four months before harvest’, In Joan. xiii. 39; the historical difficulty in the title basilikós (royal), In Joan. xiii. 57. If he often creates perplexities out of insignificant verbal distinctions, this is still a fault on the right side. For details see Redepenning ii. 200 sqq.; Rosenmüller. Ernesti Opuscula Philologica et Critica rates him very high as the founder of textual criticism and scientific inductive exegesis.


-170- that this is the foundation of everything. 1 If we measure him by the best modern commentators, we may be struck by his deficiencies. But in relation to his own age, his services are extraordinary. He need not fear comparison with the great pagan grammarians. He took great pains, as we have seen, to ascertain the text; he insists on the necessity of fixing the precise meaning of the words, and for this purpose will hunt a phrase through the whole Bible with a fertility of quotation truly prodigious, when we remember that it rests upon unaided memory. He never slurs a difficulty, raising and discussing every doubt that can by any possibility suggest itself. Hebrew he knew but imperfectly, and this is a fatal defect in dealing with the LXX. But in the New Testament he displays an accurate and intelligent appreciation of Greek grammar. Where he fails it is from preconceived ideas, from the hairsplitting and over-subtlety which are the Nemesis of Allegorism, or from deficiency of that sense of humour which corrects the extravagances of Clement. He cannot understand irony, and the simpler a thing is the more difficult he makes it. 1 Such scientific . . .


1 [See especially the extract from the third Tome of the Commentary on Genesis in Philocalia xiv.]

1 A good instance of this is his treatment of the gift of Caleb to his daughter Achsa (Joshua 15:19) ‘Et accepit Gonetlam superiorem et Gonetlam inferiorem … Videtis quia vere auxilio Dei opus est ut haec explanari queant,’ In Jesu Nave Hom. xx. 4.


-171- knowledge as the times could supply is at his call, 1 and he had travelled in Palestine with a keen eye for the geography of the Gospels. Philosophy too was at his command, though he does not rate it so high as Clement. 2 ‘Few’, he says, are those who have taken . . .


1 It did not amount to much. See the account of the different kinds of pearls, In Matt. x. 7. Origen thought that the popular beliefs that serpents spring from the spinal marrow of dead men, bees from oxen, wasps from horses, beetles from asses, that serpents have a knowledge of antidotes, that the eagle uses the ἀετίτης λίθος (lapis stone) as an amulet for the protection of its young, were possibly true, Contra Celsum iv. 57, 86. But he is no worse than Celsus himself or Pliny. Similar absurdities are to be found in Clement. For Origen’s other accomplishments, see Origeniana ii. i; Redepenning i. 219. Denis, p. 14, rates them very low. Indeed absorbed as Origen was in the drudgery of tuition from his eighteenth year, it is impossible that he can have gone profoundly into any line of knowledge not immediately connected with his special studies.


2 For the use that he made of philosophy, see the Panegyric of Gregory, and the account of his method of teaching in Lecture II. Denis, Philosophie d’Origène p. 30, says: ‘Il ne conservait de l’esprit philosophique que l’insatiable curiosite; and complains, in the chapter on Anthropologie, of his neglect of ethics, psychology and politics. The duties of citizens would not have been a safe theme for a Christian writer under the heathen Empire. Psychology again is for another reason an exceedingly difficult subject for a Christian, because he cannot isolate it, because he has to regard above all things the point of junction with metaphysics, and with the metaphysics of Revelation, Clement and Origen were the first to attempt the problem from this point of view. The same difficulty attaches to the theory of Ethics. The practice of Ethics is undervalued both by Clement and by Origen, though not so markedly by the latter. Hence it is a just criticism, ‘qu’il y a bien plus a apprendre sur l’observation intérieure non seulement dans Saint Augustin ou dans Saint Jérôme, mais encore dans Tertullien.’ The remarks of M. Denis are brilliant and in the main accurate; but the plan of his work compels him to approach Origen obliquely, and view him in a false light. Origen is before all things a theologian, but a philosophical theologian. The reader may consult with advantage Harnack Dogmengeschichte i. pp. 603 sqq.


-172- the spoils of the Egyptians and made of them the furniture of the tabernacle. Learning is useful, he tells his pupil Gregory, but the Scriptures are their own best key. ‘Be diligent in reading the divine Scriptures, yes, be diligent… Knock, and the door keeper will open unto thee… And be not content to knock and to inquire, for the most necessary aid to spiritual truth is prayer. Hence our Saviour said not only “Knock, and it shall be opened”, and “Seek, and ye shall find,” but “Ask, and it shall be given you”.’ 1

But it is when the sense is ascertained, or as he calls it ‘cleansed’, that the supreme task of the Commentator first comes into view. By all the means that science can bring to our aid we can do no more than attain to the ‘letter that killeth’, that bald first sense of Scripture which fluctuates between Atheism and Superstition. We must believe only what is worthy of God. Where then are we to find the true divine message? Origen, like Clement, held firmly to the unity and inspiration of all Scripture, and therefore, like Clement, he was driven to find the answer to this question in Allegorism. There is however considerable difference in detail between the two teachers.

Clement is content to accept Allegorism as a fact, as a part of Tradition. It was sanctioned by the practice of Philo and Barnabas, and appeared to derive authority from certain passages of Scripture. This is not enough for Origen, whose reason works always with a broad poetic sweep, and never rests till it has . . .


1 From the Epistola ad Gregorium. The difference between the attitude of Clement and that of Origen towards philosophy is well described by Denis, Philosophie d’Origène, Introduction.


-173- brought the particular affirmation under the scope of some all-embracing law. To him Allegorism is only one manifestation of the sacramental mystery of Nature. There are two heavens, two earths — the visible is but a blurred copy of the invisible. The divine wisdom and goodness, which are the cause of both, are in this world of ours distorted by refraction arising from the density of the medium. Yet they may be discerned by those that have eyes to see. Allegorism, Teleology, the argument from Analogy are all different aspects of one great truth. God made man in His own image and likeness, and so perhaps He made other creatures in the image and likeness of other heavenly things. Hence the grain of mustard, which, though it is the least of all seeds, when grown is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, may be a parable of the kingdom of heaven… What is true of seeds is true also of trees, of animals. Again, in the grain of mustard lurks more than one analogy to eternal verities, for it is a symbol also of faith. ‘If a man have faith as a grain of mustard seed he may say unto this mountain, Be thou removed!’ There are then in this one seed many virtues serving as symbols of heavenly things, and of these virtues the last and lowest is that whereby it ministers to our bodily needs. So with all else that God made — it is good for the use of man, but it bears also the imprint of celestial things, whereby the soul may be taught, and elevated to the contemplation of the invisible and eternal. Nor is it possible for man, while he lives in the flesh, to know anything that transcends his sensible experience, except by seizing and deciphering this imprint. For God has so ordered His creation, has so linked the lower to the higher by subtle signatures and affinities, that the world we see is, -174- as it were, a great staircase, by which the mind of man must climb upwards to spiritual intelligence. 1

From this Law of Correspondence springs incidentally the profound observation that suggested the Analogy. ‘He, who believes the Scripture to have proceeded from Him who is the Author of Nature, may well expect to find the same sort of difficulties in it as are found in the constitution of Nature.’ But the antagonists whom Origen had in view were not so much the Platonic Deists as the Jew and especially the Gnostic. Hence the turn which he gives to the argument is in the main different from that of Bishop Butler.

Scripture has in general three senses the literal, the moral, and the spiritual. 2 Not that every passage is susceptible of all three modes of interpretation. Many texts have no literal sense at all. Some, like the Decalogue, have a moral signification, of such a kind that it is needless to seek farther. The distinction between the two higher senses is not always very . . .


1 The passage quoted is from In Cant. Canticorum iii (Lom. xv. 48). Consult also In Lev. Hom. v. 1 (Greek text in Philoc. i. 30) and De Princ. iv.


2 Redepenning i. 299 sqq.; Origeniana ii. 2. 13 (Lom. xxiii. 254). For the spiritual sense Origen uses more than a score of different terms, Redepenning p. 305. Some have thought that he made a triple division of the spiritual into allegoric, tropologic, and anagogic, or a double into allegoric and anagogic, but without sufficient reason. That there were neither more nor less than three senses was proved by Prov. 22:20. They answer to body, soul, and spirit, and are alluded to in the water-pots holding two or three firkins apiece, and in the Shepherd of Hermas, a book, ‘qui a nonnullis contemni videtur,’ where Grapte, Clement, and Hermas represent the three classes of believers, De Princ. iv. 11. [Άναγωγή is a technical Platonic phrase for the road up; Plotinus Enn. i. 3. 1.]


-175- clearly drawn, as there are regions where the one shades off into the other by very fine gradations. But there is an abundance of passages where they are so sharply defined as to show us exactly what Origen meant. Thus the grain of mustard is first the actual seed, then faith, then the Kingdom of Heaven. So again the ‘little foxes’ of the Song of Songs are typical, in the second sense of sins affecting the individual, in the third of heresies distracting the Church. 1 The moral embraces all that touches the single soul in this life, in its relation to the law of right, or to God; the spiritual includes all ‘mysteries’, all the moments in the history of the community, the Church, in time and still more in eternity.

To interpret and set forth these mysteries, these moral enigmas, is the task of Allegorism. But we must now notice that this Biblical alchemy is capable of application to two distinct purposes. One is negative and apologetic; the other is positive and didactic. Origen employed it in both directions with singular freedom and address. But it is his use of the negative side that is the more characteristic.

He held that innumerable passages in both Testaments have no sense at all except as Allegories. 2 Neither Clement nor Philo expressly affirmed this, though the idea certainly lurked within their minds. 3 But Origen was not the man to disguise from himself or from others the exact nature of what he was doing. Many passages of Scripture, he says, are excluded from . . .


1 In Cant. Cantic. iv (Lom. xv. p. 83 sqq.).

2 De Princ. iv. 15 sqq.

3 Philo comes very near denying the literal sense in De Ebriet. 36 (i. 379).


-176- belief by physical impossibility. Such are those which speak of morning and evening before the creation of the Sun, the story of the Fall, and the carrying up of our Lord into an exceeding high mountain by Satan in the Temptation. Others again imply moral ≪or physical≫ impossibilities. Such are those which speak of the child as punished for the sin of the parent; the law that on the Sabbath no Jew should take up a burden or move from his place; the precepts of the Saviour not to possess two coats, to pluck out the offending eye, to turn the right cheek to him that has smitten the left. Yet another class are rejected by the enlightened conscience. Such are the adventures of Lot, the cruelties of the Jewish wars, the execrations of the Psalms. All these antinomies of Scripture were forced upon him on one side by the Ebionite and Gnostic, on the other by the Greek philosopher, who was beginning to study the Bible in a spirit of not wholly unfriendly curiosity, and was violently repelled by these proofs, as he thought them, of Jewish barbarism. Origen felt the embarrassment most acutely, and his fearless logic saw but one way of escape. These passages, he admitted, in their literal sense are not true. Why then, urged the adversary, are they found in what you Christians call the Word of God? To this he replied that, though in one sense untrue, they are in another the highest, the only valuable truth. They are permitted for an object. These impossibilities, trivialities, ineptitudes, are wires stretched across our path by the Holy Spirit, to warn us that we are not in the right way. We must not leap over them; we must go beneath, piercing down to the smooth broad road of the spiritual intelligence. They are the rough outer husk, which repels the ignorant and unfit reader, but -177- stimulates the true child of God to increased exertion. The letter is the external garb, often sordid and torn; but ‘the king’s daughter is all glorious within’. It is as if the sunlight streamed in through the crannies of a ruinous wall; the wall is ruinous in order that the sunlight may stream in. 1


Origen could not rest content with an easy optimism like that of Clement, who stopped short at the assertion of the unity of Divine Justice and Goodness. For there -139- was that in Scripture which appeared to him irreconcilable with both. These passages were in fact the key of the Gnostic position. What the Gnostic asserted was not merely that Justice and Goodness are different things, but that God as He is depicted in the Old Testament is certainly not good, though He may be called just in the sense in which that epithet is applied to earthly rulers, who, though harsh and vindictive, do not punish without a reason. The difficulty is certainly there, and Origen with his far-sighted intrepidity fixes and grapples with it. It is a serious effort to solve a serious and, if left unsolved, fatal objection.

We may notice also in passing the biographical interest of his mature teaching on this point. If we compare what he says in the De Principiis, where he treats the command about the two coats as purely figurative, with the passionate asceticism of his youth, we shall see how the letter had been to him in very truth at once a stumbling-block and a cranny in the wall. It was by bruising himself in the fiery endeavour to obey, that he learned what obedience really means.

On its negative side Allegorism then is apologetic; on its positive it is the instrument for the discovery of . . .


1 The foundations of this section will be found in De Princ. iv. and the Philocalia i.


-178- Mysteries. 1 What these are we have seen already in -140- the case of Clement, and shall see more clearly still as we advance. In both respects it must be handled with a certain reserve. The rule of Economy was directed partly against the mocking heathen; that which is sacred must not be given to dogs. But it had also another and even more serious application as a law of forbearance towards the weaker brethren. From these too ‘it is good to hide the mystery of the King.’ 2 . . .


1 The word Mystery is used in [three] senses, (1) First, of the Christian worship or ritual, the modern Sacraments. Of these, though their general nature could not be kept secret, all minute knowledge was reserved for those who had the right to be present at their enactment. In this respect they resembled the Mysteries of Samothrace or Eleusis; hence the name. So Ignatius, Ad Eph. xii. 2, speaks of Christians as συμμύσται (fellow initiates): cp. Ad Trall. ii. 3: see also Ep. ad Diognetum i; Tertullian Apol. 7. In this sense, that of natural reserve, of reluctance to lay bare the whole organism of the Church to unsympathetic hearers, the Disciplina Arcani is no doubt very ancient, though its growth can be traced. It cannot have been viewed as a rule of conscience by St. Paul, who on the ship ‘took bread and gave thanks to God before them all’. (2) Second, of what we may call Theology, the doctrine of the Trinity, of Angels, of the Resurrection, the explanation and idealization of rites, the hidden meaning of the Law. In this sense the word Mystery is found in the New Testament. Justin appears always to use the word in the second sense, of allegorical explanations of the Old Testament, or spiritual explanations of the New. See Otto’s index. (3) Thirdly, of the secrets of the invisible world, of visions, special revelations, especially with respect to the angelic orders. Thus Ignatius hints at mysteries concerning the unseen world which he is not at liberty to divulge, Ad Smyrn. vi. i; Trall, v. 2. [Polycarp, Ad Phil. 12, regrets that he does not possess the gift.] The word might be used of the visions of the Montanists. But in the Alexandrines it means almost always intellectual interpretation, in fact theology. See Probst Kirchliche Disciplin 303 sqq.; Bingham x. 5, and Haddan’s article Disciplina Arcani in Dict. of Christ. Ant.: ≪P. Batiffol Études d’Histoire et de Théologie positive, Paris 1902, pp. i sqq.≫


Origen does not distinguish between the higher and lower Life quite in the same way as Clement, who regards all Christians as members of the true Church, though ranked in an . . .

2 Tobit xii. 7 quoted Contra Celsum v. 19. Many passages were thought to inculcate the duty of Reserve. Clement, Strom. v. 10-63, cites Theodotion’s version of Isaiah xxiv. 16 (but he quotes it from a Gospel, probably the Gospel according to the Egyptians; Hilgenfeld Novum Test. extra Can. Rec. iii. p. 46: the verse is used in the same way in the Homilies xix. 20; see note in Field), and Strom. ii. 2. 8, Proverbs 5:16, where the negative is not found in the Hebrew. In the New Testament it was based mainly upon Matt. 7:6; Mark 4:34. In Clement and Origen it is almost always spoken of as intended for the protection of the weaker brethren. Thus the main reason why Scripture speaks in allegories is to stimulate inquiry, and one principal difference between the simple believer and the Gnostic is that all allegories are withheld from the former. See especially Paed. ii. 8. 73, where Clement breaks off his explanation of the mysteries involved in the Crown of Thorns with the words, “But I have made a digression from the paedagogic style of speech, and introduced the didactic. I return accordingly to my subject.” Origen professes his inability to say all that might be said on the mysteries of the Trinity and Eternal Punishment in an exoteric treatise, Contra Celsum vi. 18. 26; yet it is not the doctrines but the allegories involved that he finds it impossible to explain to unbelievers. See also the passages referred to above, p. 167 note 2.


-179- Origen does not distinguish between the higher and the lower Life quite in the same way as Clement, who regards all Christians as members of the true Church, though ranked in an ascending scale of faith and knowledge. He takes a much severer view of the insufficiency of nominal Christianity, and on the other hand accentuates the distinction between theology and acquiescence. Hence the difference between the Two Lives has a marked tendency to pass over, on the side of knowledge into that between professional and un professional, between cleric and lay; on the side of conduct into that between the Visible and Invisible Church. 1

‘The holy Apostles’, he says, in preaching the faith of Christ declared with the utmost clearness . . .


1 Origen speaks of the three degrees of Christian perfection, distinguished by Faith, Hope, and Charity, In Rom. iv. 6 (Lom. vi. 271) and elsewhere. The distinction between the Two Lives is laid down In Joan. xx. 26 sqq. as by Clement; the ἁπλούστερον πιστεύοντες who do not understand the word which they obey, the slaves whose motive is Fear, are opposed to the sons, οἱ διορατικώτερον κατανοοῦοντες (the Seeing Israel). Even Paul was by nature a child of wrath, so are we all; we become adopted sons by using the light and power given to us, especially by loving our enemies. Compare In Joan. xx. 15; Prol. in Cant. Cantic., where again the stress is laid upon Love. Elsewhere more value is assigned to Knowledge, and so the distinction at times seems to coincide very nearly with that between Clergy and People, Contra Celsum i. 9; In Jesu Nave Hom. xvii. But even among the Clergy there were those who could speak only of the literal and moral senses, and so belonged to the lower class, In Lev. Hom. xiii. i. 3. The difference between the Visible and the Invisible Church in the sense of nominal and real Christianity is very forcibly expressed, In Matt. xii. 12. See further in Lecture VI.


-180- whatever they thought necessary to salvation, even to those who are slothful in the investigation of divine science, leaving the reason of their assertions to be sought out by those who should deserve the excellent gifts of the Spirit, and especially the graces of utterance, wisdom and knowledge. But as to other things they affirmed indeed that they are, but why or whence they did not explain.’ 1 He found a symbol of this distinction of believers in the arrangements for carrying the Tabernacle on the march. Aaron and his sons were to wrap the sanctuary and all the vessels of the sanctuary in the appointed covering of badgers skins or cloths of blue and scarlet; after that, the sons of Kohath shall come to bear them, but they shall not touch any holy thing lest they die … they shall not . . .


1 De Prim. i. 3. The following passage is from In Num. Hom. v. i. It will be observed that though the son of Kohath is a communicant, the rule of Reserve, ‘nolite mittere sanctum canibus’, applies to him, In Lev. Hom. vi. 6; xii. 7. In Num. Hom. iv. 3 ‘Aut si res poscit proferre et inferioribus, id est imperitioribus, tradere, ne nuda proferat, ne aperta ostendat et penitus patentia; alioquin homicidium facit et exterminat plebem.’


-181- go in to see when the holy things are covered lest they die. So in our ecclesiastical observances there are some things that all must do, but that all cannot understand. Why, for instance, we should kneel in prayer, or why we should turn our faces to the East, could not, I think, be made clear to everybody. Who again could easily expound the manner of celebration of the Eucharist, or of its reception, or the words and actions, the questions and replies, of Baptism? And yet all these things we carry veiled and covered upon our shoulders, when we so fulfil them as they have been handed down to us by the Great High Priest and his Sons. Only the son of Aaron, the man of spiritual intelligence, might gaze upon the holy things naked and unveiled. To the son of Kohath belonged unquestioning obedience; he carried the burden, but was forbidden to demand the reason. Nor might the son of Aaron declare it. To uncover the mystery, to explain that which the bearer was not able to comprehend, was spiritual homicide.

The nature and scope of the Alexandrine Disciplina Arcani 1 are sufficiently clear from these extracts, . . .


1 Probst, Kirchliche Disciplin pp. 303 sqq., would restrict this phrase (first used by Meier, a professor of Helmstadt in 1677) to the rule forbidding the revelation of the Christian rites to heathen, and would distinguish it from the pedagogic Economy, which may be expressed in the words of the Council of Trent: ≪Sessio xxv Decretum de Purgatorio≫ ‘Apud rudem vero plebem difficiliores ac subtiliores quaestiones quaeque ad aedificationem non faciunt, et ex quibus plerumque nulla fit pietatis accessio, a popularibus concionibus secludantur. Incerta item vel quae specie falsi laborant evulgari ac tractari non permittunt.’ Perhaps the distinction is not ill grounded; for Origen is certainly reticent as to the ritual of the Eucharist, In Lev. Hom. ix. 10. It may be noticed here that he uses the phrase ‘sancta sanctorum’ to express, not the secrecy, but the spiritual nature, of the Eucharist, the difference between worthy and unworthy recipients, In Lev. Hom. xiii. 6; Prol. in Cant. Cantic. (Lom. xiv. 314). As regards theology there is really no secret at all. So far as Clement and Origen had explicit views they declared them in one place or another. Denis says of the latter: ‘Nul parmi les docteurs de l’Église n’use moins de la méthode de parler par l’économie quoiqu’il en reconnaisse l’utilité et la sagesse.’ [See In Gen. Hom. xiii ad fin. where Origen gives up Reserve altogether: ‘Audiant prudentes, audiant simplices quoque: sapientibus et insipientibus debitor est doctor ecclesiae, potare homines, potare debet et pecora.’]


-182- which might be indefinitely multiplied. The Reserve or Economy of Clement and Origen was directed mainly against Christians of the simpler sort, and its object was to save them from waters too deep for them, to guard them from discussions involving doubts that would certainly perplex, and might altogether mislead, a faith earnest and correct, though supported by slender intellectual gifts. In plain words the faith of the son of Kohath is Catholicism, and that of the son of Aaron is Idealism; and the Allegorism of Clement and Origen is a plea for the utmost freedom of thought, on condition that it keeps within the teaching of Christ and His Apostles, and is couched in a learned language.

Only by perverse ingenuity can it be twisted into an argument in defence of the very mode of conception against which it is especially directed. 1 The Eucharist is doubtless one of the mysteries, to be spoken of with guarded reserve in the presence not only of heathen, but of simple or careless believers. But it is a mystery . . .


1 As by Bellarmine and his followers; see Bingham x. 5. The argument from the Disciplina Arcani, in its strict logical form, proceeds on the axiom that complete silence is absolute proof, and that, failing this, the less the evidence the more certain the conclusion. This is obviously absurd. Hence the Disdplina Arcani, as a controversial weapon, has been superseded by the doctrine of Development, though it is still employed to eke out insufficient evidence.


-183- in precisely the same sense as any other, and precisely the same solvent must be applied before we can obtain the spiritual truth hidden beneath the rough ore of the words. ‘Even in the New Testament there is a letter which killeth him who does not spiritually consider what is said. If according to the letter you follow the very words of Christ … Unless ye eat my Flesh and drink my Blood, this letter killeth.’ 1 Nor was it the greatest of the mysteries. There was doubtless a party in the Church who attached a very literal sense to these words of the Saviour 2, and bitterly resented any attempt to idealize them. But the danger of wounding the simple faith and suggesting doubts that might weaken the sanctions of morality lay in a different direction — in speculations upon foreknowledge, predestination and birth-sin, in attempts to penetrate the secrets of the Eternal Gospel, the doctrine of angels and demons, and the history of the soul after death. Of these it is said they are ‘mysteries which may not be entrusted even to paper’. 3

It is possible to defend the practice of Reserve, if it be taken to represent the method of a skillful teacher, who will not confuse the learner with principles beyond his comprehension. 4 This however is by no means . . .


1 In Lev. Hom. vii. 5 (Lom. ix. 306).

2 See Justin Ap. i. 66; Cyp. de Lapsis 25 sq.; Eus. H. E. vi. 43 §18 (the words of the oath administered by Novatian to his adherents).]

3 In Rom. ii. 4, of the mode in which the souls of good men operate after dissolution as good angels, those of the wicked as bad angels, it is said that these things are ‘ne chartulae quidem committenda mysteria’. Compare the Prol. in Cant. Cantic. (Lom. xiv. 320).

4 It is so defended by J. H. Newman, Arians i. 3, pp. 40 sqq., 3rd ed.; see also the Apologia pro Vita Sua; and by Origen himself, Contra Celsum iii. 52 sqq.


-184- what the Alexandrines intended. With them it is the screen of an esoteric belief. They held that the mass of men will necessarily accept the symbol for the idea, will, that is, be more or less superstitious. It is enough if their superstition is such as to lead them in the right direction. This is a necessary corollary of the new compromise between the Church and the world, a taint inherited from the Greek schools in which Truth was not a cardinal virtue. Freedom remains, but it is a freedom of the élite, which may be tolerated so long as it does not cry aloud in the streets. But let us remember the Alexandrines were pleading for the freedom, not for the restriction. It was not altogether their fault, if they were driven to approximate on this point to the dreaded Gnostics.

Origen differs from Clement in regarding Allegorism rather as a personal gift than as an inherited tradition. 2 He differs from him still more in the volume, ingenuity, beauty of his applications of the method. All Scripture becomes transparent beneath his touch; the ‘crannies in the wall’ multiply and widen, till the wall itself disappears. The dangers of such a mode of procedure are obvious, and there were not wanting those who urged them, though they directed their . . .


1 Clement’s few Allegorisms are almost without exception borrowed. We may say that he regarded not only the sanction but the substance of this mode of interpretation as given by Tradition. Origen feels that he has a personal illumination: In Levit. Hom. viii. 1 ‘Putas possumus veteris instrumenti formas novi testamenti gestis et sermonibus coaptare? Possumus, si nos ipsum Dei Verbum et iuvare et inspirare dignatur.’ In this respect he is more of a Mystic than Clement, but Rosenmüller, iii. p. 146, is harsh in comparing him to the fanatics of the Inner Light. [He did not, however, regard this personal illumination as a special privilege. Any Christian might and ought to attain to it. See In Gen. Hom. xii. 5 ‘Testa ergo et tu, o auditor’: xiii. 4 ‘Incipietis etiam ipsi esse doctores’.]


-185- protest mainly against its application to the New Testament. 1 Many probably were offended by precisely those features of Origen’s teaching which were of the deepest and most permanent value. But there are objections which may be pressed without suspicion of narrowness or prejudice.

The Alexandrine method as applied by Origen is undoubtedly unsound. He appeals to the examples of Christ and St. Paul, 2 and to a certain limited extent with justice. But his rules of procedure, his playing with words and numbers and proper names, his boundless extravagance are learned, not from the New Testament, but through Philo from the puerile Rabbinical schools. 3 Yet we must distinguish. On its apologetic side Allegorism is seen at its worst. When the Stoics assure us that the heathen deities are but symbols of . . .


1 In Lev. Hom. xvi. 4 ‘Dicet fortassis auditor, Quid iterum hic euresilogus agit?’: cp. In Gen. Hom. xiii. Here the objection is to Allegorism in general. [These objectors Origen compared to the Philistines: they filled his wells with mud; In Gen. Hom. xii. 6.] But in application to the Old Testament it was in universal use among orthodox Christians. [The so-called Clavis of Melito of Sardis ≪‘a dictionary of the allegorical interpretations of Scripture’, published by Pitra Spicil. Solesm. ii, iii. i; Analecta Sacra ii≫, is adequately discussed by Otto Corpus Apol. ix. pp. 401 sq.; he regards it as undoubtedly spurious, ‘saeculo x aut xi consarcinata’]: ≪see also Salmon s.v. Melito in Dict. Christ. Biog. iii. pp 897 sq.; Bardenhewer Patrology p. 63 (Eng. tr.) a biblical glossary compiled from Augustine, Gregory the Great, and other Latin Fathers’≫.

2 In Num. Hom. i. 3 ‘Apostolo nobis Paulo spiritualis intelligence semina respergente’; In Num. Hom. iii. 3 ‘Non possum illuc adscendere nisi praecedat me Paulus’. He is referring to the Epistle to the Hebrews, which he certainly regarded as the work of St. Paul, De Principiis preface 1, though he thought that the actual wording of the Epistle was due not to the Apostle himself but to one of his disciples, Eus. H. E. vi. 25 §11.

3 For the relation of Origen’s allegorism to that of Philo see Siegfried pp. 351 sqq.


-186- the forces of Nature, and turn the hideous myths of Zeus or Dionysus into a manual of physical science; when Philo makes Tamar represent the soul widowed from sensual delights; when Clement turns the unclean meats into vices that are to be shunned, we rebel. This is not the meaning. Such paltering with the text is not honest; and in this respect there was reason in the reproach of Celsus that Jews and Christians alike were ashamed of their Bible. Yet let us not be harsh. To us it is not difficult to allow that the Old Testament is the history of a people and not merely of a religion; that God’s revelation is progressive; that He speaks by human messengers; that something has been permitted because of the hardness of men’s hearts. But to the Alexandrines, bound as they were by their Jewish theory of inspiration and beset by eager foes, it was not easy to admit all this. Concessions are not readily made by men struggling for all that they hold dear. Nor indeed was the notion of historical development familiar to their times. Perhaps we may say that its first fruitful germ is found in the Church, in the qualified admission of the inferiority of the Old Testament to the New. The Alexandrines went so far as to explain certain passages — those which attribute human figure and emotions to God — by the principle of accommodation or condescension, and Origen even admitted the existence of degrees of inspiration. 1 Through these observations lay the way . . .


1 See especially In Joan. i. 4 onwards. The Law is inferior to the Gospel; in the New Testament the Epistles stand below the Gospels, and of the Gospels the ἀπαρχή is that of John, ‘whose sense none can grasp unless he has fallen upon the breast of Jesus and received from Jesus Mary to become his mother.’ Compare also Contra Celsum iv. 8, where again he hints at the subject, but declines to pursue it because it is a Mystery.


-187- to a clear solution of the difficulty. But though the key was actually in the lock, Origen did not turn it. The time had not yet come. Again, of the positive use of Allegorism it is not possible to speak without qualification. What is the value of the mysteries which it aims at discovering? Does it really discover mysteries at all? One critic regards it as wholly futile, ‘an excellent means of finding what you already possess.’ To another it is ‘fecunda mater erroriim, superstitionum, fanaiicarumque opinionum.’ Yet a third considers it to have been the bulwark of orthodoxy against the sceptical literal method of the school of Antioch. 1 The truth is that it means very different things in relation to the Law and to the Gospel, and within the sphere of the latter in relation to the Church of the Present and to the Church of the Future.

As regards the Old Testament, it is a dangerous and in its actual use a delusive method, delusive because it proceeds upon the exaggeration of a truth. If we think of that long Revelation, unfolding itself gradually through centuries, and growing ever fuller and clearer as it proceeds, we cannot deny that its earlier stages contained the germ of the later, that much was anticipatory and preparative, that God granted to chosen spirits a vision more or less distinct of the long-hoped-for consummation. The Priest, the King, the Prophet foreboded with increasing clearness the Lamb of God, the Son of David, the Man of . . .


1 The first reference is to Denis, who has many clever epigrams on this subject; the second to Rosenmüller; the third to Newman, Development of Christian Doctrine p. 343, ed. 1878.


-187- Sorrows. There were shadows of good things to come; there were vaticinations; there were types. to a clear solution of the difficulty. But though the key was actually in the lock, Origen did not turn it. The time had not yet come. But it does not follow that all was type; it does not follow that the type is a perfect and elaborate figure of the antitype. The Alexandrines erred in both ways. They found symbols where there was no symbol; they treated symbols not as indications, as harbingers, but as proofs. Thus they undertook to demonstrate Christian doctrine by passages which in the belief of the Jew were not Messianic at all, or, if Messianic, had not been fulfilled. They neglected the difference between before and after. As we look back, we see many things in the Old Testament which find their explanation only in the New. We see how the providence of God was leading His people up to precisely this issue and no other. Like the minister of Queen Candace, we recognize under Philip’s guidance that Isaiah prophesied not of himself but of Jesus. So the old in a thousand points illustrates, prognosticates, confirms the new. But the shadow is not a demonstration, for the very reason that it is a shadow. The road by which we are guided is the right road, but until we reach the goal we cannot be certain whither it will lead us. The early Christians forgot this, forgot the doubts and perplexities through which they had themselves attained their bourne. Hence their angry amazement at the blindness and obstinacy of the Jew.

The Alexandrines are open to this animadversion. They found in the Old Testament what they already possessed, what they could not have found unless they had possessed it. But at any rate they found nothing more. They avoided the worst excesses. They are always intelligent and reasonable, and their extravagance -189- is that of the poet-philosopher, not that of the dogmatist. And they did not invert their Allegorism. They found the New Testament in the Old, but they had far too clear a sense of the spirituality of true religion to attempt to carry the Old over into the New. They evaporated the letter; they did not stereotype the spirit.

What Allegorism signified as applied to the Church of the Present and to the Church of the Future has been partly explained, and we shall have to recur to the point again. Let us only notice here that it is to speculations on the latter subject, on Eschatology, that the charge of presumption applies. Here too there is a truth. All language that we use, that even Christ could use, of the world behind the veil, is necessarily mythical, figurative. But in this case we have not yet reached the bourne, and therefore the key to the hieroglyph is wanting. This Irenaeus saw; this Origen refused to see. There were questions to which he felt some answer must be found. There were questions on which he obtained real though limited and uncertain light. Indeed it was not his nature to rest content. He held with Philo, that even if truth be unattainable the happiness of man lies in the ceaseless pursuit of this ideal, that ever flies as he advances. ‘If we see some admirable work of human art,’ he says, ‘we are at once eager to investigate the nature, the manner, the end of its production; and the contemplation of the works of God stirs us with an incomparably greater longing to learn the principles, the method, the purpose of creation.’ ‘This desire, this passion,’ he continues, ‘has without doubt been implanted in us by God. And as the eye seeks the light, as our body craves food, so our mind is impressed with the characteristic . . .


1 De Princ. ii. n. 4. In the translation of this passage I have borrowed the language of 1 Westcott, Cont. Review, May 1879, p. 335. (Reprinted in Essays in the History of Religious Thought in the West, London 1891, p. 218.) [Insert a note here to insist upon the value of Allegorism as Spiritual Interpretation in the Church of the Present. Allegorism applied to the O.T. (1) for defence, (2) for doctrine; and to the N.T. (3) for spiritual interpretation, (4) for eschatology.]


and natural desire of knowing the truth of God and the causes of what we observe.’ 1

This is noble language, and the modest devotion with which he strove to fulfill it is equally noble. If we are less aspiring, let us not say presumptuous, it is because we have learned from him, because we dare not gaze upon the darkness of excessive light that even the ‘eagle eye’ 2 of Origen failed to pierce. . . .


1 The phrase is from J. H. Newman’s lines on the Greek Fathers, Verses on Various Occasions, 1868, p. 83 ≪Lyra Apostolica xci.≫

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Lecture V. Origen

“Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me.” John 14:2

“Why callest thou Me good? there is none good but One, that is, God.” Matthew 19:17

We have already seen what Origen regarded as the proper task of the Christian philosopher. Tradition, embodying the teaching of the Apostles, has handed down certain facts, certain usages, which are to be received without dispute; but it does not attempt to explain the why or the whence. It is the office of the sanctified reason to define, to articulate, to coordinate, even to expand, and generally to adapt to human needs the faith once delivered to the Church.

What then is the utterance of Tradition? It tells us that there is One God who created all things out of nothing, who is Just and Good, the Author of the Old as of the New Testament, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ: that Jesus Christ was begotten of the Father before every creature, that through Him all things were made, that He is God and Man, born of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, that He did truly suffer, rise again, and ascend into heaven: that the Holy Ghost is associated in honour and dignity with the Father and the Son, that it is He who inspired the saints both of the Old and of the New Dispensation: that there will be a Resurrection of the dead, when the body which is sown in corruption will rise in incorruption, and that in the world to come the souls of men will inherit eternal life or suffer eternal punishment according -192- to their works: that every reasonable soul is a free agent, plotted against by evil spirits, comforted by good angels, but in no way constrained: that the Scriptures were written by the agency of the Spirit of God, that they have two senses, the plain and the hidden, whereof the latter can be known only to those to whom is given the grace of the Holy Spirit in the word of wisdom and knowledge. 1

Here then we have the pith and substance of that doctrine which, in Alexandria at any rate, was taught to all Christians in the time of Origen. It differs from the Nicene Creed in that it does not use the terms Very God or ‘Homoousion’ of the Son, in that it asserts the moral attributes of God, the creation of the world out of nothing, the spiritual nature of the Resurrection Body, the connexion of punishments and rewards with conduct, the eternity of punishment, the existence of Angels, the freedom of the Will, the double sense of Scripture. It is rather a Regula Fidei 2 than a Creed in the strict sense of the word. But the language is already so framed as definitely to exclude the Gnostics, the Noetians, possibly the Chiliasts, and . . .


1 De Principiis, preface 4-8. Origen, like Clement, had the strongest persuasion that all his speculations lay within this norm. ‘Servetur vero ecclesiastica praedicatio per successionis ordinem ab apostolis tradita, et usque ad praesens in ecclesiis permanens: ilia sola credenda est veritas quae in nullo ab ecclesiastica et apostolica discordat traditione’ ≪ibid. 2≫. Yet there is a sense in which the perfect Christian rises above Tradition, In Joan. xiii. 16. This thought also is shared by Clement. In both, Knowledge is more than Faith, and Ordinances, though always obligatory, cease to be necessary.

2 Clement has nowhere set out his creed in the same systematic way as Origen, but there is a complete agreement between the two.


-193- certainly all those who doubted the Personality of the Holy Spirit.

Within these limits all is open ground. Even the definition of the terms, especially of the word ‘eternal’, is subject to reverent but free discussion. And Origen has availed himself of this liberty to the fullest extent. One of his earliest works is the De Principiis, ‘On First Principles,’ that is to say on the data of the Creed, in which he maps out the field of investigation, and expresses with fearless candour all his doubts, beliefs, suggestions, divinations about each article in turn. He was already of mature age when he composed this treatise, and his voluminous later writings are little more than an expansion of the ideas there set down. Much might be said of the De Principiis, the most remarkable production of ante-Nicene times, but it has three merits at least that must not be omitted. Origen never slurs a difficulty, never dogmatizes, never consciously departs from the teaching of Scripture. It is in this last point that he differs most, in point of method, from Clement, who not unfrequently leaves us in doubt as to the precise Scriptural basis of his ideas. Sometimes Origen’s interpretations are wrong; some times again he attaches undue weight to particular expressions. Certain texts seem to dominate him and colour all his views. 1 But his most daring flights always start from some point in the written Word. The connexion with the particular passage under discussion may be of the most fanciful kind, but the opinion itself is never arbitrary.

We shall obtain the clearest view of Origen’s teaching by following in the main the plan traced in the De Principiis, and proceeding from those high problems . . .


1 Denis p. 56.


-194- that touch upon the nature of God to the consideration of His Economy, His dealings with the Church and the soul of man.

The heathen Celsus lays down three methods 1 by which men may attain to a certain, though limited, knowledge of God. They are Analysis, Synthesis, and Analogy. The nature and results of the first we have seen in the case of Clement. Synthesis is the inductive mode, by which we gather from the constitution of the world an idea of Him by whom the world was made. Analogy is the poet’s faculty bodying forth in a myth, a simile, that which language is inadequate to express. Thus Plato in the Republic compares the Idea of Good to the Sun. Origen insists on the contrary that the Christian knows God in a way better than any of these, as revealed in the Incarnate Christ. Yet to some extent he admits the use of Synthesis. For the world was made by God through Christ, and still bears the legible imprint of its Author.

Accordingly he takes his point of departure from the words of our Saviour ‘God is a Spirit’, from the words of St. John ‘God is Light’. 2 ‘It must not be supposed then that God is a body, or in a body, but a simple intellectual nature, admitting of no addition at all. . . .


1 Contra Celsum vii. 42, 44. They are defined also by Alcinous, chap. 10. Compare Maximus Tyrius xvii. 8. The three methods of Celsus appear to answer to his three classes of religious teachers, οϕοί͵ ϕιλόσοϕοι, and ἔνθεοι ποιηταί. Denis complains, p. 85, that the passage in Celsus is ‘très brouillé’. But the text as given in Lommatzsch is quite clear. Vacherot, École d’Alexandrie iii. p. 220, has a chapter on the Method of the Alexandrines, but the references given above will suffice to show that he is entirely wrong in his assertion that ‘la pensée qui la domine et l’inspire est étrangère aux écoles grecques’.

2 De Principiis i. 1.


-195- There is in Him no greater or less, no higher or lower, for He is the Monad, the Unit, Mind, the Fountain of all mind.’ From this first conception flow the negative attributes of the Divine Nature, and here Origen is compelled in spite of his disclaimer to make a certain use of the method of Analysis. Being Mind God is incorporeal. 1 This point, owing perhaps to the influence of Stoicism, had as yet been very imperfectly apprehended in the Church, and it is not the least of Origen’s merits that he seizes upon it with insight and decision, proving the immateriality, that is in fact the existence of the soul, and so of God, by an argument resembling the famous Cogito ergo sum. 2 Being in corporeal God is independent of the laws of Space and Time, omniscient, omnipresent, unchanging, incomprehensible. His dwelling-place is the thick darkness. ‘How unsearchable are His judgements, and His ways past finding out.’ He has in a sense no titles, and His fittest name is He That Is.

Thus far Origen is in agreement with his predecessors, though rather with Philo than with Clement. But here he strikes off into a wholly different train of . . .


1 In the view of the Homilies, the Valentinians, Melito (see Routh, and Heinichen’s note on Eus. H. E. iv. 26 §2), Tertullian Adv. Praxeam 7, God is corporeal. Even Irenaeus finds the image of God in the body of man, v. 6. 1, and not as the Alexandrines in the νοῦς. Anthropomorphism lingered on long in the East. It is one of the chief merits of the Alexandrines that they treated this point with no less emphasis and distinctness than did Philo. Two great difficulties were the facts that the term ἀσώματος is not Scriptural, though found in the Doctrina Petri, where the words ‘Non sum daemonium incorporeum’ were attributed to the Saviour after the Resurrection ≪see Lightfoot’s note on Ign. ad Smyrn. iii. 2≫; and that πνεῦμα does not in itself connote immateriality. See De Princ. preface 8; In Joan. xiii. 24; De Oratione 23, 24.

2 De Princ. i. 1. 7, ii. 11. 4, iv. 36; Denis p. 310.


-196- thought. Our knowledge of the Divine spreads out on all sides into the inconceivable, but it is rooted in the positive. Before we can know what He is not, we must know what He is; the titles Good, Wise, Just, which we apply to Him, are inadequate but not untrue.

God is incomprehensible. But the cause of the in comprehensibility is in us, not in Him. His dwelling is the thick darkness, but He Himself is Light; and the more nearly we approach Him the more completely will the darkness melt away into light. There will come a time when, becoming one spirit with the Word, we shall see God face to face, and know even as we are known. Even now we are not left without some understanding of Him which, imperfect as it may be, is yet true as far as it goes. We see Him dimly revealed in Creation. The order, the beauty, of Nature are scintillations of the Divine goodness, as far inferior to their source as the sunbeams that stream through a keyhole to the Sun itself; yet authentic, homogeneous. Still more veritably we see Him in the Word; for ‘he who hath seen the Son hath seen the Father’, seen Him in the express Image of His Person, though only in such degree as the divine grace has enabled him. 1

Again, God being unchanging, eternal, must needs be passionless. Scripture attributes to Him wrath, hatred, repentance, but only in condescension to our infirmities. He is righteous and good, and desireth not the death of a sinner. Punishment is not His work, but the necessary consequence of sin. 2 There will come a time in the restitution of all things when it will no longer be possible to speak of the wrath of . . .


1 De Princ. i. 1.

2 The justice and goodness of God are maintained, De Princ. ii. 5, with great force and subtlety.


-197- God. But though Origen cannot think of the Deity as agitated by passions in the narrower sense of the word, by mental disturbance or unreason of any kind, it follows from the language already cited that he was far from regarding Him as devoid of attributes. ‘The Father Himself and God of all’, he says, ‘is long-suffering, merciful and pitiful. Has He not then in a sense passions? The Father Himself is not impassible. He has the passion of Love.’ 1

Hence when Celsus, in true Platonic fashion, using almost the very words of Philo or Clement, asserts that God has no name, because He has no passions in the sense of attributes that can be denoted by a name, Origen replies with a distinction. It is true, he admits, in a sense, that no name can express the exact nature of the properties of God, just as no single word will express the difference between the sweetness of a date and the sweetness of a fig. Yet both are sweet; we know what the term means in each case, and the . . .


