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4. He goes on:

“Still, since there may be some persons, who may wish to prove my faith, or to hear and learn what it is, I will declare that I thus think of the Trinity;”

and so on. At first you said that you entrusted your faith to the Bishop as a stick with which he might fortify himself on your behalf against those barking dogs. Now you speak a little less confidently, “There may be some persons who wish to prove my faith.” You begin to hesitate when the barkings which reach your ears are so numerous. I will not stop to discuss the forms of diction which you use, for these you look down upon and condemn: I will answer according to the meaning alone. You are asked about one thing, and you give account for yourself upon another. As to the doctrines of Arius, you contended against them at Alexandria a long time ago, by imprisonment and exile, not with words but with blood. But the question now relates to the heresy of Origen, and the feeling aroused against you on the subject. I should be sorry that you should trouble yourself to cure wounds which are already healed. You confess a Trinity in one Godhead. The whole world now confesses this, and I think that even the devils confess that the Son of God was born of the Virgin Mary, and took upon him the flesh and the soul belonging to human nature. But I must beg you not to think me a contentious man if I examine you a little more strictly. You say that the Son of God took the flesh and soul belonging to human nature. Well then, I would ask you not to be vexed with me but to answer this question. That soul which Jesus took upon him, did it exist before it was born of Mary? Was it created together with the body in that original Virgin nature which was begotten by the Holy Spirit? or, 503when the body was already formed within the womb, was it made all at once, and sent down from heaven? I wish to know which one of these you choose as your opinion. If it existed before it was born from Mary, then it was not yet the soul of Jesus; and it was employed in some way, and, for a reward of its virtues, it was made his soul. If it arose by traduction,30873087    Ex traduce, that is, from a layer like that of the vine. This embodies the view that the soul is derived, with the body, from the parent. There is no English word for the process; and since the word Traducianism is used to express the theory, ‘Traduction’ is used here to express the process. then human souls, which we believe to be eternal, are subject to the same condition as those of the brutes, which perish with the body. But if it is created and sent into the body after the body has been formed, tell us so simply, and free us from anxiety.


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