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18. After this preface as to the falsification by heretics of the apostles, of both the Clements, and of Dionysius, he at last comes to Origen; and these are his words:

“I have shewn from his own words and writings how he himself complains of this and deplores it: He explains clearly in the letter which he wrote to some of his intimate friends at Alexandria what he suffered while living here in the flesh and in the full enjoyment of his senses, by the corruption of his books and treatises, or by spurious editions of them.”

He subjoins a copy of this letter; and he who implores to the heretics the falsification of Origen’s writings himself begins by falsifying them, for he does not translate the letter as he finds it in the Greek, and does not convey to the Latins what Origen states in his letter. The object of the whole letter is to assail Demetrius the Pontiff of Alexandria, and to inveigh against the bishops throughout the world, and to tell them that their excommunication of him is invalid; he says further that he has no intention of retorting their evil speaking; indeed he is so much afraid of evil speaking that he does not dare to speak evil even of the devil; insomuch that he gave occasion to Candidus an adherent of the errors of Valentinian to represent him falsely as saying that the devil is of such a nature as could be saved. But our friend takes no notice of the real purport of the letter, and makes up for Origen an argument which he does not use. I have therefore translated a part of the letter, beginning a little way below what has been already spoken of, and have appended it to the part which has been translated by him in a curtailed and disingenuous manner, so that the reader may perceive the object with which he suppressed the earlier part. He is contending, then, against the Bishops of the church generally, because they had judged him unworthy of its communion; and he continues as follows:

“Why need I speak of the language in which the prophets constantly threaten and reprove the pastors, elders, the priests and the princes? These things you can of yourselves without my aid draw out from the Holy Scriptures, and you may clearly see that it may well be the present time of which it is said31183118    Mic. vii. 5 ‘Trust not in your friends, and do not hope in princes,’ and that the prophecy is now gaining its fulfilment,31193119    Jer. iv. 22 ‘The leaders of my people have not known me; my sons are fools and not wise: they are wise to do evil, but know not to do good.’ We ought to pity them, not to hate them, to pray for them, not to curse them. For we have been created for blessing, not for cursing. Therefore even Michael,31203120    Jude 9 when he disputed against the devil concerning the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a railing accusation even for so great an evil, but said; ‘The Lord rebuke thee.’ And we read something similar in Zachariah,31213121    Zech. iii. 2 ‘The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; the Lord which hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee.’ So also we desire that those who will not humbly accept the rebuke of their neighbours may be rebuked of the Lord. But, since Michael says, ‘The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan,’ and Zechariah says the same, the devil knows well whether the Lord rebukes him or not; and must acknowledge the manner of the rebuke.”

Then, after a passage too long to insert here, he adds:

“We believe that not only those who have committed great sins will be cast out from the kingdom of heaven, such as fornicators and adulterers, and those who defile themselves with mankind, and thieves, but those also who have done evil of a less flagrant kind, since it is written;31223122    1 Cor. vi. 9 ‘Neither drunk512ards nor evil speakers shall inherit the kingdom of God;’ and that the standard by which men will be judged is as much the goodness as the severity of God. Therefore we strive to act thoughtfully in all things, in drinking wine, and in moderation of language, so that we dare not speak evil of any man. Now, because, through the fear of God, we are careful not to utter maledictions against any one, remembering that the words ‘He dared not bring against him a railing accusation,’ are spoken of Michael in his dealing with the devil; as it is said also in another place,31233123    Jude 8 ‘They set at naught dominions and rail at dignities;’ certain of these men who seek for matters of contention, ascribe to us and our teaching the blasphemy (as to which they have to lay to heart the words which apply to them, ‘Neither drunkards nor evil speakers shall inherit the kingdom of God’), namely, that the father of wickedness and perdition of those who shall be cast out of the kingdom of God can be saved; a thing which not even a madman can say.”

The rest which comes in the same letter he has31243124    Rufinus. set down instead of the later words of Origen which I have translated: “Now, because through the fear of God we are careful not to utter maledictions against any one,” and so on; he fraudulently cuts off the earlier part, on which the later depends, and begins to translate the letter, as though the former part began with this statement, and says:

“Some of those who delight in bringing complaints against their neighbours, ascribe to us and our teaching the crime of a blasphemy, which we have never spoken, (as to which they must consider whether they are willing to stand by the decree which says ‘The evil speakers shall not inherit the kingdom of God,’) for they say that I assert that the father of the wickedness and perdition of those who shall be cast out of the kingdom of God, that is, the devil, will be saved; a thing which no man even though he had taken leave of his senses and was manifestly insane could say.”

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