1 In Ezech. Hom. vi. 6. [Cp. Herm. Trism. Poem. xiv. 9 (ed. Parthey, Berlin 1854, p. 133) ὁ γὰρ θεός ἓν μόνον πάιθος ἔχει͵ τὸ ἀγαθόν.] See also the exceedingly beautiful passage, In Num. Hom. xxiii. 2, where he dwells on the same subject at length. But he concludes with a retractaton, as if he felt that he had been carried too far: ‘Haec autem omnia, in quibus vel lugere vel gaudere vel odisse vel laetari dicitur Deus, tropice et humano more accipienda sunt ab Scripturis dici. Aliena porro est divina natura ab omni passionis et permutationis affectu, in illo semper beatitudinis apice immobilis et inconcussa perdurans.’ Yet Origen had experienced that state of consciousness, exemplified for us by all exalted Christian spirits, in which joy and sorrow cease to be passions and are no longer contraries. He did not clearly see that what is true of Goodness and Justice is true of Love and Sympathy. They differ not in themselves, but in their objects. Or again, we may say he did not clearly see that self-sacrifice is divine, and that the Incarnation is only the most striking instance of an universal law. Yet in the passages quoted he has given expression to this truth, though with timidity.


-198- disparity of the meanings is not so great but that they are in substance identical. 1 The same reasoning will apply to those epithets which are common to virtuous men and to God. We cannot comprehend God, we cannot explain Him, for He is infinitely better than all we can think about Him. But if we argue from the justice of man to the justice of God, we are proceeding like the geometer from the imperfect to the perfect, not like the alchemist from the known to the unknowable.

It will be seen that the God of Origen is no longer the Unconditioned. He is not Absolute but Perfect, and perfection is itself a condition. He is perfectly wise, perfectly just, perfectly mighty; but the perfection of these attributes consists precisely in the fact that they are limited by one another. 2 From this consideration . . .


1 Contra Celsum vi. 65.

2 See De Princ. ii. 9. i ‘Non enim, lit quidam volunt, finem putandum est non habere creaturas; quia ubi finis non est nee comprehensio ulla nee circumscriptio esse potest’. So the Wisdom of Solomon says, xi. 20, that God created all things in numero et mensura; De Princ. iv. 35 (Greek text) μηδείς δὲ προσκοπτέτω τῷ λόγῳ εἰ μέτρα ἐπιτίθεμεν καὶ τῇ τοῦ θεοῦ δυνάμει͵ ἄπειρα γὰρ περιλαβεῖν τῇ ϕύσει ἀδύνατον τυγχάει. Other passages in Redepenning ii. 290. Like the English Platonist Henry More, Origen finds the idea of God in that of the Perfect Being. His point of view is moral, not like that of Clement pseudo-metaphysical. Hence all the so-called negative attributes sink at once into a secondary place. The more the reader reflects upon this the more important I feel persuaded he will see it to be. What an absurd yet mischievous word is ‘infinite’, purely material in all its associations, and as unmeaning when applied to spirit as ‘colourless’ or ‘imponderable’ would be. Yet it is habitually used as if it were the highest term of reverence. To a Platonist ‘infinite’ means almost the same as ‘evil’. Limitation is of the essence of truth and of beauty. [Plotinus Enn. v. 5 11 says of the First God, ἀλλʹ οὐδὲ πεπερασμένος εἶνααι· ὑπὸ τίνος γάρ; ἀλλʹ οὐδὲ ἄπειρος ὡς μέγεθος. He could neither be infinite nor finite: but he goes on, τὸ δʹ ἄπειρον ἡ δύναμις ἔχει: Enn. v. 7. τὸ ἄπειρον τῷ μὴ ἂν ἐπιλείπειν.]


-199- flow Origen’s peculiar views as to Creation. Nature is not infinite; Gocl created all things by number and measure, because perfect wisdom cannot comprehend an unlimited object. Nature again is eternal. The existence of the universe can in a sense be measured by time, for time and the world began together; time is -160- the register of the world’s life. But in another sense creation is timeless. Creator and Creation are correlative notions; the one cannot be thought of without the other. God must indeed precede logically, as the cause is in conception prior to the effect; but His inner perfection implies external realization. From the first He was King, He was righteous, because there was something not Himself that He could rule in righteousness. Otherwise we must suppose a change in Him, a development, a passage from the potential to the actual. But this it would be impious to think of God, who from the first is Act, is Perfect. Readers of Lucretius will recollect the Epicurean argument against Creation which Origen appears to have here in view. And it is evident how little he would have been embarrassed by modern geology. 1 . . .


1 De Princ. i. 2. 10 ‘Quemadmodum pater non potest esse quis, si filius non sit, neque dominus quis esse potest sine possessione, sine servo, ita ne omnipotens quidem Deus dici potest, si non sint in quos exerceat potentatum; et ideo ut omnipotens ostendatur Deus omnia subsistere necesse est.’ See the whole section. Origen is of course speaking of the first heaven and earth, not of that world in which Mien men live, the mundus hic qui ex certo tempore coepit’ of De Princ. iii. 5. i. The Epicurean argument against creation was based upon the impossibility of God beginning to do anything. Cicero De Nat. Deorum i. 9 ‘Quid autem erat, quod concupisceret Deus mundum et signis et luminibus, tamquam aedilis, ornare? Si ut ipse melius habitaret, antea videlicet tempore infinite in tenebris tamquam in gurgustio habitaverat’: Lucretius v. 165 sqq. The same argument in Origen’s mind proved the Eternal Generation of the Son and the eternity of Creation. Later theologians regarded it as admirable in the first case and abominable in the second.


-200- From the same mode of thought flows a qualified Optimism similar to that of Leibnitz or Butler. Origen does not shut his eyes to the manifold traces of disorder and inequality in Nature. Nevertheless, despite the existence of ‘hideous monsters and vermin’, of physical and moral wrong, he held that the world is good because it answers to the plan of a wise Creator. 1 Nay it is the best of all possible worlds. For if there could have been a better, we must suppose either that the Divine Power was insufficient to realize it, or that the Divine Wisdom failed to conceive it. Such an optimism was peculiarly easy to the Platonist, who regarded the world as a scene not of probation only but of correction, and linked the imperfections of man’s environment with the sin of a previous life. But this tenet does not affect the main position, which is in fact that of Bishop Butler, ‘that we are not competent judges of this scheme from the small parts of it that come within our view in the present life.’

But Origen went farther than this, and drew or appeared to draw the startling conclusion that God cannot do anything that He has not done. This was actually maintained by Abelard, ‘though,’ as he adds, ‘this opinion of ours has few or no supporters, and differs widely from the utterances of the Saints, and somewhat from reason itself.’ 2 It is not indeed certain that Origen formally inferred this consequence, though it . . .


1 In Joan. xiii. 42.

2 I owe the quotation to Huet Origeniana ii. i. i. Anselm says, Cur Deus homo ii. 18, ‘Omnia quae vult et non nisi quae vult facit.’ It is a Platonic theory: Plotinus Enn. 5. 12.


-201- was laid to his account by enemies, who accused him of teaching that God is All-Ruler but not Almighty. But the inference does not seem to involve any distortion of the facts. For Origen regarded the Divine Goodness, Wisdom, Power, as working in perfect harmony and co-extension, so as to be in fact different aspects of the same energy. If God’s Power is limited, it is limited not by the resistance of matter, for God created matter and made -162- it what it is, but by His own reason and His own beneficence. That He can do nothing that is evil is admitted by all. Origen possibly, Abelard certainly, advanced a step farther, and declared that He can leave undone nothing that is good. For otherwise in our desire to get rid of one restriction we are compelled to admit another of a far more dangerous kind, because impeaching either the Wisdom or the Goodness of Him who, if any gradation of His virtues is conceivable, is Good and Wise even before He is Mighty.

The Christian Deity is One in Three. But in what sense One, in what sense Three? These questions were already the subject of fierce debate, especially at Rome, where the fire that had long been smoldering had been kindled into a blaze by the action of two Popes, Victor had excommunicated Theodotus, who denied in some sense the Divinity of Jesus. 1 Callistus had expelled from the Church the Noetians, who denied . . .


1 Eus. H. E. v. 28. 6. See notes in Heinichen. But the anonymous writer, [perhaps Gaius: see Routh ii. pp. 141 sqq., ≪Lightfoot Apost. Fathers I. ii. pp. 377 sqq.≫,] quoted here is by no means accurate in his statements. Theodotus, if he is the same as Theodotus of Byzantium, did not assert that ‘Christ was a mere man’, nor was he the inventor of his doctrine. He belonged to the Ebionite school, and taught that Jesus was a man born of ≪a≫ Virgin, according to the will of the Father, who, having lived the life of other men but in perfect piety, afterwards at the baptism at the Jordan received the Christ, who came down from above in likeness of a dove. Hence the miraculous powers did not work in Him till the Spirit which Theodotus calls Christ came down and was manifested in Him; Philos. vii. 35. The passage continues: θεὸν δὲ οὐδέποτε τοῦτον γεγονέναι οὗτοι θέλουσιν ἐπὶ τῇ καθόδῳ τοῦ πνεύματος͵ ἕτεροι δὲ μετὰ τὴν ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀνάστασιν. There must be some error in the text here, as οὐδέποτε cannot be reconciled with ἐπὶ τῇ καθόδῳ τοῦ πνεύματος. Probably the words οὗτοι … ἀνάστασιν are a gloss. ≪But οὗτοι is a conjecture: the text has αὐτόν. Should we not therefore read θεὸν δὲ οὐδέποτε τοῦτον γεγονέναι [ἄλλοι μὲν θέλουσιν͵ ἄλλοι γεγονέναι] αὐτόν θέλουσιν κτλ., the bracketed words having been omitted by homoioteleuton?≫ What Theodotus taught was that the pre-existent Christ was not God; cp. x. 23. He held doubtless with the Homilies that he was the Eldest Power, but yet not God in the strict sense of the word. I observe that the party violence of this anonymous author has turned what is an argument in favour of the doctrine of the Trinity into an argument against it. See Lecture II, p. 88. Harnack, Dogmengeschichte i. pp. 665 sqq., gives the latest authorities on the subject.


the Personality of the Son and the Holy Ghost. 1 Origen had visited Rome during the papacy of Zephyrinus, 2 and was keenly alive to the perils of the crisis. Hence his views and language exhibit a marked advance upon those of his predecessor.

The terminology indeed is still fluctuating and uncertain, but the later usage is already all but established. The word for Person in Origen is commonly Hypostasis {a support, substance, steadiness, hence assurance; the substance or essential nature of an individual}, . . .


1 Philos. ix. ii sqq.; Harnack Dogmengeschichte i. pp. 692 sqq. Noetianism, Monarchianism, Patripassianism, Modalism, Unitarianism should be regarded in one sense as an ancient, in another as a recent opinion. Doubtless in some form or another it had existed before the debate reached the acute stage. But the sentiment which prevails is the sentiment of the majority.

2 Eus. H. E. vi. 14. 10.


-203- that for the Divine Nature is less determinate but is frequently Ousia {true being: essence or substance}. 1 The two expressions were current in the philosophy of the time, and mean precisely the same thing. The difference between them appears to be merely this, that Ousia is properly Platonic, while Hypostasis, a comparatively modern and rare word, is properly Stoic. To the Platonist Ousia denoted the Idea, by participation in which the thing is what it is, which is prior to and above the thing. To the Stoic both words signified the thing itself, the essential substratum which, having no qualities, is yet the vehicle of all qualities. 2 Hypostasis bears also the meaning of an . . .


1 For Person we have Hypostasis, In Joan. ii. 6 ἡμεῖς μέντοι γε τρεῖς ὑποστάσις πειθόμενοι τυγχάνειν: οὐσία ἰδία, ibid. δογματίζων μνδὲ οὐσίαν τινὰ ἰδίαν ὑϕεστάναι τοῦ ἁγίου πνευματος: ἰδιότης and οὐσία κατὰ περγραϕήν: In Joan. ii. 2: Ousia alone, In Joan. i. 30 ad fin., ii. 18: ὑποκείμενόν, In Jerem. Hom. viii. 2: the two combined, De Orat. 15 ἕτερος κατʹ οὐσίαν καὶ ὑποκείμενόν (so English ed. and Delarue; al. ὑποκείμενός) ἐστιν ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ πατρός. For Substance, Ousia is used, In Joan. x. 21 (Lom. i. p. 350) οἴονται ἐκ τούτων παρίστασθαι μὴ διαϕέρειν τῷ ἀριθμῷ τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ πατρός͵ ἀλλʹ ἓν οὐσίᾳ ἀλλὰ καὶ ὑποκειμένῳ τυγχάνοντας ἀμϕοτέρους κατὰ τινας ἐπινοίας διαϕόρους οὐ κατὰ ὑποστάσιν λέγεσθαι πατέρα καὶ υἱὸν: De Orat. 23 (Lom. xvii. p. 183) οἱονεὶ ἀϕιστὰς τὴν οὐσίαν τοῦ θεοῦ ἀπὸ πάντων γεννητῶν: In Matt. xvii. 14 (Lom. iv. 116) we have τὸ ἓν ὑποκείμενόν: Contra Cels. viii. 12 ὄντα δύο τῇ ὑποστάσει πραγματα͵ ἓν δὲ τῇ ὁμονοίᾳ καὶ τῇ συμϕωνίᾳ καὶ ταυτότητι τοῦ βουλήματος. I have not noted other instances of the use of Ousia, but in the Latin translations substantia occurs frequently; In Num. Hom. xii. i; I Rom. vii. 13, viii. 5; De Princ. i. 2. 5; In Levit. Hom. xiii. 4; In Cant. Cantic. iii. (Lom. xv. 56) ‘Qui ibi Trinitas propter distinctionem personarum, hie unus Deus intelligitur pro imitate substantiae’. But here we may trace the hand of Rufinus.

2 The definition of οὐσία is given at length by Origen, De Orat. 27 (Lom. xvii. 210): by the Platonist [and] to the Stoics. In this latter sense it is identical with ὐποκείμενον, which already in Aristotle means the substantia materialis, ὕλη quae deter minatur per formam, or οὐσία cui inhaerent πάθη συμβεβηκότα. See the Index of Bonitz. This was the view of the Stoics; see Ritter and Preller Hist. Phil. Gr. et Rom. 403. In this sense the οὐσία was said ὑϕίσθαι or ὑϕεστάναι, and from this verb is formed ὑπόστασις. The latter in the precise sense of substance is exceedingly rare, and as far as I can gather distinctively Stoic. It became naturalized in Latin as Substantia in the time of Seneca and Quintilian. Cicero attempted to represent οὐσία by Essentia: see Seneca Ep. 58 ad init. ‘Cupio, si fieri potest, propitiis auribus tuis, essentiam dicere. Si minus dicam et iratis. Ciceronem auctorem huius verbi habeo, puto locupletem’ — but this harsh form did not live in classic Latin. [For essentia see also Quintilian ii. 14 and Spalding’s note; also iii. 6 (p. 491).] There is a remarkable passage in Socrates H. E. iii. 7, where we are informed that Irenaeus, a grammarian, in his Atticistes calls the word Hypostasis barbarous because the ancients did not use it or gave it a wholly different sense. The reader will find οὐσία fifty times where he finds ὑπόστασις once. [Ύὑπόστασις is very common in Plotinus. He has the phrase εἰς ὑπόστασιν οὐσίας in Enn. v. 5 §3.] Lastly, these scientific terms were introduced into theology by the Gnostics: οὐσία, ὑπόστασις, ὐποκείμενον, ὁμορύσιος all occur in Irenaeus i. 5. 1. Yet it should be added that ὑπόστασις is used by Tatian (Otto pp. 22, 28); οὐσία and ὑπόστασις by Athenagoras, De Res. 1, Legat. 24 (Otto pp. 130, 188); ὑπόστασις in the Ep. ad Diogn. ii. 1; and οὐσίας by Melito, De Incarn. Christi (Routh i. p. 121) τὰς δύο αὐτοῦ οὐσίας, of the two natures in Christ.


-204- actually subsisting entity, the manifestation of the essence in the phenomenon. But this sense belongs to Ousia also, so that the theological distinction between the two terms is purely arbitrary. In the West Persona and Substantia are already familiar to Tertullian. 1 Of . . .


1 Adv. Prax. 2. Gregory Nazianzen, Orat. xxi. 46, regards Persona as a translation of πρόσωπον. It is true that πρόσωπον, under Hebrew influences, had imbibed the notion of individuality. But we may venture to think that Gregory has inverted the actual course of things. The reason why the Westerns adopted the word Hypostasis for Substance is no doubt that Substantia existed in Latin, while Essentia did not. In this sense in Latin theology Hypostasis is a translation of Substantia. The same is true I believe of the word πρόσωπον, which is first found in Hippolytus Contra Noetum 14, ed. Lagarde p. 52, and the Philos. ix. 12. These authors (or this author, for Dr. Döllinger appears to have demonstrated that the Philos. is the work of Hippolytus) write in Greek but think in Latin. Their style is steeped in Latin idioms. And besides, it is highly unlikely that they would have selected a Greek phrase to emphasize the point of a dispute which was being eagerly debated on all sides in colloquial Latin. For the legal use of Persona compare Cic. pro Milone 12 ‘Itaque illud Cassianum cui bono fuerit in his personis valeat’. [Dr. Harnack (in his Review of this book in the Theologische Literaturzeitung 1887 No. 5) is inclined to think that not Persona only but Substantia also is a juristic phrase, meaning property, a man’s substance or belongings. In this case ‘two Persons in one Substance’ would have meant originally ‘two owners of one common estate’. No doubt Substantia had this among other meanings, and it must further I think be conceded that this meaning floated at times before the mind of Tertullian. Thus we read de carne Christi 5 utriusque substantiae census, seised of both substances. And ibid. 8, 1 6, 17, census is used as equivalent to substantia. Yet I feel clear in my own mind that substantia came to Tertullian not from the lawyer but from the philosopher. Thus the opposite of substantia is not generally persona, but species or forma, Adv. Prax. 2, 6, 8. ibid. 26 we have substantiva res, i. e. ὑποστατικόν τι, and accidentia substantiae. Persona is however opposed to substantia, ibid. 12. Persona is used in the Adv. Prax. in four different senses: (1) a character, part, 9, 11; (2) a person in the grammatical sense, 11; (3) a person or individual generally, 3; (4) a person in the technical theological sense, 11, 12, 13, 21. The impression left on me by this treatise is that Tertullian inherited the term substantia, while persona in this last application was his own invention. But he found the word in his Latin Bible, as the rendering of πρόσωπον of the LXX: see Harnack Dogmtngeschichte ii. pp. 285 sq. Πρόσωπον perhaps was first used by Sabellianism, which taught that God was πρόσωπον ἕν (Epiph. Haer. lxv. 3). Substantia occurred in the Latin Bible Jerem. 22:22 (ὑπόστασις) as quoted by Cyprian de Unitate 11]. For other information on these famous words see Baur Dreieinigkeit i. 446 note; Liddon Bampton Lectures, ed. 10, p. 33 note; Huet Origeniana ii. 2.3; Redepenning ii. p. 82; Bull Defence of the Nicene Creed i. pp. 188, 236. (Eng. tr. of 1851); (T. B. Strong in Journ. of Theol. Studies iii-v; J. F. Bethune-Baker The meaning of Homoousios in the Constantinopolitan Creed.)


-205- these terms, Persona, a singularly material word, belongs not to the schools but to the Latin law courts, and means ‘a party’, ‘an individual’, with all his legal duties and rights. Substantia is a translation of Hypostasis. -206- Thus it came about that the word, which in the metaphysical East signified Person, was employed by the prosaic and law-loving West for Substance; an unhappy confusion which gave rise to much acrimonious debate. 1 The controversy of the times turned mainly upon what was called by Western divines the mystery of the Economy’, 1 the right mode that is to say of . . .


1 See the account of the Council of Alexandria in 362, Mansi iii. p. 350. Jerome, Ep. xv ad Damasum (Migne P. L. xxii. c. 355), complains that he is looked upon as a heretic in the East because he would not use the phrase ‘tres hypostases’. He objects that the formula is not apostolical; but this applies equally to his own mode of statement. [Jerome’s objection is really that οὐσία and ὑπόστασις mean exactly the same thing, so that ‘three hypostases’ means ‘three essences’. This is true. In Scotus Erigena De Div. Nat. i. 13 we find una essentia tres substantiae. Scotus is translating the Greek ὑπόστασις by its natural Latin equivalent.]

1 Tertullian Adv. Praxeam 2 ‘quasi non sic quoque unus sit omnia, dum ex uno omnia, per substantiae scilicet unitatem, et nihilominus custodiatur οἰκονομίας sacramentum, quae unitatem in trinitatem disponit: ibid. 3 sed monarchiam sonare student Latini, οἰκονομίαν intelligere nolunt etiam Graeci’. Hippolytus Contra Noetum 14 (ed. Lagarde p. 52) [If, then, the Word was with God, and was also God, what follows? Would one say that he speaks of two Gods? I shall not indeed speak of two Gods, but of one; of two Persons however, and of a third economy (disposition), viz., the grace of the Holy Ghost. For the Father indeed is One, but there are two Persons, because there is also the Son; and then there is the third, the Holy Spirit. The Father decrees, the Word executes, and the Son is manifested, through whom the Father is believed on. The economy of harmony is led back to one God; for God is One. It is the Father who commands, and the Son who obeys, and the Holy Spirit who gives understanding: the Father who is above all, and the Son who is through all, and the Holy Spirit who is in all. And we cannot otherwise think of one God, but by believing in truth in Father and Son and Holy Spirit.] (this is surely the right reading; Lagarde has οἰκονομίᾳ συμϕωνία) συνάγεται εἰς ἕνα θεόν: ibid. 4 (p. 46) μυστήριον οἰκονομίας: a little lower down the word appears to bear even in this usage its ordinary sense of ‘dispensation’, ibid. 14 (p. 53). But it has evidently acquired a technical sense: Baur Dreieinigkeit, ed. 1841, p. 178 ‘Es liegt in ihm der Begriff einer durch eine Vielheit sich vermittelnden Einheit’. Tatian Ad Graecos 5 (p. 24 of Otto’s ed.) [Greek text]. If he were asked how the Son could be distinguished from the Father without impairing the perfections of the Father, Tatian replies, ‘This is the mystery of the Divine Will.’ But see the note in Otto. [On the word οἰκονομίᾳ a see Otto’s note on Justin Trypho 103 (p. 369).]


-207- apprehending the personal difference, especially as regards the relation of the Father to the Son. The problem of the Unity was of course involved in this, but it was not the immediate point at issue; hence the phraseology, on this side was less guarded and precise. For Origen and the men of his time the great object was to establish the true Personality of Christ, to show that though God He yet was not the Father. Their reasoning applies also to the Holy Spirit, but not so pointedly; and as regards the Third Person, there is still some degree of hesitation and obscurity which the Alexandrines, and in particular Origen, did much to dissipate.

The definition of the Father is already contained in its main outlines in what has been said about the Deity. The specific attributes of the First Person will be best ascertained by considering His relation to the Second and the Third.

The Son then is a Hypostasis, Living Wisdom, or, as He is entitled in the Acts of Paul, in the first rude attempt at definition, ‘a living animal.’ 1 He is verily and substantially God, and therefore of necessity co-eternal and coequal with the Father. On the first point there is no shadow of doubt as to Origen’s meaning. . . .


1 De Principiis i. 2. 3 ‘Unde et recte mihi dictus videtur sermo ille, qui in Actibus Pauli scriptus est, quia “hic est verbum animal vivens”’.


-208- ‘There never can have been a time when He was not. For when was that God, whom John calls the Light, destitute of the radiance of His proper glory, so that a man may dare to ascribe a beginning of existence to the Son … Let a man, who ventures to say there was a time when the Son was not, consider that this is all one with saying there was a time when Wisdom was not, the Word was not, the Life was not.’ 1Nor, if we keep in view his most deliberate and emphatic utterances, can there be any doubt about the second. The proof is taken from the Epistle to the Hebrews, where the Son is called ‘the express image of the Hypostasis of God’; from the Book of Wisdom, where He is ‘the unspotted mirror of the power of God’. For the property of a mirror is to reflect every feature, . . .


1 De Princ. iv. 28. Nothing can be stronger than Origen’s language on the coeternity of the Son: ‘Qui autem initium dat Verbo Dei, vel Sapientiae Dei, intuere ne magis in ipsum ingenitum Patrem impietatem suam iactet, cum eum neget semper Patrem fuisse, et genuisse Verbum, et habuisse Sapientiam in omnibus anterioribus vel temporibus vel saeculis vel si quid illud est quod nominari potest. Origen is the inventor of the phrase οὐκ ἔστιν ὅτε οὐκ ἦν, famous afterwards as the watchword of the Catholics against the Arians: De Princ. i. 2. 9, iv. 28; In Rom. i. 5. Nor can we suspect here the hand of Rufinus, for the phrase is guaranteed not only by Pamphilus in his Apology, but by Athanasius, De Decr. Syn. Nic. 27. Further, as if this were not enough, Origen warns his reader that when we say the Son ‘never had a beginning we are speaking not of Time but of Eternity’: De Princ. iv. 28 ‘Nam et haec ipsa nomina temporalis vocabuli significantiam gerunt, id est quando vel nunquam; supra omne autem tempus et supra omnia saecula et supra omnem aeternitatem intelligenda sunt ea, quae de Patre et Filio et Spiritu Sancto dicuntur’. Father, if we may so speak, is the most ancient title of God: De Princ. i. 2. 10 ‘Non potest antiquior esse in Deo Omnipotentis appellatio quam Patris: per Filium enim omnipotens est Pater’. On this point of the Coeternity there cannot be any doubt as to Origen’s meaning. See the Excursus of Maranus in Lom. vol. xxii. p. 351.


-209- every act of him that looks therein, without the slightest change. Hence the Saviour Himself says, ‘All mine are thine and thine are mine’, ‘What things soever the Father doeth these also doeth the Son likewise’; and St. John in the Apocalypse applies to Christ the Ineffable Name, ‘Thus saith the Lord God, who is, and who was, and who is to come’. 1

But Scripture carries us beyond this, giving to the Son a number of titles to denote His Epinoiai, His economic functions, His relations to the world. 2 In this sense the Father is One and Simple, while the Son is Many. He is, firstly, Wisdom, the perfect image of) the mind and will of God, which He expresses in creation. Secondly, He is the Word, ‘because He is as it were the interpreter of the secrets of the divine intelligence’, the channel of Revelation. 3 Hence He is also


1 De Princ. i. 2.

2 In Cant. Cantic. iii (Lom. xv. p. 29) ‘Et ne mireris, si idem ipse et arbor vitae et diversa alia dicatur, cum idem et panis verus, et vitis vera, et agnus Dei, et multa alia nominetur. Omnia namque haec Verbum Dei unicuique efficitur, prout mensura vel desiderium participantis exposcit: secundum quod et manna, qui cum esset unus cibus, unicuique tamen desiderio (desiderii?) sui reddebat saporem.’ The peculiarity of Origen’s view is that he endeavours to arrange these titles of Christ in an ascending scale, and regards them as denoting successive stages of the believer’s progress and receptivity. This was a Valentinian idea: Excerpta ex Theodoto 7: and a similar view gave their name to the Docetae (see the Dict. of Christ. Biog. i. p. 887). But the graduation of the titles is necessarily difficult, obscure, and fluctuating. (See the idea of the ἐπίνοιαι, Epinoiai, worked out, though the word is not used, in St. Basil De Spiritu Sancto 8.)

3 Wisdom is the first and highest of the Epinoiai: In Joan. ii. 6 προεπινοουμένής τοῦ λόγου σοϕίας. In this sense Christ is the Mind of God, continens in semetipsa universae creaturae vel initia vel formas vel species, De Princ. i. 2. 2. All things were created according to the ideas which God had previously brought to consciousness (προτρανωθέντας) in Wisdom, as a house, a ship is built according to the plan or scheme existing in the mind of the builder; In Joan. i. 22. Here we have the King’s Architect of Philo. In this sense He may be the κόσμος νοητός, In Joan. xix. 5; cp. Contra Celsum v. 22, 39, vi. 64. In the De Princ. ii. 3. 6 Origen does not reject the doctrine of Ideas, but merely denies the independent existence of the κόσμος νοητός: ‘utique anostris alienum est mundum incorporeum dicere, in sola mentis phantasia vel cogitationum lubrico consistentem.’ It was an important part of the position of Plotinus ὅτι οὐκ ἔξω νοῦ τὰ νοητά. (Enn. v. 5). Upon this depended his Trinity. As Wisdom Christ is Creator: In Joan. i. 22 δημιουργὸς ὁ Χριστὸς ὡς ἀρχή͵ καθὸ σοϕία ἐστί. The Epinoia of the Word comes after that of Wisdom, De Princ. i. 2. 3, In Joan. i. 22. It is the outer aspect, if we may so say, of the Son’s Divinity, the side on which He communicates with the world, the first link in the chain between God and man. See Denis Philosophie d’Origène pp. 89 sqq.


-210- the Life and the Truth, the giver and sustainer of physical being and spiritual well-being. These are properties of His Deity which can never change. Others He has as the God-Man: Propitiation, Physician, Shepherd, Redemption, the True Bread, the True Vine, the Lamb of God. These are accidental, for had man never fallen into sin they would have been needless. 1 . . .


1 Origen distinguishes, In Joan. i. 22, between the Epinoiai which belong to Christ as properties of His eternal Nature and those which are accretions, assumed for the purpose of Redemption. It is in respect of the latter that the Son is Many, while the Father is One. To the latter class belong Firstborn from the Dead, ἱλαστήριον, Shepherd; to the former, Wisdom, Word, Life, Truth. In Joan. i. 30, the latter are the αἰσθητά, the former the νοητά; and here comes in the distinction between the Two Lives as in Clement. Those who know Christ only as αἰσθητός are ruled by Him as Man; those who have risen to a perception of the νοητά are governed by Christ as God. The reader will observe how closely this is connected with the teaching of Philo, though the Christian could not admit that the Word is God only of the imperfect.


-211- Origen compares these Epinoiai to the steps of the Temple leading up to the Holy of Holies. The lower flight is the Humanity, the upper the Divinity, the whole make up our knowledge of the Saviour. 1 We have already seen the same idea in Clement, though not so clearly developed.

’Let no one think’, says Origen, ‘that we are intro ducing a distinction into the essence of the Son. 2 But the mode of expression has given rise to misunderstanding. It is not meant that Christ will ever put off His Humanity 3 or that we shall ever cease to need Him, for even at the climax of all things He will still be the Life and the Truth. We shall see the Father face to face, but only because we shall be one spirit with the Lord’. In this sense only Origen believed that the work of Redemption and Mediation will have an end. We shall see the Father no longer in the Son, but as the Son sees Him, in the day when God shall be all in all. 4 But to Origen, as to Clement, the belief in . . .


1 In Joan. xix. i (Lom. ii. 149. In this passage in ὥσπερ τῶν ἀναβαθμῶν ὁ μονογενής ἐστι πρῶτος ἐπὶ τὰ κάτω read ὁ μέν ἐστι πρῶτος). In Joan, xxxii. 19 there are Epinoiai of the believer corresponding to those of Christ. He is first the slave, then the disciple, the little child, the child, the brother of Jesus, the son of God.

2 In Joan. i. 30 ad fin. Huet charges Origen with asserting that the title ‘Word’ belongs to the Son only accidentally, like those of ‘Light’ and ‘Shepherd’; but he is entirely wrong. The reader of the Origeniana must be on his guard throughout. Huet’s timidity leads him into frequent errors, in spite of his learning and his sincere desire to do justice. Maranus and Delarue are not only more generous but safer guides.]

3 See the end of this Lecture.

4 In Joan. xx. 7. The reader may consult Denis, p. 379. There is, however, an important distinction. We shall no longer see the Father in the Son, but we, being in the Son, shall see the Father face to face. And in this sense the work of Mediation does not cease. See De Princ. iii. 5. 6 sq. ‘Cum ipsis et in ipsis Ipse quoque subiectus dicitur Patri. De Princ. iii. 6. 1 Origen quotes John 7:21, 24, ‘Pater, volo ut ubi ego sum et isti sint mecum, et sicut ego et tu unum sumus ita et isti in nobis unum sint.’ This is one of his favourite texts. The same idea is developed, In Levit. Hom. vii. 2: here again the reference is to 1 Cor. 15:28. Why does the Apostle say ‘then shall the Son Himself be subject to the Father’? Not that He needs subjection to the Father, but on my account, in whom He has not yet perfected His work, He is said to be as yet not subject. But when He shall have finished His office and brought all His creatures to the top of perfection, then He Himself shall be called subject in those whom He hath put under the Father, and in whom He has perfected the work that the Father gave Him to do, that God may be all in all. Then and not till then Christ’s joy shall be full.


-212- Jesus as Redeemer is the note of the lower life. We must rise above the sensible to the intelligible, from obedience to love and knowledge, from Jesus to the Word. Redemption is forgiveness and healing discipline, and the true Christian has ceased to need these. Hence the startling phrase that to know Christ crucified is the knowledge of babes’. 1 Or again, ‘Blessed are those who want the Saviour no longer as Physician, Shepherd, Redemption’. 2 But Origen’s outlook is darker than that of Clement. He throws the higher life farther and farther back, and exhibits a growing intensity of devotion towards the Son of Man.

The heathen Platonists have attained, says Origen, by the light of Nature to a knowledge of the Father and even of the Son; but the belief in the Holy Ghost is the distinguishing prerogative of Christianity. 3 The . . .


1 In Joan. i. 20 (= 1 Cor. 2:2, 3:1). So also ibid. 19:3.

2 In Joan. i. 22.

3 The leading passages on the subject of the Holy Spirit are De Princ. i. 3, ii. 7, In Joan. ii. 6.


-213- statement marks his sense of the importance of this article of the Creed, which he did much to strengthen and expand. He has indeed no technical word to denote the relation of the Third to the other Persons, nor does he ever definitely bestow upon Him the title of God. 1 But the idea, if not the word, is clearly there.


1 In De Princ. ii. 7. 1 he appears even to deny it: ‘Nam ut concedamus Marcioni vel Valentino posse differentias deitatis (of the Father and the Son) inducere … quid inveniet ut differentiam Spiritus Sancti introducat?’ But he certainly spoke of the divinity of the Holy Spirit; ibid. 3, the Montanists ‘minora quam dignum est de eius divinitate sentientes erroribus se ac deceptionibus tradiderunt’. Basil, who considers that the doctrine of Origen was not sound on all points, quotes (De Spiritu Sancto 29. 73) from the In Rom., ‘“the holy powers,”’ he says ‘are able to receive the Only-begotten, and the Godhead of the Holy Spirit,’ and adds, ‘Thus I apprehend, the powerful influence of tradition frequently impels men to express themselves in terms contradictory to their own opinions.’ The latter remark is unjust. Tradition was certainly on the side of Origen as against Basil; for the title ‘Deus’ is first expressly bestowed upon the Holy Spirit by Tertullian in his Montanist treatise Adv. Praxeam 3, 13 [perhaps the iam of ch. 3 applies to Personality]; cp. Baur Dreieinigkeit, ed. 1841, p. 177 note. [Basil himself does not expressly use the word θεός of the Holy Ghost.] In the Preface to the De Principiis 4, it is affirmed that the ‘praedicatio apostolica’ does not decide of the Spirit ‘utrum natus an innatus’. Jerome has ‘utrum factus an infectus’. Apparently Rufinus read γεννητος ἢ ἀγέννητος, Jerome yγενητος ἢ ἀγένητος. The words are constantly interchanged in MSS. ≪See Lightfoot’s excursus on Ign. ad Eph. (Apostolic Fathers II. ii. pp. 90 sqq.).≫ In Joan. ii. 6 Origen starts several questions whether the Spirit has a hypostatic existence; whether He is one of the ‘all things’ which were made (ἐγένετο) through the Son; whether He is less or greater than the Son. The first he answers by affirming the Three Hypostases. The reply to the second is very hesitating and tortuous. It is perhaps the worst instance of the evil of his extemporaneous method of composition. At first (p. 110 Lom.) he regards it as the more pious and true conclusion that the Spirit is not included in the all things that were made by the Son. And three pages further on (p. 113) he slides into the affirmative. Thus the relation of the Spirit to the Son appears to be analogous to that of the Son to the Father. Perhaps this need not be understood as directly contradicting De Princ. i. 3. 4 ‘Neque enim putandum est quod etiam Spiritus Filio revelante cognoscit. Si enim revelante Filio cognoscit Patrem Spiritus Sanctus, ergo ex ignorantia ad scientiam venit’. De Princ. ii. 2. i we read ‘Sicut ingenitum Filium general Pater et Spiritum Sanctum’ profert; In Rom. vii. i ‘Qui vere ex ipso Deo procedit’; De Princ. i. 2. 13 ‘In eo fonte de quo vel natus est Filius vel procedit Spiritus Sanctus’. But in these passages Rufinus is hardly trustworthy. To the third question Origen replies finally that the Spirit is ὑποδεέστερον τοῦ διʹ οὐ ἐγένετο. Γίγνεσθαι͵ γεντός, were not in themselves incorrect words to use either of the Son or of the Holy Spirit; see Orig. ii. 2. 23 (Lom. xxii. p. 184), with the note of Maranus, and Exc. v at end of volume. But Lightfoot, Apost. Fathers II. ii. p. 90, inclines to doubt this. How cautious Origen is may be seen, De Princ. i. 3. 3 ‘Verumtamen usque ad praesens nullum sermonem in scriptis sanctis invenire potuimus per quern Spiritus Sanctus factura esse vel creatura diceretur, ne eo quidem modo, quo de Sapientia referre Salomonem supra edocuimus’. He found κτίζειν used of Wisdom but not of the Holy Spirit. The idea suggested, In Joan. ii. 6, that the work of redemption was properly the function of the Holy Spirit, but that He, being unable to sustain the task, delivered it over to the Son, is, as Maranus pointed out, a mere scholastic ἀπορία illustrating only the freedom with which Origen moved.


-214- The full divinity of the Holy Spirit lay enfolded in the Baptismal formula, and is the logical consequence of the assertion of His hypostasis. His eternity Origen teaches as distinctly as that of the Son; His equality is virtually though not so clearly contained in many passages. Thus He is ‘associated in honour and dignity with the Father and the Son’. He is one of the adorable Trinity which is wholly present in each of the Persons. And Origen himself invokes the Holy Spirit in prayer. 1 . . .


1 See De Princ. i. 3 throughout; In Joan. vi. 17 (Lom. i. 227), quoted by Basil, De Spiritu Sancto 29; De Princ. praef. 4 ‘Honore ac dignitate Patri ac Filio sociatum tradiderunt Spiritum Sanctum’; In Levit. Hom. i. i ‘Ipse igitur nobis Dominus, ipse Sanctus Spiritus deprecandus est, ut omnem nebulam omnemque caliginem, quae peccatorum sordibus concreta visum nostri cordis obscurat, auferre dignetur’; In Isai. Hom. i. 4 ‘Denique ut unitatem Deitatis in Trinitate cognoscas solus Christus in praesenti lectione nunc peccata dimittit, et tamen certum est a Trinitate peccata dimitti’; ibid. iv. i ‘Non iis sufficit semel clamare "Sanctus", neque bis, sed perfectum numerum Trinitatis assumunt, ut multitudinem sanctitatis manifestent Dei, quae est trinae sanctitatis repetita communitas, sanctitas Patris, sanctitas unigeniti Filii et Spiritus Sancti’. See Denis pp. 117 sqq.


-215- It is He that in the beginning moved upon the face of the waters 1; He that is to be understood both in Old and in New Testament by the words ‘Spirit’ or ‘Holy Spirit’. But His special work is that of sanctification. The Father gives being to all that exists; the Son imparts reason, Logos, to all that is capable of it; the Holy Ghost works life in those that believe. Hence though all men may be said to participate in the First and Second Persons, not all men share in the Third. It is He that creates in man the capacity to receive Christ, first as Justice, then as Wisdom, and so on in ever-deepening affinity, till at last the gift of being becomes worthy of the Giver. Man is made what God meant him to be, good and permanently good, by the ceaseless ministrations of the Holy Spirit. Thus it may be said that the Son and the Holy Spirit are the cause of the . . .


1 De Princ. i. 3. 3. Participation in the work of Creation is again assigned to the Holy Spirit, De Princ. iv. 30, on the authority of Psalm 33:6 ‘Verbo Domini coeli firmati sunt, et spiritu oris eius omnis virtus eorum’. This is important, as showing that in De Princ. i. 3. 5 the words ‘ut operationem specialem Spiritus Sancti et specialem Patris ac Filii describamus’ are not inserted by Rufinus. This is a sufficient answer to the strictures of Theophilus, Jerome and Justinian, for which see the Origeniana.


-216- knowledge of God, that the Holy Spirit is the substance of the graces of the Father. 1

Thus far the Alexandrines cleared and defined the notion of the Divine Persons. But a not less difficult task remained behind. Granting the triple Personality, where then is the Unity, or, as it was called, the Monarchy? The question was involved in Noetianism; it was pressed upon the Church from without by Celsus the champion of reformed Heathenism. It involved the very essence and existence of the faith. If Christianity was Monotheism in the sense of Noetus, where was the reality of the work of Jesus? If it was not Monotheism in the sense of Celsus, in what was it better than the religion of Mithra, and what became of its exclusive claims?

We enter here upon one of the most fiercely decried portions of Origen’s teaching. 2 Let it be observed by way of caution that he had no paper money, no . . .


1 De Princ. i. 3. 5; Prol. in Cant. Cantic. (Lom. xiv. 307); In Joan. ii. 6; In Jerem. Hom. viii. i. Substance of the graces, ὕλη τῶν χαρισμάτων. As the Son is ἔμψυχος σοϕία, so the Holy Spirit is ἔμψυχος χάρις, though this phrase is not actually used. [The extreme Arians confined the work of the Holy Spirit to sanctification, etc. Eunomius Apol. 27 (Migne P. G. xxx. c. 864).

2 The chief among the ancient assailants of Origen and Origenism were Methodius, De Resurrectione (fragments only are extant, but there is an abstract of the work in Photius Cod. 234); Eustathius, De Engastrimytho (in Migne P. L. xvii. 614); Epiphanius, Haereses ixiv, Ep. ad Joann. ep. Hieros. (Latin translation in Jerome Epistles li, Migne P. L. xxii); Theophilus, Paschal Letters ii, iii, v (Greek fragments in Migne P. G. ixv. 54; Latin translations in Jerome Epistles xcvi, xcviii, c, Migne P. L. xxii); Jerome, Epp. ixxxiv ad Pammach. et Ocean., cxxiv ad Avitum (Migne P. L. xxii), Apologia adv. libros Rufini; Justinian, Adv. Origenem or Ad Menam (Mansi ix. 487; Migne P.G. ixxxvi. 946; Labbe v. 635). The τετρακτὺς κακολόγων of Socrates H. E. vi. 13 are Methodius, Eustathius, Apollinarius, and Theophilus. Of Methodius he adds: Μεθόδιος μὲν οὖν πολλὰ καταδραμὼν τοῦ Ώριγένους ὕστερον ὡς ἐκ παλινῳδίας θαυμάζει τὸν ἄνδρα ἐν τῷ διαλόγῳ ᾧ ἐπέγραψε Ξενῶνα.


-217- accepted phrases to pass current instead of thought; that speaking of the most awful mystery that can exercise the mind of man, he expresses himself by no means with neatness and precision, but with becoming hesitation, as of one who hears only ‘fragments of the mighty voice’, and faithfully endeavours to render the whole of what he hears. Hence his language is partly that of later times, partly not; most startling when most Biblical. Rufinus, the translator of the De Principiis, has doubtless tampered with his text. But we have abundant means of checking his divagations. There is no important point on which we cannot produce the exact meaning of Origen. 1 . . .

