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Chapter XXXVI.

We would say, moreover, that death ceases in the world when the sin of the world dies, referring the saying to the mystical words of the apostle, which run as follows:  “When He shall have put all enemies under His feet, then the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.”44634463    Cf. 1 Cor. xv. 25, 26.  And also:  “When this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.”44644464    Cf. 1 Cor. xv. 54; cf. Hos. xiii. 14.  The “strait descent,”44654465    κάθοδον στενήν. again, may perhaps be referred by those who hold the doctrine of transmigration of souls to that view of things.  And it is not incredible that the gates which are said to open spontaneously are referred obscurely by some to the words, “Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may go into them, and praise the Lord; this gate of the Lord, into it the righteous shall enter;”44664466    Cf. Ps. cxviii. 19, 20. and again, to what is said in the ninth psalm, “Thou that liftest me up from the gates of death, that I may show forth all Thy praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion.”44674467    Cf. Ps. ix. 13, 14.  The Scripture further gives the name of “gates of death” to those sins which lead to destruction, as it terms, on the contrary, good actions the “gates of Zion.”  So also “the gates of righteousness,” which is an equivalent expression to “the gates of virtue,” and these are ready to be opened to him who follows after virtuous pursuits.  The subject of the “tree of life” will be more appropriately explained when we interpret the statements in the book of Genesis regarding the paradise planted by God.  Celsus, moreover, has often mocked at the subject of a resurrection,—a doctrine which he did not comprehend; and on the present occasion, not satisfied with what he has formerly said, he adds, “And there is said to be a resurrection of the flesh by means of the tree;” not understanding, I think, the symbolical expression, that “through the tree came death, and through the tree comes life,”44684468    Cf. 1 Cor. xv. 22. because death was in Adam, and life in Christ.  He next scoffs at the “tree,” assailing it on two grounds, and saying, “For this reason is the tree introduced, either because our teacher was nailed to a cross, or because he was a carpenter by trade;” not observing that the tree of life is mentioned in the Mosaic writings, and being blind also to this, that in none of the Gospels current in the Churches44694469    [See note supra, p. 582.  S.] is Jesus Himself ever described as being a carpenter.44704470    Cf., however, Mark vi. 3.  [Some mss., though not of much value, have the reading here (Mark vi. 3), “Is not this the carpenter’s son, the son of Mary?”  Origen seems to have so read the evangelist.  See Alford, in loc.  S.]


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