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renounced his errors, and thanked him for his instructions. He was equally successful with other heretics a circumstance which must be ascribed to the wonderful modesty, gentleness, and ability of the man.

In the new persecution under Decius, Origen played a conspicuous part. He was regarded as a pillar of the church, and thrown into prison, where he was subjected to the cruelest sufferings, which he bore with a spirit of calm heroism and Christian resignation. Exhausted by his sufferings, he died at Tyre, in the year 254.

Origen was a voluminous writer, but the most of his productions are lost. The others are somewhat mutilated, and, in all probability, interpolated. It is difficult, therefore, to form a just estimate of his philosophical or theological opinions. He spent years on the study of the sacred writings in the original tongues. He did much to preserve the integrity of the Greek and Hebrew text. His commentaries are often fanciful, and yet profound and pious. He uses the allegorical mode of interpretation, after the manner of Philo, and finds meanings under the literal import, sometimes extravagant, sometimes rare and beautiful. In this respect, however, he departed from the simplicity of Christ. In his great work, Contra Celsum, he vindicates Cbristianity, as a divine, infallible religion. His own soul rejoiced in Jesus Christ, as the “ brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of his person.” Liberal and comprehensive, he cherished large and generous views, and cultivated a spirit of true Christian charity. Many of his speculations are simply suggestions and inquiries after the manner of Plato; he never pressed them as infallible dogmas. Not thoroughly appreciating the limits of human inquiry, and attaching too much importance to the methods of philosophy, at that time ill defined and variant, he allowed bis thoughts to wander into the untried regions of speculative conjecture. Enamoured especially of Plato, he revelled amid the dreams of a profound, yet imaginative theosophy. Passing from the outward, and despising the body, he sought the essential and eternal archetypes of things in the bosom of Godsaw there the unchangeable essence, and finite procession of the soul, and thus taught a dogma akin to the Platonic transmigration. Like Plato, he saw the spirit, once winged and holy, fallen into materialism and sin, from which, struggling upward, it must leave the body, and rejoin the immortals. From the same view he deduced the freedom of the human soul, and the final restoration of all to purity and God. To him all nature, as in the Platonic theory, was vital and conscious the stars were the abodes, pero

haps the bodies, of living souls, whose brightness or dimness corresponds precisely with the moral character of the spirits which occupy them. An endless succession of worlds preceded our own, and an endless succession will follow. The bad, revolving, so to speak, through various cycles and transformations, will yet, through the agency of their free will, and the love of Christ, reach new heavens and a new earth, prepared for their eternal abode.

Origen, while holding the humanity of Christ as an outer expression of his separate spiritual existence, maintained his supreme divinity. He saw in him the word or manifestation of the one eternal Father. In his Contra Celsum, replying to the objection of his opponent, founded on the worship paid to Christ, who, in the view of the heathen philosopher, was a mere man, he says, “ We worship, therefore, as we have now shown, one God, Father and Son, and our argument remains as impregnable as before. We do not regard with an excessive veneration one who has but lately appeared among men, as though he had no existence before. We believe his own word, when he tells us, “Before Abraham was I am,' as also when he says, ' I am the truth.' We are none of us so stupid as to think that the Es. sence of Truth had no existence before the time



of Christ's appearance."*

.* Hence, in his 8th Homily on Jeremiah, he says, “ If the soul have not God the Father, if it have not the Son, saying, • I and my Father will come to him, and will make our abode with him,' if it have not the Holy Spirit, it is desolate."

Thus Cyprian and Origen come together in their love and reverence for Christ, as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. This is the living stream which mingles with the philosophy, the literature, the politics, and the art of the modern world. We shall find it in all the centuries, coursing its way towards the grand consummation of truth, freedom, and righteousness, yet to come.

* Contra Cel. lib. viii. 12.




We have seen how Christianity, thrown into the crude mass of humanity, vitiated and enfeebled by idolatry and lust, won amazing triumphs. It partook, however, in its actual embodiment and application, of the spirit and tendency of the age. At heart, the Roman empire was corrupt, and destined to destruction, and not even Christianity could finally save it. Indeed, its dismemberment was a matter not only of political, but of moral necessity. The revolution and reconstruction of nations is one of God's methods of elevating and purifying society. Old forms pass away. New energies are brought into free and generous play. Indeed, society, in its best form, is an amalgam; and it required the Roman and the Teutonic elements, moulded by Christianity, to give rise to the new and vigorous organization of modern society.

Taken, however, into the embrace of the state, first by Constantine, and subsequently by Charlemagne and Pepin, as an organized belief, with its hierarchy of forms and ministers, Christianity

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