1 The life and works of Rufinus (whose cognomen is variously given as Toranus, Turranius, or Tyrannius) will he found in Migne P. L. xxi. See also Origeniana ii. 4. 10; Redepenning ii. 61, 68, 254; Neander History iv. 447 (Eng. trans.); Gieseler Lehrb. der Kirchengesch., 1824, part i. pp. 284 sqq. Rufinus, a monk of Aquileia, in 372 accompanied a pious and wealthy lady Melania to the East as a kind of domestic chaplain, though not yet ordained. In Palestine, where he remained till 397, living for a part of the time with the hermits on the Mount of Olives, he had a serious quarrel with Jerome, arising out of the dispute between Epiphanius and John of Jerusalem. The latter was accused of Origenism and Rufinus took his part. On his return to Italy he began to translate Greek theological works into Latin at the request of friends, in particular the De Principiis. This led to a renewal of hostilities with Jerome, and drew upon Rufinus the censure of Pope Anastasius, though he does not appear to have been formally condemned. He died in Sicily, whither he had fled for shelter during the invasion of Alaric. Here in sight of the blazing villages of Calabria, in the midst of horrors that might seem to denote the approaching end of all things, he found comfort in the mystical commentary on the Song of Songs. Besides the De Principiis he gave to Latin the pseudo-Clementine Recognitions. The Westerns appear to have been at this time profoundly ignorant of Greek speculations, and Rufinus was much in the position of the scholars who first introduced modern German theology into England. To him we owe the Latin version of the Homilies on Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Joshua, Judges, 1 Samuel (the last probably, Red. ii. 255), Psalms 36-38, the Commentaries on the Song of Songs and Romans, and the De Principiis, with the Apology of Pamphilus. The translation of the Homilies on the Song of Songs, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Luke, is by Jerome. The author of the version of the latter part of the Commentary on Matthew is unknown. We have also some fragments of the translation of the De Princ. by Jerome, and of a Homily on Job by Hilary of Poitiers. Rufinus has described his mode of translation very candidly (see his Prefaces to Numbers, Joshua, Psalms, De Princ. i. and iii, and the peroratio to In Rom.]. He dealt with great freedom, expanding, condensing, combining, expurgating, and amending. The gist of Jerome’s attack upon the translation of the De Princ. is not that Rufinus had softened or omitted unorthodox expressions on the subject of the Trinity (for he had done the same thing himself in his version of the Homilies on Isaiah), but that he had supported and strengthened Origen’s views on the subject of the Fall, Restitution, etc. The worst that can be said of Rufinus is that his judgement and temper were not perfect. Huet treats him very harshly in order to relieve Jerome.


-218- Let us begin with passages representing the line of thought that was afterwards predominant. Origen insists that both terms of the antinomy, the One and the Many, must be equally kept in view. Thus in the Homily on the Shew Bread, one of his most remarkable allegories, the bread, he says, is made of two-tenths of flour. It is significant then of the two Persons; for ten, the perfect number, is emblematic of Deity. The loaves are laid one upon another to show that they are one mass, one Bread. ‘For I cannot separate the Son from the Father, the Father from the Son.’ Yet again, the loaves are placed in two layers to denote the Personal distinction: ‘We call Him Father who is not Son, Him Son who is not Father.’ 1 Again, elsewhere the Persons are numerically . . .


1 In Levit. Hom. xiii. 4.


-219- distinct. 1 But this is not to be taken to imply local division; for to ascribe division to an incorporeal substance is the act not only of extreme impiety but of the dullest folly. 2 Hence the Generation of the Son is to be regarded as a continuous process: The Father did not beget His Son and let Him go from Himself, but always begets Him.’ 3 For this reason he rejects the phrases which earlier writers had employed, — that of -178- Projection, that of the Prophoric Logos, — and prefers the beautiful simile of . . .


1 The Noetians hold μὴ διαϕέρειν τῷ ἀριθμῷ τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ πατρός, In Joan. x. 21. So Justin Apol. i. 22, the Son: ‘we assert that the Word of God was born of God in a peculiar manner, different from ordinary generation.’ Again, Trypho 56 (Otto p. 192). Tert. Adv. Prax. 2 ‘Numerum sine divisione patiuntur’: 25 ‘Qui tres unum sunt … ad substantiae unitatem non ad numeri singularitatem’.

2 De Princ. i. 2. 6 ‘Observandum namque est ne quis incurrat in absurdas fabulas eorum qui prolationes quasdam sibi ipsis depingunt, ut divinam naturam in partes vocent, et Deum patrem quantum in se est dividant, cum hoc de incorporea natura vel leviter suspicari non solum extremae impietatis sit verum ultimae insipientiae’.

3 In Jerem. Hom. ix. 4 ad fin. ουχί έγέννησεν ό πατήρ τον υίόν καὶ ἀπέλυσεν αυτὸν ὁ πατὴρ ἀπὸ τῆς γενέσεως αὐτοῦ άλλ' αεί γεννά αυτόν. Origen goes on to illustrate his meaning by the simile of the Torch and the Ray. Huet regards with suspicion this figure, which was indeed used by unorthodox writers to give the idea of an occasional emanation, emitted from and again absorbed into the parent flame. See above, p. 89, note 1. But Delarue defends it with perfect success, though the language of De Princ. i. 2. 7, 11 hardly needs defence. Cp. also In Joan. xxxii. 18 (Lom. ii. 470). The idea of occasional emanation attaches also to the phrase Prophoric Logos, that is Spoken Word, which Origen rejects: In Joan. i. 23 (Lom. i. 50) Ps. 44:1, De Princ. i. 2. 4 Origen rejects also the Adoption theory. ibid. i. 2. 6 the Son’s existence depends upon the Will of the Father, and the Divine Generation is illustrated by the relation of volition to intelligence.


-220- the Torch and the Ray. So far his view is that known as Circumincession, the idea of perfect mutual interpenetration. He has addressed himself mainly to the relation between Father and Son: but what is true of them is true of the whole Trinity.

But still it may be asked in what precisely does the unity consist? In this particular form the question had as yet hardly been posed, and it would have been better had it never been stated. The most we can do is to agree upon a word, and at such altitudes words lose their vitality. But it was not Origen’s nature to gloss over a difficulty, and in those days of Polytheism it would not perhaps have been safe to do so. He will give then what answer he can, though he well knows what the answer is worth. At one time in reply to Celsus he places the unity in perfect moral harmony: ‘We worship the Father of Truth, and the Son who is Truth, Two in Person, but One in agreement and concert and identity of will.’ It is a union like that of the Church: ‘the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and one soul.’ 1 At another . . .


1 Contra Celsum viii. 12: after quoting John 14:11 ‘I am in the Father and the Father in Me’, Origen proceeds, ‘My Father is in Me, and I in Him. And if any should from these words be afraid of our going over to the side of those who deny that the Father and the Son are two persons, let him weigh that passage, And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul, that he may understand the meaning of the saying, I and My Father are one.’ [Socrates H. E. ii. 10 (the second creed of Antioch) ‘a Father who is truly Father, and a Son who is truly Son, and of the Holy Ghost who is truly Holy Ghost, the names not being given without meaning or effect, but denoting accurately the peculiar subsistence, rank, and glory of each that is named, so that they are three in subsistence, and in agreement one.’ This was branded by the Council of Sardica as Arian and blasphemous: Theodoret H. E. ii. 8 §45. On moral and intellectual Unity see Ath. Or. contra Arian. iii. 10.] The same definition supported by the same illustration was censured in the case of Abbot Joachim by the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215; see Mansi xxii. 981 sqq., or Denzinger Enchiridion 358. Abbot Joachim preached also ‘the Eternal Gospel’, though he gave to the phrase a political significance and used it to express the social and religious reformation yearned for by the enthusiasts of his time. Denis, pp. 576 sqq., appears to me to underrate the connexion between Origen and Joachim.


-221- time he uses the expression ‘One in Substance’, and Pamphilus even ascribes to him the famous Homoousion of the Nicene Fathers. 1 This however could not be his definite opinion, partly because the word Ousia or . . .


1 Frag. 3 from commentary In Hebr. quoted by Pamphilus in his Apology: ‘Quae utraeque similitudines (vapor virtutis Dei and aporrhoea gloriae Omnipolentis purissima, Sap. vii. 25) manifestissime ostendunt communionem substantiae esse Filio cum Patre. Aporrhoea enim ὁμοούσιος videtur, id est unius substantiae cum illo corpore ex quo est vel aporrhoea vel vapor’ (Lom. xxiv. 359). The word ὁμοούσιος is used by Heracleon to denote the natural affinity which he in common with the other Valentinians conceived to exist between the Pneumatic and God and between the Hylic and the Devil, Or. In Joan. xiii. 25, xx. 18 (Lom. ii. 43, 241). This idea is rejected both by Clement, Strom. ii. 16. 74, iv. 13. 91, and by Origen. In this usage the word means ‘made of the same stuff, of the same genus’, ‘governed by the same laws’, but it does not imply equality. In this sense it is applied to the Son by the author of the Clementine Homilies xx. 7. The Son is ὁμοούσιος τῷ θεῷ ἰσοδύναμος δὲ οὔ. As a term of theology the word appears to have been first employed in these ways by Gnostics [on ὁμοούσιος in Ptolemy see Harnack Dogmengeschichte ii. p. 191] and Ebionites. In the passage quoted above from Origen it appears for the first time in its later Nicene sense; for I cannot regard the passage in the Adumbrationes p. 1009 as Clement’s, though Zahn, Forschungen p. 138, thinks otherwise. The word was not regarded as orthodox by the Antiochene Fathers; see Routh iii. pp. 314 sqq., 360 sqq.; (A. Robertson Athanasius pp. xxxi sq., 473 sq.). Like many other words it acquired a technical meaning which at first undoubtedly it did not possess. Bull, Def. fid. Nic. ii. i, may still be read with advantage, though he endeavoured to prove too much. ‘Oμοούσιος is certainly not a word of which the precision and exactness precluded all attempt at equivocation’. See also Harnack Dogmengeschichte i. pp. 621 sqq.


-222- Essence still means at times Person or Hypostasis; partly because from either point of view, the Stoic or the Platonic, it was by no means clear whether God could be spoken of as having Ousia at all, because He is rather above all Ousia 1; partly again because the term belongs to the vocabulary of science and not of Scripture, and even in science denotes not knowledge but the absence of knowledge. For the Ousia is precisely that about a thing of which we are wholly ignorant. Hence again, taking his stand upon the words of our Saviour ‘that they may know Thee the only true God’, and upon the words of St. Paul ‘to us there is but One God the Father’, he seeks for the ground of unity in the derivation of the Second Person from the First, of the Third from the Second and First. The Father is ‘the God’, ‘the only true God’: . . .

2 See Contra Celsum vi. 64. Celsus says, ‘Neither did He make man His image; for God is not such an one, nor like any other species of (visible) being.’ So the Saviour, ‘is said to be the image of the invisible God, while from the term invisible it is indicated that He is immaterial. It is also a question for investigation, whether the only-begotten and first-born of every creature is to be called substance of substances, and idea of ideas, and the principle of all things, while above all there is His Father and God.’ In Joan. xix. 1 (Lom. ii. p. 149) ἵνʹ οὕτως ἔλθῃ ἐπὶ τὸ ἐνιδεῖν τῇ ὑπερέκεινα τῆς οὐσίας δυνάμει καὶ ϕύσει τοῦ Θεοῦ. If οὐσία be taken in its Platonic sense as signifying Idea, it is prior to the Thing, and thus the Idea of God would be above God; again, the Ideas are sometimes spoken of as created by God. If the word be taken in its Stoic sense, we arrive at a distinction between the πρώτη ὕλη and the πάθη of the Deity. Words like these, which represent or are supposed to represent the teaching of sensible experience, explain without explaining that which ‘eye hath not seen’. [The objection taken by many of the ancients to the use of the word οὐσία was that it implied the possibility of definition: Socrates H. E. iii. 7. That of the Antiochene Fathers was that it implied divisions as between members of the same genus: Basil Ep. iii. 1.]


=223= the Son is God without addition, because His Deity is derived. 1

The Son, as we have seen, possesses all the attributes of God, His Goodness, His Wisdom, His Power. He possesses them in full and perfect measure, not accidentally but substantially and unchangeably, not precariously but by virtue, if we may so speak, of a law of the Divine Nature. He is begotten, not created. The Son is in the Father, the Father in the Son, and no schism is conceivable between them. Yet the Word is the Splendour of the Divine Glory, the Image of the Father’s Person; in a word, He is the Son. The Father is the ‘Fountain from whom His Divinity is drawn’. 2 It is the difference between Cause and Effect, and in this aspect it sometimes seems to Origen immense. 3 Yet if we look downwards, if we compare the God Son with the highest of created things, with principalities and archangels, there is a gulf more enormous still, because of another kind.

We shall however wrong Origen, if we attempt to . . .


1 In Joan. ii. 2, 3, 18, xiii. 25, xxxii. 18; Contra Celsum viii. 14, 15.

2 In Joan. ii. 2 σπάσας τῆς θεότητος εἰς ἑαυτόν. ‘Hoc est portionem divinitatis non divinitatem’ remarks Huet, with whom agrees Denis, p. 110. This is laying far too much stress upon a word. Besides, had Origen written τὴν θεότητα, he would have meant that the Son had deprived the Father of Deity.

3 In Joan. xiii. 25. πάντων μὲν τῶν γενητῶν ὑπερέχειν οὐ συγκρίσει ἀλλʹ ὑπερ βαλλούσῃ ὑπεροχῇ ϕαμεν τὸν σωτῆρα καὶ τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ὑπερεχόν τοσοῦτον ἢ καὶ πλέον ἀπὸ τοῦ πατρός͵ ὅσῳ ὑπερέχει αὐτὸς καὶ τὸ ἅγιον πνεῦμα τῶν λοιπῶν. Observe the words οὐ συγκρίσει: the Son and Holy Spirit are not to be compared with created things. With this passage should be contrasted In Matth. xv. 10: πλείων γὰρ ἡ ὑπεροχὴ πρὸς τὰ ὑποδεέστερα ἀγαθὰ ἐν τῷ σωτῆρι͵ καθό ἐστιν εὶκὼν τῆς ἀγαθότητος αὐτοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ͵ ἤπερ ἡ ὑπεροχὴ τοῦ θεοῦ ὄντος ἀγαθοῦ πρὸς τὸν εἰπόντα Σωτῆρα Ό πατήρ͵ ὁ πέμψας με͵ μείζων μου ἐστιν͵ ὄντα πρὸς ἑτέρους καὶ τῆς ἀγαθότητος τοῦ θεοῦ.


-224- derive his Subordinationism from metaphysical considerations. It is purely Scriptural, and rests wholly and entirely upon the words of Jesus, ‘My Father is greater than I’, ‘That they may know Thee the only true God’, ‘None is Good save One’. The dominant text in Origen’s mind was the last. Hence he limits the relativity to the attribute to which it is limited by Christ Himself. The Son is Very Wisdom, Very Righteousness, Very Truth, perhaps even Very King, but not Very Goodness. Perfect Image of the Father’s Goodness, but not the Absolute Good, though in regard to us He is the Absolute Good. There are indeed passages where Origen hesitatingly suggests the question . . .


1 The boldness with which Rufinus corrected his text is nowhere more evident than in De Princ. i. 2. 13. The most important passage of the original Greek is given in Justinian Ad Menam: οὕτω τοίνυν ἡγοῦμαι καὶ τοῦ σωτῆρος καλῶς ἂν λεχθήσεσθαι ὅτι εἰκὼν ἀγαθότητος τοῦ θεοῦ ἐστιν͵ ἀλλʹ οὐκαὐτοαγαθόν. Καὶ τάχα καὶ υἱὸς ἀγαθός ἀλλʹ οῦχ ὡς ἁπλῶς ἀγαθός, Καὶ ὥσπερ εἰκών ἐστι τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ἀοράτου καὶ κατὰ τοῦτο θεός͵ ἀλλʹ οὐ περὶ οὗ λέγει αὐτὸς ὁ Χριστός͵ Ἵνα γινώσκωσί σε τὸν μόνον ἀληθινὸν θεόν͵ οὕτως εἰκὼν ἀγαθότητος ἀλλʹ οῦχ ὡς ὁ πατὴρ ἀπαραλλάκτως ἀγαθός. The best comment on this passage is afforded by In Matth. xiv. 7 αὐτὸς γὰρ ἐστιν ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν οὺρανῶν͵ καὶ ὥσπερ αὐτὸς ἐστιν ἡ αὐτοσοϕία καὶ ἡ αὐτοδικαιοσύνη καὶ ἡ αὐτοαλήθεια͵ οὕτω μήποτε καὶ ἡ αὐτοβασιλεία. But here again it will be observed not τὸ ἀγαθόν. Now as the whole existence of the Son is derived from the Father, and He is therefore strictly speaking no more αὐτοσοϕία than αὐτοἀγαθόν, it will be evident that Origen is here struggling against his own principles and endeavouring to reduce the doctrine of Derivation and Subordination, which he had inherited from his predecessors, to the narrowest limits consistent with the direct teaching of Scripture. There is a sense even in which the Son may be called the Absolute Good, if not in respect of God yet in respect of man: In Matth. xv. 10 ὡς μὲν πρὸς τὸν πατέρα εἰκών ἐστιν ἀγαθότητος͵ ὡς δὲ πρὸς τὰ λοιπὰ ὅπερ ἡ τοῦ πατὴρὸς ἀγαθότης πρὸς αὐτόν. What struck later ages as the novelty and audacity of Origen’s doctrine was in truth its archaism and conservatism. Denis p. 111 ‘La vérité, c’est que la pensée d’Origène se meut dans deux directions tout opposées. Lorsqu’il ne suit que la logique et les idées où sa fervente piété l’inclinait, il va à l’égalité des personnes divines. Lorsqu’il s’en tient à la tradition … il recule devant les conséquences de sa piété et de la logique, et se jette à l’extrémité opposée.


-225- whether there may not be in the Father abysses of knowledge, glory, power beyond all that is given to the Son. 1 These however must not be insisted upon. Where he pronounces his real thought, the difference between the Persons is conceived not as quantitative nor as qualitative, but as modal simply. The Son qua Son is inferior to the Father qua Father.

‘Speculate not’, says Gregory Nazianzen, upon the Divine Generation, for it is not safe … let the doctrine be honoured silently … It is a great thing for thee to know the fact; the mode we cannot admit that even angels understand, much less thou. 2 It is a wise admonition, but it is double-edged, and must not be so applied as to smite Origen alone. Nor indeed is it just to blame him here for presumption. He could not, he dared not, shrink back where the Word of God led him on. He could not think that a truth three times at least pressed upon the Church by Christ Himself might safely be ignored. To his dauntless spirit these words of the Master seemed to be not a scandal but a flash of light. They spoke of the supreme anchor of all our hopes, the transcendental . . .


1 De Princ. iv. 35 ὥστε καὶ ἐν τῷ νοεῖν ὁ πατὴρ μειζόνως καὶ τρανοτέρως καὶ τελειοτέρως νοεῖται ὑϕʹ ἑαυτοῦ ἢ ὑπὸ τοῦ υἱοῦ: In Joan, xxxil. 18 the glory which the Father has in Himself is greater than that which He has in His Son. On the other hand, In Joan. i. 27 the Son’s knowledge is equal to that of the Father. Redepenning ii. 277 sqq.; Denis in sqq.; Origeniana ii. 2. 19 (Lom. xxii. p. 172); Bull ii. 9. At any rate Origen did not think himself debarred from considering the question.

2 Orat. xxxv. 29. 30 (Migne P. G. xxix. 8).


Goodness of Him from whom all things ultimately proceed, of that day when Christ shall render up His Kingdom to the Father, and God, the Good, shall be all in all. Lastly, let us remember, he is speaking, though more emphatically than others, the belief of his time. 1 He was condemned by Jerome and Justinian; but he has been acquitted by Athanasius and theologians of every school to whom history and Scripture do not speak in vain.


“Origen was condemned by Jerome and Justinian; but he has been acquitted by Athanasius and theologians of every school to whom history and Scripture do not speak in vain.”


The objections urged in ancient times against Origen’s Subordinationism, objections resting in many cases on the most serious misapprehension, may for the present be dismissed. 2 But there is one true consequence of his view so momentous that it must not be passed over. I refer to his teaching on the subject of prayer offered to the Son.


He has declared himself upon this point many times, especially in the Celsus. Away with the advice of Celsus that we should pray to demons. For we must pray only to the Supreme God; yes, and we must pray to the Only-Begotten and Firstborn of every creature, and beseech Him as our High Priest to offer to His God and our God, to His Father and the Father of all that live, our prayers as they come first to Him. The meaning of these words is explained at large in the Treatise upon Prayer. Starting from the text of St. Paul, ‘I exhort therefore that first of all supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of . . .

1 See the catena of patristic explanations of John 14:28 {Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.} given by Westcott, St. John p. 213, ed. 1882: ‘Towards the close of the fourth century the opinion began to gain currency that the superior greatness of the Father was referred to the human life of the Son.’

2 The curious reader will find them in the Origeniana.


-227- thanks be made for all men’, 1 he proceeds to draw a distinction between these four terms.


Prayer in its proper sense, he concludes, is that which the soul sends up with clearest insight for the higher spiritual gifts, and is accompanied by a Doxology. The three lower forms of petition may be addressed to men for help or pardon, or to saints or angels, or to the Holy Spirit or Christ, the last and highest only to the Father in the Son’s name. 2

He does not, it will be observed, forbid the Christian . . .


1 1 Timothy 2:1 παρακαλῶ οὖν πρῶτον πάντων ποιεῖσθαι δεήσεις, προσευχάς, ἐντεύξεις, εὐχαριστίας, ὑπὲρ πάντων ἀνθρώπων. ‘I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks, be made for all men.’ There is a difficulty in explaining Origen’s meaning, because ‘prayer’ must be used as the equivalent both of εὐχή and of προσευχή. Εὐχή seems to be regarded as the genus including these four species. Δέησις is defined τὴν περὶ, so the English editor it is prayer without worship. Ἔντευξις is a confident appeal for benefits to oneself or to others: the difference here lies in the character of the speaker; it is the address of a son to his father. It should be added that Origen lays down not only that we must pray to God through Christ, but that we must not pray to Him in any other way. In the opening of the eighth book Contra Celsum, where Origen is replying to the reproach of Celsus that the Christian served two Masters and so introduced στάσισ, hostile division, between the old Deity and the new, he uses of Christ not merely τιμᾶν and θεραπεύειν, but σέβειν, θρησκεύειν͵ δουλεύειν, referring to John 5:23, 10:30, 14:11, 17:22. ibid. 1:51 Christ is ὁ ὑπὸ Χριστιανῶν προσκυνούμενος. Worship, the highest adoration, is offered to God through Christ, and to Christ as He is in, as He is One with, the Father. This will explain the language of the De Oratione where it is said that worship (προσκύνησις) belongs to Christ only in a figurative sense, not absolutely or in His own right. Everywhere Origen’s language is the same. With the fullest recognition of the Divinity of the Son there is the constant warning that we must not forget that God is our Father and the Father of all that is.

2 Contra Celsum v. 4, viii. 13, 26; De Orat. 14, 15. The words with clearest insight are given as a translation of μεγαλοϕυέστερον in De Orat. 14 (Lom. xvii. 142). It is justified by the observation that μεγαλοϕυές is frequently used of the mystic spiritual sense. Prayer in the sense of supplication, δέησις, to saints, ibid. (Lom. xvii. 146). Origen no doubt regarded this kind of prayer as lawfully offered to saints, whether on earth or in heaven. As regards the Angels see Contra Celsum, v. 4, viii. 57, but especially viii. 13, where Origen says that a sort of θερααπεία may be offered to the angels if we understand exactly what we mean by the word. In De Mart. 6, 7 he denies that either λατρεία or προσκύνησις can be offered to Angels; but this language does not exclude prayer provided that in prayer we do not confound these high servants of the Almighty with their Maker and Master. In this sense Origen may be said to pray to the guardian Angel of the newly baptized, In Ezech. Hom. i. 7 (Lom. xiv. 20) ‘Omnia angelis plena sunt; veni Angele, suscipe sermone conversum ab errore pristino’.


-228- to pray to Christ as God. He refers to the prayers of the Penitent Thief, of Stephen, of the father of the lunatic child, all addressed to the Son and the Son alone, and he himself prays to the Son in the same way. 1 We may throw light upon his meaning by . . .


1 Contra Celsum v. 4: explained ibid. viii. 26. Hymns were sung to the Father and to Christ, ibid. viii. 67. See also In Exodum Hom. xiii. 3 ‘Domine Jesu, praesta mihi ut aliquid monumenti habere merear in tabernaculo tuo’: In Levit. Hom. i. i ‘Ipse igitur nobis Dominus, ipse Spiritus Sanctus deprecandus est, ut omnem nebulam, omnemque caliginem, quae peccatorum sordibus concreta visum nostri cordis obscurat, auferre dignetur’: In Levit. Hom. v. 5 ‘Dominum meum Jesum invocare me oportet ut quaerentem me faciat invenire et pulsanti aperiat’: In Num. Hom. xxv. 3 Nos autem oremus ex corde Verbum Dei, qui est unigenitus eius, et qui revelat Patrem quibus vult, ut et nobis haec revelare dignetur: In Ezech. Hom. iii. 4 ‘Praesta mihi, Christe, ut disrumpam cervicalia in animarum consuta luxuriam’: In Rom. viii. 4 ‘Sed et in principio Epistolae, quam ad Corinthios scribit, ubi dicit “cum omni bus qui invocant nomen Domini nostri Jesu Christi, in omni loco ipsorum et nostro”, eum cuius nomen invocatur Dominum (al. Deum) Jesum Christum esse pronuntiat. Si ergo et Enos et Moses et Aaron et Samuel “invocabant Dominum et ipse exaudiebat eos”, sine dubio Christum Jesum Dominum invocabant: et si invocare nomen Domini et orare Dominum unum atque idem est, sicut invocatur Deus invocandus est Christus, et sicut oratur Deus ita et orandus est Christus … Unum namque utrique honorem deferendum, id est Patri et Filio, divinus edocet sermo, cum dicit “ut omnes honorificent Filium sicut honorificant Patrem”’. But this last passage goes beyond Origan’s usual language and may have been amended by Rufinus. It will be observed that he insists upon the difference between the κυριολεξία and κατάχρησις, the absolute and relative sense, of Prayer, and that his own Prayers to the Son are ejaculatory and brief. The reader may consult Lücke De Invocatione Jesu Christi in predbus Christianorum accuratius definienda Gottingae 1843; Redepenning Origenes ii. 38 sqq.; Bingham xiii. 2. 3.


-229- reference to his favourite idea of the Epinoiai. We may address the Saviour, in immediate supplication, for those boons which it is His special province to bestow. But in the supreme moment of adoration, when the soul strains upwards to lay itself as a sacrifice before the highest object of thought, we must not stop short of Him who is above all. Such prayer is necessarily attended by a ‘doxology’, a clear recognition of the Nature of Him before whom we stand, and in the doxology the Father’s Name is first. Origen appeals to the express command of Jesus, ‘Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father He will give it in My name’, to the usage of Scripture, and lastly to the usage of the Church.

It is probable that at this very time a change was creeping into the language of worship. “Are we not divided, he asks, if we pray some to the Father, some to the Son, falling into the error of ignorant men -230- because we have never inquired into the real nature of what we are doing? 1 Strange and innovating as his words may seem to us, they are really the very opposite of this. They are a plea for ancient usage in a time of change. It has been thought that his protest refers specially to the Eucharist, the Anaphora or Missa Fidelium, in which for long after this time there was no direct address to the Son. 2 But in truth it has a wider scope. He is warning his readers, not against excessive devotion to ‘the Lord and Saviour Jesus’, for in this Origen himself yields to none, nor against . . .


1 De Orat. 16.

2 At the time when Gregory the Great introduced the Christe Eleison into the Roman Mass it was not found in the Greek Liturgies ≪nor has it ever been≫. Greg. Epp. ix. 12 ad Joannem Syracusanum Episcopum: ‘Kyrie Eleison autem nos neque diximus neque dicimus sicut a Graecis dicitur, quia in Graecis simul omnes dicunt, apud nos autem a clericis dicitur et a populo respondetur, ettotidem vicibus etiam Christe Eleison dicitur, quod apud Graecos nullo modo dicitur.’ The Kyrie Eleison had been introduced into the Western Mass about the beginning of the sixth century; see Canon 3 of Conc. Vasense II in Mansi viii. 727: ≪cp. E. Bishop Kyrie eleison: a liturgical consultation (Downside Rev. 1899, 1900≫. In the Church of Africa a ≪rule≫ was made at the end of the fourth century against the ≪use≫ of prayers to the Son in the Mass: see the 21st of the second series of Canons of the Synod of Hippo held in 393 (Hefele ii. p. 398, Eng. trans.): ‘Ut nemo in precibus vel Patrem pro Filio vel Filium pro Patre nominet, et cum altari adsistitur sem per ad Patrem dirigatur oratio.’ ≪On the reason of this see S. Basil de Spiritu sancto 7 §16.≫ Probst, Liturgie pp. 141 sqq., finds in the four words ≪of 1 Tim. 2:1≫ defined by Origen an outline of the whole Liturgy: Smyrn., he thinks, means the prayers of the Catechumens and Penitents, the Thanksgiving, Trisagion, and Confession, the Memento; and the Thanksgiving after Communion: ≪so S. Augustine Ep. cxlix. 16.≫ His view is too ingenious, but it seems not unlikely that by προσευχή Origen means particularly the prayers that accompanied the Eucharist; [cp. Ign. Smyrn. vi. 2 and Lightfoot’s note.]


-231- the fullest belief in Christ’s Divinity, for here also Origen’s doctrine, in the judgement of those most worthy of our deference, stands above suspicion; but against the language, if I may risk the phrase, of partial adoration, which verges on the one hand towards Noetianism, on the other towards some form of Gnosticism, that is of moral opposition. Is it too much to assert that the latter and graver danger has more than once been perilously near at hand; that the Father has, in appearance at any rate, been obscured behind the Son, as the Son in turn behind the Virgin and the Saints?

It is curious to observe that Origen himself contributed, perhaps more than any one else, to direct and feed this movement by his Commentary and Homilies on the Song of Songs. He undertook the work with many misgivings, for he was startled at finding the Greek word which denotes sexual affection used, as he thought, of the love between Christ and His mystical Bride. But he persuaded himself that there is no real difference between the Eros of poetry and the Agape of the New Testament. ‘It matters not therefore which word we use of God. Nor do I think anyone can be blamed if he calls God Eros, as John called Him Agape. Lastly, I remember that one of the Saints, Ignatius by name, said of Christ, “My Eros is crucified”; nor do I think he should be censured.’ 1 Jerome said of the Homilies on the Canticles that Origen, who had surpassed all other writers in his other books, had in this surpassed himself. 2 It . . .


1 Comment, in Cant. Canticorum: prologus (Delarue iii. p. 30). ≪See above, Preface pp. 6 sqq.≫

2 ≪Praefatio in homilias Origenis in Canticum Canticorum (Vallarsi iii. c. 499).≫


-232- gave welcome expression to what after the triumph of Athanasius was the dominant feeling, and redeemed in some degree the fame of its author, damaged by his supposed inclination to Arianism. And thus Origen, the first pioneer in so many fields of Christian thought, the father in one of his many aspects of the English Latitudinarians,became also the spiritual ancestor of Bernard, the Victorines, and the author of the De Imitatione, of Tauler and Molinos and Madame de Guyon. 1

In Subordinationism, in the theory of the Two Lives, above all in Allegorism, we may still discern the hand of Philo. But the influence of the illustrious Jew was far weaker on Origen than it had been on Clement. Nowhere is this emancipation so visible as in the doctrine of the Incarnation. Greatest of all miracles is this, that the Very Word and Wisdom of God should have dwelt within the frame 2 of that Man who appeared in Judaea, should have been born and wailed as an infant, should have died and risen again. The understanding of man is stupefied and knows not whither to turn. If we think of Him as God, behold He is Man; if as Man, we see Him returning from the grave, bearing in triumph the spoils of conquered death. 3

Origen’s view of the God-Man — a term which he first employed — differs from the ordinary view, generally speaking, only in so far as it is conditioned by his . . .


1 It need hardly be said that Origen himself remains faithful to the ideal point of view, and is never betrayed into the imagery of earthly passion used by the monastic writers on the subject of ‘the Bridegroom’s Kiss’ and similar phrases. ≪Cp. E. Underbill Mysticism, London 1911, pp. 162 sqq., 509 sqq.≫ These widowed spirits transferred to Jesus that mortal yearning which they were forbidden to indulge towards wife or husband. Hence the Mysticism of the Middle Ages, so alluring in its finer manifestations, so revolting, so nearly allied to the most frightful form of hypocrisy, in its coarser shapes.

2 ≪infra circumscriptionem≫.

3 De Princ. ii. 6. 2.


-233- opinions of the pre-existence of the Soul and of the nature of the resurrection body. He is the first to speak at large of the Human Soul of Jesus. Like other souls, it was eternal and eternally united with the Word. From the first it received Him wholly, and clove to Him inseparably. It was like in all things to all other human souls, free as they; but the perfection of love, the singleness of worthiness, bound it so closely to the Godhead, that the union of the two may be compared to a mass of iron glowing forever with a white heat. He who should touch the iron would feel not the iron but the fire. Hence in Scripture we commonly find the titles proper to the Humanity of our Lord transferred to His Divinity and conversely. It is the Communicatio Idiomatum. 1

The Flesh of Jesus was pure from all birth stain, . . .


1 De Princ. ii. 6. 4 sqq.; In Joan. i. 37, xx. 17; Contra Celsum i. 32, 33. Nevertheless the properties of the Two Natures remain in truth distinct, Contra Celsum iv. 15, vii. 16. ≪In other words, it is not the communicatio idiomatum, but the ἀντίδοσις τῶν ὀνομάτων.≫ Redepenning, ii. 387, points out that the soul of Christ being sinless was in Origen’s theory not a soul at all. For the word ψυχή (psyche) is derived fancifully from ψύχω, and explained to mean the spirits whose love had grown cold through their defection from God ≪see below, p. 240 note 2≫. There is certainly an inconsistency here; but Origen held, as we shall see in the next Lecture, that many sinless or nearly sinless spirits had assumed flesh to aid in our redemption. Other difficulties have been raised by those who are determined to see something unsound in all that Origen wrote. If the soul of Christ existed before the union, can it be said to have deserved the union? Again, ‘Ex unione hypostatica Verbi cum anima aut peccatrice aut quae peccare et damnari potuisset sequereter de Verbo sic ei unito idem ob communionem idiomatum dici posse’: see the Origeniana. This however is absurd. According to Origen the soul of Christ was created sinless but free. It was in the same position as the soul of Adam before the Fall, and by its union with the Word was removed for ever from the possibility of sin. Origen proves the existence of Christ’s human soul partly by Scripture, e.g. Matt. 26:38 ‘My soul is exceeding sorrowful’; partly by the consideration that it was necessary as a link of connexion between the Godhead and the Flesh: see De Princ. ii. 6.


-234- from all defilement of every kind. 1 It was real flesh. His Life, His Passion were in no sense fantastic. 2 So real was His Body that we cannot accept in the literal sense the story of His being carried up into a mountain by the Tempter. 3 But as the pellucent alabaster vase shows the fire within, so the flesh of Jesus was at times suffused by the glory of the indwelling Deity. So it was especially at the Transfiguration; so it was, according to an ancient tradition, throughout the year of His ministry. Some saw but the figure, without grace or comeliness, of the carpenter’s son; but those whose eyes were opened by the Spirit discerned the beauty of the Word flashing through the veil of matter. Hence it came to pass that the followers of Judas at . . .


1 In Levit. Hom. xii. 4. Hence when, as In Levit. Hom. ix. 6, Origen regards the High Priest Joshua ‘clothed in filthy garments’ (Zech. 3:3) as a type of the Incarnation, we must understand him to be speaking merely of the Saviour’s humiliation. This is expressly stated In Lucam Hom. xiv, ‘Ut autem scias Jesum quoque sordidatum sentiendum secundum ignominiam crucis, non secundum ipsam quam assumpsit sanctam carnem.’ So again, In Levit. Hom. viii. 2, the law of purification applies to every woman ‘quae susceperit semen et pepererit’. The last words are intended to exclude the Virgin. See also n Rom.I vi. 12.

2 Contra Celsum iii. 23, iv. 19. As Man He was not aἁπαξαπλῶς ἀπαθής, as Clement taught: Contra Celsum vii. 17. He suffered sorrow at Gethsemane, In Matth. Comm. Series 92; temptation, In Luc. Hom. xxix.

3 De Princ. iv. 16 ‘Quod secundum literam quomodo fieri potuisse videbitur, ut vel in excelsum montem educeretur a diabolo Jesus, vel etiam carnalibus oculis eius tanquam subiecta et adiacentia uni monti omnia mundi ostenderet regna.’


-235- the Betrayal knew not who He was; the darkness of their own souls was projected upon the features of Him they sought. In this beautiful fancy we may perhaps recognize the last faint trace of Docetism. 1 Jesus truly rose from the dead, not in this flesh but in that glorified Body of which St. Paul speaks. Pure as it is, as it was, it is the Body of our Brother; and our High Priest may be said to need purification for the sins of the people that are laid upon Him. 2 Hence the mysterious ‘Touch Me not’. ‘At even He washed His garment in wine, that is His blood.’ ‘It was necessary that my Lord and Saviour should not only be born (as man) among men but also descend into hell, that as “a man prepared” ≪Lev. 16:21≫ He might lead the scapegoat into the wilderness (of hell), and returning thence, His work being now achieved, might ascend to the Father, and there be purified more fully at that heavenly altar, that He might endow with perpetual purity the pledge of our flesh which He had carried up with Him.’ . . .


3 In Matth. Comm. Series 100; Contra Celsum ii. 64. Connected with this perhaps is his refusal to accept the ancient view that the human form of Jesus was wanting in beauty or dignity. See Contra Celsum vi. 75, where he contrasts Is. 53:1-3 “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” with Psalm 45:3-4 “Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty. And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.” Origen appears to have thought that Jesus resembled John the Baptist in features; hence the mistake of Herod, Matt. 14:2; In Joan. vi. 30. He was baptized in the month of January, In Ezech. Hom. i. 4.

2 In Levit. Hom. ix. 5; In Joan. vi. 37. Redepenning therefore is wrong in speaking of Origen’s ‘Auflosung der menschlichen Natur des Herrn bei der Erhohung desselben’. Whatever criticisms attach to Origen’s view of the Resurrection of men attach also to his view of the Resurrection of Jesus, but no others. ≪On In Luc. Hom. xxix. 5 ‘nunc homo esse cessauit’, and In Jer. Hom. xv. 6, see the contexts and Delarue’s note on the former.≫

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Lecture VI. Origen: Creation

“That God may be all in all.” 1 Corinthians 15:28

Creation, as the word is commonly understood, was in Origen’s views not the beginning, but an intermediate phase in human history. Aeons rolled away before this world was made; aeons upon aeons, days, weeks, months and years, sabbatical years, jubilee years of aeons will run their course before the end is attained.

The one fixed point in this gigantic drama is the end, for this alone has been clearly revealed: God shall be all in all. There will come a time when man, completely subjected to Christ by the operation of the Holy Ghost, shall in Christ be completely subjected to the Father. But now, he adds, the end is always like the beginning. 1 The manifold diversity of the world . . .


1 De Princ. i. 6. 2 ‘Semper enim similis est finis initiis, et ideo sicut unus omnium finis, ita unum omnium intelligi debet initium’. The end of all intelligent work is perfection; it cannot be regarded as ended till perfection is attained: ibid. §1 ‘Finis vel consummatio rerum perfectarum consummatarumque esse videtur indicium‘. But the beginning is the desire of perfection, and though absolute Wisdom plans the beginning in such a way that it carries within itself the means of its own fulfillment, each stage in the development is preparatory to all that follow, and in this sense inferior to them, and in this sense evil, relatively evil and relatively good. Even in God’s work then it is not strictly true that the end is always like the beginning. The caution given by Origen at the commencement of this chapter applies to all his speculations outside the letter of the Creed and must never be forgotten: §1 ‘Nunc autem disputandi specie magis quam definiendi, prout possumus, exercemur’. Compare i. 6. 4 ‘Certius tamen qualiter se habitura sit res, scit solus Deus, et si qui eius per Christum et Spiritum Sanctum amici sunt’; ii. 6. 6 ‘Si quis sane melius aliquid poterit invenire, et evidentioribus de Scripturis sanctis assertionibus confirmare quae dicit, ilia potius quam haec recipiantur’. Innumerable passages of the same kind might be cited, but these will suffice. The reader will understand that Origen never dogmatizes. This point is insisted upon by Pamphilus in the Apologia.]


-237- is to close in unity; it must then have sprung from unity. His expansion of this theory is in fact an elaborate commentary upon the eighth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans and the fifteenth chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians. These he felt were the two keys, the one to the eternity before, the other to the eternity after.

What is it that we see? A vast creation orderly and beautiful, yet manifestly out of joint. Everywhere the order is crossed and marred, yet the disorder is not intentional. It is that of an organism striving to shake off a mortal disease. The soul wrestles with the body, and the thrill of man’s agony is felt by the great system of which he is a member. ‘The whole creation groaneth and travaileth together in pain until now.’ What do these words mean? If we look upwards, we see Sun, Moon and Stars, intelligent creatures like ourselves, condemned to minister to our needs, nourishing the fruits of earth for our subsistence, marking the seasons for our direction. If we search the Scriptures, we read of Angels and Archangels, who are all of them ‘ministering spirits’. So ‘the creature was made subject unto vanity’, ordained to help the vain and corruptible body of man, ‘not willingly, but by reason of God who hath subjected the same in hope’. And the hope is ‘the manifestation of the sons of God’, the clay when those things shall be revealed, which God has -238- prepared for those who shall deserve to be His sons, or when, the veil being taken away, it shall be known that they are His sons. Nay the trouble of sin reaches higher still. As yet even the Saviour will not ‘drink wine’ in the kingdom of God. He will not drink it, for He is alone. He waits for us. He will not receive His perfect glory without thee, that is with out His people, which is His Body. Thus all evil is resolved into sin. And sin is not isolated or individual. For all intelligent creatures are knit together in a solidarity so close, that the defect of one clouds the felicity and impedes the energies of all.

But again, we see apparent injustice. Everywhere there is inequality. Star differeth from star in glory. Among the angels themselves there are grades — thrones, dominations, princedoms, powers — there are even those who have fallen wholly from their high estate. On earth it is the same. One man is born within the fold of God’s Church, another in polished Athens, a third is a lawless Scythian or a cannibal Ethiope. There are the wise man and the fool, the rich and the poor, the civilized and the squalid savage. Everywhere Jacob is chosen, while Esau is cast out. The facts of life led the Gnostics to predestination, the sense of violated justice to the belief in conditional immortality. But it appeared to Origen that the equity of God was imperfectly vindicated by a theory which assigned to the majority of mankind a life of misery rounded off by annihilation. Thus opposition to Gnosticism becomes the motive of his practical theology, as it was also of his exegesis. Yet on one main point he is in agreement with the great Gnostic chief, Basilides. Evil flows from precedent evil. But, as differences of circumstance and faculty are congenital, -239- it follows that this life must be regarded as the continuation of one that has gone before. 1 Whence then comes Evil? Not from God, for God would then not be God. Not from Matter, for this is another form of fatalism, leading directly to the hopeless Stoic doctrine, that the quantity of evil is fixed and unalterable. It must then be the work of man. 2 . . .


1 For the foundation of the preceding sections, see De Princ. ii. 9; In Rom. vii. 4 sqq.; In Num. Hom. xxiii. 2; In Lev. Hom. vii. 2; Denis Philosophie d‘Origène, chapter on Cosmologie; Redepenning ii. 315 sqq.; Guerike ii. 185 sqq.; Harnack Dogmengesch. i. pp. 630 sqq.

