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Chapter VII.

For while many things in his books which were extracted from them by the bishops were read to show that they were written in opposition to the Catholic faith, that passage especially excited bad feeling against him, in which we read in his published works that the Lord Jesus, as he had come in the flesh for the redemption of mankind, and suffering upon the cross for the salvation of man, had tasted death to procure eternal life for the human race, so he was, by the same course of suffering, even to render the devil a partaker of redemption. He maintained this on the ground that such a thing would be in harmony with his goodness and beneficence, inasmuch as he who had restored fallen and ruined man, would thus also set free an angel who had previously fallen. When these and other things of a like nature were brought forward by the bishops, a tumult arose owing to the zeal of the different parties; and when this could not be quelled by the authority of the priests, the governor of the city was called upon to regulate the discipline of the church by a perverse precedent; and through the terror which he inspired, the brethren were dispersed, while the monks took to flight in different directions; so that, on the decrees being published, they were not permitted to find lasting acceptance9494    “in nulla consistere sede sinerentur.” in any place. This fact influenced me greatly, that Hieronymus, a man truly Catholic and most skillful in the holy law, was thought at first to have been a follower of Origen, yet now, above most others, went the length of condemning the whole of his writings. Assuredly, I am not inclined to judge rashly in regard to any one; but even the most learned men were said to hold different opinions in this controversy. However, whether that opinion of Origen was simply an error, as I think, or whether it was a heresy, as is generally supposed, it not only could not be suppressed by multitudes of censures on the part of the priests, but it never could have spread itself so far and wide, had it not gathered strength from their contentions. Accordingly, when I came to Alexandria, I found that city in a ferment from disturbances connected with the matter in question. The Bishop, indeed, of that place received me very kindly, and in a better spirit than I expected, and even endeavored to retain me with him. But I was not at all inclined to settle there, where a recent outbreak of ill-will had resulted in a destruction of the brethren. For, although perhaps it may seem that they ought to have obeyed the bishops, yet such a multitude of persons, all living in an open confession of Christ, ought not for that reason to have been persecuted, especially by bishops.


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