2 On the Stoic doctrine, see Lecture VII. It was held also by some at any rate of the Platonists, as for instance Celsus. So Contra Celsum iv. 62. The same fatal notion is at the bottom of the smiling toleration of M. Aurelius. To philosophers of this school nothing is intolerable but enthusiasm. Celsus continues, ‘It is not easy for any one but a philosopher to understand the nature of evil’ ibid. 65. Origen replies, ‘It is not easy even for the philosopher, nor perhaps possible. Evil is not of God, nor yet of matter,’ ibid. 66. The subject is recurred to ibid. vi. 54 sqq. Virtue and Vice are good and evil. Bodily goods or ills are good or evil. To these latter refers Isaiah 45:7. ‘Evil then, if by the word we understand that which is essentially evil, God did not create, though some evils, few in number if compared with the order of the whole world, followed as a consequence upon the plan of His work, just as spiral shavings and sawdust follow as a consequence upon the plan of a carpenter’s work, just as builders seem to “make” the heaps of broken stone and mortar that are left lying by the side of their buildings.’ As to evils then in the secondary sense, we may admit that God is their author, as similar so-called evils are caused by fathers, teachers, surgeons, for corrective purposes. [There is confusion of thought here. At first evil is a result of the imperfect adaptability of matter; then it is corrective, intentional.] Of moral evil Origen speaks sometimes as if it were positive, sometimes as if it were negative. De Princ. ii. 9. 2 ‘Certum namque est malum esse bono carere’; but again just below, in contrarium boni, quod sine dubio malum est, trahebatur’. But God does not know evil or the evil man. This is illustrated by the words, Adam, where art thou? of Gen. 3:9. This is from Philo; cf. In Psalm. 1:6 (Lom. xi. 392) with Leg. Alleg. iii. 17 (i. 97). See also below, p. 244. For the mode in which God brings good out of evil the reader should turn to In Num. Hom. xiv. 2, one of the finest passages in all Origen.


-240- In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, that is the perfect heavens and earth, and peopled this world with Intelligences, forming in the Son the ideas, which were then realized by the Son as Agent. 1 The Intelligences were limited in number; for Wisdom is finite, and cannot comprehend the infinite. Except the Holy Trinity nothing is incorporeal. Each of the created spirits had from the first an envelope, a principle of differentiation, a body, adapted to the nature of its environment; at first then of fine ethereal texture fitted in all respects for its celestial habitation. The spirits were equal and like, but they were free. Some sinned and fell, some remained steadfast in their first estate, or rose to higher levels of power and goodness. The latter are the stars, the angels in the various degrees of their hierarchy. Of those who rebelled some became devils, fiends or archfiends, according to the manifold proportions of their transgression. But those whose error was less, whose love of God is cold yet not extinct (it is one of Origen’s fanciful etymologies, 2 turned into ‘souls’,


1 De Princ. ii. 9. Philo and Clement explained the first verse of Genesis of the creation of the Ideal World. To Origen it denotes the creation of the first, the perfect, but still material world. Thus he tells us of two creations, and, if we may add the creation of Ideas in the Son (see above, p. 209), of three.

2 Ψυχή, from ψύχω, to make cold. Plato Cratylus 399e suggests the same derivation in a different sense; it is called ψυχή because it ἀναψύχει τὸ σῶμα.


-241- better or worse according as the faculties of sense and desire gained the upper hand over the intelligence. For these at any rate there is hope of restitution, yet only through chastisement. The appointed scene of their discipline is this world, a later and grosser model of the first. It is infinitely various, to afford scope for the treatment proper to every phase of character, ‘like a great house, in which are vessels of gold and silver, of wood and clay, some to honour and some to dishonour.’ ‘Wherefore neither will the Creator seem unjust, when He distributes to each his earthly lot, nor will any one think, that birth happy or unhappy is ruled by chance, nor that there are different creators, nor that souls have different natures.’

Origen rejected the Platonic doctrine of Metempsychosis, 1 but he adopted that of pre-existence, and that . . .


1 Origen no doubt held that at the Resurrection the soul passes from one body into another. He himself insisted that the Resurrection body was in a true sense the same as the body of this life; but it is open to any one to argue that he has not proved the identity. See further on in this Lecture. But Metempsychosis in the sense of a migration of the soul into another human body or into the body of a beast, a plant, and so forth in another life on this same earth (and this is the only meaning of the word) he certainly did not hold; see Contra Celsum iv. 7, v. 49, viii. 30, In Rom. v. i, vi. 8, In Matt. x. 20, xi. 17, xiii. i, In Joan. vi. 7. Yet Justinian and Jerome charged him with asserting it. Unfortunately the passage on which their accusation is based, De Princ. i. 8. 4 ad fin., has been modified by Rufinus. A fragment of the Greek will be found in the Ad Menam, a Latin abstract in Jerome’s Ep. ad Avitum. Both are given in the footnote in Lommatzsch. Jerome himself allows that Origen concluded his discussion with the words ‘haec iuxta nostram sententiam non sint dogmata, sed quaesita tantuni atque proiecta, ne penitus intractata viderentur’. Proiecta here means ‘rejected’; ‘discussionis gratia dicta sint, et abiiciantur is the version of Rufinus Apologia Pamphili ix. ad fin. ≪Migne P. G. xvii. c. 608≫. Pamphilus adds that the words objected to were not Origen’s own, but were put into the mouth of an adversary or interlocutor. See Origeniana ii. 6. 17 sqq.; Denis pp. 190 sqq.


-242- which ascribes a soul to the stars. Both he found in Philo, and both were regarded as open questions in the Church. 1 It is not necessary to dwell at any length upon the philosophic difficulties attending his theory. He has not attempted to get rid of the break of consciousness between the two lives, as Plato did, by the idea of partial reminiscence. 2 Yet if in this life we have no recollection of what happened to us before our birth, why, it may be asked, should we have any knowledge, in a future existence, of what befell us here on earth? What is the value of a schooling, in which each lesson is forgotten as soon as learned? Again, if the soul, according to his fanciful etymology, is the cold sensualized intelligence, how does this agree with what he tells us about the sinless soul of Jesus? These are minor flaws, but there is one of a far more serious kind. If the spirits were all alike, all subject . . .


Note: John 9:2, the Scripture that supports the doctrine of the soul’s pre-existence also supports reincarnation, the doctrine of many lives.



1 He found them also in Scripture: Psalm 148:3 ‘Praise Him, all ye stars of light’; Job 25:5 ‘The stars are not pure in his sight’. Neither Jerome nor Augustine ventures to deny that the stars may have souls. Ambrose agrees with Origen, and even Aquinas regards the question as open; Origeniana ii. 8. 2 sqq. The great support of the pre-existence doctrine was John 9:2 ‘Master, who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jerome himself at one time held pre-existence. Augustine did not deny it, and down to the time of Gregory the Great the question remained undecided: see his Epistles vii. 53; Origeniana ii. 6. 8 sqq. Dr. Neale, Holy Eastern Church i. p. 36, regards the belief in pre-existence as erroneous but not heretical.

2 The only passage, so far as I know, where Origen hints at the doctrine of Anamnesis is De Orat. 24 (Lom. xvii. p. 186) [The fact that there is no Anamnesis is pressed by Clement Ecl. proph. 17 as an argument against pre-existence.] {Anamnesis, recall of past lives, is veiled from the soul burdened with many debts for having repudiated Truth.}


-243- to precisely the same conditions, why did any fall away? Because, he tells us, they were free. But this is no answer. What is the faculty, which can thus oscillate between perfect virtue and vice? What is this mysterious paralysis, but the very fatalism he is struggling to avoid? In the Phaedrus myth the souls are neither pure nor equal; the unruly steed Desire is yoked from the first by the side of Reason, and the charioteer who cannot curb his wanton plunges is flung down from the cope of heaven. This did not satisfy Origen’s craving for justice. But all he could accomplish by his departure from Plato was to push the insoluble problem a step farther back, and to stereotype Clement’s vicious theory of the indifferentism of the Will.

But there were other difficulties arising out of the language of Scripture itself. Most perplexing, in view of the Alexandrine theory of Freedom, were the words of St. Paul, ‘Whom He did foreknow He did also predestinate.’ The passage was at this time the sword of Gnosticism, as at a later date, by one of those singular exchanges of weapons that have often occurred in the chance medley of controversy, it became the sword of Augustinianism. But Origen could admit neither election nor reprobation. If, he argues, God predestines only those whom He foreknows, it follows that He does not foreknow those whom He does not predestine. This is absurd. We are compelled therefore to drop the preposition. ‘Foreknow’ is the same as ‘know’; ‘know’ in countless passages of Scripture is equivalent to ‘love’. God knows only the good, whom He loves; of evil He has no knowledge. Again, ‘whom He did predestinate them He also called according to purpose.’ According, that is, to their -244- own purpose; or if according to the purpose of God, then because He knew that they desired salvation. Origen, in fact, held that man is free in such a sense that God Himself cannot foresee what he may choose to do. 1

Another text which distressed him beyond measure . . .


1 The passage cited in the text is In Rom. vii. 8, with which should be read the preceding chapter. Here Origen expressly denies foreknowledge in the ordinary sense of the word. ‘Non enim secundum communem vulgi opinionem putandum est bona malaque praescire Deum, sed secundum Scripturae sanctae consuetudinem sentiendum … “Novit enim Deus eos qui sunt eius” … Caeteri autem praesciri non dicuntur; non quod aliquid latere possit illam naturam quae ubique est et nusquain deest, sed quia omne quod malum est scientia eius vel praescientia habetur indignum (see above, p. 239 note 2). Sed et hoc intuere, si praescire et praedestinare dici potest Deus de his qui nondum sunt, an de his qui sunt quidem, nondum tamen conformes sunt imaginis Filii sui; et si praescientiam in hoc magis esse convenit, quam in eo quod futurum sit id quod nondum est. In hoc enim voluntas magis est quam praescientia conditoris. Nam praescientia in quo videbitur, cum id quod futurum est pendeat in factoris arbitrio?’ Then follows the passage the sense of which is given in the text. Origen continues, ‘Hoc ergo pacto neque in praescientia Dei vel salutis vel perditionis nostrae causa consistit, neque justificatio ex sola vocatione pendebit, neque glorificari de nostra penitus potestate sublatum est.’ But, he adds, if foreknowledge be taken in the ordinary sense of the word, ‘non propterea erit aliquid quia id scit Deus futurum, sed quia futurum est scitur a Deo antequam fiat.’ Language more in accordance with the general view is to be found In Rom. i. 2, 3, 18 sqq.; De Orat. 6. Jansen, who in his Augustinus vehemently attacked Origen’s doctrine of predestination, complains that he makes election depend ‘ex praevisis hominum mentis’ and vocation proceed ‘secundum propositum hominis non Dei’. Huet replies that the first proposition is still open in the Catholic Church, and that the second was maintained by Chrysostom and Theodoret: Origeniana ii. 7. But neither Huet nor Jansen appears to grasp the full scope of Origen’s teaching. Semi-Pelagianism was merely his second line of defence on which he fell back if foreknowledge was to be taken in the vulgar sense of the word.


-245- was ‘Whom He will He hardeneth’. But even these terrible words he thought he could explain. Let us remember, he says, how the kindness of a lenient master makes the bad slave worse, how the same sun shine melts the wax but hardens the clay. God may be said to harden the sinner in this sense, that the contemptuous disregard of His goodness produces hardness. Or again, He hardens the wicked man, inasmuch as He abandons him, withdrawing from him His fatherly chastisements, and deferring the cure of his sins to the next life. And this is doubtless right, better for the sinner himself. For God alone knows both the disease and the remedy, and can measure out the time of healing. 1

The same considerations determine his view of Grace, which is that of Clement. God perpetually incites, surrounds, sustains, rewards, but does not constrain the will. To use the language of a later time, Grace is prevenient, concomitant, peculiar, but not efficacious. We must go to Christ, that He may open our eyes. ‘As if,’ retorts Bishop Huet, ‘the will, that makes us go, were not given to us by God.’ ‘But’, replies Origen, ‘he who does not know his sickness, cannot seek the physician, or, if healed, will not thank the physician.’ And if pressed with the text ‘God worketh in us both to will and to do’, he will answer, that the Apostle means the general faculty, not the special determination of volition. 2 . . .


1 De Princ. iii. i. 7 sqq.; Fragment from Comm. in Exodum in Philocalia xxvii. It should be borne in mind that all these passages were Gnostic strongholds.

2 De Princ. iii. i. 19. I shall recur to the Alexandrine doctrine of Grace in Lecture VIII, and it will therefore be sufficient here to refer to Origeniana ii. 7, with the Excursus from Delarue given in Lommatzsch xxiii. p. 333.


-246- A further and still more serious difficulty arises out of the doctrine of Original Sin. This tenet is found in Irenaeus and Tertullian, but not in Clement 1 or the De Principiis, and we may perhaps infer, that Origen did not seriously consider the question, or perceive its bearing upon his other views, till after his settlement at Caesarea. There he found the practice of Infant Baptism, with which the doctrine of birth-sin is closely connected, in general use, and the difficulty at once pressed upon his mind. The Church, he says, in obedience to a tradition received from the Apostles, baptizes even infants. ‘For those, to whom are committed the secrets of the divine mysteries, know, that there is in every human being a real stain of sin, which must be washed away by water and the Spirit.’ 2

But whence comes this stain? It is sufficiently accounted for by the doctrine of pre-existence, and at times Origen appears to rest in this explanation. But there are traces in Scripture, which point in a different direction, and when these are before his mind he stumbles and hesitates. Such was the Law of Purification. We see from this, that a certain impurity attaches . . .


1 See Irenaeus Haer. iii. 22 sq.; Tertullian De Anima 41. Neither regarded the depravation consequent upon Original Sin as absolute. Justin is wrongly referred to by Bingham; see the note on Trypho 88 in Otto’s ed. p. 320. Justin held that before Baptism men are children of necessity; Ap. i. 61 (Otto p. 166). Theodotus and the Homilies also teach that before the birth of Christ men were creatures of Necessity. That is to say, being ignorant and weak, they were doomed to sin. But there is no connexion between this frailty of nature and the sin of Adam. Fragment 5, Otto vol. iii. 256, is wrongly ascribed to Justin. For Clement’s doctrine, see Lecture III.

1 In Rom. v. 9.


-247- to birth, though what this can be is a great mystery. So David says, ‘In sin hath my mother conceived me’, showing that every soul, that is born in the flesh, is polluted by the filth and iniquity of sin. Occasionally Origen seems to apply these words to the material uncleanness of the body; for in his system the flesh is more nearly akin to evil than in that of Clement. But the notion of physical pollution runs up into that of moral guilt. ‘If there were nothing in little children to call for remission and indulgence, the grace of Baptism would seem superfluous.’ 1 And this is connected with the Fall. Our body is the ‘body of sin’, because Adam’s children were not born till after his disobedience. 2

Other passages again speak of heredity, of transmitted qualities of body and mind. Souls have ‘marks’, which express themselves through the body in the face, in the handwriting. 3 The difference here thought of is one of texture rather than of kind. Peter and Paul are both good men, but the goodness of each has its own peculiar colour. But again, we read of the ‘seed of Abraham’. 4 The soul then has a pedigree as well as the body. As the latter reproduces the features of this or that of its countless ancestors, so the former comes into life bringing with it ‘spermatic germs’ of good and evil. It may be, that he conceived of the soul as waiting till a body like itself and fit for its . . .


1 In Lev. Hom. viii. 3. In this passage Origen makes the curious remark that in Scripture we read of none but wicked men celebrating their birthday. He regarded the body and its affections with fastidious disgust, In Rom. vii. 4; but he distinguishes the physical uncleanness of birth from sin, In Lev. Hom. xii. i, In Lucam Hom. xiv.

2 In Rom. v. 9.

3 In Num. Hom. ii.]

4 In Joan. xx. 1 sqq.


-248- reception should be born; 1 but he has not cleared up this point. And probably heredity as regards the soul is a figure of speech, denoting merely affinities which the soul creates for itself. For he refers us for its explanation to the doctrine of pre-existence. But it is evident that we have here two radically incongruous trains of thought.

But there are places where his vacillation is more conspicuous still. Writing against Celsus he treats the Fall as a pure allegory. Adam is Man. His sin is a mystical presentation of the defection of the souls that fell away from God. The coats of skins may perhaps be the bodies in which they were clothed on their expulsion from Paradise. 2 Yet again, ‘The Lord God expelled Adam from Paradise, and planted him in this earth. This was the ≪condemnation≫ of his sin, which without doubt has extended to all men. For all of us have been set in this place of humiliation, this valley of tears, whether because all Adam’s descendants were in the first father’s loins and banished with him, or because each one is thrust out of Paradise in some other way ineffable and known to God alone.’ 3 . . .


1 This is the opinion of Redepenning, ii. 21, but he rests it upon a wrong explanation of Origen’s commentary on the Parable of the Labourers in the Vineyard, In Matt. xv. 31.

2 Contra Celsum iv. 40. He is replying to the scoff of Celsus that ‘God made one man with his own hands and could not persuade that one to do right’. Again, In Lev. Hom. vi. 2, the ‘coats of skins’ are a symbol of mortality. Julius Casianus, a Gnostic teacher, gave this explanation; see Clement Strom. iii. 14. 95. It is found also in the Kabbalah, Ginsburg p. 30, and no doubt comes from a Rabbinical source. [Cp. Tert. de Res. Carnis 7.

3 In Rom. v. 4 ad fin. Compare In Joan. xx. 21 (Lom. ii. p. 257). But In Joan. xx. 3 it is still a question among some whether Adam is to be reckoned among the righteous or the unrighteous. The author of the Homilies vehemently asserts the former. [Irenaeus, Haer. iii. 23, argues, ≪against Tatian: see i. 28 §1: Eus. H. E. iv. 29≫ that Adam was saved.] In Jerem. Hom. xvi. 4, the sin of Adam was not so grave as the sin of Cain.


-249- The latter words are a salvo; but it is evident that Origen is here on the very point of abandoning the belief in pre-existence with all its consequences.

Hence men are evil, not only because they are the ‘sons and disciples of sinners’ 1, but also by the entailed sin of the first father. Yet not all alike. Some stainless spirits, like that of John the Baptist, have been sent down to labour for us; some not wholly pure have descended for our sakes lower than the law of their own purification required. 2 And, even in ordinary men, Origen was far from admitting a complete depravation. By Adam’s sin ‘death’, that is spiritual death, ‘entered into the world’ and ‘passed upon all’; affected, that is, with some touch of its contagion even the just. But it reigned over none but ‘those who sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression’. The sense of the last words is doubtful. They may have a mystical meaning; that is, they may refer to the character of the antenatal sin. Or they may denote our inherited wickedness, or the evil imprinted on us by bad education. ‘In any case Christ has provided a remedy. Our mortal generation is changed by the regeneration of Baptism, and the doctrine of piety shuts out the doctrine of impiety.’ 3 . . .


2 In Rom. v. 1 (Lom. vi. 342).

2 The κάθοδος τῶν εὐγενεστέρων ψυχῶν, In Joan. xiii. 43 ad fin. cp. ibid. ii. 24, 25; In Matt. xii. 30; Origeniana ii. 5. 24.

3 In Rom. v. i. Origen, it should be observed, omitted the negative in Rom. v. 14; but he remarks that the reading ἐπὶ τοὺς μὴ ἁμαρτήσαντας was found in some copies. In the Commentary on Romans Origen appears to accept almost without reserve the literal sense of the story of the Fall. On the question of Original Sin, see Origeniana ii. 7. 24.


-250- Thus Theology finally triumphs over Ethics. Clement’s Apathy is a Stoic phantasm; his language is loose and presumptuous, but it breathes a joyous confidence in the assured victory of good over evil even in this world. Origen looks habitually on the darker side. Life is an expiation. Earth is a prison-house. Man may be just and holy compared with his fellow men or even with angels, but never in comparison with God. The son of God indeed is not the servant of sin; he sins, but he is not a sinner. Or again, ‘he that believes sins not; that is to say, falls not into sins unto death’. But ‘if any man say that he has no sin, he is a liar, and the truth is not in him.’ ‘I do not think any one’s heart can become so pure that thoughts of evil never stain it.’ There will come a time, when Jesus will ‘wash our heads’, but the time is not yet. Such thoughts necessarily colour his view of Grace and Redemption, even where his language seems to be the same as that of Clement. 1

Looking back over history Origen distinguished three separate progressive revelations of God, the Natural Law, the Law of Moses, and the Gospel. A fourth is still to come. It is the Eternal Gospel. . . .


1 In Joan. xix. 6 ‘When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, “Crucify him, crucify him.” Pilate saith unto them, “Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him.”’ So In Rom. he distinguishes ‘peccatorem esse’ from ‘peccare’: In Rom. i. 1 ‘Qui etenim potest in came quis positus adipisci integram libertatem, ut in nullo iam serviat carni? sicut nee adoptionem filiorum quis in corpore positus habere ex integro potest’; ibid. v. 9 ‘Nam omnino ex integro nescire peccatum solius Christi est’; In Jesu Nave Hom. xxi. 2 ‘Non puto cuiquam tantum in corde puritatis evenire ut nunquam adversae cogitationis contagione maculetur’. See also the commentary on Jesus washing the disciples feet, In Joan. xxxii. Ad init. The passages referred to by Huet, Orig. ii. 7.18, where sinlessness is attributed to the perfect Christian, are all to be understood in this light. . . .


-251- The first two we may pass over with brief notice. His view is substantially that of Clement, though with a sweep of imagination, reminding us of Hooker and Wordsworth, he regards the Natural Law, the ‘stern daughter of the voice of God’, as swaying not men only, but angels and stars. But he places the Gentile 1 and even the Jew decidedly lower in the scale of God’s favour. We may say that his idea of development is not so clear or serene. ‘History tells us’, he says, ‘that the wickedness of the world is greater than it . . .


1 The Natural Law, the Law of Conscience, is Νόμος opposed to ὁ Νόμος, the Mosaic Law, In Rom. iii. 7; it is the Law which binds men, angels and all reasonable creatures, In Rom. v. i. Commenting on the words ‘There is none that doeth good, no, not one’, ‘What none’, he asks, ‘who sheltered a stranger, or gave bread to the hungry, or clothed the naked, or rescued the innocent from the gripe of the oppressor? I do not think that Paul the Apostle wished to make so incredible a statement.’ But a man is said ποιεῖν χρηστότητα, as he might be said to build a house. If he has only got together material, or laid the foundations, or built a room or two, he has not built a house. ‘Ita arbitror et hie Apostolum dicere neminem fecisse bonitatem, hoc est a nullo earn ad perfectum et ad integrum consummatam’, In Rom. iii. 3. Again, the Gentile who has followed the guidance of the law of reason, ‘licet alienus a vita videatur aeterna, quia non credit Christo, et intrare non possit in regnum coelorum, quia renatus non est ex aqua et Spiritu, videtur tamen quod per haec quae dicuntur ab Apostolo bonorum operum gloriam et honorem et pacem perdere penitus non possit’, In Rom. ii. 7. There is a reward for him. then, though not the highest. See also iii. 6. Jansen, who held the absolute reprobation of the heathen, found great fault with Origen here. In the passage quoted above the Gentiles are excluded from the ‘Kingdom of Heaven’, the Beatific Vision, because they do not believe in Christ. This is modified, though it is doubtful to what precise extent, by what we read else where. Thus, In Matt. Comm. Series 39 (Lom. iv. 271) ‘Quid autem dicamus de Britannis aut Germanis qui sunt circa Oceanum, vel apud barbaros Dacas et Sarmatas et Scythas, quorum plurimi nondum audierunt evangelii verbum, audituri sunt autem in ipsa saeculi consummatione?’ This was proved by Matt. 24:14: ‘And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.’


-252- was.’ 1 He would not go so far as to allow that the Greek was justified by his philosophy. To his mind there is a certain breach of continuity, though probably he would not have admitted this. The Gospel is not the natural crown of Reason and the Law, but rather a remedy for their failure. 2

Again, as regards the Gospel itself there are numerous differences. On one side Origen is far more evangelical, on another far more ecclesiastical than his master. He speaks like Clement of the Two Lives, but, as we have already noticed, in a very different way; he no longer clings to the primitive belief, that . . .


1 Contra Celsum iv. 63.

2 In Rom. v. 6, Law ≪there is no article≫ which entered that offence might abound (Rom. 5:20: ‘Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound’) is the law ≪in≫ our members, ≪the will of the flesh≫ which rises up to resist the natural law. So too is the ‘law which worketh wrath’, though it may be the Law of Moses, inasmuch as it fixes definite punishments for sins. Again, in chap. Rom. 7:7, ‘I had not known sin but by law’, law is the natural law. Origen will not admit that the Law is in any sense the cause of sin. On the contrary, it struck the first effective blow at the power of sin. The locus classicus for this is In Rom. v. i ‘Per legem enim purificatio peccatorum coepit aperiri et ex parte aliqua tyrannidi eius obsisti per hostias, per expiationes varias, per sacrificia varia, per praecepta’. Being insufficient it was supplemented by the Prophets, by Christ. But it is not abolished so much as absorbed into the Gospel, In Rom. iii. 11; In Lev. Hom. vi. 2 ‘Lavet te igitur Moses’. The works of the Law by which no flesh could be saved are not works of righteousness, but circumcision, sacrifice, keeping of new moons and sabbaths, In Rom. viii. 6. The Faith of Law and Gospel is One, In Jesu Nave Hom. xvii. 2 cp. In Joan. xx. 12; but the Law is inferior, because to the Jews, except a few, God was known only as Lord, that is to say, was obeyed through fear, In Joan. xix. i; again, because ‘legis observantia poenam tantummodo effugit, fidei vero meritum spem repromissionis expectat’, In Rom. iv. 3. The Law is the clay figure which the artist afterwards casts in bronze, In Lev. Hom. x. i; it is the lantern opposed to ‘the light’, In Lev. Hom. xiii. 2. Denis, pp. 41 sqq., lays too much stress on the inferiority of the Law.


-253- all members of the Church are ipso facto in a state of salvation. The general relation of Faith and Conduct is the same; but in Origen Knowledge, or as he prefers to call it Wisdom, is only a deeper and fuller faith. 1 We hear no more of Apathy or of Disinterested Love. 2 . . .


1 Faith, in Origen, as in Clement, means Belief determining Action and leading up through Obedience to Love. A leading passage is In Joan. xxxii. 9, where taking his start from the words ‘Increase our Faith’, ‘Though I have all Faith’, Origen distinguishes between perfect and imperfect Faith. They are different in extension, not in intensity. The contents of Faith are the articles of the Creed, to which we may add the Epinoiai of Christ. The distinction between Knowledge and Faith in Origen is evanescent. In Rom. iv. 5 he speaks of Two Faiths, a human and a divine. The addition of the latter makes perfect justifying faith. The one is of reason, the other of grace, the special gift of God, and both must coexist. As to the relation of Faith and Conduct, we know that men are justified by Faith without the works of the Law, as for instance the Penitent Thief; and works without Faith justify no man, as for instance the Pharisee of Luke xviii. 10; In Rom. iii. 9. This point is not brought out by Clement. But there are two justifications, one by faith, one by works. The former makes man just in the sight of God, it is forgiveness, known to God alone; the latter makes him just also in the sight of saints and angels. The former is strictly only the ‘initium iustificari’ it is imperfect faith. The faith which was imputed to Abraham for righteousness was perfect faith, which had already manifested itself in obedience. This is ‘justified by God‘, the man is made really and truly righteous. Then his faith is no longer ‘imputed to him for righteousness’, for he is righteous. This is further illustrated from Ps. 32:1-2, ‘Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity.’ First the soul leaves its evil and obtains pardon. Next by good deeds it covers its sins. ‘Ubi vero iam ad perfectum venerit, ita ut omnis de ea malitiae radix penitus amputetur, eo usque ut nullum in ea vestigium possit inveniri nequitiae, ibi iam sum ma perfectae beatitudinis promittitur, cum nullum possit Dominus imputare peccatum’ (In Rom. iv. i).

2 In Jesu Nave Hom. ix. 6, the six tribes who stood on Ebal are those who only desire to escape punishment, the six on Gerizim are those who long for the blessing and the promises. Otherwise he speaks of the three degrees of perfection, the two classes of hearers, the milk and solid food, much in the same way as Clement; In Jesu Nave Hom. xxii. 2.

-254- There is a difference also in the object of Faith. To Clement Christ is principally the Word and the Light; to Origen He is more emphatically ‘my Lord and Saviour Jesus’. The life of the Christian is a growing receptivity of the Incarnate Son in His successive Epinoiai. But we cannot attain beyond the lower Epinoiai, those of Redemption and Mediation, in this world, nor for aeons yet to come. The Cross in all its wonder, its bounty, its power, is always before the eyes of Origen. ‘We are justified’, he says, ‘by faith, but far more by the blood of Jesus.’ 1 Those mysteries, which Clement scarcely dared to gaze upon, Origen has endeavoured to explain. He is the first to attempt a philosophy of the Atonement. Christ is our Teacher and Example; but above all He is our Sacrifice, and under the touch of Allegory the whole ritual of Leviticus becomes eloquent of Him who bore our sins upon the tree. 2

Christ is our Ransom, our Redemption. By His precious Blood, that is, not by His body, but by His human soul, which the God within the Man, the Great High Priest, laid as a lamb upon the altar, He bought us from the powers of sin. His Death in some mystic way broke the powers of sin, as even now martyrs by Christlike self-surrender daunt and diminish the army of . . .


1 In Rom. iv. 11 (on Rom. 5:8-9) ‘Ex quo ostendit quod neque fides nostra sine Christi sanguine, neque sanguis Christi nos sine fide nostra iustificat; ex utroque tamen multo magis sanguis Christi nos quam fides nostra iustificat’. See also the passage quoted below, p. 266.

2 [See note, p. 267 below.]

-255- Satan. The spirits of evil were terrified and conscience-stricken, some of them were even converted, by that immeasurable defiance. 1 . . .


1 In Matt. xvi. 8 (Lom. iv. 28) δέδοται δὲ λύτρον ὑπὲρ ἡ ψυχὴ τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ οὔτε τὸ πνεῦμα αὐτοῦ … οὔτε τὸ σῶμα͵ οὐδὲν γὰρ εὕρομέν πω τοιοῦτον περὶ αὐτοῦ γεγραμμένον. The ψυχή would include the Blood which is its οὐσία, De Princ. ii. 8. 2. In Joan. vi. 35 the Victim is the Man which is laid upon the altar by the God, the great High Priest; but this does not contradict the former passage. In Rom. iii. 7, Christ paid his own Life as a Ransom to the powers of evil by whom man was held in captivity; ibid. iv. 11 ‘Tradens sanguinem suum principi huius mundi, secundum sapientiam Dei, quam nemo principum huitts mimdi cognovit; si enim cognovissent nunquam Dominum maiestatis crucifixissent, ne sanguis ille quern sitierant, non tarn sitim quam vires eorum exstingueret regnumque destrueret’. See also In Matt. xvi. 8. [Satan deceived himself in exacting this Ransom: in Matt. Com. xiii. 8 sq.: Com. Ser. 75. Redepenning ii. 406 ‘… aber eine von Gott beabsichtigte Tauschung des Teufels lehrte er doch nicht’. Origen only means that Satan gained nothing by the tortures he was permitted to inflict upon our Lord: see In Rom. iv. ii quoted above.] Some of the Guardian Angels of Nations were converted at the sight of Jesus, and this may account for the rapid spread of the Gospel in those regions over which they presided, In Joan. xiii. 58. But In Lucam Hom. xii. this is put differently. Each Nation, like each individual, has two Angels who watch over it, one good, the other evil. The Incarnation strengthened the hands of the good Angels. For the manner in which Christ’s Death broke the power of the evil spirits, see especially the grand passage In Joan. xxviii. 14. Origen attributes the same power to all acts of self-sacrifice, especially to the martyr’s death; In Jesu Nave Hom. xv. 6 ‘Puto sane quia sancti … imminuant exercitum daemonum; cp. In Num. Hom. x. 2, xxiv. i; In Levit. Hom. ix. 3; In Joan. vi. 35, 36; In Matt. xv. 34; Contra Celsum viii. 44; De Mart. 30, 50. But while the sacrifice of Christ is the one sufficient atonement for all the sins of the whole world, the benefit of the martyr’s example extends but to a few, and owes its efficacy to the Cross of Jesus. The merits of Christ’s Death are conveyed through seven channels of remission, Baptism, Martyrdom, Almsgiving, Forgiveness, Conversion of a Sinner, Charity, Penitence; In Lev. Hom. ii. 4. To these must be added the Eucharist; In Matt. Comm. Series 86. Nevertheless Origen’s view coincides with that of Clement, that the only free forgiveness is that conveyed in Baptism; In Lev. Hom. ii. 4 ‘apud nos una tantummodo venia est peccatorum, quae per lavacri gratiam in initiis datur’: for though these words are put into the mouth of an interlocutor, Origen appears to adopt them. We are to distinguish free ‘venia’ from purchased ‘remissio’.


-256- Again, He is our Propitiation. The true High Priest, He hath made God propitious to thee by His Blood, and reconciled thee to the Father. ‘For God’, says Origen in language that seems, but only seems, to anticipate Anselm, ‘is just, and the just cannot justify the unjust. Therefore He willed the intervention of a Propitiator, that those might be justified by faith in Him, who could not be justified by their own works.’ 1

Nay, the salvation of man seems to be an inadequate object for that unspeakable effort of Divine Goodness. To Origen as to the Gnostics, as to Ignatius, the death of Jesus is a world-sacrifice. 2 ‘Christ was a double Victim, meet for those in heaven, as for those on earth.’ The blood, which was shed in Jerusalem, was mystically sprinkled on the altar above, where the Saviour pleads . . .


1 See especially In Rom. iii. 8, iv. 8. In the former passage will be found the fine allegory on the Mercy Seat. Here God is spoken of as reconciled to man. But ‘God declares His righteousness’ (Rom. 3:25) is explained to mean ‘manifests, confers upon man His righteousness’. In the second passage the reconciliation is of man to God. ‘Iesus Christus nos per hostiam sanguinis sui reconciliavit Deo, sicut scriptum est, “Cum essemus inimici Dei, reconciliati sumus Deo per sanguinem crucis Filii eius” (Rom. 5:10). Et alibi idem Paulus addidit his dicens “Rogamus pro Christo, reconciliamini Deo”’ (2 Cor. 5:20). Christ is our Peace because He breaks down the hedge ‘quam peccando texuimus’. The idea seems to be that prior to the Atonement of Christ God could not pardon, not because He had not received a sufficient price for His forgiveness, but because man could only be made good enough to receive pardon through faith in a crucified Saviour.

2 Ignatius Ad Smyrn. vi; Ad Trall. ix. i; Dorner i. i. p. 113, Eng. trans.


-257- His Atonement, till sin shall be no more. Wide as the violated order of God is the healing influence of His Love. All creation groaning and travailing in sympathy with man’s distress is soothed and strengthened, and will be restored to perfect harmony, by Him who in the blood of Jesus reconciles all things unto Himself, whether they be things in earth or things in heaven. 1


1 In Lev. Hom. i. 3 ‘Nisi quia forte hoc intellegi voluit, quod sanguis Jesu non solum in Jerusalem effusus est, ubi erat altare … sed et quod supernum altare quod est in coelis, ubi et ecclesia primitivorum est, idem ipse sanguis adsperserit; sicut et apostolus dicit, quia “Pacificavit per sanguinem crucis suae sive quae in terris sunt sive quae in coelis” (Col. 1:20) … Vis autem scire quia duplex hostia in eo fuit conveniens terrestribus et apta coelestibus?’ But In Lev. Hom. ii. 3 on earth He is offered ‘pro peccato’, in heaven ‘pro munere’. That the Passion of Christ ‘profuisse coelestibus’ is stated also In Luc. Hom. x, In Rom. v. 10, In Matt. xiii. 8. It was proved not only by Col. 1:20 but by Heb. 2:9 {‘But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man’}, where Origen preferred the reading ‘He tasted death for all except God’, In Joan. i. 40. Eph. 3:10 was held by many of the early Fathers to mean that the Angels received some benefit from the Incarnation. [See Ignat. Smyrn. vi. i; Jer. Com. In Eph. iv. 10.] Origen thought that in His descent Christ actually took upon Himself the form of an Angel; In Gen. Hom. viii. 8 ‘Unde puto quod sicut inter homines habitu repertus est ut homo, ita et inter angelos habitu est repertus ut angelus’. So also In Matt. xiv. 7; In Joan. i. 34; In Rom. i. 4 ‘Si ergo cum apparuit nobis hominibus non sine Evangelic apparuit, consequentia videtur ostendere, quod etiam angelico ordini non sine Evangelio apparuerit, illo fortassis quod aeternum Evangelium a Joanne memoratum supra edocuimus’. Huet comments, ‘Singulis angelorum ordinibus in sua unicuique forma apparuisse, Evangelium praedicasse, et in coelo dentque mortem pro iis obiisse, sciscere videtur aliquando.’ I can find no authority for the words italicized. All benefits to whatever recipients flow from the one death of Christ upon Calvary; see In Rom. v. 10. But Jerome and Justinian allege that according to Origen Christ was to be crucified again for the sins of the Demons, not once but many times. They refer to De Princ. iv. 25, where again Rufinus has altered his text. But Origen there (see Jerome’s translation and the Greek fragment given by Justinian, both in Lom.) seems to mean that the Passion of Christ in a sense endures to the Consummation of All, referring no doubt to the altar on which stood ‘a Lamb as it had been slain’. Origeniana ii. 3. 23 sq. The difficult words, In Lev. Hom. i. 3, ‘Et hic quidem pro hominibus ipsam corporalem materiam sanguinis sui fudit, in coelestibus vero ministrantibus, si qui illi inibi sunt, sacerdotibus vitalem corporis sui virtutem, velut spirituale quoddam sacrificium immolavit,’ whatever they may mean precisely, do not refer to a sacrifice numerically different. See Redepenning ii. 400; Höfling ii. 25.


-213- In discipline as in doctrine Origen is the exponent of a later age than Clement.

The Catholic Church is one, but still with a spiritual, not an administrative unity. Hence Origen speaks of ‘the Churches’ as often as of ‘the Church’. The famous words of Christ to Peter, ‘Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven,’ are spoken also to all Christians, whose faith is like that of Peter. 1 But the majesty of the ‘most ancient Church’ of Rome exercised a certain fascination upon his mind. He did not think his education complete, till he had seen with his own eyes 2 and heard with his own ears the ritual and the doctrine of the great Italian see, which was already designated by its wealth and splendour, its authority and orthodoxy, as the leader, the champion, the arbiter of Christendom. He seems to have felt the acquiescence of Rome in the sentence of Demetrius as a heavy addition to his misfortune, and somewhere about the year 246 he dispatched a letter to Fabian, the reigning Pope, in which he protested his orthodoxy, 3 and solicited . . .


1 In Matt. xiii. 31; De Orat. 14 (Lom. xvii. 146).

2 ≪Eus. H.E. vi. 14. 10.≫

3 Eus. H.E. vi. 36. 4. Jerome Ep. lxxxiv. ad Pammachium et Oceanian 10 ≪Vallarsi i. 527≫ ‘Ipse Origenes in epistola, quam scribit ad Fabianum Romanae urbis episcopum, poenitentiam agit, cur talia scripserit, et causas temeritatis in Ambrosium confert, quod secreto edita in publicum protulerit’. Origeniana i. 3. 13. That Origen in this letter recanted doctrines which he continued to teach to the end of his life, or that he endeavoured to throw the blame of his heterodoxy on his friend and benefactor is not to be believed on the unsupported testimony of Jerome. See, however, Westcott’s article Ambrosius in Dict. Christ. Biog. i. p. 90 sq.


-259- readmission to communion. We must not however lay too much stress upon this fact. The same letter appears to have been addressed to the Bishops of all the Churches which had ratified his condemnation. It was written after the accession of his pupil and friend Dionysius to the ≪bishopric≫ of Alexandria towards the end of Origen’s life, when for the first time he felt it possible to make overtures towards reconciliation without disparagement to his self-respect.

The history of his career shows how little he thought the judgement of one Bishop ought to influence the action of another. Nor does he appear to have felt his disgrace as a bar to his activity or a burden on his conscience. Yet, rebel as he was, he ranked far higher than Clement the authority and privileges of the clergy. The analogy between the Christian and the Mosaic hierarchy is constantly in his mind, and if he does not draw from it all the consequences that have been supposed, it is no less true that in his view the priest is no longer the minister of the congregation, but the vicar of God. The ordinary Christian is indeed a priest, but only in the moral or spiritual sense, that is to say only in a figure, inasmuch as he offers to God the sacrifice of his own heart and mind. 1 We still trace . . .


1 Origen constantly speaks of the true Christian as a Priest; In Lev. Hom. iv. 6, vi. 5, ix. i, 8, xiii. 5. But the layman is a priest only ‘secundum moralem locum’, In Lev. Hom. i. 5, ii. 4, ix. 6; or ‘secundum spiritualem intelligentiam’, In Lev. Hom. xv. 3. A very modern-sounding phrase may be noticed, In Num. Hom. ii. i, where it is said of priests, virgins, ascetics, that they are in professione religionis. In Jesu Nave Hom. xvii. 2 shows that there was a strong tendency in Origen’s mind to restrict the language concerning the Priesthood of the Christian to these ‘religious’.


-260- the working of the ancient mode of thought in the emphasis laid by Origen upon the moral and spiritual qualifications of the minister. His doctrine of clerical authority is not unlike that of Wiclif. The power to bind and loose depends upon the spiritual worthiness of him who wields it. 1 He who is not holy is no priest, and his sentence has no effect at all. Nor is the priestly absolution in itself of force. The priest declares, but . . .


>2 The locus classicus is In Lev. Hom. v. 3. The Priest ‘eats the sins of the people’, that is, takes them upon himself and remits them ‘secundum imaginem eius qui sacerdotium ecclesiae dedit’. But he must eat the sin in a clean place, that is, he must have charity, faith, and a good conscience. He is said again ‘repropitiare delictum’; and this phrase is explained to mean the moral amendment which the good Priest works in the sinner. Probst, Sakramente p. 267, argues that Origen means only that sin destroys the force of the priestly judgement if it affects him in respect of the particular act. If the Priest was generally speaking a good man, but absolved a particular penitent from personal affection, his absolution would be of no avail. But if, though generally speaking a bad man, he condemned a particular sinner after conscientious examination of his case, the condemnation would hold good; just as a secular judge may pronounce just and valid sentences though his private life may be thoroughly vicious. This implies entire ignorance of the Alexandrine doctrine of spiritual knowledge, and is refuted by the entire run of the Homily referred to. The Priest is to have for himself ‘the breast’, ‘the right shoulder’; that is to say, he must have a heart pure from sin, a hand fruitful of good works. ‘Nisi habeat pectus ex omnibus membris electum non est sacerdos et nisi habeat brachium dextrum non potest adscendere ad altare Dei et sacerdos nominari.’ To this end he needs the priestly science (De Orat. 28; Probst wrongly explains it to mean casuistry); but this he cannot have unless he is spiritual and pure, ‘et ita demum eruditionis capax fiat, si prius capax fuerit sanctitatis.’ Compare In Psalm. xxxvii. Hom. ii. 6 (Lom. xii. 267) Tantummodo circumspice diligentius, cui debeas confiteri peccatum tuum: proba prius medicum; In Matt. xii. 14, if the gates of hell prevail against the Priest, in vain does he bind or loose. [On the ‘Dominion of Grace’ in Cyprian, see Harnack Dogmengeschichte i. p. 409.]


-261- does not bestow, forgiveness. Nevertheless he alone may teach. He has received judgement of souls. It is his office to stablish the sinner, who is converted from his sin. He is to invite confession both public and private, and to declare the conditions of absolution, the kind and degree of penance, by which the sinner may gain his restoration to the peace of the Church. 1

How far this power extended was matter of grave doubt. The disputes, which afterward issued in the Novatian schism, were already smouldering in the Church. In many communities the opinion prevailed, that for mortal sins, especially for unchastity, murder, and idolatry, committed after Baptism, there was no forgiveness on earth. Early in the second centuryHermas at Rome pleads for a mitigation of this stern rule, and would allow of one absolution for even the worst offences. 2 This was, as has been said, the opinion of Clement also. 3 In the time of Origen even a more lenient practice appears to have been adopted in the Church of Rome. At first perhaps those guilty of sins of unchastity, but soon afterwards all offenders of every grade, were declared capable of forgiveness on proper evidences of contrition. Thus the gates of mercy were thrown wide open, and the sin against the Holy Ghost, the unpardonable sin, was declared to be defiance of . . .


1 The Priest has ‘indicium animarum’, In Lev. Hom. v. 12. For confession see In Lev. Hom. ii. 4, In Psalm, xxxvii. Hom. ii. 6. The judgement of any righteous man has power to bind and loose, as was shown above, but not as regards the discipline of the Church.

2 ≪But see above, p. 135, note 4≫.

3 ≪p. 135 above≫.


-262- the Church, obdurate refusal of the terms of pardon. It is possible that in some communities this view had prevailed from the first. 1

On this point, as on some others, Origen’s views underwent a modification. It may be that he was softened by age; it may be that he was carried along by the changing sentiment of the Church around him. In his earlier writings 2 he gives unflinching expression . . .


1 See the letter of Dionysius of Corinth, circa A. D. 170, to the churches of Pontus, Eus. H. E. iv. 23. For the obscure and difficult history of the Penance Controversy the student may consult Döllinger Hippolytus and Callistus pp. 117 sqq., Eng. trans.; Probst Sakramente pp. 296 sqq.; Harnack, article Novation in Herzog, ed. 1882, Dogmengeschichte i. pp. 403 sqq.; ≪P. Batiffol Études d’histoire et de théologie positive i, Paris 1902, pp. 43 sqq. ‘Les origines de la pénitence; H. B. Swete ‘Penitential Discipline in the First Three Centuries’ in Journal of Theol. Studies iv. pp. 321 sqq.≫ An interesting monument of the triumph of the more merciful view is to be found in the Jonah pictures in the Chapel of the Sacraments in the Cemetery of Callistus; Probst Kirchliche Disciplin p. 239.

2 In De Orat. 28 (written about A.D. 236) idolatry, adultery, fornication and willful murder are death-sins. The distinction between mortal and venial sins is based upon the Law of Moses, and on 1 Sam. 2:25. (Other texts appealed to by the severe party, and with good reason, were 1 John 5:16, Hebr. 6:4; the precise meaning of Matt. 12:31 is in dispute.) For these sins there is no forgiveness in the Church, though some presume to think they may be forgiven. Delarue considered that Origen meant to blame the rashness of Priests who ventured to give absolution for mortal sins without proper evidence of contrition; but the reader will see, I think, that he denies the possibility of absolution for these sins on any terms. With this is to be compared In Ezech. Hom. iv. 8, where Origen reproves ‘nonnullorum insipientiam, qui sensum animi sui Dei esse asserunt veritatem et frequenter dicunt “Futurum est ut unusquisque nostrum precibus suis eripiat quoscunque voluerit de gehenna”.’ These words may seem to refer to Prayers for the Dead; but it is better to explain them in the same way as the passage of the De Oratione. Origen goes on to reprove those who ‘qui in sanctis fiduciam habent’. The influence of confessors and martyrs was largely instrumental in breaking down the antique rigour.


-263- to the stern old rule. No death-sin can be forgiven; and those priests, who presume to pronounce absolution in cases of this nature, are ignorant of the priestly science. Not that the sinner is forbidden to hope. ‘God alone knows’, he says, speaking of the crime of apostasy, ‘what evils He will bring upon those who deny and do not repent, what upon those who deny and repent.’ 1 The Church cannot pardon them, but God may. The sin, which has no forgiveness in this aeon or the aeon to come, may be atoned for in some one of the countless aeons of the vast hereafter.

But in his later works he speaks with another voice. Even death-sins may be forgiven once — they may be forgiven a second and a third time — there are no limits to the Church’s power of absolution. One crime alone, obdurate impenitence, has no forgiveness. The sinner who refuses to hear the Church, whether his offence be light or heavy, is cast forth, and when once expelled from the fold can never again re-enter. Yet even so it is better for him to repent, that he may have fewer sins to atone for in the Day of Judgement. 2


1 In Matt. Comm. Series 114. This passage belongs to those that express the later and more lenient view but the particular words here quoted are applicable in either case.

2 In Lev. Hom. xv. 2 ‘In gravioribus enim criminibus semel tantum poenitentiae conceditur locus; ista vero communia quae frequenter incurrimus semper poenitentiam recipiunt’; ibid. ix. 2 ‘Quod et si aliquis est qui forte praeventus est in huiuscemodi peccatis admonitus nunc verbo Dei, ad auxilium confugiat poenitentiae; ut si semel admisit, secundo non faciat, aut si et secundo aut etiam tertio prae ventus sit, ultra non addat’. Contra Celsum iii. 51, the sinner is readmitted to communion after prolonged penance, but cannot be promoted to office in the Church. [Cp. Cyp. Ep. lxvii. 6 ‘Eiusmodi homines (libellaticos) ad poenitentiam quidem agendam posse admitti, ab ordinatione autem cleri atque sacerdotal! honore prohiberi’.] There are two remarkable passages in the Commentaries on Matthew. In Tom. xiii. 30 Origen is explaining Matt. 18:15, ‘If thy brother shall trespass against thee’ etc.: some, he says, take this to mean that even death-sins may be forgiven; others that even the lightest sins are shut out from forgiveness. Both have erred through not keeping closely to the text. Jesus says, if the sinner repents on the first admonition, ‘Thou hast gained thy brother’. But what happens if he does not repent? This Jesus does not say. In that case then he is neither wholly gained nor wholly lost. We know not what he will suffer: God knows; we judge not, that we be not judged. In the words that follow a superfluous negative appears to have crept into the text, on ὅτι οὐκ ἔξεστι δὶς ἑξῆς μὴ ἀκούαντα τὸ τρίτον ἀκοῦσαι. The οὐκ should surely be omitted. If, Origen says, this rule seems hard upon those who have committed only light sins, let us remember that they have three chances of amendment. He goes on to say that it is better in any case to repent, that we may have less to atone for at the Last Day. He certainly teaches here that, if the sinner after three admonitions refused to submit to penance, he was cut off from the Church, and this excommunication was final, whatever the gravity of the sin that had brought it about. But apparently there is no limit to the number of times that the sinner might be admitted to penance. In the Comm. in Matt. Series 114, Peter’s apostasy was pardoned because he repented at the crowing of the cock, before the break of day, that is before the descent of the Holy Spirit. Since that time there is no remission of this sin for those who deny Christ ‘in the day’. But, he adds, the denial itself proves that the day has not really dawned upon them. ‘Forsitan autem et omnes homines quando denegant Jesum, ita ut peccatum denegationis eorum recipiat medicinam, ante galli cantum denegare eum videntur.’ He appears in these last words to be defending with some reluctance the practice of granting absolution even to apostates. Hence even this passage belongs to those in which the more lenient view is maintained.


-264- On another important subject, the Eucharist, 1 we observe a similar advance beyond the position of Clement, though here probably the difference is greater . . .


1 The best account of Origen’s doctrine on this subject is that given by Höfling Die Lehre der dltesten Kirche vom Opfer im Leben und Cultus der Christen Erlangen 1851. The controversy on the subject between Romanists and Protestants in the Reformation times will be found in the Origeniana. Both parties claimed Origen as a friend. Against Höfling may be set Döllinger Die Eucliaristie in den drei ersten Jahrhunderten 1826. The Alexandrines held a real but spiritual and in no sense material Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. But there was undoubtedly a party which believed in Transubstantiation, though probably there was as yet no set philosophical explanation of this belief. See In Joan. xxxii. 16 (Lom. ii. 459). Here the belief in a Corporal Presence is regarded as belonging to the Lower Life, the life of those who do not go beyond the letter. Transubstantiation rests upon Aristotelic or Stoic Realism, and is diametrically opposed to Platonism. Leading passages on the subject of the Eucharist are, In Matt. xi. 14 (Lom. iii. 106; quite decisive as to the opus operatum and the value of the ὕλη); Comm. Series 85; In Lev. Hom. xiii (the whole Homily should be read); In Num. Hom. xxiii. 6. It has been observed above, p. 178, that the Eucharist is a mystery in a double sense; firstly as regards its ritual, secondly as regards its doctrinal explanation.


-265- in language than in reality. The Church has its ‘altar’, ‘consecrated by the precious Blood of Christ’. 1 The Bread is ‘Sacerdotal Bread’, ‘a kind of holy Body’. The communicant is said to ‘receive the Body of the Lord’, ‘the sacraments of the Lord’s Body’. 2 In these . . .


1 In Jesu Nave Hom. ii. i, x. 3; In Jud. Hom. iii. 2; Probst Kirchliche Disciplin p. 212. In Jesu Nave Hom. viii. 6, Christ is Priest, Victim, Altar. ibid. ix. Origen uses the language of Clement: the believers are the altar on which Christ offers His sacrifice to the Father; the ‘ornatus altaris’ is the Law, in the type engraved by Joshua on stones, in the antitype (engraved) by Christ on the heart; and all true Christians are Priests and Levites. Compare Contra Celsum viii. 17.

2 In Lev. Hom. xiii. 6 ‘Ille sacerdotalis panis qui est secretus et mysticus sermo’; In Exodum Hom. xiii. 3 ‘Cum suscipitis corpus Domini, cum omni cautela et veneratione servatis, ne ex eo parum quid decidat, ne consecrati muneris aliquid dilabatur’; C. Celsum viii. 33 ≪Read rather ‘a certain holy Body’.≫


-266- and similar phrases we trace the growing reverence and mystery attached to the material of this greatest of Christian rites. Yet we must not be carried too far. The Eucharist is a Mystery, one of the chiefest Mysteries, for here too there is a letter that killeth, a spirit that giveth life. 1 The Bread and Wine are an allegory, a symbol. ‘For it was not that visible bread, which He was holding in His hand, that God the Word called His Body; it was the word as a symbol whereof that bread was to be broken. Nor was it that visible cup, that He called His Blood, but the word as a symbol whereof that wine was to be poured out … Why did He not say, This is the Bread of the New Testament, as He said, This is My Blood of the New Testament? Because the bread is the word of righteousness; but the wine is the word of the knowledge of Christ. Since then the covenant of God is placed in the blood of the passion of Christ, so that we are saved by faith and not by righteousness, it is said of the chalice alone, This is the cup of the New Testament.’ 2 There is . . .


3 In Lev. Hom. vii. 5. The whole passage is one of the most important: ‘Jesus ergo quia totus ex toto mundus est, tota eius caro cibus est et totus sanguis eius potus est, quia omne opus eius sanctum est et omnis sermo eius verus est. Propterea ergo et caro eius verus est cibus et sanguis eius verus est potus. Carnibus enim et sanguine verbi sui tanquam mundo cibo ac potu potat et reficit omne hominum genus. Secundo in hoc loco post illius carnem mundus cibus est Petrus et Paulus et omnes Apostoli. Tertio loco discipuli eorum’. Höfling p. 185 ‘Das Wort, die Verheissung des Herrn, ist der heilskraftige Leib und das heilskraftige Blut, das wir sowohl innerhalb als ausserhalb des Sakramentes empfangen und geniessen sollen’. Hence it is sometimes difficult to decide when Origen is speaking of the Eucharist and when of general spiritual communion with Christ, as In Matt. Comm. Series 86, Contra Cels. viii. 22, De Orat. 27, Infer. Hom. xii. 2.


1 In Matt. Comm. Series 85. [On the mixed chalice in Origen, see J. Wordsworth Holy Communion, 3rd ed., pp. 132, 421.]


-267- a sacrifice in the Eucharist, and there is a commemoration of a sacrifice, the first is that of the believer him self, the second is that of Christ. 1 There is a Presence of Christ, but it is a spiritual, and therefore in Origen’s view the only real, Presence, real precisely because in nowise material. It is worth while to repeat that Origen held the Sacrifice of Christ to have consisted not of His Body but of His Soul. The Soul answers to the Wine, for according to the book of Genesis the blood is the soul or life. This one fact is enough to prove that, as regards the bread at any rate, Origen cannot have held the doctrine of transubstantiation in any shape whatever.

But the thoughts of Origen turn with constant hope and longing from the Church on earth, where tares grow side by side with the wheat, to the spiritual invisible Church, the Church of the faithful and true, which has neither spot nor blemish nor wrinkle. It is linked in close and vital union to the Church above, ‘the Church of the firstborn,’ of saints and martyrs and angels. These two form the Body, the Temple of the Lord, older in the counsels of God than creation . . .


1 In Lev. Hom. ix. 8. 9, at the heavenly altar, till the end of this world, Christ offers the incense which we must put into His Hands: our sacrifices can have no propitiatory value unless He thus takes them, receiving from us both the incense and the coals, the fire of love. For the Christian’s sacrifice see In Num. Hom. xii. 3, xxiv. 2; In Exod. Hom. xiii. 2; De Orat. 12. But In Lev. Hom. v. 3 ‘Ipse Christus solus est hostia pro peccatis et ipse est hostia sancta sanctorum’: He is the only sacrifice in the sense of sin-offering; In Lev. Hom. iii. 5 ‘Omnis quidem paene hostia quae offertur habet aliquid formae et imaginis Christi’; especially the young bullock of Lev. 4:3, the ram of the trespass-offering, and the paschal lamb; but not the scape-goat. In the Eucharist we plead the death of Christ; In Lev. Hom. xiii. 3 ‘Quod ista est commemoratio sola quae propitium facit hominibus Deum’.


-268-itself. This is the saving Ark, the Church outside of which is no salvation. Men might belong to the visible Church, and yet be dead in trespasses and sins; they might be cut off from the visible Church, and yet be true brothers of Christ. So different is the view of Origen from that of the organizing law-loving West. 1 . . .


1 Church buildings: In Jesu Nave Hom. ii. i cum videris … ecclesias extrui; their disposition, ibid. x. 3, In Jud. Hom. iii. 2. The Church had been corrupted by prosperity, In Jer. Hom. iv. 3 (Lom. xv. 140) ‘If we judge things by truth and not by numbers, we shall see now that we are no longer faithful. But in bygone times we were faithful when the people suffered martyrdom, when from the cemeteries to which we had escorted the bodies of the martyrs we returned to our places of meeting, and the whole church was gathered together, none falling away, and the catechumens were instructed in martyrdom and in the deaths of those who confessed the truth even unto blood, not yielding to temptation or being confounded before the living God. Then we know they saw signs and wonders; then few were faithful, but they were faithful indeed, treading the strait and narrow path that leadeth unto life. But now when we have become many for it is not possible that there should be many elect, for Jesus truly said “Many are called but few chosen” out of the multitude of them that profess godliness there are very few that attain to the election of God and blessedness’. Compare In Jesu Nave Hom. xxi. The true Church is holy and undefiled, De Orat. 20 ad init. Outside the Church is no salvation: In Jesu Nave iii. 5 ‘Nemo semet ipsum decipiat; extra hanc domum, id est extra ecclesiam, nemo salvatur’. Contrast however with this In Jer. Hom. xx. 3 ‘Qui extra ecclesiam est neque vas misericordiae est neque irae … sed vas in aliud quiddam reservatum’ (see above, p. 251, note). But there are those within the Church who do not belong to it, there are those who have been driven forth wrongfully and yet remain members: In Lev. Hom. xiv. 3. Christ, the Angels, the holy dead are all present at the public worship of the Church: In Lucam Hom. xxiii ‘Duplex hie adest ecclesia una hominum altera angelorum’; cp. De Orat. 31. In Lev. Hom. ix. 9, there are two Temples, the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies, the Church on earth, the Church in heaven. The former is the ‘paradisus deliciarum’, In Cant. Cantic. iii (Lom. xv. 29), a phrase borrowed from Philo Leg. All. i. 14 (i. 52) ≪but see LXX of Gen. 3:23 sq., Ezek. 28:13, 31:9, Joel 2:3≫: but this term expresses the Holy Church as a whole on earth or in heaven; see In Ezech. Hom. xiii. 2. The Church in Heaven is the ‘ecclesia primitivorum’ (from Heb. 12:23), In Jesu Nave Hom. ix. 4. We find the phrases ‘ecclesia catholica’, ‘catholice’, ‘doctores catholici’, and even ‘catholicus’, a Catholic; the last In Lev. Hom. xiv. 2.


-269- To the Spiritual Church belongs ‘the Eternal Gospel’, a phrase taken from the Book of Revelation. 1 The Eternal Gospel bears the same relation to the actual Gospel as this to the Law, or as Deuteronomy to the rest of the Pentateuch. It is that full disclosure of the purposes of God, which could not be given in the New Testament because of the nature of human language and the limitations of the flesh-bound mind. Yet there are hints, fragments, shadows, which he, who understands the reading of the Mystic Sense, can seize and interpret. These hints, these ‘crannies in the wall’, Origen finds abundantly in the Books of Joshua and Leviticus; the earthly altar is a type of the heavenly altar; the earthly Canaan is a model of the Promised Land above. But the most significant are furnished by St. Paul. Pieced together by his cunning hand they form what is called his Eschatology, his vision of the life to come. He differs from Clement mainly in detail and the anxious care with which he discusses, debates, explains away the language of Scripture.

He learned from the Bible that the soul passes at death into one of two abodes, which in accordance with the general belief of his time he regarded as situated beneath the earth. The first is Hades, the prison of the imperfect. It is guarded by the Cherubim, who . . .


1 Rev. 14:6. See De Princ. iv. 25, In Joan. i. 9, 10, In Rom. i. 4, ii. 5, In Lev. Hom. xiii. 2. The imperfection of Revelation in the usual sense of the word, the αἰσθητὸν εὐαγγέλιον, appeared to be proved especially by 1 Cor. 13:9-10 and John 21:25.


-270- with their fiery sword keep the way of the Tree of Life. Nor had any been suffered to pass these stern sentinels, till Christ descended and carried the souls of the Patriarchs and Prophets in His train to Paradise, the mansion of the blessed. Since that day the true believer passes at once into Paradise, unharmed by the fiery sword. 1 Even in this place of rest the soul still has a bodily form, such as that which clothed it before its entry into life.

At the close of this present Aeon will come the Great Day, when Christ will return to judgement. As in Clement, we hear nothing of the imminence of this catastrophe; what the more refined minds are pondering is not the time, but the manner of the great change, the meaning of the Resurrection, the nature of the reward. 2 The first of these questions Origen passes over, content to warn his readers that the Gospel prophecy must not be taken in its literal sense. 3 Enough that there will be a new heaven and a new earth. And yet it is but the fashion of this world . . .


1 In Lib. Regum Hom. ii fin. (Lom. xi. 331); De Princ. ii. 11. 6 ‘Puto enim quod sancti quique discedentes de hac vita permanebunt in loco aliquo in terra posito, quern Paradisum dicit Scriptura divina, velut in quodam eruditionis loco, et, ut ita dixerim, auditorio vel schola animarum’. ‘In terra’, I presume, is ‘within the earth’, ‘under the earth’. Compare also In Lucam Hom. xxiv, De Mart. 36. All pass ‘the fiery sword’, ‘the fire’, but the righteous are not harmed nor stopped by the screen of flame because there is in them no fuel for it to fasten upon. That the soul in Hades or Paradise has a body was proved by the Parable of Dives and Lazarus; Redepenning ii. 126.


2 Chiliasm is emphatically condemned, De Princ. ii. 11. 2. The First and the Second Resurrection are distinguished, Sel. in Psalm. i (Lom. xi. 392), as that of righteous and that of wicked. But In Joan. xx. 21 (Lom. ii. 259) the First Resurrection is for the ‘dead in Christ’, the imperfectly righteous, who need resurrection most.


3 In Matt. Comm. Series 49.


-271- that passeth away. The new universe will still be material, still infinite in variety, and apt as this for the discipline of those that dwell therein. 1

In that Great Day men will be reunited to their bodies. This is the undoubted assurance of Scripture. But it constituted one of the great difficulties of the time. Christians were perplexed by it; heathen controversialists poured upon it unmixed ridicule and scorn. Origen, like Clement, found a solution of all his doubts in the teaching of St. Paul; but he refined upon this in a way peculiar to himself. The resurrection body will be the same as that we now inhabit, and yet not the same. Not the same because spiritual and glorious, because again its material substance will be entirely different. Yet the same, as our body of today is the same with our body of twenty years ago; every particle is changed, yet the body as a whole is not changed. Origen found an explanation of this identity in difference in what he calls the ‘germinative principle’, a power similar to that by which the ear of corn is evolved from the seed. The soul has a vital assimilative ‘spark’, or ‘principle’, which lays hold of fitting matter, and shapes -226- it into a habitation suited to its needs. The same process, by which it repairs the daily waste of our organism now, will enable it then to construct a wholly new tenement for itself. 2

It has been urged that Origen’s system leaves no real place for the Resurrection. 2 This he would most strenuously have denied. And it is in fact untrue. The . . .

1 De Princ. i. 6. 4, ii. i. 3.

2 De Princ. ii. 10. 3, iii. 6. 4 sqq.; Sel. in Psalm. i. 5 (Lom. xi. 392); Contra Celsum v. 22 sqq. The ‘germinative principle’ is the logos, substantiae ratio, σπινθηρισμός͵ ἐντεριώνη.]

3 Redepenning ii. 127; Denis 325.


-272- body of the soul in Paradise, though different from that which it inhabited in life, is still a body belonging to this Aeon, this world; the resurrection body is the body of another Aeon, another world. Hence though its features are the same, because these are the natural outward expression of its abiding individuality, its texture is far different, because adapted on the one hand to its new element, on the other to the varying degrees of the soul’s purity or impurity. 1 Man, he tells us, will . . .


1 The principles laid down by Origen are four. The Resurrection body will be infinitely more beautiful; it will retain its general type and be recognizable; it will be adapted to the requirements of its new environment; it will have no superfluous organs. In consequence of the latter rule the ‘gnashing of teeth’ is not to be literally understood. The Resurrection body of the wicked will differ from that of the righteous, De Princ. ii. 3, 10. 2 sq., iii. 6. 4. Origen taught the Resurrection of ‘this body’, and even of the flesh (Pamphilus insists upon this point, Apol. 7), but not of ‘this flesh’. Even in his own time many were offended at his doctrine, De Princ. ii. 10. 1; and Jerome and others attacked him with great vehemence. The Origenist monks are said to have believed that the Resurrection body would be spherical, and this opinion is charged upon Origen by Justinian. The accusation rests probably upon De Orat. 31 (Lom. xvii. 278), where this shape is attributed to the bodies of the stars. The same general principles applied to the Body of our Lord as to that of man; see Contra Celsum ii. 62, iii. 41, and passages referred to at end of last Lecture. Some charged Origen with asserting that the Saviour laid aside His Body in the Sun. Some Christians, according to Pamphilus Apol. 7, actually held this strange tenet, interpreting in this way Psalm 19:4 ‘in sole posuit tabernaculum suum’. It is perhaps a Gnostic idea; see the account of Theodotus in Lecture I. [It was also the doctrine of Hermogenes; see Clem. Eclog. proph. 56; ≪Hippol. Philosoph. viii. 17≫. Something like it is found in Plotinus Enn. iii. 4. 6: the best of those souls that have lived the βίος αἰσθητικός find a home in the sun, the crown of the world of sense.] Any stone was good enough to fling at Origen. See for the whole subject, Origeniana ii. 9; Denis p. 297 sqq.; Redepenning, places cited in Index. Delarue considered that there was nothing in Origen’s speculations opposed to the Catholic faith, ‘si modo quasdam exceperis quaestiunculas quas luxurians Origenis ingenium curiosius persequens paullo longius prosequitur’. The reader should also bear in mind De Princ. i. 5.4 ‘Certius tamen qualiter se habitura sit res scit solus Deus et si qui eius per Christum et Spiritum Sanctum amici sunt’.


-273- eventually cease to be ‘a soul’ at all. When his redemption is complete, his love will be no longer cold; he will become a pure Intelligence, as he was before he lapsed from his first estate. But even so he will still be corporeal, for except the Trinity no spirit can exist without a shroud. The same law will apply to the Saviour, in so far as He is perfect Man.

Clement figured the future life as an upward progress of the soul through seven heavens to rest in the Ogdoad. But Origen doubted whether this Gnostic conception had sufficient Scripture warrant. Hence, following the hint conveyed in the phrase ‘aeons of aeons’, he speaks of a vast stretch of cycles reaching onwards in almost illimitable extension to the Consummation of All. There is in this a certain resemblance to Stoicism, but it is merely superficial. 1

In that future life the soul is still free, is still tested by its use of freedom, rises and falls, is punished or rewarded, according to its works. 2 All punishment is . . .


1 Contra Celsum vi. 21: the canonical scriptures do not speak of seven or any definite number of heavens, yet do speak of heavens in the plural, whether these are to be identified with the Greek spheres or understood in a mystical sense. De Princ. ii. 3, 7, the eighth heaven, the ἀπλανὴς σϕαῖρα. There are three heavens, In Matt. Comm. Ser. 51; In Psalm, xxxix. Hom. i. 8; De Mart. 13. De Princ. ii. 3. 5 ‘Multorum saeculorum finis dicitur esse hie mundus qui et ipse saeculum dicitur’: compare De Orat. 27 (Lom. xvii. 226); In Matt. xv. 31.

1 De Princ. i. 6. 3, ‘Ex quo, ut opinor, hoc consequentia ipsa vide tur ostendere, unamquamque rationabilem naturam posse ab uno in alterum ordinem transeuntem per singulos in omnes et ab omnibus in singulos pervenire, dum accessus profectuum defectuumve varies pro motibus vel conatibus propriis unusquisque pro liberi arbitrii facultate perpetitur’. The drift of the passage compels us to apply these words to the future as well as to the past and the present life. Still more distinct is De Princ. iii. i. 21 ‘Ex quo opinamur quoniam quidem, ut frequenter diximus, immortalis est anima et aeterna, quod in multis et sine fine spatiis per immensa et diversa saecula possibile est, ut vel a summo bono ad infima mala descendat, vel ab ultimis malis ad summa bona reparetur’: and more explicit still are De Princ. ii. 3. 3 ad fin., and the Fragment from Jerome’s translation of De Princ. in the Ad Avitum (Lom. xxi. 133). The possibility of a fall in the future life is the special characteristic of Origen’s view. It appeared to flow necessarily from the doctrine of Free Will; on the other hand it is limited by the doctrine of Grace; see below at the end of this Lecture. But outside of the De Principiis I have not noticed any passage where Origen affirms this possibility, and it is expressly denied In Rom. v. 10.


-274- is medicinal, at least in the purpose of the good God. 1 But all revelation must be gradual, must be willingly received. Hence the future life is to be looked upon as one of progress through discipline. And the reward is not payment like that of an earthly master, who gives money in return for toil. The Kingdom of God is within us; and what He promises is not happiness, still less pleasure, but the full satisfaction of that restless love of truth which He has implanted in the soul, most surely not in vain. 2 ‘The Lord is like a refiner’s fire.’ ‘It is certain that . . .


1 The best passage for the curative nature of all punishment is to be found in the Selecta in Exodum on the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart. Origen’s belief is summed up very forcibly in the words ἕκαστος οὖν συνειδὼς ἁμαρτίας ἑαυτῷ εὐχέσθω κολασθῆναι (Lom. viii. 328). Compare also De Princ. i. 6. 3. The weak part of his doctrine is the tendency to regard the relation between vice and punishment as quantitative. In Lev. Hom. xiv. 3 there are three degrees of sinfulness, denoted by the wood, hay, straw of 1 Cor. 3:12, which the fire burns up in a longer or a shorter time. In Lev. Hom. xi. 2, xiv. 4 the death, which was the punishment of certain sins under the Law, wiped out the sin. The Christian must make atonement either by penance; this is the ‘tradidi in interitum carnis’ of 1 Cor. 5:5; or by fire in the next world. Here, as often, Origen is drawn in different directions by three irreconcilable principles — discipline, literalism, and spiritualism.

3 De Princ. ii. 11. 4 sqq.


-275- the fire which is prepared for sinners awaits us, and we shall go into that fire, wherein God will try each man’s work of what kind it is. … Even if it be a Paul or a Peter, he shall come into that fire, but such are they of whom it is written, “Though thou pass through the fire, the flame shall not scorch thee”’. The holy and the just are cleansed, like Aaron and Isaiah, with coals from off the altar. But sinners, ‘among whom I count myself’, must be purged with another fire. This is not of the altar, it is not the Lord’s, but is kindled by the sinner himself within his own heart. Its fuel is our own evil, the wood, the hay, the straw, sins graver or lighter, which we have built upon the foundation laid by Christ. Anger, envy, remorse, these rack men even in this life with anguish so intolerable, that many perish by their own hand rather than bear their torments longer. How much fiercer will be the smart, when the soul in the light of eternity surveys the history of all its wickedness written in indelible characters upon its own texture 1; when it is ‘sawn asunder’ by the pangs which attend the separation of the guilty passions from the pure spirit; when it bewails in ‘outer darkness’ its banishment from Him who is the Light and the Life. 2


1 The soul never really forgets anything, but retains within itself ‘signa quaedam et formas’ of all its misdeeds, De Princ. ii. 10. 4. The same idea, that sin leaves an imprint on the soul, is expressed by the χειρόγραϕον of De Orat. 28; the cicatrix of In Lev. Hom. viii. 5; the τύπος written on the heart with iron pen and nail of adamant, In Jer. Hom. xvi. 10.

2 In Psal. xxxvii. Hom. iii. i, In Lev. Hom. ix. 8; In Lucam Hom. xiv ‘Ego puto quod et post resurrectionem ex mortuis indigeamus sacramento eluente nos atque purgante; nemo enim absque sordibus resurgere poterit; nee ullam posse animam reperiri quae universis statim vitiis careat’; De Princ. ii. 10. 4 sqq. In Jerem. Hom. ii. 3 Origen speaks as if the saints do not need this baptism of fire; but this must be understood in the light of the above passages.


-276- Origen’s view — we must not say his doctrine — rests largely upon general principles: that justice and goodness are in their highest manifestation identical; that God does not punish, but has so made man, that in virtue only can he find peace and happiness, because He has made him like Himself; that suffering is not a tax upon sin, but the wholesome reaction by which the diseased soul struggles to cast out the poison of its malady; that therefore, if we have done wrong, it is good to suffer, because the anguish is returning health, will cease when health is restored, and cannot cease till then. Again, that evil is against the plan of God, is created not by Him but by ourselves; is therefore properly speaking a negation, and as such cannot be eternal. These are in the main Greek thoughts; their chief source is the Gorgias of Plato. But his final appeal is always to Scripture. The texts on which he mainly relies are those of St. Paul, ‘He shall be saved, yet so as by fire’, ‘God shall be all in all’. But starting from these he finds a thousand hints and ‘crannies’, especially in the Old Testament. 1 He laboured to . . .


1 Besides the famous texts Luke 3:16, 1 Cor. 3:15, Is. 4:4, Origen quotes Is. 12:1 ‘Though Thou wast angry with me, Thine anger is turned away’; 24:22 ‘And they shall be gathered together as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited’; 47:14, 15: Micah 7:9 ‘I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against Him … He will bring me forth to the light’; Ezekiel 16:53, 55 ‘Restituetur Sodoma in antiquum’; Jerem. 25:15, 16 ‘Per Hieremiam prophetam iubetur calix furoris Dei propinari omnibus gentibus ut bibant et insaniant et evomant. In quo comminatur dicens quia si quis noluerit bibere non mundabitur’; Matt, 28:30 ‘Went and cast him into prison till he should pay the debt’; John 10:16 ‘There shall be one fold and one shepherd’; Rom. 11:25-26 ‘Blindness in part is happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in, and so all Israel shall be saved’; Rom. 11:32 ‘God hath concluded them all in unbelief that He might have mercy upon all’; 1 Peter 3:19-21 ‘Christ went and preached to those who perished in the Flood’; Ps. 78:34 ‘When He slew them, then they sought Him’. Other texts are given by Huet, Origeniana ii. 11. 20.


-231- answer objections. The word ‘eternal’ as applied to death does not necessarily mean ‘endless’. 1 The sin, which is not forgiven in this aeon or the aeon to come, might yet be blotted out in some one of the aeons beyond. 2 But he could not be blind to the fact, that there are in Scripture passages that make directly against him. Hence Restitution is a great and terrible mystery. It is taught in Scripture not explicitly but in allegories. And there is a reason for this, because many men are so vile, that even the dread of endless torments will scarcely curb their evil passions. Considerations such as these lay heavy upon his candid spirit. Hence though undoubtedly his prevailing hope is, that all men shall be healed in that far-off day, when there shall be one flock and one shepherd, and even . . .


1 In Exodum Hom. vi. 13 ‘Domine qui regnas in saeculum et in saeculum et adhuc’; De Princ. ii. 3. 5; In Lev. Hom. xiii. 6 ‘Legitimum namque et aeternum est omne quod mysticum est’. Contra Celsum vi. 26, Origen seems to allow that αἰώνιος (eternal) implies endless duration. The word αἰών in the usage of the Platonists of the time, certainly included the idea of endless, changeless duration; see Plutarch De Ei apud Delphos 20; and it must be admitted that the arguments employed in the passages quoted above are not sufficient to prove Origen’s point. Origen speaks of eternal punishments in many passages. Vincenzi, In S. Greg. Nyss. et Origenis Scripta et Doctrinam Rome 1865, refers to In Lev. Hom. ix. 4, 5, xiv. 4, In Jesu Nave Hom. xvi. 3, In Ezech. Hom. vi. 26, In Matt. Com. xvi. 22, De Mart. 25, and other places; but he endeavours to prove far too much. See Origeniana ii. 11.

2 In Matt. Com. xv. 21.


-278- Sodom, as Ezekiel prophesied, shall be restored, at times his vision fails. ‘Who is that guest who is bound hand and foot, and cast into outer darkness? You will ask whether he remains bound in the outer darkness forever? — for the words “for this aeon”, or “for the aeons”, are not added — or whether he will in the end be loosed? — for it does not appear that anything is written about his future release. It does not seem to me to be safe, seeing I have no full understanding, to pronounce an opinion, especially in a case where Scripture is silent.’ 1 The same hesitation is apparent, where he is led to speak of the final doom of the evil spirits. 2

Indeed the Alexandrine doctrine of Volition is such, that it is hard to reconcile with the hope of final unity. If the will is wholly free, unconditioned, indifferent, what after all is the use of these long ages of discipline? What can they produce, but an eternity of sterile change, in which each rise is balanced by a fall, and after the lapse of a million ages the end is no nearer than it was? 3 . . .


1 In Joan. xxviii. 7; see also In Rom. viii. 12; In Jer. Hom. xviii. 15.

2 De Princ. i. 6. 3, the salvability of some of the evil spirits is an open question. ibid. i. 8. 4, the ‘adversariae virtutes’ are divided into two classes, i. ‘principatus, potestates mundi rectores’; of these he only says that they are not essentially evil: 2. another class has sunk so deep ‘ut revocari nolit magis quam non possit’. ibid. iii. 6. 5 ‘The last enemy that shall be destroyed is Death’; that is to say, not the substance but the wicked will of the Devil will at last be annihilated; he will cease to be an enemy. But this is denied In Rom. viii. 9 ‘Istius autem qui de coelo cecidisse dicitur nee in fine saeculi erit ulla conversio’. In the Epistola ad Amicos (Lom. xvii. 8) according to the version of Jerome certain of Origen’s adversaries taught that the Devil ‘posse salvari’; according to that of Rufinus they affirmed that Origen taught ‘diabolum esse salvandum’. Both translators agree in the sense of the following words, ‘quod ne mente quidem quis captus dicere potest’.

3 Jerome, Ep. cxxiv ad Avitum (Vallarsi i. 912), considers that the result of Origen’s speculations is ‘rursum nasci ex fine principium et ex principle finem’. But Origen expressly denies this, De Princ. iii. 6. 6. See Denis pp. 176, 328, 347. Redepenning raises other difficulties on which it is unnecessary to enter.


-279- This is Jerome’s criticism, and it has been pressed by later writers. It may be a logical sequence, but it is certainly not the meaning of Origen. Some spirits may be rebellious to the last, and it is certain that God Himself can constrain no man to goodness. But who shall presume to say from observation of this life, which is but a pin-point in the boundless ocean, that the soul will always be obdurate. Great is the truth and it will prevail, if it have but time to work in. Slowly yet certainly the blessed change must come, the purifying fire must eat up the dross, and leave the pure gold. Perhaps not till after many ages, not till after discipline prolonged through geologic cycles, the sinner will learn to kiss the rod, and submit to be healed. But at last his eyes will be opened, the prodigal will fall on the Father’s bosom, and becoming ‘one spirit with the Lord’ will henceforth sin no more. One by one we shall enter into rest never to stray again. Then when Death the last enemy is destroyed, when the tale of His children is complete, Christ will ‘drink wine in the Kingdom of His Father’. This is the End, when ‘all shall be one, as Christ and the Father are One’, when ‘God shall be all in all’.

From this time forth there is no further change, but the soul remains secure in the fullness of intellectual fruition. Yet not all alike. To the Beatific Vision none can be admitted save the pure in heart. Though all other chastisements cease, when their object is ful filled, the poena damni may still endure. Star differeth from star in glory. There are many mansions, many -280- degrees. 1 There are those who bring forth thirtyfold, sixtyfold, a hundredfold. The righteous shall shine as the sun. And upon whom shall they shine but on those beneath them? If we do not misinterpret these expressions, they appear to mean, that the soul by sin may lose capacities, which can never be wholly re gained, and in this sense at least Origen teaches the eternity of punishment. . . .


1 The many mansions are typified by the stages on the march of the Israelites from Egypt to the Promised Land. The end of the journey is the ‘river which makes glad the city of God’, In Num. Hom. xxvi. 4, 5, xxviii. 2, 3. But again, In Jesu Nave xxv. 4, there are different abodes even in the last degree figured by the final settlements of the tribes in East, West, South and North. Again, In Num. Hom. xi. 4, 5, as in this world the Gentile races are under the care of Guardian Angels, while Israel is the special portion of God, ‘ita credo et in fine huius mundi atque in initio saeculi alterius futurum ut iterum dividat excelsus filios Adam, et qui non potuerint ita mundi esse corde ut ipsum videant Dominum et esse portio Domini videant sanctos angelos et sint secundum numerum angelorum Dei. It may be doubted here whether Origen is speaking of the Day of Judgement or of the Consummation; but In Num. Hom. xxi. 1 he is certainly speaking of the latter. The same uncertainty attaches to In Luc. Hom. iii, where it is said that though all the redeemed will be in one place, only the pure in heart will be able to see God. But here again I think he refers to the End. So again, ibid. xvii, the δίγαμος (adulterous) is excluded from the church of the firstborn, ‘non quo in aeternum mittatur incendium sed quo partem non habeat in regno Dei’; he may be saved, but is not crowned. So again, In Lev. Hom. xiv. 3, he who is spotted with vices not of a mortal kind, ‘huic etiamsi secundum Apostoli sententiam negantur regna coelorum non tamen alterius beatitudinis abscinditur locus’. Similar language is used of the Gentiles (see above, p. 251). To these passages may be added De Mart. 13, 14; In Matt. x. 3. The point is of importance because it is the only ground on which Jerome attacks Origen’s doctrine of the Restitution of Man, alleging (Ep. lxxxiv ad Pammachium et Oceanum 7; Vallarsi i. 524) that he taught ‘post multa saecula, atque unam omnium restitutionem, id ipsum fore Gabrielem quod diabolum, Paulum quod Caipham, virgines quod prostibulas’. See Origeniana ii. 11. 21.

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Lecture VII. The Reformed Paganism

“No man can serve two Masters.” Matthew 6:24

Our account of Origen would be essentially defective without a notice of his controversy with Celsus. We have seen how the Church utilized philosophy; we must now reverse the picture, and consider what the philosophers had to say on their side. It will be interesting to observe the attitude they took with regard to Christianity, the points they conceded, the points they denied; and to ascertain, as clearly as we can, what they treated as the vital issues of the great debate. But we shall be enabled to do this better, if we permit ourselves a wider scope, and review not the controversy with Celsus alone, but the mutual action and reaction of Christianity and Paganism during this period.

It would be a serious error to regard the Second Century as a time of irreligion. On the contrary it was an age of revival. Everywhere men were seeking with restless eagerness for deeper, more positive, more vital beliefs. The ancient mythology had perished with the Republic, and the old Greek and Roman deities appear henceforth for the most part as intermediate beings, angels or demons, who people the spaces of air between man and the supreme object of his worship. This is no longer Zeus or Jupiter, but a God of Syrian, or Persian, or Egyptian nationality. The altars of the Great Mother, of Isis and Serapis, of Mithra, are to be found all over the world, from -282- Bactria to Gaul, in Northumberland, on the Rhine, in Numidia, wherever the Roman eagles flew, in the provinces, in Rome, in Caesar’s palace.

The change is significant in many ways. It shows, first, the irresistible tendency of the times towards a Monotheistic worship. For these Oriental Gods, though many in name, are in reality but one. As we gaze upon them they seem to melt into one another. Who is the Syrian Goddess? She is the Aramaic Astarte, the Babylonian Mylitta, she is the Great Mother, she is Isis, Universal Nature, the maternal feminine aspect of God. And God is the Sun, whose ray-crowned head is to be seen on Roman coins from the reign of Commodus to that of Constantine. Osiris, Mithra, Elagabalus, are all the same. They are the fatherly, fostering, masculine side of the Divine, aptly figured by the orb of day. 1


1 The same idea, that of the substantial identity of deities, regarded by the vulgar as distinct, is found in Aeschylus Prom. Vinct. 210 Θέμις, καὶ Γαῖα, πολλῶν ὀνομάτων μορφὴ μία. [Cp. the inscription on a stone found at Astorga, Εἷς Ζεὺς Σέραπις Ίαώ on an open hand surmounted by a triangular tympanum: see Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia, April 1887, p. 242.] This mode of conception ≪ ≫ is an intermediate stage between Polytheism and Monotheism. It had prevailed from very early times in Egypt (see Le Page Renouf Hibbert Lectures for 1879; G. Maspero Histoire ancienne des Peuples de l’Orient, 4th ed., Paris 1886} and obtains full expression in the De Iside et Osiride of Plutarch, and the De Dea Syria of Lucian. See also Mommsen, v. 454. It is the chief reason for the great fascination exercised by the Egyptian religion, notwithstanding its zoolatry, upon Greek minds. ≪It≫, however, preserves in a confused way the personality of the different deities, and does not go so far as to assert that the different names only mark more or less perfect or imperfect ideas of the same God. This was asserted in one passage by Clement, Strom. v. 14. 101, where he affirms that God is meant by the Zeus of the poets. Origen would not admit this. When Celsus insists that all mankind worship the same Father, whether they call Him ‘Jehovah, Jove, or Lord’, Origen replies that words have a natural affinity to things, that language is ϕύσει not θέσει, that the different names of the pagan gods have a real connexion with demon (daimon)-worship, as is proved by their efficacy in magical incantations, and finally quotes Plato, τὸ δʹ ἐμὸν δέος͵ ὦ Πρώταχε͵ περὶ τὰ ὀνόματα τῶν θεῶν οὐκ ὀλίγον “My awe, Protarchus, in respect to the names of the gods is always beyond the greatest human fear.” Philebus 12c (Contra Celsum i. 24, v. 44).


-283- But besides this striving after unity, so natural to all civilized men, there were other motives at work. What these were we shall best see by a brief account of Mithra, the most popular and powerful of all the new order of deities.

Mithra was a God of the world-old Arian stock. 1 In the Vedas he is the giver of light, life, and truth, the assessor, almost the double of Varuna, the Lord . . .


1 The history of Mithra worship in its original home will be found in the admirable Introduction of Darmesteter to his translation of the Vendidad in Sacred Books of the East. Duncker also may be consulted. For the spread of Mithra worship in Europe, see Preller Römische Mythologie; Renan Marc-Aurèle 576; Döllinger The Gentile and the Jew, Keim Rom und das Christenthum. An account of Mithraic monuments in England will be found in the C. I. L. vol. vii; and Bruce Wallet Book of the Roman Wall. Almost any volume of the Inscriptions will supply interesting information; see especially the account of the Mithraic cave at Constantine in Algeria, vol. viii. pt. i, no. 6975. ≪See further F. Cumont Textes et monuments figurés relatifs aux mystères de Mithra, Brussels 1896-1899, where all the available texts, literary and epigraphic, are collected and the monuments described and illustrated: the conclusions are published separately in Les Mystères de Mithra Brussels 1902 English transl. in T. J. McCormack The Mysteries of Mithra Chicago and London 1903≫; A. Dieterich Eine Mithraslitiirgie Leipzig 1903. The Mithra monuments were erected mainly by Roman officers. This fact proves how worthless is the distinction between licitae and illicitae religiones which used to be regarded as explaining the Christian persecutions. The birthday of Mithra, the Sol Invictus, was December 25, on which day the festival of the Nativity of Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, began to be celebrated ≪in the East≫ not long before the time of Chrysostom ≪or rather it was unknown in Cyprus in 375 (S. Epiph. Haer. 16, 27); it was first observed in Antioch in 378 (S. Chrys. in Natal, i); it is included in the festal cycle of the Apostolic Constitutions v. 13, viii. 33; and it was already well established in Asia in 387 (Studia Biblica ii. p. 132). In the West the earliest evidence for the festival is the Philocalian kalendar of 336. It may be that the heathen festival was retained under a Christian name from a politic desire to soften the change from the old order of things to the new, though the positive evidence for this rests upon a Homily formerly attributed to Chrysostom but of doubtful date and authorship. See King The Gnostics and their Remains p. 47; and Mr. Sinker’s article ‘Christmas’ in Dict. Christ, Ant. The same motive may account for the fact that the figure of the Sun, with the legend ‘To the Invincible Sun, my Companion’, is found upon copper coins of Constantine; though not after the year 323, when his victory over Licinius raised him above the necessity of dissimulation. See Eckhel, vol. viii. pp. 75, 79. For another theory of the origin of the dates of Christmas and Epiphany see Duchesne Origines du culte chrétien, ed. i, pp. 250 sqq.


-284- of Heaven. In the new dualism of the Iranian peoples he is degraded to a subordinate place, and becomes, as Plutarch says, a mediator between Ormuzd the good and Ahriman the evil spirit, or between God and Man. He is the Sun, who shoots his rays down into this world to fight for man against cold, darkness, and disease. Hence he was worshipped in caves, and depicted as a youth slaying a bull. The cave is this dim earth; the bull is the changing world or evil, whose death is the life of the soul. So Mithra is a Redeemer, and the blood of the slain bull is an Atonement. His monuments exhibit beneath these figures a clog, emblem of the purified soul, lapping up the blood; and beneath all is the legend ‘A holy stream’, or ‘The stream that is shed for all’. 1

Connected with Mithra worship, though properly be longing to that of the Great Mother, was the barbarous rite of the Taurobolium. The devotee was seated in a trench, so that the blood of the slaughtered bull . . .


1 Νᾶμα σεβήσιον: nama cunctis; Preller p. 761.


-285- gushed all over him. Monuments which commemorate this hideous baptism speak of him by whom it was received as ‘regenerate’ — Renatus in aeternum Taurobolio. 1

Mithraism had also its Messiah. 2 In the fullness of time shall come a Saviour, a divine son of Zarathustra, the lawgiver. He shall bring to a glorious close the aeonian strife between good and evil. Death and Hell shall be destroyed, and men shall live in blessednessfor evermore, ‘casting no shadow’, children, as we say, of light. Even before that consummation there is a heaven for the righteous. It is figured as a staircase with seven portals 3. These are the seven heavens, . . .


1 Preller p. 740, note 4, ‘Der Einzuweihende wurde mit einem ärmlichen Gewande bekleidet, um so recht eigentlich als “armer Sünder” die reinigende Bluttaufe liber sich ergehen zu lassen.’ The oldest monument in commemoration of the Taurobolium is at Naples and dated 133, the most recent is at Rome and belongs to 390. Preller (p. 740) thinks the word renatus is borrowed from Christianity. It was in common use in the Isis mysteries; Apuleius Metam. xi. 21.

2 He was known by the name of Saoshyant. A tolerably precise outline of the doctrine is given by Theopompus, Fragments 71, 72 in Müller’s Frag. Hist. Graec.

3 Contra Celsum vi. 22. Duncker v. p. 180, Eng. trans., ‘The priests held that only the pure and bright part of the soul could live on after death. Hence even in the living they distinguished this part from the polluted part, and in the pure immortal half they saw the side created by the good gods, its true being, the Fravashi, or protecting spirit allotted to each man.’ So in the Egyptian Mysteries, ‘At death the intellect (Khu or Ka) becomes a demon [bodiless spirit]; the soul passes into the under world and appears at the judgement bar of Osiris-Khent-Ament, and his thirty-two assessors. Its conscience, or as the Egyptians say its heart, accuses it. It is weighed in the balance of truth and justice. According as it is found light or heavy the righteous doom is pronounced, and the intellect, the demon, becomes the executioner. It reminds the soul how it neglected its warning and would none of its reproof; it flogs it with the scourge of its sins, and delivers it up to the storm and the whirlwind’; Maspero, Germ, trans, of 1877, p. 39. The account is taken from the Book of the Dead, a copy of which was buried with every mummy. But I observe that in his last edition M. Maspero does not bring out this peculiar relation of the intellect to the soul as its guardian angel or avenging demon. Compare p. 60 above, and Le Page Renouf, p. 147. Serapis or Sarapis (both spellings are found in inscriptions) is Osiris-Apis, that is, ‘the dead Apis’. All men after death were regarded as entering into union with, as becoming Osiris. ‘A partir de la xii e dynastic le défunt est nommé couramment l’Osiris N’; Maspero pp. 31, 35, 38, ed. Paris 1886.


-286- the abode of the six great Emanations and of Mithra. Through these the soul ascends, protected by its guardian angel, into the eighth, where it rests in the presence of Ormuzd. It is peculiar to the religion of Mithra and to that of Serapis, which is in other respects very similar, that the guardian angel is the intelligence, the better and purer half of human nature, which be comes after death the champion, or spiritual bride, of the lower soul. How closely all this resembles the ideas derived by Clement from the Valentinian Theodotus will be discerned without further comment.

The disciples of Mithra formed an organized church with a developed hierarchy. They possessed the ideas of Mediation, Atonement, and a Saviour, who is human and yet divine, and not only the idea, but a doctrine of the Future Life. They had a Eucharist, and a Baptism, and other curious analogies might be pointed out between their system and the Church of Christ. 1 Most of these conceptions, no doubt, are integral parts of a religion much older than Christianity. But when we consider how strange they are to the older polytheism of Greece and Rome, and when we observe further that Mithraism did not come into full vogue till the time of . . .


1 Justin Apol. i. 66, Trypho 70; Tertullian De Bapt. 5, De praescr. Haer. 40; Preller p. 759; Döllinger The Gentile and the Jew i. 416, Eng. trans.


-287- Hadrian, that is to say till the age of Gnosticism, we shall hardly be wrong in judging that resemblances were pushed forward, exaggerated, modified, with a special view to the necessities of the conflict with the new faith, and that differences, such as the barbarous superstitions of the Avesta, were kept sedulously in the background with the same object. Paganism was copying Christianity, and by that very act was lowering her arms.

This process of approximation, so visible in the popular religions, was carried to even greater lengths in the region of Philosophy. The old scepticism was still represented by the Stoics, who combined the worship of humanity with speculative doubt, and by the Epicureans, who were practically atheists. But these were the creeds of a few rebellious intellects. The belief in a future life, which Cicero had ridiculed in a court of law, and Caesar and Cato had repudiated in the open Senate, had become a test. At Athens one who like Demonax stood aloof from the Mysteries was a marked man, much as a non-communicant would have been in the last century. This was the chief reason why Stoicism, for all its noble morality and its high services to law and to humanity, was swept away by the rise of the Platonizing schools. 1 . . .


1 The ‘godless Epicureans’ were not popular; hence Origen thinks that Celsus was afraid to come forward openly in his true character as a professed Epicurean, lest he should be regarded even by the Greeks as ἄθεος {atheist}. For the denial of the future life by Cicero, see Pro Cluentio 61 (in the Tusculan Disputations he professes to delight in the Platonic doctrine of immortality); by Caesar and Cato, Sallust Cat. 51, 52. ≪Cp. W. W. Fowler Religious Experience of the Roman People xvii.≫ For Demonax, see §11 of Lucian’s charming sketch: when accused of Atheism on the ground that οὐκ ἐμυήθη μόνος ἁπάντων Έλευσινίαις, he replied that if the mysteries were bad he should have denounced them, and if they were good he should have revealed them to all men; a noble sentiment in which he agrees with Philo. Stoicism, the ancient Positivism, was always sceptical. Their prayer always begins, ‘O God, if there be a God’: the hypothesis was not necessary to their system. See Marcus Aurelius Meditations ix. 28. [Cp. Justin Trypho 2.] They did not absolutely deny the Future Life, though they were vague on the point, and admitted at most a possible immortality for a few illustrious souls; so Tacitus Agricola 46. Stoicism throve because, like Christianity, it is a philosophy of suffering; it fell because, unlike Christianity, it is a philosophy of despair.


-288- We may divide the heathen Platonists into two main branches, according to the predominance in their cast of thought of the religious or the philosophic vein. To the former belong the Pythagoreans. These gave a general adherence to the teaching of Plato, but combined with it a high veneration for all ‘philosophers, wise men, and inspired poets’; for the shadowy figures of Pythagoras, Orpheus, Linus, Abaris, Zamolxis; for the much-talked-of but little-known Brahmins and Buddhists 1; for Magi, Thracians, Egyptians, Jews. They profess to distill an elixir from all religions, from all, that is, except Christianity, which they never name. Yet the Church, from which they avert their eyes as . . .


1 There was no doubt a certain kind and degree of intercourse between the West and India by way of the Red Sea, and overland through the half-Hellenized kingdom of Bactria (see Lassen Zur Geschichte der griech. und indo-skyth. Könige in Baktrien, Kabul und Indien Bonn 1838); but in default of accurate literary information it cannot have been of such a nature as seriously to affect the course of European thought. The merchant manners brought back little knowledge; see Strabo xv. 4. What knowledge there was appears to be derived chiefly from Megasthenes; see the fragments in Müller Frag. Hist. Graec. ii. p. 437. But it is sufficient to refer to Lightfoot Colossians p. 151 sqq., ed. 1875.


-289- from the angel of doom, is really the prompter and guide of all their efforts. If their beloved Hellenism was to be saved, it must be by reforms borrowed from this hated rival. And so they set to work with the energy of despair to prove that so far as Christianity was true it was not new.

What was the secret, they asked, of the formidable growth of this new sect? They could not miss the external conditions. Christianity was a development of an ancient faith; it had been preached by a divine person, whose mission was accredited by miracles. It taught a pure morality, and kindled a zeal that was stronger than the fear of death. It had its sacred books, dictated or inspired by the Spirit of God. Were not similar weapons to be found in their own armoury?

If they were not to be found, at any rate they were easy to manufacture. There were books of Orpheus, Hermes, Zoroaster, Osthanes, which would serve for Gospels. If Christ was Son of God, so were Plato, Pythagoras, Apollonius. If Christ wrought signs and wonders, Pythagoras also caused a miraculous draught of fishes and fasted for forty days; Theosebius cast out devils; the death of Proclus was foreboded by a supernatural darkness so thick that the stars were seen at noonday. If Christ taught in parables, so too did Pythagoras. If the Church had martyrs, philosophy could boast of Damon and Phintias, of Myllius and Timycha, and of Anaxarchus. It was Pythagoras who first proclaimed the golden rule ‘Thou shalt love thy friend as thyself’, and his morning and evening hymn were cited as models of devotion. 1 In all this we may . . .


1 The miraculous draught of fishes, Porphyry Vita Pyth. 25; the fast of forty days, ibid. 57; for Theosebius, see Damascius Vita Isidori 56; for Proclus, Marinus Vita Procli 37; the philosopher healed the daughter of Archiades when at the point of death, Porphyry Vita Pyth. 29. Porphyry also tells us that Pythagoras first taught τὸν ϕίλον ἄλλον ἑαυτὸν εἶναι͵ 33; that no one ever saw him weep (whereas Jesus wept), 35; that he taught all but his chosen disciples in parables, 37; and speaks of his morning and evening hymn, 40. For Damon and Phintias, Myllius and Timycha, see ibid. 60, 61; for Anaxarchus, Origen Contra Celsum viii. 53. The Platonists were very anxious to prove that all Christianity taught was better taught in their own books; see Augustine Confessions vii. 9.


-290- surely discern the reflex of Christian ideas. On the other hand, it must be conceded that the doctrinal Reserve and the severe Asceticism attributed by the Pythagoreans to their founder affected sensibly the practice of the Church.

Very little is really known of Pythagoras, and the twenty biographies which were current in the second century are little better than a mass of fiction. 1 The same thing is true of the Life of Apollonius; yet this extraordinary romance has a genuine historical interest of its own. 2 . . .

1 More than a score of complete or partial biographies of Pythagoras are referred to by Clement, Strom. i. 14. 62 sqq., and Porphyry in the Life. The only documentary foundation for all this mass of literature was the brief account of their master’s teaching said to have been drawn up by Lysis and Archippus, and certain ὑπομνήματα κεϕαλαιώδη asserted to have been composed by anonymous individuals for their private edification and handed down from father to son; Porph. Vita 58.

2 The Life of Apollonius has been dealt with by Gibbon, Neander, Meiners, Buhle, Jacobs, Letronne, Baur. I have made much use of Aubé Histoire des Persécutions de l’Église, to which I may refer the reader for further information. Of the three main authorities referred to by Philostratus, Damis the Ninevite is probably his own invention, Maximus of Aegae wrote an account only of such part of the life of Apollonius as was spent at Aegae, and Moeragenes (cp. Contra Celsum vi. 41) appears to have treated the sage much as Lucian dealt with Alexander. [Champagny Les Antonins i. 398 ‘Plutarque, qui avait vécu longtemps son contemporain, ne le nomme même pas, et sauf Épictète nul contemporain ne le nomme.’ Hierocles in his Λόγοι ϕιλαλήθεις πρὸς τοὺς Χριστιανούς (between 284 and 305) compared Jesus Christ with Apollonius.]


-291- It was composed by the courtly sophist Philostratus at the command of Julia Domna, wife of Severus, mother of Caracalla, aunt of Elagabalus and Alexander Severus. This princess was well acquainted with the faith and practice of Christians, who abounded in the royal household. Nor was she hostilely disposed towards them. But she was deeply interested in the Syrian worship of the Sun, to which her family owed its consequence, and she presided over a coterie of lawyers and men of letters, which was ardent in the defence of Paganism. To a lady so learned and so august the settlement of ecclesiastical disputes was a tempting, and seemed an easy, task. Let paganism be set forth at its best, let it be shown that the old mythologies also carried in their bosom the germ of their own regeneration, and could provide rational satisfaction for all the cravings of heart and mind, and then the reformed Judaism would be compelled to renounce its exclusive pretensions, and fall at once into its proper place in the new Pantheon. The necessary ideas were already current in the imperial saloons. What was wanting was a Messiah, some personage, not too ancient and not too modern, who would inspire the system with the needful human interest and vitality. Such a figure was to be found in Apollonius, a sage, though some said a charlatan, of the first century, and Philostratus was commissioned to employ his facile pen and his rhetorical tropes in the great cause.

The birth of Apollonius was announced by Proteus, the changing god of Nature, the World-Spirit, or Platonic Holy Ghost. ‘What is it that I shall bring forth?’ asked the mother. The god replied, ‘Myself.’ At the age of sixteen the divine child entered on his mission. He gave away his patrimony, vowed perpetual -292- chastity, and submitted to the law of five years silence. His flowing hair, his bare feet and white linen robe, his rigid abstinence from flesh, marked him as a Pythagorean. His speech was sententious and authoritative, his radiant beauty imposed awe upon the most profane, and he dwelt in temples, especially those of Aesculapius the Healer, like a child in his father’s house. One further testimony was needed, and to obtain this he journeyed on foot to the land of the Brahmins, who dwell with the gods, and for their purity and wisdom have been dowered with miraculous gifts. Thence he returned to be the Saviour of the Hellenic world. He is described as wandering from city to city, in East and farthest West, attended by disciples, who like those of Jesus are devoted yet slow of heart to understand; as possessing all languages, even that of birds, as healing diseases, as raising the dead to life. The heathen priests oppose him, but the people hang upon his words. There were no bounds to his mysterious power; the downfall of Nero and Domitian, the elevation of the good emperors Vespasian and Nerva, were due to the influence of this holy man.

Hearing of the persecution of the philosophers by Domitian he resolves at once to offer himself as a voluntary sacrifice to the tyrant’s rage, and gently reproving the fears of his disciples makes his way to Rome. There he is charged with the crime that was so commonly urged against the Christians, that of having immolated a child in secret magic rites; he is insulted, thrown into chains, and mockingly invited to save himself, if he can, by a miracle. But the child of God suffers only so far as is worthy of his Father. From the very tribunal of Domitian Apollonius vanishes away, and appears the same day to two of his disciples, who -293- are seated in a grotto of the Nymphs at Puteoli, talking sadly about their lost Master. Damis, one of the two, cannot believe his eyes, and is convinced by a grasp of the hand.

After this Apollonius renews his beneficent activity for a time. Where or when the end came no man knew, but according to one story, which Philostratus probably intends his readers to accept, it befell in Crete. The priests of Dictynna had confined him in their temple. But at midnight the sage arose before his gaoler’s eyes, the chains fell from his limbs, the great gate swung open, and he went forth. A choir of angels was heard to salute him with the cry ‘Away from earth to heaven, away’; and Apollonius was seen in the flesh no more. Yet once again after this translation he appeared to a mourning disciple, to confirm his faith and assure him of the truth of immortality.

It is the story of the Gospel corrected and improved. Apollonius is what the enlightened circle of Julia Domna thought Christ ought to have been. His portrait is copied with minute care from that of the Son of Mary; but it has been adorned and dignified according to heathen notions. It is interesting to notice the point at which his passion ceases. To the Sun-worshipper, as to the Gnostic, the details of the Crucifixion seemed degrading. If Christ had been what He professed to be, He could not have fallen so low. This was in the eyes of Celsus also one of the gravest objections to Christianity.

We see from this curious romance precisely how far the authorities, with whose sanction it was published, were ready to advance on the path of concession. Apollonius refuses to be present at a bloody sacrifice, and contents himself with scattering incense on the altar -294- of the Sun. He preaches against image-worship, and against the barbarous shows of the amphitheatre. On the other hand, he loyally accepts the Emperor as Head of Church and State. At Alexandria, when the philosopher Euphrates exhorts Vespasian to restore the Republic, Apollonius replies that monarchy is the only form of government suited to the times: ‘For me all constitutions are indifferent, for I depend upon God alone; but I do not wish the flock to perish for want of a good and faithful shepherd.’ These were the terms now offered to the Christians, and had they accepted them they would have been protected against the hostility of the heathen priests, which Apollonius is represented as defying, a hostility just as bitterly irritated against the new Imperial religion as against the Church.

Such was Pythagoreanism at its best. It is needless to exhibit its lower forms, or to describe at length that grovelling theurgy which represents with such startling exactness the coarse impositions of modern spiritualism. Sufficient to say that they are all there, the table-rapping, the apparitions, the aerial music, the floating in the air, the magic writing, the thought-reading, the medium with his sham miracles. The same causes produced the same effects, and then as now the most determined enemies of the quack were, as the arch-quack Alexander complains, the Epicurean Agnostic, and the Christian. 1 But we must turn from the Pythagoreans . . .


1 F. W. H. Myers, ‘Greek Oracles’ in Hellenica p. 467: ‘The famous oracle which predicted the death of Valens was obtained by certain men who sat round a table and noted letters of the alphabet, which were spelt out for them by some automatic agency after a fashion which, from the description of Ammianus, we cannot precisely determine.’ The reference is to Ammian. Marc. xxix. 2, xxxi. i. Compare, for talking tables, Tertullian Apol. 23; dancing furniture in the Homilies ii. 32; levitation in the account of the Brahmins in Philostratus Vita Ap.; magic writing in Macrobius Sat. i. 23, and Lucian’s Alexander. See also the Philopseudes, and Lobeck Aglaophamus. Telepathy, thought-reading, are very common; there is a good story in the account of Sosipatra in the life of Aedesius; Eunapius p. 469, ed. Firmin-Didot. These ‘miracles’ attracted the notice of the police magistrate, and ceased or were concealed after the accession of Constantine; Eunapius p. 461. The dislike of the famous impostor Alexander for the disciples of Christ was expressed with the most outspoken candour. He complained that ‘Pontus was full of Christians and atheists’, 25, and denounced them by solemn proclamation at the commencement of his mystic rites: ‘First of all there was an expulsion of strangers, and Alexander cried aloud, “Out with the Christians”, to which the congregation replied, “Out with the Epicureans”’, 38.


-295- to the more scientific family of Platonists. Of these there were two branches, the Trinitarian and the Unitarian. We may take as representatives of the first Numenius, 1 of the second Celsus.

The genesis of the Platonic Trinity is one of the most perplexing questions in the history of philosophy. Like almost all the leading ideas of the time it had its roots in the many-sided speculations of Plato himself, and was largely modified by influences from other quarters. In the Republic we have, beside or above God, the Idea of Good, the cause of truth, knowledge and existence, itself above existence in majesty and power. If God is good, his goodness must be derived from this source, and it would seem at first as if we had here two divinities, the Father and the Son. Yet again . . .

1 For this philosopher, see Zeller iii. pp. 545 sqq.; Vacherot i. pp. 319 sqq.; Siegfried p. 277; Ritter and Preller 525 sqq.; and the fragments preserved by Eusebius Praep. Ev. ix. 7, 8; by Porphyry and lamblichus in Stobaeus Ecl. i. 836; and by Nemesius De Nat. Hom. ii. 69, iii. 129-37. There was also a school of Platonists who held by the Timaeus and spoke of Two Gods. It was represented in the second century by Alcinous (see below, p. 297), but is not of sufficient interest to call for separate notice.


-296- in the same dialogue God is the creator at least of the subordinate Ideas. In the Timaeus the Demiurge forms the World-Spirit according to the pattern of the Ideas, which appear to be independent eternal existences. We have here three conceptions, God, the Ideas, the World-Spirit. Plato has nowhere explained or harmonized this triad. This was done in some way by the author of the Epistles, who speaks, in obscure language and with much parade of mystery, of Three Gods. Unfortunately the authorship and date of the Epistles in general, and of this passage in particular, are highly uncertain. 1

In the time of Plutarch many regarded the Ideas as thoughts existing in the divine Mind. 2 For those who . . .


1 The passage is Ep. ii. p. 312 E. It is quoted by Athenagoras Legatio 23; Justin Apol. i. 60; Clement Strom. v. 14. 104; Eus. Praep. Ev. xi. 17. 20; and others. Karsten, Commentatio Critica de Platonis quae feruntur Epistolis Traiecti ad Rhenum 1864, gives a history of opinion as to the authenticity and date of the letters, and concludes that all are spurious, by different hands at different times, the Second being one of the latest and worst. Cobet Var. Lect. ed. 1873, p. 235, says of Ep. vii, ‘Platonis ipsius esse et argumentum et stilus clamant’; and Thompson (Gorgias p. xii) appears inclined to follow Grote in regarding all the Epistles as the work of Plato himself. Zeller thinks that their composition falls at latest in the second half of the first century before Christ, but regards their spuriousness as beyond all question. [The particular passage cannot be Plato’s, or Plutarch could not have failed to quote it in de Iside et Osiride 48. Yet it may be said that Plutarch is thinking only of passages where there is mention of a bad god. But] I find it impossible to believe that the passage, which, though containing a most remarkable and important doctrine, is unknown to Philo or to any of the heathen Platonists before Numenius, is much earlier in date than the last-named philosopher. It is to be observed that in Ep. vi. 323 c, d, only two Gods are spoken of. The two Epistles represent different schools, for in Origen’s time some of the Platonists believed in two Gods, some in three; Contra Celsum v. 7.

2 Plutarch De Placitis Phil. i. 10. 1 ‘An idea is a being incorporeal, not subsisting by itself, but gives figure unto shapeless matter, and becomes the cause of its phenomena. Socrates and Plato conjecture that these ideas are beings separate from matter, subsisting in the understanding and imagination of the deity, that is, of mind.’


-297- held this view there were two principles, as they were called, God and the World; and the latter might be regarded as a divine Being or not. Others, like Moderatus 1 and Nicomachus, assigned to the Ideas a substantive existence outside the divine Mind. For these there were accordingly three principles. But, though the Ideas might doubtless be gathered up into one, none of the later Platonists had as yet personified the Arch-Idea, or spoken of it as a God. This was the . . .


1 See Zeller iii. p. 514 note. Simp. Phys. f. 50 b. Moderatus of Gades then (temp. Nero) summed up the Ideas in the one Idea of Good, but did not apparently personify them. Zeller insists that οὗτος is Plato, not Moderatus, but this makes no real difference, for Simplicius is describing what Moderatus held to be the doctrine of Plato. Vacherot has therefore no ground for regarding Moderatus as the first propagator of the Platonic Trinity. Nor is he better advised in attributing the same doctrine to Alcinous. For, though Alcinous speaks (chap. 10) of the ουράνιος νοῦς and ἡ ψυχὴ τοῦ κόσμου as distinct from God, these are merely two parts of the one Anima Mundi, as appears from chap. 14. The doctrine of Apuleius (De Habit. Doctr. Plat. i. p. 162 Bip.; Ritter and Preller 530) appears to agree with that of Alcinous. The question is perplexed by the difficulty of the dates. All we know of Alcinous and Nicomachus is that they are older than Plotinus. [Alcinous is older than Hippolytus, who refuted him concerning the soul and matter and resurrection; see Lightfoot Clement ii. 347, 396; Photius Biblioth. 48.] But, with the exceedingly dubious exception of the Second Platonic Epistle, it may be confidently affirmed that no Trinity is to be found in any pagan philosopher who was not well acquainted with Christianity.


-298- work of Numenius, a Syrian of Apamea, whose date falls probably about the middle of the second century. 1 That Numenius differed from all his predecessors in this article is clear from the fact that he claimed to be regarded as the regenerator of philosophy on this very account. He boasts that he has gone back to the fountain-head, to Plato, Socrates, and Pythagoras, to the ancient traditions of Brahmins, Magi, Egyptians, and Jews, and has restored to the schools the forgotten doctrine of Three Gods. 2 Of these the first is Mind, simple and changeless, good and wise. 3 Being changeless . . .


1 All we know as to his date is that he is older than Clement, who refers to him by name and borrows from him not only the well-known comparison of Truth to the body of Pentheus (above, p. 76), but probably that also of the Pilot, and the phrase about the Son of God never leaving his περιωπη; cp. Strom. vii. 2.5; Eus. Praep. Ev. xi. 1 8. 10, 24. Apamea [in the valley of the Orontes] was one of the centres of Neo-Platonism. There lived Amelius, who quoted the Gospel of St. John in support of the doctrine of the Logos (Eus. Praep. Ev. xi. 19), and his adopted son Hostilianus Hesychius (Porphyry Vita Plotini 2, 3). Numenius was a foolish, gossiping man; see the long and absurd story about Lacydes, Eus. Praep. Ev. xiv. 7.

2 Eus. Praep. Ev. xiv. 5. 5. ‘And the cause was, that as Socrates assumed three gods, and philosophized before them in the strains appropriate to each, his hearers did not understand this, but thought that he spoke all at random, and according to the breath of fortune which at any moment prevailed, sometimes one, sometimes another, as it chanced to blow.’ Numenius is no doubt referring to the Second Platonic Epistle, the author of which not only makes Plato ascribe his Trinity to Socrates, but actually to affirm that he himself had never written upon theological questions at all; 314 c ‘But Plato had been a Pythagorean, and knew that Socrates for the same reason took such sayings from no other source than that, and had known what he was saying; and so he too wrapped up his subjects in a manner that was neither usual nor plain to understand; and after conducting them each in the way that he thought fit, and disguising them so as to be half seen and half unseen, he wrote in safety.’ I understand the author to mean, not that Plato did not write the dialogues, but that they are what they profess to be, mere verbatim reports of the teaching of Socrates.

3 For the attributes of the Supreme God, see Eus. Praep. Ev. xi. 22. 3 sqq., and xi. 10. It will be observed that the Deity of Numenius still possesses moral and intellectual qualities. Richter, Neu-Platonische Studien p. 60, thinks that his doctrine of the Absolute did not differ from that of Clement or Plotinus; but see Praep. Ev. xi. 18. 20, where even movement is attributed in some sense to the Supreme. The doctrine of Ecstasy, in a form not unlike the self-induced mesmerism of the Quietists, is to be found in the extract from the Περὶ τἀγαθοῦ given by Eus. Praep. Ev. xi. 22. i.


-299- he cannot create; hence there is derived from him a second God, the Creator. 1 The Son is no longer simple, like the Father, but twofold. ‘Condescending to Matter, which is multiple, he gives to it unity, but is himself divided.’ Part of him is incorporated in the things that he has made, becomes in fact the World-Spirit; part hovers over the world as its guide, ‘riding on Matter as a pilot on his ship’, and maintaining it in harmony with the will of God. ‘He touches the sensible and cares for it, drawing it up to his own nature, because he yearns for it.’ 2 Hence, as Proclus says, the Trinity of Numenius consists of the Father, the Creator, and the World.

Numenius is but repeating the fashionable language of his school when he talks of Brahmins, Magi, and Egyptians. The real source of his doctrine is undoubtedly Jewish. We learn that he allegorized the Old Testament with some skill and success; and, when he called Plato an Attic Moses, he must have had Philo in his mind. But there is an element in his doctrine which is not Philonic. He speaks of Matter not as the . . .


1 Zeller, iii. 547 note, thinks that Numenius derived his doctrine of the Son-Creator from the Gnostics. This is quite impossible, for there is no trace of hostility between the two Deities.


2 Eus. Praep. Ev. xi. 18. i, 24. It will be observed that even in Numenius the doctrine of the Trinity has not yet attained to clearness and consistency. Though he speaks of Three Gods, the Son is still in part the same as the Anima Mundi:. Matter is a dyad, I presume, because it has a ψυχή, that is θυμός and ἐπιθυμία, but no νοῦς till this regulative unifying principle is infused into it by union with the Son. Numenius then has Three Gods, but not Three Hypostases. Plotinus speaks of τρεῖς ὑποστάσεις, but not till after this phrase was current among Christians.


-300- cause of evil, but as something which the Son loves and cares for, so much so that in a peculiar sense he condescends to take its nature upon him. And in strict conformity with this he regarded sin as the result of a conflict, not between Mind and Matter, but between the higher and the lower spirit of man. This is the language of St. Paul; and when we consider that he was well acquainted with the Gospels and possibly with the Epistles, it seems reasonable to conclude that in this peculiar view, on which he is in direct and violent contradiction with Philo and the heathen Platonists in a body, he is reflecting the ideas proper to Christianity. 1 The same thing is, I believe, true of his doctrine of the Trinity, which marks a distinct advance on the teaching of Philo, and an advance in the direction of the Church.

Numenius may not unfairly be regarded as the . . .


1 Contra Celsum i. 15, iv. 51. The story of Jannes and Jambres he may have learned either from 2 Tim. 3:8 or from pseudo-Jona than; see Siegfried. In the latter case he must have had a very remarkable acquaintance with Rabbinical literature, and we can hardly avoid the suspicion that he was a Jew. [Jannes as connected with Moses is known to Pliny, Hist. Nat. xxx. 2, and to Apuleius, de Magia 90.] For his doctrine of Evil as arising out of the strife between the two souls of man, see Zeller. No true Greek would have ex plained the theory of Ideas in so materialistic a way as Numenius. God, the Good, is the Idea of the Son, whom He consequently creates. Just so every sensible Kind has its Idea, and the concrete Man, Ox, Horse, are created by the Ideal Man, Ox, Horse; Praep. Ev. xi. 22. 9. This is the view also of Philo and Clement. I suspect that the motive of Numenius treatise Περὶ Τόπου was given by Philo, in whose terminology Place is another name for the Son. Of the same school and about the same date are Cronius and Harpocration, who are known to us only by name. [But see Nemesius de Natura Hominis ii. 5 1 (Migne P. G. xl. 582). References to Cronius in Stobaeus are quoted by Vacherot, Histoire de l’École d’Alexandrie i. p. 329.]


-301- founder of Neo-Platonism, with the reservation already pointed out in favour of Clement. 1 But I should be carried far beyond my limits, if I were to attempt to define his relation to the great Plotinus. I must turn away from this tempting subject to the system of Unitarian Platonism as it is depicted in the extant fragments of Celsus. 2


1 Porphyry (Vita Plotini 21) would not admit that Plotinus was indebted to Numenius. Nevertheless there was a historical connexion between the two teachers. Numenius was, as Longinus pronounced, far inferior in ἀκρίβεια to Amelius and Plotinus; but, as Zeller says, he pointed out the way for them.

2 The author of the Ἀληθὴς λόγος may or may not have been the Celsus to whom Lucian addressed his exposure of the tricks of Alexander of Abonoteichos. The name was not uncommon. Nor perhaps is it necessary to suppose that the friend of Lucian was an Epicurean, though that is certainly the natural inference from the words ‘In general, the war that he waged upon Epicurus was without truce or parley, naturally enough. Upon whom else would a quack who loved humbug and bitterly hated truth more fittingly make war than upon Epicurus, who discerned the nature of things and alone knew the truth in them?’ (Alexander, ad fin.). The author of the True Word was undoubtedly a Platonist, though Origen charges him with masking atheism under the garb of Platonism, Contra Celsum i. 8; ii. 13; iii. 35, 80; iv. 4, 54; v. 3. He seems to have jumped to this conclusion from the way in which Celsus spoke of the miracles of Jesus, admitting some of them to be true but ascribing them to vulgar magic; see Contra Celsum i. 68. Now the Celsus who was Lucian’s friend had written κατὰ μάγων, Alex. 21. Origen no doubt identified the two, and took it for granted that Lucian’s friend was an Epicurean. Keim shows good reason for supposing that he was right in the first inference and wrong in the second. The date of the True Word is about 178. Lightfoot thinks it was, not Lucian’s Celsus, but an otherwise unknown person who wrote the True Word, which he assigns to the reign of Antoninus Pius (Apostolic Fathers II. i. pp. 514 sq.). Nearly the whole work is found embedded in the reply of Origen. The fragments have been collected, translated, and commented on by several hands, especially by Theodor Keim Celsus Wahres Wort, Zürich 1873, and with less erudition but great clearness and an interesting criticism by B. Aubé in the Histoire des Persécutions de l’Église Paris 1878.


-302- Celsus wrote his True Word against the Christians amid the civil troubles that clouded the latter days of M. Aurelius. Half a century afterwards the treatise fell into the hands of Ambrosius, who sent it to Origen, with a request that he would reply to it. Origen was reluctant to undertake the task, thinking that the one effective answer to all opponents lay in the actual triumph of the Gospel. But as soon as he began to read the book he perceived the gravity of the attack, and threw himself heart and soul into the controversy. Like most of Origen’s work, the Contra Celsum is marred by the fiery impetuosity of its author. He alters and enlarges the plan of his defence. With such haste does he pour out the eager flood of dictation, following and combating his antagonist sentence by sentence, that he often does not catch the point of an argument till he has wandered round it for many a page, and even to the last he does not clearly realize that Celsus was not an Epicurean but a Platonist.

Celsus is scarcely to be called a philosopher, for he is deficient in system, penetration, and sympathy. But he is a favourable specimen of the highly cultivated man of the world, keen, positive and logical, sceptical and mocking, yet not without genuine moral convictions, a student of the science of religion, an enlightened advocate of the reformed Paganism. He was well armed for his task, for he had studied the four Gospels and the books of Genesis and Exodus, possessed some knowledge of the Prophets and the Epistles, and had read more or less of Gnostic and Jewish, or Jewish-Christian, literature. 1 Besides, he had travelled widely, and . . .


1 According to Tischendorf and Volkmar, Celsus used all the canonical and some uncanonical Gospels; according to Meyer and Zeller, the Synoptics but not John; according to Redepenning and Mosheim, no canonical Gospel at all, but Jewish and Apocryphal documents. The question is discussed by Keim, pp. 219 sqq., who concludes that Celsus was well acquainted with all four canonical Gospels, that he makes most use of that of Matthew, that the general colouring of the Christology known to him is Johannine, and that there is no certain trace of his employment of any apocryphal Gospel. Of the Pauline Epistles Keim thinks he knew only a few phrases picked up in conversation, and his acquaintance with Old Testament prophecy is general and vague. See also Westcott Hist, of the Canon of the New Test., ed. 7, pp. 411 sq.


-303- sought conversation with religious professors of every shade, especially with Christians. He had gained, as he thought, full knowledge of his subject before he took up the pen. Nor is he consciously unjust. He pours out his scorn with perfect impartiality upon the begging popular religions. He does not repeat the old and not yet extinct slanders against the Church, and he pays a grudging respect to the purity of Christian morals. Yet when he charges the Christians with sorcery, want of patriotism and disloyalty, when he asserts with emphasis that every church is an illicit college, he is deliberately giving a new edge to the most deadly of all the accusations under which the Christians suffered. 1 . . .


1 Their churches are illicit colleges, C. Cels. i. 1, 7; the charge of magic is made, i. 6, 68, vi. 39; that of want of patriotism, faction, viii. 2. 21. The law against illicit clubs or colleges was severe and bore very hard on the Christians. See the exceedingly interesting treatise of Mommsen, De Collegiis et Sodaliriis Romanorum, Kiliae 1843. See also G. Champagny Les Antonins iii. append, p. 437, ed. 1875. A Senatus Consultum passed probably under Augustus, while recognizing the ancient collegia opificum, rendered all other clubs except burial societies illegal. They were allowed to meet once a month for business purposes, when the subscription (the ‘stips menstrua’) was collected; but they had other unrestricted meetings for the purpose of offering sacrifice in the temple of the patron God and feasting together. The qualified toleration of benefit societies by the Senatus Consultum of Augustus appears to have been confined to Rome, and was extended to Italy and the Provinces by Severus (Digest xlvii. 22). Before this time clubs of all kinds and denominations appear to have been illegal in Italy and the Provinces without special authorization from the emperor, and this was very grudgingly conferred (see the Rescript of Trajan in Pliny Ep. x. 42, 43; Tac. Ann. xiv. 17). Aubé, Persecutions de l’Eglise i. p. 250, thinks that collegia funeraria were everywhere and always permitted: but on p. 252 he speaks doubtfully. The language of Tertullian, Apol. 39, shows how easily the Christian Churches could be brought under this law. He does not deny that each Church is a collegium; all he aims at proving is that its objects are good, and its management exemplary. The very phrases that are used of colleges occur in his description, and no doubt are used purposely ‘coimus in coetum si quod arcae genus est’, the regular word for the treasure chest of a collegium ‘modicam unusquisque stipem menstrua die vel quum velit et si modo velit et si modo possit apponit’ the money was applied ‘egenis alendis humandisque’. They had coenae also, but how different from those of the colleges! He concludes, ‘quum probi, quum boni coeunt, quum casti congregantur, non est factio dicenda sed curia. ‘Curia’ is apparently equivalent to ‘collegium licitum’, as ‘factio’ to ‘collegium illicitum’. The charge of factiousness, want of patriotism, brought the Christian under the law of Maiestas, and magic was a capital crime. The subject of the laws under which Christians suffered has been investigated by E. Le Blant, Note sur les bases juridiques des poursuites dirige es contre les Martyrs, Acad. des Inscr., Nouvelle Série, vol. ii (1866) p. 358. It seems probable that there never was any law against Christianity as such. But there were several Rescripts directing how the laws in point were to be enforced. Of these the most important were that of Trajan forbidding anonymous accusations, that of Hadrian ordering that Christians should not be condemned except for definite offences against the laws, and another or others unknown directing that when convicted they should be put to death by decapitation, and that torture should only be applied in the usual way to force confession. See Tertullian Ad Scapulam 4: Quid enim amplius tibi mandatur quam nocentes confesses damnare, negantes autem ad tormenta revocare? … sine accusatore negans se auditurum hominem secundum mandata. … Nam et nunc a praeside Legionis et a praeside Mauritaniae vexatur hoc nomen, sed gladio tenus sicut et a primordio mandatum est animadvert! in huiusmodi . [If the reference here is to the Rescript of M. Aurelius in the case of the martyrs of Lyons and Vienne (Eus. H. E. v. i. 47), a primordio is an exaggeration.] The same treatise shows how little these wise restrictions were regarded by many of the governors. Severus is said to have gone further: Spartian Vita Severi 17 ludaeos fieri sub grandi poena vetuit: idem etiam de Christianis sanxit’. That he made sharp enactments against conversion to Judaism seems to be certain; see Julius Paullus Sent. v. 22. 3, in Huschke. Jurispe Antejust.; the incident recorded in Spartian’s Life of Caracalla i; and Origen Contra Celsum ii. 13. But it is almost certain from Tertullian Apol. 5 and Ad Scap. that he made no new and special enactment against Christianity.


-304- Well did he know the fatal significance of these cruel insinuations.

We need not follow in detail his criticism of the Scriptures. He treats the Gospel from the point of -305- view of the Jew, the Law from that of an educated Greek. This enabled him to insist upon the factious nature of the new faith, the Christians being renegade Jews as the Jews themselves were renegade Egyptians; and at the same time to set in the strongest and most repulsive light whatever had been or could be urged against its documents. He was under no inherited restraint, and whatever his biting wit could find to say he said. But what we are concerned with is the more serious part of his work, his own belief, his intellectual relation towards Christianity, his view of the general religious position of the time.

In the creed of Celsus there is one supreme God. He is good, beautiful, and happy, but has no movement, attribute or name. He created all reasonable immortal beings, the soul of man and the lower deities; and the lower deities created the world. His work is perfect, so that He never needs to interfere for its correction or improvement. And being absolutely just and good, He is untouched by pity. Man’s relation to Him may alter, but His relation to man must ever be the same. 1 It is still the old conception of God as pure Intelligence. . . .


1 On this point it is worthy of notice that Origen does not contradict Celsus:, iii. 71. But God, in the view of Celsus, is still moral and intelligent, though He has no name; for He knows what goes on upon earth; iv. 3.


God is the supreme ruler of Nature, whose laws are the expression of His reason; and in this sense He may be considered as exercising a general providence. But something more than this was demanded by the con science of the times in which Celsus lived. To satisfy this need he inserts between God and the world the hierarchy of the inferior gods or Demons. These sub ordinate powers fill a very remarkable place in all the Platonic systems of the time. They change philosophy into religion; they are the mediators between God and man, and, what is even still more important, they form the connecting link between the old and the reformed Paganism.

It is not indeed a novel conception, for the Demons are as old as the poems of Hesiod, and appear in the Timaeus and the Symposium. But in the modern Platonists, Plutarch, Maximus Tyrius, or Celsus, they are no longer a subordinate accidental feature. Like the Powers of Philo, they are the real creators of all except the soul of man. Some of them are demons in the lowest sense of the word, spirits of evil banished from the presence of God. But for the most part they are of mixed nature, some almost wholly divine, some little better than man. They exercise rule over special provinces of Nature, sending the lightning and the rain; they are the ‘invisible farmers’, who make the crops to grow and the cattle to increase. They are the ‘lords of the prison-house’, rulers of the darkness -307- of this world in which the fallen spirit of man is confined for its purification. They are the gods of the old national mythologies, whom in times past men ignorantly worshipped as the Supreme. They give oracles, prophecies, revelations, send and cure diseases, work miracles. 1 They claim honour and service from man, the lower delighting in the steam and blood of sacrifices, the higher accepting no offering but that of a pure and holy spirit. Thus the Platonist found still a way to believe in the personal loving care of God for His creatures. He who denies the Demons, says Plutarch, denies providence, and breaks the chain that unites the world to the throne of God. 2 . . .

1 [The Christian did not deny these pagan miracles; see Athenag. Legatio 23 (Otto p. 116).]


2 Plutarch De defectu Orac. 13. Special Providence and Mediation were the two great religious needs supplied by the doctrine of Demons. Both are very clearly brought out by Maximus Tyrius. For the latter, see Oration xv. Without the Demons no relation could exist between God and man. It is necessary then that there should be a class of beings partaking of both natures. For the former see xvii. 12, where there is an elaborate picture of the world as the palace of God: There is the great King tranquil as Law, bestowing upon his subjects the salvation that exists in him. There are the partners of his rule, many visible gods, many invisible. Some wait at his threshold, as it were his ushers; some are ministers again of these, and some are still lower in degree. Thou seest the hierarchy and graduation of rule which stretches down from God to earth. Maximus distinguishes Two Lives in almost exactly the same way as Philo. The lower is the knowledge of God in His works: for God is beautiful, and all that is beautiful will guide us to Him, the beauty of the human frame, of a flowering mead, of a fair-flowing river, of the sea and sky and the gods in the sky, that is the stars. ‘If these are enough for thee, thou hast seen God.’ But for higher minds there is higher knowledge. To them (xvi. 7) the sensible suggests the suprasensual; as the song of Demodocus suggested to Odysseus the siege of Troy, as the lyre suggests the beloved one who played on it, so the mind mounts up from lower to higher by a process resembling the thrill which vibrates through the slender shaft of a lance when you grasp the butt. The same ideas will be found in Plutarch, and indeed in Plato, Symposium 202e; but in Maximus and Celsus they have grown immensely in relative importance, and the reason for this is to be found no doubt in the conflict with Christianity. The doctrine of the Demons (Daimones) properly understood would, it was hoped, make the belief in Christ unnecessary.


-308- There are so many coincidences between the Pagan doctrine of the Demons and the Christian doctrine of Angels and demons, that we are justified in assuming a close historical connexion between the two. But the relation of these discrowned gods to the life of the soul is Philonic or Gnostic rather than Christian. They are the gods of the imperfect, the saviours of those who are capable of virtue but not of knowledge. Here again we have the theory of the Two Lives, but they are separated by an impassable gulf. All but the gifted few are debarred by the law of Nature from the higher.

This brings us to the first cardinal difference between Celsus and Origen. How can God be known? ‘It is hard to find Him out,’ replied the heathen, ‘impossible to reveal Him to all.’ The knowledge of God cannot be conveyed in words; but from much meditation and close personal converse with the wise a spark is kindled in the soul. Philosophy can give us ‘some conception’, which the mind of the elect must develop for itself. The Christian replied, ‘God is known to us, as far as He can be known, in the Incarnate Christ.’

This was the great rock of offence. Celsus flung himself with all his force against the doctrine of the Incarnation. He resisted it on a priori grounds. Why should God come down to earth? Does He not already -309- know what is happening there, and can He not remedy what is amiss without descending in person? How can He forsake His proper abode, when, if you make the least change in the order of Nature, all must go to wreck? God is perfectly good, beautiful, happy; if He descends into the world in human shape, He must change, and suffer in the change an unutterable degradation. And why should He need like a bad workman to correct what He has once made? Or if at all, why not till after the lapse of so many ages, waking out of sleep, as it were, and proceeding in unseemly haste to amend the consequences of His long neglect?

The answer to all this from the Christian point of view was easy. Celsus does not realize, as Origen with truth insists, either the nature of God, or the value of the human soul, or the necessary operation of its freedom. No Christian asserted that God ‘came down’, in such a sense as that His throne in heaven should be left untenanted. Nor was it His own work that needed correction, but the work of man. Nor was the resolve a late and sudden one, for law-giver, priest, and prophet had borne their part in the progressive revelation, and the birth of Christ is but the crown of a long development. 1 Nor was God degraded by taking upon Him the form of a servant. For He who knew no sin knew no shame. But here the Christian and the heathen move in different planes, and their minds do not touch. To the one moral evil is the only pollution; to the other mere contact with matter is, in the case of God, inconceivable. Even the Christian is here betrayed . . .


1 Contra Celsum iv. 4, 7. But in the next chapter Origen goes on to say, the full explanation depends on the doctrine of pre-existence and the varying needs of purification entailed by the antenatal sin.


-310- into weakness by mental associations which he could not wholly shake off. Christ came ‘out of condescension to those who cannot look upon the dazzling radiance of the Godhead; He becomes Man till he that has received Him in this guise, being little by little lifted up by the Word, is able to contemplate His proper shape ≪form≫.’ 1 Origen held, and it is, as we have seen, one of his characteristic thoughts, that the Incarnation was a weakening and obscuring of the divine glory. It is not with him the highest and profoundest revelation of the divine love.

In the historical argument of Celsus again we see this Platonic hatred of matter come out in strong relief. Jesus, he affirmed, making use of Jewish fables still to be found in the Talmud, was an impostor, who suffered the death He deserved. He was not the promised Messiah, for the Prophets spoke only of a King and Conqueror. He was not a Son of God, for then His mother would have been a queen like Semele or Andromeda. His person would have been beautiful; His flesh would not have been liable to pain; He would have vanished from the Cross, and appeared again in majesty to confound His enemies. His miracles, allowing them genuine, prove nothing, as He Himself admitted. His Resurrection rests upon the testimony of ‘a hysterical woman’. 2 Above all, He failed; for the Jews who . . .


1 Contra Celsum iv. 15, 19. In the latter passage we read the singular words, ‘no one who is either in a state of sickness or mental alienation is a friend of God’. The language is to be explained by Origen’s view of the Epinoiai; see Lecture V (pp. 209 sqq.).

2 Jesus warned His disciples that false Christs would work miracles; ii. 48, 49, 54. As pointed out above, Celsus did not wholly deny the miracles of Jesus, though he denied their significance. The ‘hysterical woman’ is the Magdalene. See ii. 55, (the theory of Strauss, the theory of deliberate imposition).


-311- were yearning for their Saviour rejected Him, and His own disciples abandoned and denied Him.

It did not occur to this singularly able man that, when the assigned cause is so inadequate to the mani fest result, there must be some flaw in the calculation. Celsus dashes against the facts in passionate derision. ‘He has failed’, he cries, ‘and yet you believe Him.’ The Christian’s rejoinder was triumphant. He had but to point to the churches, springing up on all sides like grass after rain, and answer, ‘He has not failed — because we believe Him.’ This is in fact the chief of the external supports on which the faith of Origen reposed. He believed Scripture to be the Word of God; yet as we have seen he did not insist upon its literal truth. He believed in Miracles, and held that the power of working them was still bestowed upon the Church. Yet he confesses that, however powerful these signs and wonders had once been in calling forth faith, they had come to be regarded as myths, and themselves needed proof. 1 The argument from the fulfillment . . .


1 In Joan. ii. 28 (Lom. i. 152). Some miracles Origen doubted or explained away; the carrying of Christ up into a mountain by the Tempter he thought impossible, and (Contra Celsum ii. 48) the daughter of the Ruler of the Synagogue perhaps only slept. But the latter is accepted as a real instance of raising the dead, In Galatas (Lom. v. 269), where it is said that Christ’s miracles are historically true, and continue in the Church in a spiritual sense. In Jerem. Hom. iv. 3, the power of miracles has been lost by the Church because of her corruption. But this refers only to the greater miracles, and indeed only with some limitation even to these; see Contra Celsum ii. 8: ‘they have no longer prophets nor miracles, traces of which to a considerable extent are still found among Christians, and some of them more remarkable than any that existed among the Jews’. The ἴχνη (traces) are Exorcism, Healing, Prophecy, ibid. i. 46. But the disciples of Jesus work even greater miracles in opening the eyes of the spiritually blind, ibid. ii. 48. Miracles prove the divinity of Christ, and are themselves proved by prophecy, ibid. viii. 9. The spread of Christianity was at first due to Miracles, ibid. viii. 47. Chrysippus, Plutarch, Numenius tell of Pagan miracles, which even Celsus believed in. Why then are Christian miracles false? Care and study are requisite to distinguish true miracles from imposture, ibid. v. 57. Miracles are ὑπὲρ ϕίσιν, not παρὰ ϕίσιν, ibid. v. 23; see also the following chapter. Another great evidence was to be found in the voluntary sufferings of the Apostles, ibid. i. 31, iii. 23.


-312- of prophecy he considered as among the greatest of all the evidences. 1 But the one crowning proof of the truth of the Gospel, the miracle of all miracles, was the Christian life and the Christian society. To this he recurs again and again. He who questioned all things could doubt of nothing, when he fixed his eyes on the figure of the Church advancing swiftly onwards with the star of victory on her brow. 2

Other questions mooted in this famous debate, concerning the estate and destiny of man, are of secondary importance. Evil, Celsus held, was caused by the resistance of Matter to the moulding hand of God. Now, as the quantity of Matter is fixed and its resistance is uniform, it follows that the quantity of Evil also is capable neither of increase nor of diminution. Man again, he taught, was by no means the chief object of . . .


1 Prophecy is more important than Miracles, In Joan. ii. 28; cp. In Joan. xxxii. 9 ad fin.; Contra Celsum vi. 10, viii. 48.

2 Contra Celsum iii. 9, iv. 32, vii. 26; In Cant. Cantic. iii (Lom. xv. 43). There are many other passages of the same tenor. If we may rely upon In Lucam Hom. vi (Lom. v. 106), Christianity had already been preached in Britain; but this appears to be contradicted by the passage quoted above, p. 207 note. In Contra Celsum iii. 65, Origen tells us that the converts were not as a rule drawn from the vicious classes.


-313- divine care, many of the animals being equal, or even superior, to him in wisdom and in piety. 1 These two ideas caused in him a cynical scorn of all endeavours to raise the vulgar masses from their degradation; and here again, surely from no truly philosophic reason, he was in fierce antagonism to the active, and oftentimes doubtless ignorant, Christian missionaries. His doctrine of a Future Life was that of his school. The main point at issue here was the belief in the Resurrection of the Body. To the Platonist this was revolting. ‘They say’, he exclaims, ‘that everything is possible to God. But God cannot do what is shameful, and will not do what is unnatural’. 2 His arguments are . . .


1 For the fixed quantity of Evil, see iv. 62, 69, 99; for its connexion with Matter, iv. 65, viii. 55. Keim maintains that Celsus departs from Socrates and Plato in denying that God made the world for man any more than for brutes; that man, as regards his body, is no better than the brutes; that God is no more angry with man than with apes or flies, and that many of the animals are better than man, iv. 52-99. It must be allowed that his language on the subject of Evil is rather Stoic than Platonic. But all that he says is a natural consequence of the doctrines of the independence of Matter and of Metempsychosis. The Cynics, who were indefatigable street preachers (and in other respects also bore a striking resemblance to the Mendicant Friars), were in this honourably distinguished from their Stoic cousins. See Contra Celsum iii. 50. It was the Cynic Demonax who advised the Athenians to destroy the altar of Pity if they persisted in their plan of introducing gladiatorial shows into the city; Lucian Demonax 57. [See the admirable sketch of the Cynic ideal given by Epictetus iii. 22: cp. also Lightfoot Apost. Fathers II. i. p. 331, note 3.] To this love of souls rather than to the reason assigned by Augustine we may ascribe the singular fact that Cynicism outlived Stoicism: see Aug. Contra Academ. iii. 19 ‘Nunc philosophos non fere vidimus nisi aut Cynicos aut Peripateticos aut Platonicos. Et Cynicos quidem, quia eos vitae quaedam delectat libertas atque licentia’.

2 The hope of the Resurrection is σκωλήκων ἐλπίς (a worm-eaten hope), Contra Celsum v. 14; the Christians are δειλὸνβ καὶ ϕιλοσώματον γένος, vii. 36, and παντελῶς τῇ σαρκὶ ἐνδεδεμένοι, vii. 42. In vii. 36 again he says, ‘This is not the language of a man; it comes not from the soul, but from the flesh. Let them hearken to us, if such a spiritless and carnal race are able to do so: if, instead of exercising the senses, you look upwards with the soul; if, turning away the eye of the body, you open the eye of the mind thus and thus only will you be able to see God.’ For this use of the word “flesh” by Stoics and Platonists cp. Seneca Ep. 65, Consol. ad Mar. 24; Persius ii. 62 (pulpa) (Zeller Theol. Jahrb. 1852, pp. 293 sqq.). It may perhaps be doubted whether this word was borrowed from the Christian vocabulary. But this doubt will hardly apply to the word ‘angel’. Maximus Tyrius xvii. 9, Άκαδεμίας ἡμῖν ἄγγελος of Plato. I have seen also the phrase ‘angelic life’, but I cannot now recover the reference.


-314- levelled against the cruder forms of the belief, and we have already seen what was Origen’s reply.

Celsus was a bitter foe to Christianity, but he was also a man of far-sighted practical vision, and his hostility had its limits. He forgot philosophy, and even justice, in his anger against these willful sectaries, whose growth threatened destruction to temple and school. But he was the first of the governing classes who clearly discerned the rift that was beginning to divide society, and he viewed with alarm the danger that might arise from a large, intelligent, ill-used and alienated class, at a time when the state was called upon to struggle for its existence against the barbarians of the Danube. And so while Marcus Aurelius was lamenting in neatly turned phrases the ‘dogged obstinacy’ of the martyrs of Vienne, whom he had himself condemned to death on the most ridiculous accusations, this un known scholar was asking whether it was already too late to heal the breach.

Changing his tone of angry mockery for one of stern but not unfriendly remonstrance, he presses the Christians to consider whether after all it is impossible to serve Two Masters. Every good citizen ought to respect the worship of his fathers. And God gave to the Demons the honour which they claimed. Why then should the Christian refuse to eat at the Demons’ table? They give us corn and wine and the very air -315- we breathe; we must either submit to their benefits or quit the world altogether. All that is really important in Christianity is the belief in the immortality of the soul, in the future blessedness of the good, the eternal punishment of the wicked. Better suffer any torments than deny this faith. 1 But why not swear by the emperor, the dispenser of all temporal blessings, as God of all spiritual? Why not sing a paean to the bright Sun or Athena, and at any rate kiss the hand to those lower deities who can do us harm if neglected? 2 It cannot be supposed that the great Roman Empire will abandon its tried and ancient faith for a barbarous novelty. ‘He who thinks this knows nothing.’ 3 If there is to be unity, the Church must make concessions, and Christ must accept a place, as in the Lararium of Alexander Severus, side by side with Apollonius and the chief gods of Rome.

And so Celsus concludes with an almost pathetic exhortation to the injured Christians to have pity on their country, to rally round Caesar’s eagles against the common foe, and not to refuse to serve in public offices, but in this way also to give their support to the laws and piety. The conclusion of the True Word is creditable both to the sagacity and to the temper of its author. But, when the persecutor thus found his weapons . . .


1 Contra Celsum ≪vii. 68,≫ viii. ≪2, 24, 28, 49,≫ 53, (55,)≫ 66.

2 Δεξιοῦσθαι, not θρησκεύειν or θεραπεύειν or δουλεύειν, is all the observance Celsus claims for those inferior demons, like the Egyptian Decani, whose influence was chiefly malefic; viii. 58. Yet what a concession is this! Gibbon might well have reckoned amongst the causes of the triumph of Christianity the immorality and absurdity of the best alternative that the best Pagans could offer. On kissing the hand to idols, see Holden’s note on Minucius Felix Octavius 2.

3 Contra Celsum viii. 72.


-316- breaking in his grasp and stooped to appeal to the generosity of his victim, it is evident that the battle was already lost.

‘Did Celsus know’, says Origen in one place, 1 ‘what to think of the immortal soul, its nature, its destiny, he would not mock at the Incarnation which is due to the great love of God for man.’ There is justice in this reproach as regards Celsus, but it is hardly applicable to the Platonists generally. The real root of the difficulty lay in their sharp antithesis of Form as good to Matter as evil. Had Philo ever considered the question, he must have rejected Christ on the same grounds as Celsus, though assuredly without denying, as Celsus did, the moral beauty of the Saviour’s life. Connected with the abhorrence of Matter was the disapproval of all emotion, which was regarded as inseparably linked with the perishable body. Hence the ancient world, with all its noble and intelligent devotion to truth and justice and the masculine virtues generally, was unable to perceive that the one cure for moral evil is Love, and that, as Love is necessarily self-sacrificing, so vicarious suffering is the deepest and most universal law of Ethics. This was then, as it is now, the leading difference between the ‘wisdom of the world’ and the preaching of the Cross. Even the Church hardly realized the full meaning of the truth of which she was the custodian. But the truth was given to her not in a doctrine, nor in a tradition, but in a Life. The love of Jesus, like the power of light, may be wrongly analysed, but its width and its potency are none the less for our failure to explain them. It is one of the powers of Nature; it is enough that it is there.


1 Celsum iv. 17.

Top ↑


Lecture VIII. Summary

“Blame not before thou hast examined the truth: understand first and then rebuke.” Ecclesiasticus 11:7

We have traced in the previous Lectures the rise of the Eclectic Alexandrine Platonism and the mode of its application to Christian life and doctrine. In the latter sphere its effect is to be traced mainly in the development of those articles of the Creed which treat of the mystery of the Trinity; in the former in the attempt to reconcile the peculiar teaching of St. Paul, or, to employ a much-abused word, Paulinism, with the older disciplinary theory of the Church. We have seen also how heathen Platonism borrowed light from the Gospel. There can be little doubt that in all essential points, especially as regards the doctrine of the Trinity, the indebtedness lies, not upon the Church, but upon the School. It remains for us in the present Lecture to pass in hasty review the later history of Alexandrinism, and to estimate in some degree the permanent value of its contribution to Christian thought.

Clement had no enemies in life or in death. He did not, it is true, escape censure. Pope Gelasius is said to have placed his writings in the first Index librorum prohibitorum, but the statement probably refers to the author of the pseudo-Clementine Homilies and Recognitions. 1 More serious was the attack of Photius in . . .


1 The decree of Gelasius ≪on which see Bardenhewer Patrology p. 632; E. von Dobschütz Das Decretum Gelasianum, T. & U, xxxviii, Leipz. 1912; Chapman in Rev. Benedictine xxx. 2 (Ap. 1913)≫ will be found in A. Thiel Epistolae Pont. Rom. Genuinae pt. i. p. 461. Gelasius amongst other books condemns ‘Itinerarium nomine Petri Apostoli quod appellatur Sancti dementis, libri numero decem, apocryphum.’ This probably refers to the Recognitions. Then, after a considerable number of other works, ‘Opuscula alterius dementis Alexandrini apocrypha.’ Benedict XIV considered this to refer to our Clement; the Bollandists to ‘another’, the pseudo-Clement. Not less than three words in this brief sentence are obscure, opuscula, alterius, and apocrypha. The first can hardly refer to works of the bulk of the Stromateis and Hypotyposes; the second, standing as it does practically by itself, may distinguish Clement of Alexandria from the author of the Recognitions or our Clement from another Alexandrine Clement; the third may refer to the professions of mystery so common in the Stromateis and elsewhere, or may refer to spurious works. Zahn (Forsch. iii. 140) is inclined to think that the genuine works of our Clement are meant. But I doubt whether the works of our Clement were known at Rome, seeing that the much more famous Origen was wholly unknown to Pope Anastasius before the Rufinian commotion, and almost wholly unknown to Augustine. Paulinus of Nola (Ep. xlvi. 2) translated from the Greek a work ‘sancti dementis’, but we do not know what Clement or what work. Rosweyd guessed that the Recognitions was meant, and he is followed by Dict. of Christian Biography iv. p. 558. See Lightfoot Apostolic Fathers I. i. p. 147.


-318- the ninth century, though even this was temperate and not unkindly. The censures of Photius were directed against the Hypotyposes, a commentary on the Bible in eight books, of which we now possess only a few Greek fragments, and an adulterated Latin version of the notes on the Catholic Epistles. Some of his charges can rest upon nothing but error. Others are accurate, but insignificant and uncritical. 1 In Egypt a certain . . .


1 Photius thought the Stromateis unsound in some points which he does not specify (Cod. cxi), and he enumerates several definite errors which he detected in the Hypotyposes. Clement, he says, here taught the Eternity of Matter, Metempsychosis, and the existence of several worlds before Adam, that is to say Pre-existence. All these Clement in his extant works denies (but the last with some uncertainty, see above, p. 106). Photius is right in affirming that Clement held the doctrine of Ideas, but wrong if he means that he attributed to the Ideas an independent existence outside of the Son. He is probably right again in his statement that Clement applied the verb κτίζειν (make) to the Generation of the Son (see above, p. 100), and certainly right in his statement that Clement interpreted Genesis vi. 2 of actual marriage between the fallen angels and the daughters of men. Again, he asserts that Clement described the creation of Eve from Adam in a manner that contradicted Tradition. To what this refers we do not know. Again, that he taught μὴ σαρκωθῆναι τὸν λόγον ἀλλὰ δόξαι. This is a grave exaggeration. It is incredible that Clement should have taught Docetism pure and simple in the Hypotyposes) though there is that in the Stromateis which shows us how the exaggeration might arise (see above, p. 102). Lastly, λόγους τοῦ πατρὸς δύο τερατολογῶν ἀπελέγχεται. This most probably rests on some confusion between the universal logos, the νοῦς of man, and the hypostatic Logos, the Son (see Zahn Forschungen iii. p. 144). The accusation is especially based upon the Hypotyposes; otherwise we might suppose with Westcott that it rests upon a misunderstanding of the Excerpta. Origen also (see Pamphili Apologia 5 (Migne P. G. xvii. c. 588) and Huet Origeniana ii. 3. 15) was charged with preaching ‘two Christs’, as afterwards was Nestorius. In all three cases the accusation has no other root than an unreasoning bitterness of which the most ardent controversialist would now feel ashamed. Photius showed his kindly feeling towards Clement, not by trying to understand him, but by supposing that his writings had been adulterated: καὶ ἄλλα δὲ μυρία ϕλυαρεῖ καὶ βλασϕημεῖ εἴτε αὐτός͵ εἴτε τις ἕτερος τὸ αὐτοῦ πρόσωπον ὑποκριθείς.


-319- suspicion appears to have fallen upon Clement, owing to his personal connexion with Origen. 1 But with these exceptions his posthumous history has been like his life, peaceful, honourable, and obscure. 2 Among Mystic writers he has enjoyed a certain fame; but he has been little read, and Bishop Potter is almost the only scholar of note who has cared to spend much labour upon his writings. Partly this is due to his antique cast of thought; partly to his style, which . . .


1 Dr. Zahn, Forschungen iii. p. 141, refers to a Coptic Synaxarium in which Clement, Origen, and Arius are said to have been excommunicated by the ≪bishop≫ Demetrius.

2 [Clement was read by Egyptian ascetics: see Hist. Lausiac. 60, where a solitary bequeaths to an exiled bishop her copy of a treatise of Clement on Amos.]


-320- elaborate as it is does not lend itself to quotation; partly to the extreme difficulty of the text. Yet his books are in many ways the most valuable monument of the early Church, the more precious to all intelligent students because he lived, not like Origen in the full stream of events, but in a quiet backwater, where primitive thoughts and habits lingered longer than elsewhere. It is much to be desired that some competent editor should present his writings to the world in a less repulsive form than they bear at present, 1 overlaid as they are with the rust of long neglect.

Down to the seventeenth century the learning, virtues, and orthodoxy of Clement were held to merit for him the title of Saint. His name filled a place in the Martyrologies, and his festival was fixed for the fourth of December. But, when the Roman Martyrology was revised by Clement VIII, the name of the Alexandrine doctor was omitted from the roll on the advice of Cardinal Baronius. Benedict XIV maintained the decision of his predecessor, on the grounds that Clement’s life was little known, that he had never obtained public cultus in the Church, and that some of his doctrines were, if not erroneous, at least suspect. The last article refers chiefly to the accusations of Photius. 2 . . .


1 ≪This has now been done in the Clemens Alexandrinus of Dr. Otto Stahlin in Die griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller der ersten drei Jahrhunderte, published by the Patristic Commission of the Royal Prussian Academy of Sciences, Leipzig 1905-1909.≫


1 Benedict justified the omission of Clement’s name in the course of his elaborate Letter to King John of Portugal, who had undertaken to bear the expense of a new edition of the Martyrology. The Letter will be found in the Bullarium of Benedict XIV, published at Venice 1778, no. liv. in vol. ii. p. 195. Abbe Cognat refers to the Mechlin Bullarium of 1827, vol. vi. p. 122. Benedict rested his doubts upon the Decree of Gelasius, the remarks of Cassiodorus (or Cassiodorius) upon the Adumbrationes (see Zahn iii. 133 sqq.), the criticisms of Barbeirac and Petavius, and those of Photius.


-321- But the Abbé Cognat does not hesitate to discuss the reasons upon which this verdict is based. It is not, he urges, an ex cathedra judgement, and therefore though valid may be reversed. Its effect is simply to banish the name of Clement from the Martyrology, and to refuse him the honour of dulia. But in his own mind the candid Roman Catholic priest still appears to regard as a saint the saintly advocate of Disinterested Love, and few deserve the title better than this most reasonable, humane, and sunny spirit. 1

Very different has been the fate of Origen. Even before his death he was the mark of the most devoted affection and of the bitterest hostility, 2 and for many ages the same stormy halo surrounded his name. Down to the end of the fourth century he retained upon the whole the high estimation to which his learning, his piety, and his sufferings entitled him. If portions . . .


1 See J. Cognat Clément d’Alexandria Paris 1859. In France Clement has never lost his title. Migne Dictionnaire de Patrologie: ‘Ni l’autorite de Benoit XIV ni celle du Martyrologe Romain n’ont jamais empêché les Églises de France de célébrer sa feête le 4 décembre, suivant le martyrologe et l’ autorité d’Usuard.’ His name will be found in the popular lists of saints whose names may be given to French children at baptism (see for instance Bouillet’s Atlas d’Histoire et de Géographie, Hachette 1877). Bossuet speaks of him as St. Clement after his erasure from the Roman Martyrology.

2 In Lucam Hom. xxv ‘Quod quidem in ecclesia patimur; plerique enim dum plus nos diligunt quam meremur haec iactant et loquuntur, sermones nostros doctrinamque laudantes, quae conscientia nostra non recipit. Alii vero, tractatus nostros calumniantes, ea sentire nos criminantur quae nunquam sensisse nos novimus’: De Princ. ii. 10. i Offenduntur quidam in ecclesiastica fide, quasi velut stulte et penitus insipienter de resurrectione credamus; praecipue haeretici: cp. De Princ. i. 6. i, the Epistola ad Amicos, and the Apologia of Pamphilus. The foundation of the following sections will be found, where not otherwise specified in the notes, in Huet and Denis.


-322- of his doctrines were assailed by Methodius and Eustathius, Pamphilus and Eusebius cherished his memory with loyal veneration, and protested against the ignorant misrepresentations of those who could not understand the greatness they decried; Athanasius stamped with high approval his doctrine of the Trinity; Basil and Gregory Nazianzen edited the Philocalia, a selection from his works, including passages from the De Principiis. reputed the most dangerous of all; Gregory of Nyssa repeated a large portion of his speculations; Hilary of Poitiers, Eusebius of Vercellae, Ambrose translated into Latin certain of the Commentaries or Homilies. Even Jerome, in his earlier and better days, could find no language too strong to express his admiration for one who was a teacher of the Church second only to the great Apostle.’ 1

But towards the end of the fourth century the clouds began to gather. The Church was distracted by a series of heresies, and though none of these could be traced directly to Origen, there were expressions in his endless discussions that might seem to favour them all. . . .


1 In the Preface to his translation of the Homilies on Ezekiel. In the Preface to his translation of the Homilies on the Song of Songs he applies to Origen the text Introduxit me rex in cubiculum ‘suum’. In his later days Jerome pressed very unfairly upon Origen, and is not to be acquitted of inconsistency, sophistry, harshness, and duplicity. Yet let us notice here he always spoke with the profoundest respect of Origen’s services: Liber Hebraic. Quaest. in Gen. preface: ‘Hoc unum dico; vellem cum invidia nominis eius habere etiam scientiam Scripturarum, flocci pendens imagines umbrasque larvarum, quarum natura esse dicitur terrere parvulos et in angulis garrire tenebrosis’. Again, in Ep. lxxxiv ad Pammachium et Oceanum 8 ‘Non imitemur eius vitia cuius virtutes non possumus sequi. … Sed dicas, Si multorum communis est error, cur solum persequimini? Quia vos solum laudatis ut apostolum. Tolle amoris ὑπερβολήν et nos tollimus odii magnitudinem.’


-323- The Arians never appealed to him; yet he was called the father of Arianism. 1 Pelagius considered that he was refuting Origen; yet Jerome, not without reason, treated the two doctrines as closely allied. The name of Origen again was brought into question by the Eutychian and Nestorian disputes. All this fostered a sense of uneasiness, which was aggravated by the growing but obscure popularity of his teaching on the subjects of Pre-existence and the Resurrection. Many of the monks in Egypt and Palestine brooded in the silence of their Lauras over the fascinating visions of the Eternal Gospel, and it became a question with the rulers of the Church whether books so dangerous ought not to be taken by force out of the hands of the faithful.

The commotions that ensued form one of the most painful episodes in ecclesiastical history. There was zeal for truth no doubt in the victors; but it was a base and cruel zeal. Origenism was laid under the ban in the synods of Alexandria and Cyprus. 2 In Italy, . . .


1 [On the relation of Origen to Arius see Harnack Dogmengeschichte ii. pp. 215 sq. Socrates H. E. iv. 26 says the Arians did appeal to him; vii. 6 Timotheus. On the admiration of Socrates for Origen see Harnack op. cit. ii. 27 note 1.]

2 Matters were brought to a crisis by three disputes that between Theophilus and the Nitrian monks; that between Epiphanius and Jerome on the one side and John of Jerusalem on the other; and that between Jerome and Rufinus. Origenism was condemned by Synods held at Alexandria and in Cyprus, and according to Jerome the sentence was adopted by the Bishops of Rome, Milan, Aquileia, ‘et omnis tarn Orientis quam Occidentis Catholicorum Synodus.’ Jerome’s statement is to some extent confirmed by the Letter of Pope Anastasius to John of Jerusalem, which will be found in Mansi iii. 943. Anastasius, who frankly confesses that he had never heard of Origen before the translation of the De Principiis, appears to have personally approved of the action of Theophilus; but he says nothing about Western Synods. And it is certain that Origen was not condemned as a heretic, though Jerome appears to assert it; Adv. Ruf. ii. 22, Ep. xcvii ad Painm. et Marc. For long after this in the deliberations which preceded the Fifth Council the question was debated whether anathema could be pronounced against the dead (Evagrius H. E. iv. 38). The sentence applied only to his books, and to them with some restriction, whether some of these were condemned and some allowed, as afterwards by Gelasius; or all were directed to be read with caution by the learned. The latter is the more probable supposition; see Jerome Ep. i. xii ad Tranquillinum 2. And there is a story that Theophilus himself was found reading the works of Origen after the downfall of Chrysostom, and defended himself by saying (Socrates H. E. vi. 17) ‘Origen's books are like a meadow enameled with flowers of every kind. If, therefore, I chance to find a beautiful one among them, I cull it: but whatever appears to me to be thorny, I step over, as that which would prick.’ Socrates however (vi. 10) and Sozomen (viii. 14) say that the reading of the books of Origen was absolutely forbidden. So also Anastasius, Letter to Simplicianus (Mansi iii. 945).


-324- where Origen was as yet only known by versions of his exegetical writings, the translation of the De Principiis caused a storm that was only allayed by the condemnation of Origenism and the disgrace of Rufinus at the instigation of Jerome. 1 In the East the quarrel of the bad Theophilus with the Nitrian monks led to a far more deplorable catastrophe. Expelled from Egypt, the monks found shelter at Constantinople. Theophilus eagerly caught the opportunity of humbling the rival Patriarch, and, aided by the wounded vanity of the empress Eudoxia, drove the holy Chrysostom to exile and death. Of his two allies, one, Epiphanius, repented too late, when he learned from Eudoxia’s own lips 2 the nature of the service expected from him. . . .


1 Pope Siricius supported Rufinus, but the next Pope, Anastasius, at the instance of Marcella, a disciple of Jerome, joined in the condemnation of Origen and censured Rufinus for his rashness in translating the De Principiis, but did not molest him any further. Jerome calls this ‘a glorious victory’.

2 ≪The reference to Eudoxia is a mistake. See the whole story in Socr. H. E.vi. 14; Soz. H. E. viii, 14, 15.≫


-325- But Jerome was not dismayed by the tragic issue. He exulted over the ruin of a great and good man, whose only fault was that he had extended the hand of charity to the hunted exiles, whose innocence Theophilus himself was not ashamed to acknowledge when once his vengeance was secured. ‘Babylon,’ Jerome wrote to his accomplice, ‘is fallen, is fallen.’ Babylon was Chrysostom. 1

The same excited state of feeling continued during the next century and a half. In A.D. 496 Origen was branded as a schismatic by Pope Gelasius 2; and the fierce disputes of the Origenist and orthodox monks for possession of the convents of St. Saba in Palestine led to fresh condemnations in the reign of Justinian. 3 . . .


1 Jerome Ep. 88 Ad Theophilum ≪ed. Martianay≫. But in Migne ≪i.e. by Vallarsi, i. 750, where see note≫ this letter (numbered 113) is ascribed to Theophilus.

2 Gelasius forbade the use of all those works of Origen which Jerome had not sanctioned by turning them into Latin: ‘Item Origenis opuscula nonnulla quae vir beatissimus Hieronymus non repudiat legenda suscipimus. Reliqua autem omnia cum auctore suo dicimus renuenda.’ In the next sentence the epithet ‘schismaticus’ is applied to Origen; Thiel Epistolae Rom. Pont. Genuinae pt. i. p. 461.

3 What these condemnations precisely were is an intricate, thorny, and in part perhaps insoluble question. I. Huet refers to a Synod of Antioch; Origeniana ii. 3. 19 (Lom. xxiii. 328) ‘Antiochena Ephraemii Synodus anathema dixit Origeni’; and again, ii. 4. 3. 6 (Lom. xxiv. 78) ‘Qua circiter tempestate harum regionum Origenistas collecta ab Ephraemio Antiocheno praesule synodus anathemate damnavit, ut narrat auctor Synodici, quod nuper in Bibliotheca Juris Canonici recudi curavit eruditissimus et humanissimus Henricus Justellus.’ The reference is to the Bibl. Jur. Can., Paris 1661, ii. p. 1202. Huet’s first notice then is incorrect; the sentence of this Synod was launched not against Origen but against the ringleaders of the turbulent Origenist monks by name. II. In the Epistle of Justinian to Menas nine anathemas are propounded by the emperor, covering the whole list of Origen’s ‘errors.’ They will be found in Mansi ix. 534. The nine anathemas given by Nicephorus (H. E. xvii. 27) are these nine, which were framed by the emperor himself and never sanctioned by any ecclesiastical authority. They appear to have been laid before the Home or Domestic Synod of bishops habitually resident in Constantinople, by Menas in 543, and the Synod in reply enacted fifteen anathemas (they will be found in Mansi ix. 395), embodying the substance of those of Justinian, but with considerable difference, and far inferior accuracy, of expression. III. Origen’s name occurs also in the eleventh anathema of the Fifth General Council, though in somewhat singular company and without reason given (Mansi ix. 377). This anathema was reaffirmed, as it stood, by the First Lateran Council in 649 (Mansi x. 1051). Origen’s name is mentioned again in combination with those of Evagrius and Didymus in the Imperial Edict recited at the Sixth General Council (the Third Council of Constantinople, A.D. 680): ‘Suscepimus quoque et quae in temporibus Justiniani divae memoriae in praedicta a Deo conservanda nostra felicissima civitate complosa est synodus contra Dei impugnatores Origenem, Didymum et Evagrium’; Mansi xi. 710. This probably is intended to repeat the sentence of the Fifth Council, though it may refer to that of the Home Synod. It is difficult to suppose that the theologians of the Lateran Council were imposed upon by a forgery, yet it has been maintained upon very serious grounds that the name of Origen was added to the anathema of the Fifth Council at a later date. The point has been discussed at length by Walch, vol. vii; Huet Origeniana ii. 3. 14; Cave Hist. Lit. i. 558; Garnerius, in Gallandi xii. 168; Cardinal Noris Diss. de Synodo V, vol. i. p. 638, ed. Ballerini; Hefele Conciliengeschichte ii. p. 834, ed. 1856; Pusey What is of Faith etc. p. 137; F. N. Oxenham What is the Truth as to Everlasting Punishment part ii; Vincenzi In S. Greg. Nyss. et Origenis scripta et doctrinam. It will be observed that the Fifth Council, though it probably denounced Origen by name as a heretic, did not specify, and apparently did not discuss, any one of his erroneous opinions. ‘Allerdings hat die fiinfte Synode auch den Origenes anathematisirt, aber nicht in einer besondern Sitzung und nicht in Folge von besondern Verhandlungen, sondern nur transeundo und in cumulo, indem sie in ihrem Xlten Anathematismus unter einer Anzahl alterer Haretiker auch seinen Namen auffiihrte’; Hefele. The documents referred to, with the exception of the Epistola ad Menam, are given by Denzinger, who, with others, still ascribes. the Fifteen Anathemas to the Fifth Council (Enchiridion 187 sqq.).


-326- From that time throughout the Middle Ages the name of Origen was a byword in the East, and the margins of his MSS. are found scrawled over with fierce -327- execrations of his heresies and his blasphemies. 1 But the Westerns, among whom the respect for learning never wholly died, took a more generous view. [Origen, in the translation of Rufinus, was read in Gaul by Sidonius Apollinaris and his friends. 2] Leo III inserted passages from his works among the readings from the Fathers in the Roman Breviary. 3 Mechtildis, a saintly woman of the fourteenth century, saw a vision in which she was assured that God had been merciful to his errors. 4 Books were written to prove that his salvation might be believed in, notwithstanding the anathemas of the Church. 5 His works continued to be studied, and all . . .


1 Βλασϕημεῖς αἱρετικέ et similia. [Attempts were made to eliminate the name of Origen from the text of the Lausiac History, even where the Origen referred to is not the great Origen: see E. C. Butler The Lausiac History of Palladius (Texts and Studies vi. i), Cambridge 1898, p. 113.] Even in the West fierce notes of the same kind are to be found. Thus in three MSS of Jerome’s De Viris Illustribus Martianay (Hieronymi Opera Paris 1706, iv. 2 c. 117) found the following scholion on the life of Origen: ‘Haec laus Origenis et falsa est et deceptio plurimorum, qui in amorem eius provocantur: cum constet eum super omnes haereticos venenato ore inauditas et intolerabiles blasphemias spiritu diabolico in Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum locutum fuisse: quique a sanctis Patribus, Episcopis et Monachis anathematizatus, etiam bona ipsius minime legi debere.’

2 [Sidon. Apol. Ep. ii. 7.]

3 Huet Origeniana ii. 3. 19 (Lom. xxiii. 331): (cp. Batiffol Hist. du Bréviaire Romain, ed. 3, Paris 1911, pp. 290, 292.)

4 ≪St. Mechtild of Hackborn Specialis gratiae liber v. 8.≫

5 Robert Curzon, an Englishman, wrote a book De Salvatione Origenis (Bale Centur. 3): Pico of Mirandola maintained in a printed treatise ‘Rationabilius esse credere Origenem esse salvum quam credere ipsum esse damnatum’: Stephanus Binetus also wrote De Salute Origenis. See Huet Origeniana ii. 3. 18 sqq. (Lom. xxiv. 98 sqq.), where other interesting information on the same point will be found collected.


-328- that seemed unsound was charitably ascribed to heretical interpolation. 1

Probably Luther, whose passionate phrase, Origenem jam diidiim dirts devovi, is one of many that lie heavy on the great Reformer’s fame, is the only man of eminence that ever spoke of Origen in language like this; though the Augustinian divines of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were scarcely more just towards the great Alexandrine than the Graeculi of the Lower Empire. 2 . . .


1 The foundation for this mode of defence is to be found in the Epistola ad Amicos, where Origen complains that reports of public disputations between himself and Gnostic teachers had been manipulated by the latter, and in one case at least actually manufactured. There is no reason whatever for supposing that his works, as we have them, have been tampered with. But the theory furnished a convenient shelter for timid friends, as we have already seen in the case of Photius and Clement. It is found in Rufinus’ Preface to his translation of the De Principiis, and though justly set aside by Jerome, Adv. Rufinum ii. 4, 5, it held its ground throughout the Middle Ages. So in the well-known passage of Vincentius Lirinensis, Comm. i. 17, which deserves quotation also as showing the strange problem which Origen presented to a saintly and not un learned man in uncritical times: ‘Sed forte discipulis parum felix? Quis unquam felicior? Nempe innumeri ex sinu suo doctores, innumeri sacerdotes, confessores et martyres extiterunt … Sed dicet aliquis corruptos esse Origenis libros. Non resisto; quin potius et malo. Nam id a quibusdam et traditum et scriptum est, non Catholicis tantum verum etiam Haereticis. Sed illud est quod nunc debemus animadvertere, etsi non ilium, libros tamen sub nomine eius editos, magnae esse tentationi.’ Others, as has been said (above, p. 152), had recourse to the hypothesis of two and even of three Origens.

2 The quotation from Luther, which I have not been able to verify, I owe to Huet. Melanchthon (ed. Wittebergae, 1564, vol. iii. p. 1060) criticizes Origen at some length; approves his doctrine of the Trinity, but rejects that of Faith and Justification. He says of Rom. 8, ‘hoc totum caput Pauli sceleste contaminatum est ab Origene.’ The Alexandrine teaching on the subject of Free Will, etc. was harshly criticized by Jansen in his Augustinus. On the other hand Erasmus writes (vol. iii. p. 99, ed. Basel 1558) ‘Quid aliis usu veniat nescio; in me certe comperio quod dicam; plus me docet Christianae philosophiae unica Origenis pagina quam decem Augustini: and again (vol. ix. p. 75) Nam Origenis exemplum fortassis reiecturi sunt, etiam si nemini plus tribuendum arbitror exceptis dogmatibus aliquot’: and yet again (praef. in Opera Origenis; this quotation also I borrow) ‘He loved that of which he spoke, and we speak with delight of the things which we love.’ [Cp. Seebohm Oxford Reformers pp. 16, 217, 330; Foxe Acts and Monuments, ed. Pratt, i. p. 174; Strype Memorials of Cranmer, ed. Oxon. 1840, i. p. 328.]


-329- Even Methodius, 1 even Theophilus, were diligent students of his books. Augustine, Bede, Bernard respect the memory of one with whom they had little in common but learning and greatness of soul. Origen’s name has been a kind of touchstone. There has been no truly great man in the Church who did not love him a little.

In later times he has not missed the respect which is his due. He has had zealous friends, liberal critics, editors whose erudition and industry are beyond all praise. But only in recent times has it been possible to treat him with justice. For all depends upon the point of view. Those who judge him in the light of later opinion must either condemn him with reluctance, like Vincent of Lerins, or defend him as from a brief, like Halloix and Vincenzi. But in no other field of knowledge would such a course be tolerated. Theology is the only ungrateful science. She crushes her builders with the very stones they helped to pile. Among the greatest of these builders were Clement and Origen. We must ask what they found to build with. We . . .


1 [See p. 216 note 2 above.]


-330- must throw ourselves back into the days when tradition was in the making, and beliefs, which afterwards seemed eternal truths, had as yet occurred to no man. We must compare them not with Anselm, or Augustine, or Basil, or Athanasius, but with Irenaeus, or Tertullian, or Hippolytus, or Justin; and where these disagree we must allow that there was as yet no definite creed.

If we compare the creed of the fourth century with that of the second, we cannot deny that there has been development. There has been no demonstrable change, if by change we mean shifting of ground or alteration of principle. Yet doctrine is not the same thing as sentiment, nor technical formularies as implicit belief. The Church of Origen is no more the Church of the Athanasian Creed than the Parliament of Charles I is the Parliament of Queen Victoria.

Where does this process of expansion, governed as it is, not by Scripture, but by philosophy, cease to be wholesome and necessary? The problem of the earliest Christians was to harmonize the Threefold Name with Monotheism, in such a way that they could justify their faith and live by it. That of later ages was the repression of error, a very different thing. At what point this later motive, in itself not indefensible, be comes purely mischievous, each party, each ‘heresy’, will decide for itself. The Alexandrines were animated by the earlier purer motive. They did not see all that their successors saw; but the question arises whether they did not see all that there was to be seen. In any case the later faith passed through theirs, grew out of theirs. And certainly, if sufficiency of knowledge is to be tested by fullness and purity of the moral life, they will not be found to fail.

-331- It has been said that their Exegesis survived while their Philosophy perished. 1 This is true in a sense. They left behind them a strong influence, but they founded no school. Their spell was laid on Eusebius and his circle; on Didymus who, blind from his fifth year, became one of the leading scholars of his time and never dissembled his love for Origen; on Basil and the two Gregories. Their mode of thought may be traced far down into the sixth century, when it vanished, crushed out by tyranny and the leaden ignorance of the age. But in truth their exegesis was too closely wedded to their philosophy not to share its fortunes. Allegorism in a sense survived; so far, that is, as its object was to multiply types, symbols, Messianic prophecies, proof-texts; 2 or to give meaning to what in the prevailing oblivion of Hebrew, and in . . .


1 By M. Denis, Philosophie d’Origen p. 416.

2 Basil [like Theophilus before him, ad Autolycum ii. 13] rejected the theory of the Ideal world and accepted the history of Creation in the literal sense. What I have called (p. 175) the negative apologetic use of Allegorism disappeared entirely, and thus the door which had been opened for the partial admission of philosophy and science was again closed. Those Allegorisms again by which Christian dogmas were discovered in the Old Testament came very early to be regarded as the indisputable literal sense of the several passages and not allegorisms at all. A remarkable instance of this is furnished by the decree of the Council of Sirmium in 351 (Socr. H. E. ii. 30). [Tertullian (adv. Praxean 13) quotes Gen. 19:24 ‘Et pluit dominus super Sodomam et Gomorram sulphur et ignem de coelo a domino’, and interprets the passage of the Father and the Son. He goes on ‘quae non in allegoriis et parabolis sed in definitionibus certis et simplicibus habent sensum’. But this is exactly what Clement and Origen called an allegory.] Thus the word Allegorism [being restricted to the moral sense] gradually drifted into its modern use and came to mean loosely any metaphorical application of the language of Scripture to the purpose of edification.


-332- the West of Greek also, was unintelligible. But its great principles perished. Origen held that God can do nothing which is not just; Augustine that what God does must be just. The propositions are convertible, but they lead to very different interpretations of Scripture. To Origen again the ‘letter which killeth’ was the transient, mechanical, carnal, whether in the New Testament or in the Old. The Ceremonial Law was symbolical of Christ, but only in a very limited degree of the Christian hierarchy. Here his weapons were turned against him, and became the instrument, not of freedom, but of servitude.

In this last respect the Reformation divines recurred to the Alexandrine method without realizing that they had done so. For the word Allegorism, like many others, has changed its meaning. When Clement explains the precept Sell all that thou hast and give to the poor in such a way as to legitimatize the retention of wealth; when he says that the Christian altar is the congregation; when he defines spiritual death as alienation from God; or the Heavenly Bread as Gnosis; all these in his view are Allegories. We should call them by another name.

We need not pause on Origen’s idea of Pre-existence, on which time has delivered a sufficient verdict. It is enough to repeat that it was no mere arbitrary crotchet, but a serious and systematic attempt to explain and vindicate the distributive justice of God. Origen was the first to apply it in this way; but the belief itself was one that had an imposing array of authority, both Pagan and Jewish, in its favour, and might even claim support from the well-known passage in St. John’s account of the healing of the man who was born blind.

-333- But what we have called the Paulinism of the Alexandrines is far too important to be dismissed without further notice. It is here that we have to appreciate their contribution to religion, to the grasp of opinion upon conduct. They endeavoured to show that Christianity is not a doctrine but a life, not a law but a spirit. The Christian must be holy yet free, obedient yet intelligent, able to judge and act for himself, a true son of God, needing no earthly director because guided by his Father’s eye.

This they achieved. They showed that, though Habit is good, Knowledge and Love are better. They taught how Freedom is to be harmonized with Reverence and Order; the spontaneity of individualism with unity through the trained and sanctified intelligence. They struck the golden mean between Anarchy and Despotism, a lesson which after times discarded, which even at this day is not sufficiently apprehended. It was not their fault, if they failed to grasp the true relation between the beginning and the end of the spiritual progress. Their errors were two, both given to them by the modes of thought in which they had been trained. They regarded Habit as the cause, or rather as the indispensable condition, of Love; and Love as the Platonic love of the Ideal in itself, not of the Ideal as discerned in and through the perfect Humanity. The influence of St. Paul did not rise high enough to sweep away these misconceptions till the time of the Pelagian controversy. Even then the real lesson of the debate was obscured by the mis placement of the point. It was made to hinge on the insoluble problem of the Freedom of the Will. But this is in truth a side issue. The really fruitful question is the nature of the Motive, not the mode of its operation. -334- Yet it will conduce to the justice of our estimate, if we compare the teaching of the Alexandrines with that of Augustine on both points.

The Alexandrines held, as we have seen, the theory of Indifferentism. The Will is a non-moral faculty, the power of choosing motives. They did not clearly see that the state of liberty, as they understood it, is a state of imperfection. Practically they admitted that at a certain point the soul, through union with Christ, becomes so pure that it can no longer sin. But generally and in this life they maintained that man can do what he likes. Thus they accounted for the fall of Adam. Since that lapse the whole world has been prone to sin. But men are still so far free that they can choose at any rate the beginnings of amendment. Beyond this the Alexandrines distinguished between Virtue and Salvation. To the former man could attain by reason, which is itself a gift, a general grace, of God. But goodness varies in direct relation to knowledge, and perfect knowledge is revealed in Christ alone. Hence salvation, spiritual health, life eternal, sonship, is in the fullest -285- sense a gift of God. For it is the union of the soul with God, and that there may be this union God must come to us. We cannot claim His coming. But we can at least desire it. We can go to meet Him; we can hold out our hand for His gift. This one point, the initial desire of amendment, is all that Origen and even Clement postulates; and even this, being reasonable, is, let us repeat, a grace, inasmuch as it is the voice of that word which God breathed into us at Creation. 1 . . .


1 The difference between Origen and Augustine as to the necessity of the Divine Grace is very like that between Law and Wesley. After his conversion Wesley wrote a somewhat petulant letter to Law, whose Serious Call had for years been his model and guide. It had taught him, he says, that the law of God is holy, but he had learned also that he had not the power to fulfill it, and in this state he might have groaned till he died had not the Moravian Bohler showed him the belter way of salvation by Faith. Why then, he asks, did you never give me this advice? Law replies, You have had a great many conversations with me, and you never were with me for half an hour without my being large upon that very doctrine which you make me totally ignorant and silent of. See Tyerman Life of Wesley i. p. 185.

-335- Small as the postulate may seem, it involves an insuperable speculative difficulty. For it requires us to admit that man can do not only what he likes, but what ex hypothesi he does not like. Origen knew this. It was not through failure of insight that he adopted a theory, which, if scientifically imperfect, is consistent with itself, is in harmony with the facts of experience, and involves no moral paradox.

The theory of Augustine is open to objection on all these grounds. We may say indeed that he has no theory. He approaches the subject from the side of Scripture, which may be quoted with equal facility in either sense, and his language varies with the point that he desires to establish. He explained the Fall on the Alexandrine view, though this is far more difficult for him, because he regarded Adam as originally perfect. This is the first terrible weakness in his position. He is driven into it not only by the nature of the case, but by the supposed necessity of justifying the (condemnation) of the entire world, which sinned in Adam. 1 Here again there is another and . . .


1 De Corrept. et Gratia 10 ‘Quia vero (Adam) per liberum arbitrium Deum deseruit, iustum iudicium Dei expertus est, ut cum tota sua stirpe, quae in illo adhuc posita tota cum illo peccaverat, damnaretur’: ibid. 11 ‘Posset enim perseverare si vellet: quod ut nollet de libero descendit arbitrio, quod tune ita liberum erat ut bene velle posset et male.’


>-336- even more startling breach of sequence. For, as he refuses to deny that each soul comes fresh from the hand of God, the phrase that ‘in Adam all die’ cannot have the meaning that he gives it. 1

But, as regards the actually existing race of men he asserts a wholly different thesis. ‘The Will,’ he says, ‘is always free, but it is not always good. It is either free from righteousness, and then it is evil; or it is free from sin, and then it is good.’ 2 His sense is confused . . .


1 Ep. 169 § 13 ‘Scripsi etiam librum ad sanctum presbyterum Hieronymum de animae origine (Ep. 166) consulens eum, quomodo defend! possit ilia sententia, quam religiosae memoriae Marcellino suam esse scripsit, singulas animas novas nascentibus fieri, lit non labefactetur fundatissima ecclesiae fides, qua inconcusse credimus quod in Adam omnes moriuntur et nisi per Christum liberentur, quod per suum Sacramentum etiam in parvulis operatur, in condemnationem trahuntur.’ Augustine then was quite aware of the difficulty. But again, Opus Imperfect, iv. 104, he writes: ‘Argue de origine animarum cunctationem meam, quia non audeo docere vel affirmare quod nescio.’

2 De Gratia et Libero Arbitrio 15: ‘Semper est autem in nobis voluntas libera, sed non semper est bona. Aut enim a iustitia libera est quando servit peccato, et tune est mala: aut a peccato libera est quando servit iustitiae, et tune est bona. Gratia vero Dei semper est bona, et per hanc fit ut sit homo bonae voluntatis, qui prius fuit voluntatis malae’. He ridiculed the ‘balance’ theory of the Pelagians, Opus Imperfect, iii. 117 ‘Libra tua, quam conaris ex utraque parte per aequalia momenta suspendere, ut voluntas quantum est ad malum, tantum etiam sit ad bonum libera’. But this is exactly what he himself maintained as regards the First Parent. Nor does he get out of this difficulty by distinguishing two kinds of Grace of which the first only was given to Adam; De Correptione et Gratia 11 Prima est enim qua fit ut habeat homo iustitiam si velit; secunda ergo plus potest, qua etiam fit ut velit.’ For what is the first except Free Will in the Alexandrine sense? No Greek and no philosopher could have written as Augustine wrote here. It would have been far better if he had made the same confession of ignorance as regards Free Will that he makes frankly as regards the origin of the soul. But then the Pelagians could not have been condemned.


-337- here by an inherited phrase, which to him has no meaning, which he ought to have rejected, and retains only for a purpose. What he says amounts in fact to this, that there is no such thing as Freedom of Will, but that the man himself is free when his energy is unimpeded. He can do what he likes, but never what he dislikes. It is a tenable view, but it carries with it obligations; and if these are disregarded, it becomes at once immoral. Augustine did disregard them. Action, he maintains, follows the strongest motive, and the strongest motive is given to us, either by the direct operation of God, or by Nature. But Nature is tainted; hence prior to Grace the strongest motive is invariably evil.

Thus Augustine explains with facility those dark and reluctant utterances of the Epistle to the Romans under which Origen writhes in vain. Yet even he has not exactly caught the meaning of the Apostle, who speaks of man as free when enabled by grace, and not free yet yearning for freedom while sold under sin. ‘For to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I know not.’ Nor can his view be made to fit his theology without additional machinery, like the Ptolemaic epicycles. For though Grace furnishes the stronger motive, and so constrains the will, it is in itself valueless. Man may fall away by Free Will, which here again has to reappear. For upon this phantom phrase hangs nothing less than the Divine Justice. Hence above Grace Augustine is compelled to place the gift of Perseverance 1; and this, and not Grace, is the cause of Salvation, which is here conceived of in the archaic fashion as something not to be attained till after death. Augustine has been called . . .


1 See especially the De Dono Perseverantiae.


-338- more logical than Origen. But surely on insufficient grounds.

But by far the more important question remains. What is Grace? According to the Alexandrines it is anything that makes men better. According to Augustine it is Love, the one and only thing that makes men better. ‘For when it is asked,’ he says, ‘whether any one be a good man, it is not asked what he believes, loves rightly, without doubt he rightly believes, and rightly hopes; but he who loves not believes in vain, hopes in vain.’ 1 ‘Little love is little righteousness; great love is great righteousness; perfect love is perfect righteousness.’ Here we have the full meaning of the Gospel. Such language is far in advance of the Alexandrines, who puzzle themselves and their hearers with their moral alchemy, seeking to distill love out of hope and fear, or to climb to it by the ladder of discipline, which without love has no ground to stand upon. The whole cumbrous structure of the Two Lives disappears at once. Henceforth, except among the Mystics, who will be something more than Christians, there is but One.

Had Augustine rested here all would have been well. For Determinism loses its terrors when we call it by its heavenly name of Charity. But here again his theology was too strong for his ethics. He has to combine his Determinism, not only with the terrible doctrine that all men are reprobate for a sin that was . . .


1 Encheiridion de fide, spe, et caritate 117 (I quote here from Mr. de Romestin’s translation, Concerning Faith, Hope, and Charity, Parker 1885). The following passage is from De Natura et Gratia 70: Caritas inchoata inchoata iustitia est; caritas provecta provecta iustitia est; caritas magna magna iustitia est; caritas perfecta perfecta iustitia est.


-339- not their own, but with the scarcely less terrible doctrine that the healing love of God flows only through the ordinances of a Church, from which all but a fraction of humanity have been shut out by His own direct act. The unbaptized infant is doomed to eternal exclusion from the Beatific Vision. 1 Fabricius will be punished less than Catiline, not because he is good, but because Catiline is worse. 2 St. Paul never taught Augustine this. If he is asked, how then God is just, he replies, ‘He is just; I know not how.’

It is not difficult to understand why his opponents asserted that Augustine had never ceased to be a Manichee. His system is in truth that of the Gnostics, the ancestors of the Manichees. For it makes no real difference whether our doom is stamped upon the nature given to us by our Creator, or fixed by an arbitrary decree. It is Gnosticism without the consolatory belief in conditional immortality. He could never . . .


1 This has been held to be the sole penalty of Original Sin as such. It implies no poena sensus, no suffering, and has been called ‘a natural beatitude’. See the decree of Pope Innocent III (Decr. iii. 42. 3 in Denzinger Enchiridion p. 145, ed. 1865): ‘Poena originalis peccati est carentia visionis Dei, actualis vero poena peccati est gehennae perpetuae cruciatus.’ 3 The same view is maintained by Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theol. III. i. 4). Before this time the state of unbaptized infants after death is spoken of as one of punishment, but of punishment in its most attenuated form. So Augustine Concerning Faith, Hope, and Charity etc. 93: ‘The mildest punishment indeed of all will be theirs, who have added no sin further besides the sin of origin.’ And even at a much later date the same language was used. See the Professio Fidei Graecis praescripta a Gregorio XIII (in Denzinger Enchiridion p. 295, ed. 1865): ‘Illorum autem animas qui in actuali mortali peccato, vel solo originali decedunt, mox in infernum descendere, poenis tamen disparibus puniendas.’ I might therefore have used a stronger phrase in my text.

2 Contra Julianum iv. 3 Minus enim Fabricius quam Catilina punietur, non quia iste bonus, sed quia ille magis malus.


-340- have written as he did, had Gnosticism still borne as menacing a front as in the days of Origen. As regards the doctrine of Redemption he still occupies the ground of earlier theology. It was reserved for Anselm, centuries afterwards, to array the Justice against the Goodness of God, and thus to complete the resemblance of Christianity to its ancient deadly foe. 1 . . .


1 [Anselm only gave clear logical expression to ideas that had been floating in the mind of the Western Church since the time of Tertullian and Cyprian. (See Harnack >DogmengeschichteCur Deus Homo i. 23 Quid abstulit homo Deo cum vinci se permisit a diabolo? … Nonne ab stulit Deo quidquid de humana natura facere proposuerat? — Non potest negari. — Intende in districtam iustitiam; et iudica secundum illam, utrum ad aequalitatem peccati homo satisfaciat Deo, nisi id ipsum quod, permittendo se vinci a diabolo, Deo abstulit, diabolum vincendo restituat; ut, quemadmodum per hoc quod victus est, rapuit diabolus quod Dei erat et Deus perdidit; ita, per hoc quod vincat, perdat diabolus et Deus recuperet. ibid. ii. 20 Quantum autem sit quod Filius sponte dedit non est opus exponere. Sufficienter patet. Eum autem qui tantum donum sponte dedit Deo sine retributione debere esse non iudicabis. — Immo necesse esse video ut Pater Filio retribuat; alioquin aut iniustus esse videtur, si nollet, aut impotens, si non posset; quae aliena sunt a Deo ... Si voluerit Filius quod sibi debetur alii dare, poteritne Pater iure ilium prohibere aut alii cui dabit negare? — Immo et iustum et necessarium intellego, ut cui voluerit dare Filius a Patre reddatur; quia et Filio quod suum est dare licet, et Pater quod debet non nisi alii reddere potest. According to Anselm, then, Christ redeems mankind from God. Redemption is thus conceived of as a kind of mercantile transaction; its moral and spiritual significance is thrown into the background. Again, it is impossible, on this mode of statement, to avoid the suspicion of moral opposition between Him who exacts and Him who pays the debt. This is of course not so violently expressed by a pure Trinitarian like Anselm as by a Gnostic, in whose idea the God from whom man was redeemed was the Demiurge, an imperfect Being and not a member of the Trinity. Nevertheless the difficulty is inherent in Anselm’s theory, and has often led to the use of language that is most earnestly to be deprecated. The old view was that Christ redeemed man from the Powers of Evil. This again is capable of being understood in two very different ways. According to Origen the death of Christ partly daunts and weakens the Powers of Evil conceived as external entities, partly breaks the grasp of evil conceived as a moral force existing in the soul; and thus by making man better reconciles him to God. See in addition to passages quoted above (p. 255) In Rom. v. 10 (Lom. vi. 406). But here also the mercantile theory obtruded itself. By Augustine God is regarded as buying man from the Devil by the sacrifice of Christ. De Trinitate xiii. 12 Quadam iustitia Dei in potestatem diaboli traditum est genus humanum ... Si ergo commissio peccatorum per iram Dei iustam hominem subdidit diabolo, profecto remissio peccatorum per reconciliationem Dei benignam emit hominem a diabolo’. And again, ibid. 14 ‘Quae est ergo iustitia qua victus est diabolus? Quae nisi iustitia Christi? Et quomodo victus est? Quia cum in Illo nihil dignum morte inveniret, dimittantur, in eum crederites quern sine ullo debito occidit. Hoc est quod iustificari dicimur in Christi sanguine’. Augustine was still keenly alive to the danger of introducing any shadow of antagonism into the relation between Father and Son. So ibid. 11: ‘Sed quid est iustificati in sanguine ipsius? Quae vis est sanguinis huius, obsecro, ut in ea iustincentur credentes? Et quid est reconciliati per mortem Filii eius? Itane vero, cum irasceretur nobis Deus Pater vidit mortem Filii sui pro nobis et placatus est nobis? This cannot be, for omnia simul et Pater et Filius et amborum Spiritus pariter et concorditer operantur’. The ancient view also, like its successor, is capable of degradation and caricature. But, if understood as it is meant, it is far profounder than that of Anselm. [On redemption from the Devil, see A. Ritschl A critical History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification and Reconciliation (Engl. trans, by J. S. Black, Edinb. 1872), pp. 4 sqq.]


-341- The Alexandrines were blamed also for their view of the nature of that body which the soul will receive at the Resurrection. It may still be doubted whether Origen does not offer a fair explanation of the words ‘flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God.’ -342- As on the question of the Will, so here Augustine, before he became bishop, held an opinion undistinguishable from that of the Alexandrine. Even his later revised belief is more like that of Origen than it is like that of Athenagoras 1; and it is probable that Origen’s speculations would have escaped rebuke, had they not been seized upon and caricatured by the ignorant Eastern monks. Far greater is the interest that attaches to the doctrine of Restitution or Catharsis. Here again Augustine is in opposition to Origen. Yet let us observe his opposition is managed with forbearance. If in one passage he speaks of this tenet as one ‘which the Church rightly detests’, in another he regards those who hold it as yet Catholics, and ‘deceived by a certain human kindness’. 2 . . .


1 Retractationes i. 17; Concerning Faith, Hope, and Charity 84 sqq.

1 De gestis Pelagii iii. 10 ‘Hoc in Origene dignissime detestatur Ecclesia’. Nevertheless Augustine always treated Origen with great respect and forbearance. He refused to be entangled by Jerome in the controversy with John of Jerusalem. In Ep. xxviii. 2 he expresses the wish of the African Church that Jerome would continue his work of (translating) the Greek divines, especially Origen; and when warned by Jerome that he should be careful how he read Origen, he merely begs (Ep. xl. 9) to be informed what the errors of Origen are; Origeniana ii. 4. i. 14. In the De Civitate Dei xxi. 17 it is noticeable that he does not attribute Universalism to Origen: Qua in re misericordior profecto fuit Origenes, qui et ipsum diabolum atque angelos eius post graviora pro meritis et diuturniora supplicia ex illis cruciatibus eruendos atque sociandos sanctis Angelis credidit. Sed ilium, et propter hoc et propter alia nonnulla et maxime propter alternantes sine cessatione beatitudines et miserias et statutis seculorum intervallis ab istis ad illas atque ab illis ad istas itus ac reditus interminabiles, non immerito reprobavit Ecclesia. … Longe autem aliter istorum misericordia humano erat affectu, qui hominum illo iudicio damnatorum miserias temporales, omnium vero, qui vel citius vel tardius liberantur, aeternam felicitatem putant Of these last he says (Concerning Faith, Hope, and Charity 67), But they who believe this and yet are Catholics seem to me to be deceived by a certain human kindness.


-343- Neither Clement nor Origen is, properly speaking, a Universalist. Nor is Universalism the logical result of their principles. For if the goodness of God drew them in one direction, the Freedom of the Will, their negative pole, drove them with equal force in the other. Neither denied the eternity of punishment. What is known as the Poena Damni — exclusion, that is, from the sight of God — they held would never cease. The soul that has sinned beyond a certain point can never again become what once it might have been. The wise fire will consume its evil fuel; anguish, remorse, shame, distraction, all torment will end when ‘the wood, the hay, the straw’ are burnt up. The purified spirit will be brought home; it will no longer rebel; it will acquiesce in its lot; but it may never be admitted within that holy circle where the pure in heart see face to face. Even this general cessation of ‘the pain of sense’ they hoped, but did not venture to affirm. Man tramples on God’s goodness here; he may scorn and defy it forever. And so long as he answers ‘I will not’ to the eternal ‘Thou shalt’, so long must his agony endure.

The hope of a general Restitution of all souls through suffering to purity and blessedness lingered on in the East for some time. 1 It was widely diffused among the monasteries of Egypt and Palestine. It was taught by Diodorus and Theodore. 2 The names of these liberal theologians are regarded with suspicion. But there is no stain on the orthodoxy of the two Gregories. . . .


1 See Denis Philosophie d’Origène pp. 535 sqq.

2 The opinion is attributed to Theodore of Mopsuestia and Diodorus of Tarsus by Salomon, Metropolitan of Bassora in A. D. 1222. See Assemani Bibl. Orient. iii. 323.


-344- Yet Gregory Nazianzen regarded it as an open question 1; while Gregory of Nyssa, one of the most revered leaders in the Church of the fourth century, proclaims it moreemphatically and absolutely than the Alexandrines. 2 Even Epiphanius and Theophilus, the fierce antagonists of Origenism, appear to have regarded this particular article with indifference, except in so far as it embraced the fallen angels. The attitude . . .


1 Oratio xl. § 36: Poemata de Seipso i. 543 (Migne P.G. xxxvii. 1010). It is evident that Nazianzen regarded the doctrine as tenable, if he did not hold it himself.

2 Or. in I Cor. xv. 28 (Migne P. G. xliv. 1314): What then is the scope of the word which the Apostle authoritatively uses in this passage? That one day the nature of evil shall pass into nothingness, being altogether destroyed from among things that are; and that the divine and unsullied goodness shall embrace within itself all intelligent natures, none of those whom God hath made being exiled from the kingdom of God; when, all the alloy of evil that has been mixed up in things that are having been separated by the refining action of the purgatorial fire, everything that was created by God shall have become such as it was at the beginning, when as yet it had not admitted evil. … This is the end of our hope, that nothing shall be left contrary to the good, but that the divine life penetrating all things shall absolutely destroy death from among things that are; sin having been destroyed before him, by means of which, as has been said, death held his kingdom over men. De Anima et Resurrectione (Migne P. G. xlvi. 97-104) is equally strong. St. Germanus, Patriarch of Constantinople, in his Retribuens et Legitimus maintained that the latter treatise had been interpolated by heretics. We have seen the same subterfuge adopted in the case of Origen. Pusey and Vincenzi quote numerous passages in which the Nyssen speaks very clearly and strongly of eternal punishments. This again is true of Origen. Bardenhewer Patrology (Eng. tr.) 304.)


-345- of Jerome is highly ambiguous. 1 Origen’s speculations on the subject of Catharsis were drowned in the general condemnation of his name and teaching 2; but . . .


1 Jerome at one time asserted (see Rufin. Apol. ii. 20) that Origen had been banished and degraded out of mere envy, ‘non propter dogmatum gravitatem, non propter haeresim, lit nunc contra eum rabidi canes simulant, sed quia gloriam eloquentiae eius et scientiae ferre non poterant, et illo dicente omnes muti putabantur.’ In his preface to the translation of the Homilies on Ezekiel he called Origen ‘alterum post Apostolum Ecclesiarum magistrum’. Yet in these Homilies Origen’s doctrine of Restitution is very clearly expressed, and at the time when Jerome wrote these words he must have been familiar with the De Principiis. Afterwards he inveighed strongly against the belief of the salvability of the demons and against that of the restitution of man so far as it implied or seemed to imply restitution of the best and worst to an identical grade of blessedness (see above, p. 280). His own doctrine is that the demons and impii, that is men who never knew God or, having known, abandoned Him, will be punished for ever, but that all ‘Christians’ will be cleansed by fire. Huet speaks of this view as unorthodox, but, if impii means those dying in mortal sin, it appears to coincide very nearly with the general doctrine of Purgatory, at any rate in its earlier form. For it was held by many that all Christians must pass through the Purgatorial flame. See especially Ambrose In Psalm. xxxvi. 15 and cxviii. 153; Alexandre Oracula Sibyllina ii. p. 531; Huet Origeniana ii. 11. 25.

2 The Greek Church holds that Origen was condemned by the Fifth Council principally on this ground. Confessio Orthodoxa i. 66 (in Kimmel Monumenta Fidei Eccl. Orient. i. p. 136): De Purgatorio autem igne quid nobis iudicandum? Nihil usquam de eo in sacris literis traditur, quod temporaria ulla poena, animorum expurgatrix, a morte exsistat. Imo vero earn praecipue ob causam in Secunda Synodo Constantinopolitana Origenis damnata est sententia. But, as has been pointed out above, it is doubtful whether he was condemned by the Fifth Council at all, and probable that if he was no reason was assigned. The only express condemnation of his Restitution theory is to be found in the Fifteen Anathemas ascribed to the Home Synod (of 543), and the fifteenth, (Denzinger Enchiridion 187, 201). But the Home Synod consisted only of a handful of Bishops resident in the capital, and has no claim to be regarded as the mouth piece of the Church at large. As to the condemnation by the Fifth Council (if it was really pronounced), our sense of its gravity must be profoundly modified by the fact that it was pronounced not less than three hundred years after the death of Origen.


-346- their place was to a large extent supplied by the doctrine of Purgatory. This existed in germ in the days of the Alexandrines, 1 and is found fully developed in the Church of Augustine. From that time the Greek and Latin communions, that is to say the great majority of Christians, have held the faith that some sinners are punished but for a time. 2 . . .


1 In the Montanist treatises of Tertullian: see above, p. 145 sq. For Augustine’s view see Enchirid. ad Laur. 67; De Civ. Dei xx. 18; De gestis Pelagii iii. 10.

2 H. N. Oxenham (Catholic Eschatology and Universalism, ed. 2, p. 203) regards the teaching of the two Churches as identical. There is however considerable difference in detail. The Greeks have no word for Purgatory, and certainly do not admit the existence of Purgatory as a distinct state. So Confessio Orthodoxa i. 64 ‘Annon et aliqui sic diem suum obeunt ut beatorum damnatorumque medii sint? Huiusmodi homines nulli reperiuntur.’ Again, the Greek belief rests upon a different foundation. They make no use of the texts 1 Cor. 3:15, Matt. 3:11, on which according to Cardinal Newman the Roman doctrine reposes. They find no mention in Scripture of any purgatorial fire or of any punishments that are not eternal. On the other hand, they attach great importance to Luke 12:5, Fear Him which after He hath killed hath power to cast into hell. It is to be inferred from this that God does not in all cases use this power; that there are some souls whom He releases from torment. Nor does the Greek Church attempt to ascertain who these souls are. This lies entirely in the hand of God Conf. Orthod. i. 65. Whereas the Roman Church defines that none are admitted to Purgatory except those who ‘vere poenitentes in Dei caritate decesserint, antequam dignis poenitentiae fructibus de commissis satisfecerint et omissis’ (Denzinger Enchiridion 588, 870). Both Churches believe in the efficacy of prayers and sacrifices for the dead, but the indefiniteness of the Greek doctrine has saved it from the practical abuses that have arisen out of the Roman view. So indefinite is the Greek doctrine that it was possible for Cyril Lucar to deny that his Church believed in Purgatory; and Gerganus declared that ‘the Popish Purgatory was the invention of Virgil’. The Greek view will be found in the Confessio Orthodoxa i. 66 in Kimmel or Schaff; Cyrilli Lucaris Patr. Const. Confessio Christianae fidei cui adiuncta est gemina eiusdem confessionis censura, 1645; Hofmann Symbolik p. 186, and article Fegfeuer in Herzog; Loch Das Dogma der Gr. Kirche vom Purgatorium. The Roman doctrine will be found most conveniently in Denzinger’s Enchiridion (see Index s.v. De Purgatorio).


-347- What then is the true difference between this ancient and all but universal belief and that of the Alexandrines?

It is by no means easy to define. For this question lies so near the roots of life, it is united by such tender fibres to our dearest hopes and fears, that it cannot be touched without a thrill. Hence it is seen through the mist of love and horror, and these two emotions intensify one another. The thought of the City of Destruction adds wings to the pilgrim’s feet; and while he rejoices with trembling over his own salvation, he cannot wish that the pursuing fury should seem less vengeful to others. Hence there has been much diversity. Words have been employed in very different senses. Points, upon which high authorities have insisted as vital, are treated by other authorities not less high as subordinate and immaterial. Yet if we fix our attention upon the language of the wisest teachers, there is also considerable agreement. As to the instruments of the Divine Retribution, 1 there is no longer any serious dispute. Nor perhaps will any one now deny, that the first object of chastisement is the . . .


1 The Greek Church believes only in mental spiritual punishment. The Roman Church does not define this point; but what her best minds think may be seen in the Dream of Gerontius or the meditations of St. Katharine of Genoa (in Loch, p. 150).


-348- amendment of the sinner, and that if in any case it appears to lead to a different issue, the cause is in the sinner himself.

But if we compare the teaching of Origen or Clement with that of Augustine or Aquinas, we shall find two points of antagonism, of which the first is real, the second verbal only.

Both would agree that, if the grace of God is dead within the soul, hope can shine no more. But to the Alexandrines every man that lives is a child of God, a possessor of the divine grace, inasmuch as he bears within him, in his reason and his conscience, the image of the Divine Word. 1 It may be that he has cast down and broken the image, that he has wholly imbruted himself. But unless he has sunk to this frightful depth by his own free will, unless he has ceased to be a man, the Alexandrines held that we may leave him with fearful hope to the judgement of God. The later theologians took a far more sombre view. They who are in the Church and they only are within the pale of the Divine Love. Upon the excommunicate, the unbaptized, the heathen, the door is shut. 2 This is the real distinction between the two. . . .


1 [On the image of God in man and its indestructibility see especially Or. In Gen. Hom. xiii. 4: ‘Filius Dei est pictor hums imaginis. Et quia talis ac tantus est pictor, imago eius obscurari per malitiam potest, deleri per malitiam non potest. Manet enim sem per imago Dei in te, licet tu tibi ipse superducas imaginem terreni.’]

2 The Council of Trent mitigated this: Sess. vi. c. 4: ‘Quae quidem translatio (in statum gratiae) post Evangelium promulgatum sine lavacro regenerationis aut eius voto fieri non potest.’ We may observe here that there are several expressions (chiefly Eastern) of a belief that great power attached to the prayers of persons eminent for sanctity. Thus Perpetua (above, p. 145) is said to have rescued the soul of her unbaptized brother Dinocrates; Gregory the Great to have obtained pardon for the Emperor Trajan; Thecla for her heathen mother Falconilla; and Johannes Damascenus for his Mahometan father. See Loch op. cit., p. 79, and Lightfoot Apostolic Fathers II. i. p. 3.


349- The other, though it has been regarded as of the essence of the question, is in reality a purely verbal difference. It is this, whether the soul that is admitted to purgation can be said to repent or not? This Origen affirmed, this the Roman and the Greek deny. But it matters little what language we employ, so long as the thing signified is the same. As the stress of its anguish passes, so the soul is braced to completer submission; so it wakes to more fervent love, to deeper knowledge; so it turns from its evil, and fixes its gaze with intenser faith upon its Judge and Saviour. Origen meant no more than this; nor do the Roman and the Greek mean less. 1

With respect to the bearing of Origenism on the teaching of our own Church I may venture to observe that here again there are two points involved. The first is as before as to the nature, the scope, still more . . .


1 The Greek Church has defined this point strictly and repeatedly. Confessio Orthodoxa i. 64: ‘Quibus ex verbis clarum evadit ab excessu suo liberari per se animam poenitentiamque agere non posse, nihilque eiusmodi moliri quo infernis eximatur vinculis’. The Roman Church does not appear to have decided it further than by condemning a proposition of Martin Luther, ‘nec probatum est ullis aut rationibus aut Scripturis ipsas (animas in Purgatorio) esse extra statum merendi aut augendae charitatis’ (Denzinger §66 2), and by the definition already quoted that the soul must have ‘truly repented’ in this life. H. N. Oxenham (Catholic Eschatology and Universalism, ed. 2, p. 40) held that the words ‘repentance’, ‘probation’, cannot be applied to the future life. ‘The acts of the soul in Purgatory are moral, though they are not strictly speaking meritorious; they do not affect its final destiny which is already fixed’: p. 46 ‘We cannot admit that it (Purgatory) includes the idea of a second probation for those who have already had their trial and failed’. All depends upon what we mean by ‘repentance’, ‘probation’, and especially ‘failure’.


-350- the degree, of saving grace. Few among us would desire to bar the gates of heaven against the Unitarian Channing, against the Buddhist ascetic, against even the naked savage who on his sea-swept coral reef, forsaken as he may seem of God and man, is yet just and grateful and kind to wife and child. Yet few would think that for these maimed souls no instruction is needed, that the mere rending of the veil can make tolerable the splendour which it reveals. We believe in the many stripes and the few. We believe that star differeth from star in glory, and in these words lies all that any sober-minded man has ever maintained.

‘God shall be all in all.’ These words were never out of Origen’s mind. He looked upon the hope that they enshrine as the golden key to every doubt. Nor can his hope, even in its fullest sweep, be thought unscriptural so long as this text remains part of the Bible. For we can hardly say that an explanation adopted by Origen and by Gregory of Nyssa is wholly baseless.

It is not for me to defend the moral character of Clement or of Origen. Yet, as it has been argued that their teaching implies an inadequate conception of sin, a few words may be permitted.

It is not possible to exaggerate the horrors of that abyss, when we figure to ourselves all that it holds within its dark recesses. Nor will anyone who lifts up his eyes to Him, in Whose sight the very heavens are not clean, dare to extenuate the measure of his own transgressions. But guilt may be exaggerated, our own and still more easily our brother’s. The mote is not as the beam. Is it not an exaggeration to say, or to imply, or to dream, that because God is infinite -351- all offences against His Holy Law are also infinite, or to think of Him as angry with sin, as losing by sin? The Alexandrines protested against such errors, but they regarded sin as spiritual death; as separating us from Him, who is the joy and glory and life of the soul; as needing, as doomed, to be eradicated by anguish sharper than a sword. They knew well ‘the agony of seeing all past sins in the sight of Jesus’. 1 But they believed above all things in the Father’s love. They did not understand how His Creation could for ever groan and travail, or how the Saviour could ‘drink wine’ in the sight of endless misery and wrong.

Origen’s view has been called a cruel view, 2 because aeonian probation implies aeonian change, and so eternal hope seems to issue in never-ending fear. Neither Clement nor Gregory admitted the possibility of a fall from grace in the future life. Even Origen held that there is a point, here or hereafter, at which love takes complete possession of the will, and the spirit is secure in the bosom of God.

Space does not permit me to cast more than a flying glance upon the pathetic history of Quietism. The opinions which drew shame and ruin upon Molinos, Fenelon, Madame de Guyon, in a hypocritical court . . .


1 The phrase is from Pusey What is of Faith p. 116.

2 H. N, Oxenham (Catholic Eschatology, ed. 2, p. 48, where cruel is a reference to J. H. Newman’s phrase ‘a cruel prospect’, quoted on pp. 47, 64). In Rom. v. 10 (Lom. vi. 407 sqq.) Origen expressly denies the possibility of declension from grace in the future life, on the ground that ‘charity never faileth’ and that ‘nothing can separate us from the love of God’ (1 Cor. 13:8; Rom. 8:35, 39). And I do not feel sure that the passages quoted above, p. 228, are sufficiently clear to demonstrate that he ever held the opposite opinion. At any rate the love of God in Christ, when once kindled in the soul, is indefectible.


-352- and a time-serving Church, were in substance those of Clement. Again, we read of the Absolute Good, the Two Lives, Apathy, Disinterested Love, Silent Prayer. But that which in the Alexandrine was largely traditional and academic has become personal and impassioned; that which was intellectual and Platonic has passed over into the emotional and even sensuous. It rests no longer upon the Phaedrus or St. John, but on the Song of Songs.

The Quietists were but lightly touched by the characteristic infirmities of Mysticism. They were guarded from these not only by deep piety, but by their high social standing and cultivated minds. Like all their class they sought to ‘antedate the peace of heaven’ — an impossible and to untutored spirits a perilous effort. The moral dangers of this presumption were not far distant when Madame de Guyon was pressing the doctrines of Silent Prayer and Disinterested Love upon a bevy of school-girls at St. Cyr. But their real offence was not this. Quietism is a form of spiritual liberty, and this was a fatal blot in an age of directors and confessors. But there is no need to dwell upon a subject so fascinating in itself and so accessible to all. Those who wish to know what Quietism really was can peruse the Maxims of the Saints. Those who care to see how readily it lends itself to perversion and ridicule may read Bossuet or La Bruyère. A just and temperate censor will be found in Bourdaloue, a sympathizing critic in Vaughan. 1


1 The instruments condemnatory of Molinos and the doctrine of Disinterested Love will be found in Denzinger Enchiridion pp. 333-348, ed. 1865. It is impossible not to feel and express sympathy for the Quietists, who but for political reasons would probably have been left unmolested, and were certainly harshly used. Nevertheless the authorities who condemned them were in the right. Beautiful as Quietism is in its highest expression, in cultivated and truly saintly spirits, it is yet rooted in error; it is a revolt against reason and the facts of life, as well as against the teaching of Revelation. Hence in grosser natures it leads inevitably to moral depravation. Sufficient proof of this will be found in the account of Wesley’s struggle with Quietism of the lower type given in Tyerman’s Life. The Dialogues on Quietism referred to above will be found in M. Servois edition of La Bruyere, but there is some doubt as to their real author. They are written somewhat in the style of Pascal, but with a far coarser touch. ≪Cp. F. von Hügel The Mystical Element in Religion, London 1908, ii. pp. 129-152; E. Underhill Mysticism, London 1911, pp. 389 sqq.≫


-353- As we turn the pages of the Alexandrines, it is, to use a well-worn simile, as if we were walking through the streets of some long-buried city. Only with effort, only imperfectly, can we recall the vanished life. Even when we succeed in reconstructing the image of the past our first impulse is an ungenerous one — How different these men were from ourselves, how different and how inferior! A second and finer thought teaches us better. They were as we are. We have drifted far away from them, and experience has taught us many things. But our horizon is no wider, and our light no fuller. We know no more than they. The only way in which we can hope to surpass them is by the renunciation of vain endeavours, and the concentration of all our efforts on the ideal of Duty.

They were too subtle, too inquisitive; but the good sense of the world has already judged their presumptuous sallies. It has been urged that they are too intellectual and cramp the play of the emotions. This is true, and it is a fault; but on the other hand they are not effeminate. Their tone is bracing and salutary. Their use of Scripture is often wild and fantastic, but it has not the faults of the Middle Age; it is free, unprejudiced, reasonable, in endeavour if not always in -354- result. The one point on which we may justly blame them is their immoral doctrine of Reserve. Yet it is precisely this blot in their conduct which has most commonly escaped censure, because it was capable of being turned to profit.

But this is the stain of the age in which they lived and cannot obscure their great services to Christianity. His work upon the text of Scripture alone would entitle Origen to undying gratitude. It was he and his predecessor, more than any others, who saved the Church not only from Noetianism but from Gnosticism, Chiliasm, Montanism, that is from Paganism, Sensualism, Fanaticism. In that age so like our own, when the Church had not yet acquired that civil support, that prescriptive hold upon the imagination, which now again she is rapidly losing, they broke the power of the Stoic Religion of Humanity, of Epicurean Agnosticism, of Platonic Spiritualism. Almost alone they strove to reconcile the revelation of God in Jesus with the older revelation of God in Nature. What could be done at that time they did, and their principles are of permanent value. They never wrestle with Science for a few inches of doubtful ground. For the ground of Science is not theirs, and that sense of Scripture, which alone can conflict with Science, is not the ‘spirit that giveth life’.

Last and highest among their merits we must place their preaching of the Fatherhood of God. It may be that on some points they erred, like Fénelon, ‘from excess of love’; but such errors, if they are really there, must be treated in the spirit from which they flow. Their teaching is associated, in Origen at least, with ideas on which most Christians fear to dwell, though they are impressed upon us by the authority -355- of the Saviour Himself. They taught that the Just One is Good, as few since have taught that highest and most life-giving of all truths. Origen added that Goodness is the source of all that is; that in all the efforts of our soul we should strive through Christ to Him Who is the First Source of Redemption as of all other blessings; that there will come a time when the work of Mediation and Salvation will be achieved, when Christ will present the Church, His Sanctified Body, to the Father, Whom we shall seek ‘face to face’.

It is the teaching of St. Paul. ‘Then cometh the End when He shall have delivered up the Kingdom to God, even the Father … Then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.’ 1


1 In two passages, Contra Celsum viii. 11, De Oratione 25 (where he is commenting on ‘Thy Kingdom come’), Origen speaks of the delivering up of Christ’s Kingdom to the Father. There will come a time when the Church and each of its members, being purified from all stain of sin, will be ‘governed by God alone’. These passages must be read in connexion with those cited above (pp. 210 sq.) as to the cessation of the Mediatorial office of Christ, and In Matth. xiv. 7, where it is said that Christ is ‘perhaps’ αὐτοβασιλεία (the Kingdom in person). Some light again may be thrown upon Origen’s meaning by other passages where it is intimated that the Father Himself has Epinoiai as ‘consuming fire’ and ‘light’, and again as ‘Lord’ and ‘Father’; not that He changes, but that we change in relation to Him. See Denis p. 378. Christ does not cease to be the Head of the Church or the King of Heaven; but He brings man when sin is dead within him, when he is now capable of the highest revelation of all, into immediate contact with the Father, so that he may see Him ‘face to face’, ‘as He is’. This contact depends on our complete and eternal union with Christ, and this again on the complete and eternal union of Christ with His Father. We have here no doubt the final expression of Origen’s Subordinationism. But it must be observed subjection means absolute harmony with the Archetypal Will. At the End all will be one because the Father’s Will is all in all and all in each. Each will fill the place which the Mystery of the Economy assigns to him.

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Reverend Charles Bigg, D.D. (1840–1908) was a Church of England clergyman, theologian and church historian. His 1886 Bampton Lectures were later published as The Christian Platonists of Alexandria. In April 1901 he was appointed Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History, University of Oxford, a post he held until his passing.


References

Bigg, D.D., Charles. The Christian Platonists of Alexandria. (The Bampton Lectures of 1886) Oxford: Clarendon Press; New York: Macmillan and Co., 1913. [Reprinted With Some Additions and Corrections] This work is in the public domain.

Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, “Hypostasis.” Merriam-Webster.com. Accessed 10 Apr. 2022.

Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, “Ousia.” Merriam-Webster.com. Accessed 10 Apr. 2022.

Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, “Paronomasia.” Merriam-Webster.com. Accessed 10 Apr. 2022.


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